The Promoter – November 2019

Table of Contents

From the President
From the Editor
Welcome to NDAB
Members of Our NDAB Family
Just Talking
NDAB Facebook Page Reminder
Holiday Shopping on Amazon Reminder
NDAB Membership Renewal Time
Black Hills Regional Ski for Light Reminder
ACB Convention Delegate Report
NDAB Summer Camp 2019
Thank You from Brenda Bruins
Camp Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe
NDAB Sports and Recreation Retreat
White Cane Safety Day Proclamation
Participate in 2020 Giving Hearts Day Appeal
Legislative Report
Doug and Mary Stip Recognized for Excellence in Disability Advocacy
Bethany Retirement Living Senior of the Year Award Recipient
Exciting News
Leadership Roster
Committee Chairpersons:
Local News Reporters:
Communication Connections:

From the President


Thanksgiving will be here soon, and I find I am thankful for many things this year! On this unusually cold and white fall evening, I am thankful for a warm home that protects me from the howling wind outside. Just yesterday we were gathering the last of the garden produce including beets, turnips, potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, squash, peppers and apples. We had a bountiful harvest because of the abundant moisture we received during the growing season. We did find time in September between rains to paint the barn, corrals and some other outbuildings. That job has been on the “to do” list for the past two year so it is nice to have it done.

I am thankful that in 1936 a group of people with vision loss decided to get together and start a blindness organization called The North Dakota Association of the Blind. It gives all of us a place to grow, learn and belong. It gives us the opportunity to be heard as we join together with one voice and it also gives us a chance to listen to others who have issues like our own. Though our ways of communicating have changed throughout the years, communication remains just as important as ever.
The dictionary defines communication as the “means of sending or receiving information”. I believe it is that and more. It is the way we get acquainted and stay connected with each other and with others in our world.
I am proud to say that as an organization NDAB continues to strive for new ways to achieve good communication.
We have multiple options for communication:
• Mailing address: NDAB, PO Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078
Our box is checked regularly by our treasurer.
• The Promoter
Our quarterly newsletter has format choices of braille, large print, email and digital cartridge.
• Website:
• Facebook Page:
Check out the article about Facebook in this issue.
• Just Talking: Monthly teleconference call
See the article with dates and themes for the next quarter.
• DIAL NDAB: Voicemail accessed by dialing 773-572-6306
Because the company providing this service had server and program problems for several months development of the information boxes was delayed until recently. Please call in and note the progress being made in information input.

In an effort to organize and improve our communication, we have put together a Communications Committee chaired by Robert Hart, Website Administrator; also including Lexee Steffen, Promoter Editor and Social Media; Whitney Engbrecht Social Media, Writing and Branding; Brant Adams, DIAL NDAB Chair with Karlyn Frantzen as Historian and Photographer, and Allan Peterson and myself providing subject matter and member communication.
Since most information will be used in multiple types of communications, an email address has been developed. If you have information to share, simply send it to and all members of the above team will receive the same information in a convenient and streamlined manner. It will also promote consistent content throughout our forms of communications.
I am thankful for all the committees who are making sure the work of the organization gets done. Once again we had a very successful week of Adult Summer Camp tin August. Thanks to Loris and Rick for their leadership, to the staff and to the campers who attended. Becky and her committee made sure the whole week was full of gold, green, purple and Mardi Gras fun.
We recently had another opportunity to get together at the Recreation Retreat hosted by the Sports and Recreation committee on October 4-6 at Wesley Acres near Dazey. It was well attended and lots of fun though the rain did rearrange our planned schedule a bit. Thanks to Trampes, Morgan, Lexee, Ken and Cole for their planning and leadership. It was great to get together, try new activities and enjoy each other’s company. For more information about both Camp and the Retreat, please see articles about each in this issue.
I encourage you to stay informed and connected by using the forms of communication that work best for you.
With thanks,
Zelda Gebhard

From the Editor

Hello NDAB members!
It is that time of year again! Snow has fallen in most of North Dakota. I am grateful to have been on the tail edge of the storm and to only have gotten a couple inches of snow here in Dickinson. I am also grateful that the snow waited until after the sports and recreation retreat! The retreat was rainy, but those of us who attended had a great time catching up and trying new things. I would encourage those of you who could not make it this year to think about attending the retreat next year. Thank you to those of you who sent in Promoter articles for the November issue. I hope all of you in NDAB keep warm this winter and that you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Welcome to NDAB

NDAB would like to welcome the following members:
Dorothy E. Clark of Bottineau, ND; Harlie CrowsBreast of Bismarck, ND; Jewel Long of Grand Forks, ND; Robert J. (Bob) Moore of Moorhead, MN; Kevin (Doug) Puetz of Rapid City, SD; and Myrtice Zorn of Bottineau, ND.

Members of Our NDAB Family

We extend sympathy to Morgan VanWell on the death of her grandfather.
Randolph Henry Groothuis, 76, of Pillager, MN died Thursday, July 18, 2019 at Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd, MN. Randy was born May 8, 1943 in Bird Island, MN to Henry and Adela Groothuis and raised there. On July 22, 1961 Randy married the love of his life, Margaret Schmit. Together, they raised three daughters. Some of Randy’s greatest joys in life were his love of farming, his tractors, hunting, fishing, boating and country music. He loved visiting with family and friends, filled with laughter and reminiscing all of the memories. Randy loved the sight of the bald eagle which showed his American pride and proud benefactor member of the NRA.
Randy is survived by his wife, Margaret of 58 years of Pillager, MN, and by his three daughters, one sister, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents.

We also extend sympathy to Elton and Shereen Faber on the death of Elton’s brother. Blaine L. Faber, 64, passed away due to cancer July 16, 2019 in Kingman, Arizona. Blaine was born in Lisbon, North Dakota on Nov. 4, 1954 to Francis and Nancy Faber.
Upon graduation he worked as a carpet installation specialist. He married Vicki Anderberg on Sept. 15, 2005. They eventually settled in Kingman, Arizona. Blaine will be missed for his sense of humor, love of reading and love for his family. He especially enjoyed spending time at the lakes.

Blaine is preceded in death by his parents and in-laws. He is survived by his wife, Vicki Faber and seven brothers and sisters. He is also survived by his two stepchildren and many nieces and nephews.

We also offer condolences to Paula Anundson on the death of her son-in-law. Steven Jay Anderson, 52, of Leal, ND, passed away Saturday, August 31, at Maryhill Manor, Enderlin, ND. Steven was born February 3, 1967 in Valley City to Jerry and Sharon (Pfaff) Anderson. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wimbledon, ND. He graduated from North Central of Barnes high school in 1985. He worked for elevators and in the agriculture sector for 26 years. Steven was married to Sheri Monge and they later divorced. On July 20, 2012, he married Tammy Aarseth in Valley City and they made their home in Leal.
Steve is survived by his wife, son, mother, brother and other family members, including his grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, father-in-law, step-father-in-law, sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law. Steve is preceded in death by his father, grandparents and sister-in-law.

Thank You NDAB

I want to thank the members of NDAB for their thoughtful expressions of sympathy and care at the passing of my sister, Kristie Hughes. I received a sympathy card in the mail from the organization and personal sentiments as well.
Tracy Wicken

Member News from around the State


Submitted by Rebecca Anderson


July Memorials & Donations Total $2808.00
Memorials $0
Donations $170.00
Minot Area Community Foundation $145.00
Paula Fitzgerald-Camp $25.00
Donations from Lions $2588.00
Minot Lions (Dining in the Dark) $2588.00

Donations from Charitable Gaming $50.00
Bowman Lions $50.00

August Memorials & Donations Total $565.00
Memorials $0
Donations $565.00
$ 20.00 Anonymous Camper
$545.00 Camp Grassick Auction Donations

No Memorials & Donations in September

Just Talking

Do you like talking? To learn more about each other, technology or our world, we have been getting together by phone on the third Tuesday of each month. You can join in the conversation too!
Just dial 515-604-9797, access code 824825#. Remember there will be long distance charges unless you call in with a phone that is toll free such as a cell phone or home phone with free long distance.
Future topics include:
November 19 – What have you been doing? We all have 24 hours each day. Dial in and share with others your favorite ways to spend your time.
December 17 – Handy Kitchen Gadgets: What’s out there and what’s it worth? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of many tools available for use in the kitchen.
January 21 – Tools for Health and Wellness: Let’s explore some apps and smart devices that help us stay healthy. What’s out there to help us with wellness activities such as exercising, tracking, and measurement? Is there a way to make tracking calories, cooking food, or making exercise equipment accessible?
February 18 – ACB Radio Anytime, Anywhere: ACB Radio offers a wide variety of programming for your listening pleasure from music, real life issues to the latest information from a blind perspective. Dial in to find out what’s available and the ways you can listen.
To suggest a future topic, dial 701-493-2399.
Pick up your phone, dial in and let’s get talking!

NDAB Facebook Page Reminder

By Whitney Engbrecht

Just a reminder, if you are a Facebook user to please like NDAB’s Facebook page. If you are receiving the Promoter in e-mail format copy and paste this link into your web browser while logged into your Facebook account:
Once you’ve liked our page, be sure to send out invites to all of your family and friends.
To make sure NDAB Facebook posts are showing up in your newsfeed, please be sure to do one or all of the following: like, comment, or share.
Currently, the NDAB Facebook page has 112 people who have liked our page and 116 people who are following. By doing your part, let’s see if we can boost those numbers to 200 people!

Holiday Shopping on Amazon Reminder

By Whitney Engbrecht

While you are shopping Amazon for your loved ones’ gifts, please take a moment to choose North Dakota Association of the Blind on AmazonSmile. For each purchase, Amazon donates .5 percent of the purchase price to our organization. This makes it an effortless way of donating to our cause.
For those of you who receive the Promoter in e-mail format, copy and paste this link into your web browser:
Sign into your Amazon account and select AmazonSmile, which should be under your name. Then click on Change Charity, typing in the search book North Dakota Association of the Blind Incorporated.
Hit the select button and you’re done! Now you can go shopping, knowing that each purchase is also donating .5 percent to NDAB.

NDAB Membership Renewal Time

Can you believe, it’s that time of year again–time to renew your 2020 NDAB membership, that is! Your form for your 2020 NDAB membership renewal will be mailed sometime in December. Along with your renewal form there will be an envelope enclosed for your convenience to mail it back. If you have not gotten your form by January 10th, please contact me at (701) 720-0738, or E-mail me at
Happy holidays, everyone!
Mary Lou Stip, Membership Chair

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light Reminder

Submitted by Trampes Brown

It’s that time of year again to start thinking of –snow packed days and to register for the 41st Annual Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event! You will not want to miss out on all of the winter fun in Deadwood, so sign up early.
Registration will take place at the Mineral Palace on Sunday afternoon, January 26th. Hotel check-out is Friday morning, January 31st.

As usual, a charter bus will depart from Fargo early Sunday morning. Scheduled stops to pick up participants along Interstate 94 will be made and then 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 NDAB, PO Box 824, West Fargo ND 58078.

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 scholarship applications is November 30th.

Register on 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 answer questions or assist with registration forms, scholarship applications or raffle tickets.

ACB Convention Delegate Report

Opening session started with the Buffalo Soldiers Color Guard leading the Pledge of allegiance followed by the Star Spangled Banner. President Kim Charlston gave her last report as president as her term is up after this convention. She talked about the changes that were made and the great team she has worked with. She thanked the board members for their hard work and dedication. ACB is financially stable and it commends its members for this achievement. This year there were sixteen angels presented for this year’s Angel Walk. JP Morgan Chase has given five recipients Leadership Fellow awards this year. Clark Rochfal talked about ACB and Walmart getting together and working on ScriptTalk. CCLVI celebrated forty years of low vision service for their partnership with ACB.
World Union Rehabilitations talked about the electric car sound levels and driverless cars and how they will affect the blind and visually impaired. The National Library Service is currently working on new digital machines to have voice activation and they hope to have machines for any disability In the future. JP Morgan Chase is offering large font and braille bank statements, ATM’s and audio tellers on the phone that will read bank statements. The FCC reported that cable companies have to provide a cable box with audio description capabilities to those who are blind and visually impaired at no cost. If someone who is blind or visually impaired has questions or has been having trouble working with their cable provider, they can contact or Uber is very accommodating to blind and visually impaired individuals. NON-24 representatives talked about the sleeping difficulties that affect individuals with visual impairments; those that suffer from Non-24 can contact their doctor if they need help or for more information. The National Training and Research Center is creating public awareness about services for older visually impaired and blind individuals, but they are lacking the necessary employees to further their mission. The FCC talked about the technologies that broadcast bad weather in audio description. The airlines must let dogs fly without papers proving they are guide dogs. Contact for answers. The Unidescription Project National Parks addressed issues to make the world more accessible through audio description.
The National advocacy and legislative update was given during convention. It was noted that diabetes equipment and low vision devices can be gotten through Medicare and Medicaid for free. It was also pointed out that when we travel, whether it be by air, Amtrak or by bus, or even by autonomous cars, our voices need to be heard to move forward. They do a walk every year at ACB convention and this year, the walk raised 71 thousand dollars. The auction raised $19000. Our new ACB officers: are President: Dan Spoon, Orlando, FL; Vice President: Mark Richert, Arlington, VA; Second Vice President: Ray Campbell, GlenEllyn, IL; Secretary: Denise Kenningsly; Board Director: Donna Brown; and the new Board of Publications member was our very own Zelda Gebhard!
I would like to thank NDAB for the opportunity to represent us at this year’s ACB Convention. It was so informative and I only wish I could describe everything I have learned.

Thank you so very much,
Paula Anundson, 2019 delegate

NDAB Summer Camp 2019

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

The 49th annual NDAB Summer Camp was held August 4-11 at the Elks Camp Grassick. Campers totaling 24 and the staff of 24 made up the 48 in attendance. There were five campers that canceled due to various reasons. We welcomed three new campers and two new instructors. The new campers were Jewel Long from Grand Forks, Harlie CrowsBreast from Bismarck and Alessa Walker who was spending the summer in Williston with her grandparents. Brant Adams and George Racine were new instructors.

The temperature for the week was pleasant but several thunder storms moved in and out during the day and night. We all spent one late afternoon in our cabins as a storm passed over us. The predicted hail missed us, but the strong winds and rain did not.

The classes and instructors were as follows: Caning – Mike Hoeppner and David McCloud; Lawn Chair Macramé – Helen Baumgartner; Basket Weaving – Paula Anundson and Dave Sundeen; Handicrafts – Dawn Freemont and Dianne Giessinger; Basic and Advanced Round Loom Knitting – Whitney Engbrecht; New Camper 101 – Janelle Olson and Mark Kueffler; Let’s Talk – Mark Kueffler; ND History and Legislative Issues – Allan Peterson; Leisure Activities – Becky Monroe; Braille and Spanish Language – Lexee Steffan; Improv Theater for Daily Living, My Personality and Me, and Strike Up the Band – Janelle Olson; Personalized Technology – Brant Adams; Ukulele – Angie Kokott; Travel with Kathy – Kathy Larson and Karlyn Frantsen; Computer – Kathy Larson; Let’s Cook – Zelda Gebhard; Audible Electronic Darts and Walking – Susan Jorgenson; Blind Archery – George Racine; Let’s Move Level 1 and 2 and Let’s Play Outside – Missy Miller; Orientation and Mobility – Becky Monroe; Lifeguard – Dan Mimnaugh; Nurse – Kathy Johnson; Co-Directors – Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman.

The evenings were filled with activities with the Mardi Gras theme appearing all week. Sunday night began with our traditional receiving line Followed by a mixer during which a revised game of musical chairs was played. A strand of purple beads, a green gift bag and a bag of gold coins were passed around a circle while typical New Orleans jazz was played. When the music stopped, those holding the items had to introduce themselves, respond to the designated question and then sit down. The last person standing received a Mardi Gras bracelet. Rick hosted the Monday night trivia contest as we all enjoyed Mardi Gras popcorn (Purple, green and yellow flavored popcorn) compliments of Becky. Each member on the winning team received a hat filled with items needed for a Mardi Gras celebration. On Tuesday night, Helen hosted blackjack in the Dining Hall and Becky and Paula called bingo in Cabin #7. Wednesday night was filled with the casino night gift exchange and a dance with recorded music provided by Nick Pavel and Mickey Teubner. Thursday evening began with a great talent show hosted by Mark Kueffler and ended with a pizza party in the Dining Hall. The Mardi Gras themed banquet Friday night was planned by Becky Monroe, Brenda Bruins and Bob Westermeyer. Purple, green and gold could be seen throughout the dining hall as we feasted on tilapia, sweet potato casserole and purple cabbage with individual King’s cake for dessert. The Jim Geiger Band rounded out the night with great dancing and listening melodies. Due to health issues, Rich Fadness was unable to continue as auctioneer but we welcomed Bret Ruff from Steele Saturday night who conducted another successful auction which raised $6016.

Becky had planned a variety of Mardi Gras influences all week from some typical New Orleans foods to Mardi Gras beads worn by most of the campers. By midweek, Becky ended up in the hospital in Bismarck, but we carried out most of her planned activities. A Mardi Gras parade was supposed to take place every evening with campers from different cabins riding each night, but the weather forced a change in plans. The hay rack decked out with lights made its way up and down the hill four times during the week, once carrying the band as they played “Oh When the Saints Go Marching In.” Umbrellas, gold covered chocolate coins and can koozies were either tossed or handed out during each parade.

We invite guests to visit on Wednesday from vision related agencies, but no one was able to attend this year. Allan Peterson brought greetings from Paul Olson superintendent of NDVS/SB in Grand Forks.

Sunday morning devotions, planned by Zelda, preceded our final breakfast. 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 a.m. bell, to Janelle for her coronet wake up melodies and leading the flag raising, to Karlyn for sharing readings each morning, to the NDAB Concert Band for sharing musical talents, to Clown Mike and Missy and Parade Marshall Dan who led the parade, to Kathryn Schmidt for lining up people to lead the table grace for each meal, to Becky, Brenda and Bob for planning the banquet, to Zelda 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 Bret for conducting the auction and to everyone who helped with the auction with their time, talent and money. A special thanks to Dan for 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!

As we ended another great week, we look forward to next summer when we will meet once again on the shores of Lake Isabel to celebrate fifty years of NDAB Summer Camp.

Thank You from Brenda Bruins

Brenda Bruins would like to thank all those who helped out with the Marty Gras banquet during camp this year. She would like to thank Mickey Teubner and Dave Sundeen for singing during the program, Becky Monroe for her enthusiasm and part in planning the parades and banquet and Bobby Westermeyer for helping plan the event and for his speech during the program. She would also like to thank the camp cooks for making such an excellent Marty Gras themed meal! She is grateful to those who helped set up, decorate and for anyone else who helped make the banquet such a success!

Camp Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Recipe

Submitted by Kathy Johnson

Ingredients: 12 OZ. country style sausage-cut into pieces and fried, 2 LBS. chicken breasts-Cut up and fried, 1 and ½ cups peppers, ½ cup celery, 1 and ½ cup onion, 1 Bay leaf, 1 TSP. Basil, 1 TSP. garlic powder, 1 TSP. dried thyme, 1 TSP. rosemary, 1 TSP. Creole spice, 2 cups canned tomatoes, 2 QTS. Water.
Either cook on stovetop for 1 hour or bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
Note: Can substitute or add shrimp.

NDAB Sports and Recreation Retreat

The first annual Sports and Recreation Retreat was held at the Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center on October 4-6, 2019. Registration took place from 1:00 until 3:00 PM And was followed by a tour around the facility. Friday evening consisted of zip lining, which was a favorite of those who attempted it. afterword, we spent the rest of the evening listening to singing and guitar music by Tony Sherer and visiting by the indoor campfire. Although it was wet and rainy on Saturday, we decided to brave the inclement morning weather and practice our archery skills. Saturday afternoon, however, proved to be too cold for our liking, so we divided into teams and had an indoor sports tournament, which consisted of darts, Jenga, ladder golf, carpet ball and Yatzy. Brant Adams and Steven Gebhard’s team won the tournament and got bragging rights for the rest of the weekend! Sunday morning was thankfully dry, so we ended our weekend by playing beep kick ball outside. The committee would like to thank the Wesley Acres camp directors, Paul and Brenda, for being such warm and welcoming hosts and for opening up their camp to us. We would also like to thank Tony Sherer for providing us with such beautiful music. We would also like to thank those of you who attended the retreat for being so willing to participate despite the weather; such a successful weekend would not have been possible without you! We as a committee enjoyed planning and hosting the first ever sports and recreation retreat and look forward to future retreats to come.

Respectfully submitted,
Lexee Steffan, Sports and Recreation Committee Member

White Cane Safety Day Proclamation

Submitted by Allan Peterson

Proclamation by Governor
The North Dakota Association of the Blind (NDAB) commends Governor Doug Burgum for proclaiming October 15, 2019 as White Cane Safety Day across the state of North Dakota. The following Proclamation was signed by both Burgum and Secretary of State, Alvin Jaeger.
Whereas, A white cane or dog guide is commonly recognized and identified as a mobility aid that people who are blind or have low vision rely on to travel independently; and
Whereas, White Cane Safety Day originated through approval of a joint resolution by Congress on October 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-628, as amended), which designated October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day; and
Whereas, White Cane Safety Day is an important reminder to our motoring public that North Dakota traffic statutes require drivers of motor vehicles to yield the right-of-way to individuals utilizing a viable white cane or dog guide; and
Whereas, North Dakota Vision Services and the North Dakota School for the Blind provides a full range of services, including statewide leadership, center-based programing and regionalized outreach services to meet the needs of our blind and visually impaired citizens and their families; and
Whereas, Chartered as an independent nonprofit in 1936, the North Dakota Association of the Blind strongly advocates for our visually impaired citizens, for observance of our state’s white cane safety laws, and for provision of rehabilitation white cane training for people with sight loss so they can travel independently with confidence wherever they need to go in their daily lives.
Now, therefore, as Governor of the State of North Dakota, I do hereby proclaim October 15, 2019, White Cane Safety Day.
“On behalf of our 235 NDAB members and the other approximate 20,000 North Dakota residents who are blind or have significant uncorrectable vision loss; I thank Governor Burgum and Secretary of State Jaeger for their support. We appreciate their acknowledgment of the importance of the white cane and dog guide as valuable tools and symbols of our independence,” said Zelda Gebhard, NDAB President.
To learn more about NDAB or make a donation, go to
*This article was submitted to the 83 North Dakota newspapers for possible publication.

Participate in 2020 Giving Hearts Day Appeal

By Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

Great news! For the fourth consecutive year, North Dakota Association of the Blind will be among the worthy causes that will benefit from the 2020 Giving Hearts Day Appeal!

Giving Hearts Day (GHD) 2020 is the 13th anniversary year of this awesome Appeal. Perhaps, it might be a lucky 13 for NDAB? Over the years GHD has grown dramatically in size and scope. It now includes more than 500 worthy causes. The total dollars raised have increased significantly as well as the number of donors who contribute to one or more organizations.

The 2020 GHD Appeal focuses like a laser beam on one particular day, Thursday February 13th, 2020. The Appeal, however, encompasses so very much more. It’s all about the planning and the work to inspire, invite, and thank the donors and workers that help to make GHD a success.

At the GHD Kickoff I recently attended, there were three focus words offered – inspire, invite, and thank. First is to inspire potential donors, then to invite them to donate, and finally to thank them in a way they will know that their gift matters.

There are multiple advantages for us to be included as one of the organizations that participate in the Giving Hearts Day. Among the many advantages are:
(1) Marketing and publicity – Every year this event seemingly gets greater attention from our local media; (2) Convenient Giving – On-line giving is appealing to many donors who find the convenience of making an online donation very attractive;
(3) Credibility – There is a measure of creditability that goes along with being included as a participating organization in Giving Hearts Day;
(4) Fundraising education and mentoring; and
(5) Financial Awards – a number of financial awards are offered as incentives for achieving specific identified goals.

Giving Hearts Day has taken on a life of its own, but it’s administrated by a trio of foundations – Dakota Medical, Impact, and the Alex Stern Family. They are jointly located at 4141 28th Ave. in Fargo. Initial investments upon which the Dakota Medical Foundation was established were generated from the sale of the Dakota Medical Hospital that had operated as a Fargo non-profit. By law, the proceeds from this sale had to be distributed to non-profit causes. This was the motivating factor that led to the decision to create the DMF Foundation with a mission to assist worthy causes engaged in addressing healthcare needs in the geographic area that the Dakota Hospital had served.

After DMF was established, the Impact Foundation was created to be a separate educational mentoring fundraising arm of DMF. The mission of the Impact Foundation was expanded to include assistance for nonprofit causes that didn’t provide a direct medical care service. Note: DMF doesn’t consider North Dakota Association of the Blind to be a direct medical care provider.

A fundamental requirement of all GHD participating organizations is that they establish a Match Fund (Match). Because NDAB isn’t considered a direct health care provider, we must generate the money in the Match ourselves. The purpose of the Match being to challenge our donors to match the amount that’s in this fund on Giving Hearts Day.

The minimum required in the Match is $4000. The money in this fund never is in the Foundation’s possession. It stays in our bank account, but we are required to declare from whom the Match was generated, and it must be raised by January 27, 2020.

Our goal is to secure our Match from a combination of sources – individual donations, North Dakota Lions clubs, organizations that have charitable gaming licenses, and contributions received from the Walk for Vision. Note: The money in the Match Fund is included as a part of our total raised through the Giving Hearts Day Appeal.

Our NDAB goal set for the 2020 Giving Hearts Day Appeal is a total of $20,000 with the Match Fund being $10,000 in addition to donors matching that amount on February 13. I believe we can do better than this but also don’t want to be unrealistic.

Guidelines for Giving Hearts donors:
• Giving Hearts Day is a one day only, on-line fund-raising appeal on Thursday, February 13, 2020. The allowable giving period will begin at 12:01 A.M. that morning and will end at midnight.
• To make a secure online contribution on February 13, go and click on the Giving Hearts Day Donate button and then select North Dakota Association of the Blind from among listed charities. Donations can be made by credit or debit card.
• Donations can be made by check prior to February 13. Checks must be dated February 13 and mailed to our treasurer, Rebecca Anderson, P.O. Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078, so that she receives them before February 13. The checks will be uploaded into the GHD system that day so they can be counted as a part of our total.
• All on-line donations on February 13 must be at least $10 to qualify toward the match. All donations are eligible for a tax deduction.

This is an invitation to anyone who wishes to be involved in some way with GHD. I encourage you to consider making a donation to NDAB that can be counted toward our GHD 2020 total. If you would like to help in some way with the preparation and work to make our participation in Giving Hearts Day 2020 successful, please contact me. I very much would like to speak with you.

2020 does have a great eyesight connotation. Might you have a suggested theme for NDAB’s GHD appeal? I’d really like to know! If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at #701-282-4644.

Legislative Report

By: Allan Peterson and Zelda Gebhard

Heads up! This report is sort of a Hodge podge of thoughts and information.

The next North Dakota legislative session will not convene until January of 2021. But as you are well aware, politics never really takes a day off. There will be a state and nationwide general election next fall which will include the election for the office of the U. S. President. As a political junkie, I (Allan) am daily tuned in to what’s happening, not only here in North Dakota but nationwide as well. In many respects I believe, this election, much more than others, is pivotal in what direction we, as a nation, will take for some time to come. As someone who cares about our nation and its citizens, I’m very concerned that we are informed and understand the issues. I encourage all of you to take the time to be informed and to exercise your right to vote!

ACB employs two individuals in its main office whose duties are dedicated to monitor and advocate for policies that are beneficial to people who are blind or visually impaired. These two individuals are Clark Rachfal, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs and Claire Stanley. Advocacy and Outreach Specialist. Their work is aided by the fact that ACB’s main office is conveniently located close to our nation’s Capital. In many ways the work of Clark and Claire are guided by the resolutions adopted at the ACB Convention and the legislative priorities we focus on at the ACB Legislative Seminar. Should you have a desire to communicate with them, Clark’s email address is and Claire’s is You also can reach either of them by calling the ACB National Office at 800-424-8666.

Below are some recent interesting messages regarding Clark and Claire’s work that appeared on the ACB Leadership list:

About Clark:
“Rachfal was interviewed by Comcast Newsmakers on the topic of making durable medical equipment accessible, especially for the treatment and care of people with diabetes. Tackling inaccessible diabetes durable medical equipment is a legislative imperative for ACB. In this interview, Clark discusses the widespread nature of this problem and the work ACB is doing to address the needs of the blind and low vision community with diabetes.”

From Claire:
“National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking comments on the upcoming regulations that require silent cars to emit some kind of sound.
The agency wants to know if there should be a set number of sounds cars should emit, or, if car manufacturers and drivers should have the ability to produce and select as many sounds as they wish. ACB will be submitting comments by the end of the month, so please, send me your thoughts ASAP.”

From Clark and Claire:
Exercise and Fitness Act:
“This week on the ACB Advocate Update, Claire and Clark speak with Pam McGonigle, Director of Development for the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), about the exciting world of accessible sports. As ACB works on promoting the Exercise and Fitness for All Bill (S.1244), let’s learn more about accessible sports and athletic programs. Listen via your favorite podcast player or online at:

Access to web sites has been a long-standing priority for ACB’s advocacy so; we celebrate the following recent announcement from the Supreme Court:

Web site Accessibility:
“The Supreme Court denied a petition from pizza giant Domino’s on Monday to hear whether its website is required to be accessible to the disabled, leaving in place a lower court decision against the company. The case was originally brought by a blind man named Guillermo Robles, who sued the pizza chain after he was unable to order food on Domino’s website and mobile app despite using screen-reading software. Attorneys for Robles argued in court papers that the Americans with Disabilities Act require businesses with physical locations to make their websites and other online platforms accessible to those with disabilities. A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Robles, writing that the “inaccessibility of Domino’s website and app impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises—which are places of public accommodation.” Domino’s urged the Supreme Court to review the decision. By declining to do so, the court’s decision on Monday will leave the ruling in place.
Attorneys for Domino’s, backed by a range of business groups, argued that the ADA does not apply to online platforms that were not envisioned when the law was passed in 1990. And, they said, no clear rules exist for how to make their platforms properly accessible.
The lawsuit is one of an increasing number filed over website accessibility in recent years. Last year, more than 2,200 such suits were filed in federal courts, according to the accessible technology firm Usable Net, nearly tripling the number a year before.
The case is known as Domino’s Pizza v. Guillermo Robles, No. 18-1539.”

A note from Zelda:
ACB legislative and advocacy information such as that listed above will soon be available on Dial NDAB by calling 773-572-6306 and selecting Box #8 Advocacy and Legislation.

Doug and Mary Stip Recognized for Excellence in Disability Advocacy

By: Taylor Heine

Strong disability advocates can be difficult to find in rural communities throughout the region. They must possess a passionate voice and be able to deliver their message with midwestern charm.

When the Independent Living Ambassadors program at Independence, Inc. discovered snow removal was an issue in the Minot area, the agency knew the perfect couple to call. Doug and Mary Stip were long-time residents of the Magic City, active members of the community, and champions for disability rights and frequently relied on pedestrian routes to get around town. They were quite familiar with the issue of snow covered sidewalks as they often encountered the hazard on their daily commute throughout the blustery winter.

The couple did not hesitate to jump on board when the program sought their help. Doug and Mary were determined to enhance the level of awareness and create systemic change in a grassroots advocacy effort during the 2018-2019 season, dubbed Shovel for Independence.

Mary and Doug attacked the initiative with tenacity and hit the streets to inform businesses and property owners of the barriers created by inadequate snow removal. Despite subzero temperatures, the couple traveled up and down the snowy streets of Minot, educating property owners on the city ordinance. They spoke to 41 businesses and logged over 40 hours of advocacy, guiding IL Ambassadors to their most successful campaign since the group’s inception.

In July 2019, the Stips received the highest honor for local disability advocacy in the upper western North Dakota region. The Independence, Inc., Advocate of the Year award was presented to the couple for their commitment to advocacy and effort to make the Magic City more accessible for people with disabilities throughout the winter.

Although, Doug and Mary have since relocated to Fargo, their service to the Minot area and disability community will always be remembered as one of the most impactful advocacy victories in the rural Midwest.

Bethany Retirement Living Senior of the Year Award Recipient

Bethany Retirement Living hosted its annual Senior of the Year Award program on Sept. 19, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo. The Senior of the Year Award program recognizes the contributions made by seniors in the community, through their professions and the time and resources they use to give back to the area. One recipient of this award was Allan Peterson for community involvement. Allan has been an advocate for the disabled, especially the visually impaired. Congratulations Allan!

Exciting News

By Cheryl Godley
My first book is now available on,, and The e-book format will be available soon. The book is, "Four Principles for Facing Life’s Challenges: A Guide for Making Choices that Build Life Satisfaction". It is for individuals who desire to learn strategies for facing life’s stress. Please tell everyone you know about the book as the success of the book depends on the word getting out about the book. I am currently working on a workbook to the book.

Note: Many of you may remember Cheryl. She is a psychologist and was the speaker at our 2015 NDAB Convention held in Jamestown. She and her husband live in Casper, Wyoming.

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