THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Voice of the National Federation of the Blind

NOVEMBER-1973

The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves.

THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Published monthly in inkprint, Braille, and on talking book discs
Distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind
President: Kenneth Jernigan, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309

EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 4651 Mead Avenue Sacramento, California 95822

Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

News items should be sent to the Editor

Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

 

If you or a friend wish to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, a District of Columbia non-profit corporation, the sum of $____(or, "____ percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds:____”) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons and to be held and administered by direction of its Executive Committee."

If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.

Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

THE BRAILLE MONITOR
NOVEMBER 1973

TABLE OF CONTENTS

NAC UPDATE

NAC: HEW DECEPTION DOCUMENTED
by Kenneth Jernigan

BLIND IN LOUISVILLE
by John Filiatreau

A NEW WAY TO FINISH FURNITURE

TWO-FOR-ONE AIRFARE BACKFIRES: FAA PROPOSES RULES

WOMAN FINDS BLINDNESS NO HANDICAP
by C. M. Philpott

VIRDEN CHOSEN HANDICAPPED PERSON OF YEAR

DUNHAM TALKS BUT WON'T LISTEN TO THE BLIND

WOMAN SHOWS HOW BLIND HELP SELVES
by Jan Silverman

RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT
by Perry Sundquist

SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION
by Donald Capps

NORTH CAROLINA CONVENTION
by Hazel Staley

INDIANA CONVENTION

NEW YORK STATE CONVENTION
by Edythe K. Williams

NEW MEXICO CONVENTION
by Pauline Gomez

RECIPE OF THE MONTH
submitted by Panama Martin

MONITOR MINIATURES

NAC UPDATE

In July of this year, when the organized blind marched to NAC's doorstep in New York City to protest against NAC's undemocratic character and behavior, President Jernigan said that the real test would come in what happened afterward. Would NAC begin to give way before the blind, or would the momentum of the blind begin to blunt? Would the blind go home and take up their daily rounds of business as usual, giving an occasional thought to NAC and cheering the actions of the national leadership at a distance, or would the rank and file sustain the battle on a day-by-day, individual basis?

The national Convention is now over, and the cheers have subsided. The representatives of the Nation's blind have gone home from New York City, and the long grind is in progress. What are the results? They are mixed. Many of the blind are writing letters and making personal contacts, doing all that they can to spread the word and set the tone. Others are delaying—claiming to be busy, postponing action, shrinking from confrontation, or waiting for someone else to lead the way and do the work. As anticipated, NAC is counterattacking, doing what it can to destroy the organized blind movement and discredit its leaders.

NAC is exploiting the connections and prestige of every wealthy supporter. It is using letters and testimonials from all the reactionary agencies it can recruit. It is trying to divide the blind and hoping they will tire of the struggle and give up. It is depending upon the fact that Congressmen and Senators are busy and that the traditions of custodialism are deeply rooted and firmly established. In the battle for public support NAC's money and contacts have, as one would expect, had some success. Consider, for instance, the following letter from a well-known Congressman to Bob Acosta, president of the NFB Teachers Division.

 

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., September 4, 1973.

Mr. ROBERT ACOSTA,
Chatsworth, California.

DEAR MR. ACOSTA: Thank you for your letter of August 1 in further regard to the question of the composition of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped.

In checking around with some of my colleagues in the House, I find little, if any, support for an investigation of NAC and its policies. I am impressed with what you have to say about NAC together with your specific criticism of NAC, however.

Most authorization for funding of health legislation comes before the House Commerce Committee, on which I serve as a member. About the only thing left to do is discuss this matter with my colleagues on the committee to get their reaction to NAC. However, I must tell you in all candor that NAC apparently has a great deal of support in the Congress, and the possibility of an investigation of NAC at this time is doubtful.

With best wishes,

 

In other words, Bob Acosta's efforts have borne fruit. A Congressman has heard him and is impressed. The Congressman is prepared to act, but apparently a number of his colleagues have received more and stronger contacts from NAC and HEW than from the blind. J. M. Warren, on the other hand, reports a recent conversation of a totally different tone with one of his Tennessee Congressmen. The Congressman listened and believed. He will do all he can to help expose NAC and secure justice for the blind. Likewise, E. U. Parker of Mississippi reports similar success. One Mississippi Congressman wrote to James Dwight, Director of the Social and Rehabilitation Service in the Department of HEW as follows:

September 24, 1973.

Mr. JAMES S. DWIGHT, Jr.,
Director, Social and
Rehabilitation Service,
Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. DWIGHT: Thank you for your recent letter regarding your agency's support of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind, and the differences between NAC and the National Federation of the Blind.

There is serious concern on the part of blind persons in my Congressional District that the NAC is not acting in the best interest of the blind in this country. My contact with the NFB is that it is a very responsive and dedicated organization. I cannot see how additional Federal funds can be given to NAC at this time, in view of the difficulties which have been outlined.

I would appreciate a full report on future Federal funding of the NAC by your agency at the earliest possible date.

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,

 

Not only has E. U. Parker achieved promising results with a Mississippi Congressman but he has received a most encouraging letter from Senator Eastland, whose letter reads:

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, D.C., September 17, 1973.

Mr. E. U. PARKER,
Laurel, Mississippi.

DEAR MR. PARKER: You were very kind to forward me the resolution adopted by the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi commending my efforts in the Senate on behalf of our blind citizens. It was very thoughtful for the association to adopt this resolution and I shall always cherish the sentiments your organization has expressed.

I shall, of course, continue my efforts in the Senate on behalf of current legislation and all worthwhile programs for the rehabilitation and assistance to those in this Nation with sight disabilities. I am familiar with the so-called National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. I have previously contacted HEW associating myself with the position of the National Federation concerning the unfortunate activities of this organization. Hopefully, our continued efforts will result in this private group losing its Federal-funding influence over programs for the blind.

With kindest regards and best wishes, I am,

Sincerely,

JAMES EASTLAND,
United States Senator.

 

Other positive reports are being received at an increasing rate. The problem, however, is not simple. The point is made by the following exchange of correspondence between President Jernigan and a New York Congressman:

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., September 11, 1973.

Mr. KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 30th, with enclosures, following up my conversation with Joe Rallo.

I have read the enclosed material with great interest. As I had indicated to Mr. Rallo, I would like to be of assistance to you in your efforts, and I would very much appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts as to what action I might take in an attempt to be helpful.

With every good wish, I am.

Sincerely yours,

 

September 21, 1973.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN ____: I have your letter of September 11, 1973, and I appreciate your forthrightness. Our problem is this: On the surface NAC seems not only respectable but worthwhile; a superficial amount of investigation reveals complexity to the point of confusion; and most Congressmen and Senators are too busy to go further—to take the time to get through all of the printed matter and the evasions to the truth. In the name of helping blind people NAC is hurting us. It is literally destroying our opportunities and our potential for normal lives.

HEW officials are on the NAC Board. They have given NAC more than $600,000 of the taxpayers' money. They would now find it embarrassing to admit that a serious mistake has been made. Further, it would cause disturbance, upheaval, and unpleasantness. Our problem is how to get the Members of Congress to understand what we are really up against.

Ordinarily the pattern goes like this: One of us writes a letter to a Congressman and sends him material about NAC. The Congressman (or a member of his staff) looks at what we have sent with one degree or another of thoroughness. Then a letter of inquiry goes to HEW over the Congressman's signature. HEW, having received similar inquiries from other Congressman, replies with a standardized form letter. The Congressman, or a member of his staff, looks at it. Maybe extensively, maybe not. The HEW form letter is then forwarded to the constituent, with an appropriate note from the Congressman.

The constituent responds, telling the Congressman that HEW and NAC are trying to flimflam him. The Congressman, or his staff member, reads, and the process starts all over again—the letter from the Congressman to HEW, the form reply, and the forwarding to the constituent.

A date has been defined as a situation where somebody gives in, gives out, or gives up. HEW officials have apparently heard the definition. If they wait long enough, equivocate blandly enough, and send form replies often enough, perhaps either the Congressman or the constituent will give in, give out, or give up.

The Congressman is a busy man. He cannot spend the rest of his life trying to settle this one problem, and he probably finds it hard to believe (at least at the gut level) that HEW officials would have the motivation or the cold nerve to lie to him. The matter is further complicated by the fact that the lies are sometimes indirect—being half truths, implications, evasions, technicalities, and omissions—and not always just big out-and-out whoppers.

I have said all of this as background to my response to your question as to what you can do to help us. Maybe nothing, but I have faith to the contrary. We hope that Congress will press HEW to stop giving money to NAC, and we hope that the Federal Office of Education will stop giving official recognition to NAC as an accrediting agency. At the very least, HEW should press NAC to put consumer representatives on its board, let the blind know when and where its meetings are to be held, admit observers, hold discussions with representatives of the blind, provide us with copies of its minutes, and otherwise behave responsively and responsibly. If even one Congressman becomes concerned enough to make a sustained effort along these lines, the effect will be felt. We hope you will be impressed enough with the justice of our cause to be that Congressman—or, at least, one such Congressman. HEW must come to Congress for appropriations, and there are surely ways by which Congress can make HEW take notice.

I thank you for writing to me. I hope you can find a way to help us and that you will do so.

Sincerely yours,

KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President,
National Federation of the Blind.

 

As the battle progresses, new flaws in NAC's case continue to be exposed. The exposures come from unexpected quarters. One would hardly expect, for instance, that the National Academy of Public Administration Foundation would have any involvement in the matter, but they do.

In a letter to Senator Pastore dated October 27, 1972, John Twiname, who was then Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service in the DHEW said: "Under a current contract the Commissioner of the Office of Education has authorized Brookings Institution to evaluate the forty-five accrediting groups used by the Office of Education. NAC, of course, is included in this study." This prompted Jonathan May, a staunch Federationist from Connecticut, to write to the Brookings Institution for particulars. Brookings replied to Jonathan May, who then asked President Jernigan to send a complete set of NAC documentation to Brookings.

Thus it came about that we can now document the fact that Mr. Twiname was not telling the truth to Senator Pastore. Mr. Harold Orlans of the National Academy of Public Administration Foundation, who is responsible for the Brookings study, says of Mr. Twiname's statement: "This is incorrect, because we are not evaluating the accrediting agencies but rather the use of accreditation by the Office of Education and other agencies as a condition of eligibility for Government programs." In fact, Mr. Orlans' letter contains a number of interesting and worthwhile implications and revelations. It is reprinted in the article which follows, along with President Jernigan's reply.

The opinions and actions of Congress are important. Ultimately, however, the NAC battle must be won at the State and local levels. The news media, legislators, and other public officials must be alerted to the harm NAC is doing and the threat it poses to the well-being of the blind. State and local agencies doing work with the blind must be prevented from seeking NAC accreditation, and those which have already been accredited must be induced to unaccredit. Local chapters, individual Federationists, and State leaders must not wait for further repetitions and ongoing stimulation from the National Office of the Federation but must mount a persistent and continuing campaign.

Such efforts bring results. Minnesota is a case in point. The Minnesota Braille and Sight Saving School was in the process of beginning to seek accreditation from NAC. The process has now been reversed, and the Minnesota Braille and Sight Saving School no longer plans to ask for NAC accreditation. How was this progressive and forward-looking development achieved? It came as a direct result of affirmative action by the members of the organized blind. The National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota passed a resolution. Individually and collectively, the Federationists of the State made their views known and indicated they would not submit passively to NAC accreditation. The following letter, dated August 1, 1973, was written to the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota by the Superintendent of the Minnesota Braille and Sight Saving School:

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA,
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE,
BRAILLE AND SIGHT SAVING SCHOOL,
Faribault, Minnesota, August 1, 1973.

Ms. JOYCE HOFFA,
President, National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, Inc.,
St. Paul, Minnesota.

DEAR JOYCE: First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your recent election as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. You must be very proud, and I am certain that you will do an outstanding job for your organization.

Regretfully, I will be unable to participate on your panel presentation August 25, 1973. As you are probably aware, students return to school August 26 and staff prior to that time, and we are in the middle of heavy planning. I hope that I can participate in other discussions with your group.

Regarding NAC accreditation, as I have stated to Tom Scanlan, the Braille School has no definite plans to proceed in any way with accreditation; and I sincerely respect the consumer's opinion regarding this organization. If ever plans are made to seek accreditation through NAC I will certainly be in contact with you. This does not seem to be the case at this time, however.

Finally, I hope that NFB and MBSS never become adversaries because of this national controversy! Please excuse the delay since I have been on vacation.

Sincerely yours.

VINCENT F. SVALDI,
Superintendent.

 

This letter is, indeed, encouraging. Taken together with all of the other items reported in this article, it shows what the blind must do to secure their rights and protect their programs. The long grind is in process. The battle is fully joined. On our side are truth and justice and right. On NAC's side are power and money and tradition. We must support the truth with action; we must bolster justice with determination; and we must reinforce right with persistence. The time is now, and the responsibility is clearly fixed. It does not stop with the National Office, or the State leaders, or the local presidents. It rests upon each individual member. Once lost, the opportunity may not come again.

Back to Contents

NAC: HEW DECEPTION DOCUMENTED

BY
KENNETH JERNIGAN

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION FOUNDATION,
Washington, D.C., September 18, 1973.

Mr. KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: I have now read the two reports which you were good enough to send me some time ago—the special August 1972 issue of The Braille Monitor dealing with NAC, and the collection of materials called NAC: Correspondence, Evasion, and Perspective. I found them fascinating, if also painfully human, and thank you for them.

At a few points, I noted references to the Brookings study of accrediting, which I have been responsible for (it was transferred to this Academy in July, and the final report will be a joint Brookings-Academy document). For example, Mr. Twiname's October 17, 1972 letter to Senator Pastore states that "Under a current contract the Commissioner of the Office of Education has authorized Brookings Institution to evaluate the forty-five accrediting groups used by the Office of Education. NAC, of course, is included in this study." A similar statement, evidently based on this letter, appears in the October 13, 1972 "Abstract of Staff Report of Current NAC Activities."

This is incorrect, because we are not evaluating the accrediting agencies but rather the use of accreditation by the Office of Education and other agencies as a condition of eligibility for Government programs. I enclose several papers which may give you a clearer idea of what the study is about. A draft report should be available before the end of the year and the final report, next spring.

The thrust of your criticism—that NAC does not adequately represent the interests of the blind, or, put more broadly, of the educational consumer—involves issues of considerable importance. The Newman task force in the HEW Secretary's Office and the accreditation staff in the Office of Education have sought to promote the interests of both educational "consumers" and "the public." However, as your disagreement with NAC illustrates, these are not necessarily identical, and may be in conflict.

Just who are educational "consumers"? You offer a clear answer: the blind, and particularly the organized blind, who pass, or have passed, through schools, workshops, and other institutions eligible for accreditation. NAC, you state, has a broader conception: those who may pass through these institutions. If that is correct, their definition of "consumers" is similar to that of "the public." And just who is "the public"? The question has exercised accrediting agencies, since the Office of Education has sought to make them more responsible to "the public" and to include more representatives of "the public" on their governing boards, commissions, and councils. From the standpoint of the Office, NAC probably represents a model agency in this respect, in contrast to more parochial agencies like the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association whose governing bodies are composed exclusively of members of their own profession.

One criterion for recognition by the Commissioner of Education is that a "need" for accrediting exists in a given educational area and that the applicant accrediting agency is accepted as fulfilling that need. What constitutes evidence of such acceptance? Again, this question has been much debated. Certainly, if the directors of schools and public and private agencies serving the blind accept and value NAC accrediting, that would constitute evidence. Contrariwise, if large numbers of the blind reject and devalue NAC accrediting, that would constitute evidence of nonacceptance. The weight of the evidence, pro and con, would then have to be balanced by Office staff, the Advisory Committee which meets some four times a year to consider such problems, and, eventually, by the Commissioner of Education, who makes the final determination.

In view of its growing interest in educational "consumers" and "public," the Office now regards it as its responsibility to hear out and inquire into any criticism or complaint against recognized accrediting agencies that is germane to its criteria of recognition. If you wish to make such a complaint against NAC, I would suggest that you first obtain a copy of these criteria. Actually, you should get a copy of the former criteria, under which NAC and all other accrediting agencies on the Commissioner's list have been recognized, and the new criteria which will govern their future recognition. You can get these from Mr. John Proffitt, Director, Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff, United States Office of Education, Regional Office Building, Seventh and D Streets, NW., Washington, D.C. 20201.

I must say that you display a virtuoso talent for laying bare the intellectual and political heart of issues obscured in conventional verbiage. I would hate to have you as an enemy, but I would much enjoy a friendly debate or discussion, anytime you may be in the vicinity.

Sincerely,

HAROLD ORLANS.

 

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND,
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Des Moines, Iowa, September 27, 1973.

Mr. HAROLD ORLANS,
National Academy of Public
Administration Foundation,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. ORLANS: I have your letter of September 18, 1973, and I thank you for it. The tone and tenor of your comments contrast refreshingly with much of what I have been receiving on the subject of NAC.

You tell me that Mr. Twiname's statement that "the Commissioner of the Office of Education has authorized Brookings Institution to evaluate the forty-five accrediting groups used by the Office of Education" is incorrect. I suspected that this was the case, but (as with so many other statements by HEW officials) the falsehood was hard to document. I am glad to have my suspicions confirmed. Since I intend to quote your letter widely, you will doubtless now receive a good deal of abuse—not as much, for whatever comfort that may be, as I have been getting (and will continue to get) but enough, I think, to satisfy any reasonable cravings along that line. I am sorry, even indirectly, to have to embroil you in this controversy, but so much is at stake for so many thousands of blind people that a way simply must be found for the truth to be known. I do not for one moment believe that Mr. Twiname's false statement was accidental or unintentional. However, by the time HEW and NAC get through explaining it all away (assuming they are ever questioned on the matter), it will all be lost in a mass of words and words and words.

Your letter reads in part as follows:

In view of its growing interest in education "consumers" and "public," the Office now regards it as its responsibility to hear out and inquire into any criticism or complaint against recognized accrediting agencies that is germane to its criteria of recognition. If you wish to make such a complaint against NAC, I would suggest that you first obtain a copy of these criteria. Actually, you should get a copy of the former criteria, under which NAC and all other accrediting agencies on the Commissioner's list have been recognized, and the new criteria which will govern their future recognition. You can get these from Mr. John Proffitt, Director, United States Office of Education, Regional Office Building, Seventh and D Streets, NW., Washington, D.C. 20201.

Interestingly enough, I did make such a complaint. I made it last spring. I made it in the properly prescribed manner and to the properly prescribed person—and with the properly expected results. It happened like this:

A blind constituent wrote to Senator Norris Cotton to ask that he help with the NAC problem. Senator Cotton inquired of the Office of Management and Budget. Under date of March 22, 1973, Mr. Eberle, congressional liaison, replied (copy attached). You will observe that Mr. Eberle states that the Commissioner of Education will review his approval of NAC "if an organization dissatisfied with his designation files a petition for such a
review.”

Of course, the organized blind of the Nation are, to put it mildly, "dissatisfied." Accordingly, when Senator Cotton sent Mr. Eberle's letter to his New Hampshire constituent, and when that constituent, in turn, sent the letter to me, the National Federation of the Blind formally and officially asked the Commissioner of Education to review his approval of NAC as an accrediting agency (copy of my letter attached). I sent a great deal of documentation and material.

Shortly thereafter I received (copy attached) a reply dated May 10, 1973, from Mr. John Proffitt, Director, Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff, Bureau of Education. You will observe that Mr. Proffitt writes in the best Federal tradition. Although I had already sent a packet of material two inches thick, showing in great detail how NAC is hurting blind people and why it should not be approved as an accrediting agency, Mr. Proffitt indicated politely and formally that he would be happy to have additional documentation—something right on target. This allowed a record to be built, subtly called into question the nature of my documentation and allowed for delay—presumably, much delay. Even so, Mr. Proffitt did say that the blind would be heard. His exact words were:

The matter will be placed on the agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility. Prior to that meeting, the National Federation will receive an official invitation to make an oral presentation to the committee on the matter of the recognition of the National Accreditation Council.

In the meantime, of course, NAC could continue to function as usual, officially approved as an accrediting agency by the Federal Commissioner of Education. Perhaps the blind would grow tired of it all and give up, or perhaps the matter would become so voluminous and involved that everything would be cloaked in confusion and obscurity. You tell me that the Advisory Committee meets four times a year. This means that at least one or two meetings have been held since my letter from Mr. Proffitt. Would you guess that the matter has been placed on the agenda and the National Federation of the Blind asked to appear? You are right. The answer is no.

One would never guess from Mr. Proffitt's letter that he had considerable familiarity with NAC or had already seen any of the documentation I sent to the Commissioner of Education. In fact, Mr. Proffitt was a member of a so-called "independent review team" appointed by HEW, which had supposedly been studying complaints against NAC for several months. HEW officials have repeatedly told Congress and the public that this "independent" review team was just that—truly "independent." Yet, every one of its members except one is a Federal employee. Most of them work for HEW. One of them is a former member of the NAC Board and is now serving in that capacity again.

Do you still suggest that it would do any good for me to send a complaint to the Federal Commissioner of Education?

You will remember that I earlier sent you my letter of August 10, 1973, to Mr. Daniel Robinson, the newly elected president of NAC. I herewith send you another copy of that letter so that you may set it alongside of Mr. Robinson's reply, a copy of which I also send you, together with my response. On July 26, and again on August 10, I asked Mr. Robinson whether he would permit observers at future NAC Executive Committee and Board meetings and whether he would talk with us about differences. You will observe that his reply is as arrogant and unresponsive as ever. Apparently he feels that NAC is invulnerable, that it owes no accountability whatever to the blind, and that he does not even need to pretend to the contrary. Mr. Robinson has told a number of people that this whole business is a "power struggle." In a very real sense, of course, he is right. Anytime a group like NAC seeks to take total power over the lives of other people, resistance constitutes a power struggle—a struggle to take some of the power away from a group which never should have had it in the first place. As blind people we feel we should have the power to have something to say about the management of our own lives. If Mr. Robinson wishes to consider this a power struggle, be it so.

So where do we go from here? NAC has power and wealth and influence and tradition to rely on. We have only ourselves and the justice of our cause. But this will be enough. It will be difficult to get busy Congressmen and Senators to take time to read and understand. It will be hard to get the public at large to cut through the complexity to see what is happening. We will also have to contend with personal abuse, efforts to intimidate, and attempts to buy us off.

However, we will find a way. It may take a long time, but we have learned patience and endurance. We will never give up; we will never quit; and we will be heard. We will also be understood and believed, for we are telling the truth.

I thank you again for your letter and for its tone. I also apologize once more for the necessity of involving you (even indirectly) in this problem. I hope you will understand and not feel too unkindly disposed toward me for it. When I am next in Washington, I would like to avail myself of your offer of further discussion. In the meantime your letter has done a service to the blind, and we are grateful.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President,
National Federation of the Blind.

 

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET,
Washington, D.C., March 22, 1973.

Hon. NORRIS COTTON,
United States Senate,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR COTTON: This is in reply to your letter which transmitted an inquiry from Alfred A. Beckwith concerning the National Advisory Committee on Accreditation. We regret the delay.

The National Advisory Committee on Accreditation Mr. Beckwith refers to is probably the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped, which the Commissioner of Education has approved as an accrediting agency to pass on the eligibility of various groups in the handicapped field to participate in Federal programs.

The Commissioner will review his approval of such an accrediting body if an organization dissatisfied with his designation files a petition for such a review. Such a petition may be addressed to: Mr. John R. Ottina, Commissioner-designate, United States Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C. 20202.

While the Office of Management and Budget has no oversight responsibility in such decisions, it is a pleasure to provide this information to you. If I can be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

HAROLD F. EBERLE,
Congressional Liaison.

 

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND,
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Des Moines, Iowa, April 26, 1973.

Mr. JOHN R. OTTINA,
Commissioner-Designate,
United States Office of Education,
Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. OTTINA: Under date of March 22, 1973, Mr. Harold F. Eberle sent a letter (copy attached) to Senator Norris Cotton stating that you would review the approval of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped by the Commissioner of Education if an organization petitioned you to do so. The National Federation of the Blind now officially presents that petition. We ask that the approval be revoked.

Along with this letter I am sending you data supporting our request. If a hearing is held on this matter, the National Federation of the Blind would like to appear. We feel that the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped is doing harm to blind people and that it should not have an official stamp of approval from the Federal Office of Education.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President,
National Federation of the Blind.

 

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH,
EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,
OFFICE OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D.C., May 10, 1973.

Mr. KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Commissioner-designate John Ottina has referred your letter of April 26 requesting a review of the recognition granted to the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped to this Office for reply.

The National Accreditation Council was recognized as a national accrediting agency by the United States Commissioner of Education on July 30, 1971, after a determination by the Commissioner that the Council was in compliance with the Criteria for Recognition of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies, a copy of which is attached. Inasmuch as the Commissioner's authority is to recognize those agencies which he determines to be reliable authority as to the quality of training offered by educational institutions and programs, the Commissioner's recognition of the Council extends only to its accreditation of residential schools for the blind. A review of the recognition will, therefore, be based solely on the activities of the Council as they apply to the accreditation of schools.

The materials which you provided are now under review by this Staff. In light of the above, we would appreciate it if you would review the Criteria for Recognition, keeping in mind the Council's scope of recognition, and provide us with any additional information or documentation which would bring into question the Council's compliance with specific criteria.

The matter will be placed on the agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility. Prior to that meeting, the National Federation will receive an official invitation to make an oral presentation to the Committee on the matter of the recognition of the National Accreditation Council.

We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.

Sincerely yours.

JOHN R. PROFFITT,
Director,
Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff,
Bureau of Higher Education.

 

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND,
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Des Moines, Iowa, August 10, 1973.

Mr. DANIEL D. ROBINSON,
President, National Accreditation
Council for Agencies Serving the
Blind and Visually Handicapped,
New York, New York.

DEAR MR. ROBINSON: On July 19, 1973, I sent you a letter. I asked you certain specific questions. On July 26, 1973, you sent what purported to be an answer. It wasn't. You did not respond to a single one of my questions. Instead, you sent me a committee report and a resolution.

In the meantime I have received a letter (copy enclosed) from Mr. Corbett Reedy. You will observe that Mr. Reedy says that he has asked NAC to do the very things the Federation has been requesting all of these months and years.

I would like to make some comments about your July 26 letter. You say the memorandum that the Federation asked NAC to distribute at its June 21 meeting was "made available to members of the board." Mr. John Taylor (one of the two NFB observers at that meeting) tells me that Dr. Salmon had promised him that the memorandum would be distributed but that Dr. Salmon said publicly at the board meeting that the NAC Executive Committee had decided the memorandum could not be distributed. Are you now telling me that the memorandum was distributed, or are you playing NAC's usual word game and saying that "made available" means something other than "distributed?" I believe Mr. Taylor told me the truth, and I want to know if you are prepared to deny it. I would like to know whether you will distribute this correspondence and our earlier letters to the members of the NAC Board.

I now ask you once again to respond to the questions that I raised in my July 19 letter. Please do not send me a resolution or a committee report or a speech or a diatribe. Just give it to me straight. If you will not let Federation representatives come to your board meetings, please have the courage and decency to say so directly, without wiggling or equivocating. If you will not permit observers at your executive committee meetings or send us your minutes or give us a list of the names and addresses of your board members or meet with us to discuss differences, then be man enough to say it—and in simple, straightforward language. On the other hand, if you will do these things, say you will do them—say it directly and straight to the point.

Must we prod and push you every step of the way to fair treatment and democratic action! If so, we will do it. In the meantime the record NAC is building is clear for all to see.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President,
National Federation of the Blind.

 

NATIONAL ACCREDITATION COUNCIL
FOR AGENCIES SERVING THE BLIND
AND VISUALLY HANDICAPPED,
New York, New York, September 24, 1973.

Mr. KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Your letter of August 10th, which reached me on my return to the city, contains a number of questions which I believe have already been answered in the materials which have been sent to you over an extended period of time. I believe, if you will review them with care, our policies of openness and our desire to receive specific input and suggestions from all concerned persons and groups will be apparent. I believe no useful purpose would be served at this time, therefore, by an attempt on my part to paraphrase or further elaborate on official actions of our board.

The next meeting of NAC's board of directors is scheduled for December 12 and 13 in New York City. If you have a specific matter which you wish to present to the board, please advise me of it in sufficient detail so that it can be considered for possible inclusion in the agenda of that meeting.

Very truly yours,

DANIEL D. ROBINSON.

 

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND,
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Des Moines, Iowa, September 27, 1973.

Mr. DANIEL D. ROBINSON.
President, National Accreditation
Council for Agencies Serving the
Blind and Visually Handicapped,
New York, New York.

DEAR MR. ROBINSON: In your letter of September 24, 1973, you say that the questions raised in my letter to you of August 10 "have already been answered in the materials which have been sent" to me "over an extended period of time." You tell me that if I will review this material with care, you think your policies of openness will be apparent. You then say that you believe "no useful purpose would be served at this time" by an attempt on your part to “paraphrase or further elaborate on official actions of” the NAC Board.

I have taken your advice. I have carefully reviewed the mass of material I have received from you and other NAC officials. Your expectations were not fulfilled. Your policies are not apparent. I do not want you to paraphrase. Most especially I do not want you "to elaborate" on actions of the NAC Board. All I ask is that you have the courage and the honesty to give me simple, unequivocal answers.

Therefore, I herewith send you once more my August 10 letter and request that you reply to it. In view of the fact that NAC first said that it would and then that it would not and, finally that it would admit observers to its last board meeting, how can you say with a straight face that your policies are apparent?

You tell me that your next board meeting will occur in New York December 12-13. Will you admit observers, and what is the location of the meeting? In other words will you answer my letter of August 10?

We will take the record you have built to the Members of Congress, and I should think you would be ashamed of the record of deception, double-talk, and double dealing you are building. All we want from NAC is fair play and fair treatment. I now ask you again to respond to my letter of August 10. This letter is being sent by registered mail so that there cannot be any question later as to whether it was received.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH JERNIGAN,
President,
National Federation of the Blind.

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BLIND IN LOUISVILLE

BY
JOHN FILIATREAU

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal and Louisville Times. Copyright 1973.]

"I've been blind pretty much since birth," says a slim, twenty-year-old man. "Right now I'm working at a workshop for the mentally retarded. I help package parts. I put a bracket in, and the blind girl next to me puts in three screws.

"I work thirty-three hours a week and every week I get paid $3.30. I work from 8:15 in the morning until 3:45 in the afternoon. I get a half hour for lunch; lunch costs sixty-five cents. My bus transfers cost ten cents a day.

Every month I get about $115 from the State. I have a one-room apartment that costs $100 a month. It costs me $12 a month to have my laundry done.

"It costs me a nickel a day to work. But I didn't work at all before, and anything's better than sitting around listening to the radio all the time, what else could I do? I feel I should get paid more. It isn't fair to me for them to pay me that little. Oh, they did say that if I work long enough I might get a raise.

"They gave me a little test, and the first day I was there one of the men says, 'How do you like being retarded?' and I just didn't know what to say. Then the next day he says, 'I read your report and now I know you're normal. Sorry.'

"I go to work on the bus, I can get there okay. But coming home, around Floyd Street, it gets pretty complicated. There are a lot of driveways around there and it's a little confusing."

"I went to college for three and a half years," says a twenty-three-year-old woman. "I wanted to major in special (elementary) education, but at Eastern Kentucky University they felt that a blind person just couldn't major in elementary education; they wanted me to major in rehabilitation. I fought the school for a year and lost.

"They were mean to me. For example, in a class on children's literature, the teacher would ask me to describe an illustration to the class, and of course I couldn't. I wanted to teach blind or cerebral palsied children. I have a job now. I do what a machine could do better."

"I've been trained to do damn near anything you could imagine," claims another blind person. "I've had self-care training, mobility training, training in cooking and washing and ironing, training to read Braille, and (sandwich) stand training. Oh, everybody gets stand training.

"My last four weeks in stand training, lots of times the stand operator would just leave his helper with me. They send you home a lot. They told Rehab (the Kentucky Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind) that I couldn't handle the machines, without even giving me a chance to learn.

"And all they have to offer is more. More training. A two-month course in chair caning. Not much demand for chair caners these days, you know."

Louisville is considered a pretty good town for blind persons.

There is the Kentucky School for the Blind, 1867 Frankfort Avenue, which last month celebrated its 131st anniversary. The institution, for visually handicapped elementary and secondary students, is considered one of the Nation's finest.

The State's Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, whose Louisville office is at 2001 Frankfort Avenue, offers various services to the State's blind, who may number as many as six thousand.

Louisville also has the American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, which produces more large-type and Braille books than any other outfit in the world.

There is the Kentucky Industries and Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, 1900 Brownsboro Road, which offers a sheltered work environment and pays its workers the minimum wage.

Louisville has a large number of professionals who volunteer their time to read books aloud so they can be taped for blind persons.

There is an atmosphere of cooperation among Louisville's social and educational organizations, which makes additional facilities and services available to blind men and women. For example, the sheltered workshops for the retarded, the Louisville and Jefferson County school systems, and the State's complex of vocational schools all play roles in caring for the blind.

But, say many blind persons, things are still far from perfect. And one of the things standing in the way of further progress is a single specious syllogism.

The argument, indulged by sighted people—and especially employers—goes like this:

"I use my eyes in everything I do. If I suddenly lost my eyes, then I'd be helpless. Therefore, blind people are helpless."

That's how it was put by L.P. Howser, Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) which accepted its first students May 9, 1842, and is the third-oldest school for the blind in the United States.

"There's just something about blindness that scares people, and a lot of our programs just don't result in the kinds of employment we'd like them to ... I myself passed by this place for thirty-five years before I knew five blind people. Two persons out of every 1,000 are blind. The question is: How can we two educate the other 998? It gets awesome."

Howser, a sighted man, sits in his spacious office at the school angrily clutching a newspaper clipping. The story concerns a "fragrance garden for the blind"....

The article refers to "...an oasis where the blind can come to enjoy the feel and smell of plants, the splash of a fountain, the song of birds. Braille books, conversation, and coffee." Howser and many other people who work with the blind, and many blind persons themselves, consider such projects to be "soppishly romantic, condescending, insulting, and frivolous."

Howser, who has worked with visually handicapped persons since 1946, is unswervingly realistic with his students. To a youngster who expresses a desire to attend college, he might deliver the warning: "You can go to college if you want. After that, you can work on your master's and even go on for a Ph. D. But you just might educate yourself out of a job."

In the past, Howser said, schooling for the blind has been used as a "stalling tactic"—a way to keep the blind student occupied, without sending him out to face the disappointments of the real world. For the real world is often cruel to blind job seekers.

But the choice is ultimately left to the student. The orientation of KSB is essentially the same as that of Kentucky's public schools....

At the age of sixteen, the blind person becomes the responsibility of the State's Division of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (Rehab), part of the Kentucky Bureau of Rehabilitation. One of Rehab's primary tasks is the procurement of jobs for the visually handicapped.

The blind would-be worker, armed with his diploma, "certificate of completion," or college degree, often finds job-seeking a frustrating and humiliating experience. Bob Barnes tries to help.

Barnes, a blind University of Louisville graduate, is responsible for counseling, training, and placing visually handicapped people in Louisville and those parts of Kentucky to the west of Louisville. Barnes, who has held the job since September 1969 has a big job.

"I try to call on every employer in the city of Louisville at least once every two years," Barnes said. "Employers are skeptical at first, because of rumors that usually turn out to be erroneous. For example, they fear their insurance rates will go up, though insurance rates are generally based on the number of employees, not the number of handicapped employees."

Barnes also spoke glowingly of another of Rehab's innovative programs. "Blind college graduates are guaranteed employment for the first six months after graduation with State agencies," he said. "This exposes the blind person to a work situation, exposes him to the State agencies, and gives him work experiences he can capitalize on.

"I'd say most blind persons who want to work can work," Barnes concluded.

Barnes claimed that a blind person would have to have the additional handicap of retardation in order to work in a sheltered workshop for retarded workers. "He must be a retarded individual," he said.

But Wayne Marshall, executive director of the Jefferson County Council for Retarded Children, said this is not the case.

"It's our policy to allow fifteen per cent of our work spaces to be filled with nonretarded persons," Marshall said. "Or more, if the space is available."

The problem with integrating retarded and nonretarded individuals, Marshall said, is that such mixing sometimes gives rise to "social relations" problems between the groups.

So it is possible for a blind person to find a ten-cents-an-hour job at the end of his educational rainbow.

One of the reasons is that many employers just won't hire visually handicapped persons—who, it should be kept in mind, range from the totally-blind to the partially sighted.

In the words of a blind man, "They ought to remember that blindness is normal for us."

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A NEW WAY TO FINISH FURNITURE

[Editor's Note.—Helen Collins, treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Maine, recently wrote to President Jernigan, telling him about an interesting technique for finishing furniture. She said she learned of the technique from Harold Miller, president of the NFB of Maine. Her letter reads:]

I have enclosed a copy of instructions for finishing furniture with oil and turpentine which I typed up from verbal instructions given to me. I have heard of different oil and turpentine methods but this method uses motor oil. The Millers have used this finish for many things and I have just used it for some shelves we had built to hold some of my NFB material. It really does give a more velvety finish than regular oil. Perhaps you have used this method when you were working with furniture, but thought I'd pass it on to you anyway as you might be interested in using it in the Industrial Arts Shop at the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

Materials

Turpentine
Thin, cheap, nondetergent motor oil (#10-20 is good)
Paraffin, for last coat
Nylons or fine soft cloths
Fine steel wool
Stain (if desired)

Procedure

Sand and clean piece to be done. If refinishing furniture, all old varnish must be removed. Patches of old varnish will leave shiny spots.

For first coat, mix two parts turpentine to one part oil. Apply generously with nylon or soft cloth. Let set half hour. Wipe off any excess solution with clean cloth and lightly sand over entire area of article with fine steel wool. Wait half hour. Note: If stain is desired, it should be added to this first solution. If desired depth of color is not obtained, add more stain to second coat.

For second coat, mix equal parts turpentine and oil. Apply generously; let set half hour; wipe off excess; sand lightly with steel wool; wait half hour.

For third coat, mix one part turpentine to two parts oil with small amount of paraffin. (For example: 1/3 cup turpentine; 2/3 cup oil; 1 tablespoon paraffin.) This last coat with the paraffin must be heated. Place can containing the mixture of turpentine, oil, and paraffin in a pan of hot water and melt paraffin. Rub in this last coat immediately while paraffin is melted, using soft cloth. Wait twenty-four hours before using article.

Notes

In doing a large piece of furniture, the half hour setting period is usually consumed in finishing the entire area of the article. In other words, by the time the first step is completely finished, you can start applying the second coat on the area first started.

If the turpentine-oil solution is allowed to set on the article for over a half hour between coats, a white film may appear and it may become sticky. This must be removed with clear turpentine and the entire process started over.

In using this method of finishing, plan on enough time to complete the entire process since all three steps must be done in succession without delay.

Linseed oil may be used, but motor oil gives a more velvety finish. Finish will not scratch or waterstain, and it will last for years without refinishing.

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TWO-FOR-ONE AIRFARE BACKFIRES: FAA PROPOSES RULES

For a number of years many of the agencies doing work with the blind in this country, as well as the American Council of the Blind, have been urging Congress to pass legislation permitting airlines to transport a blind person and his "guide" (or "attendant") for the price of a single ticket. This has come to be known as the "two-for-one airfare proposal." It has been strongly opposed by the National Federation of the Blind. As early as 1964 we adopted a resolution at the Phoenix Convention resisting the entire concept. We have felt that the blind can travel unaccompanied on airplanes and that they pose no particular hazard or problem. We have felt that, if adopted, the "two-for-one airfare proposal" would bring disastrous and inevitable consequences. First would come permission for an "attendant" to accompany the blind person without cost. Then would come the requirement that the blind person be so accompanied. In other words, the blind would no longer be free to travel alone. We have felt that the airlines have (with a minimum amount of inconvenience to themselves or the blind) provided needed assistance.

The American Council of the Blind, on the other hand, has pushed hard for the adoption of the "two-for-one airfare proposal." They have repeatedly accused the Federation of working against the best interests of the blind and, as would have been expected, have joined forces with the usual array of governmental and private agencies. At the ACB convention in July, Mr. McDaniel allegedly spent some time on two-for-one airfares assuring the convention that this is the year for that to pass.

As long ago as the fall of 1971, the Federal Aviation Agency was beginning to reexamine its attitudes toward air travel by the blind, who were lumped with all the rest of the so-called "disabled." Blind persons traveling by air during the past few months have increasingly been faced with patronizing treatment. Formerly a blind person (like anybody else) could sit wherever he chose on a plane. Now he cannot sit next to an exit. In case of an emergency, so he is told, he would "be a hazard" to himself and others. This is indicative of a larger pattern of growing custodialism by airline personnel. Under date of May 30, 1973, but published in the Federal Register for June 5, 1973, the inevitable preliminary documents were issued by the Federal Aviation Agency. The FAA invited comment from the public and wondered whether disabled persons should be allowed to travel alone, should be required to carry a special identification card concerning competence, should be restricted in numbers on any particular flight, et cetera. The entire text of the FAA document reads as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
[14 CFR, Parts 25, 121, 135]
(Docket No. 12881; Notice No. 73-16]
AIR TRANSPORTATION OF
HANDICAPPED PERSONS
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering amending parts 25, 121, and 135 of the "Federal Aviation Regulations" to permit, to the maximum extent possible, air transportation of physically handicapped persons while maintaining an acceptable level of safety in air carrier and air taxi operations.

This advance notice of proposed rulemaking is being issued pursuant to the FAA's policy for the early institution of rulemaking proceedings. An “advance" notice is issued to invite public participation in the identification and selection of a course or alternate courses of action with respect to a particular rulemaking problem.

Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Communications should identify the regulatory docket or notice numbers and be submitted in duplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket, AGC-24, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, D.C. 20591. All communications received on or before August 6, 1973, will be considered by the Administrator before taking action with respect to the subject matter. All comments will be available, both before and after the closing date for comments, in the rules docket for examination by interested persons.

On October 14, 1971, the Civil Aeronautics Board issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to notify the public of the Board's consideration of rulemaking action to amend part 399 "Policy Statements" and part 221 "Economic Regulations" of the regulations of the Board so as to provide for terms and conditions governing air transportation of physically disabled persons.

The notice, PSDR-33/EDR-215 (docket No. 23904), invited participation of the industry, interested Government agencies, physically disabled passengers and their individual or organizational representatives, as well as the general public, in the Board's effort to determine the scope of the problem. The notice stated that, "If, in the Board's view, comments received indicate that further action is warranted, the Board may then pursue one or more of several alternative courses of action, including (1) Issuing a supplemental notice of rulemaking with proposed rules (2) reopening the proceeding in which it approved the ATA agreement dealing with interline acceptance criteria for disabled persons under section 412 of the Act, (3) instituting evidentiary proceedings under section 1002(b) of the Act, and (4) referring the matter to the Department of Transportation under section 1111 of the Act."

Subsequent to the issuance of notice PSDR-33/EDR-215, the Board has referred the matter to the Department of Transportation for a determination of the relevant safety parameters associated with the air transportation of disabled persons and deferred its proceedings until the appropriate safety standards have been established. The alternative course of action selected by the Board is consistent with alternative (4) identified in its notice.

The comments received by the Board in response to notice PSDR-33/EDR-215 have been reviewed by the FAA. In addition to economic consideration the comments contain information pertinent to the safety considerations involving the air transportation of handicapped persons. The FAA believes this information should be considered in any FAA rulemaking action regarding this important subject and has placed these comments in the docket to be considered along with any comments which may result from the issuance of this notice.

Section 1111 of the Federal Aviation Act, referenced in the Board's notice, provides: "Subject to reasonable rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation, any air carrier is authorized to refuse transportation to a passenger or to refuse to transport property when, in the opinion of the air carrier, such transportation would or might be inimical to safety of flight."

As indicated in the Board's explanatory statement issued in conjunction with its notice of October 14, 1971, various air carriers are parties to an agreement, approved by the Board in 1962, which states, among other things, that acceptance of physically handicapped passengers for air transportation by the parties to the agreement will be determined in accordance with certain lay criteria and, in particular circumstances, medical criteria as set forth therein. The lay criteria provide that a member carrier will not accept as passengers persons who have malodorous conditions, gross disfigurement, or contagious diseases, or persons who cannot take care of their physical needs without an attendant. The medical criteria are stated to be those criteria contained in a report entitled "Medical Criteria for Passenger Flying" published in certain periodicals and incorporated therein by reference. The agreement also classifies the physically handicapped and indicates by class which criteria are to be used in gaging acceptability.

The Board also indicated it has received an increasing volume of letters from disabled persons, disabled veterans' groups, and other organizations, which express dissatisfaction with the carriers' handling of paraplegics, quadraplegics, and other classifications of disabled persons, including in particular, several informal complaints reciting incidents where the alleged refusals by air carriers to accept disabled persons for carriage would appear to have been unjustified under a reasonable interpretation and application of the existing tariff rule.

A recent FAA review of the air carriers' written procedures concerning the ground and flight handling of the physically handicapped has shown that variations exist among the carriers with respect to: (1) The specificity of the procedures provided airline employees; (2) the types of handicapped persons accepted as passengers; and (3) the number of certain types of handicapped persons permitted on each flight. This review has also shown that while the larger part 121 carriers have the most comprehensive and most uniform procedures for the transportation of the handicapped; only limited written procedures were utilized by the small carriers and the part 135 airtaxi/commuter operators.

Although variations do exist with respect to the types of handicapped persons accepted as passengers in air transportation, some uniformity does exist with respect to certain types of handicapped persons not normally accepted by most airlines. Those not accepted include:

(1) Handicapped or ill persons who are unable to care for their personal needs without assistance, unless accompanied by an able-bodied person.

(2) Persons ill with a communicable disease.

(3) Persons handicapped to the extent they offend other passengers.

(4) Those who require undue attention from the flight attendant.

(5) Those unable to sit in a seat and fasten their seat belt.

(6) Mentally retarded children unless accompanied by an adult.

(7) Infants under seven days of age.

(8) Women in their ninth month of pregnancy unless they present an obstetrician's certificate dated within seventy-two hours of the time of flight departure.

(9) Unaccompanied children under five years of age.

(10) Unaccompanied litter patients.

(11) Passengers intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

(12) Persons who are insane or mentally incapacitated.

(13) Unaccompanied prisoners.

(14) Persons requiring intravenous or intramuscular feeding or injections while en route, unless accompanied by a physician or attendant qualified to administer such feedings or injections.

(15) Certain lung diseases which require continuous supplemental oxygen.

Exclusive of special physiological or medical considerations, the FAA believes the most significant safety considerations associated with the carriage of handicapped persons are those related to aircraft emergency evacuation. The accommodation of the more severely handicapped will almost certainly affect the outcome of an emergency evacuation.

The "Federal Aviation Regulations" under which the air carriers and the aircraft they operate are certificated do not include criteria which provide standards relating to the acceptance of handicapped passengers.

The present standards for emergency evacuation of passenger-carrying airplanes are established in FAR § 121.291 for the air carriers and commercial operators of large airplanes and FAR § 25.803 for the airworthiness of transport category airplanes. These standards require that each part 121 certificate holder and each applicant for a part 25 airplane-type certificate show by actual demonstration that an emergency evacuation of the full seating capacity, including crew-members, can be accomplished within ninety seconds for each type airplane involved which has a seating capacity of more than forty-four passengers.

With regard to the persons used in an emergency evacuation demonstration, these requirements specify the use of a representative passenger load of persons in normal health and a mix in accordance with the following:

(1) At least thirty percent must be female.

(2) Approximately five percent must be over sixty years of age, with a proportionate number of females.

(3) At least five percent, but no more than ten percent, must be children under twelve years of age, prorated through that age group.

Emergency evacuation demonstrations permit an evaluation of the aircraft evacuation characteristics, an evaluation of the operator's emergency procedures and the quality of its crewmember training. In addition, the demonstrations produce useful information regarding actual passenger flow rates through the various type (size) exits to comply with the ninety-second evacuation requirement. While these demonstrations provide a measure for producing satisfactory evacuation systems, the representative passenger load, however, is not always representative of that encountered in actual operation, especially if physically handicapped passengers are to be considered.

There has been a lack of uniformity among the different carriers in the type of handicapped persons accommodated. The FAA believes there is a need for an operational standard by which the acceptance of a maximum number and type of handicapped passengers, commensurate with an acceptable level of safety, may be achieved.

In making its decisions to invite the public and industry to assist in an identification and selection of a course or alternate courses of action, the FAA believes certain information regarding the reliance upon evacuation systems in actual emergencies may be helpful. The most significant type of aircraft accident in which a handicapped passenger may expect to encounter a disproportionate share of risk and possibly impede evacuation is the survivable accident in which a fire or an aircraft ditching is involved. In these cases the need to evacuate the aircraft rapidly is paramount.

An indication of the probability that a passenger may be involved in such an accident can be determined from an examination of past performance. The record for the ten-year period of 1962 through 1971 indicates that U.S. domestic and flag air carriers have been involved in twenty-three survivable aircraft accidents in which fire after impact was reported. None of these carriers has been involved in a ditching accident during this same period.

One additional area of concern regarding the carriage of handicapped persons is the need by persons afflicted with certain ailments to carry their own oxygen supply in the passenger cabins of their aircraft. This is presently inconsistent with the provisions of FAR part 103, Transportation of Dangerous Articles and Magnetized Material. The FAA is undertaking separate rulemaking action to resolve the difficulties associated with the carriage of individualized personal oxygen systems.

Based on the foregoing, the FAA solicits the views of all interested persons concerning the establishment of an acceptable level of safety commensurate with the carriage of the maximum number and types of handicapped persons. The FAA is particularly interested in receiving comments regarding the following questions:

(1) What types of physical/functional disabilities or limitations should be allowed consistent with present evacuation criteria?

(2) What types of handicapped persons or physical/functional disabilities should be allowed if a special attendant or assistance is provided to accomplish an emergency evacuation from an aircraft?

(3) Should a regulation be adopted which would permit (or limit) the carriage of a number and type of handicapped persons without the accommodation of that number and type in the criteria established for emergency evacuation demonstrations?

(4) How many unassisted handicapped persons may be accepted as passengers on an aircraft without requiring the use of a special attendant or ablebodied helper? Should this limit be a fixed number or should it be a number which is a percentage of the full passenger seating capacity?

(5) For large groups of handicapped passengers what means of emergency evacuation might be employed to provide an acceptable level of safety?

(6) Should the length of the planned flight be a consideration in determining the number and/or type of handicapped persons to be accepted as passengers?

(7) Would an identification card which certifies the ability of a handicapped person to perform certain physical tasks be useful in eliminating uncertainties regarding his acceptance as an unaccompanied passenger? If so, who should issue the card?

(8) If you are a handicapped person, have you considered how you might evacuate an aircraft unassisted by other persons? Would you care to describe your functional limitations and any method by which you could effect an evacuation? (This information may be helpful in developing evacuation procedures and/or evacuation devices.)

(9) If you are a handicapped person, considering the possibility of being involved in an emergency evacuation, does the notion that you could be the last passenger evacuated from an aircraft seriously concern you?

Comments are welcome on these areas of interest as well as any additional areas regarding the safety aspects relating to transportation of handicapped persons by air carriers.

This advance notice of proposed rulemaking is issued under the authority of sections 313(a), 601, 603, and 604 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1354(a), 1421, 1423, and 1424), and section 6(c) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)).

Issued in Washington, D.C., on May 30, 1973.

C.R. MELUGIN, Jr.,
Acting Director,
Flight Standards Service.

[FR Doc.73-11119 Filed 6-4-73;8:45 am]

The National Federation of the Blind did not, of course, let the matter go by default. At our New York Convention in July we passed the following Resolution:

RESOLUTION 73-09

WHEREAS it has long been established, both morally and legally, that blind and otherwise disabled persons have a right to be abroad in the land for purposes of employment and recreation; and

WHEREAS this right was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court when it ruled in 1964 that the denial of equal access is a social and moral wrong and a burden upon commerce; and

WHEREAS this right has been reinforced by legislative enactment of model white cane laws and laws removing architectural barriers; and

WHEREAS it has been further reaffirmed by the concept and philosophy of restoring blind and otherwise disabled persons to a fully functioning position in society, thereby substantially benefiting that society; and

WHEREAS the Federal Aviation Administration is now proposing rules which restrict the number and type of disabled persons allowed on any one flight, under the guise of "safety of flight"; and

WHEREAS the FAA proposals suggest:

(1) limiting the number of unaccompanied disabled persons;

(2) limiting by quota the disabled persons allowed on any one flight;

(3) limiting the number or type of disabled persons allowed on any one flight, depending on the length of that flight;

(4) requiring an identification card for the disabled which certifies the ability of the card carrier to perform certain physical tasks; and

(5) the possibility that disabled persons would be the last ones to be evacuated from a plane in an emergency; and

WHEREAS these suggested regulations would abrogate the constitutional rights of disabled persons to freedom of mobility; and

WHEREAS the National Federation of the Blind has cooperated with the air lines in resisting efforts requiring air lines to give free passage to persons accompanying blind passengers: Now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 1973, in the City of New York, that this organization make known to the Federal Aviation Administration that the National Federation of the Blind deplores and condemns the proposed amendments to Parts 25, 121, and 135 of the "Federal Aviation Regulations"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the National Federation of the Blind request the FAA to hold public hearings on the proposed amendments and notify the National Federation of the Blind before any action is formally taken by the FAA on these rules; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the National Federation of the Blind be empowered to take any action necessary, including litigation to prevent these retrogressive FAA proposals from compromising our guaranteed constitutional rights to freedom of movement and access to public transportation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President be authorized to contact the Air Line Transport Association in order to determine if cooperative relations can be established for the purpose of securing the principles set forth in this Resolution.

Individual affiliates and members of the Federation went into action. Under date of July 31, 1973, Lawrence Marcelino (Secretary of the NFB and first vice-president of the NFB of California) wrote to the FAA dealing with their questions point by point:

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
OF CALIFORNIA,
San Francisco, Calif., July 31, 1973.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL
(Attention: Rules Docket, AGC-24),
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SIR: The National Federation of the Blind of California is deeply concerned over your proposal to adopt regulations regarding the transportation of physically handicapped persons by air carrier and air taxi operations. We are especially concerned over any regulations which might restrict the rights of blind persons flying as passengers and these proposed rulings were announced in the Federal Register, volume 38, number 107, Tuesday, June 5, 1973, docket number 12881, notice number 73-16.

(1) We are bitterly opposed to any quota system which would restrict the rights of blind individuals to fly in whatever airplanes they choose. It has been demonstrated for many years that blind persons do not constitute a hazard or hazards to the safety of themselves or others that travel by any kind of carrier.

(2) We will be bitterly opposed to any proposition which would require blind persons to be accompanied by an assistant. Blind persons feel that attendants are unnecessary and costly.

(3) The NFBC does not presume to speak for other disability groups, but only for the blind. So far as the blind are concerned, our answer to this question is an emphatic "No!"

(4) So far as the blind are concerned, there should be no limit on the number of blind persons flying unaccompanied in any one plane. Because we know the capabilities of blind persons, and because we know that as many as sixty have flown together in one plane with no problems nor any undue demands on the time or attention of the flight personnel, our answer is "No!"

(5) So far as the blind are concerned the same evacuation procedures should apply as those which apply for all other passengers.

(6) As far as the blind are concerned, time should not be a factor.

(7) The thought of an identification card is abhorrent to most blind people and would be opposed by them. All that need be done is to ask the blind person if he can manage by himself in the plane.

(8) Blind persons are able to ascertain the whereabouts of the emergency exits simply by asking questions and by following the persons ahead of them. Evacuation presents no problem whatsoever to most blind persons.

(9) Our position is that blind persons, because they are blind, should not be required to be the last person out, only that they have the right to assume their position in line asking for neither special services nor being subjected to relegation. If it is the lot of a blind individual to be the last one out, he knows that someone has to be the last one out.

I hope that you will direct inquiries to Mr. Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Very truly yours,

LAWRENCE MARCELINO,
First Vice-President,
National Federation of the Blind
of California.

I cannot say how many groups or individuals contacted the FAA, but I know that a flood of letters came from Federationists throughout the country. The result was a decision on the part of the FAA to hold public hearings before putting its new rules into final form and giving them effect. The Federal Register for August 29, 1973, contains the following statement from the FAA:

DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
[Docket No. 12881; Reference Notice No. 73-16)
AIR TRANSPORTATION OF
HANDICAPPED PERSONS
Notice of Public Hearing

The Federal Aviation Administration will hold a series of six public hearings in order to receive the views of all interested persons regarding the safety aspects of the air carriage of handicapped persons and, in particular, concerning Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) No. 73-16 (38 FR 14757), which concerns the air carriage of handicapped persons. The hearings will be conducted in accordance with the following schedule of dates and at the indicated locations:

September 27, 1973: Miami Springs Villas, 500 Deer Run, Miami Springs, Florida 33166, Phone: (305) 871-6000 (Florida Room).

October 2, 1973: Mayo Civic Auditorium, P.O. 895, 30 SE 2nd Avenue, Rochester, Minnesota 55901, Phone: (509) 288-8475.

October 4, 1973: JFK Federal Building, Government Center, New Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02203, Phone: (617) 223-2906 (Room 2003A).

October 10, 1973: Concord Motor Inn, 6565 Mannheim Road, Rosemont, Illinois 60018, Phone: (312)827-6121.

October 16, 1973: Rochelles Motel and Restaurant, 3333 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90808, Phone: (213) 421-9494.

October 18, 1973: Federal Aviation Administration, Auditorium-3rd Floor, 800 Independence Avenue SW.,
Washington, D.C. 20591, Phone: (202) 426-8357.

Each meeting is to convene at 9:00 in the morning.

In the event that there is a response to this notice of public hearing that exceeds the time that has been allocated to any one hearing (each has been planned not to exceed one day in length), the overflow will be accommodated by extending the hearing scheduled for October 18, 1973, at Washington, D.C., to the following day, October 19. 1973.

The hearings will be informal in nature and will be conducted by a designated representative of the Administrator under 14 CFR 11.33. At each hearing an FAA spokesman will make a brief opening statement regarding ANPRM 73-16. Since the hearings willl not be of the evidentiary or judicial type, there will be no cross-examination of those persons presenting statements. However, interested persons wishing to make rebuttal statements will be given an opportunity to do so in the same order in which initial statements were made.

All interested persons are invited to attend the hearings and each such person is invited to present oral or written statements concerning ANPRM 73—16 at one of the hearings. Such statements will be made a part of the record of the hearings. Any person who wishes to make an oral statement at one of the hearings must notify the FAA by stating the date and place of the hearing at which he desires to make such statement and stating the amount of time requested for his initial statement. In addition, any person may submit relevant written comments. Written comments must be received by the FAA by October 30, 1973, so that they may be made a part of the record of the hearings. Written comments and all other communications concerning these hearings should be addressed to the Office of General Counsel, Rules Docket, AGC—24, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, D.C. 20591, marked "Attention: Presiding Officer, Public Hearing on ANPRM 73-16."

ANPRM 73—16 was issued by the FAA on May 30, 1973, pursuant to the FAA's policy for the early institution of public participation in rulemaking proceedings. An "advance" notice is issued to invite public participation in the identification and selection of a course or alternate courses of action with respect to a particular rulemaking problem. In this instance, the FAA is seeking the comments and recommendations of the public in regard to possible amendments to the Federal Aviation Regulations to permit, to the maximum extent possible, air transportation of physically handicapped persons while maintaining an acceptable level of safety in air carrier and air taxi operations.

ANPRM 73—16 presented background information on the air carriage of handicapped persons and solicited the views of interested persons concerning the establishment of an acceptable level of safety commensurate with the carriage of the maximum number and types of handicapped persons. In that Notice, the FAA expressed a particular interest in receiving comments regarding the following questions:

(1) What types of physical/functional disabilities or limitations should be allowed consistent with present evacuation criteria?

(2) What types of handicapped persons or physical/functional disabilities should be allowed if a special attendant or assistance is provided to accomplish an emergency evacuation from an aircraft?

(3) Should a regulation be adopted which would permit (or limit) the carriage of a number and type of handicapped persons without the accommodation of that number and type in the criteria established for emergency evacuation demonstrations?

(4) How many unassisted handicapped persons may be accepted as passengers on an aircraft without requiring the use of a special attendant or able-bodied helper? Should this limit be a fixed number or should it be a number which is a percentage of the full passenger seating capacity?

(5) For large groups of handicapped passengers what means of emergency evacuation might be employed to provide an acceptable level of safety?

(6) Should the length of the planned flight be a consideration in determining the number and/or type of handicapped persons to be accepted as passengers?

(7) Would an identification card which certifies the ability of a handicapped person to perform certain physical tasks be useful in eliminating uncertainties regarding his acceptance as an unaccompanied passenger? If so, who should issue the card?

(8) If you are a handicapped person, have you considered how you might evacuate an aircraft unassisted by other persons? Would you care to describe your functional limitations and any method by which you could effect an evacuation? (This information may be helpful in developing evacuation procedures and/or evacuation devices.)

(9) If you are a handicapped person, considering the possibility of being involved in an emergency evacuation, does the notion that you could be the last passenger evacuated from an aircraft seriously concern you?

In addition to the foregoing questions, the FAA would appreciate comments regarding the additional questions set forth below as well as in any other areas regarding the safety aspects relating to transportation of handicapped persons by air carriers.

(1) How many persons who are handicapped may be accepted as passengers on an aircraft for any one flight?

(2) Is there any one portion of the aircraft that is more favorable for the seating of handicapped persons than any other?

(3) In case of an emergency evacuation, are there measures that can be taken to minimize the danger that might be created by appliances such as leg braces coming into contact with fiber emergency evacuation chutes?

(4) Is there special equipment available that could aid in the evacuation of handicapped persons in the event of an emergency?

(5) What problems exist in regard to persons who are immobile being accepted as passengers on a commercial flight?

(6) Where aboard the aircraft should handicapped persons be seated in relation to the locations of exits?

(7) The present regulations require that an emergency evacuation demonstration be conducted to show that the aircraft can be evacuated in ninety seconds. The passengers in the evacuation demonstration include a mixture of passengers (male, female, young, and elderly), but do not include handicapped persons. Considering this information, should the number of handicapped persons permitted on any passenger flight be based on a passenger load factor such that the final load, including handicapped persons, can be evacuated in ninety seconds? Should the ninety-second evacuation criteria be adjusted upward and, if so, to what level?

The FAA will carefully consider all statements presented at the hearing and relevant written comments received and made a part of the record and, in the light of those statements and comments, may issue an appropriate notice of proposed rulemaking.

A transcript of the hearings will be made and anyone may purchase a copy of them from the reporter.

(Sections 313(a), 601, 603, 604, and 1005 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1354(a), 1421, 1423. 1424, and 1485) and section 6(c) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)).

Issued in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 1973.

C.R. MELUGIN, Jr.,
Acting Director,
Flight Standards Service.

[FR Doc.73-18176 Filed 8-23-73;8:45 am]

 

If we want to keep our freedom to travel when and where we please, we must act immediately and decisively. We must make protests to the FAA, and as many of us as possible must go to the hearings and make our voices heard. If we let this opportunity pass, it may be lost forever. We are not wards, and we are not going to permit ourselves to become wards.

We should also reflect on what the American Council of the Blind is doing to blind people in the name of "progress." Whether the attempt to custodialize appears in the name of the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, NAC, or the present FAA regulations (which, incidentally, are supposed to "help" the disabled), it is still custodialism; it is still unacceptable; and it is still as wrong and regressive as it has always been. Let us recognize our opponents for what they are, and let us do what we must to maintain our rights and our liberties.

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WOMAN FINDS BLINDNESS NO HANDICAP

BY
C.M. PHILPOTT

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho.]

Mrs. Ruth Shove works eight hours daily in the dark-in fact, double darkness.

For eighteen months, Mrs. Shove has been a darkroom technician in the Department of Radiology at St. Luke's Hospital. And this accounts for the first stage of darkness in which she works. But Mrs. Shove also is legally blind.

How can she operate as a darkroom technician under such circumstances?

"It's easy now," she explained, "because of the automatic processor. But I also can develop by running the film through the wet process. I depend on setting a timer and listening for the bell to tell me when to remove the film from the developer to the quick rinse, to the fix, and then to the final wash. In case of emergency, I still develop by the wet process."

Mrs. Shove explained that although the automatic process is not difficult, "We still work hard, because we are on our feet practically the whole eight hours and we have to work fast because of the large number of X-rays that have to be processed each day."

"I have always kept up my home and done everything anyone else has done," she added. "I like to cook. I've been active in church work. And now I'm grandmother to an eight-month-old baby girl."

For Mrs. Shove working is a necessity as it is for most persons. But she has other objectives in her "extracurricular activities."

As president of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho she continuously promotes equality, opportunity, and security for blind individuals in the State.

"We attain equality through our programs of public education, calling attention to the basic normality of blind persons," Mrs. Shove said. "By establishing policies in law which recognize the ability of the blind to compete on equal terms with their sighted neighbors we help insure these rights."

Mrs. Shove said it was "our organization that went to State legislators to get the Commission for the Blind established in Idaho. This past year we were influential in getting the Randolph-Sheppard Act passed, which provides that blind persons be given the first opportunity to operate vending machines or cafeterias in State and Federal office buildings.

"We feel, with proper training, we have the social abilities and capabilities to do any kind of work."

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VIRDEN CHOSEN HANDICAPPED PERSON OF YEAR

[Editor's Note.—Reprinted through courtesy of the St. Cloud (Minn.) Daily Times.]

Andrew P. Virden has been chosen as the St. Cloud Handicapped Person of the Year.

His name will be submitted to the Minnesota Governor's Commission on Employment of Handicapped Persons. Of the names submitted one will be chosen as the Minnesota Handicapped of the Year. The winner of the State award will be eligible for the national award.

Virden, totally blind, operates a concession stand at the St. Cloud Post Office.

He is active in community affairs. A former member and past president of the St. Cloud Service Club for the Handicapped, he is also a member and current president of the National Federation of the Blind of Central Minnesota, as well as a past member of the State board of directors of this organization. He is a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 5548. He has held posts as fraternal activities director and lecturer for the Knights of Columbus. He is presently the community activities director and last year received the statewide award as lecturer in behalf of the local Knights Council.

He was president for five years of the Waite Park Boosters. Projects carried out while he was president included the establishment of Family Fun Show Days, improvement of a railroad crossing in the village, and revival of an annual community dinner for senior citizens. He also participated in the establishment of a recreational program in Waite Park in cooperation with the YMCA and Waite Park Village Council.

Virden is recognized as one of the leading spokesmen for the handicapped. He has been active in obtaining publicity and needed local and State legislation in their behalf.

Following graduation from college, he experienced the frustration of being unable to obtain a position in teaching, his chosen vocation.

He went to work selling for the World Book Encyclopedia Company and Household Paper Products Company from 1951 to 1955.

He then established Virden's Vending and Concession under the auspices of the Business Enterprises unit of State Services for the Blind. For seventeen years he has been meeting the public and selling a variety of products. During this time he has added vending machines to his business and has tripled his gross volume. He is also a former and recently reelected vice-president of the Vending Stand Operators, a statewide organization of legally blind businessmen.

Growing up as a visually handicapped youngster in Waite Park was much the same as other children in the neighborhood. He was expected to do chores which included washing dishes, scrubbing floors, and during the depression days, sawing up scrap lumber from the Great Northern Car Shops for fuel.

Freda Schowalter was a notable feature in Virden's early educational years as well as being a prominent person in education for the blind in Minnesota.

Virden attended sight-saving classes in the old Franklin School in St. Cloud. He spent about half of his time in the sight-saving class and the other half in regular classroom participation. Following graduation in 1946 from Technical High School he attended St. Cloud State where he graduated in 1950 with a double major in social science and history.

His hobbies include reading through the medium of Braille and the talking-book machine—a phonograph service provided to blind people by the Library of Congress.

He also enjoys the Talking Book Radio, seventeen hours a day of programs which are broadcast for the enjoyment of blind people in the State. He also obtains reading material which is recorded on tape through the Xavier Society for the Blind. He enjoys fishing, swimming, and baseball and football.

Now totally blind, Virden was able to see out of one eye until he was about twelve years of age. It is in keeping with his philosophy of life that the description of his disability has been left until the last. While blindness is a significant feature of his life, he has demonstrated by his accomplishments that it is possible for a blind person to live a full, productive, and happy life.

Virden said, "I feel that we are overstressing the word 'handicapped' today. People should be judged by their abilities and not their disabilities—and the 'handicapped' must learn to speak for themselves."

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DUNHAM TALKS BUT WON'T LISTEN TO THE BLIND

The Monitor has received a letter from Jerome R. Dunham, Ph. D., Supervisor, Services for the Blind, State of Washington. The letter encloses an announcement which we are asked to publish. And what earth-shaking information warranted a letter from the head of State services and a news release? Why, the fact that the State of Washington now offers free fishing licenses to all blind people in the United States. The release commends an Oregonian for having the bill introduced and for shepherding it successfully through the Washington Legislature. Many blind people, if they can afford to get there, will surely avail themselves of this generous offer to fish for free in the streams and lakes of the State of Washington.

But how about the blind people who live in Washington? We have seen no releases or commendatory statements issuing from Dr. Dunham's office on the efforts of the NFB of Washington to improve programs and services to the blind in that State. The blind of Washington have been trying to enact a fair employment practices act; a law on nondiscrimination against the blind and other handicapped in employment; a statute on fair hearings in cases of adverse administrative decisions; a law providing nondiscrimination against blind jurors; and a statute providing for a commission for the blind. And that these improvements are desperately needed by the blind in that State is borne out by the fact that Washington is well down the list of the bottom third of the country in all the things that matter in rehabilitation, as shown in the data for 1972 published by the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration.

But it is not hard to understand the attitude of some unenlightened agencies, which this free fishing service typified. When a man has "made it" on his own, he likes to do something for those unfortunates who don't "have what it takes." Besides, fishing is the innocent kind of activity which will help the poor things to pass the idle hours in some pleasurable and quite suitable way. After all, blind people should not be messing around with administrative programs or legislative matters rightfully the province of the professionals—blind or sighted; professionals who know what is good for the unreached, unevaluated, undiagnosed, unguided, uncounseled, and untrained blind persons; and who are just as firm about what is right for those who have been "rehabilitated" by being reached, diagnosed, counseled, evaluated, guided, and trained, but who, alas, are largely unemployed or underemployed. What a perfect NACman—this Dr. Dunham.

Is this too harsh? Well, take a look at the following, taken from a tape made at the NFB of Washington convention on July 27, 1973. Dr. Dunham appeared and made a superficial report on the activities of Services for the Blind, talking mostly about staff who had retired, been ill, or recently hired, and mentioning programs only incidentally. He refused to engage in a planned panel discussion on services for the blind, just as he has refused to meet and talk with the blind on most issues which affect them. For him it's don't call me, I'll call you, when and if I need you. He is not interested in discovering from the blind how conditions of living or programs for the blind might be improved. Dr. Dunham is willing to talk to the blind and to tell them how services are or are not going to be administered but he is not willing to nor does he believe that he should talk with or listen to the organized blind.

This recording is brought to you by the members of the National Federation of the Blind. It features an appearance by Dr. Jerome Dunham, head of Services for the Blind of the State of Washington, at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington. Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, national President of the Federation, was also present. He was incensed by Dr. Dunham's arrogant and condescending treatment of the blind, and he said so. The fact that Dr. Dunham himself is blind did not mitigate the deplorable nature of his performance, nor did it win respect for him. Rather, it made many of his listeners refer to him as an Uncle Tom. And it underscored the need for reform of the Washington State agency. In the nuances and subtleties of his remarks and responses, Dr. Dunham undoubtedly told his listeners more than he meant to tell them; and, for that matter, more than he himself realized or knew he was saying. This recording should be studied by blind people everywhere in the Nation. It should be pondered for implication and used as a guide to what must be done. Not only Dr. Dunham's words, but his tone, his half-spoken words, and his manner should be heard. He speaks for more than himself and his agency; he speaks for a whole system and a way of thought, a custodial attitude, and a dying era. The blind replied to Dr. Dunham, and their words too are symbolic and far-reaching. This confrontation may be looked back on as a landmark and a milestone. Here then is the way it happened in Olympia, Washington, on the afternoon of Friday, July 27, 1973.

SUE AMMETER. Now I would like to introduce Dr. Dunham. And I have one question first. I'm wondering if in your remarks you would have—if you could limit them so that there'd be time for fifteen minutes for questions.

Dr. JEROME DUNHAM. I didn't time my talk, but I can try.

Mrs. AMMETER. Okay. I think if we can do that— I'm sure there're going to be some questions, so—Dr. Dunham—

Dr. DUNHAM. Thank you, Sue. I plan to talk a little bit about what had gone on in this last year—some changes in personnel and some other items which I thought might be of interest to you, as well as a few statistics about closures, and so on. But before I do that I would like to say a word about the polarization that's taken place in the State in the last year. I presume that as long as the Federation has the commission as its goal, and so long as the Governor says that a commission cannot be, or will not be, that polarization will deepen. If the Federation comes to the point where they feel that this is not to their advantage and wish to see if we can figure out together what might be some viable alternatives to our present situation—I want you to know that we're certainly happy to have you join us in that kind of consideration. I think polarization, of course, has been distressing to many of us, but that's part of the work at times.

After the last Federation convention, I think the first thing that I want to mention is 9-1, September first, '72, when we did employ a family counselor to work with blind children—their families—and because of the education-for-all bill that takes place this September—to work with teachers and to stimulate more teachers, in various school systems, to know more about resources—And so that families can make a more intelligent decision about whether to send their child to the school for the blind in Vancouver or to keep them in the community. September 20 was our first class with Urban Achievement West, a somewhat controversial outfit because of the freedom with which they talk. They have changed some personnel. I think we will—September first—have another class going into that program. It is a career-search and work-adjustment kind of group-dynamic teaching where I think people's experience has been largely positive. And the program that they have outlined this year looks very good if anybody's interested in finding out more about that program and getting involved into it. Out of twelve people, they did place eleven. We have to pay them for this service, but they have hundreds of contacts that they make in a year in various industries. And we feel that utilization of this kind of an organization-when they do have proper interpretation given to them about the abilities of blind people—when we have such a short staff—is desirable. September 28 was the dedication of our dormitory. We've had a number of problems arise over the dormitory, but it seems to be going all right now.

On September 29, Ike-Isaac L. Myers—retired. On 10-27 was when we got the news of the President vetoing the Rehabilitation Act. On the first of-on January 15, or 14—I'm sorry, it's November 14—at the university—we did have—at the library opening—the undergraduate library at the "U"—a media show where we brought in the Optacon and some other things and quite a large number of people from Seattle inspected that. December 4 we hired our second family counselor for eastern mountains—Howard Kovarsky, a young man who has training in mobility but has a lot of experience with blind children and multihandicapped children, and he has been doing the same thing that Mrs. Marshall has—working with families and teachers east of the mountains.

On January 22, '73, I hired a coordinator for the deaf-blind program, which covers five States— Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. And he takes primary responsibility for helping the States know better how to work with the children. We fund most of those units; there're about twelve or fourteen now. On February 5—we'd been trying for months to hire a home teacher and, because of a number of difficulties that I won't go into, that was the first time we were able to hire someone. Jackie Redinger was the one who was employed, to work primarily in the southwest corner of the State. Well, eventually we based [her] in Vancouver.

February 12—commission hearing-where many of you and many of us were in Olympia. February 15-it wasn't our first contact but it was the first time that I think we made real progress with Lions' Sight Conservation Foundation, and I was thinking of this when Mr. Whittle was talking. We are attempting this fall, in an organized way, to contact all the Lions clubs. We've been going to the board meetings now for several months. We want them to know more about what services are available and what we expect of them in terms of employment information, dissemination, and so on. I think that is an important program. And perhaps as we go along we can find out more how we can work together in this regard.

On March 1 was a freeze on all new hires for all the agencies, and we're still in that freeze. March 21 was the first day that the Radio Talking Book—I still dislike that name—began broadcasting for a few hours a day. Next Monday, I believe, it starts broadcasting also in the evening. March 27 was the second veto of the Rehabilitation Act by the President. It makes planning a little uncertain at times. On April 6 snackbar operators started their convention. It was successful, I believe. On April 9 Alice Olson, whom I've always considered an excellent Braille instructor, left us and retired. She had surgery, but she's doing very well.

On April 12 we managed, for the second time, to hire a mobility instructor for the School for the Blind. His name is Rodney Behumble. On April 13 was the home-ec contact where we had talked with the home extension workers for several months. But this was our first formal presentation, asking them to consider including blind persons in out-of-the-way places, and trying to give them some idea how to work with blind persons as they go about their activities, in rural areas particularly. They haven't included blind people, by and large, before; even though there were those who might want to participate in their group activities.

On June 15—students had asked for some time to get together with staff. And they called their organization the Student Activists Association—or Council, I guess. And they had their forum—they have a certain set of requirements that they want us to do, and some of them are very good suggestions—one that I don't know why we never thought of ourselves-is to, when a student goes to college, to send him a copy of the plan that tells him exactly how much money is being spent for what, and so on. I think that will clarify a number of things. On June 16 was our open house. My impression was that it went rather well inside, and I understand it went well outside too.

On June 26 was our first attempt to train teachers in public schools—we had about twenty-four. It was paid for by the Department of Public Instruction, put on by our group. We had them only four days and one day we took them down to the School for the Blind. There was an attempt to help them know more about what resources were available, and techniques of working with blind children—a matter of attitudes toward visually handicapped children, and so on.

On June 30 Mr. Craven retired. On July 6 Mr. Byron Berhow retired. On July 25, a couple of days ago, we installed our first telephone access to a computer. We hope that as soon as some of the staff learn how to utilize this that it will—we can start teaching some others how to use it. It will give us access to a talking computer, so that people can add, subtract, multiply, and divide by using the touch tone, and the operator tells you what the answer is. We had been looking for funding for a talking calculator, but this—we couldn't find it so far—but this will give us some assistance in finding out something about how it works.

In August we expect to have a first committee meeting of people interested in coming together and sharing information about devices, appliances for various jobs and for various helps. We've had two or three different kinds of attempts to do this and bring materials together, but we hope this will work better this time. September, at Seattle Community College, which we've been bickering with for a year, will start its vocational training program with us paying for a couple of people on the staff-a vocational coordinator and vocational counselor. It means that a blind person can enter the Seattle Community College—either us paying for it or he paying for it himself—and he can explore in a variety of trades what he might like to do. And when he finds one that seems to be his fit-looks like he can do it-the school is happy with it. Then he will go on and get his trade. In working with the deaf, Dr. Kreisler has had excellent results in getting almost all of those people that were trained employed. So it appears to be another excellent opening for a variety of vocations—trades that we haven't been able to get in before, and also a placement component. So it will be a little expensive for us but I think it's going to be very valuable for those who want to do something outside of being under the agency's aegis—this will be another alternative route for them.

That's my list for highlights and personnel changes. I'd like to just mention that we had 142 closures in the last fiscal year. And of that number, thirty were homemakers, thirty were in workshops of one kind or another, sixty-nine were in competitive industries, ten were self-employed, three were in vending stands. I don't know that I need to burden you with further statistics in that way. As far as the home-teacher component which we think is much undermanned, they had 239 clients. They had twenty-one volunteers in these various community volunteers groups that we have around the State, at least in part of the State; and they put out 2,726 hours of labor. In our prevention-of-blindness program, there were new or reopened cases—2,568 new people-we did 604 surgeries. And as you know, that budget has been increased considerably. When the Governor said that he put a million dollars more for blind people, eight hundred thousand of that for this biennium was in prevention of blindness. It wasn't for blind people; it was for those who, we hope, will not be blind. Let me stop there and see what questions you have.

Mrs. AMMETER. Okay, I think that we will take questions. We have a resolution to consider, but I'm going to put that off until the conclusion of questions. Who's asking for the floor?

ED FOSCUE. It's my understanding, Doctor, that you were invited to participate in the panel discussion later, the title of which is, I think, "Building a Better Program for the Blind: The Role of the Agency and the Role of the People," or something to that effect. We are the largest group of blind people in the State. I wonder if you would explain to us why the Supervisor of Services for the Blind in our State has refused to participate in what I think is a worthwhile panel discussion?

Dr. DUNHAM. It's important to—Mr. Foscue, did you see a copy of my letter?

Mr. FOSCUE. I did not.

Dr. DUNHAM. In the letter I explained that I felt in the short time that we would have in this panel that it wasn't as appropriate as to have a longer discussion in a board meeting on how the agency and the Federation could work out a relationship that would be better for blind people in the State. That was my reason for—

RAY ANGEL. On June 15, you met with a group of students to discuss programs and possible problems which we have with State Services.

Dr. DUNHAM. Yes.

Mr. ANGEL. Has the report or any recommendations yet come out of that meeting, and will such a report, or list of recommendations, be distributed to the students across the State for further comment?

Dr. DUNHAM. What has happened so far is that one of the committees—the one concerned with drawing up a set of—oh, it's sort of [a] contractual arrangement between the counselor and the college student. The recommendations for that have been written and have been distributed to the counselors. I do not have any feedback on it yet. Within a short time those should be distributed to all the students. The minutes of the meeting have not gotten to us. We have promised to send copies of those minutes to college students over the State.

Mrs. AMMETER. I have a question. In listening to your statistics on closures—I'm wondering, if someone is rehabilitated but they are not employed, where do they fit in those statistics that you read to us.

Dr. DUNHAM. They would not be included in these statistics.

Mrs. AMMETER. In other words, then, you're saying that you had—you don't close someone unless they're employed. Or how—

Dr. DUNHAM. A closure of this nature means that—There is another category besides employment. Mr. Crawford, what is that?

Mr. CRAWFORD. There's a category of "closed without being rehabilitated at the completion of the plan," or "closed before any plan has been initiated"; and the figures did not include any who were in such a situation.

Dr. DUNHAM. These were "closures employed."

Mrs. AMMETER. I see. So in other words, then, what you're saying is, around eighty people are now either self-employed or employed in private industry.

Dr. DUNHAM. In the last fiscal year.

CARL JARVIS. Dr. Dunham, a couple of questions. The first one is, we had—You held a staff meeting on May 5 to which a number of people were invited from the community and a number from the Federation were invited. Would you invite the group again?

Dr. DUNHAM. At this point-again, it wasn't long enough to really get down to the planning where thinking through should have been done. Perhaps if it's done again, more time can be spent with that.

Mr. JARVIS. You know-by letter, I asked if there would be a report coming back to those participants. Do you anticipate a report?

Dr. DUNHAM. When I get time to do it, I sure will.

Mr. JARVIS. The other thing then was—I wanted to just make at least an observation on the subject of polarization. In my understanding, the 40.8 man-years and the accompanying budget, financial budget, was approximately a third below your minimum request, your administrative request to the legislature as a base, absolute operating figure. And it seems to me that as an organization we ought to be shocked and horrified, really, that this kind of a cut is being handed to us by our legislature, and that we should do all that we can to correct that. Now, in saying that on the Advisory Committee—you know I supported it, I initiated a resolution to the legislature-or at least to Dr. Ormsby's office during the legislature—and at the vending stand convention we did also pass a very similar resolution. I think that if it is becoming polarized in certain segments of the State, I think we have an obligation as blind people to the total blind population of this State to fight—even if it does polarize opinion—because by being nice guys we're not getting anything better. Do you want to respond to it or just leave it?  

Dr. DUNHAM. We're-we received no response to those resolutions that I know of. When you mention the legislature-the legislature actually didn't cut us. It was the O.P.P. & F.M.—the Office of Program Planning and Fiscal Management—that cut us. And in the kinds of—not infighting exactly, but going through channels that we've been attempting to do to accomplish something—I think that if we can get to the kind of point where I see that you can be of assistance with what pressure you can provide, I will be in touch with you.

Mr. JARVIS. I think the reverse of that situation. I think this body of people—blind people—seek to have the responsibility of speaking out for the kinds of services and the kinds of reforms we might approve to—accompanying the budget. [There was a short break in the tape here.] I think that's right. Of course there hasn't been an adequate vehicle for input from blind persons in the State to the State agency.

CHARLES FERER. Dr. Dunham, I'm back to your statistics again. With those particular categories you had there, were any of these unpaid family workers?

Dr. DUNHAM. Thirty were unpaid family workers.

Mr. FERER. Closures?

Dr. DUNHAM. Yes.

Mr. FERER. In what degree were these unpaid family workers?

Dr. DUNHAM. I think two of them were unpaid family workers. That category includes homemakers. That mostly means a spouse, a wife. It used to be that we couldn't have a wife brought into a voc rehab center and have funds spent on her. But when this category was made possible, we did that.

Mrs. AMMETER. You know, I share a little bit Ed and Carl's comments. Certainly the blind in this State are polarized, and we believe there's probably good reason for that. But, I'm concerned that as a blind person in this State and as a member of the largest organization of blind people in this State that—you know, you feel that you can tell us that you won't appear on a panel because of polarization, and because you don't feel that it will accomplish what you might feel that it should. I feel that as a director of an agency you have some accountability. And I think—I disagree with your statement that you didn't think you should serve on that panel.

Dr. DUNHAM. Look, I'm not going to discuss it further, but my reasons for saying that I didn't think it was an appropriate place to begin that kind of a discussion was not—as you say—because of polarization. I said it was because I thought it would take more time than would be possible in this kind of a convention. But I do think it's sufficiently important that your board and our staff would want to discuss it at length.

Mrs. AMMETER. I have to disagree with that because our convention—this is for the knowledge and education of the membership. And if we plan [inaudible] for those purposes. [There was a short break in the tape here.]

Dr. DUNHAM. Well, next time I refuse something and you feel otherwise, we'll discuss it further, because I didn't hear anything from Carl further when I made my statement to him, and I assumed that he was satisfied with it.

[A resolution was then read and passed. After the resolution, this question was asked.]

Mr. FOSCUE. I was asking if it wouldn't be proper if we invited you to participate in the panel discussion this afternoon. Right now. Unless you have a prior engagement or something.

Dr. DUNHAM. I had planned to ride into Seattle.

Mr. FOSCUE. We'd like to have you join us.

Mrs. AMMETER. All right, the next item on our agenda this afternoon is "Progress With Programs for the Blind: The Role of the Agency and the Role of the People." Dr. Dunham, Karen Ornstein, Arnold Sadler, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, Kenneth Hopkins, and Carl Jarvis were asked to participate on the panel. As you know, Dr. Dunham declined to do this, as well as Mr. Ornstein and Arnold Sadler. This means that they declined to come and be responsive to us, the largest membership organization of the blind in this State. And I think it's an area we must be concerned about and keep in mind.

Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, Director for the Iowa Commission for the Blind, will be participating, along with Kenneth Hopkins, Director of the Idaho Commission for the Blind, and Carl Jarvis, president of our organization.

Mr. JARVIS. The three of us will be up here at this time and I'm going to ask first Dr. Jernigan, and then Ken Hopkins, to discuss their feelings on the topic of the role of the agency serving the blind, and the role of the blind community, and any views they have on the kinds of programs and the kinds of agencies. So it's pretty much that loose, Doctor. Do you want to make some comments, and then afterward we'll take questions further.

President JERNIGAN. Mr. President, I gather that Dr. Dunham left.

Mrs. AMMETER. I think he did.

President JERNIGAN. Do we have anyone here from State Services for the Blind?

[FROM THE AUDIENCE.] There's Mr. Crawford in the back.

President JERNIGAN. Mr. Crawford, will you please take to Dr. Dunham the message which we are about to give? [Pause.] Mr. Crawford, do you hear me?

Mr. CRAWFORD. [Faintly, from the rear.] Yes.

President JERNIGAN. Very good. Will you please take the message that I'm about to give, to Dr. Dunham? [Faint "yes" from Mr. Crawford] Good. Never in my life have I beheld such absolute arrogance as I saw demonstrated here earlier. I think this is an insult—absolute insult—to the blind people of this State. I'm shocked and astonished that a State administrator would behave in that manner. Now what do I mean? I mean this specifically: You have here a situation where, to begin with—and I assume this was taped, and therefore I assume that the tapes can either bear up what is said or they will not. There was some discussion about polarization. Well, I assume that pole B is as far from pole A as pole A is from pole B. Therefore the fact that something is polarized does not necessarily tell you where the blame lies for the polarization. It was assumed—never discussed, never questioned—it was assumed that the administrator obviously could not be polarizing, apparently because he was administrator. Second, the statement was made that, since you people in the Federation seem to want a commission, and since the Governor has indicated that there will not be a commission, when you decide that you wish—or if you decide that you wish to talk about something more viable—I believe the tape will show that he was about to say, we would be glad to join you. But there was a pause there, and it was indicated, we would be glad to have you join us. What absolute, condescending arrogance. Is this being taped, by the way?

[Affirmative response.] I hope that Dr. Dunham will have the opportunity to hear the tape, because I would not want to say this without his having the opportunity to hear it. I had no opportunity for him to hear it before this.

Now, let's go to the second thing. We had what to me was, again, an astonishing statement. Why did he not come to take part in the panel? Well, he said, he had decided that no good purpose could be served by it because there wasn't enough time, and therefore that—later on, upon questioning—that the board of this organization might wish to discuss it with some of his staff. My word. The administrator decides that no good purpose would be served by appearing on the panel. And when he was asked to appear on the panel, consequently, what was his answer? "I had really planned to go back to Seattle." No statement at all as to any prior engagement, or anything else. So credit there must be given to honesty.

And finally, there was a statement which I can't quote exactly—but I hope that Mr. Crawford will be given a copy of this tape and a copy of the tape of Dr. Dunham's remarks, so these can be paired up—there was a statement made, that in the infighting and intrigue that's taking place, "If I think you can be of help, then I will let you know." Whose responsibility is it to determine whether blind persons will have some voice in their own programs? The administrators? or the blind? I repeat: That is one of the most astonishing performances I have ever heard in all of my life. If you need any further illustration or evidence of the fact that the blind of this State must get out and beat the bushes and see that enough people come into this organization with enough unity and cohesiveness to make programs responsive to the needs of the blind, and responsible to the blind, you have only to listen to that tape this afternoon. If there is any blind person in this room, or any friend of any blind person, who has the slightest amount of self-respect, he could not have done other than resent deeply, and to the core, that kind of comment.

And beyond all of that, surely no evidence could be found any stronger than what we saw here today that there is a need for programs for the blind in this State to become responsive. I repeat to you, that if we are to discuss positive programming and what you do for positive programming, we must begin with what we saw occur here this afternoon. The administrator of a State agency for the blind treated with absolute contempt the organized blind of the State, and said "If I think you could be of help, I will let you know." How can you have any positive program with that kind of an attitude? And furthermore, how can there be any question about what the agency means and what its attitudes are toward the blind that it is supposedly established to serve, not to rule? I think, Mr. Chairman, that any further comment from me about programming for the blind in this State and in this context, on this panel, would virtually be inappropriate. I've said what I have said, not with the idea that Dr. Dunham should not hear it, for I very definitely hope that he may, if he wishes to listen to it, and I said it deliberately and knowingly. [Applause.]

Mr. JARVIS. Never fear. Doctor, the tapes will be made available and certainly be made available to all the affiliates and—

President JERNIGAN. Let them hear it. As a matter of fact let them hear it up and down the State. Play it to the ACB members who talk about the way the agency behaves. Play it to every blind college student. See that everybody hears Dr. Dunham's report. Let them hear it in his words and from start to finish, and then let them hear this tape too. Let them hear it all.

Mr. HOPKINS. I think that the only thing that I can really add that's of substance to what's so clear and vivid as a demonstration of what's necessary to be done in this State is the concept that it's fantastic to me that any man could believe that this organization doesn't realize that this Governor will pass and that this administration will either change or go away and that a commission in this State will become a reality. [Applause.]

Mr. JARVIS. There have been many people who've asked over the last several years and more and more so the last several months, why don't you as president of this organization try harder to work with the administration of Services for the Blind. There was some discussion, some criticism of our call for a demonstration. I think that those of you here today will verify the fact that we gave courteous attention and certainly courteous treatment and response to the administrator of a service agency that is responsible to you and responsible to me but isn't fulfilling that role, is not responsive. Perhaps, you can see some of the reasons why we've had difficulty in working with an organization or an agency that tells us when we will work and when we will not and when we will dance and when we will sit.

Mr. FERER. I'd like to say that now is the most excellent opportunity, that if it's clear-cut and the lines are drawn in the sand all we have to do is get your toe out there and let's have at it because we can sure do it. I'd like to see that those seventy-six ballots will be given to an attorney and be taken through the courts. I'd like to see that this particular posture of the State service will be blown across the front page of every paper in this State. I want it advertised. I don't think that it's time that we sit back and say "Ouch, I will take it," and keep silent—no more. I can't see why any of that material through the executive board, especially those vouchers, if they have any legal footing at all don't give [inaudible] through the courts. And I want damages.

[A FEDERATIONIST.] Okay, I want to make a couple of comments about this bill. I've been a member of the organization now for between three and four years, and up until really this past year, I'm sure we tried to work with and have input to the agencies. We were laughed at, we were made fun of, and I was called a religious fanatic. We were told that our judgment isn't as good as it should be because at our national Convention—getting stirred up emotionally by some demagogue in Iowa and we come back here and we try to shove this down their throats. Now this man said it, you know, I'm not making it up. That insulted me, and it insulted a lot of other people there. Okay, he invites us, finally at long last, to a called staff meeting where he wants our input and things are going to change. We could have sat there and talked twelve hours. They're not going to listen. You know, they've demonstrated that time and time again to me. Our complaints—on our affidavits, you know—I think it took a lot of courage and commitment by people who submit. You know, the people that submitted them didn't make them up. But their affidavits are laughed off, you know, they're untrainable. All the people who submitted affidavits, in effect, are called stupid. You know—we don't know what we're talking about. Now, you know, these things have been said. And yet we invited him to come here and speak to us, and he said no. You know, I don't think we can change that.

President JERNIGAN. By the way, as a side issue, and I want to make it a side, because the first one is the one I mentioned, as far as I'm concerned. The attitude demonstrated, the behavior, I couldn't believe it as I went forward—as that talk went forward—and the final thing that I simply asked myself twice or three times, did the man really say that, in the intrigue and the infighting, "If I think you can be of help. I'll call you." But, put that to one side. Just as a matter of information to you, in the closure categories, homemakers and unpaid family workers are two separate things, you know you were told they weren't, and I tell you they are. It's easy enough to verify. Homemakers are supposed to be that, spouses in the home. The unpaid family worker can be anybody, whether spouse or not, and that category is very often a catch—all category for people who've had some rehabilitation services but could not, in fact, be rehabilitated very successfully and who simply were returned home, sometimes to family, sometimes not. Sometimes the individual really is helped, but that's such a minor matter compared to the other that it's hardly worth mentioning or talking about. I don't want to make any issue out of it.

What really has to be done, if you're to have good programs for the blind, if we are to have good programs for the blind, in a State, is that there must be a partnership between the State agency and the blind who are consumers of the services of that State agency. But partnership doesn't mean a master-servant relationship. A partnership does not mean a ruler. A partnership means just that. I think the organization of the blind is not trying, in any State that I know, to administer the program. That's the duty of the administrator. On the other hand, there's a very clear intent in the Federal law, and there certainly is a fairly clear moral obligation as our society is structured and in just terms of plain human dignity, that an agency established to give services to a group of people will take into account the views of those people, and not avoid that responsibility by setting up company unions and not avoid that responsibility by picking and choosing people who "represent all blind people" and, in reality, people who are simply reflecting the attitudes of that agency. There is a clear responsibility to have consultation with representative organizations of the blind themselves and that is what must come in this State—it's what has come in many of the States already. I think it's the prime goal that we must aim for. Everything else follows, once that is done. It's a simple thing, and what it means is, an agency and the independent organizations of the blind working hand in hand for good services. Maybe after what we've heard this afternoon we're not as far from that in this State as some might think.

[Cassette recordings of the above meeting are available for two dollars from the NFB National Office, at 218 Randolph Hotel Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50309.]

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WOMAN SHOWS HOW BLIND HELP SELVES

BY
JAN SILVERMAN

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune. The subject of this story is Mrs. LaVyrl "Pinky" Johnson, a member of the Social Welfare Committee of the NFB of California and one of its principal citizen legislative advocates.]

There are a lot of little things blind people learn to maintain their independence, Mrs. Leif Johnson of Oakland says.

The bus stops in Oakland are a lot better than those in San Francisco, she explains. Oakland's stops all have poles with rectangular signs at the top. Across the bay many of the stops are marked only by painted lettering on the street.

When Mrs. Johnson vacuums her spotless house she drapes the cord over one shoulder. This way she doesn't run over it with the vacuum.

Some of these things Mrs. Johnson learned when she lost her sight in 1957 and entered the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany, a marvelous aid to the blind and near-blind, she says.

Others she just picked up by herself. Mrs. Johnson is among two hundred delegates to the National Federation of the Blind of California meeting this weekend at the Leamington Hotel. They have traveled here from all over the State, and they aptly demonstrate the theme of the convention, "Help the Blind to Help Themselves."

Mrs. Johnson, whose first name is LaVyrl but is known to her friends as Pinky, grew up with normal sight but began having vision problems when the oldest of her two children was in kindergarten. Two years later she was legally blind.

She learned to keep house for her husband and two children, and she developed numerous activities to serve her community.

She is a board member of the NFBC, corresponding secretary of the Alameda County Club of Adult Blind, and is active in the Montclair Women's Club.

Mrs. Johnson lives her life with the same verve and determination which sent her off on backpacking trips with her family when her children were in their early teens. Walking through rugged terrain for nine days was not easy for her, but she's glad she did it.

"It's one of the things my kids look back on with pleasure," she says.

Mrs. Johnson spends much of her leisure time sewing, and she is very skillful at this demanding form of hand and machine work.

She and other blind people appreciate the assistance people on the street offer them, but Mrs. Johnson wishes they would first ask if the blind person really wants help.

"If people would only ask," she says. "There are times when you need help, but there are times when you don't.

"I've had people grab my arm and take me across the street, but it ends up to be the wrong street."

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RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT

BY
PERRY SUNDQUIST

We have studied both the 165 pages of Public Law 92-603, better known as H.R.1. enacted October 30, 1972, and Public Law 93-66 (H.R. 7445) signed by the President on July 9, 1973; we have also studied the summaries of the bills as published by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the mass of interpretive materials issued by HEW; and we have held long "rap" sessions with research experts in Social Welfare and in the research Bureaus of the California Senate and Assembly, and requested additional interpretive material from the Social Security Administration. Social Security law is exhaustive in detail, and much is still left up to later interpretations by the Secretary of HEW. It is and will continue to be an ever-changing scene. As a result, some of the material which I may state as fact is not yet entirely definitive. With this cautionary note, let's go down the long list of changes.

First, by way of introduction, a record $41.6 billion was paid last year in cash benefits to social security recipients. Total payments this year are estimated to amount to $52 billion, and the Social Security Administration is predicting marked increases beginning in January 1974. At the end of 1972 there were 28.4 million men, women, and children receiving monthly social security benefits. This represents one out of every eight Americans and an increase of one million beneficiaries over the previous year. Benefits have increased over seventy percent since 1965 and the law now provides that payments be increased automatically as the cost of living rises in the future. Well over 150,000 blind persons will be directly affected by one or more of the provisions of these amendments of 1972 and 1973. The adult aid rolls will increase tremendously under the Supplemental Security Income program because of the removal of the minimum age limitations in both Aid to the Blind and Aid to the Disabled, the more liberal definition of disability in Aid to the Disabled than now exists in many States (California alone expects an added 45,000 recipients), and the removal of lien and recovery provisions and responsibility of relatives provisions in many of the States which now have them.

I. SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME

For the first time in this country's history, a nationally financed and nationally administered program of public assistance will be available to every eligible person in the adult categories—Aid to the Blind, Old Age Assistance, and Aid to the Disabled—effective January 1, 1974. The new laws amend title XVI of the Social Security Act to establish the Supplemental Security Income plan (SSI) for the blind, aged, and disabled. Under the laws, these persons with no other income would be granted a monthly income of at least $130 for an individual or $195 for a couple. In addition, the bills provide that the first $20 of Social Security or any other income would not cause reduction in payments. As a result, persons who have monthly income of at least $150 for an individual or $215 for a couple would be eligible for the full grant, if there were no nonexempt income to deduct. The amount of the SSI payments goes to $140 a month for an individual and $210 for a couple, effective July 1, 1974.

There will also be an additional exemption of $65 a month of earned income, plus one-half of any earnings above $65. This will enable those blind, aged, and disabled individuals who are able to do some work to have a higher income in addition to the SSI income. Parenthetically, one wonders how many of the 2,031,917 recipients of Old Age Assistance, or the 1,159,203 recipients of Aid to the Disabled will ever realize that they are thus the direct beneficiaries of the pioneering efforts of the NFB in establishing the principle of exempt earned income some twenty-three years ago. Furthermore, any income in any amount for any length of time necessary for the fulfillment of a plan for self-support will be disregarded for persons qualifying on the basis of blindness. A savings clause will assure that blind persons will not receive any deduction in benefits due to these new exempt provisions. Does this mean that $85 a month of earned income, instead of $65, will be exempt if from earnings, insofar as the blind are concerned? I don't know. Here again, however, this was an NFB-initiated amendment to the Social Security Act more than ten years ago.

The standard definition of legal blindness will be used as the criterion for recipients.

Eligibility for SSI will be open to a blind, aged, or disabled individual if his resources are less than $1,500 (or $2,250 for a couple). In determining the amount of his resources, the value of the home (including surrounding land), household goods, personal effects (including an automobile), and property needed for self-support will, if found to be reasonable, be excluded. Life insurance policies will not be counted if the face value of all policies is less than $1,500. However, current recipients under State programs with higher resource limits will retain their eligibility. In other words, if a person receives assistance in December 1973, the resources limitations of the State plan in effect in October 1972 will continue to be applied in determining his continued eligibility for SSI payments if the State limits were higher than the Federal limits. If a person receives assistance based on blindness for December 1973, the income exclusions in the State plan in effect for October 1972, if they are more liberal than the Federal exclusions, will continue to apply in his case. The Federal law does not have any property lien or relative responsibility provisions (except for children under 18) as many States now do. However, a State may impose lien or responsibility provisions for its share of the total payment, if it supplements the SSI payment.

Provision is made that no blind, aged, or disabled person can receive less under the SSI plan beginning in January 1974 than he received under titles I, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act in December 1973. In other words, the States are required to supplement the SSI payment up to their December 1973 grant levels. This is true of all States except Texas which has a constitutional bar to such a requirement. A State can require a period of durational State residence as a condition of eligibility for its supplementation. Individuals in the SSI program will not be eligible for food stamps or surplus commodities. The law includes no direct Federal financial participation in the costs of State supplemental payments. A "savings clause" is included under which the Federal Government will assume all of a State's costs of supplemental payments which exceed its calendar year 1972 share of the costs of aid to the blind, aged, and disabled. This "savings clause" will apply only to State supplementation needed to maintain the State's assistance levels in effect as of January 1972. The "savings clause" will, however, also cover an upward adjustment over the January levels to the extent necessary to offset the elimination of food stamp eligibility. Roughly about one-half of the States are now below the SSI payment and so will probably not supplement the Federal payment. If a State refuses to supplement to the December 1973 level of assistance, it will be penalized by losing all of the Federal share of Medicaid funds (which in California, for instance, would amount to a loss of some $600 million a year).

Let me emphasize that the new Federal grant is $130 a month for an individual and $195 for a couple, less nonexempt income, supplemented by the State to the December 1973 levels. In looking at your own State figures as they are today, and probably will be in December 1973, the month before the Federal "takeover," remember that an average grant is just that-the result of dividing the number of recipients by the total amount of aid paid, telling us little as to the number and amounts of the small grants to individuals or the larger grants to others made because of special needs or circumstances. Hence, it is imperative that each State affiliate seek to have its State legislature supplement the new Federal payment not only up to the December 1973 levels, which the law requires, but as high as possible above that so that blind persons are given a more adequate means with which to purchase the necessities of life.

H.R. 1, in establishing a simplified flat grant program, eliminates all special needs. Further, no provision is made for nonmedical out-of-home care. Thus, the State's supplementation must not only assure that blind recipients are not disadvantaged financially by going under the Federal plan, but it must also provide for a complete range of in-home supportive services such as homemaker and attendant care, as well as a supplemental vendor payment to nonmedical out-of-home care facilities to meet the higher costs for recipients in such facilities. Provision should also be made to meet the costs of other special needs of some recipients due to their particular circumstances.

As mentioned previously, aid payment averages are deceptive things, telling one little about the maximum grants, the standard of assistance used, or the percentage and amount of nonexempt income in each particular State—all going to make up the average monthly payment.

We do know that some 48.6 percent of all Aid to Blind recipients in the United States have nonassistance income in an average monthly amount of $93.91. The average amount of deductible income is $54.18. If this figure represents only the approximately one-half who have outside income, rather than being spread across the caseload, it would mean that an average across the caseload of around $27 a month would be deducted from the SSI payment, but this will still further be reduced because of the new exemption of $20 of income from any source.

Under H. R. 1 those recipients, single or married couples, living as members of another person's household and receiving support and maintenance in kind from him, will have their SSI benefits reduced by one-third.

Under the SSI plan States are required to provide for the maintenance of persons in the household deemed essential to the recipient's well-being, chiefly the ineligible spouse. Such an individual will receive $65 a month from January 1, 1974, to July 1, 1974, then $70 a month.

In seeking to secure from their legislatures the highest possible amount of State supplementation to the SSI payment, it should be pointed out that HEW has firmly held that any State can supplement one of the adult aid programs in an amount higher than the others, or it can supplement each of the three adult aids in different amounts.

The new law requires every blind or disabled SSI recipient to be referred for vocational rehabilitation services, with the full cost of these services to be paid for from open-ended title XVI funds.

The new law authorizes continued provision by the States of social services to participants in the SSI program with the usual seventy-five percent Federal matching share, subject to the ceiling in the State and local Fiscal Assistance (Revenue Sharing) Act, although it seems entirely likely that the mandatory services will for the most part be made optional with the States according to the proposed changes published in the Federal Register for February 16, 1973, and finalized in the Federal Register of May 1, 1973.

The new law repealed the so-called 90-10 rule concerning social services for the blind, aged, or disabled. Under the Revenue Sharing Act, at least 90 percent of a State's allotment must be directed toward current welfare recipients, and only 10 percent could be targeted for past and future potential beneficiaries. This repeal will allow greater flexibility in providing social services for former and potential adult welfare recipients.

II. DISABILITY INSURANCE BENEFIT CHANGES

The law removes the requirement of twenty quarters in employment-covered social security out of the forty quarters preceding the onset of disability as a condition of eligibility for cash disability insurance benefits for individuals whose blindness is within the legal definition, effective January 1, 1973. He would, however, have to have fully insured status which varies from a minimum of six quarters in covered employment to forty quarters, depending on the individual's length of work from the time he became blind. Fully insured status is defined as meaning one quarter of coverage for each year since 1950 or for each year between age twenty-one and the onset of blindness, whichever is earlier, with the minimum of six quarters. Inability to work would still govern eligibility for cash benefits. It has been estimated by HEW that this liberalization will admit to the Disability Insurance rolls some thirty thousand additional blind persons. However, the NFB's chief legislative objective remains the passage of its original Disability Insurance for the Blind bill which would assure any person disability coverage and payment so long as he remains blind, if he had a minimum of six quarters of coverage, and irrespective of the amount of income he might have. While the whole social security system is a contributory one, nevertheless that system was born in 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930's and even today, thirty-nine years later, still carries the objective of getting people out of the labor market by its rigid earnings test. The NFB thus hopes to make yet another great "breakthrough" and make this a truly insurance-based scheme with the means test eliminated.

The law increases the amount of social security trust fund money which can be used to pay for rehabilitation of disability insurance beneficiaries from one percent of the preceding year's disability benefits to 1¼ percent for fiscal year 1973 and to 1½ percent for fiscal year 1974 and succeeding years.

It also provides that payments made by an employer to a former disabled employee will not be counted for social security benefit or tax purposes if the payment is made after the calendar year in which the former employee became entitled to a social security disability insurance benefit.

Effective January 1973 the law authorizes payment of childhood disability benefits to a disabled child of an insured retired, deceased, or disabled worker if a child's disability began before age twenty-two and permits reinstatement to childhood disability rolls in the event a disability occurs within seven years after termination of benefits.

The waiting period for collection of cash disability benefits is reduced from six months to five months, effective January 1, 1973.

Effective for deaths occurring after 1969, the law makes survivors of disabled workers eligible for unapplied-for disability insurance cash benefits if they apply within three months of the worker's death (or three months after October 30, 1972, for deaths prior to the enactment of the law).

It liberalizes computation of disability insurance payments to individuals eligible for workmen's compensation, effective January 1, 1973.

III. SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES

Beginning in 1973 a special minimum payment of $170 a month ($225 for a couple) is decreed for low wage workers who have worked in covered employment for thirty years.

The new law entitles widows and dependent widowers to receive at age sixty-five the full amount of the benefit of the deceased spouse provided he started receiving benefits at or after age sixty-five. Previously, the widow received 82½ percent of the primary benefit. This was effective in January 1973.

It authorizes increased benefits of one percent for each year an individual delays retirement after age sixty-five, effective for years after 1973.

It liberalizes computation benefits for men so that they now become the same as for women.

The new provision increases from $2,100 to $2,400 a year the amount a recipient may earn without any deduction from his social security benefits, or from $175 to $200 a month, effective January 1, 1974. As previously, any person age seventy-two or older can earn any amount.

The changes in the Social Security Act adopted in 1972 and 1973 affect not only various kinds of benefits but likewise the tax contributions which working Americans and their employers must make to defray the costs of the Social Security-Medicare programs. Beginning in January 1973 the combined contributions were 5.85 percent each for employees and employers. This was an increase over the 1972 tax rate of 5.2 percent. As always, the employee's contribution is made through payroll deductions. For the self-employed the new 1973 rate was 8 percent. In 1972 it was 7.5 percent. There was another tax change. In 1972 the tax rate was applied to annual earnings up to a maximum of $9,000, the so-called wage base. In 1972 the higher tax rate was applied to earnings up to $10,800 for the year and the tax base has been raised to $12,600 beginning with the calendar year 1974. Thereafter there will undoubtedly be further boosts in both the tax rate and the tax base as the costs of benefits increase.

When the Congress passed the twenty percent increase in Social Security benefits, effective in October 1972 it also made a major change to build in automatic increases which would assure the continuing maintenance at adequate levels of the purchasing power of benefits for all beneficiaries. Here's how the new automatic feature is intended to work. The second quarter of 1973, ending in June, will be used as a base to measure the cost of living level. One year later, in June of 1974, a comparative check will be made. If the price index has risen three percent or more in that time span, then Congress will have until November 1, 1974, to vote an increase in social security cash benefits. Should the Congress not act to provide a benefit increase before the new year, then the law decrees that the Secretary of HEW shall automatically institute the increase beginning January 1, 1975. Thereafter the process is to be repeated each year in June. It is generally assumed by price experts that prices surely will advance by three percent or more every year and thus social security benefits will also increase at least every year for the foreseeable future. At present prices are rising between seven and eight percent a year. One of the major aims of the NFB is to seek this same cost-of-living escalator clause for the SSI plan, with a corresponding increase in the amount of exempt income from any source.

Available when a worker dies is a lump sum payment called a death benefit. It equals three times the deceased worker's primary social security benefit, up to a maximum of $255, paid to the deceased person's widow or widower.

The 1973 Amendments to the Social Security Act increased benefits by 5.9 percent, effective in June 1974 (for checks payable in July 1974). This 5.9 percent increase will not be in addition to but rather the difference between the June 1974 increase and the January 1, 1975, increase which will cover the cost of living increase for the third quarter of 1972 until the second quarter of 1974. In other words, the June 1974 increase is an installment on the January 1, 1975, increase.

IV. MEDICARE CHANGES

For the first time, beginning in July 1973, Medicare coverage was extended to beneficiaries who have been receiving monthly payments under the disability program at least two years by that month. This is yet another long-sought goal of the NFB.

Effective July 1, 1973, persons age sixty-five and older who are not entitled to basic part A in-hospital benefits under Medicare are permitted to buy this coverage, provided they also purchase part B coverage for supplementary medical insurance. The current initial premium cost will be $33 a month for part A benefits. For those covered by social security the law provides for automatic enrollment for part B supplementary medical insurance for individuals eligible for part A benefits, effective July 1, 1973. However, enrollment for these persons for part B benefits still remains optional.

The law authorizes optometrists to attest to a patient's need for prosthetic lenses under Medicare.

Effective July 1, 1973, the law authorizes coverage of chiropractic services involving manipulation of the spine, under Medicare and Medicaid.

Effective January 1, 1973, the law eliminated coinsurance payments for home health services under part B of Medicare.

The law provides that fully or currently insured workers and their dependents with chronic renal disease are eligible for coverage under Medicare three months after the course of renal dialysis is initiated.

In July 1973 the monthly premium charge for part B of Medicare was increased from $5.80 to $6.30. The law requires the Secretary of HEW to review the situation each December and set the premium rate for the following fiscal year. Hereafter, however, the premium is to be increased only if there is a general benefit increase resulting from the new cost of living increase feature or from future legislation. Premiums can't be increased by any percentage larger than that by which social security cash benefits have been raised since the last boost in premium charges.

V. MEDICAID CHANGES

The new law requires States to charge monthly premiums for Medicaid benefits for the medically indigent and authorizes the States to impose deductibles and coinsurance payments for optional services received by the medically indigent under Medicaid, effective January 1, 1973.

It requires States to reimburse optometrists for services provided under Medicaid if the State Medicaid plan authorizes coverage for eye care services.

Protection is provided against the loss of Medicaid coverage for those persons essential to the well-being of a blind, aged, or disabled recipient, as well as for such recipients, because of increases in Social Security benefits, effective January 1, 1974.

The law exempts States from providing mandatory Medicaid coverage of newly eligible recipients of SSI payments. However, blind and disabled medically indigent persons shall be eligible for coverage by Medicaid.

VI. OTHER CHANGES

Provision is made for the appointment of the Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service in HEW by the President but only with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Effective July 1, 1974, provision is made for the reduction of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Federal share by one percent to States which fail to conform, refer, and arrange for health screening services and followup treatment of children on the AFDC rolls.

The law requires a "pass-a-long" (net increase) of eight dollars monthly to individuals receiving both Social Security benefits and welfare payments as a result of the twenty percent increase in social security payments until January 1, 1974. Most States have offset increases in social security payments by decreasing welfare payments so that individuals requiring welfare supplementation of social security payments do not receive any increase except for the "pass-a-long" or the $7.50 exemption of income from any source. In fact, the States are required to do this by virtue of the Federal law which has, since 1939, required that States must "take into consideration" all income and resources except those specifically exempted, such as the $85 a month from earned income and the $7.50 exemption of other income.

In conclusion, it will be seen that with the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1972 and 1973, the National Federation of the Blind has achieved seven of its long-sought objectives: a presumed minimum need for Aid to the Blind on a national scale; elimination of lien provision insofar as the SSI payments are concerned; abolition of the pernicious responsibility of relatives provisions under SSI; some liberalization in the eligibility for Disability Insurance for the Blind; larger amounts of exempt income from any source; coverage of Disability Insurance beneficiaries with Medicare; and the exemption without time or amount limitations of all income and resources necessary to implement a plan for self-support for blind recipients.

These significant advances bring us appreciably closer to the attainment of the NFB goals of Security, Equality, and Opportunity for all blind persons everywhere in the land.

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SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION

BY
DONALD CAPPS

The organized blind of South Carolina enjoyed a highly successful convention in Greenville the weekend of August 24 through 26. It was the seventeenth annual convention of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind and was attended by more than 150 persons. The convention featured participation by the blind themselves and information in depth on a local, State, and national level concerning affairs vitally affecting the blind.

Henry Watts, Executive Director of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind since May, spoke to the convention expressing optimism over the Commission's future.

Delegates were told by N. F. Walker, Superintendent of the South Carolina School for the Blind, that the school continues to experience an increase in enrollment and that the school has a definite employment policy of filling a vacancy with a blind person whenever and wherever possible.

W. Eugene Abrams, speaking in his capacity as a member of the board of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, reported that there are high hopes for beginning construction of an orientation and adjustment center in the next few weeks. Mr. Abrams is a member of the Anderson Chapter of the Aurora Club.

In presenting the president's report, Donald Capps outlined the many accomplishments of South Carolina's organized blind over the years.

The Honorable T. Ed Garrison, member of the South Carolina Senate from Anderson County, spoke to a special luncheon gathering. Senator Garrison is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and was highly instrumental in securing the $2.5 million appropriation for the erection of a rehabilitation center. He was also highly instrumental in the passage of the Commission bill seven years ago.

A special employment panel discussion was one of several program items featuring successful blind South Carolinians.

Suzanne Bridges, a junior at the University of South Carolina, was elected president of the new student division.

Special NFB information included a presentation, "Why I Am A Federationist," by NFB President Kenneth Jernigan, via recording, and the playing of a tape of the special thirty-minute radio program recorded by President Jernigan during the New York Convention.

There were reports by all seven chapters.

The South Carolina affiliate never had a more impressive banquet than the 1973 affair. Keynote speaker was United States Representative William Jennings Bryan Dorn who recently introduced the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. Obviously deeply moved by the spirit and enthusiasm of the 160 persons attending the banquet, Congressman Dorn later wrote the following to President Capps: "A million thanks for the superb banquet last week. Mrs. Dorn and I were tremendously impressed with the Aurora Club and the exceptional work that it is doing. The spirit and enthusiasm of its members were absolutely catching and we commend you on your many hours of hard work and unselfish dedication to the blind in South Carolina."

For a number of months considerable planning and work had gone into the preparation of a fifteen-minute audio-visual documentary featuring the founding and growth of the South Carolina organization. The sound-slide presentation features several blind persons from South Carolina in various settings including employment, college and high school participation, and family life. It is believed that this audio-visual documentary is the best and most complete public education feature of its type to date in South Carolina and includes information concerning the National Federation of the Blind. The premiere showing occurred at the banquet and there was high praise for the production by everyone. The fifteen-minute documentary will be shown throughout South Carolina at all types of civic, church, and professional and industrial groups. There were a number of presentations during the banquet, including several honor awards.

The Jack Morrison Memorial Award was presented to John W. Potter in recognition of his longtime service to his fellow blind. Dr. Fred L. Crawford was the recipient of the annual Donald C. Capps Award presented by Ways and Means for the Blind. Dr. Crawford was cited for his many accomplishments on behalf of South Carolina's blind. James Robinson, a student at Southern Methodist University, received the Dr. Sam M. Lawton Memorial Scholarship Award. A newly created award, the Ellen Mack Home Award, in the amount of five hundred dollars, was presented to Tommy Ingle of Columbia. The Honorable T. W. Edwards, Jr., member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Spartanburg was the recipient of the Aurora Service Award which is the highest recognition accorded by the organization to a sighted person for extraordinary service to the blind. Representative Edwards was highly instrumental in securing a substantial increase for blind aid. He was also praised for his many other efforts on behalf of the blind as a prominent member of the General Assembly.

Several important resolutions were adopted by the convention including a resolution calling for the investigation of any case involving a blind person in which there is evidence that his rights may have been violated. The resolution called for appropriate action by the organization in such cases.

Four new members were elected to the board of directors. These are Lucille White and Padgett McKenzie of Columbia, Grover Jones of Spartanburg, and Elizabeth Porter of Charleston.

There was outstanding publicity throughout the convention including extensive coverage of the banquet by members of all the news media.

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NORTH CAROLINA CONVENTION

BY
HAZEL STALEY

The fourth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina was held September 14-16 at the Sir Walter Hotel in Raleigh. The fun started early Friday afternoon, when enthusiastic members began to arrive, and continued on into the evening, when delicious refreshments were served in the hospitality room by the Wake Federation of the Blind, the host chapter.

The convention was gaveled to order by the State president, Hazel Staley, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The invocation was delivered by Elder Roy L. Morris, pastor of the Christian Church and member of the Wake Federation of the Blind, our Raleigh chapter. Greetings from the host chapter were extended by Mrs. Robert Jones, convention arrangements chairman.

The first speaker of the morning was Marian Leith, our Librarian for the Blind. Mrs. Leith was very warm in her expression of appreciation for our support and help in obtaining additional funds for the Regional Library from the last session of the General Assembly. She announced that South Carolina, which has been served by the North Carolina Regional Library, now has its own library. We all rejoiced in this because we believe that the blind can best be served by a library within their own State.

The next speaker was David Flaherty, Secretary of the Department of Human Resources, of which the Division of Services for the Blind is a part.  Mr. Flaherty began by expressing his gratitude to our State president and other members of our organization for bringing to his attention certain conditions in the Division of Services for the Blind. He said that when he came into office he was amazed to learn that the Division did not know the status of the twelve thousand blind in the State and that he had directed them to get this information and report to him by January 1, 1974. He said that he was personally seeing to it that more blind people are employed on the Division staff and that the Division becomes more responsive to the needs of the blind. To this end he urged each of us to contact him if the Division fails to be responsive in any area. He expressed concern that less than two percent of State employees have any kind of physical impairment. He said that we could not expect industry to employ such workers if the State didn't and pledged to see that this situation is altered. Although our bill requiring at least two blind members on the board of the Division of Services for the Blind was approved by the last session of the General Assembly, these appointments have not yet been made. Accordingly, at the close of Mr. Flaherty's speech the organization's secretary presented to him sixty-one letters endorsing Hazel Staley for this board. A resolution endorsing Mrs. Staley for this position was also passed unanimously by the convention. Mr. Flaherty was asked to share this information with the Governor, who makes the appointments.

The next speaker was Sam Cole, Superintendent of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. He expressed appreciation to us for our help in supporting his legislative program during the last session of the General Assembly. This involved consolidating the two segments of the school on the Ashe Avenue campus and acquiring funds for implementing the consolidation. A resolution was passed by the convention requesting the school, which is accredited by NAC, to consider dissociating itself from that organization.

The Saturday afternoon session was devoted primarily to employment of the blind. The first panel on this subject was composed of three members of the staff of the Division of Services for the Blind: Dr. Nathaniel Fullwood, deputy chief responsible for rehabilitation; Joe Hege, chief, Business Enterprise; and Mike Haswell, workshop coordinator. The main thrust of Dr. Fullwood's remarks was that if we expect to get ahead in the world, we must demand equal opportunities. We must prepare ourselves, organize, and actively enter the political arena. Dr. Fullwood is blind himself; and as we listened to him, it almost seemed that we heard Ken Jernigan speaking through him. His philosophy is Federationism all the way. It is a real comfort to know that there is a person with this kind of thinking in the Division of Services for the Blind.

Mr. Hege and Mr. Haswell were asked some very pertinent and searching questions about our vending stand program and our sheltered workshops. A resolution was passed by the convention requesting that the Governor appoint a bipartisan committee, including representatives of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, to investigate every facet of every workshop in the State, and that the Governor take whatever steps are necessary to correct such problems as may be exposed.

The second panel of the afternoon consisted of four blind men, who described the work that they do. One speaker was head of the typing pool at a hospital; one was a computer programmer; one a radio and TV repairman; and one a dark room specialist at a photo company.

Our national representative this year was Jim Omvig, who made a tremendous personal hit with all of our people. He spoke quite forcefully and convincingly, both at our morning session and at our banquet, about the past accomplishments and future goals of the National Federation of the Blind. In addition Jim made many helpful suggestions and comments throughout the convention. We felt truly blest in having him with us.

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded this year to three legislators who were particularly helpful to us in our legislative efforts. Two of these, Representative Roy Spoon and Representative Tom Hunter, could not be with us because of prior long-standing commitments. However, Representative Dempsey McDaniel and his wife were present at our banquet on Saturday evening, at which time our State president presented Mr. McDaniel with his award. He was most gracious in his acceptance remarks and pledged his continued support for us. He requested a copy of Jim Omvig's banquet address and said that he wished to present a copy of it to every legislator in North Carolina.

Charters were presented to our student chapter and to the Charlotte chapter, the latter having changed its name this past year to the Queen City Federation of the Blind.

At our business meeting on Sunday morning our president, Mrs. Staley, was elected as our delegate to the national Convention. Our first vice-president, Ike Collins of Raleigh, was elected as alternate delegate. John Niceley and Bill Lenfestey, president of our Student chapter, were elected to the State board.

Our 1974 convention will be held at the White House Inn in Charlotte.

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INDIANA CONVENTION

The twentieth annual convention of the Indiana Council of the Blind, the NFB's staunch affiliate in Indiana, was officially opened by president Robert Lancaster Saturday September 15. Throughout the two-day meeting the activities and progress of the Indiana affiliate were reviewed along with items of vital interest to the blind.

A representative of the Social Security Administration explained the Supplemental Security Income program and responded to questions from the audience. Our membership was delighted that the SSI program would increase Aid to the Blind payments in the State of Indiana. Some newcomers to the NFB were glad to learn of their eligibility for Aid to the Blind payments.

Following the discussion of the SSI program, United States Representative John Myers of Terre Haute spoke to us. He told us of his commitment to make government more responsive. In the spirit of Congressman Myer's remarks, we responded. The Congressman first promised that he would support the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. The topic then changed to NAC. Congressman Myers offered to meet with us for an in-depth review of NAC's detrimental program and regressive policies. He further offered to use his influence in getting other members of the congressional delegation to meet with us.

This year the Indiana Council of the Blind considered seven resolutions and passed six. The first reiterated our request to Congressmen and Senators that the National Accreditation Council be subjected to congressional investigation. Resolution 73-02 urged our Congressmen and Senators to co-sponsor the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. A provision was made by the third resolution to change our constitution and make it possible for the Indiana affiliate to create special interest group chapters. The fourth resolution emphasized the necessity for teaching and encouraged the use of Braille for all blind students. Resolution 73-05 directs that copies of all laws pertaining to the blind be distributed throughout the State. And our final resolution voiced opposition to a charge by the phone company for the use of directory assistance.

The Saturday evening banquet was attended by more than seventy-five enthusiastic Federationists. The banquet speaker, Robert Acosta, president of the NFB Teachers Division and resident of California, gave a stirring and tremendous speech. His assertion that the NFB is a dynamic and growing organization was borne out by the presentation of a charter to our newest local chapter, Terre Haute. The charter was received by Mary Jean Lee, president of the chapter.

The election of officers was held. The officers are: Marc Maurer, president; Jim Lewis, vice-president; Mary Getz, recording secretary; Jean Wagner, associate secretary; and Ethel Lawson, treasurer.

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NEW YORK STATE CONVENTION

BY
EDYTHE K. WILLIAMS

A small but enthusiastic crowd attended the eighteenth annual convention of the NFB of New York State. The weekend activities began on Friday evening with a board of directors meeting, to which all delegates attending the convention were invited. All those present were much interested in the matters under discussion, and many contributed worthwhile comments. Our guest from the national organization was John Nagle; and as always, he was ready to help in any way possible. He has been with us for many conventions and seems like a part of our organization. He was most helpful throughout the convention, and guided us over a few difficult places.

Also on Friday evening, there was much enjoyment in the hospitality room, and plenty of refreshments, including champagne on the house. Peter Roidl was the convention director, ably assisted by his wife Linda and Bill Webb. They worked diligently to make it most enjoyable.

The first general session was held on Saturday morning. John Nagle was introduced by Laura Herman, and made a few brief remarks. He was received with enthusiasm by the entire membership. Laura Herman, in her annual president's report, gave an encouraging picture of the progress of the State organization during the past year, and put forth a challenge to all of us to stand with her "on the barricades" during the coming year so that we may continue to go forward. Edwin Lewinson gave a glowing account of some of the highlights of the national Convention in New York City; we were all proud of the fact that our State had the second largest delegation at the Convention.

The first part of the Saturday afternoon session was given over to social security. Katie M. King, Operations Supervisor of the Binghamton Social Security office, was the first speaker. She discussed "How the New Social Security Law Affects New York State." She patiently answered many questions from the floor. Following Mrs. King was John Nagle, who gave an enlightening talk on "How the New Social Security Law Affects the Nation." He also participated in a question-and-answer period from the floor. Next was a panel discussion, "Agencies for the Blind and Consumer Participation," with Peter A. Roidl, chairman; James F. Zinck, managing director, Blind Work Association of Binghamton; and Edwin Lewinson, vice-president, Jewish Braille Institute of America. Audience participation in the question-and-answer period was lively, and kept the panelists on their toes.

There was much discussion of legislation on Sunday morning. Pat Peppe, our State chairman for the past year, and Adrienne Asch gave a detailed account of how bills are drafted and introduced in the legislature. Unfortunately, no bills pertaining to the blind were passed by the legislature this past year. John Nagle gave us a very enlightening report on legislation on the national level. The following officers were elected to serve for the next two years: president, Laura Herman; first vice-president, Rita Chernow; second vice-president, Paul Kaye; secretary, Daniel Allocco; and treasurer, Edward Koehler.

There were three panel presentations on Sunday afternoon: "Fundraising," Peter A. Roidl, chairman; "Chapter Activities," Daniel Allocco, chairman; and "Membership Recruitment," with Wilbur Webb as chairman. All those present showed a great deal of enthusiasm and interest in knowing what is being done by the various chapters around the State along these lines. It certainly was encouraging to know that the NFB of New York State is still very much alive, and the chapters are moving forward.

Throughout the sessions various resolutions were passed by the assembly. One recommended that steps be taken to improve the educational standards at the State School for the Blind in Batavia; another requested that more blind people be employed by the Commission for the Blind; and another asked that improvement be made in the service which the blind are getting from the State library in Albany.

A committee headed by Peter Roidl recommended a plan for fundraising: that we hire a professional fund raiser to assist us in raising the much needed money to carry on the work of the organization. The plan was approved unanimously by the membership, and will be put into operation very soon. Several members made pledges to the William S. Dwyer Memorial Fund.

Edward Lohman of Buffalo was the toastmaster at the annual banquet held on Sunday night. The crowd was small, but spirits were high and there was much fun. Over one hundred dollars was collected for the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Fund. Some years ago a Jacobus tenBroek Award was established to be given only when it was felt that there were really deserving people to receive it. This year plaques were awarded to two people for their outstanding loyalty and devotion to the State organization. One was given to Alice Dwyer, widow of William S. Dwyer, for her devoted service to the organization since the death of her husband. The other was given to Assemblyman Oliver Koppell for his untiring service in regard to legislation. Neither one was able to attend the convention. All present were moved by the dynamic speech given by John Nagle. And what a lot of excitement there was when the lucky name was drawn for the two-hundred-dollar raffle, which was won by a lady in New York City, not a member of the organization. After the banquet there was a dance which was well attended. Excellent music was furnished by a local band.

At the Monday morning session, Dorothea Vogel gave her treasurer's report, which was accepted. She will be retiring from office, after many years of devoted service, and is hoping to move to Arizona in the not too distant future. We all wish her well, but will miss her at our meetings. She has been a most able and conscientious treasurer. When the convention adjourned at noon, all went away feeling that it had been very worthwhile, and that a feeling of unity had been very strong all during the convention.

The 1974 State Convention will be held at the Lafayette Hotel in Buffalo from October 6 to 8.

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NEW MEXICO CONVENTION

BY
PAULINE GOMEZ

Harmony, hard work, and good representation influenced the agenda of the New Mexico convention, held June 2 and 3 of this year. The setting was the Hilton Hotel in downtown Albuquerque, with anchorwoman Barbara Innis presiding. Manuel and Pat Urena, national representatives, gave the meetings the boost for which they are well noted.

The resolutions committee meeting preceded the day-and-a-half convention, with Pauline Gomez presiding. The group devoted the greatest effort toward a commission for the blind in New Mexico, but importance was also placed on the "new look" at the School for the Visually Handicapped, with complete agreement that a close watch should be kept on this new administration, and that tenure for the teaching staff would also be an objective.

The programs during the three business sessions were both stimulating and informative. Delegates from all five chapters participated in reports and in discussions. It was great to see the Las Cruces Chapter revitalized. During the Saturday afternoon session there was a panel entitled "The Blind on the Job," consisting of Barbara Innis, academic counselor for students at the University of New Mexico; Frutoso Garcia, new employee of the Labor Department in the remedial field; Peggy Dixon, medical transcriber at the Veterans Hospital; and Albert Gonzales, attorney. Their discussion was most descriptive of how blind persons can operate and function in almost every profession.

Services for the Blind and the Division for the Blind of our State library provided us with reports of their programs, and pointed out where improvements were needed. The news that our library services were in grave danger, as a result of the lack of appropriation of Federal funds, resulted in our president's appointment of a library committee to work where and when possible to preserve what we could.

On Sunday morning two legislators from Bernalillo County, Representatives William Warren and Ronald Chaplin, patiently explained New Mexico legislative procedure and expressed a firm desire to be of assistance to us. Also, during the last session, we voted to send delegates to the NFB Convention, and to support The Braille Monitor and the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund.

The banquet Saturday evening was well attended. During this festive event, Barbara Innis, our president, presented a charter to our Roswell chapter, which was accepted by its president, Bryan Bannister. At this time she also initiated the first traveling award to a dedicated Federationist, and Pauline Gomez was the first recipient. Manuel Urena, banquet speaker, captivated the audience with his vivid explanation of the attitudes and philosophy necessary to promote wholesome programs for the blind.

The convention adjourned at high noon on Sunday, with Barbara Innis bringing to a close a very productive year.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH

SUBMITTED BY
PANAMA MARTIN

[Editor's Note.—This recipe was submitted by NFBNM member P.R. Martin. It was distributed in print and Braille by the Public Service Company of Albuquerque. Mr. Martin describes the recipe as "a hot punch that is just perfect this time of year." We hope our readers agree.]

Ingredients

¾ cup brown sugar
3½ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¾ teaspoon cloves
2 number two cans of jellied cranberry sauce
1 quart canned pineapple juice
4 tablespoons butter
4 cinnamon sticks

Method

Mix together in a medium saucepan sugar, one cup water, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Crush the cranberry sauce in a separate saucepan and add remaining water (2½ cups). Mix until smooth. Add pineapple juice and the contents of the first saucepan and simmer for five minutes over low heat.

Add butter and cinnamon sticks just before serving. This recipe yields eighteen four-ounce servings.

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MONITOR MINIATURES

The National Braille Association, Inc., with headquarters in Midland Park, New Jersey, has announced the employment of Marjorie S. Hooper as its first executive secretary, effective August 15, 1973.

Miss Hooper is probably one of the few people whose entire life has been spent in work for the blind. When she was three years old her father became the Superintendent of the Wisconsin School for the Blind in Janesville, where she and her two sisters and brother attended school through the eighth grade. As she puts it, "even when I went to the Janesville High School I couldn't get away from Father, as he was president of the local school board. I have the dubious honor of having spent three years in kindergarten (ages 3-6), and five years in high school, where I graduated at sixteen and spent a postgraduate year, involved in such activities as continuing to be assistant editor of the high school weekly and of the high school annual, not to mention taking a course in auto mechanics. No wonder I have loved printing all my life."

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she spent her first three years after college at the American Foundation for the Blind. In 1933 Miss Hooper left the Foundation because she could not stand living and working in New York City any longer. At that time she went to the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky, to become secretary to A.C. Ellis, then superintendent, and to serve as magazine clerk. She stayed forty years, retiring June 30 of this year as the editor, a position she has held since 1943. At the time she went to APH, there were forty employees (now there are more than fifty-five, and she and Tina Lou Wallace, literary editor of the Talking Book Department, were hired as the first two college graduates, outside of the superintendent, to be employed. She reports that they were the "new girls" for five years. She also says that she has worked in nearly every department of the Printing House at one time or another, except the machine shop and running the bookkeeping machine, but including such positions as head of magazine circulation, manager of the embossing and printing plants (when APH was much smaller and one person could do it all), head of fundraising, acting office manager, acting head of educational research, and textbook consultant. "Those were depression and World War II days, and I took my hand at whatever was necessary at the time, including demonstrating that women could run a Braille printing press as well as do other jobs formerly held by men only."

Federationists visiting Washington, D.C., for business or pleasure are invited to save on hotel bills by staying with local NFB members. Alex Zazow can arrange accommodations in any part of the Washington metropolitan area. Write Alex, preferably in Braille, at 2212 Fortieth Place, NW., Washington, D.C. 20007; or call him at (202)333-5460.

Mr. Gintautas Burba of 30 Snell Street, Brockton, Massachusetts 02401, writes concerning the United States Braille Chess Association which has been in session for seven years. Its purpose is to promote chess throughout America among the blind. So far five correspondence chess championships have been held. Some thirty blind persons are permanent members but on file are the names of many others who play chess throughout America. There is a Braille chess magazine from England which is available at regional libraries. For those interested, more information can be obtained by writing direct to Mr. Burba.

The ancient abacus is now an approved device for taking tests for State jobs if the applicant is blind. In California the State Department of Rehabilitation and the State Personnel Board have changed procedures to allow both the abacus and Braille writing devices. "Blind workers are competent workers," says the Director of the State's Health and Welfare agency, "and they constitute a valuable source of skilled manpower." The State now employs the blind as computer programmers, teachers, in vocational rehabilitation work, as administrators, in law, as typists, and as switchboard operators.

The Hadley School for the Blind, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois 60093, is seeking consumer guidance in its development of one or more of the following free correspondence courses and will appreciate your guidance as a potential "consumer." Please list the three courses you would most like to see added and send your vote to the Research Department of the Hadley School. Also, please indicate your preference in having the courses of your recommendation developed in Braille, on cassettes, on open-reel tapes, or in large print. Courses under consideration are: Braille Speed Reading; Courtship, Marriage, and Family; Career Training for Legal Secretaries; Home Repairs by the Blind Householder; How to Write Legible Script; You and Your Eyes (hygiene, disease, treatment); Great Religions of the World; Playing to Win at Chess; Listening for Pleasure and Profit; and Astrology for Fun and Conversation.

In 1965 the Congress created two advisory committees, one on the education of the deaf, and one on the handicapped. The Commissioner of Education this year proposed that these two committees be combined and that they exist only so long as he saw fit. Accordingly, Senator Jennings Randolph offered on the floor of the United States Senate a resolution opposing this action. Two days later Senator Randolph was advised by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that it now proposed only to combine the two committees but to continue the permanent statutory status of the committee. In view of this action, Senator Randolph withdrew his resolution of opposition.

The appointment of John A. Svahn as Commissioner of the Assistance Payments Administration in HEW's Social and Rehabilitation Service was announced recently. In this post Mr. Svahn will direct the Federal-State public assistance programs which provide about $900 million in money payments each month to more than fourteen million low-income persons. Prior to going to Washington, Mr. Svahn was Deputy Director, then Acting Director, of the California State Department of Social Welfare.

Soldiers blinded in Vietnam face more difficulties adjusting to their handicap than GI's who lost their sight in World War II, says the president of the Blinded Veterans Association. He estimated that the 650 American soldiers blinded in Vietnam frequently were more seriously wounded than their counterparts in previous wars. There were three thousand blinded veterans of World War II.

Recently some nineteen Senators introduced a Joint Resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a White House conference on the handicapped be called by the President of the United States. The resolution points out that there are seven million handicapped children and countless numbers of handicapped adults, and the fundamental rights of our society are often denied those who are mentally and physically handicapped. The resolution points out that it is essential that recommendations be made to assure that all handicapped persons are able to live their lives in a manner as independent and self-reliant as possible, and that the complete integration of all the handicapped into normal community living, working, and service patterns be held as the final objective.

Panorama, the official publication of the Alexandria Board of Trade, reports that at their annual conference in Winchester, Virginia, the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia presented the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Award to Board Executive Vice-President Hal Kammerer for his service to the Federation. Kammerer reads the monthly news bulletin for the Virginia chapters, which is taped and from which cassettes are copied and sent to blind persons throughout the State. The Award was initiated in the name of Dr. tenBroek who was a blind man. He believed and superlatively demonstrated his belief that a blind person could function competently and competitively in sighted society. But Jacobus tenBroek believed much more. He believed that all blind people could achieve successful living and constructive livelihood in normal everyday living. And because Jacobus tenBroek believed in other blind people, many of them learned to have a belief in themselves, and because of this, they are accomplishing much in their lives they once thought beyond them because they were blind.

Milford Force writes: "It is with deep regret that I tell you that we in New Jersey have lost one of the best NFB members of the New Jersey Council of the Blind. Mike Sofka, of Newark, passed away Sunday morning September 9, 1973. He and I were very good friends and had worked close together in work with the organized blind for twenty-three years. Mike never wanted to be in the forefront but he was most active on committee work, legislation, and in corresponding with other States concerning their problems and sharing ideas. In my estimation he will be missed in many ways by the blind in this area."

Currently, the Social Security Administration is hiring claims representatives by means of the Federal Service Entry Examination. In addition, they are promoting their own employees to the claims representative position. Existing physical qualification standards for this position call for distant vision in one eye and the ability to read, without strain, printed material the size of typewriter characters. Consideration to modify this standard will be given when it is determined that the blind can function as claims representatives. At the present time there is a pilot project in progress to train blind SSA Telephone Service Representative employees as claims representatives. Included in this course are totally blind and legally blind persons. The SSA headquarters in Baltimore is extremely interested in this project and would like nothing better than to use blind persons in claims representative positions. SSA currently employs blind persons in service-representative and telephone-service-representative positions. Recruiting is done from the Junior Federal Assistance register which requires two years of college or the equivalent.

The award for the Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year, established in 1968 by the Civil Service Commission, salutes "exceptional job performance ... in spite of severely limiting physical factors." This year it went to Irving Hershowitz. The blind, skilled telephone and radio repairman, in Federal service for thirty years, works at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. He is also an expert auto mechanic and has translated technical manuals into Braille. Presenting Hershowitz with the award was Julie Nixon Eisenhower, who said, "No one should have any doubts about the capabilities of the handicapped."

September 17, 1973, turned out to be quite a date to remember for two Federationists and their respective doctors. First, let it be known that both are well on the way to full recovery. Jean Nemmers, wife of NFB of Iowa President Sylvester Nemmers, had open-heart surgery in which two valves were replaced. She was only in intensive care for two days and shortly thereafter was able to sit up—quite a record in itself. John Myers, president of the NFB of Illinois, also broke hospital records. He had extensive head surgery, which lasted for fourteen hours. Various bones were rearranged and a large tumor removed from his brain. The very latest report (October 7) from the doctors is that they expect that there will be no functional problems when John fully recovers. He is now out of the intensive care ward and in his own room at Evanston Hospital, 2652 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, Illinois 62201. He will be there for some time. Our very best wishes for speedy recovery to both.

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