VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
Monitor Headquarters 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President:Russell Kletzing, 4604 Briarwood Drive, Sacramento, California, 95821
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
SPECIAL CONVENTION NOTICE
CAROLINA VICTORY: NEW COMMISSION FOR BLIND
PILOT EXHIBITS FOR THE BLIND SCHEDULED BY THE SMITHSONIAN
BELLADONNA PREPARATIONS MAY CAUSE EYE INJURIES AN FDA RELEASE
COURT UPHOLDS JUROR BAN
LEWINSON V. CREWS: TEXT OF COURT OPINION
SPECIAL EDUCATION GRANTS
BLIND GO ALL OUT IN MASSACHUSETTS
WHITE CANE WEEK PROCLAIMED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COMSTAC'S CHILDREN - THE INSTRUMENTS OF ACCREDITATION
BLIND AIDERS ASK QUESTIONS IN LOS ANGELES
HOUSING FOR HANDICAPPED BUILT IN TOLEDO
RETIRING, BUT NOT FROM THE FEDERATION!
PENNSYLVANIA MEETINGS -- REPORT OF A PENNSYLVANIAN
NEW CLUB OF THE BLIND IN CLINTON, IOWA
MICHIGAN BLIND FORM JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
By Evelyn Wekerly
BLIND CHIROPRACTOR HONORED
POLICY ISSUES IN SOCIAL SECURITY
By Robert M. Ball
A TRIBUTE TO XENA JOHNSON
BLIND STUDENTS PRAISED FOR LIGHTING WAY
LUMINOUS ARM BAND MAKES BLIND VISIBLE
DISABILITY INSURANCE FRUSTRATIONS CONTINUE!
LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL HONORS BLIND TEACHER
PARRISH CASE APPEAL
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE BLIND
By Hon. John J. Gilligan
TITLE XIX MEDICAL CARE: AN HEW RELEASE
UNIQUE SKI RACE FOR THE BLIND
MOVE TO OUST BLIND PAROLE OFFICIAL
REQUEST FOR NAMES OF DEPARTED MEMBERS
BLIND TEENAGER MUSICIAN PLAYS WITH LOTS OF "SOUL"
SIGHTLESS STUDENT STARS ON WOOSTER'S AIRWAVES
By Frank M. Richardson
EYE DISEASE BLAMED ON PET DISORDER
TWO FOR ONE AIRFARE
MONTANA SUMMER SCHOOL FOR ADULT BLIND
TESTIMONIAL DINNER HONORS NFB WASHINGTON CHIEF
TWIN VISION ACTION COMMITTEE ELECTS NEW STAFF OF OFFICERS
TEXAS VENDING STAND DECISION REVERSED
FEDERATION LEADER WINS JURY VERDICT
The National Membership Committee and the Committee of Correspondents are scheduled to meet at 3:30 PM on Monday, July 3. Because of the full schedule and the exciting boat ride on the evening of Wednesday, July 5, we are scheduling these committee meetings at this early time.
The National Membership Committee will consider organizational techniques and methods of stimulating and increasing membership. The Committee of Correspondents will discuss the functioning of state bulletins and newsletters, the furnishing of news items to the BRAILLE MONITOR, and the development of effective publicity techniques within the states. All who are interested are invited, but delegates and state and chapter presidents are particularly urged to attend.
Bob Whitehead writes "there seems to be a lot of interest in the excursion on the Belle of Louisville. If the Belle wins the Big River Race we will have the Golden Antler on the Belle when we take our River trip. Of course, I think the Belle will win. However, it is my sad duty to report that the Island Queen is wearing the Golden Antlers this year."
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A goal long and eagerly awaited by the organized blind of South Carolina became a reality on May 9, 1966, as the governor signed into law a bill establishing a separate state commission for the blind.
The independent commission -- urged and fought for by the Aurora Club of the Blind, state affiliate of the National Federation, against the determined opposition of the state welfare department -- will dispense a variety of education and rehabilitation services to the state's approximately 7,000 blind persons. Only Aid to the Blind will continue as a function of the welfare department, which formerly had responsibility for all programs.
The commission bill passed both houses of the state legislature in late April following a positive recommendation by a special legislative committee which held hearings on the issue. Among those who testified on behalf of the commission were Kenneth Jernigan, first vice president of the National Federation, and Don Capps, president of South Carolina's Aurora Club of the Blind. Jernigan, who is also director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, had opened his state facilities to inspection by a member of the South Carolina legislative committee.
The new commission will consist of five members, two of them blind, with authority to establish and equip a center for vocational and industrial training. It will also operate a blindness prevention program, a sheltered workshop, the vending stand program, and employ qualified itinerant teachers to assist teachers in public or private school who are responsible for the teaching of visually handicapped students. A fair hearing procedure is established for every person "aggrieved by an action of the commission".
The passage of the commission bill represents a major victory for the organized blind of South Carolina and a striking defeat for the state department of public welfare. Under director Arthur B. Rivers, the welfare agency had vigorously opposed the creation of the new commission which will markedly reduce the authority and scope of his own department. Rivers maintained that the bill would actually cut down services to the blind and deprive them of the help of welfare workers.
A news report in the Columbia STATE, dated April 22, called attention to the earlier report of the legislative committee which advocated the commission in order to help "remove some of the stigma of welfarism" from blindness and put more emphasis on rehabilitation.
An additional indication of the size of the Aurora Club's victory in achieving the new legislation was suggested by the newspaper's comment that "passage came as somewhat of a surprise for a legislature which has declined to create any new state agencies in a number of years. "
The new and autonomous commission for the blind is the product of a battle waged over several years by the organized blind to improve services and gain more competent direction of state programs. Capps, the Aurora Club's president who is also second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind, charged in a series of speeches and articles that the blind people of the state had "lost faith in our welfare department. " He declared that the state agency had consistently failed to make use of funds earmarked for those programs and had avoided meeting even the most obvious needs of its blind clients.
In a 1965 editorial in THE AURORAN, the organization's official journal of which he is editor, Capps observed that the disillusionment of blind Carolinians with the welfare department "has culminated over a period of years through the discovery by blind leaders of wholesale wrongdoing and through the futility of efforts to negotiate desparately needed benefits."
He pointed out that the persistent failure of welfare officials to act on urgent matters had forced the organized blind to sponsor a succession of bills to grant ordinary rights and benefits to the state's blind. The most recent of the measures initiated by the Aurora Club was the successful bill creating a commission for the blind independent of the welfare department.
Governor Robert E. McNair has appointed two Aurorans to serve as the blind members of the Commission: Dr. Samuel M. Lawton, Aurora Club founder, and Mrs. Catherine Morrison, Aurora's 2nd vice president.
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BY THE SMITHSONIAN
Secretary S. Dillon Ripley announced that two experimental exhibits designed for blind visitors are being set up in the Smithsonian Institution's Arts and Industries Building.
The pilot program, made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, features exhibits arranged by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Smithsonian's Division of Textiles.
The exhibits will open to the blind on Wednesday, June 1, and continue to Thursday, June 30. [The NFB has requested that the exhibits be held open until July 15 so that convention delegates, going or coming by way of Washington, can visit them.]
Secretary Ripley said that tours of the exhibits will be scheduled by appointment only, adding that interested parties should dial RE 7-6800, a 24-hour telephone answering service set up specially to record requests.
Elaborate System of Models
It is planned that the experimental exhibits will lead to the establishinent of permanent facilities for the blind within the Smithsonian museum complex on the Washington Mall.
"Museums have a unique role to play in the education of the blind," Mr. Ripley declared. "The preparation of exhibits of thematically related objects which can be touched and studied by blind persons is long overdue."
The NASA exhibit, which was previewed last fall at the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore, is 27 feet in diameter and consists of five booths:
** aeronautical research
** launch vehicles
** orbital mechanics
** scientific satellites
** manned space flight
An elaborate system of models and taped information will present the progress of man toward space, ranging from the Wright Flyer through the Apollo Moon Landing.
The models are constructed so they can be "seen" through the fingers of the blind visitors. An attendant will answer questions and instruct the blind on how to recognize the models.
Tells Story of Textiles
Set up under the direction of Smithsonian curator Grace Cooper, the textile exhibit consists of mobil display units with objects and models that tell the story of cotton, wool, linen, and silk.
This exhibit will be presented in two half-hour parts. Again, an attendant will present the material and answer questions.
Charles Blitzer, director of the Smithsonian office of education and training, and G. Carroll Lindsay, executive secretary of the Smithsonian Society of Associates, are coordinating the experimental project.
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Labels on over-the-counter drugs containing belladonna preparations or its related alkaloids will have to include specific warnings against use by persons with glaucoma or excessive pressure within the eye.
Among the non-prescription products affected, the Food and Drug Administration said, are many taken for colds, motion sickness, and to help bring on sleep.
Food and Drug Commissioner James L. Goddard, M.D., said his agency has received complaints of eye injuries associated with the use of belladonna preparations and related drugs. These injuries have been attributed to the lack of the specific warning.
Dr. Goddard said physicians generally recognize that the use of these products by persons with glaucoma or with excessive pressure in the eye may cause serious eye injuries.
A previously recommended warning against use of such drugs by elderly persons will be retained. There is a higher incidence of glaucoma among the aged, and it sometimes escapes early detection.
An order detailing the newly required warning will be published in the Federal Register May 5 and will become effective in 60 days. It lists affected products as those containing belladonna and related alkaloids (atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine [ hyoscine]; hyoscyamus, stramonium and the derivatives of both, plus related drug preparations). The new label will say:
"Warning -- Not to be used by persons having glaucoma or excessive pressure within the eye, by elderly persons (where undiagnosed glaucoma or excessive pressure within the eye may be present), or by children under 6 years of age, unless directed by a physician. Discontinue use if blurring of vision, rapid pulse, or dizziness occurs. Do not exceed recommended dosage. Not for frequent or prolonged use. If dryness of the mouth occurs, decrease dosage."
The order states that in the case of scopolamine or scopolamine aminoxide preparations recommended for insomnia, the above warning should read "children under 12 years of age" instead of "children under 6 years of age."
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The trouble with justice in the city of New York is that it is not "blind" enough--or so it would seem on the basis of a recent court decision that blindness alone is sufficient to disqualify a person from service as a juror.
The judgment in the case of Lewinson v. Crews, handed down by Mr. Justice Samansky of the Supreme Court of Kings County on April 21, 1966, upheld the earlier finding of the county clerk that "the petitioner, being totally blind, does not fall within the standards set forth" in the judiciary law of the county -- which requires that a juror must "be in the possession of his natural faculties and not infirm or decrepit" and that he must be "able to read and write the English language understandingly."
Disqualified from jury service on both of these grounds, which are clearly pointed at mental incompetence and illiteracy, was Edwin Lewinson, an assistant professor of history and political science at Seton Hall University, whose blindness "has not prevented him [in the words of the judge] from earning an A.B. degree from the University of Michigan and the degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy from Columbia University, nor has it precluded him from authoring the biography of John Punroy Mitchel , Mayor of the City of New York 1913-1917."
Despite his recognition of the intellectual qualifications and attainments of Professor Lewinson, Judge Samansky upheld the administrative decision against him on the basis that "the conclusion reached by the county clerk was reasonable and founded upon a completely rational basis. Clearly, the construction adopted is well suited to the purposes of the administration of the jury system in the City of New York and has a substantial and reasonable relation to a legitimate public purpose--to improve the caliber of jurors and to simplify and make more effective the administration of the jury system."
The judge observed that "The petitioner, as evidenced by his highly esteemed background, is more than qualified with respect to the caliber of persons sought for jury duty but it is apparent that to qualify him for such duty and to subject him to challenge would impede the administration of justice rather than make it more effective." He went on to maintain that, in the crowded condition of the New York courts, a blind juror would face challenge and be rejected by the court "in a large proportion of cases"; hence, said the judge, it was not unreasonable to avoid such difficulties by eliminating blind persons from the qualifying list. "The county clerk must have considerable latitude to cope with such matters," he added, "and should not be hamstrung with doctrinaire requirements."
Thus Mr. Justice Samansky, in a statement admirable for its candor if for nothing else, has laid down a new basis for judicial decisions in such matters. Although an individual may be "more than qualified," he is to be disqualified if his presence on a jury seems likely to arouse a prejudiced challenge. Moreover, even to make clear that blindness is irrelevant to the determination of mental competence or literacy is to hamstring the county clerk with "doctrinaire requirements," It would appear that the clerk is to proceed in his determination without either doctrine or minimal requirements of common sense and fair play.
Finally, in a closing paroxysm of unconscious irony, the New York judge declared: "Although petitioner has not been successful herein, his effort serves as an inspiration to all civic minded people and lends itself to a reawakening of the desire to participate in civic affairs which many of our populace have permitted to become dormant."
At the onset of his opinion, as well, Mr. Justice Samansky appeared to accept the reasoning advanced by Professor Lewinson; for he set forth without any attempt at refutation or reservation the following summary of the petitioner's case:
"It is asserted that a great number of blind people, as a result of training and with the use of compensating techniques and devices, are serving in various professional capacities which require the same or greater capacity, skill and judgment than that which is required for effective service as a juror. Being sightless, it is urged, has not prevented them from performing exceptionally well as judges, lawyers, district attorneys, legislators, teachers, social workers and civil servants of high professional level and in spite of misconceptions, prejudice and fears of the public concerning the ability of the blind more are being added to the many who have become independent and entered into the social and economic stream of life on a basis of equality in the sighted community.
"In addition, the petitioner submits that the blind tend to compensate their handicap by keenly developing the remainder of their senses, their powers of retention and their emotional sensitivity and thus they may be vis-a-vis the sighted less distracted, concentrate better and are more objective."
The full text of the judicial verdict, as published in the NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL (April 21, 1966), follows.
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(Justice Samansky) - Petitioner has been denied the opportunity to qualify as a juror in Kings County because of his total blindess. He insists that he meets the necessary qualifications and accordingly brings this proceeding to annul such determination. Petitioner has been totally blind since birth. This has not prevented him from earning an A.B. degree from the University of Michigan and the degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy from Columbia University, nor has it precluded him from authoring the biography of John Punroy Mitchel, the Mayor of the City of New York 1913-1917. He is at present an assistant professor in history and political science at Seton Hall University.
It is asserted that a great number of blind people, as a result of training and with the use of compensating techniques and devices, are serving in various professional capacities which require the same or greater capacity, skill and judgement than that which is required for effective service as a juror. Being sightless, it is urged, has not prevented them from performing exceptionally well as judges, lawyers, district attorneys, legislators, teachers, social workers and civil servants of high professional level and in spite of misconceptions, prejudice and fears of the public concerning the ability of the blind more are being added to the many who have become independent and entered into the social and economic stream of life on a basis of equality in the sighted community. In addition, the petitioner submits that the blind
tend to compensate their handicap by keenly developing the remainder of their senses, their powers of retention and their emotional sensitivity and thus they may be vis-a-vis the sighted less distracted, concentrate better and are more objective.
The qualifications of a juror in Kings County are set forth in section 596 of the Judiciary Law. Subdivision 4 thereof provides that he must "Be in the possession of his natural faculties and not infirm or decrepit" and subdivision 6 provides that he must be "able to read and write the English language understandingly." Under section 590 of the Judiciary Law and the rules in relation to the jury system in the City of New York adopted by the Appellate Divisions of the First and Second Departments pursuant to the provisions of section 592 of the Judiciary Law, the County Clerk of Kings County is made the sole judge of the qualification of jurors in Kings County subject to the right of challenge at a particular trial. The county clerk asserts that the petitioner, being totally blind, does not fall within the standards set forth in the above subdivisions and, accordingly, the rejection of the petitioner as a juror, was within the powers vested in him and not arbitrary.
In rebuttal the petitioner professes that with respect to subdivision 4, the phrase "in possession of his natural faculties" is one of ambiguity. Does it mean, it is inquired, that a person who lacks an arm, which is a natural faculty, is disqualified from jury service or does it mean that the infirmity which exists must, per se, prevent the rendition of efficient jury service? If the latter meaning is the one to be attributed to the phrase, then it is urged that lack of vision is not included therein, since blindness does not ipso facto prevent the rendition of efficient jury service and to categorically say that all blind people are not in possession of their natural faculties shies away from reality.
The standard that the county clerk is called upon to apply may be of ecumenical character, but it is he who must initially construe and determine the limitations of the language of the statute. In Matter of Mounting and Finishing Co. v. McGoldrick (294 N. Y. 104, 108) the court said: "Of course, statutory construction is the function of the courts 'but where the question is one of specific application of a broad statutory term in a proceeding in which the agency administrating the statute must determine it initially, the reviewing court's function is limited' (board v. Hearst Publications. 320 U. S. Ill, 131). The administrative determination is to be accepted by the courts 'if it has "warrent in the record" and a reasonable basis in law' (same citation). 'The judicial function is exhausted when there is found to be a rational basis for the conclusions approved by the administrative body' ( Rochester Tel. Corp'n. v. United States, 307 U.S. 125, 146). " I think it needs no lengthy discussion to state that the conclusion reached by the county clerk was reasonable and founded upon a completely rational basis. Clearly, the construction adopted is well suited to the purposes of the administration of the jury system in the City of New York and has a substantial and reasonable relation to a legitimate public purpose--to improve the caliber of jurors and to simplify and make more effective the administration of the jury system. The petitioner, as evidenced by his highly esteemed background, is more than qualified with respect to the caliber of persons sought for jury duty, but it is apparent that to qualify him for such duty and to subject him to challenge would impede the administration of justice rather than make it more effective. In a community like Kings County, with notoriously congested court calendars, I cannot find it unreasonable to eliminate from the qualifying list those who, in a large proportion of cases would be rejected by the court after time had been taken in examination to ascertain the disqualification. The county clerk must have considerable latitude to cope with such matters and should not be hamstrung with doctrinaire requirements. Even had the court differed with the wisdom of the county clerk's determination, it could "not add to, or change, the provisions of the statute" to achieve another result. Nor could it "consider arguments based solely upon ethical grounds or upon supposed considerations of public policy. If any change in the law is thought desirable it must be sought from the legislature" (Aurelio v. Cohen, 44 N.Y.S. 2d 145, 147, aff'd 266 App. Div. 603, aff'd 291 N.Y. 645). By reasons of the above disposition the court need not examine whether or not the second ground set forth by the county clerk as a reason for disqualifying the petitioner has any basis in law.. The petition is accordingly dismissed. In passing it should be noted that this proceeding is of unusual nature. The courts are usually confronted with applications to
excuse citizens from jury duty. Unlike the petitioner who has confined his authorship to biography, these citizens author a variety of the most imaginative excuses to cast aside the obligation of this highly important civic requirement. In the extensive research into the question involved herein only one other instance has been found in the reported cases in the State of New York where a person sought to be qualified as a juror (see Matter of Ford v. O'Bryne, 222 App. Div. 50). Ironically, the petitioner therein, a man of violent religious prejudices, was successful in his application to compel the then commissioner of jurors of New York to replace his name upon the list of jurors for the County of New York from which the commissioner had struck it. The Appellate Division found that the sole basis that the commissioner of jurors could have had for the removal of the petitioner's name was that he was not intelligent because of his beliefs; but, by reason of section 13 of the Civil Rights Law, which provides that no citizen otherwise qualified shall be disqualified as a juror on account of creed, a connotation of the word "intelligent," which would exclude a man from jury service by reason of his beliefs, should not be approved. Although petitioner has not been successful herein, his effort serves as an inspiration to all civic minded people and lends itself to a reawakening of the desire to participate in civic affairs which many of our populace have permitted to become dormant. Submit order.
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Grants supporting special education programs for more than 45,000 handicapped children were announced by the U.S. Office of Education.
The funds will be used by State education agencies operating or supporting the free public education of such handicapped children as the mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, crippled, and those who have sight, hearing, or speech impairments other handicaps requiring special education.
The allocations are the first made under authorizations contained in an amendment to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The amendment was contained in Public Law 89-313, enacted last November.
The initial grants include:
-- $4.89 million for 21,000 visually handicapped and deaf children;
-- $4.33 million for 19,000 mentally retarded children;
-- $432,000 for 1,743 emotionally disturbed children;
-- $346,000 for 1,469 crippled children.
Allocations to the States are expected to increase as attendance information is updated. The State allocations are determined on the basis of half the State's average per-pupil expenditure, multiplied by the number of eligible handicapped children in daily attendance.
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As reported by Charles Little and Manuel Rubin
Monday, May 9 is a day long to be remembered in Massachusetts The Associated Blind of Massachusetts did itself proud.
The occasion was the hearing before the Joint Committee on State Administration of the State Legislature. The bill was S.819 removing the Division of the Blind from the Department of Education and placing it as an independent, autonomous agency directly under the authority of the Executive branch of the State government. The hearing had to be moved to Gardner Auditorium, the largest hearing room in the State House.
Notwithstanding the cold and rainy weather, the blind came from everywhere. They arrived in chartered buses and cars from Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield, Chicopee, Worcester, Lawrence, Fall River, Brockton, Watertown and other parts of the state. Over four hundred thronged the corridors and nearly filled the auditorium.
Manny Rubin, President of the ABM, presented speakers in order and interspersed some cogent remarks of his own. First to speak was John Mungoven, long-time Director of the Division for the Blind and winner of the Newel Perry Award for his accomplishments in that capacity. Then came Charlie Little, Legislative Representative of the ABM. Anita O'Shea, member of the Executive Committee of the NFB, represented that organization.
Private agencies and private individuals also lined up to give solid support to S. 819: The Boston Aid to the Blind, the Protestant Guild, the Catholic Guild for the Blind, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Perkins School for the Blind. Conspicuously absent was the Massachusetts Association for the Adult Blind whose Executive Director is Helen Cleary. Other supporters of the bill were Dr. John Dupress, Managing Director of Sensory Aids Evaluation Development Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. Gordon Conner, former secretary of the AAWB and now with the Morgan Memorial in Boston.
Statements, wires, and letters were received from all over the country in the hundreds. Over half the legislators sent word that they wished to go on record in support of the bill.
So impressed were the members of the Committee by the fervor with which the case was presented that they called for a short consultation and voted unanimously to approve the bill and send it along to the lower house to be acted upon.
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Proclaiming May 15-21 as White Cane Week, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia joined with the organized blind of the Nation's Capital in furthering one of the goals of the Chapter's White Cane drive--to educate the public as to the potentialities and possibilities achievable by blind people.
Undertaken as a new venture, the White Cane effort in Washington is supervised and directed by Tom Bickford who says: "Of course, we want to educate the public but, we also want to raise some money, too!"
"I know we are starting very small," admitted Chairman Tom, "but," he said, "we don't intend to stay small! Next year, we'll try to redouble our mailing--and our efforts!"
Five thousand letters of solicitation for financial support were mailed by the D. C. group--and, to those who did the "stuffing", this number seemed plenty large enough!
One Saturday some dozen Federationists and their friends gathered at the home of John and Ginny Nagle--and when the day drew to a close, 2,500 envelopes had been filled with a brochure, a solicitation letter, a braille alphabet card, and a return envelope.
The following Saturday at the home of Yvonne Reed, an even greater number of "staffers" gathered--and 5,000 bulky envelopes went into the mail! "Now comes the tough time," said Bickford, as he totaled up the cost of the White Cane Week fundraising drive, and worried about breaking even.
The WCW Proclamation, written and obtained by Ramona Willoughby, was not the only try of the D.C. blind to publicize their activities. Some 3 radio and TV stations received releases. Slides were prepared and distributed for TV showing. One local blind disc jockey received his set of releases in braille!
Some members of the D.C. Federation appeared on guest "spots" on several radio stations. Tom Bickford and Ramona Willoughby were scheduled on one program for a midnight appearance!
George Eggleston, in charge of placing 200 WCW canisters in lucrative locations about the city of Washington--reported a week and a half before the drive started that he had already placed more than one-half.
"WHITE CANE WEEK"
May 16-21, 1966
BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA A PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS, on the streets and highways of our nation, the white cane instantly identifies the blind person, independently coming and going to the places he needs to be, but highly dependent for safety upon the courtesy and consideration of both motorists and pedestrians; and
WHEREAS, identifying the blind person for his safety, the white cane is a symbol, illustrating the fact that the blind person can and wants to lead a fully productive and useful life; and
WHEREAS, for the safety of the blind and for the education of all citizens of the District of Columbia to the capacities of the blind, the Board of Commissioners has, in accordance with other city and state governments across the United States, decided to proclaim the week of May 16-21, 1966, to be "White Cane Week,"
NOW, THEREFORE, WE, THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, do hereby proclaim the week of May 16-21, 1966, as "White Cane Week." We urge civic and service organizations, schools, public bodies, and the media of public information in the Capitol City to join in observing "White Cane Week" with activities which will promote greater awareness of the meaning of the white cane, and which will promote the full understanding of the ever increasing competence of blind persons. We call on all citizens of the District of Columbia to join individually in this effort, that blind persons in this city may enjoy a high degree of independence and productivity.
Walter N. Tobriner
John B. Duncan CM. Duke
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COMSTAC described itself as an autonomous body of 22 persons. It emphasized that it had over 100 professional leaders on its 12 standard writing committees. It claimed that over 1,000 persons contributed to the development of standards. That is almost enough to make one think in terms of the pure democracy of the New England Town Meeting. But look at what has really happened. The A.F.B. literally begot COMSTAC. It handpicked this supposedly autonomous group. Through its consultants it provided the expert advice on problems of blindness. It paid most of the money -- $225,000 of $401,680. The field of work with the blind and the blind themselves were put neatly into the position of having to hear the good news and to accept it. Development and growth of standards, instead of working up the pyramid from a wide base, were imposed from on top. Subtract a point from democracy's score.
Now comes the final act in a grab for control as neatly masked as one could hope to find. Theoretically, having developed its standards COMSTAC was to fade out of the picture, and a separate organization was to be established which would implement the accrediting system.
A COMSTAC Newsletter of May, 1965 headlined "Independent Accrediting Agency to be Established." It went on to say, "A far-reaching decision was recently made by the Commission to create a new and independent agency to administer an on-going, voluntary system of accreditation of local and state agencies for the blind on a national basis.
"At its last meeting, held April 22-24, the Commission voted to accept the recommendation of the Long Range Planning Committee that the permanent agency should be organized separate from any existing agency or organization for the blind." (Emphasis added). The December, 1965 COMSTAC Newsletter tries to continue this impossible notion. It states: "The Commission endorsed the plan of establishing a separate, independent accrediting organization on or before January 1967. . . .
"Tentatively it is proposed that the new organization will be governed by a House of Delegates made up of representatives of member agencies." Here is another promise of democracy in action; a promise apparently made to be broken.
Then, under date of March 15, 1966, came the document containing the proposed Constitution and By Laws for the "National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped." It would indeed be difficult to produce a document which at once sounds so democratic and at the same time creates so authoritarian a system.
Again, as with COMSTAC, it would appear that this "Council" is to rest on a very wide basis of acceptance and participation. Article III of the Constitution starts to open the door to as wide a membership as possible -- practically any agency or organization, whether it be involved in work with the blind or not, may be eligible to be a member of the Council. That sounds good, but Article III further states "Decisions on eligibility for, continuance of, and termination of membership in the Council are to be determined by the Board of Directors according to the By Laws." And now add this factor -- the first Board of Directors which will be in control for the first two years of the Councils' life will be appointed by COMSTAC. He who begets can easily control. Subtract another point from democracy.
Why in the world can not the organized blind and the agencies interested in joining the Council be asked to send representatives to a constitutional and organizational meeting. There is nothing unworkable in such a procedure; that would be the denaocratic process. A striking characteristic of this Councils' Constitution, and one which parallels the same characteristics in the work of COMSTAC, is that the end products -- the standards, the accrediting power, the Constitution and By Laws -- are not growing out of the work of the people but are being imposed from above. The pretense at democracy is only that --a degrading sham. Are the organized blind and the agencies and workers in the field so childlike that they must have their organization formed for them and controlled by self-imposed experts?
Let us examine the By-Laws of this new "Council" and see further how nicely truth and democracy may be subverted. There are to be three classes of members in the Council. Accredited members -- who will be voting members -- are agencies and organizations providing services for blind persons. Organizations of the blind would not be eligible to be voting members of the Council. Provisional members are agencies which have applied for accreditation but which do not quite qualify. Provisional membership is a status which may not exceed three years. One supposes that at the end of three years the provisional member who has not come up to the mark will be cast into outer darkness. Affiliate membership is the third class, and it covers a multitude of things. These members could be from any agency or group or organization "concerned" with services for the blind or "such related organizations as the Board of Directors shall determine." There is another sort of anomalous category of membership called sponsors. These could be "individuals, corporations, foundations, organizations or associations" who can be elected on an annual basis by the Board of Directors. The provisional member, the affiliate member and the sponsor while non-voting -- have privileges of the floor at annual meetings.
That the Council is to operate on the basis of seeming representative democracy is evidenced by Article III of the By Laws which lists the bodies that shall carry out the functions of the Council. These bodies are: House of Delegates, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Nominating Committee, Commission on Accreditation, Commission on Standards, Standing Committee, Ad Hoc and Special Committees.
The House of Delegates consists of two delegates from each accredited agency -- "One non-staff person and one professional staff person." Also in the House of Delegates will be the Board of Directors, one non-voting delegate from each provisional member, each affiliate member and each sponsor.
The main function of the House of Delegates appears to be to elect the Board of Directors, the officers and the members-at-large of the Executive Committee. And, having done that, it will have abdicated anything resembling legislative power or responsibility. That it is to hear and approve what comes from above is made clear in Section 2.A.1 of Article III of the By-Laws which says the House of Delegates shall "Serve as an advisory and consultative body to the Board of Directors on questions of standards and policies referred to it by the Board." It may "Initiate recommendations to the Board of Directors for standards and policies." The power to advise, consult with and recommend is indeed a mighty power--a mighty small power.
Obviously the real power of the Council will rest with the officers of the Council, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. Examine the structure of these bodies and observe how they are so tied together that there is no system of checks and balances, and that complete control is going to be retained by the parent organization that establishes them. These bodies at first are not even going to be popularly elected.
If we set up an organizational chart based on the By-Laws the following picture emerges. There shall be five officers of the Council--a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary and a treasurer. The first officers will be appointed by COMSTAC. There shall be a Board of Directors consisting of the five officers of the Council plus eighteen to twenty four additional members. The first Board shall be appointed by COMSTAC. There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the five officers, three directors-at-large, the chairmen of the commissions on standards and accreditation, and the immediate past president of the Council. The first Executive Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Directors which, of course, already would have been appointed by COMSTAC. The President shall appoint the nine member Commission on Accreditation -- the chairman of which must be from the Board of Directors. The President shall also appoint a six member Commission on Standards, the chairman of which must be from the Board of Directors.
The controlling power of the Council will have been appointed for two years by COMSTAC. COMSTAC begot the Board of Directors -- two-thirds of whom will serve for at least two years. COMSTAC begot the first officers -- who are automatically members of the Board of Directors -- three of the five officers will serve for at least two years. The Board of Directors, begot by COMSTAC, in turn begets the Executive Committee, which automatically has the five officers already begot by COMSTAC. The President, in his turn, having been begot by COMSTAC, begets the Commission on Accreditation and the Commission on Standards -- the chairmen of which have to be members of the Board of Directors -- which was begot by COMSTAC in the first place.
An interesting omission in regard to elections -- there is no provision for nominations from the floor. All nominations for the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and officers will come from a nominating committee.
Does it not seem strange that they will have had no representation--no chance to express their views? The blind will be most affected by these developments. The sad truth of the matter stands forth in naked accusation--in the writing of the standards, in the formulation of the accrediting system, the organized blind have been excluded, their voices have been ignored.
Think now of the peculiar situation which is being created through the establishment by COMSTAC of this so-called Council. On the face of it all seems democratic and in the traditional American Way. The Council shall consist of a wide range of members. The members shall send representatives to a House of Delegates. The House of Delegates, although it has no real legislative power, will elect the administrative bodies to conduct the business of the Council. There is to be an elected Board of Directors, a set of elected officers, an elected Executive Committee. There shall be two commissions -- one on accreditation and one on standards. The Accreditation Commission shall have a judicial function. There is, on the face of it, some checks and balances and some separation of powers. In reality the elected bodies and the commissions are so closely intertwined and overlapped that direction and control of all affairs will be in the hands of very few -- far removed from any supervision by an elected representative body. And more to the point, and more blatantly undemocratic, is the fact that the Council is going to have to operate for its first two years under appointed authority and with no means for participation by the membership.
Regardless of the reason COMSTAC may have -- the blind and the agencies that serve them are witnessing a disgusting grab for power that may well cripple any forward looking movement to improve the situation of the blind in this country.
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Are chiropractic services paid for under the new State Medical Care program? Must I pay for my ineligible spouse's hospital bills? Can the county worker talk me out of taking an appeal to the State? Does the special home maintenance allowance cover upholstering furniture? Am I entitled to the services of an attendent if I need them? These are only a few of the questions you would have heard if you had been in the supervisor's room of the Los Angeles County Building on the afternoon of May 21. Over 3 50 Blind Aid recipients had gathered there to have their questions answered about the Blind Aid Program. The forum was sponsored by the California Council of the Blind and is the second such event in recent California history. The Council's notices of the meeting were sent out by the Los Angeles Bureau of Public Assistance to all Blind Aid recipients in the county with their regular monthly aid checks. On hand to answer questions were Ellis P. Murphy, Assistant Superintendent, Department of Charities of Los Angeles County; Hortense Tuttleman, Chief of the County's Blind Aid Division; Perry Sundquist and Nick Grossbeck representing the Blind Division of the State Department of Social Welfare; Jim McGinnis, President of the California Council of the Blind, opened and closed the session. Dr. tenBroek presided. The officials and the recipients found the meeting mutually profitable. In a follow-up letter to President McGinnis Mr. Murphy wrote:
"I want to express very much my appreciation for the meeting which the California Council of the Blind held in Los Angeles last Saturday. For some time, we have been making an effort to engage top welfare administration in this County in more direct discussions with client groups and with other persons in the community relative to the welfare program. I feel that I received a great deal from listening to the problems and attempting to assess some of the attitudes and feelings of the recipients and others who were present."
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(From Newsletter of the National Association of the Physically Handicapped, Incorporated, Spring, 1966)
Ground-breaking ceremonies of the $2,550,000 Apartment Complex for the Physically Handicapped and Elderly in Toledo were held in January, and the expected date of completion is mid-1967.
The project is the first of its kind in the United States, and the design of the 164-apai-tment complex makes it the first of its kind in the world. Occupying the greater portion of a downtown city block, the complex will be two connecting eight-story buildings, with space reserved for both outside and under-cover parking. (Undercover parking will be limited to people with certain physical needs.)
The most unusual aspect of Toledo's housing for the physically handicapped is that it's the achievement of a woman who had decided that she did not want to live because she could not contribute to society.
Betty Carey and her husband, Jerry, both had polio as youngsters, Then in the 1950' s, Betty suffered a stroke which limited her physical mobility to the use of just one hand and lower arm. In an attempt to dispel her sense of hopelessness the Careys attended the world-wide conference of the International Society of the Crippled and Disabled in New York City in 1960,
Inspired by Denmark's housing for the handicapped, Mrs. Carey, upon returning home, sent a letter about the Denmark project to 200 people, suggesting that a similar project be started in Toledo. She presented her ideas before a group of interested people in March, 1961.
After months of work by the steering committee and other interested people, the City Council unanimously approved the proposed structure and land. Congressman Ashley announced that $2.2 million had been granted to the TMHA for research, purchase of land and construction of the complex. Recently, through McClinton Nunn's efforts, an additional $350,000 has been granted for increased building costs.
All the one-to-four room units in the complex will contain special features for the physcially handicapped, but will be equally usable by the elderly. Half of the units will be leased to each group.
Special adaptations will be built in the kitchen and bathroom areas and the complex will feature wide doorways, elevators, no steps, little or no threshholds, accessible light switches, easily operated windows, non-slip floors, provisions for air-conditioners (if needed for health reasons) and an electric-eye-operated door at the main entrance.
Many services will be available to the residents without their ever leaving the complex. Housed in the building will be a small chapel; community room; offices for a physical therapist, doctor, and social worker; snack bar; barber shop and beauty shop.
Goodwill Industries of Toledo has planned construction of a new building in the block adjacent to the complex, with completion also scheduled for mid-1967. A connecting over-the-street bridge between the complex and Goodwill is proposed so that complex residents can conveniently and safely go to the Goodwill plant.
More research has gone into this housing project than any other in the Federal Housing Authority's history. Anyone wishing more information can write to McClinton Nunn, Toledo Metropolitan Housing Authority, 400 Nebraska Avenue, Toledo, Ohio 43602.
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"I am retiring from my job. I am not retiring from the Federation!"
This was the emphatic declaration of George H. "Tim" Seward as he accepted a gift of appreciation at a meeting of the Potomac Federation of the Blind, held in the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, Virginia, May 26, 1966.
All Federationists know Tim Seward! Tinn is the Administrative Assistant to Congressman Walter S. Baring of Nevada, and previously held other responsible positions in Washington.
Later this year, Tim will retire from his job with Congressman Baring in Washington, and he and his wife, Pike, will go to live in their newly acquired home in Florida. But, as Tim said at the Virginia meeting, he will still be an active Federationist.
The Potomac Federation of the Blind presented Tim with a necktie bar of gold, on which is affixed the emblem of the NFB, as a "carrying away" symbol of the affection and respect of Tim's Federation friends among the organized blind of Virginia.
In 1958, at the NFB convention in Boston, Tim received the Newel Perry Award, the highest granted by the NFB each year, to a person who has merited the high esteem and gratitude of blind Americans.
The inscription read: "His faith in the blind was and remains the faith the blind have in themselves; that with opportunity the blind can be normal, productive, independent and equal citizens."
"These words were said of Tim Seward in 1958," said John Nagle , "but they are as true of him today as they were then! They are as vital and real, today, as then! For Tim has continued to give meaning to them -- and because of this, because of Tim Seward, the organized blind movement has gained immeasurably from his association with us!"
What was Tim Seward's great contribution to our cause?
Tim, himself, has given the answer many times during his years in the Federation -- "Why, there's nothing wonderful about it at all. I simply treat blind people as they are--as people!"
Tim Seward has shared our struggle. He has worked with us, won with us and lost with us. Tim Seward has never been for us. He has always been with us, always been one of us.
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With the arrival of April came the time for the Pennsylvania State Federation regional conventions. The State president Frank Lugiano had divided the State into four districts. This enables the smaller groups to discuss local problems and many persons can attend to a meeting nearer home. I attended the meeting of the southeastern district and there were representatives from eight chapters present.
Mr. Lugiano was the capable chairman, and we had a most interesting agenda.
I will just outline briefly some of the things discussed. New state legislation was reviewed, mainly the federal-state pension law. One of the things of concern to many Pennsylvania blind is the threat to our State use law. This law enables the State to purchase blind made goods without submitting bids for competition. Now other groups of handicapped persons want this benefit. We were urged to be watchful of the power play of the agencies who claim the right to have all- seeing wisdom to speak for the blind. We were urged to support NFB legislation. Mr. Frank Lugiano gave an excellent report of the State Federation activities. We were urged to build up the State trust fund. This was started by our great federationist Gayle Burlingame, and the local chapters give to this fund each year, and, added to the gifts of other friends, this trust fund interest is largely responsible for the support of the PFB. It takes a great deal of money to print magazines, fight legislation against us, and do the things which a good State federation should do.
Each chapter gave a report of its activities. We had discussions on fundraising, increasing membership, and planning ways to keep the meetings interesting.
Saturday, April 30, at the Sheritan Motor Inn, Philadelphia, friends from New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania met to discuss problems of special interest to the blind. This excellent informal round table conference was very capably chaired by Mr. Frank Lugiano.
The people from Maryland and Ohio who expected to join us could not make it.
Who is blind: We talked about visual percentage which would entitle a person to really be classified as blind. We talked about the need of jobs for those who are really blind, and the need for rehabilitation for them. We know too, that rehab is needed for the partial sighted, but we think that in the allocation of funds this differentiation should be clear. Agencies for the blind are not always honest in their reports concerning the number of blind people they give employment to. personally think the Federation should take a firm hand in bringing these things to light and fighting for justice. NFB statements on legislation were read, and more support requested. We are proud of Pennsylvania Congressmen Corbit, and Dent. We also have the word of our Senators Joseph Clark and Hugh Scott that they support our legislation for the blind.
We have a very lively discussion about COMSTAC. We concluded that we are not against fair standards for agencies for the blind if those who set the standards know what they were talking about. We feel that these people should only qualify after long personal experience. Who knows better what the blind want, need, and what the agencies collecting money for the blind should be expected to do.
Other agencies are now trying to get the right to contracts for purchases by the State which gave the blind preference. If they succeed this would hurt our workshops. We spent a lot of time discussing the vending stand programs in the states represented. There is much good in these programs, and other things not so fair. A serious complaint seemed to be that very often the stand operators were not given adequate training, and all too often the people who run the service did not understand marketing or stand operation. The type of stand, its location, and the number of people it is expected to serve are most important and sometimes these facts are not too carefully considered. We were told about the legislation under consideration by the states represented around the table. How can we improve the public's image of the blind? How can we increase loyal, informed, support among our own blind folks? How can our organizations raise more money? These topics all came in for much lively constructive talk.
We had a very full day's conference and it seemed most amicable and informative.
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(From The Clinton Herald, April 19, 1966)
"Remember, be a thinking and doing group, and get involved on the state and national level." With these words Miss Jan Omvig, representative of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, spearheaded the organizational meeting of Clinton's first club of the blind Saturday.
The Clinton County Association of the Blind, as the club will be known, is sponsored by the Lions Club and will use the Des Moines Commission as a resource agency.
The Clinton County Association hopes to achieve what other organizations in Iowa have successfully reached: each member striving to achieve to the best of his ability. "Judging from the quiet enthusiasm and eagerness of the people present Saturday, the Clinton Association should soon equal the best in the state," one observer declared.
Officers of the newly organized Clinton County Association of the Blind are Mrs. Leona C. Ladehoff, president; Paul Goenne, vice president; and Miss Mary Ellen Tigh, secretary-treasurer. Members of the constitution committee: Mrs. Rose Ball, chairman, Mrs. lona Kinney and Mrs. Harlan Warner.
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By Evelyn Weckerly
At its Benton Harbor convention last fall, the Michigan Council of the Blind formed a committee to effect cooperation among the three state organizations of the blind in legislative matters. The Michigan Association of Workers for the Blind and the Michigan Federation of the Blind responded readily to the call, and on March 12, the newly formed committee met for the first time at the Genesee County Federation Center in Flint.
The committee's first task was to determine its method of operation. Each organization sent three representatives, making a total of nine. Three were elected to the positions of chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary-treasurer. I feel that it is indeed significant that these positions were filled by a representative from each organization. In order to finance necessary communication among committee members, a periodic assessment of $20 will be made of each participating organization. The members decided that the committee's main function will be to seek united action; this will not decrease the legislative responsiblities of the individual organizations. The group decided to call itself the Amalgamated Legislative Committee of the Blind.
Discussion then turned to three pieces of legislation affecting the blind now before the legislature. The first would give prior vending stand rights to the blind in all governmental buildings on the local level; the second would eliminate the ceiling on aid to the blind; and the third would place all aid categories under Medicare. The first two were endorsed by the committee, but the third was not because a question was raised about it which could not be answered by anyone who was present.
The meeting was marked by congeniality and the realization that we must work together if we are to accomplish the most for the blind in Michigan. It ended with each organization inviting the members of the others to attend board meetings and conventions. The Genesee County Federation offered to print news from the other organizations it its magazine. Each of us left satisfied with the beginning we had made, for we feel that we have taken a significant step toward a harmonious working relationship among the organizations of the blind in Michigan.
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Rudolph J. Bjornseth D. C. Ph. C. of Fargo, North Dakota, was awarded a plaque for more than forty years of service in the chiropractic field. The award was presented by E. Charles Hanson D.C. at the banquet which closed the North Dakota Chiropractic Association's annual convention in Fargo, on May 14.
Dr. Bjornseth is a graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa and for forty years was the only blind chiropractor practicing in North Dakota. Presently, the state has two more very promising young chiropractors: Dr. E. Charles Hanson of West Fargo and Dr. Curtis Saunders of Devils Lake.
Dr. Bjornseth is well known to Federationists as the long-time leader of the NFB affiliate in North Dakota, the Federated Blind of North Dakota, and as a delegate to a number of NFB conventions.
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By Robert M. Ball, Commissioner of Social Security
[Excerpts from address at the annual meeting of the American Society for Public Administration, Washington, D.C., April 14, 1966.]
The period immediately ahead promises to be one of wide public discussion of our social security program. President Johnson has indicated that he will propose major improvements in the program in time for action by the next session of Congress and has asked us to complete our studies of alternative possibilities with this legislative timetable in mind. As part of our study we will be consulting with various groups to make sure that we have taken into account the ideas and interests of those most affected and we will, of course, be examining all the major policy issues involved. . . .
. . .The popularity of the method has meant rapid growth. Just 16 years ago, in 1950, before the first of the recent series of social security improvements, only about 25 percent of the people 65 and over were protected under social security and very few had any other kind of retirement coverage. Today, 85 percent are protected under social security, and, if you add the number protected under civil service retirement and railroad retirement, 90 percent of the present aged have pensions that they can count on under programs of the Federal Government, based upon their work and contributions and paid without a test of need. If we look at those who became 65 last year, instead of at all the aged, 92 percent were eligible for social security benefits and about 97 percent were protected under one of these three Federal retirement systems. The problem of universal protection, then, is just about solved -- an amazing accomplishment for a 15-year period. . . .
. . .Some 21 million men, women, and children -- one Out of every nine persons in the country -- are receiving monthly social security benefits. The beneficiaries include about 14 million retired workers and dependents of retired workers, nearly 2 million disabled workers and dependents of such workers, and about 5 million survivors of deceased workers. Social Security cash benefit payments will amount to 20 billion dollars this year.
Virtually all of the 19 million people who will be age 65 and over on July 1, 1966, when the new health insurance plan enacted last year goes into effect, will be eligible for basic hospital benefits, and as of today 88 percent have elected to participate in the voluntary supplementary medical insurance plan. About 1 million, or 5 percent of those eligible, have notified us of their decision not to elect the medical insurance protection. "With the extension of the deadline we expect that some of this one million will change their minds and that applications from some of the 1.3 million in the 7 percent not heard from will come in. . .
. . .This, then, is the nature of our social security system today -- variable benefits related to earnings, contributory, universal in coverage and payable on the basis of earned right. What should be done to improve it? The President, when signing the bill extending the deadline for signing up for medicare, emphasized the most pressing need when he spoke about making social security benefits more adequate. Social security benefit amounts are virtually the sole reliance of half the beneficiaries and the major reliance of just about all. The adequacy of these benefits, therefore, is the key fact in determining how well people will be able to get along in retirement, and the same is true for widows and orphans and the disabled. Yet improvements in cash benefits, in recent years have not quite kept the benefits up to date in terms of purchasing power. The seven percent increase last year fell slightly short of restoring the 1958 purchasing power of the benefits and the 1958 increase of about 7 1/2 percent also fell slightly short of restoring the 1954 level. This means that those on the rolls throughout this period have not shared in the rising level of living of the rest of us, and, of course, the benefits were low to begin with, even in terms of the 1954 standard of living. . . .
. . . In addition to the need for improving the adequacy of social security benefits as initially awarded, there is also the question of keeping the benefits up to date once they have been determined. Many people are on the benefit rolls for 15 or 20 years or even longer, after entitlement. Both the Civil Service Retirement System and the Military Retirement System now include provisions to automatically adjust benefits to increases in the cost of living. Certainly such a provision should also be considered for the social security system.
Automatic adjustment of social security benefits to changes in price levels could be provided for without increases in the contribution rates that underlie the financing of the system. One of the great advantages of basing the financing of the system on a percentage of earnings rather than a flat contribution is that as wages rise, additional contribution income becomes available to the system., and because wage levels on the average rise faster than price levels, the additional income would be more than sufficient to pay for adjustment of benefits to changes in price levels. There is only one provision: the contribution and the benefit base must be increased from time to time as earnings levels rise.
A more adequate, though more costly, adjustment would be one-to keep benefit amounts in line with earnings levels. Such an adjustment would result in retired people automatically sharing in the increasing productivity of the American economy and the consequent rise in the community standard of living. Several European countries have provisions in their social insurance systems that update the earnings of the beneficiary at the time he first comes on the benefit rolls to reflect changes in wages over his working lifetime. These provisions maintain the differentials between higher- and lower-paid workers but adjust the average of earnings on which the individual's benefit is based to take account of increases in wage levels generally. Thus, the benefits when first awarded reflect the beneficiary's relative position in the economy in terms of current standards of living. Subsequent benefit adjustments are then related to changes in wage levels after his retirement. . . .
. . .Because of the importance of keeping the contribution and benefit base up to date, some thought needs to be given to whether the base should automatically rise as wages rise. Such a change would more than finance tying benefits to the cost of living and would also tend to keep the benefits of workers with average and above-average earnings up to date by including all or almost all of their wages in the benefit computation. . . .
. . .There are a number of other changes, particularly changes designed to close gaps in the social security protection of workers and their families against loss of earnings due to disability, that might be considered. We will need to study also whether the medicare program should be broadened to include additional social security beneficiaries -- particularly disabled workers, as recommended by the 1965 Advisory Council on Social Security.
I suppose it is not right to conclude a discussion of policy issues in social security without mentioning the "test of retirement, " which always seems to be the number one candidate for change or abolition. The program operates on the theory that benefits are paid to make up for a loss of earned income -- that is, that the risk being insured against under social security is retirement after a specified age, not merely the attainment of that age. It is a retirement program, not a pure annuity program. If benefits were to be paid to all people upon the attainment of age 65 regardless of whether they continued to work or not, the program would pay out about $2 billion a year more in benefits and it would require a combined employer-employee contribution rate of about 8% more than now scheduled. It does not seem to most of us that this would be a particularly good way to use the funds of the system when one considers that the $2 billion would go mostly to people who would continue to work at regular employment just as they had at age 50 or 55. Nevertheless, this provision will certainly come in for study once again. . . .
. . . Poverty in the past has been basically the result of the fact that there was not enough to go around. This is still the situation in most of Africa, Asia, and South America. The great majority of people living in those areas are poor and will remain so until there is a major increase in the per capita production of goods and services. In the underdeveloped countries, in which two-thirds of the world's population lives, no welfare or social security program could overcome the hard fact that there just isn't enough to go around. By contrast, today it can be taken as a fact that the abolition of want in the United States is no longer a problem of economic capacity but of organization for an objective.
Although the problem of poverty is complex, one part of the problem, and fortunately a rather major part, can be cured relatively easily in our prosperous country and without major changes in our system of economic values. We know how to do it--the institutions are at hand -- what we need to do is to build on them.
Economic insecurity in a money economy arises in considerable part when earnings stop because of unemployment, retirement in old age, death of the family breadwinner, or disability, either short-term or long-term. No matter how high a level of production an economy has, poverty will persist unless there are institutional arrangements for making sure that all have the continuing right to share in consumption when these risks occur. To provide such continuing income is the principal role of social insurance.
Thus we have at hand a widely applicable and widely acceptable instrument. Its objective is not solely the abolition of poverty; but in its operation it does prevent poverty. It can be used much more effectively for this purpose. Perhaps one-fourth to a third of all the poverty that exists in the United States could be prevented by the improvement and broader application of the social insurance principle, both in the Federal program I have been talking about and in our Federal-State program of unemployment insurance. Some part of the problem of poverty is best solved by expansion in job opportunities and preparing workers to fit those opportunities. On the other hand, a very significant part of the problem can best be met by an expansion of insurance against the loss of job income so that retired people, the disabled, widows and orphans and those between jobs can have an assured and adequate income when not working.
Having had the vision and seen the possibility of a country without want, we cannot fail to devote our best efforts towards attaining that vision. A hundred and eighty years ago we undertook to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." A major challenge to us now, while preserving that liberty, is to secure the blessings of abundance to all of our people.
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Over 200 blind from all over the State gathered at the regular semi-annual convention of the California Council of the Blind held at the Leamington Hotel in Oakland May 6-7-8. President Jim McGinnis was in the chair and announced his intention not to be a candidate for re-election when his second 2-year term expires next Fall. The highlight of the convention was the dynamic banquet speech of Kay Gruber entitled "The American Foundation for the Blind: In Retrospect." An unusual aspect of the convention was the emphasis given Council relations with other groups. Resolutions were passed giving support and monetary help to the newly developing welfare rights groups. An attorney connected with an Oakland neighborhood law project discussed "The Poor and The Law." A regional representative of the National Farm Workers' Association talked about the Delano grape pickers' strike and 300-mile march to Sacramento. A collection to aid the strikers netted $138 on the spot. A total of 26 resolutions was passed, many of them dealing with the dissatisfaction of the blind with the Vocational Rehabilitation department and proposing various corrective measures. Professor tenBroek spoke on a number of topics during the two-day session.
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Mrs. Xena Johnson, treasurer of the United Workers for the Blind of Missouri, who has retired after 39 years of service, was feted with a special retirement party on April 8 at the UWB's regular meeting in St. Louis.
As a token of appreciation for her long years of devoted service to the organized blind of the state, the board of the United Workers gifted Xena with a three-piece matched set of Samsonite Silhouette luggage.
Both Xena and her husband, Victor C. Johnson, are well known to Federationists throughout the country for their leadership and service in various capacities over the years. Victor has held several elective offices and is presently a member of the National Executive Committee, a post to which he was re-elected in 1965.
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(From The Washington Post, May 13, 1966)
President Johnson praised three blind college students here yesterday for not heeding the poet Milton's pronouncement, "They also serve who only stand and wait," but choosing instead to "meet life on its own terms."
He was referring to their achievements and goals despite blindness.
The three -- who will graduate in June with distinction -- were received by the President in the Cabinet Room where he presented them with the 1966 Achievement Awards of Recording for the Blind, Inc. The honor carried a cash award of $500 for each student.
The three were: Karen Louis Gearreald, 22, of Norfolk, who is graduating from Agnes Scott College, first in her class with a bachelor of arts degree. An English major, she has won a $2,000 fellowship to Harvard where she plans to complete her doctorate specializing in Renaissance English literature as a prelude to a career as a college English teacher.
Barbara Ann Bowman, 22, of Bethel Park, Pa. , who will receive a B.A. degree from Oberlin College in the top ten of her class. She will then enter the University of Chicago Graduate School to work for advance degrees in English literature preparatory to teaching on the college level.
And Ronald Albert Denis, 22, of Salem, Mass., who is a psychology major at Williams College where he is in the top ten of his class. He has won a fellowship at Clark University where he will prepare for a career as a practicing psychologist.
All three have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
The three were aided in their studies by recorded text books provided free by Recording for the Blind, Inc. , a national nonprofit organization which supplies 1,500 blind college students and others in adult education with recordings of all written material needed to pursue their careers .
President Johnson praised the three not only for their own achievements but also for the example they have set for thousands of others by bringing "the light of inspiration into darkness."
He said he presented the awards with "admiration, applause and affection" not only from the President but from the country also.
The President shook hands with the three and told them who he was. Then he welcomed them individually to the White House.
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(From The Cleveland Press, April 20, 1966)
New type of luminous armbands were given Rocky River (Ohio) crossing guards and Safety Patrol members last week by the River Safety Council. River is the first community to use the bands. They were originated by Mrs. John Lyons who instructed guard John Jones on how to wear them. The bands also are worn by Councilman F. Robert Wiesenberger, who is blind. He plans to contact the Society for the Blind on their possible use. Mrs. Wiesenberger is experimenting on using the cloth on seeing eye dogs' harnesses. The bands will receive state and national publicity in Parent-Teacher Assn., and Safety Council magazines and in Ohio Motorist.
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When is a person so disabled he becomes qualified to receive disability insurance payments under the federal disability insurance program?
The law says such a person must be unable to engage in "substantial gainful activity" to establish entitlement for benefits. Does this mean that if a person is unable to get a job because of his disability, or, is able to get a job but cannot retain it because of his disability he is, therefore, entitled to receive disability benefit payments? Many blind persons, many otherwise disabled persons, have discovered the answer to this question is "No."
Recently, a man not legally blind, but with extremely defective vision, applied for disability benefits as a disabled child of a fully insured father. He met all of the requirements, so the Hearings Examiner stated, except one: That, by reason of his disability, he was incapable of engaging in "substantial gainful activity". Claimant had tried to get work and had obtained various jobs. He was unable to retain the jobs for long, however, Even when a job was specifically tailored to fit his physically limited circumstances, eventually, his poor eyesight would be the cause for the termination of his employment.
Following a local review and affirmance of the benefits denial, the claimant requested a review of the decision by the Appeals Council, the topmost legal "arm" of the federal disability insurance program.
The claimant's attorney had given him exceptionally fine representation throughout the intricate maze of federal quasi-judicial proceedings. The principal being of importance to many blind people and funds being unavailable to continue the private action, the National Federation of the Blind undertook the representation before the Appeals Council in Washington. John Nagle, the Federation's Washington office chief, and himself a lawyer, handled the case.
The brief of claimant's attorney, already submitted, was a very thorough analysis of the evidence indicating many errors, misconstructions, and unjustified conclusions in the findings of the Hearings Examiner.
The Federation relied heavily on the Preliminary Report of the House Subcommittee on the Administration of the Social Security Laws, which resulted from an investigative hearing into the operations of the federal disability insurance program. That report expresses clearly the intention of Congress: ". . . that disability determinations be carried out in as realistic a manner as possible. . . theoretical capacity in an impaired individual can be somewhat meaningless if it cannot be translated into an ability to compete in the open labor market
Blind people of the country have long been aware of the administrative, as well as the statutory, shortcomings of the federal disability insurance program. The NFB has been working for several years in Congress to liberalize the provisions of the program by the enactment of our "King-Humphrey-Hartke" disability insurance bill.
Federation leaders in all parts of the Nation are familiar with cases of blind persons who have been denied disability insurance benefits, even though all facts would seem to more than justify entitlement to receive such benefits.
In an effort to clear up the ambiguities which becloud the administration of the disability insurance program, the Federation has requested clarifications from the Director of the Disability Insurance Bureau.
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(From the Southwest Wave, April 21, 1966)
Commendatory resolution of the Los Angeles City Council was presented by Councilman Billy G. Mills to Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant, local resident, world traveler, and one of the first blind public school teachers in Los Angeles city school system, at a recent Council meeting. (With Dr. Grant is her reader and companion, Cheryl Nixon).
The award ceremony was a kick-off for public schools week observances. Councilman Mills praised Dr. Grant for her "untiring work in the education and rehabilitation of blind persons." She has sent more than 2,800 packages of special education material including books in Braille, Braille records and special paper, to blind persons throughout the world. She is a recipient of the National Federation of the Blind Newel Perry award for her outstanding work.
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On May 20 the Benny Parrish case was taken under submission by the California District Court of Appeal, First District, Division Two.
Readers of the MONITOR will recall Benny Parrish is the man who refused to participate in the unprecedented mass "bed-check" raid on recipients of Aid to Needy Children benefits carried out by the Alameda County Department of Welfare in January 1963. As a result he was fired from his job as a social worker for "insubordination."
The raid was a mass sweep, in the pre-dawn chill, through the homes of hundreds of welfare recipients. Working in pairs, police fashion, social workers searched in and under beds, in bathrooms, closets, kitchens and even refrigerators for evidence of so-called "unauthorized men". Anticipating that in some homes children might be found entirely alone the raiders arranged for special phone relays to bring probation officers to the scene.
Benny Parrish refused to participate in this procedure -- appropriately enough dubbed with the militaristic title "Operation Bedcheck" -- on the following grounds: It presupposed guilt of innocent persons; it violated the presumption of innocence; it invaded the dignity and privacy of welfare recipients in violation of their constitutional guarantees; it contradicted the rehabilitative purposes and the mutual relations of trust and confidence between him and his clients which his employment required and which his training as a social worker taught him to honor and protect.
Though he was repeatedly invited to evade the issue by withdrawing these reasons and relying instead on his partial blindness as a basis for not participating in the raid, Benny Parrish insisted that his refusal was based solely on principle.
The case poses hitherto undecided questions: May persons who receive benefits under governmental programs be required to surrender constitutional rights as a condition of "eligibility"? May government employees be fired for "insubordination" if they refuse to carry out unconstitutional orders?
The court is expected to decide the case within the next month and a half. Since the case poses fundamental constitutional questions it is expected to be carried through the courts to the United States Supreme Court. Contributions to help defray expenses may be sent to the Benny Parrish Defense Fund care of the MONITOR.
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Extension of Remarks of Hon. John J. Gilligan of Ohio
[In the House of Representatives, Thursday, May 19, 1966]
MR. GILLIGAN. Mr. Speaker, we as a nation are committed to the goal of encouraging every citizen to the fullest possible involvement in our great community. Like every group which has had artifical or natural handicaps put upon them the blind also should be given the opportunity to learn of our public affairs, and participate in them. We have no right to bypass them, thus making them second-class citizens.
Frequently I send to the citizens of my district a newsletter concerning the activities of the Congress and my work. I am now beginning to extend that service to the sightless in my district by means of a newsletter in Braille. I am hopeful that it may assist its readers to enter more fully into the public life of the community.
The newsletter is composed in my office, and sent to the Clovernook Printing House for the Blind in Cincinnati, Ohio, which uses its braille printing facilities to print the letter. . . .
[Editor's Note: Congressman Gilligan has advised the NFB Washington office that he will be happy to send his braille newsletter to any blind person in the country requesting it. Letters should be sent to Honorable John J. Gilligan, House Office Building, Washington D.C., 20515.]
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Washington, D.C. -- May 9 -- California now has joined six other states and Puerto Rico to receive Federal aid to operate new medical care programs, which are part of and ultimately the most far-reaching feature of the Medicare legislation passed last year by the 89th Congress. The other States are Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
The new program is a Federal-State partnership designed to make adequate health care available to all children and adults who need it but cannot afford to pay for it themselves.
Dr. Ellen Winston, U.S. Commissioner of Welfare , issued official approval today of the California program, retroactive to March 1, 1966. The approval releases approximately $15 million a month in Federal funds to reimburse California for approximately 50 percent of the cost of medical assistance provided since March 1. The medical care services in the California program alone will be available to an estimated potential 2,500,000 adults and children unable to pay for the medical care they need. This includes about 1 million persons now receiving public assistance in California.
The other six States and Puerto Rico receive collectively some $20 million per month in Federal funds for their participation in the new medical care program.
Persons who think they may be eligible can apply to their local public welfare department. Their current income and other assets, as well as the cost of the medical care they need, will be taken into consideration in determining what benefits they can receive.
A plan for the new medical assistance program in New York is pending approval, and at least 20 other states hope to be able to begin programs in 1966. They are: Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Kentucky, Main, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and West Virginia. Five of the remaining 25 States and territories could begin programs in 1966 if they pass enabling legislation. The new program could ultimately bring government aid for payment of medical care to over 35,000,000 people, i.e., all persons whose incomes are too low to enable them to pay for all or part of the health and medical care they need.
Since 1950, the Federal Government has shared in the costs of State welfare agency payments for medical services for aged, blind, and disabled adults, and for families with children who receive public assistance. In 1960, such aid was extended to persons over 65 who did not receive public assistance but could not afford to pay for their medical care. This program for the aged is commonly called KerrMills. Medical care under these programs, which has varied from State to State in terms of scope, has cost approximately $1,3 billion a year in State, Federal, and local funds.
The new medical care program, which became effective January 1, 1966, allows States to use matching Federal funds to provide medical care services to three groups of people--(l) persons receiving financial assistance from federally-aided public assistance programs; (2) individuals and families who would qualify for the public assistance programs except their income is above the eligibility limits set by each State; and (3) children under 21 in families that could not qualify for public assistance but cannot afford to meet the children's medical needs.
No ceiling is placed on the scope, amount, and duration of medical care services the States may furnish in this new program. However, by July 1, 1967, at least five basic services must be provided in the program. They are: (1) inpatient hospital care; (2) outpatient hospital care; (3) physicians' services; (4) nursing home care for persons over 21; and (5) laboratory and X-ray services. Other services, such as drugs, dental care, eyeglasses, nursing aides, etc. , also can be provided if the State chooses.
Under the new programs, authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, which was passed last year by the 89th Congress, States must replace their existing public assistance medical care programs with this new and more comprehensive medical assistance program by January 1, 1970, if they wish to continue receiving Federal aid for medical care. By January 1, 197 5, States must be providing medical care for all medically needy, regardless of whether they come under the federally-aided programs.
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(From News of Norway, May 2, 1966)
The Knight's Race for blind and near-blind skiers was held for the third time at Beitostolen , in the Valdres district of central Norway, April 17. Blind Gunnar Eriksen arrived 20 minutes before the start of the race, after skiing some 800 miles to publicize the event. In connection with this year's race, Lions Clubs throughout Norway sponsored a 4 day Red Feather campaign to raise funds for the projected Valdres Health Sports Center. With contributions still pouring in and one more day to go, contributions amounted to 7,440,000 kroner, more than twice the amount hoped for by the biggest optimists. Meanwhile, nearly 100 physicians from 15 nations were gathered at Beitostolen for a symposium on physical activity and health, with special emphasis on the needs of handicapped persons.
Gunnar Eriksen started his 800-mile trek from Fauske, in North Norway, Feb. 13, and arrived at Beitostolen , just in time to participate in the Knight's Race. The blind skier was accompanied by state sports consultants in each of the four provinces he passed through. En route, Erikson wore out three pairs of ski boots and three pairs of skis. The purpose of his strenuous venture was to propagandize for health sports, especially for the handicapped. Welcomed by sizable crowds all along the route, Eriksen sold some 12,000 Knight's Race pins at 3 to 5 kroner each, and received contributions of 30,000 kroner to the projected 5.8 million kroner physical training center at Beitostolen. On last lap he was joined by his wife and their two children.
More than 200 participated in the Knight's Race which had for its motto "Learn to See with Your Thoughts". To deaf and blind
Halfden Larsen the 15 miles ski race was a tremendous emotional experience. His companion, sports consultant Alv. Kveberg, had to stop from time to time to "describe" the magnificient panorama by means of hand signs. Seven nations had handicapped representatives in this year's race. Among them were two blind Americans, Tom Hanson, of Wisconsin and Cletus Holmes, of Minnesota. The blind and near-blind skiers were accompanied by specially invited guests, including Social Affairs Minister Egil Aarvik, twelve Members of Parliament, twenty physicians , seamen, and topnotch skiers . Four young Tibetans, now studying in Norway, also took part. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation sent two television programs from Beitostolen. The Knight's Race and the Red Feather drive were both covered on Norwegian and Nordic radio and TV.
Health Director Karl Evang and Olso University Professor K. Lange Andersen headed the Norwegian hosts for the Scientific World Seminar on Physical Activity and Health. Participants included 96 noted physicians from 15 different countries. They came from all parts of the world, except Australia.
Blind musician-composer Erling Stordahl, originator and still primus motor of the Knight's Race, also conceived the idea of bringing together leading world authorities within medicine, physiology, and rehabilitation. Prof. Lange Andersen, who is connected with the International Biological Research Program organized the Beitostolen conference, in cooperation with Health Director Evang. The week-long symposium, which was divided into 4 sections, included 23 introductory lectures. These, with main statements made during the discussion, will be published later this year.
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The Kentucky Federation of the Blind has reacted forcefully against a threatened attempt to remove a blind member of the state Parole Board, apparently on grounds of lack of sight.
The threatened ouster arose from recommendations of a Jefferson County (Kentucky) grand jury report demanding that Governor Edward T. Breathitt remove four of the five board members and replace them with "qualified, competent, honest and honorable people who are not politically motivated."
According to an April 28 news report in the Louisville Courier-Journal, an "unidentified witness was quoted at length" in testimony before the grand jury asserting "that the Parole Board is nothing but a political football, a political plum, that one member was a treasurer of the governor's campaign, another is nearly blind and sleeps through most of the hearings." The partially blind member of the board was not further identified in the newspaper account.
Responding to the charges on April 28, Kentucky Federation President R. E. Whitehead wrote in a letter to the grand jury chairman: "I beg to take issue with you on your statement that the gentlemen should be removed from the Parole Board because of blindness.
"While I do not know this gentleman personnaly, I do know that blindness would not prevent a person from performing these duties as well as any sighted person," Whitehead said.
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All state delegations attending the national convention at Louisville in July have been requested by Mrs. Xena Johnson, convention secretary, to bring with them information concerning any of their members who died during the year since the last convention. The information sought includes names, addresses, chapter affiliation, and age at death, if possible.
Although separate discussion of individuals is unlikely, according to Mrs. Johnson, all the names will be inscribed on a special scroll and will be memorialized at a morning devotional meeting during the convention. An appropriate resolution also will be introduced to be added to the record of official proceedings. Names should be sent to Mrs. Johnson at 705 South Daviess Street, Gallatin, Missouri, 64640.
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(From Florida Courier, April 23, 1966)
Pittsburgh -- A blind teenage saxophonist, who plays with lots of "soul", is being hailed as not only one of this city's finest jazz musicians, but one of the best in the nation. Eric Kloss who celebrated his 17th birthday on April 3, is the son of Dr. Alton C. Kloss, superintendent of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind Children here. He has been a student at the school since the age of four.
Kloss plays alto and tenor saxophone and has been doing so since he was 10.
The youthful musician has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Prestige Records and his first album, "Introducing Eric Kloss" has already been released. His second, "Love and All That Jazz," will be released soon.
"That's the Way It Is," the name of the TV special, is also the title of one of Kloss' records, written and arranged by the young saxophonist.
The program was written and co-produced by WIIC-TV's Regis Bobonis. George Burlbaugh is the executive producer and P.J. O'Connell filmed the colorcast. Lynn Covey is the director.
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By Frank M. Richardson
(From Presbyterian Life, May 1, 1966)
The most unusual interview conducted thus far by James Boswell of Cleveland, Ohio -- twenty-one-year old senior and speech major at The College of Wooster was during a recent chapel period at Wooster. For some thirty minutes, before the entire student body, he questioned and unmasked a guest, with little regard for personal feelings or subject matter.
Under the title, "Will the Real Jim Boswell Please Stand Up," the interviewer and the interviewee were one and the same. Long before the "interview" was over, the audience -- students and faculty alike -- realized that it was being treated to a rare combination of skillfully interwoven seriousness and humor.
Jim Boswell came into his own that morning, and Wooster came to know him for the well-rounded personality that he is -- not just the pleasant, inquisitive radio voice heard over WCW for the past four years. The applause was long and appreciative.
When Mr. and Mrs. Joseph S. Boswell journey from Cleveland to Wooster for commencement exercises next month, there won't be any mistaking the object of their attention -- if they can find him.
More than likely, he will have the commencement speaker over at one side for an exclusive interview and private skeepskin-award ceremony.
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(From The News, Van Nuys, Calif., April 28, 1966)
A new and urgent reason to deworm puppies and kittens -- to protect children against eye infections -- has been disclosed by physicians at the University of California San Francisco medical center.
U.C. ophthalnnologists described a six-year-old girl whose case leads them to believe that certain eye disorders may be caused by household pets.
The girl had suffered blurred vision in her left eye for a year before her first examination at the U.C. eye clinic.
Physicians found a large number of tiny snowball-like spots near the retina, but only after the child died from other causes were they able to establish a definite diagnosis of the disease which was caused by a single larva of the common dog round worm.
The eye specialists, Drs. Michael J. Hogan, Samuel J. Kimura and William H. Spencer, said that "more attention should be devoted to the eye problem by those in the public health field who are concerned with chronic disease."
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2905 Via Corona
Monte Bello, California 90640
February 5, 1965
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
. . .I am opposed to the stand taken by the National Federation's view resolving against HR. 8068 dealing with free transportation for a sighted guide to travel with a blind person.
I am one of the blind who is unable to travel alone because of other physical handicaps. It is necessary for my wife to be with me anywhere I travel. My wife serves as my nurse at home or any place that I go. It is also to my misfortune that I am not permitted by my doctor to travel for more than five hours at a time. This makes it necessary for me to travel only by plane.
I am sure that, like myself, there are many more of our fellow blind who find themselves in this predicament. Bearing this in mind, I urge the NFB to take a new stand for HR. 8068. I would also like to ask all of our fellow blind to write their congressmen, senators, and to the President of the United States urging the passing of this bill.
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The 22nd Annual Montana Summer School for the Adult Blind, sponsored and conducted by the Montana Association for the Blind, will be held at Hapner Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, from June 26 to July 3 0. Miss Elizabeth Lennon of Raleigh, North Carolina, who has served on the instructing staff for several years, has been appointed Director of the 1966 session. Eligible Montana residents attend the school without charge. The Association finances this project through its annual White Cane drives, calendar sale and letter soliciting campaign. The State Board of Public Welfare also makes a substantial contribution toward the school's support.
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"To John F. Nagle in appreciation of his untiring effort toward the fulfillment of the legislative objectives of the National Federation of the Blind and for his great contribution to improving the welfare and economic opportunities of every blind person."
These words appear inscribed on an ornate plaque presented by President Vernon Butler, in behalf of the members of the D.C. organized blind at a dinner honoring the Federation's Washington Office Chief May 21, at the Dodge House in the Nation's Capital.
With 100 in attendance, George Reed served as Master of Ceremonies. John F. Mungovan, Director of the Massachusetts Dividion of the Blind, was the featured speaker. He spoke of John from a knowledge gained by a close working and personal relationship which has spanned many years, beginning with John's years in Springfield as a practicing lawyer, an active member of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, to his present activities in Washington.
Others, too, spoke of John Nagle from the past -- Dr. Francis M. Andrews, Principal at the Perkins School for the Blind when John, at the age of 13, enrolled in the fall of 1928, and Harry Vandernoot, who talked of the time when, in the mid-thirties, he and John Nagle were journalism students together at Boston University.
George Keane, Assistant Director of the Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn, presented a citation from the Industrial Home for the Blind and the New York A sociation of Workers for the Blind.
William Thompson, speaking for the personnel of the D.C. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation -- where John Nagle serves on two advisory committees -- said that he and his colleagues believed a person who is honored at a testimonial affair should have some token more tangible than a plaque and a sheaf of telegrams and letters when the event is over -- so he presented John with a fine pipe.
The Associated Blind of Massachusetts were present by taped words from Manuel Rubin, Bernice Hamer, and Charles W. Little. Russell Kletzing, President of the National Federation of the Blind, sent a letter of tribute; Robert McDonald, President of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, and Albert Balducci, President of the Free State Federation of the Blind of Maryland, presented their messages in person.
Messages were also received and read from Vice President Humphrey, Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, and Congress- men Cecil R. King, Philip Burton, Edward P. Boland, Thomas B. Curtis, John H. Dent, Walter S. Baring, and many others!
The following letter was received from an agency official:
Mr. John Nagle, Chief
National Federation for the Blind
1908 "Q" Street, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Only an unavoidable commitment could have kept me away from the testimonial dinner being given to you by your colleagues and friends. It is good to know that other people feel gratitude for your service but it is puzzling how you found time to help them too.
In 1959, when I approached you to ask whether you would serve on the Advisory Committee on the Division of Services to the Blind it was considered a radical step for an agency man to have much truck with members of the National Federation of the Blind much less the Chief of its Washington Office. But I was willing to assume the risk because if was felt that no program could serve all its intended beneficiaries without taking into account dissent -- however nasty it might be at times.
It was surprising from the beginning. Instead of the half-way expected taunts from your chair came cogent, constructive contributions to our sessions. In short, the member from the National Federation of the Blind became part of the solution and not part of the problem. Whatever dissent we received was measured in the light of our problems and was seldom unaccompanied by constructive alternatives. Not that we haven't had some disagreements. In some of our private discussions on the state of the art I can still hear the clang of armor, shields and swords. Each blow delivered with respect for a worthy adversary without a trace of rancor, however, to mar the genuine friendliness.
It was inevitable that your name be topmost in the mind of the Director, Norman W. Person when the Commissioner's Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation was created in 1963 with your appointment as an original member. Your past and present work on the Council especially as chairman of the Legislative subcommittee has won the warmth and gratitude of the Department, the Council members and many community organizations.
Your association with our Department and other agencies has done much to win recognition for the aims of the National Federation of the Blind. Much of this, of course, stems from your personal integrity, good will and hard work. That is why most of us are so pleased to see homage coming to you. I am delighted to be able to add mine to that of my colleagues in the Department.
One more thing John; now that we have worked together so long, and have developed a cordial relationship, would you consider in our future discussions making less frequent use of the phrase "what can you expect from an agency man?"
With best wishes,
Stephen A. Gambaro, Chief
Division of Services to the Visually Impaired
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(From The News, Van Nuys, Calif., May 26, 1966)
The Twin Vision Action Committee, volunteers of Twin Vision, publishing division of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, will be directed during the coming year by Mrs. Charles P. Reed of Van Nuys newly elected chairman.
Others serving on the board are Mmes. William Pluth, assistant chairman; Boyd Morgan, secretary; Harry Ebbert, treasurer; Ruth Durham, membership; Curtis s Melby, hospitality; Chaxles Rowley, publicity.
Twin Vision, publishers of unique children's books which the blind and sighted enjoy together, send their books free of charge to libraries, institutions and individuals throughout the world.
Recently published is the second in their series of original educational books employing raised illustrations along with ink print and braille -- "The Shape of Things -- Birds."
Another service offered by Twin Vision is a bi-monthly current events publication which is sent free of charge to the deaf-blind throughout the United States, the only publication of its kind.
Volunteer members of the administrative staff at the Twin Vision office, 18932 Topham St., Tarzana, include Mmes. Jean Dyon Norris, founder and director; Rockey Spicer, staff assistant; Robert Neel, author-illustrator.
More are Mmes. Willard Lombard, chief Braille transcriber. Miss Lynn Curtis, secretary, and Mrs. Donald McCarthy, librarian.
Speakers are available to any group in the Los Angeles area wishing to hear the Twin Vision story first hand.
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It was announced today by Senator Ralph Yarborough and Burt L, Risley, Executive Secretary-Director of the Texas Commission for the Blind, that Postmaster General Lawrence O'Brien had reversed the decision of denying a vending stand location in the Austin Post Office.
The Postmaster General intervened personally after the State Commission for the Blind had exhausted all administrative appeals. Senator Yarbo rough had recently questioned O'Brien at a Senate Post Office Subcommittee Appropriations hearing.
Senator Yarbo rough had said the denial of a vending stand location was in violation of the Randolph- Sheppard Act. The Post Office Department had contended that there was no room in the new post office for such a stand. Senator Yarbo rough had pointed out in the hearing that there were two stand locations in the much smaller old post office and none in the new one.
Risley, in discussing the reversal, said that the new position taken by the Postmaster General has national significance in that the Post Office Department will take a new look at the Randolph-Sheppard Act as it applies to that agency.
Risley also said the number of vending stand locations in post offices over the nation has steadily been decreasing. He also stated that the new position could reverse this trend and could mean new vending stand locations for thousands of blind people.
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News has just reached us that George Rittgers, past president of the Progressive Blind of Missouri, gained a $14,000 jury verdict for injuries sustained in an automobile accident March 1, 1965. The accident occurred early in the morning when George was on his way to work. He got off the bus and started across the street when he was struck. His injuries were serious and painful. He remained in the hospital for many weeks and is still seriously impaired.
Gwen Rittgers, George's devoted wife and herself a prominent Federationist, has written details of the trial.
"The jury consisted of all men. After the preliminary statements of the lawyers, the exhibits entered into testimony, the lengthy police reports, our first witness was B. F. Pruess of the Bureau for the Blind. Bernie has known George since 1948 and his testimony was a blessing to us. Bobbie Brashier of the Police Department, William Mowbray, a tavern owner and neighbor of ours, W. H. Crowe of the K. C. Association, C. L, Kirkpatrick, a business man and friend testified in George's behalf as to his capabilities in mobility and business. You certainly would have been touched when George, as crippled as he is, and in constant pain, with the use of his heavy white cane, walked to and from the witness stand twice without any help. Our attorneys, C. M. Combs and Roger Barberi, touched on his life back to 1948 when George lived in the country in Benton County, Mo. and pitched hay and chopped wood. The defense lawyers for the transit company and the driver of the car tried to tangle him up, but they could not as George stuck wholly to the truth. This is my first time at court, and I was shocked to see how those defense attorneys took all the good points about George and tried to use them against him in their summation. They accepted the fact that he was one of the fifteen outstanding blind people in Jackson County; that his hearing is excellent; that his sense of direction is unerring; they agreed with these things and then accused him of lining himself up, squaring away, and then running across the street and practically demolishing the car. The jury was out about four and a half hours. They exonerated the transit company and its driver, but gave us the judgment of fourteen thousand dollars against the driver of the car. The driver did not have liability, so we are fourteen thousand dollars poor.
"Roger Barberi and C. M. Combs, our attorneys, are two true friends of blind people. They believe in them, work for them, and see that they are made to look good in the courts.
"In impaneling the jury, one of the questions which was asked was whether they felt that a blind man had the right to be on the street at 5:40 in the morning, on a dark, rainy, foggy morning, or did they believe that he should have been safe at home. Roger Barberi in his summation told the jury that if we give a blind man the right to work, then we must give him the right to travel. I am so proud to tell you that our attorneys used only the best in ethical and legal standards."
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The Montana Association for the Blind will hold its 21st annual convention in Bozeman on July 15, 16, and 17.
Abed Rabbu Budair, a young Jordanese lawyer apprenticed in Jersualem, had the thrill of successfully defending five cases in court, during the absence of his master, for whom he works. Abed is a graduate of Damascus University, an ardent reader of the MONITOR, and hopes to come to the United States for further study some time. Dr. Isabelle Grant had the pleasure of meeting this fine promising young lawyer when she was visiting in Jerusalem.
From Labor Rehabilitation Report , May, 1966: New Britain, Connecticut has received a $189,845 Federal grant for projects in four anti-poverty program areas. One of the projects, which will reach approximately 100 poverty neightborhood residents, will begin sheltered employment and training for handicapped persons in the city. The Constructive Workshop, Inc., which will administer the project, has worked closely with local and state vocational rehabilitation officals in developing this program.
Wedding Bells for the First V.P. of the I. F.B -- Rienzi Alagiyawanna and his bride, Monika, are honeymooning in Heidelberg, Germany, after their recent wedding in Mannheim, where the bride was a nurse. Rienzi plans to stay in Germany for the school year, taking advanced work in the education of blind children. Mr. and Mrs. Alagiyawanna' s plans will then take them to Belgrade in April 1967, to attend the WCWB conference, prior to returning to Ceylon. The many friends of the Alagiyawannas in the U.S.A. extend heartiest congratulations to the couple, with best wishes for their future.
Victor and Xena Johnson, veteran National Federationists and leaders of the United Workers for the Blind of Missouri, have sold their home in St. Louis and moved to a new residence at 705 South Daviess Street, Gallatin, Missouri 64640. Their numerous friends in all parts of the country are requested to take note of the new home address.
From Labor Rehabilitation Report, May 1966: Dr. Frank H. Krusen, Professor and Coordinator, Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, Philadelphia; Dr. Howard A. Rusk, Director , Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York City, and Mary E. Switzer, Commissioner, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, were recent recipients of "Dignity of Man" awards presented by the Board of Trustees of the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.
The awards, in "recognition of their contribution to the physical, economic and spiritual dignity of their fellowmen," were made at the seventieth birthday celebration in honor of Dr. Henry H. Kessler, founder of the Institute, in New York City on April 16.
We have just learned that on February 19th George and Angelina Michaud of Lawrence, Mass., celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Angelina was the organizer and first president of the Associated Blind of Greater Lawrence, an affiliate chapter of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, and she is still an active member.
The celebration was highlighted by a dinner at the Yankee Doodle Restaurant in Lawrence, with approximately a hundred people in attendance, including family members and friends. Angelina's youngest sister, a nun, was in New Zealand, so could not be present, but she was represented by four members of her Order, from Waltham, Mass.
Loren Schmitt, a founder and active member of Iowa City Association of the Blind, has returned to classes at the University of Iowa, where he is a sophomore, after having a brush with a moving automobile on May 2. He was hospitalized for approximately ten days as a result of the accident. Loren was using a white cane at the time the car hit him. No charges were filed. It is reported that Loren is fully recovered and plans to attend the NFB Convention in Louisville.
From Labor Rehabilitation Report. May 1966: The President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped held its annual meeting at the Washington-Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C. on April 28, 29.
John T. Connor, Secretary of Commerce, and W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor, were among the speakers during the two-day meeting. Workshop sessions, under the general topic of "What's New for the Handicapped?" included panels on vocational rehabilitation, manpower development, antipoverty programs and education.
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