September 2020 Chronicle

September 2020 Chronicle

Editor’s Note

In case you did not read your letter from the MCB office, you must be registered by September 15, 2020 and all your dues paid in order to vote in the October MCB virtual convention.

President’s Report

By Naomi Soule, President

It is the end of July, and a lot has taken place over this last year.  I attended three affiliate Christmas parties in December, and really enjoyed seeing many of you.

I also attended AGAPE Council of the Blinds’ 9th annual Black History program.  It was entitled, “St. Louis Legends.”  I announced and gave out proclamations and certificates to five members of MCB.

The year 2020 included working with the National Park Service on signage for the Gateway Arch grounds, visiting the Saint Louis Aquarium and advising them on what will be needed to make the Aquarium fun and educational to blind and visually impaired visitors.  This will be an ongoing project.  I will continue to work with the Universal Design Group on advising the Missouri Botanical Gardens on remodeling their Visitors Center. 

I continue to serve on the Centene National Disability Advisory Committee, which includes weekly conference calls regarding issues concerning Covid-19.

February included attending the ACB Presidents Meeting and visiting Capitol Hill along with Chip Hailey and Chris Gray.  It is an honor to attend this event.  In March, many of you came to Jefferson City to meet with our Legislators.  Chip Hailey always does such a great job organizing our visit.  All of you make a big difference.  

Chris and I and our Auction Committee worked on planning MCB's first auction.  I want to thank Virginia and Eleanor for their help organizing the auction and sending items to highest bidders.  We made over $2500 and hope we can do even better next time.

I also want to thank everyone for adapting to our new normal.  Staff worked from home during the Covid-19 Virus shutdown and kept the office running.  We started the Missouri Open Chat in April, which takes place every Thursday at 4 PM.  The Chat has been very popular, and we will continue to host this by popular demand.  If you haven't taken part in our chat, we'd love to have you join.  We post instructions to join every Thursday.

Our Executive Director, Chris Gray retired at the end of June.  Thank you, Chris, for all your hard work.  I enjoyed working with you during my first term.

We are now planning our Virtual Convention taking place October 8 through 10th.  By now, you are registering, and we promise to have an information filled event.  Thanks in advance to the Convention Committee and the Springfield Service Club for all your help.  I have enjoyed serving as your President and hope to continue as President for a second term. 

Convention Update from Springfield

By Stephanie Bailey

The MCB Convention will be held via Zoom due to Covid 19. The dates for the 2020 convention are Friday October 9th to Saturday, October 10th. Further details will be forthcoming.

Since things are a bit out of sort, the Springfield Service Club of the Blind has adopted the theme: “Crystalizing the Vision.”  We each have expectations of how we want to be treated as blind people. We have hopes and dreams, desires, and goals.  Unfortunately, we often find ourselves going in several directions which can create stress and confusion as to where we are going and the path we need to take to get there.  Feelings of insecurity and self-doubt can rapidly cause you to put things off or even abandon them.  The lack of knowledge as to available resources, assistive technology, support systems, and how to advocate for yourself, can be daunting and overwhelming to the point of stagnation.

While each of us has different goals in mind, we each share the same expectations: equal opportunities, consideration, respect, and access to assistive technology which allows us to put ourselves on a more level playing field.  We have every right to expect society to judge us in accordance to our individual abilities, not our collective inabilities as perceived by a large portion of the sighted world. 

In order to obtain our collective goals we must educate ourselves on the available assisted technology, understand the laws concerning disabilities, learn to advocate for ourselves or where to find assistance when needed, support each other, and be willing to teach those who are open to learn about our unique individual abilities.

While we may not have the opportunity to expand our knowledge of technology and resources as we have previously been able to, in person, it is important to remember the MCB and its members are available to assist anyone in obtaining this information. 


MCB will hold a Candidates Forum on Sunday, September 20 at 7 PM.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions of those who are running for President, Vice President and Secretary of the Missouri Council of the Blind.

An invitation will be sent out close to the call with instructions to participate on Zoom or to call by phone.

Naomi Soule for President

After much personal thought and with encouragement from several people I have decided to stand for reelection for a second term as President of the Missouri Council of the Blind.

I will continue to bring expertise from my work on various committees both in MCB and the American Council of the Blind.  While President I have advocated for Blind Pension with the State Legislature and the Family Support Division.

I represent MCB on the Centene Corporation National Disability Advisory Committee regarding barriers to medical care for people with disabilities. I have appeared in a Centene intranet video regarding barriers that our population has when going to the doctor or hospital.  I continue to participate on biweekly conference calls regarding response to COVID-19.

MCB is also represented on the Universal Design Group meetings regarding large print/braille signage around the Gateway Arch National Park.  MCB was also represented regarding plans for the Missouri Botanical Gardens remodeling project.  We have also participated in working with the St. Louis Aquarium on ways to make the aquarium accessible to blind and low vision visitors.

I have been part of the group that lobbies our Missouri Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C. and our State Legislature in Jefferson City.  I have spoken to Juniors and Seniors at the Missouri School for the Blind and was Commencement speaker at the school’s graduation ceremony in 2019.  I also spoke to students in the SOAR program which is affiliated with the St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind.

Most of all, I have enjoyed visiting the MCB Affiliates around the state.  I have enjoyed meeting many of you in person and learning about your concerns.  I have been available to Affiliate Presidents to discuss affiliate concerns and answer questions.

Because of the Coronavirus restrictions, in April, I implemented the MCB Open Chat calls which take place Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. These calls have proven to be very popular. I have been asked to continue these calls as a weekly event.

I am proud of the work that went into planning and hosting the first MCB auction.  This took significant work and coordination by the auction committee and MCB staff.

I have a thorough understanding of issues concerning MCB members as well as the history of the blindness movement.  I continue to believe in teamwork and open communication and am willing to reach out to anyone who wants to move MCB forward. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as your President and thank you for your continued support of MCB and our efforts to keep our organization moving in the right direction.  I've enjoyed serving as your President and look forward to serving MCB for a second Term.

Thank you,

Naomi Soule

Wilma Chestnut-House for President

Once again, I would like to announce my candidacy for MCB President.  Other than being the president, board rep, and secretary for our affiliate, AGAPE Council of the Blind, becoming the PR for MCB was my first official position.  I held this position for five years.  I am now editor for the Chronical and one of the three directors. 

As a member of AGAPE, I coordinate all our Black History Programs and they have all been very successful, educational, and enjoyable.

I was a reservationist for St. Louis County Parks and Recreation for more than ten years.  I am on the board of advisory for Missouri School for the Blind and was the speaker for the 2018 graduating class.  I was in the B.E.P. for blind vendors.  I had a successful store in the Robert A. Young building.

In 2009, I founded a beep baseball team named “The StL Firing Squad”.  We are a part of the National Beep Baseball Association.  We are the first beep baseball team in Missouri.  We host a tournament every year in May and usually host three out of town teams.

In 2015, I started a sports camp for visually impaired children.  It is named Camp Abilities-St. Louis.  The camp is held at Missouri School for the Blind.  This camp teaches blind children how to play adaptive sports safely so that they can compete or play just for fun. 

Last year, I started an audio dart league for the visually impaired.  We were just getting started and the virus happened.  We plan to continue when this is over.

In all the organizations that I have participated in, I have held a position as the founder, supervisor, or as a person heading the organization.  I would very much like to head MCB as president.  I know that I can do the job well.  It would be my greatest honor to serve as the president.  I will give it my all and jump in with both feet.

Thank you,

Wilma Chestnut-House



Affiliates Reporting

AGAPE Council of the Blind Report

By Wilma Chestnut-House

As of our August meeting, we have still not been able to meet.  Our annual Gospelfest is still on hold.  The Greater Faith Church where we have the Gospelfest is still not having regular Sunday meetings or Bible study.  

We have planned our annual Black History program, but it is also on hold.  It is hard to plan something being unsure if you are going to be able to host it.  We are preparing for it as if it is going to be held.

Since we will not be able to hold the yearly “White Cane Safety Walk”, would anyone be interested in participating in one like we are doing everything else, virtually?  If so, please contact Wilma Chestnut-House by email or (314)873-9022.

We would like to introduce three new members.  Our first is William Reynolds, he is returning, Chambula Devine, and Steven Franks.  We would like to welcome them all to Missouri Council of the Blind!

On an even better note, our member, Peggy Hurt is getting married on December 31, 2020.  She is marrying our new member, Steven Franks.  This will be their second time.  The first time was 30 years ago.  I heard that things are always better the second time around.  Congratulations!

Working together, crystallizing the vision, we can make a difference in our lives today, while creating a better tomorrow for everyone. 

United Workers for the Blind

By Bob Jaco

Hello everyone!  I know it’s been quite a while since you have heard from UWB.  I consider it a privilege to send articles to our great magazine from our affiliate.

As most of the country and the world are now experiencing the effects of the pandemic, UWB is no exception.  We have had to cancel game days and meetings.  We have had illness in the past year or two.  Michael Hamm, Kay Malmquist, Jeanie Jaco and Anna Schell have had surgeries or illness, including Jeanie, my wife, who is recuperating from Vertigo.  However, our group stays strong and we now have a new slate of officers.  President, Raymond Bishop; First-Vice, Anna Schell; Second-Vice, Rhonda Jones; Treasurer, Viswa Balaji; Recording Secretary, Donna Siren; Corresponding Secretary, Donna Bishop.  Our two Members at Large are Kerry Smith and Harry Kastrup.  Congratulations to those folks!  Kay did a great job as our past President.

I have tried to cover in a nutshell what has been going on recently in our affiliate.  Hope to have more in the next issue, as I am sure other members will refresh my memory.  As you have heard many times, stay safe and stay well.

Springfield Service Club of the Blind Club News

By Stephanie Bailey

As everyone is aware, the corona virus has had an effect on all of us.  The Springfield Service Club of the Blind has been using the zoom platform to have meetings.  Although we haven’t met in person we have been working hard preparing for the upcoming convention.  We have also been working hard on creating and launching this year’s club fund raiser. Please see our announcement posted in this issue. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

This year has been like nothing we have experienced previously.  The shelter in place orders made it impossible for many of us to get out and shop for groceries.  However, with the support of our club members, everyone was contacted on a regular basis and sources were discovered which assisted many of us in obtaining food and other necessary items.  

In January, our secretary, Donna Giger fell and broke her arm.  She is recovering nicely. Also, our president, Debra Whitt is still recovering from breaking her ankle in December after falling down a flight of steps in an unmarked stairwell.

The most grievous news, however, is the passing of one of our most active members.  On June 20th our treasurer, Roxanne Taylor, passed away suddenly at her home.  The cause is still unknown to us; however, a neighbor speculated it was probably due to her battle with high blood pressure. Whatever the cause, Roxanne will be greatly missed by the Springfield service Club of the Blind as well as by the staff and children she worked closely with at Robinson Elementary.  She was also active in a variety of other organizations in Springfield and was a shining example of a good Samaritan. Please remember Roxanne in your prayers.

Now on to some happier news. Stephanie Bailey and her husband, Matthew (our vice-president) went to Pilot Dogs to get guide dogs.  This is Stephanie’s first guide dog.  She received a silver poodle named Mitchel.  Unfortunately, the virus even had an effect on this happy event.  She went in March to get the dog and had to return home in late March because of Covid, leaving Mitchel behind.  This was very heartbreaking for her, especially, since no one knew when she might be able to return and get Mitchel back.    This was the first time in history that a class had to be sent home in the middle of training. In late June, Stephanie returned to Pilot Dogs when the school reopened.  This time she was accompanied by Matthew who received a black poodle named Coby.  Both completed their training and are now home settling in with their new paw companions.  Stephanie said, “the experience was wonderful.  When I returned to get the dog, I thought I would not pass the achievement walk, however, with Mitchel’s help we completed the walk working as a team.  I enjoy the freedom to walk unassisted by a sighted guide.  The dog I got is a silver poodle.  I think he is very handsome, and I am looking forward to seeing what the future will be like traveling with him.”

Though we have had some ups and downs, as most probably other affiliates have experienced, we are looking forward to the convention in October and hope to see everyone there, even if we have to meet via zoom.  Have a wonderful rest of your summer.

Southeast Missouri United Blind Club

Well, as we were under stay at home orders, we did not have a March or April meeting.  This effectively brought most Club business to a halt.  Then in May, the building where we have our meetings was still not open so we had a meeting in the park (with restrictions) it was very nice to see people we hadn't seen for three months and see how they were doing.  Lee, our president, and his driver, John, have been doing some yard work and mowing for people. Nora has been enjoying her grandkids, Doris has been spending some of her time taking care of her sister-in-law and her sister (me).  The rest of us have been enjoying staying at home.  

In June the building was still closed so we didn't have a meeting. In July the building was finally open with restrictions.  We actually had a non-meeting as there were not enough members to have a meeting.  A friend of the club sent homemade cookies. So those of us that were there ate cookies and caught up on the news.  So, who knows what August will bring?  

We hope everyone stays safe during this uncertain time.  And we hope to see you sooner rather than later.  May God be with everyone and bless you.

Hello to Everyone from Delta Area

By Wanda Matlock

Our May meeting was held via conference call, but I am happy to say that our June and July meetings were both held at our original meeting place.  It was good to be with everyone in person even though we had to social distance.  At our June meeting, we chose a student to receive the Lola B. Garner Educational Scholarship.  The scholarship was awarded to a young man going to school at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.  We also had a special guest at our meeting in June.  Ms. Wilma Chestnut House along with her driver and three grandchildren.  Wilma spoke to us about her intention to be a candidate for the position of MCB President.  All members had the opportunity to ask Wilma about her vision for the future of MCB.

I have always suspected that I had sneaky members in Delta Area.  Now I know it is true!  I was very surprised and delighted when the members of Delta Area presented me with a very nice framed copy in print and in braille of the White Cane Proclamation.  I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of them.  They are truly the best group of people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

After the meeting, we celebrated with a great meal consisting of barbecue sandwiches, cole slaw, baked beans and Belinda Turner’s famous lemon supreme cake.  A big thank you to LaWana Copeland and Belinda Turner for providing the meal for us. At our July meeting, we learned that we would not be having the MCB Convention in person but would be having it virtual.  We will miss being with everyone but thank goodness for technology that allows us to continue to conduct business. We also collected money for our MCB dues and discussed giving gift cards for door prizes for the MCB Convention in October.  From all of us from Delta Area, we wish everyone a very healthy and enjoyable Summer!

Missouri Guide Dog Users (MGDU)

By Judy Burch

We in MGDU hope you are all enjoying this rainy summer season.  Between the wet weather and Covid, it’s been a little more difficult to get out for walks with our dogs; however, we’re doing our best under the circumstances.  

By the time you are reading this, several planned activities will have occurred, including our membership meeting which will take place on August 3 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom call, and a candidates’ forum which will have occurred on August 10 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom call, with our guest candidate speakers being Wilma Chestnut-House and Naomi Soule, both of whom have expressed their intentions to run for the MCB position of president.  Of course, as all of you will have heard by the time you are reading this, our annual MCB convention will be going virtual in October, and our MGDU meeting will occur on October 7 and will be coming to you via a Zoom call, to be hosted by the ACB.  MGDU dues must have been paid to treasurer Sarah Calhoun by September 15 for you to be able to cast your votes at our meeting in October.  Three positions are up for election this year, including vice-president, treasurer, and member-at-large.  Finally, we continue to forge forward with preparations for a Top Dog 2021 conference to be held in St. Louis May 20-23, 2021.  At this time, the conference is still happening.  However, we will know more about that situation as time grows closer.  Hopefully COVID will have gotten under better control and we will be able to meet in person for the conference.  We will keep you posted as time draws closer.  

We wish you all a great rest of the summer.  Take care, stay safe and we hope to see you at the virtual MGDU annual meeting this year!

Committees Reporting

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chair

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.

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 $3000 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 $3000 limit.

2019-2020 Funding: The adaptive technology grant program budget was approved by the board for $30,000.00. We began accepting applications on November 1st.  As of this writing, August 1, 2020, we approved 35 grants and have used all our funds for this year


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.


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: Please read all the guidelines before you apply. 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 following is a new product from Freedom Scientific and is a great example of adaptive technology.

Introducing a new Freedom Scientific portable video magnifier, the TOPAZ Ultra, featuring a unique folding design, making it extremely easy to take with you wherever you go. With crisp, full-HD images on a 17.3-inch screen, clearly see what you want, whether across the room or at your desk. The monitor height is fully adjustable, ensuring you always have the right reading angle. And its compact size lets you store it when not in use.


  • Full 1080p HD with auto-focus
  • Large and intuitive control buttons
  • Video magnifier with a large 17.3-inch screen that easily folds away
  • Read text and view objects up close, in the distance and view yourself
  • Portable with long, 5-hour battery life
  • Unique zoom and pan features
  • 3 selectable magnification ranges to suit your eye condition
  • Read full pages without moving reading material thanks to the movable camera
  • View larger images by connecting to your TV screen via built-in HDMI port


Summer Camp Report

By Beverly Kaskadden

  • If you are like me, I bet you are getting tired of hearing “we are living in unusual times during this epidemic”.  I am a reality person, so we have to move on and know this is for a reason.  We can overcome.
  • I had to do something to bring Cobblestone to each one of you.  The week in July that we would have been at Cobblestone, I started a “Virtual Cobblestone” on the MCB chat list.  It has been great to hear some of the comments from our campers.  I could almost hear Brian call out “King” as if he was next to me playing “Pass the Trash”. 
  • I want to thank those who contributed to our Virtual Cobblestone week.  I hope you all enjoyed your cabins.  We will meet next year at the real Cobblestone.  I truly missed you.



Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

By Naomi Soule

I've been thinking about this day in 1990 when George Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act.  July 25, 2020 is the 30th anniversary.  We have accomplished so much, and still have a long way to go.  Truncated domes at street corners and curb cuts.  Lifts on buses, and accessible street crossings for starters.  Apple Voiceover and accessible apps.  Android phones with speech along with accessible apps.  More and more attention from Microsoft in making their platform easier to use. More and more access to books, newspapers and magazines.  Homes built with Universal Design in mind.  The ability to use Amazon Echo devices, Google Home and Apple's voice assist products without having to pay extra. Cable services that allow us to use talking remotes to watch what we want.  Audio Description appearing on more and more movies and TV shows.  Museums and historical sites with audio description and touchable exhibits.  Schools providing iPads and laptops with screen reading technology.  Educating businesses and companies about hiring people with disabilities.

Those are just a few of the ways the ADA has helped all of us.  There are a lot more things that must be done.  We are nowhere near having a totally accessible world.  As long as we keep on pushing, more and more will get done.

Let’s celebrate what has been accomplished in the last 30 years and look forward to the next 30 years.


Chip Hailey and Denny Huff will be conducting Zoom training on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM in preparation of the upcoming 64th MCB State Convention.

All members of MCB are welcome to join the training in order to learn how to take full advantage of the activities of the Convention.

Members will receive hands-on training and will be allowed to ask questions on how to use their computer, smart phone, and landline in order to access the Convention.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity so that you won't miss out on one single moment of this historical event.  If you have any questions about the training, please feel free to reach out to either Chip at 417-540-9703 or Denny at 636-428-1500.

Thank you and we look forward to talking to you in September.  Following is the Zoom information:

Topic: Zoom Training

Time: September 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM Central Time

Phone: 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 250 907 8857

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 250 907 8857

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,2509078857# US

FundRaiser Announcement

By Stephanie Bailey

The Springfield Service Club of the Blind is selling T-shirts as this year’s fundraiser. Shirts will go on sale from July 10th until the end of convention. Monies raised will help the Club to succeed in meeting the goals set out in their mission statement; such as hosting educational events and assisting the visually impaired and blind in Greene County with some of their unmet needs.  The shirts are 50% cotton and 50% polyester.

Design on Shirt: On the back of the shirt there is a design of a crystal.  The words Crystallizing the, arc from left to right over the crystal.  The “C” in crystal is large and as the words arc from left to right over the design each letter gets smaller and harder to see.  Underneath the crystal design is the word “Vision” in bold letters.  Underneath the word vision is the medical symbol for perfect vision “20/20” This is NOT written as a date is written; 2020.  On the right upper front of the shirts are the words “Crystallizing the Vision” in a circle.  In the center of the circle is the 20/20 symbol for perfect vision.  

Shirts come in seven colors: black, navy, purple, green, maroon, grey, and red.  Sizes available are: S, M, L, XL, 2X, and 3 X.  (4X can be custom ordered with at least a four week wait time.).  The shirts are $20 each.

Bandanas are another way you can help support this year’s theme, Crystallizing the Vision.” Bandanas come in seven colors: navy, red, black, purple, green, maroon, and grey.  While the colors are the same as offered in the shirt choices, they are not the exact same shade of color; however, they complement each other.  The bandanas are $7 each.  The design on the bandanas is like the one described on the back of the T-shirts.

Let’s not forget our paw companions!  Purchase a lovely colorful bandana for that special paw companion in your life! Together you can both make a statement while looking stylish on those evening walks or daily outings.

Shirts and bandanas can be viewed on our Facebook page as well as the link you will need to place an order when using PayPal.  

Find us on Facebook at Springfield Service Club of the Blind.  Methods of payment include PayPal or cash app.  You can also call 417.208.9792 to place an order using other payment methods or email

Please allow 48 hours response time.

The process

By Chontelle V. Wilson, Member-at-Large

I am writing regarding an important achievement in my life.  On June 26, 2020, I was blessed to publish my first book, “The Process”.  It was something that I started working on in 2015 and was able to complete the writing in 2019.  This is a short story book that is forty-eight pages in length and is inspirational, healing, and uplifting for the mind, body, spirit, and soul.  It is currently available online for purchasing at for $14.99 and will be available for viewing and purchasing online on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites in another 4 – 8 weeks as well.  Do not worry it will soon be available in eBook form in another 4 weeks and I do hope and pray that this will be a benefit for all my totally blind and visually impaired sisters and brothers at The Missouri Council of the Blind. I am truly excited.

A Tribute to ida scotti

By: Yvonne Schnitzler

On August 13, Ida celebrated her 100th birthday!

Ida Scotti has experienced life in ways most people only dream.  Ida tells friends she was a stowaway when her parents sailed to this country in 1919. Her mother was expecting when the Dante Alighieri dropped anchor in New York Harbor.

After graduating from the New York Institute for the Blind, her first job was at the New York Lighthouse, operating the braille press, printing and editing, “The Searchlight” and “The Gleams,” magazines for the blind. Because Ida was photogenic as well as gifted with a vivacious personality, she was an ideal person to participate in promotional work. Ida was the “poster girl.” She greeted, entertained, and had her picture taken with many well-known personalities for national and international newspapers and magazines, such as Gene Autry, Vivien Leigh, Helen Hayes, Edgar G. Robinson, David Niven, Rex Harrison, along with countless others who benefited the Lighthouse.

With her guide dog Missy, Ida stood under the 59th Street sign in Manhattan as they changed the signboard to read Lighthouse Street for a week. She posed with the owner of the Fiat Automobile Company who donated a car each year to the Lighthouse for a raffle. Ida often appeared in publicity shots with Gov. Thomas E. Dewey and Mayor Vincent Impellitteri. She shared tea with Mrs. Ed Sullivan and others who expressed interest in the Lighthouse. Ida participated in these publicity events “…to show the world, differences should not exclude anyone from living a productive life.”

On other occasions, Ida was portrayed sewing pillowcases for the armed forces, and donating blood to the Red Cross, her dog Missy supervising from the cot next to her. Her picture was in newspapers selling war bonds as well as filing her income tax return. She was happy to show that “the blind contributed to society, worked and paid taxes.” However, Ida did not particularly care for her three-foot portrait plastered all over subways and transit buses raising awareness about the Lighthouse and its programs. When she and her sister rode the subway, her sister made sure they never sat under Ida’s picture, even if it meant standing.

Ida enjoyed life, especially as a member of a theater group, performing with Broadway stars in numerous stage plays like Tennessee Williams’ “Summer and Smoke” and “Little Women.”  She received pages of publicity and accolades. As a blind actress playing sighted roles, she had to imagine herself as a “seeing” person. Reporters were eager to interview her.

Ida presented Helen Keller with a corsage. When Ida told Miss Keller she was happy to meet her, Helen placed her fingers on Ida’s lips and cheekbone, and exclaimed in stilted speech, “Very young.” Patty Duke, who played Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” visited Ida, discussing various mannerisms of blind individuals.

Adept at publicly interacting with people in the news, Ida gave informative interviews on talk shows, lifting people’s thoughts to a higher level, changing ideas and misconceptions concerning blindness. She and Missy were guests on the Steve Allen TV program. They stole the show. As Steve was leading Ida to her seat, he bumped into the desk. He said, “Here I am trying to lead you bumping into everything!” Ida quipped, “Would you like to borrow Missy?” The audience roared.

Deciding to follow her parents to Missouri in 1962, she met Durward K. McDaniel, founder of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), who encouraged her to join the Missouri Council of the Blind (MCB). She held offices, influenced legislators, served on boards and committees for MCB. Ida was a representative on the St. Louis Archdiocesan Council, served on the Wolfner Library Advisory Council, and on the Governor’s Committee for Education. She is a lector for her church, visits shut-ins, hospitals, and nursing home patients, alleviating fear in those losing their sight.

Ida’s forte is speaking and connecting with students. They better understand the capabilities of the blind and disabled and see them as people like themselves, deserving of respect. She encourages students to cultivate those special friendships. She touches older students on a deeper plane. Her inspiration leads them to view personal problems in a different light. A freshman boy, whose father had committed suicide, had been silent in class for three months. As Ida told her story, he raised his hand on three occasions and asked questions.

At the 2003 ACB convention in Pittsburgh, the ACB honored Ida with the Distinguished Service Award “in recognition of her life-long accomplishments onstage and the community. Her work is a shining example to all.” Missouri honored Ida with a life membership at the 2011 convention in Reno.

When Ida received the Ellis M. Forshee Award, the MCB’s highest honor, late MCB president Ken Emmons said, “Ida has done so much and lived a remarkable life. She has been so capable and accomplished so much, but she is modest to the point that, even though I have known her for years, I was unaware of most of the things mentioned in her nomination letter. Ida is someone who does for others without seeking glory. She is a wonderful person and a wonderful example.”

Charles Crawford, former executive director of ACB, said, “What wonderful tribute to Ida from MCB! She certainly is an extraordinary woman who has done so much to make our world a better place. No wonder Missouri plays such a pivotal role in the history of our blind community. Ida has enlightened, enheartened, and influenced every person she has ever met, whether it was a president of a country, king or queen, a child, an individual on the street, or a lonely person sitting in a nursing home. Her life is one of acceptance, gratitude, and compassion and dedicated to serving, loving, and caring about people.”

The 2020 Census is accessible for everyone

In the past so many people with disabilities have not been counted that the Census Bureau treats people with disabilities as an under-counted class.

Many services, supports, and programs that persons with disabilities rely on are funded based on the number of people who are counted in the census.

Responding is important. A complete count helps ensure that services like Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and public transportation can support those who need them.

Responding is safe. All information you share with the Census is protected by law and cannot be used against you.

Responding is accessible. We’re doing everything we can to ensure the ways to respond are accessible for everyone.

Any questions? Please visit This website is 508 compliant and accessible to people of all abilities.


May 7, 2020 Board Conference Call

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by President Naomi Soule.

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

       Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll.  All officers and directors were present. Lake Stockton Area Council was not represented.

Naomi welcomed online and phone listeners. She requested that people should mute phones when listening to minimize interference.

The Minutes for April 2, 2020 were approved with the following correction:  The vote for canceling June camp was not unanimous because Linda Gerken was muted and was unable to voice her vote which would have been no.

The agenda was approved.

Chronicle Editor Appointment: Jannel Morris moved to approve Wilma Chestnut-House as editor of the chronicle. The motion was adopted.

Thrift Store Report

Denny Huff reported that the Springfield Store just recently opened after closing for six weeks due to the Corona Virus. The south location is not opened yet. Springfield is trying a 21-day period to see how things go and Rick did not want to have the store open and then close it again and lay off workers.

The Store applied for the Paycheck Protection Loan and they received about $54,000. The store is now using Paychex for payroll, since Monday sales have been good at around $2000 a day. Before they shut the doors in March, they were just beginning to see a turnaround in sales and profit. Donations are still coming in and are being set aside for two weeks as required by the CDC for Thrift Stores.  Four full-time and two part-time employees have been rehired. They are working with a skeleton crew right now to maintain payments. Kenny, the landlord for the south store, is in no hurry to start back up and make rent payments and he is working with the store on this. The north Store would like them to make up the back-rent payments for the last couple of months they haven't been open.

The landlord is more cooperative now than in the past. Denny is very impressed with Rick's management skills and his attention to the donation processes which may allow them to stop renting the big storage shed which has been costing $700 a month. They did a few sales online while they were shut down to make ends meet. The Thrift Store Board will be meeting in two weeks to determine when the south store will reopen. Denny took questions from the Board. Deborah Whitt moved that the Thrift Store Report be excepted, the motion was adopted.

Executive Director's Retirement

Chris Gray sent an email to the Board on May 1st announcing his intentions to retire as Executive Director of MCB, effective June 30, 2020. Naomi answered questions from Board members. Chris Gray was not present. Questions were raised about the census, blind pension raise, and financial statements. Treasurer Jack Lenk was asked to give a report, but he has not received updated statements from Raymond James and US bank. The auction brought in $2700.00.

Summer Camp

Linda Gerken moved that we let the camp committee decide in June. Linda changed her motion to let the camp committee make the decision. The Board felt that they should be involved in the decision as well. Denny Huff amended the motion to say at the end of June the camp committee will bring a recommendation to the Board and let the Board make the final decision on camp for July and August. We only have to give Cobblestone a two week notice of cancelation. The amendment was adopted, and the motion was adopted. Naomi said we will have a Board meeting on June 25th.

Other Business

Denny Huff is writing a resolution to bring to the convention thanking Virginia Berberick for her 34 years of service as Parliamentarian. Linda Gerken moved that Virginia also would receive a $100 gift card. The motion was adopted.

Board Training

Chip Hailey brought up board training.  He said some board members are serving expired terms.  Naomi is thinking about having board training on the phone, three 2-hour sessions.  Chip suggested that the training be held after affiliates have meetings to elect new board reps. Naomi said this would be fine.

Daniel Lagoo said we should hear from the Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair concerning the present situation. It will be added to the June 25 Agenda. Discussion followed again about chat lists. Naomi recommended that all board members be on the Missouri-L and the MCB chat list.  Other topics were also discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary

July 16, 2020 Board Conference

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by President Naomi Soule.

Board MCB Zoom Teleconference Call Draft Minutes.

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan Called the roll. All officers and directors were present. Affiliates not represented were Lake Stockton Area Council.

Guests Jesuita Tabor and Rick Orr.

Naomi welcomed on-line listeners.

The agenda was approved with one omission, discussion of replacing the executive director will be discussed later.

The Minutes for May 17, 2020 were approved.

2020 Convention Discussion

Jesuita Tabor reported that she has been in contact with the hotel in Springfield. At this time, they are requiring masks be worn and if you are in a convention or a banquet, they can only accommodate a third of the people. A room that holds 200 people can only have 70 people in it. There were also concerns about the elevator. Only three people could get on at a time. She also talked to CDC in Atlanta. Their recommendation, because of our disabilities, was that we cancel our convention or have it next year.

The Springfield affiliates also had concerns. Deborah Whitt spoke on them. The affiliates felt we should have a virtual convention this year.  The hotel is willing to work with us on our contract. She even spoke to them about taking the 2023 convention and they agreed. They will try to keep the price at the same level.

If a virtual convention is held, everything would be the same except we would not be meeting in person. For those who do not use Zoom, a phone number will be available. She took questions from the Board. The convention dates are October 8-10. We will still give out door prizes and awards. Jesuita said she will have affiliates send gift cards to the office and they will be sent to the winners directly from the office.

Deborah Whitt moved that MCB have a virtual convention this year. The motion was adopted. Chris Dickey, our parliamentarian, said in order to make this legal the board would have to adopt an emergency bylaw to allow this.

Daniel Lagoo moved that an emergency bylaw be adopted. Here is the verbiage of the emergency bylaw. In case of a pandemic, for the gathering of MCB members at a location selected by members may interfere with health and safety, the Board of Directors may choose to either cancel the annual MCB convention or conduct the convention via electronic platform that allows for all members in attendance to hear each other simultaneously. The motion was adopted. Jack Lenk moved that since we had already approved Springfield for this year that the convention for 2023 be held in Springfield.

Virtual Voting

Chris Dickey spoke on what our bylaws say about voting. The bylaws state that elections are conducted by secret ballot. Voting on bylaws and other motions can be put in the standing rules. In a contested election voting must be done by secret ballot. In a virtual meeting you must figure out how to make that happen. There are apps that could be used but since not all members have computers, she felt this would not work. It could be done by postal mail where after the meeting a ballot could be mailed to everyone who is participating in the meeting. If you did not participate in the meeting, you would not be able to vote. Another way is to have members either call or email to a number that could be done in secret; you are given a registration number that you would use instead of your name. The person taking the call would have no idea who the number belongs to and votes could be recorded that way. Once a person registers, they would be sent a registration number on a card in their format.

The bylaws state that the president, vice president, and secretary must be elected in the even numbered years.  Other ways were also discussed.  Chip Hailey moved that we have a phone call vote for everyone who is registered with a non MCB member taking the calls. The motion was adopted.

Personnel Committee Chair Kay Malmquist said that any discussions about hiring an executive or resource director will take place after the elections.

There was no emergency preparedness report as it will be given later.

Thrift Store Report

Denny Huff reported that in 2014 a 5-year lease was signed for the thrift store rent. That lease expired in 2019.

The thrift store has not been as successful as anticipated in the beginning. The lease was high and there were some triple net charges that were not discussed in the beginning that amounted to several thousand dollars a year.  Also, they had other situations that came up during the past five years that really thwarted the sales of the items at the thrift stores.

They fell behind on the rent payments and tried to renegotiate the lease; it did not work out and they kept falling further behind. This past November they finally negotiated a new lease. Rick Orr stated that the new lease was $8500 a month which is $4000 less overall. Over the five years they fell behind, the lease was in the name of the Missouri Council of the Blind.  In December, January, and February they paid $2000 a month and then the virus hit in March, so they were unable to pay anything for March, April, and May.

Curtis sent a letter to MCB demanding payment because MCB is on the old lease. The amount is $63,000. The store could continue to pay this back, but the landlord will not let them. Denny has talked to Naomi, Debbie and John Greider to try to resolve this matter. Rick Orr said they could pay possibly $2500 a month for two years.

Denny and Rick answered questions from the Board. The Board went into executive session to continue to discuss the situation with the thrift store.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan, Recording Secretary