December 2021 Chronicle

December 2021 Chronicle

Editor’s Note

By Wilma Chestnut-House

We have just celebrated our 65th State Convention!  Hopefully this will be our last virtual one.  Let’s congratulate all of the new officers to the MCB Board.  We have two new directors, Anna Shell, Beverly Kaskadden, and one returning director, Linda Gerken.  We have a new PR, Chip Hailey, and our returning treasurer, Jack Lenk.

Our MS. Jesuita is stepping down as Convention Coordinator.  She stays busy, so we know that she will still be around.  See you later buddy! 

Next year the convention will be held in St. Louis-Westport Sheraton Chalet on October 6-9, 2022.  I hope to see all of you there!

 

 

President’s Report

By Naomi Soule, President

Happy holidays everyone!! By the time you read this, we will have celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.  Terry and I went to Dallas to be with my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, which has become a yearly tradition.

MCB has hired Eugene Taylor to help us plan for our future.  He will be contacting many of you to hear what you think we do well and what we need to focus on in the future.  Kay, Chip and I will be working closely with Eugene to give input.

I also wanted to thank all of you who participated in our convention.  You elected new Directors, and Chip Hailey is our new Public Relations Chair.  Jack Lenk was reelected as our Treasurer.  Next year's convention will be in Saint Louis at the Sheraton Plaza Chalet Hotel at Westport Plaza.

I hope all of you have a great Holiday season.

 

 

AFFILIATES Reporting

AGAPE Council of the Blind

By Wilma Chestnut-House

By the time this issue of our newsletter is out, hopefully AGAPE will be the host for MCBs’ 66th state convention.  If we are that chosen affiliate, we have lots of good things in store for our members.

We attempted to have a “White Cane Safety Awareness Day”, but the rain changed all of that.  We will try again next year.

We will be having our first “in person” meeting this year.  Let’s see how that goes!  In our 26 years in existence, I think we will have a male president after our meeting.  I am not going to say who; I will save that for the next issue!

We hope that everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving and a very Merry Xmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Hanukkah!  Whatever you do for New Year’s celebration, do it safely!

Blind of Central Missouri

By Alicia Starner

As our days grow shorter and our nights colder, we here in Sedalia are looking forward to the joys of sharing the upcoming holidays with our family and friends. In August, we held nominations for president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. Congratulations to Alicia Starner, President; Brenda Gardner, Vice-President; Reba Carter, Secretary; and Susan Sanderson, Treasurer as you carry out the responsibilities of your elected positions.

Delta Area for the Blind

By Wanda Matlock

Hello to everyone from Delta Area! On September 28th, we had a picnic at the Matthews City Park in Matthews, Missouri.  It was a very beautiful day and I think everyone had a good time.  We had the usual picnic items including fried chicken and all the fixings along with desserts and drinks.  After the picnic we had a very short business meeting.

On October 30th, several members were invited to the Sikeston Boot Heel United Way kickoff. This is an annual event held by United Way for all the agencies that they support.  Each agency shared information about what they provide for their community.  United Way has been a supporter of Delta Area for many years and we very much appreciate everything that they continue to do for our affiliate.

Four of our members registered for the 65th annual MCB Convention.  We miss having the convention in person and hope next year we can all come together in St. Louis.  We would also like to congratulate everyone that got elected for positions in MCB.

At our October 26th meeting, we voted on a new member.  Her name is Leslie Copeland and she lives in Canalou.  Welcome Leslie! 

We decided to have our Christmas party on November 30th at Susie’s Bake Shop in Sikeston.  We also had elections and the results are as follows:

Wanda Matlock, President/By laws & Resolutions Rep.

Darrel Vickers, Vice-President

Craig Ancell, MCB Board Rep.

Belinda Turner, Secretary

Leslie Copeland, Alt. Secretary

LaWana Copeland, Treasurer

Jim Taul, Education & Advocacy Rep.

Our affiliate also decided to donate two items for the MCB auction and voted to adopt a family for Christmas.

We will not be having a meeting in December.  Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022.

On behalf of all the members of Delta Area, we hope everyone has a safe and happy new year.

Queen City Council of the Blind

By Marilyn Tuso

Greetings from Queen City Council of the Blind. In August, we elected new officers: President Daniel Lagoo, Vice President Mary Mueller, Secretary Marilyn Tuso, and Treasurer Nancy Hodson.

We have had a guest come to our meetings and help out with different things such as fundraising. We participated in the auction and donated door prizes.  We are so glad it is all over.

We have a new member and we are hoping to get more new members soon.

We hope you all have a very happy holiday season.

St. Charles County Council of the Blind

By Marjorie Petrofsky

On September 23, we met at Ethel’s Smokehouse at 5 pm. for dinner.  It was debatable whether we would eat outside on the patio or inside.  Mother nature made the decision for us as it was pouring down rain.  Personally I was glad we ate inside as it is easier to talk and visit and of course there's a lot to be said for air conditioning. 

Later in September was our annual picnic.  We had it again in Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville.  Denny outdid himself again with his barbecued pork steaks and ribs and he even added some kabobs.  The day was on the warm side but the pavilion we ate under had ceiling fans and there was a nice cool breeze.  The bathrooms close by are always a big plus.

In October, we went to the Veterans museum in North O’Fallon.  Our guide, Art, was a Veteran from the US Air Force where he served in the Koran war.  We learned a lot of information.  The museum had a lot of uniforms and artifacts going back to the Civil War.   A wall was dedicated to the brave men and women who served in the military and lost their lives from St. Charles County.   We all must remember freedom isn't free. 

We went to A’mis in O’Fallon afterwards.  The food is always delicious and the staff is always very friendly and nice.  They always make us feel welcome. 

The holidays are coming up so I hope everybody has a safe time being with family and or loved ones.  I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah and a very generic Happy Holidays.

SEMO United Blind

By Beulah Ziegler

Hello from SEMO United Blind. we hope everyone is enjoying this cooler fall weather. We had our club election by Mail again this year.  Everyone is staying the same this year with the exception of Beulah Ziegler who accepted the position of treasurer. 

We hope everyone enjoyed the convention this year and wish All the new elected officials and appointees good luck and smooth sailing in the year to come.

We had our annual picnic in October at Hendrickson park. It was much cooler this time of year.  We had a good turnout and everyone enjoyed the fellowship and the good food.

SEMO wants to wish Jesuita a great retirement with plenty of good adventures coming her way. We are looking forward with great anticipation to a better year in 2022.

SEMO United Blind would like to send condolences to the families of Rick Belcher and Steve Schnelle.  They were both involved with the MCB and will be greatly missed.

Tiger Council of the Blind

By Secretary DeAnna Noriega

The Tigers are still on the prowl. We haven’t met in person yet, but were able to hold elections and get our dues and membership info in to the office. Four members registered for the virtual State Convention. Our membership tends to be primarily of the retired generation with many health issues that make some nervous about meeting in the flesh. We try to keep in touch with email and phone calls. It has been a struggle to keep our membership up. Still, we try to support each other and figure out what steps we can take to remain a viable part of MCB.

Our president has been busy knitting and singing. Our secretary had a book published last January, “Fifty Years of Walking with Friends.” It is available in paperback from Amazon, in an electronic version in multiple formats from SmashWords.

Our younger members juggle with demanding jobs but are always there to lend a hand or keep our tiny ship afloat. We wish everyone a warm and happy holiday season and good health to all.

United Workers for the Blind

By Bob Jaco

Well, it has been an issue or two since I have written an article for the Chronicle.  As the holiday season approaches, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and other holidays you may observe.

We are still having our meetings via conference call, but we are having a Christmas party at C.J. Mugg’s; it will be good to get together with other UWB members and friends again.

I also participated in the convention with the Agape Council and others for a great time with other MCB members. Although we all had to have our phones out to vote with some confusion, I personally felt the convention went fairly well and the food was delicious!

As you may or may not know, Judy Burch moved to Florida to be with her family; she is already greatly missed.

I know this is short, but by the time you read this, we will probably be enjoying our heat.

Until next time, be safe, and remember it takes more muscles to frown than smile.  Until next time, Bob Jaco saying bye for now.

Library Users of Missouri

By Darrel Vickers

The goal of Library Users is to support the Wolfner Memorial Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Also, to promote literacy and the use of public libraries by persons who are blind or visually impaired in Missouri.

Our members are comprised of people who love to read and are committed to literacy for all. We normally meet once a year in person at the MCB convention. We have other conference calls as needed.

We also host the Library Users’ Breakfast at the convention.

If you would like to join us, contact the MCB office.

One of the ways we support Wolfner is by donating moneys for prizes for Wolfner activities such as the Winter and Summer reading programs. Contact Wolfner for more information. The winter reading program should be about ready to start by the time you read this.

Wolfner Library is a free library service for Missourians who are unable to use standard print materials due to a visual or physical disability. Materials are mailed to and from library patrons at their homes, postage paid. There is no charge, whatsoever, to the patron. Currently, over 8,000 Missourians actively use Wolfner Library.

The library's collection includes fiction and nonfiction audio, braille, and large print books for all ages. Over seventy (70) magazine subscriptions are available, and the library loans playback machines to those using audiobooks.

Contact Wolfner at: (573) 751-8720 or toll free (800) 392-2614 or email wolfner@sos.mo.gov. Visit their web page at https://www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner

Books You May Like

Apples Never Fall DB104909

Moriarty, Liane. Reading time: 18 hours, 6 minutes.

Read by Caroline Lee.

Suspense Fiction

Mystery and Detective Stories

Stan and Joy Delaney have been married for fifty years and have a picture-perfect life. But they're both miserable. When a stranger--Savannah--knocks on their door asking for help, they welcome her in. But soon Joy is missing, Savannah nowhere to be found, and Stan accused of murder. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

Where the Crawdads Sing DB92245

Owens, Delia Reading time: 12 hours, 14 minutes.

Cassandra Campbell A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

Mystery and Detective Stories

In late 1969, when Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals of Barkley Cove, North Carolina, immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

A Big Sky Christmas DB77883

Johnstone, William W; Johnstone, J. A Reading time: 9 hours, 58 minutes.

Patrick Downer A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

Western Stories

Bestsellers

Holidays

Against his better judgment, Jamie MacCallister agrees to lead a wagon train of settlers from Kansas City to Montana by Christmas. They meet up with a reluctant outlaw who saves an actress. MacCallister also gets help from frontiersman Smoke Jensen and a mountain man called Preacher. Some violence. Bestseller. 2013.

A Christmas Love DB36793

Creighton, Kathleen Reading time: 7 hours, 35 minutes.

Michele Schaeffer A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

Romance

Holidays

After her divorce, Carolyn Robards retreats to her ex-husband's rustic summer house with her daughter Jordy. When they find a young boy and his dog hiding in the basement, Carolyn is flooded with memories of her own runaway experience. As she tries to convince their new neighbor, ex-cop Clay Traynor, not to turn the boy over to the authorities, Carolyn is surprised to find her frustration is tinged with attraction to Clay. Some strong language.

Until next time.

Committees Reporting

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chair

Hi Everyone, I hope all of you are doing well. 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 $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.

2021-2022 Funding: We have $40,000 again this year. The board approved $35,000 and we received an additional $5000.00 donation from the St Louis Lighthouse for a total of $40,000. We began accepting applications for new grants on November 1.

Last year was the first year we did not run out of money since I have been on the committee.

We approved 34 grants this year for a total of $37,180.  We had to deny 4 for either an incomplete application or products which we did not consider adaptive technology.

Types of technology the MCB grant helped with were video magnifiers, (most popular), followed by thee Orcam O.C.R. device, smart phones and computers. We also had an accessible DVD player, Braille display and Openbook software. Openbook combined with a scanner, or the Pearl camera combined with a windows computer, allows a person to read documents, books, their mail and so much more.

I am very proud of Missouri Council for having this program. Not just because we can help with the cost of the technology, but because we can really make a difference. This is especially important for those who are just beginning to travel the path of vision loss.

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 awfully 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: http://moblind.org/programs/ 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 four members: Darrel Vickers, Kim Vaughn, Belinda Turner and Nancy Lynn. If you have any questions about the program, please contact me by email at darrel@ww4b.org, by phone at 636-667-3176.  Until next time, take Care.

Emergency Safety Awareness

By April Gray

When we think of winter emergencies we usually envision ice storms with power outages. In reality a winter emergency can present itself in many ways. Slick sidewalks can increase a chance at a fall, someone you’re riding with can have car problems, you can have carbon monoxide leaks from problems with a furnace or someone warming up a vehicle in an open garage. I’m going to give some tips at dealing with the challenges that can come up in the winter.

Preparing your home for winter and winter emergencies is essential in being ready for a winter storm. Plastic on your windows can hold in heat and keep out cold wind. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working. Outages can sometimes affect the pilot light on some gas furnaces so having an alert to that is important. Leave cabinet doors open when it’s cold so pipes won’t freeze.

Your emergency kit will come in handy here too. If your electricity goes out for a few days, or your pipes freeze, you will need emergency water, and easy to use foods like protein bars and things that don’t need heated. Extra blankets or a sleeping bag that goes down to 30 degrees is good to have and easy to store. Remember power banks too and keep phones charged. Hot hands are great to keep on hand this time of year. You can store them for a long time and they are easy to activate. You simply shake them vigorously then they will provide heat for hours. They are small so you can slip them in gloves, or shoes. I keep some in the car, and some in my purse in case I’m riding with someone else. You can purchase them at Walmart, or online.

A good cheap investment is cleats for your shoes. They slip on over your shoes and can make walking on the ice much safer and easier and lessen the risk of falling. Keep a spare pair of gloves on you in case your main pair get wet. I keep the thin $1.00 pairs you can get at Walmart or the dollar store on hand. That take up little room in your pocket, and are great in a pinch. Always have a hat with you even if you aren’t wearing it to go out. I know some people don’t want to mess their hair up but if your stranded and freezing vanity goes out the window. Know the weather forecast before you head out and prepare accordingly. Dress in layers, it’s better to take off a layer than to get overheated. Don’t forget to carry water with you. It’s easy to forget to keep hydrated when you’re not sitting in the hot summer sun but it is just as important in the dry winter air.

Always have your phone on you when you go outside, even if it is only to take your dog out, or get the mail. When temperatures drop you can freeze quickly, especially if you fall. The quicker you can call for help the better. So unless your guide dog carries a barrel of rum or whiskey around its neck in case you need rescued, then a phone is the best option. Keep warm and stay safe.

Costco has a sale coming up on First Alert BRK Hardwired Talking Photoelectric Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector, 2-Pac 49.99 If you’re a Costco member check them out in The store or online.

There is a new book out on BARD, Crises Preparedness Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival.  DB 104048.

Fundraising Report

By Debra Whitt, Chair

We raised $420 from Pirate Booty Cards. We received $161.66 from pampered Chef and $1,260 from the 50/50 Raffle. Nancy with Mary Kay has left the “Party” open until December 1 but to date we have raised $70.  Pirate Booty Winners include $25 to Kerry Smith, $50 for Kristi Freeman, $75 to June Lenk, and $100 went to Marleen Morgan. Kevin Berkery takes home winnings of $347.50 in our 50/50 Raffle.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Auction has been postponed. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 2:00 PM.  More details to follow soon.

Membership Committee Report

By Wilma Chestnut-House, Chair

As the Temptations said, “It’s Growing!  We had quite a few new members at large join since the convention.  AGAPE gained three new members also.  Congratulations to all affiliates that have new members.  Let’s keep it going.  By our next convention, we just might have our Next Generation of MCB special interest group. The membership committee is working real hard on this.  My committee is Sarah Calhoun, Sara Cason, Elizabeth Brown, and Greg Hollins. They are a great group!

Summer Camp Report

By Beverly Kaskadden

The season is closed for the Summer Camp Program.  As always, we have made good memories and good friends.  We were unsure of what to expect during our stay at Cobblestone.  Do we have to wear masks? Will we have to have our temperature taken?  Do we have to stay 6 feet apart?  Can we go to our friend’s cabins?  None of this took place, so other than the numbers were down, we still had a great summer at Cobblestone. 

I anticipate that 2022 will be a great year!  Save your nickels and be ready to join us at Cobblestone.  The dates are:

       June 6 through the 12th,

       July 25th through July 31st, and

       August 25th through August 28.

Let me explain the extended weekend date.  This year it will take place in August since Cobblestone will not be open during the week after Labor Day.  I was confident that those attending would not want their stay to be shortened.   

The Camp Committee would like to send our best wishes for the holidays and New Year.

See you next year!

Disability Tools That Go Mainstream

By Shira Ovide

Audiobooks are an example of a technology developed by or for people with disabilities that has helped all of us.

Do you love audiobooks? 'You have blind people to thank for that,' said Catherine Kudlick, director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.

The godfather of the book being read aloud through your smartphone headphones was Talking Books, the records developed in the 1930s in the United States for people with impaired vision as an alternative to Braille.

I've been discussing the history of audiobooks with Dr. Kudlick, who calls herself 'imperfectly blind,' and other experts because, well, I love listening to books. But it's more than that. Audiobooks are a prime example of a technology developed by or for people with disabilities that has helped all of us. They remind us that people with disabilities are not an afterthought in invention but key players.

“Disability drives innovation. It's undeniable,” said Joshua Miele, a blind adaptive technology designer who was recently named a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's 'genius' grant. “Almost always when you find something that is really cool for people with disabilities,” Dr. Miele told me, “it will find its way into the mainstream in a way that is wonderful and makes life better.”

Let me go back to a quick history of audiobooks: Robert Irwin, the former executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind, spearheaded a program in the 1930s to develop gramophone records of narrators reading books out loud, according to Mara Mills, a New York University professor whose expertise includes disability studies. Back then, only about 10 percent to 20 percent of Americans who were blind -- including veterans who lost their sight in World War I -- could read Braille.

The U.S. government helped fund record players for people with blindness or low vision, and Talking Books were distributed through public libraries.

Commercial audiobooks started to take off after World War II, and each generation of audio formats -- cassette tapes, CDs and now smartphone apps – has made listening to books more convenient. (Side note: Dr. Mills said that some people with vision impairments hacked their record players to speed through Talking Books, and that this aural speed reading influenced audio time-stretching technology. If you're fond of listening to your favorite podcast or audiobook at double speed, you have people with low vision to thank for that, too.)

This history flips the script on how many of us imagine product design. We might be more familiar with technologies that are designed for the general population and then, by adaptation or accident, become useful for some people with disabilities, too. Smartphones are like that.

But other technologies that are relatively widely used today exist because of people with disabilities. The Silicon Valley inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil developed multiple technologies, including the forerunners for text-to-speech software such as Siri, with the National Federation of the Blind.

Hearing aids were one of the earliest commercial proving grounds for the computer chips that are now in everything from fighter jets to your fridge. And this isn't strictly technology as we imagine it, but Dr. Miele also mentioned that curb cuts in sidewalks were developed for people who use wheelchairs

and proved useful for many other people.

Talking Books still exist today. But Dr. Mills said that screen readers -- descendants of Kurzweil's design that scan digital text and speak it aloud or convert it into Braille -- have made both Talking Books and audiobooks a bit less popular with her blind students.

It feels appropriate that one technology initially designed for blind people has been partially crowded out by another.

Sports for the Blind

I am no longer a Director taking care of our members at large and I will miss our phone calls but, I will still be doing chair exercises and this time it will include all members, friends, and people from other states.  I will be doing this under “The Service Club.” The new phone number is 518-318-7059.  By moving to The Service Club, I can reach a larger group of people.  Thanks for inviting me Jesuita.  I guarantee you a good work-out and great benefits.  I will also be sharing some healthy recipes.  Come and join us! 

Irons for Inclusion

St. Louis’ First Fully Inclusive Golf Tournament “Irons for Inclusion” was Held in October.

St. Louis, Mo. (October 5, 2021) – Starkloff Disability Institute was proud to announce the first fully inclusive golf tournament in St. Louis, called Irons for Inclusion. The tournament was held at Forest Hills Country Club on October 18, 2021. Starkloff Disability Institute was proud to announce the first fully inclusive golf tournament in St. Louis, called Irons for Inclusion. The tournament was held at Forest Hills Country Club on October 18, 2021. “We are thrilled to host St. Louis’ first fully inclusive golf tournament. This is a great event to support our mission of empowering people with disabilities to achieve success and lead full, independent lives,” said Colleen Starkloff, Founder of the Starkloff Disability Institute. The tournament featured adaptive golfing equipment, including a SoloRider golf cart donated by the PGA REACH Gateway Section. A fully-integrated tournament, foursomes representing the Disabled Athlete Sports Association, St. Louis Blues Blind Hockey Club, and St. Louis BeepBall League joined nondisabled golfers on the Championship course.

The four-player scramble began at 9:00 a.m. and included breakfast, 18 holes of golf, on-course games, cart access, raffles, lunch, player gifts and a cocktail reception.

Colleen Young, three-time Paralympian and medalist joined the tournament as the Honorary Athlete. A St. Louis native, Young recently competed in the Tokyo Paralympics, winning a silver and bronze medal in swimming. Young, born with Albinism that has caused visual impairment, began swimming at age seven and quickly became the youngest member to compete on the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team in London in 2012. Young was a competitive golfer in college at a D1 university.

“We chose to host this event in October as it is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which commemorates the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy,” said Starkloff. “We couldn’t do this without our incredible sponsors who champion disability inclusion in St. Louis. Thank you to Centene, Nestlé Purina, Sandberg Phoenix, Degenhart Heating and Cooling, Permobil, Ogletree Deakins and Remax at Cedar Hill.”

Starkloff Disability Institute was founded in 2003 by disability rights pioneers, Max and Colleen Starkloff and David Newburger, SDI is leveling the playing field for people with disabilities. In addition to working with companies and communities to change the perception surrounding people with disabilities, SDI provides cutting-edge career development programs to young adults and professionals with disabilities. To learn more, visit www.starkloff.org.

Straight Out of Missouri School for the Blind

Straight out of Missouri School for the Blind, David Brown has a documentary on YouTube entitled, “Untethered”.  It is quite interesting.  How Paralympian David Brown Overcame His Fears To Become The Fastest Blind Runner, https://www.npr.org/2021/08/29/1030638626/david-brown-blind-runner-sighted-guide-tokyo-paralympics?sc=18&f=1001

'Possibilities are endless on how fast we can go,' says world's fastest blind athlete, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/31/sport/david-brown-paralympics-profile-spt-intl/index.html.

I met this guy on a site where blind individuals buy, sell, and trade their products.  He was an underwater rescuer before he became blind.  He sells all kinds of defense products and most of them work great for the blind. He is going to explain how he taught blind kids how to play with paint balls safely.  I will save that for another issue.

Breaking Social Barriers

By Rian W. Hansen

When a human being receives crucial judgement from a court official, it is usually based upon factual evidence and the merit of the individual. We should all understand and accept that is not open to subjective interpretation. For some, that statement may be a bit too heavy; so let’s bring this article’s message down a few pegs while attempting to adjust the deepest parts of your brain. As we all know full well, teachers, parents, and even gardeners determine the evidence that should be accepted or dismissed without prejudice. Like a judge in a courtroom, social decisions like that are executed every minute of each day. Now ask yourself, why should the above ethical principal be restricted without prejudice from any person, plant, or creature? This article delves into the human psyche and how we discriminate others at lightening speeds based on fear of the unknown.

To illustrate the above, what if I told you a group of students were instructed to roll a foam soccer ball from one classmate to another while sitting on some dry summer grass? When the foam soccer ball is received, they simply say their name and comment on what they’d like to be when they grow up. For just over an hour, this recreational activity continues amongst a total of twelve students. Now, let me derail the imagery in your mind by telling you these were seniors in high school preparing to make the leap of independence to young adults. Most think these students were probably early elementary kids between the ages of four and seven. This is largely due to finding most senior high school students being entranced by a screen device, flirting with a companion, capitalizing on local travel, jumping in a pool, engaging in sports, busting out some unhealthy cuisine, or even chatting on the phone. If a census was taken from a group of high school students rolling a foam soccer ball on the ground for well over an hour, a majority would most likely concur that this is not a genuinely engaging or appropriate form of recreation for seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen-year-old human beings. During this event, one student that was a talented software encoder ask me, why is the state paying almost a thousand dollars for this recreational activity? To which I replied, because you, young man, are a person who is blind.

After intentionally planting that seed of inequality into the impressionable minds of this group of high school students that are visually impaired, I explained the human stigma that often follows the various degrees of blindness within the confines of our society. Reassuring them that my employer strongly desired their transitional success into independence, it was just that many have little understanding of how it can be implemented. Similar to many other teens going through identical thoughts, their minds were now starving for equality fueled by a deep motivation to be respected.

Now that the hook was baited with a delicious slice of curiosity, it was time for their thoughts to be both honored and tested. The very next morning, I announced that they will soon be partaking in recreational activities much more suited to their abilities and interests. As they sighed with relief, I also disclosed that they would be pushed beyond their comfort zones in hopes of discovering their dismissed potential. Now with an intensely captive audience, I told them real world paintballing was on the schedule for this weekend. At this point, their instincts argued how this could be safely done without experience or sight. Almost immediately, the room was emotionally divided into two kinds of blindness. Those who were socially impaired versus those who are visually impaired; yet all blind teens.

With the cool morning air in their lungs, we entered the recreational building while the smell of splattered paintballs filled their anxious and hesitant hearts. Those who desired the painful experience of a real paintball impact wore a green scarf on their protective gear. Those who did not, wore a white scarf. Outside of safety gear and fully functioning paintball equipment, they were also given horizontal clock face directions and minimal staff in the event of needed assistance. Eager for chaos, I assured them of the unforgettable amount of fun that was about to ensue. In less than a couple of minutes, they were a unified and formidable infantry fending off a biological invasion of the undead with a barrage of rapid fire artistry. As requested, some received direct hits resulting in the experience of intense physical pain that later morphed into teenage bragging rights and swollen egos. Others felt the adrenaline from what it was like to be respected and trusted with the privileges of their counterpart classmates in society. One student said, I’ve never felt this much excitement in my life, is this legal? Do my parents know about this? Here is where the difficult judgement comes in. Why had none of these students been given opportunities to engage in everyday activities that the rest of their teenage population was given every day?

The truth is we, as humans, fear what we do not know or understand because of cognitive programming designed to prolong survival and procreate our genetics into the future. Every minute, fear often limits and restrains our human potential, only reinforcing prolonged routines. The only way to counter this, is to plan as best we can, sprinkle in a spoonful of courage, and toss in a willing heart. As the construct of visual impairments and blindness evolve, most people voluntarily choose to remain more and more naive every day. It is my testimony that all of the above students who are visually impaired or blind were wrongfully judged without prejudice regardless of their other abilities, demonstrated knowledge, or confirmed merit. When given the proper tools and opportunity, every one of them broke through the social barriers of judgment while simply having the unforgettable time of their lives. Keeping that in mind, I’d like to close with one thought. What would happen if we considered anyone’s disability as more of a factor, rather than knee jerk judgements? Just maybe, we would find that everyone has independent factors and challenges to consider. Because we cannot help but to judge due to our human instincts, let us simply do so with caution and an open mind from now on. Now go forth and make change. With The Utmost of Heart, Rian W. Hansen, Husband, father, veteran, educator, advocate, collector of adventure, writer, collaborative problem solver, prankster, upcoming blogger, animal and food lover that just happens to be blind.

My Life on the Fast-or not so Fast-Lanes

Submitted by Jack Lenk

Two events of significance occurred in 1951 that would affect my life.  The bowling alley was installed at the Missouri School for the Blind, and the American Blind Bowling Association was established.  I was introduced to the lanes at MSB on a Saturday morning in November, 1959, when some older boys took a few of us younger boys to teach us how to bowl.  The first three frames I was assisted with aiming and throwing.  It was my turn when it was time to leave for lunch.  I threw one ball on my own and hit seven pins and said to myself that this is my sport.  I bowled my first game over 100 when I was ten years old and my first 200 game when I was a sophomore in high school.  We bowled against other schools for the blind, but I don’t think we won any trophies.

After I graduated, I only bowled occasionally until 1983 when the community college in my area had an Adaptive PE class in bowling.  I won the high game trophy two semesters out of the four that I bowled.

I had just moved back to St. Louis in 1990 when I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Dynamite Bowling League.  I was very happy to do so.  I bowled my highest series of 510 that season. 

In 1992 I joined the Pin Splitters Bowling League and have bowled with them since then, except for the year I served as District Governor of the Lions.  The Dynamite League folded in 2004.  I bowled with the Rail Rollers League for seven years.

I have participated in tournaments in sixteen states and two foreign countries.  In 2007, I was one of fourteen bowlers who represented the United States at the International Blind Sports Federation’s ten-pin competition in Australia.  I won two gold, one silver and two bronze medals.  In 2011, I was one of three bowlers from the USA who bowled in the same competition in Malaysia.  I bowled almost exactly the same as I had bowled in Australia, but because the competition was so much tougher I did not win any medals.

The Rail Rollers and the Pin Splitters continue to bowl.  The Rail Rollers bowl on Saturday morning and the Pin Splitters bowl on Tuesday night.  My hope is that other areas around the State of Missouri can form leagues and we could have a State tournament.

There's Freedom and Fun on the Ice

Kaiser suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that is gradually taking away his eyesight. He has tunnel vision, and the tunnel keeps getting smaller and smaller. It’s worse at night, when he can only see shapes. I have walked into many things, he said. Me and those Caution Wet Floor signs, we do not get along at all.

Once a week, though, he has a chance to break free. Kaiser is a member of the St. Louis Blues Blind Hockey Club, a four-year old group consisting of players who are legally blind. For the players, the time on the ice is magical. I can go as fast as I want, said Kaiser, 25. The most freeing moment is when I’m going as fast as I possibly can, the wind going through my cage. It’s when I feel like I’m back to being me. I feel like I can push everything aside and focus on the game, said Seyoon Choi, a junior at St. Louis University. Typically mainstreamed sports we try to play, even high school cross country, had to make lot of modifications and adaptations, and it takes a steep curve to climb up to proficiency to compete against the sighted crowd, while blind hockey, all the players are blind, we have the same kind of challenges and we still skate at different skill levels and you get that game and competition going.

The club, one of 17 around the nation, most in NHL cities, will be the host this week for USA Hockey’s Blind Hockey Classic at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, with blind players from around the nation, including players on the U.S. national blind team and Canada’s blind team. Few clubs have enough players to field a full team the St. Louis club has 10 or 11 on most days so players from various clubs will be mixed to make teams. Blind hockey still looks like hockey, which is one of the things its players like best. The most noticeable difference is the puck, which is about twice the size of a standard puck, is made of metal and has eight ball bearings inside so it makes noise when it moves, allowing players to track it even if they can’t see it. Attacking players are required to make one pass after they cross the blue line before taking a shot, a rule designed to give goalies a chance. And, in a rule which seems weird at first, the goalies play blindfolded, which ensures that all goalies are equal. The players on the Blues club came to the sport without any ice hockey experience. Kaiser had played roller hockey and in many cases little or no skating experience, so their education starts at the beginning. That adds to the challenge for the coaches, who can’t avail themselves of the most common teaching technique. As a coach coaching youth hockey, said Jeff Vann, who helped start the club and works with the players on ice, you tell them what to do, demonstrate it, then have them do it. You can’t really demonstrate it. You have to be able to tell them what to do and use very specific commands and explain it.

The guys are truly amazing, said Chuck Munroe, the club’s director of player development. They pick up on things by using other senses. They can tell if they’re close to the boards by hearing echoes and the like. It’s truly amazing. There’s a player for the Washington Capitals team who is completely blind, but if you watch him play, you’d think he’s a beginning hockey player. he’s able to go around the net, knows his stride, figured out where he is on the ice in other ways. They’re all doing the same thing. They don’t have the vision we have but are able to figure out how.

The Blues club players are not at that level yet, but they’re working on it, and events like the Blind Classic gives them a chance to share strategies with other blind players. My biggest challenge with decreased peripheral vision is blind spots, Kaiser said. The closer the puck is to me, the harder it is to find if I’m not locked in on it. When I’m skating full speed ahead, I’m constantly watching the player with the puck to see if there’s a pass and I kind of lose track of where I am on the ice and sometimes I’ll take a shot that will be extremely wide. If Id taken an extra half second and assessed where I’m at, I’d have a better chance putting a good shot at net. Some players have told me they use the advertisements along the board, so if they look up and see that, they can map out the ice in their heads and know the goalies got to be there.

To not be consistently looking down is one of the things I need to improve on in my game. Sean Borah, a goalie on the team, was instrumental in getting the team going. (He refers to himself as a co-founder.) He had a friend at Oakville High who was on the hockey team and became interested in the sport. While in college, Borah, who also has retinitis pigmentosa (I could have this for 90 years or I could go blind tomorrow, he said), wondered if there was blind hockey and found there was, mostly in Canada and the northeast. He liked all the pages he could find on social media and reached out to them saying he would love to do this in St. Louis. He almost immediately got a response from someone in Washington who worked with blind veterans, who flew out to St. Louis to talk about setting up a club. Soon after, in 2017, the first blind hockey event was held at Kirkwood Ice Rink and the club took form. Borah started playing defense. Generally, players with the best eyesight play forward and players with the worst play defense but then migrated to goalie after getting a concussion. Since goalies in blind hockey can’t see anything, the position puts an emphasis on fundamentals.

Communication with the team is paramount, he said. All I’ve got is communication between my team, hearing their voices and what they’re saying, the sound of them skating around, the sound of the puck. The fundamentals are squaring to the puck, having a wide butterfly, being in the correct position at all times, coming forward enough to cut down on the angle on a shot. There’s definitely a lot to think about.

Games do not go without hitches. The pucks, which cost $50 each and are made by one person in Canada, make noise by having the ball bearings rattle around inside them while moving, but that means when the pucks stop moving, they stop making noise, which in a game would cause play to be whistled dead. Choi is part of a team working to fix that. Its super challenging because our puck doesn’t make noise when it stops, said Choi, who has a degenerative retinal condition called Leber Amaurosis and has eyesight of 20/3,000. I was invited to work with a graduate student at SLU developing a new type of blind hockey puck. It’s going to be constant, it’s going to be durable. It has to resist a lot of different elements. You’re going to be hitting it with a stick, it has to bounce off the boards. I’m collaborating with them, giving them first-hand feedback. This is how I feel on the ice and this is how we work together in blind hockey. The club would love to branch out, to get more children involved right now, it’s mostly a young adult group -- and to get to a point where it had enough players to challenge a team, like the one in Chicago, to a game. It definitely has a great impact, Borah said. Especially if the blind person was mainstreamed, a lot of times they were not included in team sports or couldn’t play, or weren’t included on the recess blacktop. It is giving people that haven’t had a chance an opportunity to experience the camaraderie of team sports, and the love of the wonderful game of hockey. It allows people to break out of their shell and be more social than they may or may not have been in past. Our common thing, Choi said, is we are blind and visually impaired in some shape and form. Being able to play the sport we love, it’s an incredible experience.

 

 

MINUTES

April 22, 2021

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

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. All officers were present. Director Chip Hailey was unable to attend. All affiliates were represented.

Naomi welcomed online listeners.

The agenda was approved.

The Minutes for February 27, 2021 and March 9, 2021 were approved.

Multimedia Committee

Naomi said that Chris Judd, Multimedia Chair had missed three meetings and asked the board to replace him as chair but leave him on the committee and replace him with Robert Vaughn as chair. Denny Huff asked if Chris had been talked to about this matter and Naomi said she wanted to approach the board first. Denny Huff moved that Chris Judd be consulted and if he agrees to be replaced as chair and if Robert Vaughn agrees to be the committee chair, the committee would come back to the board for approval. The motion was adopted.

Web Page Development

In February, the board approved hiring Sarah Hale to work on our webpage. She has done work for Guide Dog Users and Tavim. Naomi has some concerns about the situation at hand. Things have not gone well since Sarah started working on the page. Email was down and Virginia got her brother to help restore email and to get the webpage back up somewhat. She also did not post things on the homepage that Naomi wanted. Naomi, Kay, and Virginia felt that our page needs more than she can provide. They felt we should find someone else to fix the page like we want it. Naomi said she would write on the ACB leadership list to see who they might recommend to do the job. Virginia's brother, Dan said he could work on it also. Denny Huff moved that we should cancel our contract with Site Weaver and Sarah Hale and proceed with the Multimedia Committee having the authority to contract with someone to do our web page and give them the authority to make that decision. The motion was adopted.  Naomi will turn this over to the Multimedia Committee and start the process. 

Wilma Chestnut-House gave the Membership Committee Report. She took questions from the board.

Summer Camp Report

Beverly Kaskadden gave the summer camp report. She took questions from the board. Denny Huff recommended that the camp guidelines for next year state that no one is allowed to bring firearms, or illegal substances to camp. He offered this as a motion the motion was adopted.  Beverly said that this guideline will be added.

Denny Huff moved that we go into executive session.

In Executive session we discussed personnel matters and we also voted to hire an attorney, McMahon Berger, P.C.

Donation

Wilma Chestnut-House asked the board for a donation of $1000 for the St. Louis Firing Squad Beep baseball team. Jack Lenk moved that we give $1000 to the St. Louis Firing Squad for expenses for their tournament and World series. The motion was adopted.

Announcement

Denny Huff announced that he and Chip Hailey are doing a podcast called Meet the People of MCB. They will talk to new members and long-time members of MCB to find out more about them. First will be Don and Bev Shockley and Shirley Brokaw is on the list. They plan to put it out biweekly. If anyone has suggestions for people to interview let them know.

ACB Walk

Melvin Smith asked if the $1,500 donation to the ACB Walk was in the budget? Jack Lenk thought it was and Denny checked the budget and $1500 for the ACB Walk is in the budget so no action needed to be taken.

The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording secretary

There were motions for Multimedia, Webpage development, summer camp guideline addition, and St. Louis Firing Squad donation.

June 24, 2021

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

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll.  All officers and directors were present.  All affiliates except Southeast Missouri United Blind Club were represented.  Parliamentarian Chris Dickey was also present.

Naomi extended a warm welcome to online listeners.

The agenda was approved.

The Minutes for April 22, 2021 were approved. Chip Hailey had a couple of questions concerning items on those Minutes. The first item concerned removing Chris Judd as Multimedia Committee Chair but retaining him on the committee. Naomi tried to call and email him but got no response. She assumed the answer was no and asked the Board to approve Robert Vaughn as chair of the Multimedia Committee. This was done without objection.  Robert Spangler is our new webmaster. Naomi will invite him to our next board meeting.

Treasurer's Report

Jack Lenk did not have a treasurer's report as it was not on the agenda so he said that he would send one out to the Board.

2022 Convention Hotel Discussion

Jesuita Tabor reported that in 2022 we were scheduled to hold our convention at the Grand Glaze Hotel in Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks. Naomi visited the hotel recently and things have gone downhill concerning services and problems with her room. Naomi told about her experiences at this hotel during that weekend and they were not good. Discussion followed about canceling the hotel. Denny Huff asked for guidance from our parliamentarian since the membership voted on this hotel. Chris said that the Board could cancel if they felt it was not safe to have the convention there or choose to have it electronically.

Wilma Chestnut-House moved that we do not have our convention at that hotel in 2022 and to cancel the contract.  Discussion followed about alternative hotels where we could have our convention.  One hotel the Convention Committee has found is the Sheraton Westport Chalet in St. Louis. They also have a proposal from them for 2024. The motion passed.

ACB Voting

Naomi reported that all MCB members will be eligible to vote for the ACB candidates this year, regardless of whether you have registered or not. All affiliate presidents or those who they appoint can call there affiliate vote in to the office each day. There was considerable discussion on this topic.

Accessible Pharmacy

Naomi talked about a pharmacy in Pennsylvania called accessiblepharmacy.com. They can put accessible labels on pill bottles such as Script Talk, braille, or large print. They also have pill packs. She said that they have a quick turnaround time to mail the prescriptions back to you. They can call you every month or every 3 months for refill reminders. They have been recently approved to serve patients in Missouri.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary

August 26, 2021

The meeting was called to order by President Naomi Soule at 7:05 p.m.

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. All officers and directors were present. Affiliates not represented were RITE for the Blind, Lake Stockton Area Council and Southeast Missouri United Blind Club.

Naomi welcomed online listeners.

Treasurer’s Report

Jack Lenk gave the Treasurer’s report. The Checking account balance is $14,673.23. The total for US Bank and Raymond James accounts is $4,156,163.

Convention Report

Jesuita Tabor discussed the options for 2022 and 2024 convention hotels.

Virginia Drapkin gave a report on the new MCB website.

Chip Hailey announced we would go in to closed session.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan, Secretary

September 23, 2021

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by President Naomi Soule.

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, and RITE for the Blind. Chip asked that during roll call all persons should state their names so that everyone will get to know them.

Naomi welcomed on line listeners and parliamentarian Chris Dickey.

Denny Huff asked that the agenda's order be changed so that hiring Eugene Taylor would be first and approving the budget would be second. The agenda was approved with the change above made without objection.

The Minutes for August 26, 2021 were approved with one correction, no motion was made to go into closed session, it was only announced by Chip Hailey that we would go in to closed session.

Hiring a Consultant

A roll call vote was taken to hire Eugene Taylor as a consultant for $80,000.  Lee Young moved that we hire Eugene Taylor as a consultant. Questions were asked by the Board concerning Mr. Taylor's duties. At first the vote was announced as 13-3 but because some voted director and also for their affiliate, the vote was changed to 11-3.

Treasurer's Report

Jack Lenk reported that the checking account balance was $33,373.48. and as of July 31, Raymond James combined accounts $3,995,410.00. The US bank balance was $182,565.00. The total balance was $4,177,975.00. the US bank account has been switched over to Raymond James.

Proposed Budget

Jack Lenk read the proposed budget for 2021-2022. The Board recommended that changes be made to some line items.

Added a separate line item for the Consultant. 549-Consultant with an $80,000 budget. We kept the Executive Director and travel accounts but with $0 budget.

Added a separate line item for the Parliamentarian. Her charges were being coded to Board Training, Board Meetings and Convention so those charges were moved into this new account, 550-Parliamentarian.

Membership was moved from Public Relations to Programs. Additionally, Public Relations only has one charge in 2021 for Cape Girardeau for $269. The previous expense for Denny is from March, 2020. 

A roll call vote was taken and the budget was adopted with the proposed changes.  The vote was unanimous. Denny Huff asked the Budget and Finance Committee if an annual investment policy would be presented to the Board at our next board meeting. Hunter Mariner said that he would speak to us anytime we wanted him to about our investments.

Convention

Naomi said at this point we 84 people who have registered. Last year we had 150 people register. We have to have a quorum of 75 registered members.  She plans on moving all business to Friday. The reason for doing this is that there is a bylaw amendment to change the quorum to two thirds of those present should be adopted it will go into effect immediately. So if there are only 50 people on the call that are registered that means we will need a majority of those present and registered. The bylaws will be voted on first followed by elections. She sent out a list of members and how many terms they have served. On Saturday all reports will be given. If the bylaw amendment concerning a quorum is not adopted and a quorum of 75 members cannot be reached, then the convention will start at 2 p.m. on Friday with guest speakers.

Chris Dickey read the proposed bylaw quorum amendment to the Board.  Chip Hailey announced that Zoom Training will be held on October 10th. A candidate’s forum will also be held.

Denny and Chip have been doing a podcast called Meet the People of MCB and they have surpassed 900 listeners as of today.

Wilma announced that a white cane walk will be held at MSB on October 13 from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. then they will go across the street & take a tour of the school.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:49 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary