Table of Contents
- Letter from the President
- From the Vice-President
- From the Editor
- NDAB Welcomes New Members
- Members of Our NDAB Family
- Just Talking
- What’s Cool at the School!
- Bowling Resumes
- Virtual NDAB Memorial Service
- Legislative Report fall 2020
- Memorials and Donations
- Sports and Recreation Retreat committee report
- Ski for Light
- Talking Book Q and A
- Development Report Fall 2020
Letter from the President
As a kid I remember going back to school in the fall and being asked to write about what I had done during the summer. If I were to sum up what the summer of 2020 was like for me, I would have to say, “Zelda’s been Zooming!”
It all started with me getting my own free Zoom account – that was easy! Then setting up a pro account for NDAB – not nearly as quick or easy but I got the job done! Since then I have been scheduling calls, promoting calls, and attending calls.
During this time of COVID-19 with all the isolation and social distancing, I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to connect with others via Zoom. I have participated in six conventions, a convening, a summit, many webinars, a few trainings, some meetings, and lots of calls!
I have missed the usual face-to-face connections but have enjoyed the new experiences provided via my computer, iPad, or iPhone. What device I used depended if I were at home or somewhere else. Who am I kidding? I was nearly always at home! It mostly depended on if I wanted to sit at my desk or wander all the way across the room to lounge on the couch.
Seriously, I am very thankful for the weekly Tech Talk Tuesday and Coffee Chat on We Care Wednesday calls facilitated by NDVS/SB staff. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to attend the Fargo Insight Support calls from the comfort of my home. It has been great! I have connected with lots of new people by participating in some of the many ACB Community Calls. I met several from Dorset, England today! I almost feel like I am in a restaurant with a menu each morning when I open my inbox to see the calls for the day. “Now, which one looks most interesting? Can I fit some laundry between this one or that? Will I have time to pick the beans before the next one starts?”
Steven and I did manage to go fishing several times and camping twice. We enjoyed having our grandchildren at our house. Nine of the ten spent a week at our house. Instead of coming all at once, 3 came one week, 2 another and the rest each had a week alone with grandma and grandpa. What fun!
Now that summer is history, it’s time to enjoy fall and, you guessed it, more zoom calls! I hope you will be able to attend some too.
Tech Talk Tuesday at 3 PM
Coffee Chat on We Care Wednesday at 10 AM
Just Talking the 3rd Tuesday of the month 7-8 PM (See Just Talking article for the listing of future topics)
NDAB Board Meeting November 8 at 6:30 PM
To get your own list of ACB Community Calls in your inbox each morning, sign up at http://acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/acb-community-events you can also call 612-332-3242 or 800-866-3242 to hear an audio list.
Take care and stay safe,
PS I’ll be watching for your name on the next zoom call participant list.
From the Vice-President
Good morning from the great city of Fargo. As I sip on my warm, creamy coffee, I can’t help but know summer is officially on its way out. I would like to give you all an update on my fabulous membership committee and our many endeavors.
The membership committee is officially up and running full speed. With me at the driver’s seat, we are in for a crazy ride (Scary I know.) Since my appointment in June, the membership committee has held two meetings in August and September. Our next meeting will be on October 29th at 3:00 PM. This committee will meet monthly, possibly fluctuating around this holiday season. The committee has six members currently, and we are always looking for additional assistance and perspectives.
Since my appointment, we have had the pleasure of approving Carol Marshall of Emerado, ND as my first new member. I have also received several additional membership applications, which will go before the board for approval at our next meeting. If you know of anyone who may be our next member, please feel free to tell them about our organization, give them a brochure, and pass along my contact information if you so choose. I am happy to talk with any potential, former, or active members.
The committee will be sending out a membership satisfaction and interest survey during member renewal next year. This survey is meant to help leadership understand what is going well, what could be better and any interests members may have. This survey will largely circulate via E-mail in a Google Forms format. We also may call or mail the survey out to members who do not use E-mail as a means of communication.
There may be slight changes to the membership renewal form, and any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
The committee is currently working on a virtual new member orientation to occur quarterly via Zoom. More information on this will follow in the coming months.
Please don’t be alarmed if you receive a call from one of our members. The membership committee has a focus on member engagement, and we are going to do our best to assure all members know about our upcoming events and activities as well as committees to which they may serve and other leadership opportunities.
REMEMBER: MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL begins January 1, 2021, and I will be sending out reminders via E-mail and postal mail. Please contact me if you need any assistance, and make sure to tell your friends. Each and every one of our members is a strong asset to our NDAB family, and we appreciate all of you for our various contributions to making NDAB a great organization! I know Mary has worked very hard to make our membership what it is, and I cannot wait to see what the next year holds in terms of membership growth and involvement.
Membership is not a one person job. I am extremely thankful for the committee of members, who has dedicated their time to serve on the membership committee to grow and foster our membership. I encourage every one of us to play an active role in membership. Together we can create a community of support and resources for those with low and no physical vision.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as Vice-President. I am fortunate to be afforded the experience to assist in a leadership capacity for NDAB, and I am enjoying this experience beyond measure.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at the number listed in the appendix of this promoter.
I hope you all have a splendid, warm, and safe holiday season!
From the Editor
Greetings NDAB Friends!
I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy during this strange year!
I for one am looking forward to a fresh new start to 2021! As always, I would like to thank everyone who sent in articles for this issue of The Promoter. I would also like to give a special shout out to those who keep me up to date on our NDAB members who have passed away, so they can be included in each issue. Your efforts are very much appreciated! If anyone would like to submit something for The Promoter in the future, please to feel free to email me at email@example.com.
I hope you have a warm and happy holiday season!
Lexee Steffan, Promoter Editor
NDAB Welcomes New Members
NDAB welcomes the following new member:
Carol Marshall of Emerado, ND.
Members of Our NDAB Family
We extend sympathy to the family of Jean Cote. Dorothy “Jean” Cote of Williston, ND passed away on Sunday, August 30, 2020 at Bethel Lutheran Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Williston, ND. She was 93 years old.
We also offer condolences to the family of our friend and former camp auctioneer, Rich Fadness of Bismarck, ND. He passed away on August 26, 2020 at age 74.
We offer deepest sympathy to Sheryl Gerhardt on the death of her mother. Maxine Warren passed away on September 4th in Kansas at age 95.
We extend sympathy to the family of longtime friend and former NDAB member Bev Austin of Mott, ND. She passed away on October 2, 2020 in the nursing home in Mott.
Do you like to talk? To learn more about each other, technology, and our world, we have been getting together on the third Tuesday of each month from 7- 8 PM. We will be using Zoom. You can join in the conversation too! Look for instructions below.
Future topics include:
- October 20 – Is your clinic a Caring Clinic? We will talk about things you can share with your health care provider and their staff. Let’s help them understand us and our needs as patients with vision loss. When they are comfortable with us, we’ll all have a more positive clinic visit.
- November 17 – A time to remember. Normally we have a chance to remember members, family, and friends we have lost during a Memorial Service at our State Convention. Since that was not possible in June, we are having a time of remembrance on the 17th.
- December 15 – Let’s learn about the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL). President, Jeff Thom, will be our guest and will share information about this special interest affiliate of ACB. Be prepared for a lively discussion about topics associated with the privilege of getting older.
- January 18 – Connecting with State Legislators. Do you know who represents your district? Find out how to get in touch with your elected legislators.
To suggest a topic, dial 701-493-2399.
Let’s keep talking!
What’s Cool at the School!
By Amy Osvold
Happy fall! I would like to give you a run-down on services at the North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind:
- We began doing home/community-based services again in mid-June. We do have a screening questionnaire that MUST be completed by staff no more than 24-hours before a home visit. We are also using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves when we are with clients. We ask that the number of individuals present for the meetings is limited and that (if possible) the client and those present wear masks. If an individual is not comfortable with doing a lesson in-person, we are still offering virtual lessons in Technology, Daily Living Skills, and Braille.
- We are still conducting two large group sessions via Zoom on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tech Talk Tuesday meets every Tuesday at 3pm. The Coffee Chat is held every Wednesday at 10am. The topics for the Coffee Chat for the rest of the year are:
- November 4 – Resilience Part 2 with Sky Gabel
- November 11 – Celebrating our Veterans!
- November 18 – Laughing Yoga with Zelda!
- November 25 – Homemade Holiday Gifts with Tracy Wicken
- December 2 – Say Hello to the Vocational Rehabilitation Vision Rehabilitation Specialists
- December 9 – Low Vision Aids in Every Price Range with Ryan Torgerson
- December 16 – Book Club Emily Stenberg. She will be leading a discussion on the book “When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery” by Julie Yuil. It is available on the Talking Book Program. The book number is DBC 11619.
- December 23 – Christmas Trivia with Amy!
- December 30 – Hello 2021! Let’s Talk Resolutions with Amy!
- Emotional Support Group – Sky Gabel, Psychology Extern at NDVS/SB is conduction a weekly support group for those who would like to discuss emotional issues every Monday at 11.
- Personal Adjustment to Vision Loss – Sky Gabel is also continuing to conduct one-on-one sessions for individuals who would like more in-depth counseling sessions.
I am also looking at starting a monthly informational/resource session for individuals with vision loss, their family, and friends. These sessions will likely begin February and be on the same day/time each month over Zoom. If you have any questions on this, or any other item mentioned in this letter, please feel free to contact us!
Amy Osvold can be reached at 701-340-9226 or Pam Haus at 701-795-2719.
By Doug and Mary Stip
We would like to invite you to our second season of bowling! We will start our season October 17th at 1 PM at Sunset Lanes, 620 Highway 75 Moorhead, Minnesota. At this writing, the plan is to go once a month on the third Saturday afternoon. There is a restaurant and lounge on site, so you can join us for lunch at noon if you’d like. It’s a good time of recreation and fellowship. For more information, call Bob Moore at (507) 206-8655, or Doug and Mary Stip at (701) 720-0738.
Virtual NDAB Memorial Service
NDAB is planning a memorial service on November 17 at 7 pm during the “Just Talking” call. We are going to honor current and former members of NDAB, friends of NDAB, and family of NDAB members. Cole Roberts will be officiating. We will use the Zoom platform for the memorial service. We hope to hear from as many of you as possible, so please join us and share memories. If there are any questions please call Shereen Faber at (701) 552-3334, or Doug and Mary Stip at (701) 720-0738.
Legislative Report fall 2020
By: Allan Peterson and Zelda Gebhard
Do you have your American citizenship seatbelt fastened? It may be wise to do so as we are in the midst of an election season many say that is like none other than has happened before.
Let’s put these ingredients into a mixing bowl and see what we can cook up, first a pandemic that we cannot seem to get a handle on, widespread economic uncertainty, nationwide racial unrest, inflexible political polarization, a controversial Supreme Court nominee, wild social media stories, uncontrollable wild fires, a record number of hurricanes and flooding, and much more. Yes, all in all, it should be a pretty interesting ride to the election on November 3 and beyond.
The pandemic itself has certainly changed our lives in many ways, one of those being how, when, and where we vote. Hopefully, this finds that you have already made your decision on whether to vote by absentee ballot or at a polling site.
If you choose to vote at a polling site, all sites in North Dakota will have the ExpressVote machines available for voters to mark their ballot. This machine does provide an accessible option for people who are blind or visually impaired to cast an independent secret ballot that they can also verify for its accuracy.
The North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Program produced a video on using the ExpressVote machine. The link to the video is:
The ExpressVote machine is equipped with a keypad and headphones that will allow someone with no eyesight to mark a secret independent ballot. It can be described as a much-improved version of the AutoMark machine, the previous accessible voting machine that had been used at polling sites in North Dakota.
If you wish to vote using an absentee ballot, you do need to file an absentee ballot application to vote this way. An application can be requested from the web at vote.nd.gov or call the county auditor’s office in the county where you live. Absentee ballots should be in the mail by October 24 or they can be delivered to a designated drop box in your county.
There are 2 statewide ballot measures to be voted upon:
Measure 1 would add members to the Board of Higher Education, change who is eligible to serve on this Board, ends Board consecutive terms of service, and it changes the length of time that members can serve on this Board. Basically, it could be viewed as an attempt to restructure the Board of Higher Education.
Measure 2 changes the approval process for an initiated measure that is put on the ballot to be voted upon by the voting public of North Dakota. If an initiated measure is approved by the voters, measure 2 requires that the state legislature would have to approve the measure before it is enacted. If the Legislature does not enact the initiated measure, it is put back on the ballot for a second vote by the public and if it passes again, it would then become law. Basically, it could be said, that measure 2 is an attempt to add the State Legislature as the arbiter for the validity of initiated measures that are put on the ballot by the citizens of North Dakota.
In January,2021, the newly elected state legislature and the holdovers that weren’t up for election this time will compose the makeup of the next sessions of the North Dakota Legislature and the U.S. Congress. We will then need to be “on our toes” to closely monitor the policy activities of what will then be the 67th session of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly and the 117th session of the U.S. Congress. In that regard, we do invite and welcome your participation with us as we will be monitoring the policy decisions made by these deliberative institutions!
Memorials and Donations
July, August & September 2020 Gifts to NDAB
In memory of Cliff Phelps- Ruth Phalen
In memory of Jim Johnson- Edgeley Lions
In memory of Jean Cote- Loris Van Berkom & Janelle Olson
ACB Monthly Monetary Support
Olga Neal Estate, final payment
South Fork Lions
Rebecca Anderson, NDAB Treasurer/Registered Agent
Sports and Recreation Retreat committee report
In North Dakota, whenever you plan an event, especially an outdoor event, we must take three things into consideration – weather, weather and weather, The sports and recreation committee hit the lottery this fall when we picked the weekend of September 18th ,19th ,and 20th to host our 2nd annual retreat at Wesley Acres Retreat Center near Dazey ND. We had beautiful sun filled days with calm cool evenings. This was a drastic improvement from last year’s dreary and rainy conditions.
The ideal weather conditions allowed all 19 participants to experience nearly everything the facility has to offer. The first evening we were able to take a couple of hikes in the very scenic valley as well as an after dinner kayaking adventure followed by music and a roaring camp fire. The group of participants ranged in age from 19-69. While the ages may have varied, the adventurous spirit was alive and well in each and every person.
After breakfast on day 2, we played an exciting game of beep kickball with some great athletic moves and many shared laughs. Following lunch, we embarked on what I believe many would consider their highlight of the weekend. We hiked to the rock wall, high ropes and zip line area. It was an opportunity that many of us had never had prior to this retreat. The support, team work and encouragement for each person attempting something brand new were intoxicating. The smiles, laughter and pride of accomplishment powered us all through some physically demanding tasks on the rock wall and high ropes course. The zip line across the creek back to the main area of the retreat center was the icing on the cake! As each flew down the zip line at about 35 miles an hour, we heard screams of excitement and giggles and laughter that made us all sound like we were in junior high again. I am not sure if everyone noticed it but I could notice everyone walking a little taller after participating in all three adventures. The rest of day 2 concluded with music and darts and other leisure events, as well as another wonderful camp fire.
As we began day 3, the mix of excitement and dread of the retreat ending was culminated with an impromptu blind soccer game followed by lunch. Old friendships grew and new ones were formed, and that was exciting to witness. I know there were many memories made and shared. The sports and recreation committee feel honored to have the opportunity to put an event like this together and are already looking forward to planning many more in the future. We have already started looking into a possible spring event that may be a late winter early spring adventure. We will publicize more information as the plans come together.
Trampes Brown, Sports and recreation Chair
Ski for Light
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the Ski for Light board has decided to cancel the 2021 Black Hills Regional Ski for Light. We will be back in 2022 for a combined 42nd and 43rd event to double the fun!
Talking Book Q and A
Talking Book Q and A from Stephanie Baltzer Kom, Manager of the ND Talking Book Program
On August 19, Stephanie Baltzer Kom manager of the North Dakota Talking Book Program was the guest presenter at our Insight Support Group meeting. She didn’t have ready answers to some of the questions that were asked but said that she would send answers that could be shared with the group. The questions and the answers are as follows:
Q: What percentage of the budget for the Talking Book Program is from the state and what percentage is federally funded?
Answer: We are currently 90% state funded and 10% federally funded. The state/federal funding ratio has shifted in the past couple years. The state funding is used for staff salaries – this is the program’s primary expense.
Note: All departments in state government are being asked to make a 10% cut in their budget for the coming 2021-2023 biennium. The Talking Book program is a relatively small program within state government, so this cut could have a significant effect on the services it can offer.
Q: Is the player design from Japan?
Answer: We aren’t sure about the actual design, but they were manufactured in Japan.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of books you can download on BARD?
Answer: 100 items a month is supposed to be the limit but there appears to be some flexibility in this limitation.
Q: Was there equipment offered at one time to help download from BARD?
Answer: We currently offer USB extension cables that can be used to download to a blank cartridge. This offer was outlined in the last Discovery newsletter. Most people seem to prefer just using a USB drive instead, but the cables are available. A couple years ago, the library took part in a beta test of MOCA units. These units had phone/LTE chipset/modems that would automatically download from a patron’s wish list on BARD and write directly to a cartridge. We only had 3 patrons test these. That technology is supposed to be integrated into the next generation of players but that is probably yet 5-10 years out.
Q: Should you leave the player plugged in all the time?
Answer: Yes. We do recommend that the player be plugged in as much as possible.
Q: How are donations to the Talking Book Program used?
Answer: We do accept donations although they aren’t actively recruited. The donations are used to help support the Talking Book Program through purchase of operational supplies and to help support the cost of providing the 1-800 toll free number.
Allan Peterson Facilitator for Insight
Development Report Fall 2020
Information about the NDAB Walk for Vision and our upcoming participation in the 2021 Giving Hearts Day Appeal are highlighted in this report.
First, about our NDAB Walk for Vision:
The NDAB 22nd Annual Walk for Vision will be held as a virtual event on White Cane Safety Day, October 15, 2020. We wish to publicly thank both North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney for officially proclaiming October 15 to be observed as White Cane Safety Day in the State of North Dakota and in the City of Fargo. Initially, observance of White Cane Safety Day on October 15 came about through the enactment of a joint resolution of Congress in 1964. The resolution authorizes the President to annually issue a proclamation designating October 15th as White Cane Safety Day. Since issuance of this initial proclamation, the importance of the white cane and what it symbolizes has been annually observed and celebrated in communities throughout our nation by proclamations like those issued this year by Governor Burgum and Mayor Mahoney.
To avoid spreading the COVID/19 virus, we do not plan to have an in person gathering for a formal Walk for Vision this year on October 15. Instead we encourage you to organize your own walk with friends and family and in the process, would invite donations of support for the work of NDAB.
To help promote the Observance of White Cane Safety Day in North Dakota, we made our very own NDAB White Cane video. See White Cane Day video at www.ndab.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/NoDakAB/
The NDAB Walk for Vision serves as a major fundraising effort for NDAB. To take advantage of this precedence, we have sent letters to past and potential donors for them to choose to be sponsors of our virtual 2020 NDAB 2020 Walk for Vision.
A very special message of thankfulness and gratitude to the Horace Lions Club for their generous donation of $6,250 to this year’s NDAB Walk for Vision. The donation was made with their permission and encouragement that their gift also be used to help establish our NDAB Match Fund for the 2021 Giving Hearts Day Appeal.
About NDAB’s participation in the 2021 Giving hearts Day Appeal:
Great news! For the fifth consecutive year, North Dakota Association of the Blind will be among those worthy causes that will once again benefit from the Giving Hearts Day Appeal!
As each year has passed, Giving Hearts Day has become an ever-greater source of income for NDAB. Unfortunately, donations made to nonprofits and other worthy causes have decreased significantly due to the pandemic and consequently, many are struggling financially. We are fortunate in that NDAB is currently in a stable financial position. On the other hand, these are uncertain economic times and we do need to maintain our financial health by working hard to maintain a balanced budget.
One of the fundamental requirements of all Giving Hearts Day participating organizations is that they establish a Match Fund. It is a fund that we must generate ourselves. The purpose of the fund is that it be used to challenge our donors to match this amount on Giving Hearts Day.
Our goal is to secure our Match from a combination of sources – individual donations, Lions clubs, organizations that have charitable gaming licenses, and contributions received from the Walk for Vision.
A very special donor to our 2021 Giving Hearts Day Match Fund is Judy Geske. Judy is Shereen Faber’s sister-in-law. Judy and Shereen organized a jewelry sales show at Mom’s Kitchen in Fargo on July 23rd. The party was very beneficial to NDAB as Judy generously donated all of her sales commissions from the party to NDAB. That amount totaled $1000. A very appreciative thank you to Judy and to Shereen for their efforts and generosity for hosting this party to benefit NDAB.
The goal that’s been set for the 2021 Giving Hearts Day Appeal is to raise a total of $25,000. The Match Fund would be half of this, $12,500. Donors will be challenged to match this amount made in connection with online donations made on February 11, 2021.
A brief review of the guidelines for Giving Hearts donors:
- Giving Hearts Day is a one day only, online fund-raising appeal on Thursday, February 11, 2021. 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 11, go towww.givingheartsday.org 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 11. Checks must be dated February 11 and mailed to our treasurer, Rebecca Anderson, P.O. Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078, Checks should be mailed a week or so before February 11 so they can be received and credited as a Giving hearts Day donation. 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 11 must be at least $10 to qualify toward the match. All donations are eligible for a tax deduction.
I urge you to consider making a donation to NDAB that could be counted toward our GHD 2020 total. Donations can be made to the Match Fund or to those made on Giving Hearts Day itself. Either way they will count toward our total.
Currently we are four months away from February 11. This is an open invitation to anyone who wishes to be involved in some way with our Giving Hearts Day Team for NDAB to please contact me. I very much would like to speak with you. If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me at (701)282-4644.