The Promoter – November 2017

The Promoter – November 2017

Table of Contents

From the President

As I sit down to write, I am reluctantly saying goodbye to summer. Yes, fall has definitely arrived evidenced by our first frost last night and the fact that I wore shoes instead of sandals to work this morning.

Soon it will be time for giving thanks or better known as Thanksgiving. I am thankful for many things, and high on the list is being grateful for NDAB and all of you. While I have had health issues to deal with the past few months, thankfully, I have had something beyond myself to focus on and give me purpose. My sincere gratitude to my board and others who have shown great patience and understanding.

Here are two quotes about giving to ponder on:
“Live to better the lives of others.”
“Giving opens the way to receiving.”

For you baseball fans, check out this quote:
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” Maya Angelou

Before you know it, December will arrive with lots of giving and receiving as we celebrate Christmas.

“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.”
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get but from what we give.” Ben Carson

An application has been completed and submitted resulting in acceptance of NDAB as a participant in Giving Hearts Day to be held on Thursday, February 8, 2018. This fundraising opportunity is hosted by Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation and the Alex Stern Family Foundation. Giving Hearts Day started in 2008 and has since raised $41 million, with $10.6 million raised in 2017 for over 350 participating charities in eastern ND and western MN. Giving Hearts Day has made and will continue to make a huge difference in our region!

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

Be on the lookout for more information about GHD and how you can help promote and participate in it.

I have one last quote to share with you:
“At the end of the day. It is not about what you have or even what you have accomplished. It is about who you have lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you have given back.”

I want to encourage you to take a look around and see what you can do to lift someone up in your family, community and yes, in NDAB. You can make a difference!
Enjoy this season of giving and receiving,

Zelda Gebhard

Coming up:
Next Board Meeting: Sunday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m.
You need not be a board member to attend a board meeting. If you have something you would like brought before the board or if you would like to be a guest and observe, give me a call at 701-493-2399 and I will give you the teleconference number so you can attend the meeting.
Giving Hearts Day Thursday, February 8th

From the Editor

Can you believe that it’s fall? As I reviewed my editor’s note in the August Promoter, I’d been looking for April, May and June, and now we’ll soon be on the way to winter and the holidays!

Since the last quarterly issue, I’ve been on a fabulous Martin Luther Reformation Tour in Germany, attended our NDAB Summer Camp, performed with my sisters, and participated (and still participating) in a long and busy harvest season.

I liked a couple of quotes that were on the napkins as we flew from the US to Germany:
No one changed the world by staying in it. Keep Climbing. Delta
The 2nd quote: The world is changed by those out in it.

Michelle Zentz sent in this quote:
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Loris Van Berkom shared these:
A dream is a challenge we give ourselves to be more than we thought we could be.
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Karlyn Frantsen sent these thoughtful readings:
Life is full of rainbows and butterflies, but butterflies are a result of painful change and rainbows powerful storms.

Live without pretending
Love without depending
Listen without defending
Speak without offending
Author unknown
Thanks to those of you who have sent in quotes and articles for this quarterly issue. If you have something you’d like to share, please email me at
Happy “rest of the fall” and the upcoming holiday season!

Welcome New Members

We extend a warm NDAB welcome to fourteen new members! From Minot: Bryan Anderson, Lora Bendickson, Pamela Alme Davy, Donna Elgie, Jennifer Folven, Sandy Moe, Betty Routledge, and Raymond Walters. Welcome to Lee Dahl – Devils Lake; Paul Edwards – Miami FL; Bobbie and Eric Marts – Moorhead MN; Paul Nelson – West Fargo; Patrick Sheehan – Silver Spring MD.

NDAB Membership Renewal Time!

Can you believe it? It’s that time of year! Your form for your 2018 NDAB membership renewal will be mailed the end of December. Dues of $15 ($3 for junior members) must be sent to our treasurer Helen Baumgartner by February 1st. For your convenience there will be an envelope included with her address. If you have not gotten your form by January 10th, please contact me at (701) 839-4138 or E-mail me at
Happy holidays, everyone!
Mary Stip, Membership Chair

Dining In The Dark…Again

By Janelle Olson

By the time you read this, NDAB will have participated for the second year with the Minot Lions in the Dining In The Dark event on Thursday, October 12th. We are happy to have again gotten the invitation and I will let you know how it went in the next edition.

Members of Our NDAB Family

We extend our deepest sympathy to David and Andrew McCloud on the death of their mother. Cecelia Houle, 79, of Moorhead, MN, formally Grand Forks, ND, passed away on Friday, July 28, 2017 at Moorhead Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center. She grew up in Belcourt, ND on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indian Reservation. In 1979, Cecelia moved to Grand Forks where she was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church. Cecelia had a strong faith, enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and enjoyed her pets, doing crafts, and listening to country western music. Cecelia is survived by her eight children, 17 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. The family is sincerely grateful to the many friends who have given them support and comfort during this time.
Larry Skwarok lost his beloved dog guide Kizmet late Sunday night after returning home from camp. I spoke with him the day he had just gotten the urn of Kizmet’s ashes. He said that he had completed the application process for getting another dog. If his request goes through, he will attend a two-week training session at Leader Dog in Rochester, Michigan. Larry, we are sorry for your loss.

NDAB Summer Camp 2017

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors

The 47th annual NDAB Summer Camp was held August 6-13 at the Elks Camp Grassick. Campers totaling 24 and the staff of 22 made up the 46 in attendance. There were four campers that canceled due to various reasons. We welcomed three new campers and one new instructor. The new campers were Lee Dahl from Devils Lake, Jennifer Floven from Minot and Kay Sorenson from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Since Kay was from out of state, she paid for her room and board as directed in our camp guidelines. Robert Hart was a first-time instructor. We missed those staff and campers who were unable to attend due to health issues, work Schedules or family commitments. We welcomed back some people who had not been at camp for several years.

We enjoyed very pleasant temperatures during the day. Off and on thunder showers greeted us as campers arrived on Sunday afternoon but after such a dry summer, we dared not complain. We experienced rain again one afternoon and during the night. It rained off and on all day Saturday with a nasty thunder storm during our auction which struck the generator which left us all in the dark for about an hour. The auction sale continued aided by flashlights, lights from the golf cart and a battery microphone. Rain totals for that day measured over two inches.

The classes and instructors were as follows: Caning – Mike Hoeppner and David McCloud, Basket Weaving – Paula Anundson and Dave Sundeen, Handicrafts – Dianne Giessinger, Round Loom Knitting – Whitney Engbrecht and Helen Baumgartner, New Camper 101 – Janelle Olson and Mark Kueffler, Let’s Talk – Mark Kueffler, ND History, Legislative Issues and ACB History – Allan Peterson, Leisure Activities – Becky Monroe, Bread Basics – Zelda Gebhard, Spanish Language and Braille – Lexee Steffan, Borders and Boundaries, Yoga and Strike Up the Band – Janelle Olson, Intro to the iPhone – Robert Hart, Ukulele – Angie Kokott, Travel with Kathy and Let’s Learn a Little Norwegian – Kathy Larson and Karlyn Frantsen, Move with Missy and Ten Healthy Habits – Missy Miller, Walking – Susan Jorgenson, Orientation and Mobility – Becky Monroe, Life Guard – Dan Mimnaugh, Nurse – Kathy Johnson, Co-Directors – Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman. Susan and Missy helped Dianne with handicrafts and Susan helped with the bread class. Becky had an informal water aerobics class in the lake during open swimming.

The evenings were filled with activities. Sunday night began with our traditional receiving line Followed by a mixer which involved passing around a garden spade, watering can and bouquet of tulips. Rick hosted the Monday night trivia contest as Jenny popped and served us popcorn. Each member on the winning team received a Chia Pet and the losing team received a little pouch with a quarter so they could call someone who cared. On Tuesday night, Morgan VanWell hosted Blackjack in the Dining Hall and Becky called bingo in Cabin #7. Wednesday night was filled with the casino night gift exchange followed by a dance with recorded music provided by Nick Pavel. The hay ride had to be canceled due to a rain shower. Thursday evening began with a great talent show hosted by Mark Kueffler and ended with a pizza party in the Dining Hall. “In the Garden,” the Friday night banquet theme, planned by Karlyn Frantsen and her friend Jackie Freeman, focused on how just as gardens grow, we can also grow. We dined on a delicious salad, vegetable lasagna, bread sticks followed by angel food cake with strawberries and whipped topping. The Jim Geiger Band rounded out the night with great dancing and listening melodies. Auctioneer Rich Fadness from Bismarck along with other NDAB members conducted our Saturday night auction where we took in $5,667.50.

Beth Bakke Stenehjem and Tami Ternes, AT Consultants, both from Bismarck, joined us on Tuesday. They set up a display from ND Assistive Technology to show us what is available through their program.

We invite guests to visit on Wednesday from vision related agencies. We were pleased to welcome two visitors from North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind, Pam Haus and Ryan Torgerson and three Vision Rehab Specialists, Rebecca Anderson Falde from Fargo, Amy Osvold from Minot and Susan Olson from Bismarck. Susan Hammer-Schneider, manager of the Talking Book Library, brought three staff members. Trampes Brown, an NDAB board member from Minot, came to attend a focus group session conducted by Dr. Brent Askvig that day after lunch to gather comments and concerns regarding NDVS as part of their strategic planning.

Sunday morning devotions, planned by Susan, preceded a great breakfast of waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Our final good-byes via our receiving line brought closure to our week.

There are so many thanks to extend after such a successful week because it takes the entire group working together to make it happen! Thanks to all of the instructors who spend many hours before camp begins preparing and then working diligently all week. Thanks to all of the campers who faithfully attend the classes and contribute their personalities into the mix. Thanks to David McCloud for ringing the 7:00 AM bell as Janelle serenades us with coronet melodies, to Janelle for leading the flag raising, to Mary Stip and Paula for holding the dining hall doors open as we went in and out for each meal and evening activity, to Karlyn for sharing readings each morning, to the NDAB Concert & Marching Band for sharing musical talents as they marched parade style up and down the hill, to Eric Rooke from the Williston High School Band for the donation of a trombone, to Clown Missy and Mike, Parade Marshall Dan who led the parade, to Kathryn Schmidt for lining up people to lead the table grace for each meal, to Zelda and her Bread Basics students for all of the delicious bread they shared for meals and donated for the auction, to Susan for leading devotions Sunday morning and to all those who hosted the evening activities. Thanks to everyone who faithfully worked hard setting up and tearing down for all of the activities. Thanks to Kathy Johnson and her set-up crew for the auction, to Rich and all who helped conducting the auction and to everyone else who helped with the auction with their time, talent and money. A special thanks to Dan for so efficiently and graciously hosting us at the Elks Camp Grassick and to the cooks and kitchen staff for providing such scrumptious meals and snacks along with such great service!

We closed our camp session with the following reading. We want to share it with all of you.

The Presence of his Love

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.

It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her.

“How could this have happened to me?” she would plead, her heart knotted with anger.  But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan’s once optimistic spirit.  Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.

Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark’s military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he know this was the most difficult battle he would ever face.

Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task.

Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn’t working – it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry.  How would she react?

Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. “I’m blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.”

Mark’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.

For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase.

Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office.  Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she’d lost her sight, who wasn’t afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit.

Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself!

On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure envy you.” Susan wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?”

The driver responded, “It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are.”  Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, “What do you mean?”
The driver answered, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine-looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus.  He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building.  Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one blessed lady.”

Tears of happiness poured down Susan’s cheeks. For although she couldn’t physically see him, she had always felt Mark’s presence. She was blessed, so blessed, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn’t need to see to believe – the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

God watches over us in just the same way. We may not know He is present. We may not be able to see His face, but He is there nonetheless! Be blessed in this thought: “God Loves You – even when you are not looking.”

— Rev. John F. Perling

2018 ACB Convention

Union Station Hotel 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri, will be home to the 2018 conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. Opening general session will be held Saturday evening, June 30th. Come early for our first tours on Friday, June 29th and stay for the final tours on Friday, July 6th. During convention week, attend affiliate and committee programming, numerous technology sessions and visit the exhibit hall, open Saturday, June 30th through Wednesday, July 4th. You won’t want to miss our banquet Thursday evening, July 5th.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Make your hotel reservations today!
Room rates at Union Station are $89.00; this rate applies for up to 2 people in a king room and up to 4 guests in a room with two queen beds.
Room tax is currently 16.92%. Make telephone reservations by calling (314) 231-1234. Be sure to mention you are with American Council of the Blind to obtain the conference and convention room rate.

For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, Convention Coordinator via phone at (651) 428-5059.

Leadership Fellows Program Experience

Submitted by Michelle Zentz

May 9th, I was notified by ACB’s Executive Director, Eric Bridges, of my selection as a Leadership Fellows Award recipient. Kenneth Semien, DKM Committee Chairperson, provided Leadership Fellow Recipient guidelines. The sponsorship of JP Morgan & Chase allowed ACB to bring five leaders to the 2017 national Conference and Convention, June 30th through July 6th in Sparks, NV.

President Charlson presided over the Friday morning Executive Board meeting. a new strategic action plan has been completed. Office staff and committee reports were given before the board went into executive session at noon.

Zelda Gebhard and I attended the Constitution and Bylaws Committee meeting. Time allowed for us to speak with John Huffman, committee Chairperson, regarding NDAB’s governing documents. Eric Bridges stopped by and escorted us to the Leadership Fellows Meet and Greet. Kim Charlson and DKM committee members spent time becoming acquainted with the leadership fellows.

Saturday morning, several NDAB members gathered to explore the hotel layout and to purchase items from the exhibition hall. I went to “Putting Fun into Fundraising” workshop and the CCLVI Scholarship Mixer. An excellent summary of Saturday night’s opening ceremony and president’s executive report is included in the October issue of the ACB Braille Forum. Prior to roll call, each of the Leadership Fellow recipients were acknowledged and expressed their gratitude for the leadership program.

Leadership Fellows and President Charlson jointly lead the pledge of allegiance. I attended all of the general sessions during the week. Noteworthy speakers were author, Lainey Feingold and NLS narrator- Madelyn Buzzard. Afternoon sessions I experienced were “the Future of Older Blind Program”, “Advocacy JumpStart” and Laughter Yoga”.

July 4th festivities included walking through Victoria Square to a Mexican restaurant for supper with friends. Then, we fought our way back through the hoard of firework spectators to CCLVI’s Game Night.

One of the required seminars was to attend the “Leadership Institute led by Cindy VanWinkle. We learned how important it is for leaders to be flexible. Small groups discussed and shared ways to attract and include younger members.

Wednesday’s schedule was definitely overbooked! I sat in on part of the Affiliate Presidents Meeting, but times overlapped with the DKM 1950’s Themed Reception. Fortunately, the day’s last event was held just steps away. A photographer and video camera greeted those attending the Leadership Fellows Reception. Representatives of JP Morgan & Chase were present. The corporation is extremely motivated to support ACB’s mission. They are striving to provide accessible financial services and have employees with vision loss within their technology and development team.

Thursday’s main activity during general assembly were elections. A total of 28 resolutions passed. A few of the topics covered were audio description standards, autonomous vehicles, rights of service animal handlers, and accessibility of vending equipment. The awards banquet was a wonderful way to conclude the week’s activities. Don’t miss your opportunity to apply this spring!

Is She Adventure Girl or Wonder Woman?

Submitted by Shereen Faber

We all know that our own Kathy Johnson is an adventure girl, but after reading her interview with the Osakis newspaper, we will all know that she is a wonder woman!

I arrived in Orlando, FL, on Wednesday, September 6th, prior to Hurricane Irma’s hit on September 10th. After three weeks, I flew out of Fort Myers on Wednesday, September 27th. We prepared for an evacuation shelter in Sarasota, located on the Gulf Coast in Brookside Middle School where we sheltered 1300 people and dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc. after the storm passed, a group of seven headed south to Fort Meyers Rec Center, an aftermath shelter. My duties were Health Services as a nurse, but I also assisted with sheltering needs. I stayed at the rec center for ten days with an average of about 200 clients in the gym. During my last five days, I served meals on an Emergency Response Vehicle to neighborhood hit the worst. This was in the Fort Meyers area feeding 200 to 250 people each meal. Hearing the hurricane was intense. The music from the movie “Jaws” kept playing in my head. The storm was downgraded right before Sarasota, turning inland. I wasn’t afraid, as I was confident the Red Cross put us in a safe place. I heard someone say, “She did it again.” There is an ancient legend about an Indian woman who Lies down on the beach and protects the town from hurricanes.

The drive from Sarasota to North Fort Meyers on Monday, the day after the storm, was deserted & quiet except for emergency vehicles, utility repair trucks and Red Cross vehicles. Traveling was slow and difficult due to debris, trees down, and water-covered roads along with wide-spread power outages. I learned you can’t fix everything right now; but to soften the blow of devastation was an act of kindness, a listening ear, respect for everyone, & attempt to bring a glisten of joy during their dark time. Well then, I’ve accomplished the Red Cross mission and it feels great.

Since retiring last summer, I’ve been through many hours of valuable Red Cross training to prepare for this, my first deployment. I feel fortunate to have experienced three different areas: evacuation sheltering, aftermath sheltering, & search and serve meals in the ERV. I don’t receive any social media so am out of the loop. I felt the world-wide earned respect of the organization every day when wearing my Red Cross vest. I’m so proud to be a part of the caring, comfort, assistance, guidance, and goodness the Red Cross has a history of. Social media gossipers should shut off their computers, get out & volunteer. Just consider all the details and the vast area Red Cross covers. More help is always needed. I will serve again; gonna’ rest up a bit first.

Note from Shereen: In visiting with Kathy after she came back home, she kept saying, “The Red Cross rocks.”
“Yes, the Red Cross rocks, but Kathy, so do you!”

Donations and Memorials

The following donations and memorials were received during the past quarter:
Fairmount Volunteer Firefighters $200
Fargo Walkathon $1,400
Minot Walkathon $285
Mt. Pleasant School District $50
Total Donations $1,935.00

Connie and Greg Urness in memory of Al Ahmann Kwon Morgan, Susan Reich, Steve Garner, Arlene Garner, Ronald and Nancy Hollmann, Marvin and Kathy Clites, Kathy Clites and Waldemar Storm in memory of Ethel Storm.
Lyle Nelson in memory of Irene Nelson.
Daniel and Connie Vigesaa, Vanessa and Russell Krushus, Ronald Koch, Lynn and Karen Roesler and Jerome Walz in memory of Emilie Zinke.
Total Memorials $800.42

Total Donations and Memorials $2,735.42

Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer

Candy’s Corner

Recently, my husband and I made a happy discovery. Our dish Network box stopped working, so we needed a new one. When the technician came to replace the box, we received a new remote control. Imagine our surprise when we used the remote and found that it speaks! Not only does it say the numbers you are pressing when going to a new channel, but it will also read out the name of the channel and what is currently playing. For instance, while watching Hurricane Harvey coverage, the TV told me when going to Channel 214: “The Weather Channel. Live coverage of Hurricane Harvey.” The quality of the voice isn’t the greatest, but it is a big step in the right direction towards more accessibility.

Here is a fall recipe for you:
Pumpkin Pie Dessert
1 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree
1 10 oz. can Evaporated Milk
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs (slightly beaten)
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers or pecans (walnuts are good too)
½ cup toffee bits (optional)

How to Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ by 13″ baking pan lightly with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle entire box of cake mix on top, followed by nuts or graham crackers and toffee chips. Pour melted butter evenly over all. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream if desired.

Seeing AI App is Now Available in the iOS app store

Seeing AI, a free app that narrates the world around you, is available now to iOS customers in the United States, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.

Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

Read the full article at

The Problem with Shoes

By Janelle F. Olson

It was an early, frantic, Monday morning’s ritualistic footwear reconnaissance mission that prompted the writing of this article. Once again, as too many mornings before, I find myself on hands and knees, color identifier poised, crawling in ever widening circles on my bedroom floor with a low, odd arm sweeping motion, looking for my shoes. When one’s eyes don’t work, this is how shoes get found.

Lifting up the sheet and blankets, I look under all three sides of the bed, where it seems shoes like to park and Polk out, heel first, to the place on the floor in front of the dresser where sometimes they can be found underneath a pair of pants, leaving the impression that perhaps someone had just executed an amazing vertical jump like a star basketball pro, disappearing through the ceiling. I find pants, but no hole in the ceiling or shoes under the pants.

The focus of the mission this morning is my brown shoes and the clock is ticking away. I am beginning to sweat which is maddening because I have just taken a shower and there are no shoes to be found. What a way to start yet another day!

“Hurry, hurry!” I prod myself on. The transit may already be waiting at the end of the sidewalk. “Barefoot is not an option,” I think to myself as I wished we lived in a warmer climate where this nay work. “Please, God,” I heard my winey, desperate self saying out loud. If God knows how many strands of hair are growing out of my head, shouldn’t He know the whereabouts of just one of my pair of shoes?

Sweep left. Sweep right. Crawl, crawl and then crawl again. For a brief moment, I stop, sit back and rest on my heels to think about the improbable possibility that should I first run across my pair of black Maryjane’s, I could change into my black pants. This was abanded quickly when I realized I had no clean black pants to wear.

Logic tells me that if one pass over a section of the floor produces nothing, a second pass over the same section will be fruitless, but logic has long since escaped me and…so have my brown shoes.

Me and my bear feet, stand up.

Some of you organized types who read this will be quick to conclude the problem isn’t with the shoes. I suppose you are also the ones who keep earrings together in pairs side by side with other pairs of earrings in julery boxes and who hang your seasonal clothing in another closet and rotate it in and out as seasons come and go. If I were to open your kitchen cupboards I would find shelves of cans, resting stacked and in lines, one next to the other, labels facing out for the world to easily read “Tomato Soup” or “Creamed Style Corn.”

Every morning after “the search,” I vow to be better and do better. I tell myself this cannot be a genetic flaw and I must have the power to get a grip on my footwear. I tell myself this is no way to live and organizing one’s stuff must not be overrated or impossible because millions of people do it. “Today when I get home from work,” I say, “I will march right upstairs, conduct a shoe rodeo, rounding all of my pairs up and finding them each a place.” I vow and…well, I fail.

In a welcomed flash of memory, I pat out of the bedroom to find my brown shoes just where I had left them…by the toilet.

In deep appreciation for the facts of life we can count on such as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, I am extremely grateful the second shoe is easier to find than the first.

“Thank you,” I exclaim into the air with an enormous sense of accomplishment!

“Now to find my brown socks.”

“People of Vision”

Periodically, I take time to renew my personal vision by reviewing key notes, motivational quotes, inspirational stories and accessing the great book entitled, “People of Vision”, which is available on NLS BARD. The rich history described within this audio download is free, and it is my hope that newer members become better enlightened as each of them come to know about the rich history of ACB and what a dynamic organization they have joined following the powerful efforts of Durward K. McDaniel and others to forge ahead with a new vision of a democratically run organization.

Often, leaders wonder why more members are not stepping up to serve to move our mission forward. I truly believe that one of the bigger factors is that they haven’t grasped the big picture, the advantage and power we can have by joining together. Today, I encourage everyone who doesn’t already have their copy of “People of Vision” to download it without delay. Here are the details:
People of Vision
(A history of the American Council of the Blind)
Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) DB56115
For Support, send email to
Call the Talking Book request line at 1-800-843-9948 or Email in Bismarck to get your copy.
Respectfully submitted,
Kenneth Semien, Sr.
DKM Committee Chair

Be My Eyes is Now Available on Android

Be My Eyes is a FREE mobile app that connects blind and visually impaired with sighted helpers from around the world via live video connection. The volunteer helper receives a notification for help and a live video connection is established. From the live video the volunteer can help the blind person by answering the question they need answered.

With the launch of the Android version, the app will be accessible to even more people. Since Be My Eyes was released for Apple iOS in 2015, the community has grown to consist of more than 38,000 visually impaired users and 550,000 sighted volunteers from more than 150 countries. The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and visually impaired individuals lead more independent lives.

For further information check out the website at

Master AD List

2018 will bring the 10th year of ACB’s Audio Description Project. Since its inception, one of its most visible projects has been our website listing of television, film and DVD offerings with audio description.

In particular, the ADP site is the only repository of all audio described titles on DVD and the three video streaming services (Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix), we decided to create a new index of all the titles.  This new “Master” index will allow you to look up any movie or TV series to see if it is available anywhere for purchase or with a subscription.  (Current first-run movies and TV shows are not included but are still available in separate listings.)  At the moment, there are 1426 described videos available, 567 of which are duplicated in more than one service.  We’ve also added a new navigation link to the full list of over 800 DVDs with AD tracks.  Just visit:

Register Now for the Black Hills Regional Ski for Light Event

Submitted on behalf of Dave Sundeen by Michelle Zentz

The event begins with registration at the Mineral Palace on Sunday afternoon, January 21st. Hotel check-out is Friday morning January 26th.

A charter bus will depart from Fargo early Sunday morning. Scheduled stops to pick up participants along Interstate 94 will be made and on to Deadwood. There is plenty of room on the bus and space to store luggage! Make sure to sign-up early and reserve your seat. The bus ticket cost is $20 round-trip.

Make your non-refundable $20 check or money order payable to:
North Dakota Association of the Blind. Please write Ski for Light Bus in the memo line on your check and mail to Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer. NDAB, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan, ND 58554.
You may also pay online for your bus ticket on the website.

The Black Hills Ski for Light event cost is $200. This includes five nights lodging based upon double occupancy, four lunch meals, one evening meal and a banquet ticket. The payment also includes equipment rental costs. Partial scholarships for those who qualify for financial need may be available. Scholarships must be approved by the SFL board. In order to receive a scholarship, applicants must be willing to share a room with another Ski for Light participant.

please call the BHSFL office at 605-341-3626 to receive a scholarship application. Scholarship applications will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis. Deadline to receive submissions is November 30th.
You may register and or fill out an online scholarship application at the website.
Amy Osvold, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in western North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-857-7635 or emailing Pam Haus, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in eastern North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-795-2719 or emailing The instructors may assist with applications, raffle tickets, and answer questions you may have.

A Total Eclipse

Taking into account the crowds of millions that gathered throughout the country, coupled with the millions of social media views—August’s solar eclipse is believed to have been the most-watched solar eclipse in American history. And due to technology utilized by the American Council of the Blind, it may now also be, the most heard.

Read the full article at

Vegetable Lasagna

Submitted by Brenda Bruins

1 can mushrooms, 1 pepper diced, 1 small onion and 1 small zucchini browned in oil. 
Add 2 regular jars spaghetti sauce, spinach leaves. Optional: sprinkle parsley flakes, oregano and basil into sauce. Cook til heated. 
Spray a 9 by 13 cake pan. 
Layer small amount of sauce, lasagna noodles, sauce layer, ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. Repeat this layer and top with sauce and mozzarella cheese. 
Cover and bake at 325º for 30 minutes. 
Note: Cook 10-12 lasagna noodles.           
8 oz ricotta cheese and 16 oz mozzarella was used

16-Year-Old Invents 3D Printed Eye Test for Preventing Blindness in Diabetics

by Beau Jackson

Kavya Kopparapu, a 16-year-old student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, has invented a 3D printed device that can detect signs of degenerative eye disease.

The device works with an AI smartphone app. Kopparapu and her team digitally trained the Eyeagnosis package which is intended to be a cheaper, more accessible eye care alternative for patients with diabetes.

Read the full story at

Library of Congress Offering New Tour for Visually Impaired

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Two Blind Brothers

Walk into Bradford and Bryan Manning’s SoHo loft, and the first thing you see is a giant eye-chart-style painting that, instead of the standard Es in backward and forward formats, spells out the name of their clothing company, Two Blind Brothers.

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The Beatles of Braille

In the heart of Mexico City, a band of blind musicians has rocked crowds for over 30 years.
When he was younger, Marco Antonio Castellanos believed his calling was to become a psychologist. But over the last 33 years, he has come to lead a band of mostly blind musicians who play a variety of music in the historic center of Mexico City.

What got him from there to here was a surprise even to himself.

Rad the full story at

NDAB to Participate in the 2018 “Giving Hearts Day” Event

By Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

Approximately three months from now on Thursday, February 8, North Dakota Association of the Blind will join some 400+ nonprofit charitable organizations who will be participating in Giving Hearts Day 2018! The appeal is designed to be an on-line fundraiser administrated under the auspices of the Impact Foundation which is itself, a fundraising extension of the Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF).

The 2018 “Giving Hearts Day” will be the 11th year that this event will be conducted to benefit the work of multiple worthy causes. Throughout its previous10-year history, Giving Hearts Day has become an ever-larger event. It now includes, not only organizations based in our Fargo-Moorhead area, but has expanded its outreach to include hundreds of worthy charitable causes throughout our state and the western Minnesota region. For example, Camp Grassick has participated in GHD for the past five years and it has become a very successful fundraising tool for them.

If you were to ask, what are the advantages of participating in Giving Hearts Day? Among many I would say are: (1) marketing & publicity. Every year this event seemingly gets greater attention from our local media; (2) on-line giving is appealing to many potential donors who find the convenience of making an on-line donation very attractive; (3) there is a measure of creditability that goes along with being included as a participating organization in Giving Hearts Day, and (4) is fundraising education and mentoring.

The operations base for the Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF). is located in southwest Fargo. The initial funds for the investments for the Foundation were generated some 15 years ago from the sale of the Dakota Medical Hospital in Fargo. The Dakota Hospital operated as a non-profit. By law, the proceeds from this sale needed to be distributed to non-profit causes. This requirement was the prime motivating factor which led to the decision to create a local non-profit foundation whose purpose was to assist worthy causes engaged in addressing healthcare needs in the FM community.

The first “Giving Hearts Day “in 2008 generated some $400,000 in donations. This amount of giving was unexpected and amazing. The first few Giving Hearts Day events were limited to those non-profit causes who were directly engaged in addressing healthcare needs. For each of the succeeding years, donations generated by Giving Hearts Day have increased rather dramatically. To encourage donations, DMF provides a level of matching money from its investment profits to help increase the donations that are made through GHD.

The level of GHD giving soon caught the attention of local non-profit causes, who were not directly engaged in providing a health care need. They very much wanted to be included in GHD. To include these non-profit causes, it was necessary to create the Impact Foundation as a separate DMF fundraising entity.

One of the primary stipulations for non-medical related causes, is that they need to generate their own matching money. Unfortunately, NDAB is included among those non-profits who are not considered to be a cause which provides a form of direct medical care. Consequently, we must generate our own match money. I have tried hard to convince them that we do provide a form of medical care in the form of mentorship to people who have sight loss, but so far, they haven’t agreed with that opinion.

This Giving Hearts Day (GHD) is a one day only, on-line fund-raising appeal year for the second year; donations can also be made by check – there are stipulations on how this is done which I will describe later in this article.

Our NDAB “Giving Heart’s Day” challenge this year will be to raise $4000 prior to the event itself which is to create our own match and then to secure $2500 in on-line donations on the day of the event. I’m quite certain that we will be able to raise the $4000 prior to Thursday, February 8th. Next, we will need to convince 100 or so donors to make an on-line donation that averages $25 per donor.

It’s true that this is a greater challenge for a smaller non-profit organization like NDAB that has no paid staff. However, it’s my opinion, what we may lack in this regard, we can more than make up for with our spirit and dedication!

The allowable giving period will begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, February 8th and will end at midnight that same day. In order to make a secure online contribution to NDAB, go to and click on the Giving Hearts Day Donate button and then select North Dakota Association of the Blind from among the listed charities. Donations are made by credit card. It is a secure and safe transaction. All on-line donations must be at least $10 to qualify as a match, donations less than $10 won’t count. All donations are eligible for a tax deduction.

Last year for the first time, donors could make a donation through Giving Hearts Day by check. Checks must be dated February 8 and mailed to Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer, so that she receives them before February 8. Helen will upload the donations made by check into the GHD system on that day so that they can be counted along with the other donations that we receive.

Last year, separate from our matching monies, we received donations that totaled $3,033. The goal I’m suggesting here is that we double that amount and also generate $6000 in matching monies. The end result would be a total for Giving Hearts Day of $12,000 and perhaps even more? There are a number of incentives for exceeding your donations from a prior year and that is a part of the incentive for making this a much greater success in 2018.

One of the goals that I want to achieve is to generate a larger database of donors or potential donors. I hope to enlist the help of the membership of NDAB to generate this larger list of names for that database. If you know people you think might be open to contributing to NDAB, I’d very much appreciate it if you would share those names with us.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.

Legislative Report Fall 2017

By Allan Peterson & Zelda Gebhard

Whether we like it or not, politics is an integral part of our daily lives. If we listen to the news, use electronic social media, or read a newspaper, it’s imbedded in all of our media outlets. Politics is something we cannot avoid and we would argue that politics actually is a very good thing. The qualifier to that statement is that the players in the system need to respect one another, abide by the rules, and avoid “dirty tricks” and “fake news.” Lies, misrepresentations, and deception give politics a bad name and deservedly so.

In spite of politics, to many of us It’s very obvious that our advocacy for programs that help people with disabilities and by extension for people with sight loss are needed today more than ever before. If you were to ask, “Why?” We would say that those who currently have control over the levers of government in our nation’s Capital wish to significantly increase spending for defense and national security, and at the same time cut taxes dramatically, cut spending for almost every other program, and somehow then balance the federal budget. Whether this can be achieved is open to question and much speculation, but they know that this policy language will generate generous campaign contributions to them from those who agree.

We are also aware that, at the same time, many of these very same lawmakers wish to change and weaken laws that have been established to protect people with disabilities and other minority groups in our nation. Consequently, much of the advocacy work that we are currently engaged in is defensive in nature, trying hard to keep the laws and programs that protect and help us in place.

As you may well be aware, thus far the many attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (the so-called Obama Care) have fallen short of being passed by Congress. Personally, we don’t think that this issue is going to go away anytime soon. A big component of what many in Congress want to do to “reform” health care is to block grant Medicare to the states which would dramatically reduce the federal money that North Dakota receives through Medicaid. Access to health care through Medicaid is so very crucial to thousands in our state’s disability and elderly population.

FYI: Medicaid is a need-based health care system whereas Medicare is a national insurance health care program that people pay into while they are employed and can access when they reach a certain age (usually 66) or are eligible if they become permanently disabled and are not able to be employed during their working years.

For someone to qualify for Medicaid, that individual must meet very restrictive income guidelines – in other words financially they are quite poor.

The three resolutions we adopted at our 2017 NDAB Convention: (1) Federal Support for Six Key Blindness Service Programs and, (2) Federal Funding Support for Amtrak’s Empire Builder are asking Congress to maintain current levels of funding for six key blindness service programs and for Amtrak’s service in North Dakota, and (3) NDAB Resolution 2017-02, Supplying low vision devices to qualified Medicare beneficiaries asking our North Dakota congressional delegation to support H.R. 2050, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2017. Please know that each of these resolutions have been, are, and will be used now and into the future to voice NDAB’s Advocacy for these vital programs and services.

Stay tuned, we need your voices!

You Are One of Us

By Steve Goodier

Salt Lake City, Utah, is a worldwide center for genealogical research. Even the big department stores sell genealogy supplies. One newcomer to Salt Lake City, and a non-researcher, got a job as a clerk at one of those big department stores. She received her introduction to genealogy one day when a customer came into the store and asked, “Where do I find the family group sheets?” The new clerk, with a shocked look on her face, answered, “Family group sheets? All we carry are the king, queen, double and twin-size sheets.” I suppose family-sized bedding is taking closeness a bit far. But having family or close friends is one of the essential needs of all people. We long for emotional support and intimacy. Most of us are familiar with studies that have shown that people suffering from cancer or vascular problems have a higher survival rate when they enjoy a strong support system of family and friends. People need people. Moreover, a supportive wider community can also be important. I remember reading about scores of people who gathered on a California beach one evening, lighting candles and lifting voices in song. Mostly strangers to one another, they came there to grieve the loss of 88 persons who died when a jetliner crashed into the ocean off their coast. They were not even family and friends of the victims − simply concerned residents who cared. “Your joy, your pain, your loss, your gain − are ours…for you are one of us.” That is the powerful message of community, of family. At its best, even an Internet family can help fill our need for closeness. Your joy, your pain, your loss, your gain − can be shared. You belong. And together, we’ll celebrate what we can. And we’ll get through the rest by hanging on to each other. Welcome to the family.

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