March 2019 Chronicle

March 2019 Chronicle

From Your Editor

by John Weidlich

Hello Readers, it is very good to be back again as Editor of the Missouri Chronicle. If you have been around for a while, you may remember that I served as Editor of our Magazine for several years back in the 1990s and early 2000s. First, let me pay tribute to all of the fine Editors we have had in the past, including Bill Benson, James Hollins and so many more. It is hard to imagine how difficult it must have been back in the days before technology made it so much easier. Things have changed a lot even since I was Editor, using floppy discs and some email.  Before we get into procedures and such, I want to thank Virginia in the office for all of her help. I am learning some new ways of putting the information together so have patience with me.

The general guidelines governing the Chronicle will stay pretty much the same. Submission deadlines will be the same and I will try to remind you when the deadlines are getting close. We will keep our usual departments: Officers Reports, Committee Chair reports, Affiliate News and, of course, the Lower Left-Hand Drawer. Speaking of Affiliate News, if your affiliate has not been in the habit of submitting articles, why not give it a try, at least occasionally. The articles don't have to be long or fancy. Just give us a brief report about what's going on in your affiliate: new members, fundraisers, projects, elections of new officers, or news about your members. We're curious; we want to know what you're doing.

BUT in addition to the regular material, I would like to see something else; articles from you about things you think would be of interest to readers. I'm thinking about things like your personal experiences, your thoughts on issues like transportation, technology, and interactions with your sighted family and friends. Maybe you've taken a trip, started a new hobby, begun a new job, accomplished something you never thought you could do, or you want to brag about those children and grandkids. This is your magazine and we want to hear from you. Don't worry if you spell a word wrong or use the wrong punctuation; taking care of those things is part of my job. Letters to the Editor are welcome, but they must be signed.  Articles can be sent to the chronicle address, or to my email address,  For some reason, I had a little trouble opening some of the attachments I received, so just a text email is probably best. Subscription changes are being handled by Virginia, so please send address or format changes to her. Ok, let's have some fun and make your magazine as informative and interesting as it can be. 

President's Message

by Naomi Soule

Hello All, I hope the first few months of 2019 have been good ones.  I am writing this article on January 2. 

Since my last article, I've been pretty busy.  In December, I helped provide training regarding hiring people with disabilities at the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association.

Chris and I met with the Family Support Division to discuss issues within the Blind Pension Program.  We focused on providing written communication in appropriate formats, as well as continued frustration with calls not being returned in a timely manner.  Meetings will continue to be an ongoing project.

Chris and I also had a very positive meeting with Kimberly Barge from Paraquad to discuss legislative issues that are of mutual concern that we can work on together.

Chris and I also visited Alphapointe and learned about their legislative concerns which include the WIOA policy of not counting any job as "competitive".  This means that no matter what kind of job a blind person holds, be it managerial, clerical, or working on the line counts as sheltered work.  We also got a tour and learned about their vocational programs, camps and leisure activities.

I want to thank UWB and St.  Charles Council for inviting me to visit their affiliates.  Affiliate Presidents, please let me know when a good time will be to visit your meeting.

In February, I will have spoken at the Missouri Independent Living Council meeting with Denny Huff in Jefferson City.  I will have attended the Centene National Disability Advisory Committee meeting in St. Louis.  I will have attended ACB's Midyear meeting and legislative seminar with Chip Hailey and Chris Gray.  We will have met with Missouri's Congressional and Senate Representatives.  Chris and I will be working with the National Park Service on exhibits at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.

I look forward to seeing you at our Legislative Day in Jefferson City, and thank you in advance for your participation.

Accessible Absentee Ballots for Missouri

by Christopher Gray

Think back for a moment to 2001 and 2002, the years when the Help America Vote legislation really came to the foreground.  We were all so excited to have affirmed finally as blind people our right to vote privately with a secret ballot.  During the first years, schools for the blind, libraries serving the blind and many other similar institutions were designated as special polling places and much attention was given to this by the media.  Over the years though, much of this excitement has waned.  Poorly trained poll workers caused blind voters to wait for hours and still never be able to use the talking machines on which the poll workers hadn't been trained.  Many accessible polls only opened for certain elections which visually impaired voters found discouraging and unpredictable.  However, with the advent of new technology and new players in the accessible voting arena today, it could be that we are coming close to a new era in accessible voting for blind and visually impaired Americans.

I believe that 2019 is a year in which many states, and in particular Missouri, could step up to the plate and offer an Accessible, online "Absentee Vote by Mail Ballot" for disabled voters. Missouri has been offering this to its soldiers and overseas workers for years through a company called Democracy Live. With just a simple flip of a switch, this same service could be available to blind and visually impaired voters in our state.

"Absentee Vote By Mail" (AVBM) is the fastest growing method of voting in America. ACB passed a resolution supporting the concept along with NFB this past summer imploring states to step up and offer this service. Today, California, Ohio, Vermont, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and Maryland all have this option for their voters. In California there was a 200-400% increase in voter use of the AVBM over the ADA-compliant voting machines in precincts. The fact of the matter is voters with disabilities have transportation challenges and literally cannot make it to the polls in many cases. The independence of at-home ballot marking is revolutionary for the disabled.

In this system, a person is not exactly casting a ballot for an election.  What you are really doing is filling out an absentee ballot independently which you can then print and submit at your polling place or through the mail.  In this way, all the controversy about online voting can be set aside and the access for blind and visually impaired voters be the focus.

Here is the ACB resolution adopted on this in July, 2018 right here in St. Louis, MO.

Absentee Balloting

Resolution 2018-02

Whereas, in the United States of America, nearly one in four voters votes by mail; and

Whereas, all voters with and without disabilities have the legal right to vote by mail; and

Whereas, many voters with disabilities lack adequate transportation, skills, or the ability to leave their homes and travel to polling places to vote on accessible voting machines; and

Whereas, voters that cannot see, hold, or mark a ballot due to a disability are the only voters in the United States that must go to an actual polling place if they want to vote privately and independently; and 

Whereas, federal and state law requires equal access to the ballot and voting experience, including the right to a private and independent verifiable mail ballot; and 

Whereas, numerous states and localities around the U.S. have already deployed an accessible alternative to paper absentee and "vote by mail" ballots, and at least two states have already officially certified accessible absentee and "vote by mail" technologies; and

Whereas, accessible absentee and "vote by mail" technologies could be acquired and provided by every state without delay and with a minimum outlay of funds; and Whereas, all states recently received a substantial new allocation from federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds from which a small portion could be utilized for the purchase of such a statewide "Accessible Vote By Mail" (AVBM) technology in every state;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 4th day of July, 2018, at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, MO, that this organization commit to the following:

* The members of state affiliates of the American Council of the Blind request their state to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure equal access to absentee and vote by mail balloting in every state;

* The American Council of the Blind strongly encourages election officials in every state to comply with all state and federal laws which require equal access to ballots and voting by directing all counties to deploy an AVBM solution within six months of an AVBM system (or systems) being approved by that state; and

* In conjunction with the spirit and purpose of this resolution, the Division of Elections or its equivalent in every state is further encouraged to assist local jurisdictions to acquire a single, centralized, uniform AVBM system that state officials would help to develop.

Let's get Missouri on board with this in 2019!

David C. Ekin to Retire as President of Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

After 25 years of serving as President and Chief Executive Officer for the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired and over 35 years in services to those who are blind or have low vision, David C. Ekin will step down in August 2019.

Under Ekin's leadership, the organization's budget increased from $400,000 to $2 million, enabling it to provide more specialized education and training for those who are blind or visually impaired to enhance their independence, health, safety, developmental growth and social interaction.

Seeing the need for services to children, he evaluated the need and implemented school-age services to area school districts.

He enacted a development program to address the need for more diverse funding sources that included direct mail and events, receiving the first multi-year grant, achieving more robust grant writing programs, and hiring the first director of development.

Working with the Board of Directors, he put into place a policy for term limits, board recruitment tools, board member expectations and other policies.

Before coming to the Society, Ekin was Executive Director of Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments where he inherited a $100,000 deficit which, by the time of his resignation, was balanced through a combination of cost control and increased revenue.

Ekin's other positions included Director of Programs and Services at Junior Blind of America (Foundation

for the Junior Blind), Los Angeles, CA; Instructor of Social Work, MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL; and Director of Social Services, Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville, IL. Throughout his career he implemented and managed service delivery models for individuals from birth to older adults, leading to a significant increase in numbers served.

As a member and officer of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ekin was instrumental in the creation and development of a national certification process for Vision Rehabilitation professionals. He was also the recipient of the VisionServe Alliance's Excellence in Leadership Award and MacMurray College's Distinguished Career Award.

Ekin graduated from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science, Sociology, and Psychology, with honors in Sociology. He received a Master of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.  "It has been an honor to serve under Dave's leadership on the Board of Directors, said past Board Chairman Greg Levine, President, Nidec Motor Corporation, Motion Control.  "With Dave's gentle, but focused leadership style he successfully led and strengthened the Society through the multiple strategic plans, maintained services through the great recession and celebrated the Society's amazing 100-year anniversary with the St. Louis community," he said.  "Dave's focused leadership and tireless work made a lasting and significant impact on the Society's ability to enhance, empower, and enrich the clients of the St. Louis Society for the Blind," he added.

According to current Board Chair, Michael B. McKinnis, General Counsel Emeritus, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, "David first joined the Society as President in 1994 after many years in the blindness/low vision field, and he has been the rock of the Society ever since.  His calm, steady and effective leadership has caused the Society to flourish greatly during his tenure and, although we are looking forward to a bright future for the Society, we will certainly miss his day-to-day presence, leadership and genuine good cheer."

Ekin said, "In my 37 years of work in the field of blindness and vision impairment I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the most committed and professional persons one could ever hope to work with.  "It has been an honor to be part of the Society for the Blind for 25 of those years and witness the impact and difference our staff makes in the lives of the children and adults they work with every day! If my impact was even a small portion of what they do my career was well served," he said.  Ekin said he has no plans after retirement except to relax, having spent 35 years in the blindness and vision impairment field.

Founded in 1911, the Missouri Association for the Blind has grown from a small organization to one which now serves more than 1,500 individuals of all ages annually through comprehensive Vision Rehabilitation and Special Education Services.  Today's St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides specialized education and training for individuals in order to enhance their independence, health, safety, adjustment, developmental growth, and social interaction.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month

From The Editor: You probably know by now that MCB has a new special interest affiliate, the Missouri Council of Citizens with Low Vision, (MCCLV.)  They plan to have monthly teleconference calls and present speakers to talk about some of the unique concerns of people with low vision. Here are a couple of articles that Donna found about low vision.

Here's eye-opening news: Currently, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired.  Of these, 3 million have low vision.

By 2030, when the last baby boomers turn 65, the number of Americans who have visual impairments is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision.  For the millions of people who currently live or will live with low vision, the good news is there is help.

Vision rehabilitation can make a big difference to a person adjusting to vision loss and should be considered a key part of a patient's overall care.

What is Low Vision?  Low vision is when even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing, which makes everyday tasks difficult to do. Activities that used to be simple like reading the mail, shopping, cooking, and writing can become challenging. 

Most people with low vision are age 65 or older. The leading causes of vision loss in older adults are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma. Among younger people, vision loss is most often caused by inherited eye conditions, infectious and autoimmune eye diseases, or trauma. For people with low vision, maximizing their remaining sight is key to helping them continue to live safe, productive, and rewarding lives.

The first step is to seek help.  "I encourage anyone with low vision to seek guidance about vision rehabilitation from a low vision specialist," advises Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the federal government's principal agency for vision research.

What is a low vision specialist?  A low vision specialist is an ophthalmologist or optometrist who works with people who have low vision.  A low vision specialist can develop a vision rehabilitation plan that identifies strategies and assistive devices appropriate for the person's particular needs.

"A vision rehabilitation plan helps people reach their true visual potential when nothing more can be done from a medical or surgical standpoint," explains Mark Wilkinson, OD, a low vision specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Chair of the Low Vision Subcommittee for the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP).  Vision rehabilitation can include the following: 

* Training to use magnifying and adaptive devices

* Teaching new daily living skills to remain safe and live independently

* Developing strategies to navigate around the home and in public

* Providing resources and support

There are also many resources available to help people with low vision. NEI offers a 20-page, large-print booklet, titled “What You Should Know About Low Vision,” and companion DVD, featuring inspiring stories of people living with low vision. This booklet and DVD, among other resources, are available at

Tips to Enhance Your Vision at Home

  1. Use Task Lighting for Better Light
    • Use CFL Bulb of 15 watt or more, equivalent to 60-watt incandescent
    • Daylight bulb better than soft white
    • Direct light down on material
  2. Use Quality Magnification Tools
    • Lighted or Non-Lighted
    • Hand Held are more portable
    • Electronic Magnification Devices
  3. Protect Eyes from Sun and Glare
    • Wear sunglasses or hat when outside
    • UV Rays may cause damage
  4. Use Non-Optical Aids
    • Large number phones and other aids
    • Talking devices
    • Bold Line Paper
    • Large Print /size pill boxes
  5. Keep Your Home Safe
    • Reduce Clutter, be organized
    • Arrange furniture for clear paths
    • Remove or tape down throw rugs
    • Use plates and cups that contrast tablecloths or placemats
  6. Set Up an Ideal Working Area
    • Good Task Lighting
    • Desk or table free of clutter
    • Comfortable and adjustable chair
  7. Slow Down and Pace Yourself
    • Most Falls happen when rushing
    • Using magnification requires practice
    • Read for shorter periods of time
  8. Obtain Large Print Materials
    • Books, checks, bills, address books
    • Religious Resources
  9. Use Your Resources
    • Services from local or state agencies
    • Order groceries by phone or internet
    • Large print utility bills and bank services
    • Public Transportation

Committee Reports

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chairman

Hi Everyone, I want to take a minute to give you an update on our technology grants and provide an overview of this great program for those of you who might not be aware of it and how it works.

Missouri Council knows how life changing certain types of technology can be to a blind person. We are also aware the cost of this type of technology can be expensive and may be out of reach for some people.  Therefore, MCB provides the adaptive technology grant.  Each year MCB sets aside moneys for technology that blind persons of Missouri can apply for to help offset the cost of adaptive technology.

How it works:  For MCB members, MCB will match dollar for dollar for most types of adaptive technology with a $3,000 limit over any five (5) year period. Any blind resident of Missouri who is not a member of MCB can also receive a grant, but we will match 25% of the total cost with the same $3,000 limit.

2018-2019 Funding:  The adaptive technology grant program budget has been approved by the Board for $30,000.00. We began accepting applications on November 1st.  If this program can help you, I would encourage you to apply. We generally run out of money by the summer.

Purpose:  The MCB technology grant is a matching grant to help Missouri blind and low vision persons obtain all types of adaptive technology. The Missouri Council of the Blind (MCB) created this Adaptive Technology Grants Program to help fulfill its mission of enriching the lives of legally blind Missourians. Adaptive technology can be very expensive so MCB understands why many legally blind Missourians are not benefiting from its use. For the purpose of this grant program, adaptive technology is considered hardware, software, electronics, equipment, etc. that is standalone or works in conjunction with a computer that makes it possible for blind people to do things that sighted people can already do without using adaptive technology.

Coverage:  The Adaptive Technology Grants Program widely covers both hardware and software based adaptive technology, including upgrades and maintenance agreements, and narrowly covers computer systems as required by or used in conjunction with accompanying adaptive technology, such as screen magnification software, screen reader software, or a scanning system.

Purchase of a computer along with or for use with accompanying adaptive technology is only eligible for up to a $400 matching funds grant. Only new adaptive technology and computers are covered, including adaptive technology upgrades to newer versions; used or previously owned adaptive technology and computers are not covered.

Note: A full copy of the grant guidelines as well as an application can be found on our web site at: or by contacting the MCB office at (314) 832-7172. You can also contact me anytime.  This is a wonderful program and I encourage you to take advantage of it if you need to.

The Committee: The Adaptive Technology Committee is made up of three members; Darrel Vickers, Nancy Lynn and Donna Giger.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact me by email at or by phone at 636-667-3176.  Until next time, take Care.

Important Bylaws/Resolutions Reminder

by Janelle Edwards, Bylaws/Resolutions Committee Chair

To have a representation on the Bylaws/Resolutions Committee, if a regular affiliate is not currently represented, or the representative has changed, by September 1, regular affiliate presidents must notify the office which member will represent their affiliate. The representative may be changed later in some circumstances.  Proposed bylaw amendments, or resolutions, must be submitted to me by July 15 by two members, or an MCB committee, or a regular affiliate, or a special interest affiliate.  If you have questions my contact information is in the Chronicle insert.

Special Services

by Joe Dobbs, MCB Special Services Program Chair

MCB offers a special services grant to any eligible member of the Missouri Council of the Blind as well as any legally blind or visually impaired non-member as long as they are a Missouri resident.

The purpose of the grant is to assist individuals with meeting any temporary or unexpected emergency.

MCB members may be eligible for the full grant up to $500.  Non-members may be eligible for only half the grant, up to $250.  Non-members must submit verification of blindness (letter on official letterhead from doctor, state or private agency).  Applications may be acquired from the MCB Office by calling (314) 832-7172 or 1-800-342-5632 or by e-mailing  Individuals may also write to the Missouri Council of the Blind at Missouri Council of the Blind, 5453 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, MO 63109.  The Special Services Committee meets every Wednesday morning to go over the past week's grant requests.  All approved grants are then sent back to the MCB Office for payment to the third party vendor.  Grants are limited to 1 per household within a 3-year period.

For additional information or with any questions please feel free to call Joe Dobbs at (636) 725-5901 or e-mail him at  You are also welcome to visit the MCB Special Services Grant Guidelines on our website at  I hope you will take advantage of the program and share this announcement with your affiliates.  Joe and his Special Services Committee wishes to help individuals meet those little life's unexpected surprises and you can help by getting the word out.

Youth Camp

by Linda Gerken, Youth Services Committee Chair

It may still be cold outside, but it is that time of the year to start talking to your child about where they want to go to camp.  There are a lot of fun camps out there for your child to learn new skills, meet new friends, have tons of fun and to experience new things.  As soon as you and your child know which camp is the one, make sure to get your application in to the office.  We want to help you make sure your child has a great summer.

Youth Services

by Linda Gerken, Youth Services Committee Chair

Some teachers will talk to the parents in the spring about the next fall school year.  That being said, if you know something your child is going to need next year for school, make sure and get your application in so we can get it ordered.  Please, if we can help you in any way, feel free to call me any time.

Education and Advocacy Report

By Chip Hailey, MCB Education & Advocacy Chair

Greetings fellow MCB legislative advocates.  On Wednesday, January 9th began the 100th General Assembly of the Missouri State Legislature with legislators being sworn in and the Senate having already seen its first filibuster!  What many thought would be nothing more than a rubber stamp by the Senate body on some minor modifications to the Senate Rules became a daytime-long debate and filibuster over the proposed rule changes.

The rule changes were deemed to be minor (changing the number of members on a few committees and a clarification on withdrawing bills).  The extended debate seemed to be a little misplaced and therefore took on the tone of a message being sent to newly-elected Senate President Pro-Tem Dave Schatz.

However, Senator Schatz and Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden showed they are willing to make the body work through problems.  It is far too early to determine whether this situation is a predictor of future behavior, but it is now something everyone at the Capitol will be keeping a close eye on.  But the Senate was finally able to finish their committee assignments and can be viewed at the following link:  The House committee chairs and vice chairs were also assigned and can be found at the following link:  You may click on the following links to locate contact information for your elected officials and their Missouri State Capitol offices:

Missouri House of Representatives:

Missouri Senate:

The Missouri State Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget has already began the drafting stages.  The budget process starts in the hands of the five House Appropriations Committees, followed by the House Budget Committee, then on to the Senate Appropriations Committee and lastly by a joint Conference Committee that is organized to negotiate the differences by the Constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget by May 10th. 

You may review the various state department's FY19 budget requests by clicking on the following link:

Also, so far over 520 House bills and over 230 Senate bills have already been filed.  More details of interest to MCB members are sure to come.

On Wednesday, January 16, Governor Mike Parson gave his State of the State address.  Traditionally the State of the State includes the Governor's legislative agenda and recommended budget.  Since he took office six months ago, which include investments toward workforce development and infrastructure, the two major priorities will continue to hold a clear presence.  In a determined tone, Governor Parson made it clear that the two priorities must be a team effort by Republicans and Democrats to bring more jobs to Missouri and ensure our infrastructure is prepared to support our future.

Many changes from 2018 to 2019 had already taken place and below are just a few:

After the end of the 2018 legislative session, Senator Mike Kehoe was named as Lieutenant Governor by Governor Parson (who vacated the Lt. Governor's Office).  Attorney General Josh Hawley was elected to the United States Senate and has taken office.  State Treasurer Eric Schmitt was named by Governor Parson to replace Hawley as Attorney General.  House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick was named by Governor Parson to replace Schmitt as State Treasurer.  He will be sworn into office next week.  Representative Cody Smith was named House Budget Chairman by House Speaker Elijah Haahr.  House Appropriations Staff Director Mike Price was named Deputy Treasurer by Treasurer Fitzpatrick.  Senator Dave Schatz was elected President Pro-Tem of the Missouri Senate.  Senator Caleb Rowden was elected Majority Floor Leader of the Missouri Senate.  Senator Dan Hegeman was named Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  I will have a great deal to report on regarding our MCB Legislative Days in the next issue of the Chronicle.

Convention Report

by Jesuita Tabor, Convention Coordinator

Welcome to Kansas City at the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza, One East 45th Street, Kansas City MO 64111.  Make your reservation by calling 816-753-7400. The Convention dates are Thursday October 3 through Sunday, October 6. The room rate is $109 per night plus tax.  The Board meeting will be held on Thursday, October 3rd at 7pm.  Due to lack of donations and high cost there will not be any goodie bags.  Due to an overwhelming request, there will not be a Friday hospitality night. This will be a free night where you can enjoy friends and dining at your expense.  Voting will take place on Saturday afternoon. We will still enjoy the Saturday night Banquet.

There will be no additional changes to the agenda.  You can reserve your reservations now. We look forward to seeing you in Kansas City.

Summer Camp Report

by Beverly Kaskadden, Chair

I am sending Spring greetings to our readers even though the temperature has warmed up to 25 degrees.  That is such an improvement from 4 degrees’ yesterday.  I have had thoughts of spending time at Cobblestone with much warmer temperatures.  I am so looking forward to attending Summer camp at Cobblestone with so many friends.

Applications and guideline packets will be sent out to Affiliate Presidents before you receive this newsletter.  Please use these applications or the one on the website since they have been updated.  Also, please read the Guidelines carefully.  If there are any questions, contact me any time, and I will be happy to answer any questions.  We must have the applications in by May 1st so we can give Cobblestone Lodge our reservations.

I am hoping to have a couple new projects while at Cobblestone this year. Your Summer Camp Committee with the Cobblestone staff are always open to fresh ideas for your entertainment.  I love hearing everyone's ideas.

We still have funds in the Otella Robeson Grant. If you have any questions about this grant, the Guidelines are available on the MCB website.  Also, I can answer your questions.

Here is what I recommend.  First, read the Guidelines, fill out your applications, and get them sent in to the MCB office. Second, be planning your talent for the famous Cobblestone Talent Show.  Third, start packing, and last, imagine sitting on the Cobblestone porch with dear friends.  I love uniting with good friends, and making new friends.  Start packing!  You can contact me by email at or by phone (636) 561-6947 or my cell is (636) 541-2503.

Member of the Month

by Yvonne Schnitzler, Chair

March two-thousand and eighteen marked the Tenth Anniversary of the Member of the Month award. Past President Denny Huff introduced the program as a way to distinguish and express appreciation and gratitude to the Missouri Council of the Blind members working in the background supporting the blind and visually impaired and/or those who have caused a difference in the community. The nomination write-ups offer the membership an opportunity to become better acquainted with their peers and to acquire fresh ideas to propose to their affiliate. The MCB gratefully recognized 119 members since its inception in 2009. Irene Stoll was the first to receive the award.

Patrick Patton was the May 2018 Member of the Month. Patrick was employed by the Internal Revenue Service for 20 years as a tax law specialist and instructor. He taught basic tax law at the World Services of the Blind and instructed volunteers with the Metro St. Louis Community Tax Coalition to ensure low income taxpayers free tax preparation. He became the liaison for MCTC and the Central Baptist Church's community outreach ministry program. Patrick set up a site for free tax preparation where over 700 federal and state tax returns were prepared and filed. He was a mentor to the blind and visually impaired employees at the St. Louis IRS call site. In her nomination letter, Wilma Chestnut said that "Patrick is dedicated to restoring hope, inspiration and motivation to those who are blind or visually impaired."

In June, the River City Workers of the Blind honored Charter member Bill Godwin for his years of commitment and loyalty to the RCWB. He serves as their treasurer but is unable to be as active as he would like because of serious health issues. In the past Bill provided transportation, led fundraisers and headed numerous club projects. He took pleasure wearing the hat of special grill cook for affiliate picnics and enjoyed attending summer camp. Bill has been an ideal example for the MCB. He is involved in his church and has held a position on numerous boards.

Merle Long, a valued member of Allied Workers for the Blind, won the award for July. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Merle joined the AWB four years ago and served as Vice President for two years. He is AWB's entertainment chairperson. His diverse planned activities have produced a sharp increase in attendance at meetings and have provided a greater opportunity for members to interact with the community. Merle enjoys reading, history, working on cars and playing the guitar.

August award winner Judith Bryant was nominated by the Blind of Central Missouri. Judith was on the MCB Scholarship committee and represented the BCM at Legislative Days in Jefferson City. In the 1970's, she served as President of the Blind and Physically Handicapped of Central Missouri. Judith, a graduate of Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia received her K-12 Special Education EMH-LD and BD in May 1992 and Master Hour's certificates in the Visually Impaired program. She reads grades one, two, and three in Nemeth Code. Judith is active in the Bethany Baptist Church in Sedalia. While residing in southern Missouri, she was a member of the Delta Area Blind in Sikeston and held the office of Secretary and Legislative Representative.

Bob Collier received the recognition in September. Nominated by Chip Hailey, he has been Chip's guide and driver for several years. Always wearing a friendly smile, Bob is readily available to help those in need. He assisted numerous attendees at the ACB National Convention in St. Louis and at the ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C. He worked with the Missouri Assistive Technology Power Up Expo in Columbia and the Leadership Conference in St. Louis. Bob is a tremendous asset and friend to all and genuinely cares for and enjoys serving others. Bob is active on the Credentials Committee.

Brian Hallows, the recipient for October, represented the United Workers for the Blind on the Education and Advocacy Committee and on the MCB Board. Brian has an abundance of spunk and energy, delights in summer camp, and is always available for an animated game of Pass the Trash. He looks forward to enlivening guests at camp with his rendition of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon around Little Lee", a parody of camp shenanigans. Brian has a way of endearing people, making them feel welcome, and in time of sorrow manifesting the love and care that abounds in his heart. Celita White, who nominated Brian said, "The MCB is his family, next to his own family, wife Kim, son Ryan, daughter Amy, and his favorite grandson, Eli. Brian wears MCB like a badge and is extremely proud to be part of the organization".

Sharon Newland was presented the award for November. Nominated by the Blind of Central Missouri, Sharon is known for her selfless service and actions toward others and the organization. With her friendly attitude, people feel at ease when she greets and welcomes them to camp and other events. With love of photography, her camera is always at the ready capturing the exploits of members having fun and working together. Sharon is happy to offer her assistance whenever and wherever she is needed. Much of her time is devoted to her church community. Sharon radiates joy and happiness wherever she happens to be.

December's winner, Bob Jaco, was nominated by Bunny Maginnis. Bob, a member of MCB for many years, has participated in numerous ways to benefit the blind of Missouri. He has served the United Workers for the Blind as secretary and has attended legislative days in Jefferson City. He sits on the board of Midwestern Braille, holds an office in the Friends of Wolfner Library, and is active in the Maplewood Lions club. A fun loving guy, Bob likes nothing better than a party. He looks forward to entertaining at Cobblestone Lodge during the summer and the September weekend camps. Bob attends church regularly and is always looking to help others.

Membership Committee

by Denny Huff, Chairperson

I want to thank our president, Naomi Soule for allowing me to serve MCB as the Membership Chair. I will do my best to serve MCB in this position and hope my committee will be a benefit to each affiliate.  My committee consists of Debra Witt from Springfield, Wanda Matlock from Sikeston and Halley Korff from Kansas City.

I first want to announce that we will have a membership drive with an award of $300.00 to the winning affiliate. The affiliate with the highest growth percentage from September 1, 2018 through August 31, 2019 will be the winner. So, if an affiliate has 20 members on the roll that was turned in to the office last year and on August 31 of 2019, they turn in 25 members to the office that will be a growth of 25%.  I'll try and post the leading affiliate in the next publication of the Chronicle.

If your affiliate is struggling to recruit new members, the Membership Committee is here to help you. Please feel free to contact me so we can try and begin to work out a plan designed especially for your affiliate. My email address is, and my phone number is 636-428-1500. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for help.

Finally, I want to remind you of the First Timers Scholarship to the MCB convention. If you know of someone that qualifies according to the guidelines below, please let us know about them.

First-Timer Program Guidelines

The MCB First-Timer Program exists to make it possible for adults who have not previously attended an MCB Convention to do so in order to give them the opportunity to learn about the resources and technology available to legally blind residents of Missouri, to meet other visually-impaired individuals, and to encourage them to get involved, or to increase their involvement, in MCB.

The First-Timer Program is an initiative of the Membership Committee, and while they may seek assistance from outside their committee, it is their responsibility to organize and execute the program each year.

The Membership Committee will seek First-Timer nominees by distributing applications for the program throughout the state each January.

First-Timers must be a resident of Missouri, be legally blind, at least 18 years of age, and they must have not previously attended an MCB convention.

The Membership Committee will select up to four First-Timers to attend the upcoming convention, (along with two runners-up in case one of the chosen First-Timers has a conflict).

The Membership Committee will provide three nights lodging for each First-Timer, as well as transportation to and from the convention, and seven meals three meals Friday, two meals Saturday plus the banquet, and one meal Sunday).  The members of the Membership Committee, and/or individuals appointed by the committee, are to act as ambassadors to the First-Timers during their time at convention. There cannot be more than two First-Timers assigned to each ambassador. This responsibility includes answering the First-Timer's questions, introducing her or him to MCB members, providing guidance around the hotel, and teaching the First-Timer about MCB.  To apply for the First Timers Scholarship please go to,  God Bless and enjoy the warmer weather coming our way.

Affiliate Affairs – where we find out what's happening in your part of Missouri

Blind of Central Missouri

Joe Morgan, Vice President

Hello from Sedalia!  It's really cold here today, I think we are making up for the past winters when it wasn't quite this cold.  We held our annual Christmas party on December 2, 2018 at the Celebration Center in Sedalia. Country Kitchen restaurant catered it for us and everyone enjoyed the good food. They offered to let us have our party next year at the restaurant when they are not open on Sunday evening and we would have the restaurant to ourselves, and we will take them up on that offer. We sang Christmas carols and prizes were handed out.  We are making plans for our pizza party for the March meeting and we will also be filling out camp applications. 

We are also making plans for our annual picnic on Sunday June 30, 2019.  Well that's all the news for this time.  Until next time stay warm and keep smiling!

Hello to Everyone from Delta Area Blind!

by Wanda Matlock, President

Hopefully by the time you receive this issue of the Missouri Chronicle, we will be having some very nice Spring like weather.  On November 27, 2018, we had our affiliate Christmas party at the China Buffet in Sikeston.  We were happy to have members from River City Workers of the Blind and SEMO United Blind Club along with Lisa Angle from United Way and Pastor Wallenberg from Concordia Lutheran Church as our special guests.

On December 6th, we traveled to St. Louis for our annual shopping day at the Service Club for the Blind.  Thanks to the ladies at the Service Club for all of their assistance helping us to spend our money.  We love it!  After shopping, it was so nice to have Jim and Patti Schonlau join us at Pietro's restaurant for a very nice lunch.

On March 12 and 13, Mr. Jim Taul and Ms. LaWana Copeland will be traveling to Jefferson City for Legislative Days.  Mr. Jim is our Education and Advocacy Representative and Ms. LaWana is our treasurer for Delta Area.

If anyone would like to come to one of our affiliate meetings, we meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Sikeston.

From all the members of Delta Area of the Blind, we hope that everyone has an awesome Spring!

News from Missouri Guide Dog Users

by Judy Burch, MGDU Secretary

Hello and wags from your MGDU special interest affiliate.  This year is turning out to be a very busy one for us, and we are so excited to share great news with you!  We had a good meeting in October at the MCB convention in Jefferson City.  Our Board officers are President Paul Mimms, Vice President Kim Hallows, Secretary Judy Burch, Treasurer Sarah Calhoun, and member-at-large, Kay Malmquist.

Since the October meeting, we have been working on plans to host a retreat in Branson, Missouri.  The dates are April 25-April 28, 2019.  Below is the flyer which will give you information about the retreat, and the registration form that needs to be completed and returned by March 25.  Please note, you don't have to be a member of Missouri Guide Dog Users to attend this retreat.  Guide dog handlers who belong to other organizations and those who don't belong to any organization, as well as those from out of state are welcome, too!

Flyer for MGDU Branson Retreat

Missouri Guide Dog Users (MGDU) would like to invite all guide dog teams for a fun-filled weekend in Branson from April 25 to 28, 2019! You need not be a MGDU member to attend, everyone is welcome!

MGDU is proud to announce our keynote speaker, Director of Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center, Dr. Thomas Schwartz DVM, will be speaking on dog related health issues. Throughout Friday and Saturday, various guide dog related topics will be presented. Discussions, tips and tricks are welcome!

On Thursday evening in the Eagles Nest, there will be a Meet & Greet! A plated dinner will be provided.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided on Friday and Saturday.

We hope you will join us in Branson for this relaxing, but fun-filled time with other guide dog teams!  Come meet fellow guide dog handlers while enjoying beautiful Branson! Take a nice relaxing walk with your guide dog around the resort!


Westgate Branson Woods Resort, 2201 Roark Valley Road, Branson, MO 65616.  The resort phone number is 417-334-2324.  To make your reservations, please call: 877-502-7058.  You need to mention the group code, 64228, along with the group name, Missouri Guide Dog Users.

Room rate per night with two traditional queen beds is $58.00. These room rates are available to us from April 22 thru May 1, 2019.  The Room Rates do not include taxes. Current taxes on resort guest rooms are 12.1% but tax rate is subject to change without notice.  Registration per person is $100.  For more information about the Missouri Guide Dog Users and Friends Branson Retreat, please call Sarah Calhoun at 636-942-5956 or visit our website at  We hope to see you there!


Please complete the following:


Street address:



Zip Code:

Phone number:

Secondary phone number:

Email address:

Do you have a guide dog? Please mark yes or no.

Your Box Lunch Choices for Friday and Saturday.




White or Wheat bread



Thin Sliced Turkey



Thin Sliced Chicken



Apple or Orange



Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookie



Water or Can Soda



If you would like to register by telephone, please call Sarah Calhoun at 636-942-5956. MGDU accepts VISA or MasterCard. Please mail checks along with your registration form to: Sarah Calhoun, 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052. Or email registration form to  Please remember to make your resort reservations separately. Contact Westgate Branson Woods Resort to make your resort reservations, please call: 1-877-502-7058.  You need to mention the group code: 64228, along with the group name: Missouri Guide Dog Users.  The deadline to complete your registration form, including your payment, along with making your resort reservations is by Monday, March 25, 2019.

MGDU Branson Menu (s)

Thursday Meet and Greet

Grilled Chicken Breast, House Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork, Caesar Salad, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Fresh Baked Rolls, Assortment of Brownies and Cookies, Iced Tea or Lemonade and Water Service.

Friday Breakfast

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs, Applewood Smoked Bacon Strips, English Muffins with Assorted Jellies and Butters Vanilla Yogurt with Granola Seasonal Whole Fruit, Assorted Muffins Coffee, Orange Juice and Water Service.

Friday Lunch

Boxed Lunch Option—Assortment of Flavors. Thin Sliced Turkey, Thin Sliced Honey Ham, or Sliced Chicken Breast with Tomato, Lettuce and American Cheese on White or Wheat Bread, Individual Bags of Chips, Whole Apple or Orange, Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Bottled Water or a Can of Assorted Soda.

Friday Dinner

Build your Own Pasta Bar: Caesar Salad Linguini Pasta Noodles Alfredo Pasta Noodles Spaghetti, Meat Sauce Garlic Alfredo Sauce Parmesan Cheese for Topping Roasted Garlic Sticks Cheesecake with Fruit Topping Iced Tea or Lemonade and Water Service.

Saturday Breakfast

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs, Applewood Smoked Bacon Strips, English Muffins with Assorted Jellies and Butters Vanilla Yogurt with Granola Seasonal Whole Fruit, Assorted Muffins Coffee, Orange Juice and Water Service.

Saturday Lunch

Boxed Lunch: Thin Sliced Turkey, Thin Sliced Honey Ham, or Sliced Chicken Breast with Tomato, Lettuce and American Cheese on White or Wheat Bread Individual Bags of Chips Whole Apple or Orange Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bottled Water or a Can of Assorted Soda.

Saturday Formal Dinner Evening Menu

Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Italian Dressings House Glazed Grilled Salmon Baked, Chicken Breast with light Butter Sauce Mashed Potatoes with Gravy Chef's Mixed Vegetables Fresh Dinner Rolls with Warm Butter Sliced Cheesecake with a Strawberry Topping Iced Tea, Lemonade and Water Service.

St. Charles County Council of the Blind

by Margy Petrofsky

Saturday, November 10, we took a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  We went in a special room for a hands on tour.  We were shown and could feel a whale vertebra which was very heavy.  They explained that if a whale had legs it could not live on land because the weight of its bones would cause it to collapse.  In the water it can survive and maneuver itself with no problem.  We were also given the vertebra or neck bones of a giraffe.  The bones were much lighter.  An interesting thought is a giraffe has seven vertebrae in its neck, the same as humans.  We were able to feel different furs and parts of various animals that have died like elephant legs, a giraffe tail and lions tongue.  The tongue of a lion is very bumpy, just like a house cat for those of us who haven't been licked by a cat.  A cat will not lick a person unless they really like them.  So if you have ever been kissed by a cat, consider yourself lucky.

Our Christmas party was held at Trailhead Brewery in St. Charles on main street.   The food was great, we played games and exchanged gifts.  Everybody had a great time.  Johanna and Kim out did themselves as usual, great job ladies.  The eighteenth of December we went Christmas caroling.  We went to the same places as last year.  Some of the residents and staff turned their hearing aids way down.  Some of the staff asked me if I would sing a solo.  So low that nobody could hear me. 

Our January meeting was over the phone.  I missed not seeing everybody but it was nice to be in my pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate.  Our January outing was to the Lions club to see a movie called, “Pick of the Litter.”  It followed the lives of several guide dogs, one was Poppit who actually knew Sounder, Denny’s guide dog. I kept telling Sounder there was his old buddy but he wasn't very impressed.  Everybody brought a covered dish for a pot luck dinner.  As usual, I out did myself with a home cooked dish from Schnuck’s deli. 

I hope everybody is staying warm, just remember everyday is a day closer to Spring.

The UWB Report

by John Weidlich

ewfI know you haven't heard from us in quite a while but the United Workers is still around and growing. We now have 67 members with the addition of several new members including Nancy Henry, Jeff Grace, Marko Petric, Erica Walz, Lynn Smith, Nicole Pruett, Arland Grigsbe, Sheryl Townsend, Harry Kastrup, a family consisting of Ken, Ruth, and Justin Thompkins and a soon-to-be high school graduate, Ali Kricho.  We were saddened by the loss of two members, Michael Keller and Rick Burch, who were such great assets to UWB and MCB over the years.

Our President is Kay Malmquist, who also serves as a Director on the MCB Board, who is looking for new opportunities and challenges for UWB. Several of our members are recovering from serious illnesses and surgeries. Kim Vaughn is undergoing several months of rehab and therapy following major surgery but is making significant progress.  Linda Kinkelar is back home following more knee surgeries and Brian Hallows is recovering from surgery for a brain tumor. Florence Sikorski and Diana Dawne also had recent surgeries. Some others, including Peggy Smith are also dealing with health issues and we keep them all in our thoughts and prayers.

Several members from other local affiliates joined UWB members on a trip to the St. Louis Zoo Museum, where they examined many interesting objects and had lunch. You can read much more about that in the report from the St. Charles Council.

Several UWB members have been honored to receive the Member of the Month Award from MCB and we are happy to announce that Judy Burch was the recipient of the January Award for all that she does for UWB, MCB and for RSB. She was nominated by Ali Kricho. Judy truly is a hard worker and a kind person. Congratulations, Judy.

UWB held a Christmas party and were pleasantly surprised by a visit from Kathey Wheeler from Kansas City. MCB President Naomi Soule was also in attendance. We will be having a picnic on May 4, a great opportunity to get to know some of those new members.

That is all for this time. The next time we get together, winter will be just a very bad memory.

The RITE Report

by Bunny Maginnis

Hello everyone, it seems an eternity since we have had a normal meeting. We had to cancel our meeting in January due to inclement weather. Our next meeting will be held at the MCB building on Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm. Of course we are like several other affiliates looking for new members.  So if you are bored with winter and would like to get out for an evening, feel free to join us. It is not necessary to make reservations. Just come as you are.

I would like to thank Chris Gray for his presentation of the ABLE Account of Missouri at our November meeting. His explanation was interesting, clear and informative.

Our Christmas party was held at Onesto's restaurant on December 1st. Everyone had a good time.

There are many plans in the future for Rite. We will be reaching out to the community to participate in activities that will promote opportunities for the blind and visually impaired. We will be inviting speakers to visit our meetings to talk about safety, self help and other interesting subjects. We will be having socials and taking trips. And guess what, you will be invited to join us.  I guess that is about all the noise I can make for this time. Stay warm and be safe.  Warm blessings


November 15, 2018

The meeting was called to order by President Naomi Soule at 7:00 PM. Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. All officers were present. Affiliates not represented were: Act Now! Council of the Blind, Pony Express Association of the Blind, Lake Stockton Area Council of the Blind, Southeast Missouri United Blind Club.  Camp Committee Chair Beverly Kaskadden was also present.

The agenda was approved.

The October 4, 2018 Minutes were approved.

Treasurer's Report:  Robert Vaughn gave the Treasurer's Report.  The account balances are as follows: Checking $64,624.67, Morgan Stanley $2,830,501.65 and US bank $519,101.40 for an investment total of $3,349,603.05.

President Naomi Soule welcomed Chris Gray.

Chris gave a fundraising report. Now that other matters have settled down in the office focus is once again on fundraising.

Naomi spoke about meetings and presentations she has given.

Camp Chair Beverly Kaskadden asked the Board to put in the Summer Camp Guidelines that emotional support animals not be allowed at camp. Darrell Vickers moved that this statement be added to the guidelines. After some discussion a roll call vote was taken and the motion passed by a 14-2 vote.

Darrell Vickers read the list of Committee Chairs. Darrell Vickers moved that the Low Vision Committee be removed. The motion was adopted.

Sabrina Fowler moved that the committee chairs be approved. The motion was adopted.

Joe Morgan moved that we go in to closed session to discuss legal matters. The motion was adopted.

When we came out of closed session, there was discussion about who should be on the phone during Board meetings. Chris Gray suggested that we have the parliamentarian guide us in this matter. The meeting was adjourned at 8:38 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary.


From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

by John Weidlich

Not much to report this time but I will try to have more in June. If you have anything that you think should be included here, send it to me.

You probably remember that last year, when I wrote an article about our friend Father Boni, the Founder of Radio Information Service, I mentioned many of the awards he received while he was alive. Well, another honor is being given to him in March. Father Boni will be one of twelve St. Louis radio broadcasters and media figures being inducted in to the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, which honors current and former persons for their work in radio and other media in St. Louis. The ceremony will take place on March 30 at a hotel in Downtown St. Louis. Other inductees will include Carol Daniels from KMOX, Johnny Rabbit, and TV meteorologist Dave Maury. The emcee for the event will be KSDK Newsman Art Holiday. Each inductee will speak for five minutes and accept the award. In the case of inductees who, like Father Boni, are deceased, the award will be presented to a family member or a representative from the honoree's work place. I am planning to be there, and, in fact, I wouldn't miss it, and I will give you a full report in the next issue.

Have you ever hit your leg on your dishwasher door because you forgot that you or someone else left it open?  It hurts when you do that. Now there is a solution; the dishwasher door open alert. It's a box measuring four by three inches that is mounted on the dishwasher door. When the door is lowered, the unit beeps and chirps until you close the door. It uses one nine-volt battery. Instructions are available in print or by email. For information, send an email to or call (845) 282-0643. Sorry, no price given.

My Great-niece is always looking for something unusual for me for Christmas. One year it was a rain stick. Well, she really out did herself this time. I don't know who makes it but she came across it on Amazon. It is a book of ten touch and feel mazes embossed with raised lines and dots. The instructions in Braille say, “challenge your sense of touch. Begin at the triangle. Trace the tip of your finger along the dots. If the dots come to a dead end, turn back and seek a different path. You've solved the maze when you reach the circle. Do it again and again.” Each maze covers most of a page. I did manage to do the sample one which was pretty easy but the rest look really complicated and I don't have a lot of patience for this kind of puzzle, but I will keep trying, I think. There are a total number of ten mazes, each on a separate page. My Great-niece loves me, I think. She says she does.  Well, I'm going to stop now and go work on a maze.