June 2014 Chronicle

June 2014 Chronicle

President’s Report

By Patti Schonlau

      Greetings to All!  On Friday, April 4, the MCB Board visited the MCB New Image Thrift Store.  Transportation was provided for those that needed a ride from the Doubletree Hotel to the MCB New Image Thrift Store.  The staff at the MCB New Image Thrift Store was very helpful in assisting MCB Board members in shopping, conducting tours of the thrift store and serving refreshments. 


Please note:


Missouri Council of the Blind

New Image Thrift Store

2713 N Kansas Expressway

Springfield, Missouri 65803




      Please stop by to check out our thrift store.  I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised and happy you took the time to have such a delightful shopping experience!  


      The MCB April Board meeting was conducted on Saturday, April 5 at the Double Tree by Hilton located at 2431 N. Glenstone Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65803.  Phone: (417) 831-3131.


      We found the hotel staff to be very friendly and accommodating.  I feel sure in October at our State Convention, you will find the hotel to be comfortable and the food quite tasty.


      On April 10, I visited Pony Express Association of the Blind in St. Joseph and on April 15, I visited the Joplin Service Club of the Blind.  I look forward to visiting Allied Workers for the Blind in Kansas City on June 6. 


      I wish to thank each affiliate for being so kind and demonstrating such wonderful hospitality to Jim, Susie and me.  I have visited all of our MCB affiliates.  I have learned a great deal from each affiliate in regards to how similar and different the affiliates conduct their meetings and how each affiliate has a special interest in promoting MCB in their local communities. 

      Thank you MCB affiliates for your support and kind words of encouragement that you have so graciously shared. 


      I wish to announce I will not be seeking a second term of office.  I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve as President of Missouri Council of the Blind.  It has truly been an enjoyable experience and one I shall always remember with gratitude and respect for the membership of our great organization.  I want to continue reaching out to the blind of Missouri and to serve MCB in promoting the purpose of Missouri Council of the Blind which is to promote the general well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to support or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally blind people everywhere.


      In July, I will be attending the ACB Convention in Las Vegas.  This convention will be my third time to experience such an event.  I go to the convention with high expectations to learn more about the American Council of the Blind.



      If any affiliates have an interest in hosting our MCB State Convention in 2016, please contact the MCB Office.  October 2016, is just around the corner!


      In addition to electing a new president in October at our State Convention, we will also be voting on a first and second vice president and secretary.  Anyone interested in holding one of these positions should announce your candidacy soon so everyone will know the choices.


      Don’t forget to forward your nominations to the office for the following awards, which will be presented at this year’s Annual Convention.  The recipient of the Nathaniel Johnson and the Darrell Lauer Awards may be either legally blind or sighted but shall be a member of MCB.


      The Nathaniel Johnson Award:  The honoree shall be someone who has done outstanding work in his/her community, for his/her Affiliate, or for MCB.

      The Darrell Lauer Award:  The Darrell Lauer “Outstanding Leadership Award” will be presented from time to time, when deemed appropriate, to an outstanding member of the Missouri Council of the Blind who has shown qualities of exemplary leadership in the organization and in the community.


      The Ellis M. Forshee Award may be presented to a member of MCB or someone else who meets the requirements.  The honoree shall be someone who has done something outstanding on the state or national level.  He/she shall be someone who works with the legally blind or with legislation for the legally blind. 


      Have a great summer!  I look forward to seeing each of you at the 2014 MCB State convention in Springfield.  My thanks to all of you for the work you do for MCB.  By continuing to adhere to the time tested practices of dedication, generosity, mutual respect, and hard work, there is no limit to the accomplishments that can be achieved by the Missouri Council of the Blind!


Executive Director Report

By Chris Gray


Correspondence Continues between the Missouri Council of the Blind and the Family Service Division.


I received an outpouring of positive response to my article in the March Chronicle, the letter to Valerie Howard at Family Services Division.  There is no question that the points raised hit a very responsive cord with the blind of Missouri, both MCB members and non-members.


Some days after going to press, we did receive a response from Ms. Howard which is printed below.  Following that is MCB's response.  It is my hope that through this correspondence, and doubtless future additional correspondence and meetings, we can make some progress in improving what we all know is a deteriorating situation for recipients of Blind Pension and Supplemental Aid to the Blind.  Only through continued dialog can this improve, and I am committed as your Executive Director to continue working on this in the hopes of positive change.


Dear Mr. Gray:


      Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding areas of concern with the Family Support Division (FSD) and Blind Pension.

The first area of concern you identified is the FSD made "overzealous and inappropriate demands" for information during the annual review.  In response to this concern, the FSD is required by state regulation 13 CSR 40-2.020 and 208.147 RSMo to reinvestigate all points of eligibility once every 12 months or more often if changes are warranted.


      There were two specific situations referenced in your correspondence which indicated the FSD made requests for information that was not needed to complete the annual review of eligibility. Please provide more information about these two cases so we can do further research. Without reviewing the case circumstances, the FSD cannot confirm or deny if the requests for the information were appropriate.  While the FSD should not request information that is not necessary to complete the review, eligibility specialists must complete a comprehensive review annually to ensure eligibility for the benefits received by participants is correct.


      The second area of concern you identified is the time requirements to provide information to the FSD. The FSD must follow the same time frame requirements for all MO HealthNet participants. The ten day time frame is not exclusive to Blind Pension recipients. RSMo 208.147 policy manual 0110.000.00 requires the Family Support Division to Allow 10 days for a response to requested information. This is not arbitrary and applies to all HealthNet programs. When a participant is unable to acquire the requested verification by the 10 day deadline, he/she can contact the eligibility specialist who requested the information and explain why they are unable to provide the verification by the date requested. If the individual contacts the eligibility specialist BEFORE the initial 10 days has passed, the eligibility specialist can extend the allotted time to provide the information based on the circumstances. If contact is made after the 10 days have expired, action to close the case is automatically taken by the system.


     You requested that department letters be sent in Braille, large print, or computer disc as many Blind Pension recipients do not have someone to read their mail to them or may not have someone available in a timely manner. Currently, the FSD's resources and technology do not allow for sending notices in these formats. However, the FSD is in the process of developing a new eligibility system and will take these suggestions into consideration.  We are aware of the challenge this poses to recipients and are actively seeking ways to ease this burden through the technologies of the new eligibility system. The FSD is aware that it is an inconvenience to have someone read notices to Blind Pension participants and explain notices. This issue is not unique to Blind Pension recipients. Many MO HealthNet recipients have difficulty understanding or reading notices they receive. Until this issue can be resolved, the FSD advises MO HealthNet participants to make arrangements with someone they trust to regularly read their mail and to assist them with necessary actions or to contact the FSD for assistance

      The third area of concern you cited is the requirement to complete an eye examination every 5 years.  This requirement is mandated by Missouri statute 209.040 and can only be changed if the statute is revised.  The FSD realizes this seems redundant for Blind Pension recipients who do not have eye balls or who are completely, irreversibly blind, but the statute mandates the FSD require an examination every 5 years.


      When a Blind Pension recipient has questions about what or why information requested from the FSD is necessary, they can always contact our call center at 1-855-373-4636. If it is necessary for the participant to speak directly with an eligibility specialist, a message is sent to a specialist who will contact the participant to provide assistance.


      The FSD can only discuss the case specific information with the participant, a legal guardian, or an individual who has been appointed as an authorized representative for the participant. The FSD can better assist the Missouri Council of the Blind representative if a signed authorized representative form is completed and submitted to the local FSD office.


      We appreciate your feedback and value your partnership to improve the services we provide to our mutual customers. Please contact me at (573) 751-8973 or Valerie.Howard@dss.mo.gov if you have any questions or need additional information.



Valerie Howard, Deputy Director


Response to Valerie Howard


Dear Ms. Howard:


      Thank you for your letter of March 7, 2014.  I appreciate your taking the time to comment on the three critical issues the Missouri Council of the Blind has brought to your attention.  Below please find our responses to your comments.     We offer these responses to continue what we hope to be a productive dialog in support of the blind of Missouri.


      Regarding our concerns about inappropriate and overzealous demands by FSD, we believe the examples cited in our original letter speak for themselves.  Why would a longtime recipient of Blind Pension be asked in 2014 for a marriage license from 1987?  Why would a person be asked for proof of the closure of bank accounts in 2013 that had occurred 3-5 years previously?  Your staff is aware of both these egregious occurrences as MCB worked with FSD and the pension recipients to resolve them.


      Further, we question the insistence by some case workers for income tax statements when the Blind Pension is not an income-based program.  Finally, we believe that requiring individuals, as a part of their annual evaluation, to gather character references is overzealous and we are aware that such requirements are not enforced consistently from office to office. To do so at the time of application is understandable, but not for an annual evaluation.  Of course, we do not question the need to collect pertinent information as prescribed under the regulations you mention.


      Regarding time requirements by which information must be provided, we find your comments extremely disappointing and incomplete.  We understand that the Federal Code of Regulations requires each state to establish a timeline for reporting.  However, we are unaware and do not believe that different timelines cannot be established for different populations served by a state.  In fact, the ten-day time period is listed separately in FSD regulations for recipients of Blind Pension and Supplemental Aid to the Blind as follows:  For Blind Pension, Change of Circumstance, 0525.010.00; and 0430.010.00 for recipients of Supplemental Aid to the Blind.  We have no doubt it is also spelled out for other populations served by FSD in other FSD regulations.


      We are asking that this ten-day requirement be relaxed for recipients of Blind Pension and Supplemental Aid to the Blind.  The requirement is unreasonable and creates massive headaches both for blind recipients and the State of Missouri.


      Also, you mentioned that the ten-day requirement can be modified via request to FSD.  Before your letter, MCB had no awareness of this and given the difficulty recipients have in contacting anybody with the authority to do this, we are unconvinced that this is an acceptable means of handling the time requirement.  We receive continuous reports of recipients being unable to reach the Call Center, and in a large number of cases where the Call center is reached, and that we have tracked, it is too often the case that calls to recipients are not returned when requested through the Call Center.  If the recipient is unavailable, the entire process must begin again with the recipient going through the Call Center.  If it takes more than ten days for a recipient to be in touch with their actual office, and it often does, the time period has elapsed.  We believe this to be an unreasonable scenario.


      Please remember that FSD is sending standard print letters to people who cannot read them, this itself a violation of Federal law, American Council of the Blind v. Michael Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, et al, Docket(s) 3:05−cv−04696 (N.D. Cal.) 05/01/2012 DR-CA-0003-9000.  Thus far, the Missouri Council of the Blind has chosen not to pursue this obvious legal remedy.  However, please be aware that this is an option for the blind of Missouri and may have to be utilized if no other solution can be arranged in the near future.


      Regarding the five-year eye examination requirement, we have been told on several occasions between 2012-2014 that FSD was considering requesting a legislative change to modify this requirement.  Since this had not been done, the blind of Missouri spoke with a unified voice to the State legislature and have gotten it done themselves.  We look forward to working with FSD to implement this revised situation into the appropriate regulations.


      The Missouri Council of the Blind asks that you consider the information we have provided here in determining the way to move forward to provide excellent service to the blind of Missouri.  We stand ready and willing to work with FSD to create such a situation.  We look forward to your responses to the points raised here, i.e. reasonable requests made to recipients during the annual evaluation, the time requirement relaxation, and revisions to regulations pursuant to the passage of HB 135.


      Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance.




Christopher Gray

Executive Director




Blind of Central Missouri

By Joe Morgan, President

      Hello from Sedalia.  It's been a very cold winter so far, I think it's making up for our last few mild ones. 


      We held a Christmas party on December 1, 2013 at the Celebration Center.  MCB President Patti Schonlau and her husband Jim, Executive Director Chris Gray and Linda Kirk from United Way, Sedalia in Pettis County were our special guests.  Our meal was catered by Country Bumkin Catering Company. The meal was so good that we asked them to do our party again next year.  Door prizes were given and we sang some Christmas carols.  A good time was had by all.


      Now, some sad news; we have lost two members since our last report.  Janice Nicholson passed away on October 22 and Terry Thompson passed away on January 19.


      Until next time stay warm and keep smiling!

Delta Area Blind


      Happy Spring to everyone from Delta Area.


      At Delta Area we have been busy getting our applications turned in for Camp Cobblestone, sending out forms for the Lola B. Garner Scholarship, attending Legislative days in Jefferson City and the MCB Spring Board Meeting in Springfield.


      On April 2, Judith and Stephen Bryant from Delta Area Along with Marlene and Martin Limbaugh from River City Workers went to Jefferson City for Legislative Days. Judy and Marlene were also interviewed by a reporter from KFVS TV from Cape Girardeau, MO.  They both did a great job expressing some of their concerns for people with disabilities.  


      On April 4 and 5, three members of Delta Area attended the Spring MCB Board Meeting.  We enjoyed the tour and shopping at the thrift store and thought the Board Meeting went great.  We are looking forward to going back to Springfield for the convention in October.  

      On April 28, we had our monthly meeting in Sikeston, MO.  We are proud to say we have a new member.  His name is Josh McCasland and he is from Portageville.


      In closing, we would like to ask that everyone keep Mickie Ormsby in your prayers.  Mickie is one of Delta Area’s long time members.  Mickie has been in the hospital for several health issues.


Lake Stockton Area Council of the Blind


      The Lake Stockton Area Council of the Blind has had quite a start for the year; with the weather and not having a meeting space available.


      News about some of our members:  a long time member, Linda Dawes, received the member of the month for the month of March.  Linda was nominated by Lucille Welch.  Our group is sorry to report that member Garland Birch passed away this month.  And longtime member Bill Deaton is still having health problems. 

St. Charles County Council Affiliate Report

By Beverly Kaskadden


      Spring is finally here.  St. Charles County Council is moving forward.  We held elections in April, and the results are as follows:  President, Beverly Kaskadden, 1st Vice-President, Veva Wolbrecht, 2nd Vice-President, Victor Rodriguez, Secretary, Jan Sifford, Treasurer, Casey Thurber, and Member-at-large, Margie Petroski.  Thanks to Steve Schnelle for his leadership the past two years.  The Duchesne High School Key Club will host a dinner for SCCCB at which time we will officially install the new officers.


      Kerry Purcell became a new member in April, and has already joined the Fund Raising Committee.  Isn’t it wonderful to gain members who are ready and willing to work for the organization?  That is my project as President.  I would love to see all affiliate members taking part in committee work.  I hope they will not throw me out!  I could use prayers.  Smile!  I am looking forward to working with every member.  We all have something we can contribute when given the chance.


      I will let you know what fund raising ideas we come up with and the results.  I am encouraged we will have new members and new ideas with the next report from St. Charles County.  I am turning the affiliate reports over to Veva, so you can hear me ramble on with the Summer Camp reports.  At the April meeting, we had 16 present for our meeting, 14 members and 2 guests.  We, also, welcomed new member, Doris Spainhower.  We are making plans on having several of our members attend the state meeting this October.



By Judy Burch


      The Braille Revival League of Missouri will once again be holding the Alma Murphey Braille Revival League Luncheon in Springfield on Saturday, October 4.  We will announce the time for our next conference call when you will be able to learn more about the luncheon.  We hope to see you there.



By Judy Burch


      The Missouri Guide Dog Users hosted the America’s Guide Dog Conference March 27-30 in St. Louis and it was truly a great success!  There were a number of interesting presentations from various speakers and a good time was had by all.

Below is the text of the proclamation signed by Governor Jay Nixon which was read at the banquet Saturday evening.  Mayor Slay of the City of St. Louis also signed a similar proclamation which was read Friday afternoon during the opening session.


WHEREAS, the guide dog has been available to blind Americans for eighty-five years, and

WHEREAS, the guide dog has enriched the lives of blind American guide dog users, by demonstrating and symbolizing his or her ability to achieve a full and independent life and his or her capacity to work productively in competitive employment; and

WHEREAS, the guide dog, by allowing every American guide dog user to move freely and safely from place to place, makes it possible for these citizens to fully participate in and contribute to our society; and

WHEREAS, every citizen should be aware that the law requires that motorists exercise appropriate caution when approaching a person who is visually impaired and using a guide dog; and

WHEREAS, Missouri employers, both public and private, should be aware of and utilize the employment skills of our citizens with visual impairments who use guide dogs and recognize their worth as individuals and their productive capacities;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, do hereby proclaim March 23-30, 2014, to be GUIDE DOG WEEK IN MISSOURI

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, this day of 2014.

Wags to all your guides from MGDU!




Public Relations

By Denny Huff, Chair


      It's been a fairly active year so far in promoting MCB with more to come.  I encourage each affiliate to contact me with news about your affiliate activities so we can help promote what is going on.  I'll be glad to post your activity to Facebook so you can have additional exposure for your affiliate.  We have close to 500 followers on Facebook so most likely there are people in your area that will see what you are doing.  Send your information to: denny@gatewayfortheblind.com or postal mail it to:

Denny Huff

PO Box 515

St. Clair, MO  63077


      In March our president, Patty Schonlau, our Executive Director, Chris Gray, and I gave a presentation at the state capital building.  We handed out information about MCB and demonstrated various types of adaptive technology to those that visited us. 

      Our main purpose was first of all, to give exposure to MCB and to let our legislators know that being blind and living an independent life is somewhat costly.  We had 45 visitors visit us with a good response from those that did.  Some of them went to their office and called other legislators to encourage them to visit us.  Some other legislators took pictures of the event and posted them on their Facebook page.  Since this was our first attempt to do this type of event, we learned that there were some things we could have done differently and will implement what we learned in our next presentation.


      Once again this year we had a booth at the Power-Up 2014.  My thanks to my driver, Darren Bone and his wife Carla, for assisting Chris Gray and myself in manning the booth.  We had over 350 people to visit our booth and we made several worthwhile contacts while giving out information about MCB.


      I have recorded a 30 second public service announcement to be used on radio stations around the state.  We have heard reports of this PSA being played on several stations including KMOX in St. Louis.  If you would like to have a copy of the PSA to give to your local radio station please let me know and I'll be glad to get a copy to you.


      We are currently in the process of having a promotional video made for MCB.  The video will incorporate all of our major programs we have and will also include video of our convention, the MCB Board, our thrift store and our summer camp.  The finished product will be anywhere from 5 to 6 minutes in length and will be used to encourage new members and for fundraising.  We hope to have the final video available by the time of our convention in October.  I'll have an update on this project in the next issue of the Chronicle.  Thanks and let me know if I can be of assistance to your affiliate.


Member of the Month

By Yvonne Schnitzler, Chair


      Congratulations to MCB Members of the Month. As role models, their thoughtfulness and work ethic and participation for various causes is inspiring.


      Charles Coburn, Tower Club for the Blind, was the August 2013 honoree nominated by Tower Club.  An ordained minister, Charles is in the process of starting a church.  He conducts weekly bible study and church service at Mark Twain Nursing Home.  Charles is District Director for the Blind Veterans of Missouri, a member of a hospice group for veterans, and is assisting in organizing a Blind Veterans affiliate in MCB. His thoughtfulness, encouragement and willingness to extend a helping hand, is the glue that holds Tower Club together.


      Nancy Hodson was the September 2013 winner nominated by Queen City.  For 20 years Nancy has provided services vital to Queen City. She is in charge of keeping the affiliate records in order and in compliance with government rules. Nancy’s voice is heard promoting the causes of the blind in Jefferson City on Legislation Day. She provides transportation for members to meeting, state and national conventions or where ever there is a need.  Nancy is well known for organizing meals and cooking for her affiliate’s monthly meetings. Nancy is active in her church and community and volunteers for the food bank at Cross line.


      Beau Barnhart received the award for October and was nominated by Denny Huff. Most members are unaware of the time and energy Beau brings to MCB.  For several years he has been helping at conventions, Board meetings and other functions of blind related organizations including the Midwest Leadership conferences. He prepares the sound system equipment, streams requested events, and monitors the controls during the sessions. Beau is the host of the MCB web site which is a class 1 web site for content and design. It won several awards during the 2012 ACB Convention. His server hosts the MCB list serves.


      Anthony Lynn (Tony) Blurton received the award for November.  Tony was a founding member of Delta Area in 1982.  He is a dedicated and loyal member of his affiliate and community organizing and assisting with numerous projects. He has held the office of Vice-President several terms. Tony has involved his family and community in fund raising activities for Delta Area. He is an energetic worker and never misses a meeting. He brightens the day with his funny jokes and stories.  Tony was nominated by Delta Area.


      Rose Ledford was December’s winner, nominated by Kim Hallows. She is treasurer of RITE and works on some of the projects of her affiliate.  Rose is a behind the scenes individual and goes out of her way to help others providing services that go unnoticed. At conventions, you will find her providing assistance where needed.


      Vivian Marshall, January 2014 winner, is a charter member of Queen City Council organized in 1998. She was nominated by Louise Lathrop.  Vivian is President and has served as Vice-President and the Chair of the Education and Welfare Committee. She scheduled meaningful programs for affiliate meetings, and assumed responsibility for contacting new members, arranging transportation, and organizing fund raising projects. She volunteered for the Alzheimer Association for six years, worked for Easter Seal, and the Springfield Association for the Blind, where she was one of the early leaders of the support groups for newly blinded individuals.  Vivian is active in her church, the Southside Senior Center, and the Redeemer Lutheran Blind Ministry.  She is a member of the Association for the Blind and serves on the board of directors. She contacts new members and provides information on the resources and programs available to them.  A positive and uplifting individual, Vivian has served her affiliate and community by her example, encouragement, and knowledge.


      Tracey Hawkins, February’s winner, was nominated by Allied Workers.  She is public relations chair and is active in her affiliate. She is guide and driver for her husband, William, Chairman of the Thrift Store Committee.  Tracey is the owner of Safety and Security Source in Kansas City and is a professional speaker and trainer on safety items and procedures.  She is the Public Relations Chair of the Symphony Designers’ Showhouse, and President of the Kansas City Symphony Alliance.  Tracey was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Institute for Human Resources in Health and Safety which is the largest global social networking and resource site for professionals.  Tracey was chosen as one of Kansas City’s most influential women.


      Linda Dawes was the winner for March and nominated by Loretta Welch. She has served the Lake Stockton Council as secretary and held other offices. She organized the Lake Stockton auction for many years as a fund raiser and has worked on several activities for the club.  She organized a membership meeting for the purpose of recruiting younger members. She is a popular lady at convention selling nuts as a fundraiser.


Bylaws/Resolutions Report

By Janelle Edwards


      ARTICLE XI COMMITTEES Section 5 of our bylaws includes the following: "Amendments to the Bylaws and Resolutions to be presented to the convention shall be sent to the Chairman with the names of two members, an MCB committee, a Regular Affiliate, or a Special Interest Affiliate supporting that amendment no later than July fifteenth."


      If you have questions or submissions, my contact information is in the Chronicle insert.



By Donna Gimlin


      October will soon be here the convention dates are October 3, 4 and 5.  Make your reservation early by calling 1-800-645-8667 and ask for the Doubletree in Springfield Missouri.


      The reservation deadline is September 1, 2014.  Registration is $10 or $20 at the door.  Hospitality is $5 or $7 at the door.  Saturday Banquet is $20 or $25 at the door.  We will serve a Chicken Salad sandwich for the hospitality meal or veggie sandwich.  You have a choice of beef, chicken, or a vegetarian meal for the banquet.

      The hotel has a lot of shopping and restaurants within 2 blocks including K-mart, Walmart and Aldi Grocery.  Local restaurants include McDonald's, Hardee's, Andy's, Fazill's, Bob Evans, Ruby Tuesday's, Long John Silver's, Steak and Shake, Culvers, Cracker Barrel, Ziggie's and Hibachi Grill.


Craft Room

By Loretta Welch


      I am the chairman of the Craft Room again and will be taking care of the room at the October Convention in Springfield. We will only have four tables available this year as the room is small. You must have homemade crafts in order to be in the room. Any club or person selling products for the club or personal ones will be in a different area.  The hours are Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Crafts will be picked up at 6:00 p.m. Friday.  Please contact me at Loretta Welch, Route 2, Box 284, Butler, MO 64730 or call 1-660-679-5429. If you need a table please get ahold of me. We hope to have a wonderful craft room.


Dual Vision and Hearing Loss

By Mary Hale, Chair


      Ten Misconceptions About People with Hearing Loss:


  1. People with hearing loss are dumb, stupid, mute, have intellectual limitations.

No, people with hearing loss have the same range of intelligence as the general population without hearing loss. People with a hearing loss may be very quiet or respond inappropriately since they may not have heard what was said. There are sometimes delays for the brain to understand what is being heard.


  1. Increasing the sound volume will enable a person to understand what is being said. 

No, increasing the volume is sometimes only a part of the solution.  Clarity is also very important.  There is a point where increasing the volume distorts the quality of sound, making things sound “garbled”.


  1. Hearing aids restore hearing to normal.

No, it is not the same as glasses. Hearing aids increase the volume but do not significantly improve clarity or bring the sound closer to the person. They can slightly enhance clarity by raising the volume in certain frequencies. Hearing aids help tremendously but do not give a person “normal” hearing. There are many Assistive Listening Devices [ALD] available that work well in addition to hearing aids for many situations.


  1. Everyone with a hearing loss uses sign language and reads lips.

No, some use sign language and/or read lips while many do not and use speech to communicate. There is a wide range of possibilities and factors.


  1. People with hearing loss are usually older adults.

No, of the estimated 36 million people with some form of a hearing loss, only 30% are over the age of 65.


  1. People with hearing loss only spend time with other people with hearing loss.

No, hearing loss can affect anyone and does not discriminate. People with a hearing loss may feel left out of conversations when they do not hear or understand what is being said. But if no hearing aids are used it is even worse.


  1. Having a hearing loss is shameful.

No, this assumption explains why many people with a hearing loss will not purchase or use hearing aids. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “only one out of five who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wears one”.


  1. When people with hearing loss miss something, it’s OK to tell them “it’s not important” or “I’ll tell you later”.

No, it is frustrating to people with a hearing loss not to have something repeated when they miss part of the conversation.  Saying “it isn’t important” only compounds the frustration because now they are not part of the conversation anymore, making them feel unimportant.


  1. People with hearing loss are rude and pushy.

No, people with hearing loss may interrupt because they did not hear someone speaking and not because they are rude.

  1. People with a hearing loss are defined by their hearing loss.

No, the hearing loss is simply a part of someone and not who he is.  Example: A deaf person vs a person who is deaf.


      Important tips for you, when you are with someone with a hearing loss: First get their attention before you start to speak and then have patience with them.


Summer Camp

By Beverly Kaskadden


      Yes!  Winter is finally over and I am ready for Cobblestone!  Everyone is always anxious to hear the numbers for each camp session, so here they are.  We have 31 signed up for the June week, 60 for the July session and at this time we have 22 for September.  The September count can change since the deadline is not until August 1st.  In fact, I am certain the number will increase.  I have put in a request for beautiful weather, but remember Mother Nature has a mind of her own.  The evenings in June can be cool, so please remember to bring adequate clothing. 


      If you have not had a chance to read over the Guidelines, it helps so much if you do before attending.  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call or e-mail me your questions.  I can’t wait to see everyone.

Beverly Kaskadden, 636-561-6947, or 636-541-2503 or email to bkaskadden@centurytel.net


Education and Welfare

Denny Huff, Chair


      This has been a good year for the blind of Missouri.  There has been no adverse legislation presented that would affect the blind and one bill that we were supporting has made it to the governor's desk for his signature.  This bill would exempt a person that has no chance of regaining their sight from needing to have an eye exam every 5 years to qualify for the blind pension.


      The other bills we were supporting have not made it out of committee and at this late date it doesn't look as though they will.  Those bills include having an accessible voting machine for each election, whether it be local, state or federal.  The other bill is included in several items that affect the disabled and that is changing the penalty for injuring a dog guide from a misdemeanor to a more severe penalty.  Hopefully the latter will make it to the governor's desk for signing.


      We had a great turn out for the legislative days in Jefferson City this year.  It would have been really good if the weather had cooperated with us.  Many of the attendees were soaked with the torrential rainfall we had that day.  Also, some were unable to even find a parking place at the capitol building since so many people were participating in the disability days rally.  Michelle Miller gave an excellent presentation at our meeting before the rally and helped to prepare us for the visits we made to our legislators.


      We are continuing to keep an eye on the Medicaid legislation throughout the year.  Although it doesn't seem to be going anywhere this year, we want to be prepared for anything that looks as though it might affect the recipients of the blind pension in an adverse way.  Thanks to all who worked with me this year in so many different ways.



By Christopher Gray


      As we prepare to go to press, MCB has received word that first the House and then the Senate has approved HB-1835.  Here is the official description of the bill:  "Specifies that recipients of blind pension benefits with no usable vision shall be exempt from the 5-year vision re-examination requirement".


      The relaxation of this requirement is certainly welcome news to Missouri's blind pension recipients.  It will save much needless effort and time spent by the blind not to mention save money needlessly spent by the State of Missouri.


      Also, there are often errors and delays caused solely by these unnecessary examinations causing pension recipients to lose and have to reapply for their benefits.


      The Missouri Council of the Blind began working for this change through its Education and Welfare Committee soon after the beginning of this legislative session.  Committee members took a card to legislators that contained the following text: 


      HB 1835 specifies that recipients of blind pension benefits with no usable vision shall be exempt from the 5-year vision re-examination requirement.


      Currently there are approximately 2800 recipients of the blind pension.  For many of those recipients there is no hope of ever having their sight restored.  For them to be required to have an eye exam every five years is a waste of tax payer’s money and an inconvenience to the individual.


      It was clear from the outset that there was widespread, bipartisan support for this change.  This was true in both the House and the Senate.


      Today, the bill is on the Governor's desk and we have no reason to believe it will not be signed into law.  Of course, then MCB and others must work through the detail of implementing this legislation with the Family Services Division.


      We will keep you posted on how this goes in future issues of the Chronicle.


      Finally, it is important to observe that the blind of Missouri were unified on this issue.  All organizations of the blind who routinely work with the legislature favored this bill.  There is no doubt that this promoted quick passage by the House and Senate.



Wolfner Advisory News

By Darrel Vickers, Wolfner Advisory Board Chairman


      Wolfner Library contact numbers are Toll Free (800) 392-2614 or (573) 751-8720.


      The Wolfner Library staff MENU have compiled many bibliographies to help patrons find books they might enjoy. The bibliographies are arranged into the following two categories.

The bibliographies for adult readers are arranged by topic, featuring fiction and nonfiction subjects from animal stories and award winners to war stories and westerns.


      The bibliographies for young readers are arranged by age group, and feature both fiction and nonfiction topics of interest to kids.


      If you have computer internet access you can find them on the Wolfner main page from the Secretary of States web site.  If you do not have computer access, please call one of the numbers above and ask for a reading advisor.


      A note about the reading advisors.  These are Wolfner staff whose job is to help you get the most out of the library. Once you have contacted a reading advisor you can always have the same one. Get to know them and let them get to know you. They really want to help you find books or magazines you will enjoy.


      Here are a few of my own reading recommendations of books.


Music Appreciation and History / Bestsellers

      Girls like us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon--and the journey of a generation DB 66664

Weller, Sheila. Reading time: 23 hours, 34 minutes.  Intertwined biographies of singer-songwriters of the sixties and seventies. Discusses King's 1971 Grammy sweep for Tapestry, Simon's number-one hit "You're So Vain," and Mitchell's self-proclaimed pure opera of the soul in Blue.  James Taylor figures as Mitchell's lover, Simon's husband, and collaborator for all three. Strong language. Bestseller. 2008.


Suspense Fiction / Bestsellers

      Night over water DB 34013

Follett, Ken. Reading time: 15 hours, 56 minutes. Read by Mitzi Friedlander. It is September 1939, and England has just declared war on Germany. A group of passengers, fleeing the approaching conflict, board a luxurious Pan Am Clipper for a thirty-hour flight to New York. Among them are an English fascist and his family, a Jewish refugee, a jewel thief, a princess, and an American widow and her brother. None are prepared for the nightmare journey over the ocean. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller.



      Leaving Missouri DB 56825

Recknor, Ellen.  Reading time: 11 hours, 34 minutes.  Read by Michelle Schaeffer.  Missouri, late nineteenth century.  The Jukeses are the lowest of the low-inbred and infamous-and Clutie Mae knows she is meant for something better than life on the family farm. After being forced to marry her cousin, she fights her way to a new life. Violence, some descriptions of sex, and some strong language. 1997.

Historical Fiction

      The Proud and the Free: a novel DB 40764

Dailey, Janet. Reading time: 11 hours, 29 minutes.  Read by Mary Kane.  In 1830 Eliza Hall arrives in the Georgia Cherokee Nation to tutor the children of Will Gordon. She is surprised to find Cherokees own grand plantations and slaves, but there are signs that this may soon end. Gordon's daughter Temple is adamant that her family will never leave the land, but after five years of harassment, Temple's husband is among the "traitors" that sign a new treaty agreeing to move west. Violence and some explicit descriptions of sex.


Growing Up, Historical Fiction, Bestsellers

      Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress DB 55365

Dai, Sijie; Rilke, Ina. Reading time: 4 hours, 42 minutes.  Read by Frank Coffee.  Two privileged teenage boys are sent to a remote village for reeducation during China's Cultural Revolution. When they procure a supply of French books, they read novels to a pretty but uneducated seamstress, with surprising results Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. Bestseller. 2001.


Biography, Music Appreciation and History

      The Blue Moon Boys: the Story of Elvis Presley's Band DB 69522

Burke, Ken, (Ken K.); Griffin, Dan. Reading time: 10 hours, 38 minutes.  Read by Jack Fox. Chronicles the history of the Blue Moon Boys--the Memphis band that featured bassist Bill Black, guitarist Scotty Moore, drummer D.J. Fontana, and vocalist Elvis Presley, who joined in 1954 at Sam Phillips's Sun studio.  Uses first-person accounts to stress the group's importance to Elvis's success.  Some strong language. 2006.


Western Stories

      The Proud DB 63534

Kelton, Elmer.  Reading time: 10 hours, 57 minutes.  Read by Robert Sams.  Texas, 1838. Newly elected congressman Andrew Lewis's political duties may put him at odds with his frontier brothers.  The rest of the Lewis family, meanwhile, copes with life along the Colorado River and with the unexpected arrival of a long-lost relative from Tennessee.  Violence and some strong language. 1991.


Historical Fiction

      The Sweetest Hallelujah DB 77335

Hussey, Elaine. Reading time 10 hours, 18 minutes.  Read by Natalie Ross.  A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Description: Mississippi, 1955.  Former jazz singer Betty Jewel Hughes is dying of cancer and looking for someone who will raise the daughter she gave up her career for. Widowed Cassie Malone, a rich white woman, answers Betty Jewel's ad, and the two build an unlikely relationship. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2013.



      Beautiful Dreamer DB53245

Lowell, Elizabeth. Reading time: 9 hours, 52 minutes.  Read by Sharon Murray.  Twenty-five-year-old Hope Gardener is struggling to save her Nevada cattle ranch, but years of drought are taking their toll. Then suddenly Rio, a free-spirited stranger, arrives and offers to help find a well on her land. He also steals her heart. Explicit descriptions of sex and strong language. 2001.


Historical Fiction - Bestsellers

      The All-girl filling station's last reunion: a novel DB77825

Flagg, Fannie. Reading time: 8 hours, 27 minutes.  Read by Mare Trevathan.  2005. Sookie Poole is recovering from marrying off the last of her three daughters when she is entrusted with a registered letter for her formidable mother, Lenore. The letter reveals secrets from Lenore's past during World War II that change Sookie's perception of her mother--and herself. Bestseller. 2013.


Enjoy, Darrel

Email: darrel@ww4b.org, Phone: 636-667-3176

Note this is an ATT cell number and ATT has free Mobile to Mobile calls so please do not hesitate to call me if I can help you in any way.




      Below is an article about our own Chip Hailey.  Congratulations Chip!  You are an inspiration to all MCB members and people who are blind throughout the state of Missouri. We admire you and your accomplishments.  Thank you for all you do.  -Patti Schonlau


The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO, January 3, 2014


Chip Hailey: Seeing the Light for the Vision Disabled

By Ryan Richardson, Globe Staff Writer


      Chip Hailey sits inside an office filled with tools to help him through his day.  There are three white identification canes in a corner near his door. On his desk sits a digital reading device primed to a chapter of an audiobook he’s listening to. In a tight leather-bound case, a blind-assistive keyboard sits ready to go for Chip’s next command.  Though, upon closer inspection, the surroundings show a life far beyond Hailey’s blind disability.


      There’s a picture of United States Sen. Roy Blunt and Hailey standing together.  Several items commemorating his years of dedicated service to countless organizations line the walls. His phone constantly rings.  During these phone conversations, he is soft-spoken, yet assertive.


      As a Joplin community leader and advocate for the disabled, Hailey roars like no other.  Hailey has worked at the Independent Living Center in Joplin for more than 15 years, acting as a liaison between those searching for help with their disabilities and the communities they reside in.  During that time, he has been a chairperson for the Missouri Council of the Blind, where he still plays an active role.  He also holds a position on the Wolfner Library Advisory Council, which is a Missouri-based, government-funded library focused on men and women with reading disabilities, board member for the Missouri Assistive Technology Council and gives time on the Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind.


      That’s a lot of hats, but Hailey’s okay with that. As he puts it, he’s simply an educator.  “We’re here fighting for people’s eligibility rights and we are keeping people in their homes when that could possibly be jeopardized,” Hailey says. “We keep up on state changes and we let people know what is out there to help them.  It can be scary for some people to not know where to turn to and we put that information in their hands.  We educate them on what can be done in their situation.”


      Hailey wasn’t born blind. Because of two debilitating sports accidents when he was younger, he completely lost his sight by the time he was 25.  The first accident occurred during a game of baseball, when a black-taped ball hit him square in the eye; eventually he lost that eye.  Years later, he severely injured his other eye during a football game.  He didn’t fully lose vision in that eye until an unfortunate bout of pneumonia detached and damaged the retina beyond repair.


      “It was two events that you couldn’t have ever thought could happen and I was fully blind in my 20s.  At the time, surgery couldn’t have done anything to save (them),” Hailey says. “But being visually impaired myself has led me to be an advocate for people on the local, state and national level.”


      Hailey focuses a great deal of his time and effort learning new technology and applying it to both his life and others with vision disabilities.  “Technology has changed so much in 30 years and it is difficult for anyone to stay

up on it,” Hailey says. “But things like smart phones are incredible. I can wave to my iPhone and it will tell me my surroundings. My computer reads to me.  The GPS tells me where I need to go by foot. I have an app that I can take a picture of something and it will tell me what it is.  It identifies the color of my clothes or it can identify the money I get back at a restaurant.  That was impossible 15 years ago. Now it is technology the disabled uses to assist them.”


      To that end, the Joplin resident is focused on using the internet as a platform to help others. He is focused on accessibility and making sure that information is readily available to anyone that needs it.


      “We have seen it since the (May 22, 2011) tornado that businesses were able to make things accessible and the service in Joplin has come through stronger,” Hailey says.  “This community is helpful, but there are still barriers. But that’s why we’re still here, standing up for them.


      “A person with a disability will always have to educate others and its finding empathy, to know what it is like to be on both sides.  It isn’t explaining the disability, but it is explaining how we are normal.”



By Brian Hallows, UWB member


      Normally when you hear this phrase it is not a good thing, but in this case it was quite the contrary.  As I write this article it is the day after the first Americas Guide Dog Conference that was held in Saint Louis March 27-30.  The conference was hosted by the Missouri Guide Dog Users.


      We had several panel discussions and guest speakers and even heard from several Puppy Raisers and Guide Dog Schools.  The conference was very informative and interesting.


      Over 90 people registered for the conference and there were 55 dogs present.  If you want to know the thing most impressive about the conference it was the behavior of the wonderful helpers that serve as the eyes for the blind.  We could not have had a better bunch of handlers and dogs.  It was truly a remarkable experience.


      Our heartfelt thanks go out to the committee that organized this wonderful event; Nick Whitney, Rick Burch, Judy Burch, Mary Hail, Ron Farris, and our coordinator Sara Calhoun.  All of you did a wonderful job and we appreciate you so much.


      Most importantly thanks to all the handlers and there Guides that made Americas Guide Dog Conference such a great event.


Our Butterfly Effect

By Chaplain C J Campbell


      How far forward into the future would we need to go in your life to show the actual difference you make while here on earth? This is a significant question that most of us have never seriously asked ourselves. This, in and of itself, could lead to some major misconceptions and sad scenarios. Here is a humorous anecdote to help illustrate my point:


      John looked in the telephone book and then called a venetian blind repair shop to ask if they could send a repairman and pick up a faulty blind from the house and have it fixed.  The very next morning, while the family was at breakfast, the doorbell rang.  John’s wife, Jane went to the door and looked at the man waiting outside and asked, “May I help you?” He simply said to her, "I'm here for the venetian blind."
Excusing herself in a polite manner, Jane walked directly to the kitchen and plucked a dollar from her personal food money budget cookie jar.  Without hesitation she took it back to the front door and kindly pressed it into the repairman's hand. She then just gently closed the front door and returned to the breakfast table. 


      “What’s up?" John questioned his wife. “Just somebody asking for a donation," she explained as she poured herself another cup of coffee.


      There are generations unborn yet whose lives will be shaped and molded to some real degree by the questions you ask and by the decisions you make and by what you do today, tomorrow, and the next day. Everything you do matters and has a butterfly effect. You are created as one of a kind. There will never be another like you, never again. Your spirit, your thoughts, your feelings and your ability to reason exist in no one else which makes you special and unique. You are no bizarre accident or mere quirk of fate. You have been created to make a positive difference and inherent within you is the drive and power to change the world. Your actions can’t be hoarded, saved for later, or used selectively. By your hand, lives will be altered, caught up in events begun by and/or filtered through you this day. The beating of your heart has meaning and purpose, and your words and actions have value far greater than silver or gold. Your life and what you do with it genuinely matter now and forever. This is our CREATOR’s butterfly effect. Every single decision and consequent deed that you choose to be a part of on this earth creates waves of positive energy and blessings and/or negative energy and resultant consequences. Sir Isaac Newton, the brilliant natural scientist, summed it up centuries ago with this steadfast principle of physics; for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. Always, without fail, there is an inviolate law of cause and effect throughout the universes. This concept is simple, yet literally mindboggling for mere mortals to attempt to wrap their finite minds around, but it is still nonetheless so very real.


      Since each of us cannot relive yesterday, nor precisely predict tomorrow, why don’t we just start with this day and this night. Let’s sincerely prioritize our lives by planning as if we were going to live for one hundred years, but truly live as if the next twenty-four hours were to be our last here on this third planet from the sun. Have we learned the simple truths that we are loved and need to really love others as well? Some of us grasp this, while some do not. In other words, according to Sergeant Alvin York’s wise mother, who faced a tough life of her own raising three children as a single parent in rather bleak economic circumstances in the hills and hollers of Tennessee in the early 1900’s, there are honestly only two kinds of people in the world; those that are loved and know it to the bone and those that are loved and just cannot accept such perceived pollyanna. Alvin York learned this principle quite well and went on to be the US Army Sergeant who earned the Medal of Honor for his feats of selfless courage and absolute determination in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds during World War I.  Where are you in regards to this decision making process and resultant lifelong journey? Where are you right now?


      I can personally tell you where I am and where I am going, humanly speaking. I am legally blind and have ten other significant disabilities that dramatically alter my daily routine. I live with real pain twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Some days the hurdles and challenges I face are taller than other days. But I do not state such wanting your sympathy or to cry on your shoulder. I am stating a rigorously honest fact.


      I have learned in my short sixty-some odd years that life is not fair but that adversity is my friend. I choose to be thankful and count my untold blessings on a diurnal basis.  I am not ashamed of being legally blind. I just cannot see nearly as well as the average Joe and/or Jane that I oft times bump into (pun intended) every day.  But I still am a unique corporeal entity that can do almost anything except see well.


      I refuse to become a downcast prisoner of my own making within my own heart and mind. Life is just too blasted short to go around constantly whining and ever complaining and outright peeing on everybody else’s parade that I come into contact with, or have anything to do with, each and every day. Besides, other folks don’t want to hear all the ugly stuff that I think is wrong with me or the world in general. But they might want to hear that “What the mind of man or woman or child can conceive and believe, it can with GOD’s grace achieve!” Will you choose even now to reject such words as just gibberish, or will you choose of your own free will to attempt to accept this concept and lifestyle of the power of positive thinking for at least the next thirty days and see what good things begin to happen?


      As a matter of fact, what in the world do you have to lose by trying to live your life to the fullest aside from living in a perpetual rut, with the said rut being nothing but a grave with both ends kicked out? You can choose to live in a narrow, darkened, little world where you are always afraid to take a chance to pop your head up and get some fresh air, sunshine and a new perspective on life. You can just go on and on, allowing negative thoughts and ideas to dominate you and thus fill you with a fearful, dreadful, toxic and obsessive thought process that dooms you to give up. Or, you can pick yourself up by your cowboy or cowgirl bootstraps, and give each and every moment of this gift called life a real shot.


      As Dennis Weaver the athlete, Navy pilot, actor, humanitarian and passionate environmentalist (born and raised in Joplin, Missouri in a little wood frame house on old Route 66) of prior Marshall McCloud television series fame was notorious for saying, to his boss the New York City Chief of Police, when faced with a rough if not potentially grueling assignment: “Well, I just don’t know exactly what might happen chief, but I can promise ya’ I’ll give this thing my best shot!” Give the man a round of applause as he chose over and over again, in his personal as well as professional life, to square up to the realities of his particular situation and never give up.


      This sounds amazingly similar to a man named Abraham Lincoln who was just too stubborn to accept the word “quit” as part of his own vocabulary. We now know that as one of our greatest presidents, whose face is carved on Mt. Rushmore, he was also a person who was bipolar and had major depressive episodes throughout his life. As a young man he failed miserably in business and it took him 17 long years in order to repay his every debt. His bride-to- be in Illinois, long before Mary Todd appeared upon the scene to eventually become his southern belle wife, unexpectedly died from a sudden illness and poor Abe literally was totally bedridden for six months overwhelmed by a grief beyond human description. He lost far more political races than he ever won as a self-educated Illinois lawyer and politician; before ever dreaming of running as a dark horse candidate in a US Presidential election.


Upon being elected as the sixteenth President of the great United States of America, his life was repeatedly threatened and he was forced to secret himself by train to get to Washington, D.C. in time for his swearing in ceremony. Then during the years of 1860-1865, called the era of “The War Between the States”, he forced himself to labor 18 to 22 hours a day for six and seven days a week to try to keep us together as one nation and to free every slave; only to be rewarded with cold blooded assassination. Yet, one valid conclusion can be reached from a keen and reasonable study of his adult life: Abraham Lincoln never, never quit. If he had, history may have been irreversibly altered to the point that we living here in Missouri might very well still be in a state of succession and an integral part of “The Confederate States of America”.


      So at this point of this writing, I would like us to come full circle to the mantra of our Low Vision Committee of the Missouri Council of the Blind. Please see the concluding quotation of our committee’s article written by Jeff La Montia for “The Chronicle” published in March of this year: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”  This statement by Napoleon Hill in essence should cause us to stop and ponder about ourselves.  


      Are we really giving our best to the cause(s) in which we each believe, including promoting the Missouri Council of the Blind and its core principles?  If we hesitate deep down inside with our own answer to our own self, then our next question should be, “Why not go for the gusto of living and giving and, yes, even forgiving…ourselves and others also?” May GOD grant us whatever it takes to be what He wants us to be; a person who chooses reconciliation and peace and equilibrium with ourselves, with Him, and with others in a wholesome and beneficial manner that is positive and productive. May we implore Him to grant us the wisdom to ask the proper questions of ourselves in order for us to decide to leave this world a better place for every living person?


      Shall we choose faith, hope and love? Will we follow the golden rule and love our neighbor as ourselves? If yes, then must we not accept the inevitable conclusion that we are worthy of being loved and capable of sharing love and kindness even in this crazy mixed up world?


      Blessings to you and yours from a humble man who cannot count all his blessings; a bona fide tornado survivor from Joplin, Missouri. I am yours in His Majesty’s service, Chaplain CJ Campbell



From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

By John Weidlich


      I am back again with more news and information that I hope you will find informative and useful. Please pass along anything you think should be included in this column. Let’s open the drawer and get started.


      Two of the leading companies in the blindness technology field, AI Squared and GW Micro, have just announced that they are combining their companies and product lines. Gw Micro, with Headquarters in Indiana, is the creator of the popular Window-eyes screen reader. AI Squared, located in Vermont, sells Zoomtext, a screen magnification and text to speech software package.  The announcement, which came out on May 1, did not indicate whether the new company will have a different name or if the two companies will retain their individual identities and locations.


      It could be an exciting summer for Terra Coccovizzo of Kansas City. She will be going to Los Angeles in June to compete in the National Braille challenge. The Braille Challenge is an annual contest to test the Braille skills of blind grade school and high school students in Braille writing. The winners of the regional contests are invited to the national contest in Los Angeles. Many of you know Terra and her sister Sarah. They are the daughters of Linda and John Coccovizzo. They attend school in the Kansas City area. Congratulations, Terra. We all hope she does well. The competition takes place on June 21.


      The Starkloff Disability Institute, here in St Louis, is working hard to place people with disabilities in jobs with major companies who have shown their interest in hiring them. As part of this project, the Institute is collecting resumes from people with disabilities who are looking for work or who are seeking better employment. The only requirement is that you have a college degree or a degree from a technical school. For information or to submit a resume send email to tvinson@starkloff.org


      Last time, I mentioned that the National Braille Press was about to release a new book about using the iPhone. The book is out and it is a very comprehensive guide. It is called Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS 7, an Introduction for Blind Users by Anna Dresner.  It is available in several formats.


The Braille Edition comes in three Volumes.  Part 1 discusses Buying, configuring and loading up your phone.  Part 2 is Starting to use your phone and covers topics including the home screen, gestures, making calls, the notification center, settings, using voice-over, using the rotor, typing with the iPhone keyboard, and Siri. The third part describes using the built-in apps such as contacts, mail, messages, the calendar, reminders, safari, music and the App store, among others. There is also an appendix listing all of the voice-over gestures and iPhone buttons. And there are lists of helpful resources. To order the book, contact National Braille Press, 88 St Stephen Street, Boston, MA or phone (800) 548-7323 or go to www.nbp.org


      Here is another new book from NBP also related to the iPhone. Get the Picture: Viewing the World with the iPhone Camera by Judy Dixon. In this book, Judy covers all aspects of taking pictures with the iPhone camera, from photographing people to photographing sunsets. Judy says the camera on the iPhone does more than just take pictures. She uses it to identify clothing, scan barcodes and identify currency. She also discusses using FaceTime and Skype. The book is available in hard-copy Braille, BRF, Word and Daisy formats. To order, contact National Braille Press.


      Now let’s look at some new magnifiers. Freedom Scientific has released the Ruby XL HD handheld video magnifier, featuring a five-inch screen and high definition imaging. The Ruby has a five-megapixel camera, weighs just over ten ounces and costs $895. For more information, contact Freedom scientific at (800) 444-4443 or visit their website at www.freedomscientific.com.


      The Merlin Ultra Full HD magnifier from Enhanced Vision offers full high definition color and contrast, for sharp images and vibrant colors. The HDD camera gives a wide field of view, displaying more text on the screen. For more information contact Enhanced Vision at (888) 811-3161 or visit their website at www.enhancedvision.com


      The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its annual Bible conference August 2-8 at the Gran Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads BLVD. in Grand Junction, Colorado. For reservations, call (800) 8007796 or (970) 241-8411. The room rate is $79 per night. If you have questions about the conference, call Rheba Dunn at (970) 895-2352.


      You’ve heard of Craig’s List? Well, now there is Lenore’s List. It’s a new web site created by Lenore and David Dvorkin of Denver Colorado, which will run ads exclusively from and for people with disabilities.  Ad categories include employment listings, products, services, accessible housing, communications and publications. Ads may be placed by individuals, organizations or companies. For more information, visit the website www.lenoreslist.com



      Blind Matters is a syndicated Radio talk Show for the blind and visually impaired. Its purpose is to educate, entertain, encourage, advise, and give guidance to the listening audience on topics of interest to the low vision, blind and deaf-blind community. The host, the guests and some of the advertisers are blind or visually impaired. It is broadcast live every Saturday from 2:00-5:00, Central Time on many AM radio stations. I don’t know if any stations in Missouri are currently carrying the program but you can listen on the Internet at www.blindmattersradioshow.com


      The iGlasses ultrasonic Mobility Aid, worn like a pair of eyeglasses, uses vibrations to warn users of objects at chest or head level that may not be detected by a white cane. As the user moves closer to the detected object, the speed of the vibrations increase. This is to be used in addition to a cane or dog guide. The device costs $129.95 and is sold by Independent Living Aids. Their phone number is (800) 537-2118. Their website is www.independentliving.com


      Computers for the Blind provides refurbished computers to blind and visually impaired individuals for a $100 donation. For more information, contact computers for the Blind at (214) 340-6328.


That will do it for this time. Have a good summer.