September 2012 Chronicle

September 2012 Chronicle


Greetings to All,

     Well, I hope that this finds you surviving the hottest summer on record not only for Missouri, but most likely for the entire nation.  This is one summer I am definitely glad to put behind me.  I also hope that by the time you are reading this we have had sufficient rainfall to end this drought.  Apart from the hot dry weather, I hope your summer was a good one.

     This will be my last report to you as your president and as I mentioned last time, I do have mixed emotions about stepping down.  It’s been a fast and active four years.  I’ll certainly miss the interaction I have had with not only our members but also other blind related organizations around the state and nation.  I hope that I represented MCB well in my capacity as president and will continue to do what I can to make this organization one that we can all be proud of.  We have approximately 700 members in MCB and believe me, it is impossible to make everybody happy in decisions that are made.  I always sought input from our executive director, my first and second vice president and other members before decisions were made and believe me, any decisions that were made were made with the best interest of MCB in mind.

     Whoever is elected as your president in October, I hope that you will give them the support that you have shown me over the past four years.  It is not an easy undertaking and there is a lot to deal with that most of you will never know about unless you fill this position.  So please, regardless of whomever your new president is, work with them and let them know you appreciate them taking on this challenge.

     I believe that one of my best accomplishments as president was to be instrumental in bringing in our executive director, Chris Gray.  Chris has been a great asset not only to me but to our organization by bringing with him an abundance of knowledge about the blind world.  He has proven himself time and time again by assisting individuals with blind pension issues, employment matters for the blind, offering parliamentary procedures and giving input to many of the committees on various situations.  He is invaluable to us in his position and I am sure he will work well with the new president as he has with me.  Keep showing him your support and he will be around for a long while to assist in moving MCB forward.

     This year’s convention is shaping up to be one of the best we have in the past few years.  This year will feature an auction to be held on Friday during the hospitality time.  I have asked Melvin Smith and Wanda Lentz to organize this event and I’m sure it will turn out great.  This will be a fund raiser for MCB and we are asking for affiliates and individuals to donate items we can auction off during that time.  I am donating a Case pocket knife in a nice wooden display box.  The knife commemorates the Indian maiden that traveled with Lewis and Clark on their expedition up the Missouri river.  The blade is engraved with Sacagawea’s name and has information about her in the inside lid of the box.  It also includes a gold dollar that was released by the US mint with her likeness portrayed on it.  I challenge other officers and members of the board to donate an item for auctioning.

     If you have an item you would like to donate please call Melvin, Wanda or the office and let them know what that item is.  Then bring it to the convention on Friday.  The auction will be conducted by a professional auctioneer who happens to be blind.  His name is Pat Kelly and here is what he has to say about himself.

“    I was raised in Granby Missouri, Southeast of Joplin near the Oklahoma, Kansas & Arkansas State line.  I started in the Auction Business over 40 years ago at the age of 17.  I attended Missouri auction school & for years I worked at Auto Auctions in Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin mo, Tulsa OK & Dallas TX.  I had a fundraising Company & conducted auctions across the US & Canada.

“I am now 63 years old & at the age of 51 I lost my vision due to a side effect of a Diabetic Medication.  I never ever thought about being blind, never knew a blind person & found out very quickly, no one wanted a blind auctioneer.  My world was falling apart and my income dropped to nothing.  As many blind & or low vision folks know, it was a really bad time in my life.  Then I found ACB.  I was living in Oklahoma & became a part of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind.  My vision has gotten better since I stopped taking the drug but I am still legally blind.

To make a long story short, I still do what I love to do. I am an Auctioneer. I sell Fundraisers using humor & I STAND for all Blind & low vision people.  We can do just about whatever we want to do.  I am now back in Granby Missouri and just last week I conducted an auction for some folks that lost their home to fire.  Each year I conduct an Auction for the Oklahoma Council.  It is a lot of fun & brings in income for them.

“One of the most important parts of this story is my wife Sandra who has stood with me through thick & thin. Sandra drives me everywhere I need to go and we are both looking forward to attending your auction in October.

     At the time of this writing I am not sure which time slot one of our guest speakers will fill, but it will either be during the general assembly on Saturday morning or for the banquet Saturday evening.  I am referring to David Westbrook from Kansas City, MO.  When you hear David Westbrook speak about his 45 years of experience as a blind individual, you will quickly appreciate that the focus of his presentation is not about eyesight, but about insight. Now 63, Mr. Westbrook serves as chief strategy officer and senior vice president for Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to joining the health care system four years ago, he spent 30 years as founder and chief executive officer of his own strategic communications firm, Corporate Communications Group, Inc., which he sold in 2008. The firm’s 30 professionals consulted with major corporations and philanthropic foundations to help build better brands, create greater customer loyalty, and enrich employee commitment to their organizations. His success in operating the business brought him to the pages of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Washington Post; and on behalf of many of his clients, he would often represent their views as a spokesperson on virtually all of the major national news networks.

David Westbrook considers his blindness to be a privilege. He contends it has blessed him with the discovery of gifts, talents and opportunities that otherwise might never have come his way. Over the past three decades, he has presented this message of hope and inspiration to scores of audiences and thousands of people, and has served as a keynote speaker at annual meetings conducted by dozens of philanthropic organizations in service to our society’s vulnerable populations. These organizations include the National Council on Philanthropy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, the Pew Family Trust, and many more.

Mr. Westbrook has traveled extensively for profession and pleasure, pursues a vigorous fitness program, and characterizes himself as a student of life, always eager to learn and grow from new lessons. He is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri, where he serves as chair of the City’s Commission on People with Disabilities, as chair of the Board of Directors of the Alphapointe Foundation, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri-Kansas City, from which he graduated with honors in 1971.  It is indeed a privilege to have Mr. Westbrook as one of speakers at this year’s convention.  I mention that I am not sure if Mr. Westbrook will be our speaker either Saturday morning or at the banquet because we have other special guests for the banquet.  I don’t have a full commitment yet, but Charlie Brennan of KMOX radio has indicated that he most likely will be attending our banquet this year.  If so, I have asked him to speak to us that evening.  As many of you will remember, Mr. Brennan was very instrumental in helping to restore the medical coverage for the blind this year.  It will be an honor to have him at our banquet so we can thank him personally.

     I’m not sure how realistic it is, but we have extended an invitation to Governor Nixon and Senators Jim Lembke and Jason Crowell to come to our banquet also.  Hopefully by the time you are reading this we will have confirmation for all four individuals.

     Don’t forget that we will be holding elections this year not only for the position of President,but also for a first and second vice president and for a secretary.  I hope that if you feel you are qualified for one of these positions you will announce your candidacy and begin to let people know about yourself.

     On Tuesday, September 18 we will have an open house from 2:00 until 4:00 at the MCB office.  The open house will serve a two-fold purpose.  First it will be a time for people to meet our new executive director and also to let the community know what MCB is all about.  We have invited members of state-wide organizations, individuals from different businesses, politicians, attorneys and many others that might be interested in what MCB has to offer.  Anyone is certainly welcome to attend, and if you do plan to attend, please let the office know so they have an idea of how many people to expect.  Let me say thanks to Jesuita Tabor and Peggy Smith for assisting in organizing this event.

     In closing let me say thanks to all of you that have assisted me in the past four years.  There are so many of you that I can’t possibly begin to name all of you.  You have been great to work with and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for me.  It takes all of us working together to make MCB the great organization that it is and it will take all of us to continue making it even better.  God bless each one of you for being you.

Denny Huff – President

Braille In Crisis:

U.S. Could Lead Again in Braille, but Will It?

by Christopher Gray


At its annual convention in July of this year, the American Council of the Blind set the stage for adoption of UEB by allowing its representative to BANA to vote in favor of adoption if certain conditions are met.  The resolution providing these instructions was adopted with little substantive debate. 


Compared to ACB's reaction in 2001, the overall feeling of the audience could best be described as apathetic.  What has happened in those intervening years?  Have the organized blind been brow-beaten into submission by BANA, become so tired of the controversy that they just gave up and accepted their fate, or is braille irrelevant enough today that the majority of blind people just don't care?  Nothing of real substance about UEB has changed since 2001.  It was a bad code then, and it is still a bad code today. 


The most important requirement and the one I'll focus on here is that Nemeth Code must be integrated into UEB if it is to be adopted in the United States.  This is a potentially far-reaching proposition, and it has the merit of allowing the United States to resume a position of true leadership in the field of braille.  It creates the possibility of turning UEB from being at best a mediocre braille code into something that builds on the past and might have a future. 


The question is then:  What can we as consumers do to ensure that BANA implements ACB's requirements into UEB and that the implementation constitutes a real incorporation of Nemeth Code rather than a band aid approach to doing so?  this resolution could create a new conversation about UEB and there is at least some possibility that BANA will move forward positively and embrace the spirit of ACB'S requirements.  Vigilance and active participation within the blind community are essential if UEB is to be altered as prescribed in the ACB resolution.  For the moment, I will adopt an optimistic stance and hope for good things while carefully observing the reality of what occurs in the coming months.


In addition to the main resolution, the ACB membership adopted a motion creating a committee to act in an advisory capacity to our BANA representative.  This is to be a technically-oriented committee and able to advise on mathematics, computer science and other similar disciplines.  Incorporating the Nemeth Code into UEB cannot be considered a small task.  For starters, just adding Nemeth Code to UEB with no modification to UEB itself would create a code that is ununified and that requires learning and unlearning braille symbols and formatting.  This is precisely what UEB was created to overcome.  The incorporation of Nemeth Code into UEB must not recreate this situation.


I urge readers to abandon the current complacency that could lead braille into a new dark age in our country.  Our strength in math and science must be retained. Our leadership in chemistry and computer science cannot be compromised.  If ACB'S resolution paves the way for these things to happen, it's a good thing.  But, this will not be the case without strong vigilance and organized consumerism throughout the process.


The blind of Missouri have shown particular enthusiasm and commitment to quality braille and the retention of what is best about reading and writing braille today.  Let us carry on that tradition as we observe and participate in BANA'S consideration of ACB'S requested changes to UEB.




Blind of Central Missouri

Hello to everyone from Sedalia. Summer is moving right along, and by the time you read this, fall will be almost here.  Our picnic, held on July 1, was a huge success. We had about 65 members and guests attend. We served a host of various food items, everything from burgers to pork steak to all the picnic sides and trimmings. It was a great time of food, fun and fellowship!

     We have a new member, Linda Collett. She is sighted and is willing to help our affiliate in any way that she can. Congratulations Linda, and welcome to our club!

There is one more thing I would like to mention, we are looking forward to seeing a lot of you at the convention. Until next time, keep your smile and a song in your heart, and if you can’t be good, be good at it.

Trudy Avants, Recording Secretary

St. Charles County Council

A big hot and dry summer hello from St. Charles County.  My granddaughter always wants to help me put water in the bird bath, because she says the “birdies are crying”. Will someone please do a rain dance!

Since the last issue of the Chronicle, St. Charles County Council has had our annual Installation dinner sponsored by the Duchesne High School Key Club.  Our new executive board members are President, Steve Schnelle, 1st Vice President, Beverly Kaskadden, 2nd Vice President, Aaron Lane, Treasurer, Denny Huff, Secretary, Veva Walbracht, and Member at Large, Margie Petroski.  We were honored to have Chris Gray in attendance to perform the installation ceremony.

Summer is picnic time and we always have a picnic in July instead of a meeting. We would like to thank David White for hosting this event at his parent’s home in O’Fallon.

We will get back to Council business in August with a new Board, new ideas, and new plans for the upcoming year.  We are working on our first “White Cane Awareness Walk,” scheduled for October 14th at the Harvester Lions Club in St. Peters.  I will report on the outcome of this event in the next Chronicle issue.

Catch up with everyone in the December issue.  Maybe by then we will have rain. 

Blessings from Beverly Kaskadden.

Hello from Rite

I hope by the time you are reading this the ground will be wet with rain and these hundred degree temperatures will be far behind us.

We have not been idle by any means. In June, Jesuita and I went to tour the hotel where the MCB convention will be held in 2013. You are going to love it. I think it is about the most accessible hotel we have ever reserved for a convention. Everything is very convenient and a totally blind person will have no trouble navigating in it.

The Tower Club joined us in late June for a pizza party. The purpose of the gathering was to talk about plans for next year's convention. We are diligently working on ways to make the best convention ever.

Rite is growing. Let's welcome our four newest members. They are Ray Miles, Mike Arrigo, Cindy Gates and Chris Lee. I don't believe any of them have previously belonged to MCB. They are all visually impaired.

Several of our members enjoyed a week at Cobblestone in July. More of us will be having a blast there in September.

Ray Miles is working with a new guide dog. He is a golden retriever and his name is Poncho. He is about 2 years old, and, he loves toes.  Yolanda Downey is recuperating from the Shingles. She is feeling much better now.

That’s about it for this writing. We'll see some of you at camp, others at the convention in October, and still others in these pages in December. Until then, may God bless you and bring you happiness and keep you safe.

Warm blessings, Bunny Maginnis, President

The Joplin Service Club of the Blind

Hi again to all!  We hope all of you are making it all right in this hot summer!

In May, a group of us went to Branson to attend the Dutton family show. They do a variety of music, and a couple of comedy acts. Wow, they are spectacular!

On June 17, The Joplin Association for the Blind had their third annual Blind Blues and Barbecue at Municipal Park in Carthage. Several of us from the Service Club were present.  There is a fantastic barbecue contest, and we all get to taste and vote. There are also classic cars displayed. Tickets are sold for raffles with terrific donated merchandise. There’s definitely a lot of anticipation waiting for the 50 50 raffle as well!

On June 22, The United Way sponsored a Day of Action for the Service Club and the visually impaired kids. We had a picnic at Schifferdecker Park here in Joplin, and the kids played Beeper baseball.

On July 18, a few of us went to Camp Barnabas, a camp for kids, located in Purdy Mo. They have a 6-day camp program just for blind and visually impaired youth, and also the deaf and hard of hearing youth. We were so impressed, and also felt so blessed because of the great spirit that the kids displayed. We won’t quit talking about that trip for a long time!  It made us all wish we were kids again!

July 19, we had a dinner provided and served by a local church. We also had a local band called, Kelley’s Country Junction, and they played and sang with all their hearts and souls! Our hearts and souls were definitely there with theirs too, and we sang right along with them, and some danced, and it was a merry ole’ time!

Unfortunately, we lost two of our members to death since my last report. Alma Bell passed away on June 14, and Helen Green passed away on July 3. They are greatly missed!  We also miss James and Bernice Moore who moved to Florida recently to live near their daughter. We have had several illnesses, and continue to ask that you keep our Affiliate in your prayers, as we will all the other Affiliates.

That is all I have for this time.  Stay cool everyone, or as young people like to say, “Chill”!

Cindy Smart


     Hello fellow guide dog handlers and friends.  Once again it is getting close to convention time and members of Missouri Guide Dog Users are looking forward to another good breakfast meeting this year.  We will be holding our meeting on Friday, October 5, at 7:00 a.m. at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.  Bring yourselves and your four-footed friends (if you have one) for an informative hour and a half long gathering with friends for good food and information.

     Jim and Anne Murphy have informed us that their son, Sam, will be available through-out the convention to assist guide dog users with their guide dogs.  Call him at 314-708-1619 or 314-708-1621 if you need him to help with getting water, a quick potty break, etc.

     We are excited to report that MGDU is in the process of building a web site which promises to have a lot of information for fellow guide dog handlers and those interested in guide dogs.  We look forward to giving you more information as it becomes available.

     MGDU is happy to report that by the end of the convention, some lucky person will be taking home with them a large throw with many pictures of dogs on it which Mary Pendleton’s daughter has graciously volunteered to make for us! Be sure to inquire about the throw! 

     Until convention time, happy tails to you and your guides from MGDU. 

Judy Burch


     The Braille Revival League will hold its annual Alma Murphy BRL luncheon on Saturday, October 6.  At this year’s meeting, we will be revising our bylaws, as well as having elections for board positions.  Lunch tickets will be sold for $13.00. 

     We look forward to seeing you at the luncheon this year.

Judy Burch


Summer Camp Report

I am writing this report while sitting on the porch of my cabin at Cobblestone.  The weather is gorgeous!  It has been pretty warm other days, but we have to take advantage of this very comfortable day. As soon as I am done writing this article, I am heading for the pool.

The week in June was also very nice.  We had 39 campers in attendance.  I was so glad to have the opportunity to meet people that I only knew by name. 

This week in July we had 52 attending, but not one guide dog.  That was unusual.  Since the low attendance, Cobblestone had the opportunity to include other guest outside of MCB.  Some of these people have never had any contact with blind individuals, and I believe they were impressed.  I love it when we have the opportunity to interact with others who have no idea what a blind individual can accomplish.  The word “amazed” is used often.  I do not think it is amazing, but is a necessity.  Whatever it is, we have so much fun here at Cobblestone. 

Whether I am sitting on the porch or participating in the activities, I notice all the laughter and the camaraderie that is shared with our participants. I also hear people sharing their knowledge on helpful resources to enhance our lives.  It is a place to come together and connect.  It is relaxing and exhilarating all at the same time. 

Our September extended weekend is filling up quickly. If you cannot take the time away from work or home for a whole week, the extended weekend is perfect for you.  

I thoroughly enjoy chairing the Summer Camp Program.  I want to give a big thanks to my wonderful committee, Celita White, Sam White and Jim Schonlau.

Beverly Kaskadden

Emergency Preparedness

We are all in the middle of a major heat wave and extreme drought conditions. As a result, corn, soybeans, cotton and many other crops will be very limited for the year. What does this mean for you and me? It means that prices will increase for every aspect of our lives; no matter what it is we have to purchase.

Perhaps now is the time to stock up on the staples we will need for the winter. If the drought continues as it is now, water may be restricted to cooking and drinking purposes only. Now is the time to stock up on bottled water. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be affected by the heat and drought so stock up on as many canned and frozen items as possible. Food for animals will cost the farmers more this coming year. Fill your freezer with meat while the prices are still reasonable.

I am not trying to preach gloom and doom I am just trying to help you prepare for a hard winter that many people feel we will experience this year. As the old saying goes, a bird in hand is better than two in a bush.

I will be attending a seminar in September offered to instruct people with all disabilities on emergency preparedness. I am looking forward to learning more ways to help keep you safe. Your safety and well-being is always foremost on my mind. I will write a full report on all the information I have attained in the next issue of the chronicle.  Remember, don't be scared. Be prepared.

Bunny Maginnis, Chairman

Youth Services

As convention is coming closer, it is time to start planning for Saturday Kid’s Club. We need the name and age of your child planning to come to Kids Club.  All kids under 12 years of age are welcome. I will be purchasing the day’s snacks, games, drinks, and everything else to make it a fun day. I need to know what to purchase, so please let me know if your child plans to attend. You can call me at 660 826 1690 or e-mail me at Thanks!

Linda Gerken, Chairman

Special Services Committee

We are eager to assist MCB blind and /or sighted members and legally blind Missourians with their survival needs. For exact guidelines on the program, please go to and look under programs. Once there, you can also download a special services application. . If you do not have access to a computer, please call the MCB office at 314-832-7172. All applications need to be mailed or faxed to:

Missouri Council of the Blind, 5453 Chippewa, St. Louis, MO 63109 Phone: 314-832-7172 or toll-free 800-342-5632; Fax: 314-832-7796.  I will also be glad to answer any questions you may have regarding the program.


Completing all documents required for the application will expedite the committee in making a decision so please review all documents needed and the guidelines.

Anne Murphy, Chairperson

314-434-4051 -

Convention Time

I hope everyone has made their plans for the MCB Convention. The deadline has passed for your pre-registration discounts but you can still make arrangements to attend the convention.


Information was sent to all the affiliates but I wanted to also give everyone the chance to know about some fun things we can do this year in Jefferson City while at the convention. We are offering the Wolfner Library tours again but we also have some new surprises. The State Capitol, State Museum, Governor’s Mansion and the Missouri State Penitentiary all offer tours. I hope you will find time to enjoy at least one of these historic places.


Wolfner Library

Thursday afternoon and Friday Morning

No Charge

Governor’s Mansion

Thursday Afternoon

No Charge

Missouri State Capitol and State Museum

Thursday Afternoon

No charge

Missouri State Penitentiary (Capitol Plaza)

Thursday Evening


Missouri State Penitentiary on Site Tour

Friday Morning (9:30)



Let us know if you need a ride so we can put you on our list.

See you all at this year’s convention. October 5, 6 and 7 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, 415 West McCarty, Jefferson City, MO (573) 635-1234.

Susan Sanderson, Convention Coordinator

660-826-8235; e-mail


     As was reported in our last article, MCB hosted a booth at the St. Louis Firing Squad beepball tournament, which was held June 22-24.  The STL Firing Squad played against two teams, one from Chicago and another from Indiana.  Although they didn’t win, they played hard and a good time was had by all.  Literature and goodies were given to those folks who came by the booth and they had an opportunity to learn more about MCB and beepball.  The event was held at the Lutheran Seminary athletic field.

     On August 7, MCB will have a booth at the St. Charles Senior Gold health fair. 

     On September 23, MCB will host a booth at the Foundation Fighting Blindness St. Louis Vision Walk, which will be held at Tower Grove Park.  This will be a great opportunity for us to become better known throughout the community.

     MCB will be participating in a workshop at a conference on cross-cultural engagement on October 11-12 at Webster University with the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission and Gitana Productions, Inc.  The purpose of the conference is to provide information to the different organizations in the arts community which will enable them to involve various racial, ethnic and disabled communities in the arts.  MCB will be participating in a workshop featuring a number of persons from the disability community.  This is a great opportunity for us to learn about the arts and to have a voice in how future programs will be implemented.

     As you can see, we are working hard to get MCB’s name out there and educate the public about our organization and blindness in general.  Until next time, be well and we’ll see you in the December issue. 

Judy Burch

MCB Board Adopts Two New Policies

     At telephone conference meetings held since the face-to-face Spring meeting in Jefferson City, the Missouri Council of the Blind Board of Directors has adopted two new policies.  The new policies regard memorial (bereavement) leave for our employees, and the creation of a media award by MCB. Please see below for each policy.


When appropriate memorials may be given in the following situations:

The passing of a serving board member, their spouse or child.

The passing of a serving officer, their spouse, child or parent.

The passing of a past president.

The passing of the executive director, their spouse, child or parent.

The passing of a staff member, their spouse, child or parent.

Other memorials may be given at the discretion of the MCB board.

The amount of the memorial will be determined by the president and the executive director but shall not exceed one hundred dollars.


The media award shall be presented from time to time to one or more individuals or media sources showing outstanding promotion or news coverage to the Missouri Council of the Blind or to one of its affiliates.

Finally, I would like to thank the members of the MCB Policies committee:  Shirley Brokaw, Janelle Edwards and Beverly Kaskadden.

Michael Keller, Policies’ Chair

MCB Honored with Awards from ACB

At a meeting of the ACB Public Relations committee during ACB's 51st conference and convention in Louisville, Kentucky, MCB was honored with several awards related to our website:  The awards were as follows:

  • Most accessible and navigable web site -- First Place
  • Most functional current and useful web site -- First place
  • ACB affiliate web site with the best public relations content -- First place
  • Most outstanding affiliate web site -- 2nd place.

Congratulations to MCB’s webmaster, Beau Barnhart of Look Media, for being the guiding force behind our site.  This represents quite an honor for Beau, the content and layout of the site, and to MCB and its many programs and services.


Patricia (Patti) Schonlau

5521 Sutherland Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri  63109

Dear MCB friends,

The next several years are important ones for people who are blind in Missouri and for MCB.  We have just turned back the State Legislature's attack on our health care and it is likely that similar ones will come in the future.  We face the need to secure a dependable funding source for our organization.

In addition, there are important battles that need to be fought such as the need to increase the number of staff who are blind at Rehabilitation Services for the Blind.  Also, there is a critical need to expand the Business Enterprise Program which will result in additional employment opportunities for people who are blind in Missouri.  Furthermore, there is a need to improve educational opportunities for children who are blind.  I have considered these challenges, and I have concluded that I would appreciate the opportunity to play a significant role in leading the Missouri Council of the Blind, (MCB), in confronting them.  Therefore, I want to announce that I will be a candidate for MCB President at our State Convention in October. 

I believe that my experience working in the field of blindness both as a rehabilitation teacher with adults and as a teacher with children who are blind has given me the broad background that I need to understand the needs and strengths of the blind community.  My work on state and local governmental committees has given me a knowledge of the workings of the agencies that make policies that effect our lives.  I have been a member of MCB for nineteen years.  I have held leadership roles in both the United Workers for the Blind, (President, Vice President, Member at Large, State Convention Chair in 1995, and numerous Committee Chairs including the 100th Anniversary Celebration of U.W.B 2012), and the MCB, (Affiliate Board Representative, attended Legislative Days in Washington D.C., Personnel Committee Chair, 401 Blind Task Force Committee, (BTF), Representative since 2004). While holding the position of the BTF Chair, I orchestrated the speakers, the planning, the overall organization for the Children’s Vision Summit in 2007 and 2008.  Currently, I serve as a MCB Board Director.  I know most of you very well.  I am committed to an aggressive program which can protect our hard-earned rights, advance our opportunities, and promote the growth of our organization.

We have recently found a talented Executive Director.  I want to take advantage of his skills to expand our outreach throughout the blind community in Missouri and to make our advocacy on behalf of blind persons even more dynamic than it already is.  We face many difficult challenges, but I believe with our quality staff and our dedicated membership we can successfully meet those challenges.  I ask for your support for my candidacy and your partnership in our battle to improve the lives of all Missourians who are blind.

Thank you for your consideration. Patricia, (Patti), Schonlau

DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

To members of the Missouri Council of the Blind,

I herein declare my candidacy to stand for a second term as First Vice-president of MCB. I have thought long and hard about how I can best serve you. Since I have only lived in Missouri for six years, to many of you, I am still an unknown quantity.

I will try to fill in the gaps by stating my credentials. I have been president of two state affiliates, served two terms on the Board of Publications nationally, served as president of the Braille Revival League and on the Boards of GDUI and LUA at the national level. I currently serve on the ACB Store Committee, The Women’s Concerns Committee and the Multicultural Concerns Committee appointed by ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz. Here in Missouri, I chaired the committee tasked with searching for an executive director; I serve on the Advisory Board of Wolfner Library and the Governor’s Council on Disability. I served on the policy setting Board of Trustees for the state Library in Oregon being appointed by two governors. I have led and trained advocates at several ACB Legislative Seminars.

While serving on the boards of local chapters, I recognized that we are a grassroots organization that should listen, consider and work for the interests of all members of our truly democratic organization. I have worked hard to bring about accessible voting, protect the safety and rights of Guide Dogs and their owners, protect separate rehabilitation services for the blind, blind schools and of course worked with President Huff and Executive Director Gray to defend attacks against healthcare for Blind Pension recipients.

Much of my work has been from the wings as a writer, consensus builder advocate and negotiator. I am currently holding the office of secretary for a new chapter forming in Columbia.

On the personal level, I have been married for 41 years; I am the mother of two adult daughters and an adopted son from Samoa. I have seven grandchildren and by convention will be the great grandmother of twin girls. I have been a guide dog handler since 1968 and am currently working a chocolate Labrador retriever named Reno. I live two miles outside of Fulton with my husband, youngest daughter and her three children. I have been a teacher, social worker, and business owner. I work at Services for Independent Living in Columbia as an Independent Living Specialist providing blindness and low vision services. I am by nature a problem solver and creative thinker. Although I speak softly, I am good at pulling people together and finding common ground.

By serving a second term as First Vice-President, I hope to assist whomever you elect as president by offering continuity of leadership and my experience as an ACB member and leader for over thirty years. I also feel I can continue to shoulder some of the responsibilities inherent in leading a statewide organization. I am always ready to listen and to speak for you both on the executive committee of the board and when presenting our views to the public. I hope you will consider me as a worthy addition to your board.

Warmest Regards,

DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

Independent Living Specialist/Blind and Low Vision Services

Services for Independent Living

1401 Hathman Place

Columbia, Missouri 65201

573-874-1646 (234)


(Fax) 573-874-3564



5774 Windy Meadows Ln.

Fulton, MO 65251-5442

Cell: 573-544-3511


Janelle Edwards

Dear MCB members,

I am announcing my candidacy for a second term as Recording Secretary.

Since moving to Missouri in 2006, I have served MCB and its affiliates in numerous positions. I am presently the Recording Secretary, Bylaws/Resolutions Chair, and a member of the Policy Committee for MCB and the Vice President for the Missouri Guide Dog Users.

If reelected to the office of Recording Secretary I pledge to continue to listen with an open mind to MCB board members, MCB staff, and relevant experts who address the board before casting my vote even if I have a strong opinion when the discussion commences. When an agenda is received, as appropriate I consult MCB members with relevant expertise, and review by any means possible the will of the MCB convention assembly.

If you have any questions regarding my candidacy, please contact me. My contact information is in the Chronicle insert. I will appreciate your vote at the MCB convention. Whomever we elect to be our officers, I will continue to promote the goals and programs of MCB. I hope you will join me in this endeavor.

Best wishes,

Janelle Edwards

From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

I think you know by now what we do here: pass along some news items that we hope will be useful or interesting.  Just a few items this time, including new talking thermometers, a book to help you with your writing and a look at the most popular screen readers.

According to an article in Access World, there are three new talking thermometers on the market, two for taking body temperature and one for tasks like cooking.

The Talking Fast Read Thermometer is a digital thermometer for taking body temperature. I don’t know what company makes it but it is available through Maxiaids or from mainstream retail outlets. The price is $12.95 and the writer of the article felt it was very accurate. However, there seems to be no accessible manual for it.

The Lumiscope Talking Digital Ear Thermometer sells for $32.85 and is also available from many regular retail outlets. The customer service number for the company is 770-368-4700. The reviewer said that the thermometer is faster than traditional temperature readers but consistently read temperatures higher than other thermometers with which he compared it. Both appear to be easy to use.

Finally, the RT8400 Talking Digital Thermometer from Thermoworks, Inc. is for use in cooking or for other uses such as determining the temperature of bath water. The company’s phone number is 800 394-6434. The price is $36.00. It is also available through retail outlets, but I don’t know which ones.

I know that most of you use the BARD site for downloading your talking books. In case you haven’t heard, several exciting new features will be added to the site; probably by the end of the year. You will be able to use the BARD site for downloading Braille books and music scores. If you find a book you want to download but don’t want to download it immediately, you will be able to put it on a wish list for later download. Book listings will also contain links to other books by the same author, other books in a series if it is part of a series, and books by the same narrator. If you are not using BARD but would like to, contact Wolfner Library to find out how to sign up.

Best Buy is now selling the Insignia Narrator, a fully accessible HD radio.  All of the features have audio feedback. Unlike a very expensive accessible HD radio that was previously on the market, this radio was not made exclusively for blind people.  It is a radio being sold to sighted people that has speech added for anyone unable to see the display.  The speech can be turned off if you don’t need it.  It also comes with a CD containing the operating instructions.  It has AM, FM and HD stations and an auxiliary mode for other devices.  It also has a clock with two alarms and many presets, all of which can be operated with speech. The Insignia Narrator sells for $99 and can be ordered through Best Buy’s online Web site, but apparently not from retail stores.

Does the US Constitution really give us the right to bare arms or to bear arms? Is Jefferson City our State Capital or our state Capitol? Do you have a flair for writing or is it a flare. When you mail a letter, do you use stationary or stationery? You may well know the right answers to all of those questions, but if you don’t, here is a book you may find very useful and a grate (or is it great) reference. It is a Writer’s Companion, a Pocket Book of Homophones from National Braille Press. Homophones are those tricky words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings and they can trip up even the best writers, words like accept and except, affect and effect, altar and alter, as well as the ones I mentioned in those questions. The book lists several hundred of them in alphabetical order with brief definitions to help you keep them straight. But that’s not all. The book also lists descriptive word choices. You don’t have to keep saying that something is big. You can say astronomical, astonishing, bulky, broad, colossal, considerable, enormous, gigantic, huge, immense, substantial. The book gives lists of words for things that are big, small, fast, slow, good and bad, hot and cold, loud and quiet, hard and smooth, wet and dry and many of the lists are quite lengthy. The alternate words are not defined, just listed. Then there are lists of words that can be used to describe colors. For example, blue can be aqua, azure, cerulean, cobalt, cyan, electric blue, indigo, navy, sapphire, and turquoise. The colors listed are black, blue, brown, gray, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. And there are alternate words to describe how people look, words to use to say that someone is pretty, handsome, cute, tall, short, old or young. Also, ways to describe how people act, such as nice, mean, funny, shy, serious, strong, or weak as well as lists of words that could describe how people feel, happy, sad, angry, bored, excited or scared. The Writer’s Companion is a 53 page Braille book or it can be downloaded as a computer file from National Braille Press, 88 St Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115. Phone: 800 548-7323. Email or order through the web site NBP also has another book of Sudoku puzzles which I have ordered but not yet tried to solve.

The Pebble-mini is a new handheld electronic magnifier from Enhanced Vision. It has magnification from 2x to 10x and weighs less than four ounces. For more information call 888 811-3161 or go to www.

Dreamweaver is a telephone chat line offering conversation, contests, conferences, recipes, Bible studies, games and more. To see how it works, call 712 432-4807. is an informational web site for blind and visually impaired adults, family members, caregivers, healthcare providers and social service providers. Among other things, it offers social networking, tips and resources on living independently with vision loss, information on eye diseases, and directories of products and services. Visit the site at It is operated by the American Foundation for the blind and the Readers’ Digest, Partners for Sight Foundation.

     What screen reader do you use and which ones are the most popular ones? Based on 1,782 respondents to a recent survey on screen reader user’s preferences, JAWS is still the most widely used screen used but the number of users is down significantly compared to previous similar surveys. Forty-nine percent of those responding listed JAWS as their screen reader of choice, down from 66 percent in 2009 and 59 percent in 2010. Windoweyes and Zoomtext made slight increases. Voiceover showed a slight decrease in reported users.

The biggest increase was shown for a screen reader called NVDA, of which I am not familiar. It went up from two percent in 2009 to 13 percent in the most recent survey. Another big rise went to System Access, jumping from 4 to 10 percent since December, 2010. The surveys were conducted by an organization called Web Accessibility in Mind or Web Aim. Just thought you might find that interesting.

That’s all for now. See you in December.

By John Weidlich