JUNE, 1979






(202) 785-2974




BOX 11185

If you or a friend would like 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 nonprofit 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."

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




JUNE 1979


by Kenneth Jernigan

by James Gashel

by James Gashel

by Richard Edlund

by E. U. Parker

by Rami Rabby

by Kenneth Jernigan

by E. U. Parker

by Ruth Schroeder



Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1979



In January of 1977 I announced that the Monitor had a new editor. I said in part:

"Beginning with this issue (and you can judge his stature by its quality) we have a new editor. He is Don McConnell, who has been associated for many years with the Federation and the Monitor. He learned his Federationism under Hazel tenBroek's tutelage in the Berkeley Office, and the success of the effort can be seen in the finished product. I believe he will do a first-rate job, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead."

It was the beginning of a very successful series of Monitor editions. It was also the beginning of a very productive and harmonious relationship. I am sorry to have to tell you that Don McConnell has now resigned as Monitor editor. The May issue was his last. He is working with his brother in a joint business venture. While I know that he will do well in that venture and while I am sure all of you join me in wishing him every success, I know that you also join me in a feeling of deep regret and real loss. Mr. McConnell is a good writer; he has editorial capability and perspective; and he is a knowledgeable and dedicated member of the movement. His participation in the movement will, of course, continue, but it will be difficult to find his equal as an editor.

Plans are now under way to fill the position. In the meantime Jim Gashel and I will pool our efforts to produce the Monitor. I hope this will be a very brief interlude, for the editing of the Monitor is a full time and demanding job.

Thanks to Don McConnell for the contributions he has made, and may his new venture be rewarding and productive. May we also find exactly the right replacement and go on to even greater achievements in the months and years ahead.

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The struggle for full civil rights for the blind seems never-ending, but looking back over the years we have won some impressive victories, which now serve as stepping stones for today's efforts. The most important factor of all is that we have maintained a unified, viable, and highly visible movement in the face of those who would like to tear us asunder, and we have ably resisted all of the pressures to subvert or slow our progress.

I think there are many reasons for this (we have been blessed with good leadership among other things) but the primary thing is that we care about each other and together we pool our efforts, our talents, and such resources as we have, to help whenever and wherever the help is needed most. Dr. Jernigan has a saying which I have always found instructive; he says: "Even animals in the jungle have sense enough to hunt in packs. The blind ought to be at least as intelligent." Well we should be, and many thousands of us are, enough so that we have chalked up a long string of successes which have served to improve the lives and fortunes of all blind people, even if they do not have sense enough to hunt in our pack. Recently we added three more victories to our ever-growing list. These are some of the first cases decided by the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the results plainly show what can be done when the blind pool their efforts and pull together.

The first case of the three, filed in mid-1976 and settled late last year, gives new hope and a better opportunity to Doug Usiak, a blind student in Industrial Arts at the State University of New York College at Buffalo and a member of the NFB of New York state. Doug wrote to Dr. Jernigan three years ago in the spring, and soon I was involved to help consider the options for dealing with a situation of discrimination which Doug was facing as a student.

The first question was: "Did we know any blind person who had been successful in Industrial Arts work and who had also taught Industrial Arts." Of course, the answer was we did, which did not satisfy the University's lawyer who went into a virtual panic at the thought that there might be an unattended blind person working in the Industrial Arts shop. Under date of April 19, 1976, he wrote to the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science at the State University of New York College at Buffalo as follows:

"Dear Dean Dreyer: You have requested our opinion as to the potential exposure to the College and individual instructors which could result from participation of a blind student in your Industrial Arts Teaching Program. We understand the student will be accompanied by an employed helper or reader but that such helper is not an industrial arts student and has no particular skills in the area.

"In our opinion, the risks of possible injury to blind students and the resulting responsibilities of teachers in the school are such that we would recommend against permitting blind students to participate in the program. If clear that the student is over 18 years of age, he or she could sign a waiver of liability which would be some protection to the school and to the faculty members involved in any accident but such a waiver would not and could not insure against subsequent claims of liability for negligence on the part of the college and its staff members.

"We fully appreciate the remarkable strides that have been made in training the blind for participation in every-day activities without regard for their handicap and feel that there are many areas in which their handicap would not be burdensome. Where highspeed machinery is involved, however, the situation is quite different. We are enclosing an annual report from Recording for the Blind, Inc., received by this office, which might provide some assistance to the student in question.

"If we can be of further assistance, please advise.

"Very truly yours,

"Williams, Stevens, McCarville & Frizzell, P. C.
By E. W. Dann Stevens."

When we saw that letter we decided immediately that we were dealing with more than just the ordinary case of needing to change somebody's attitudes. Here was a genuinely corrupted soul and more drastic steps were necessary, so we filed a Section 504 complaint, alleging discrimination on the basis of blindness, and we waited. There were no 504 complaints being handled by the HEW Office for Civil Rights, this being mid-1976 and HEW having only proposed its Section 504 regulations. The courts were not anxious to hear 504 cases either, knowing that enforcement procedures were forthcoming from HEW, so we decided to be patient, and we waited. A year passed, the HEW regulations were finalized, and finally, one day, came a letter asking if we were still interested in pursuing Mr. Usiak's complaint. You bet we were, the problems of discrimination never seem to die of their own accord, so the investigation was on.

Sometimes, investigations of this type are fairly open-and-shut affairs, but in these early cases under Section 504, the investigators often seem a bit uncertain of what is going on, and we found, in this case, there was a need for them to be "educated." Who is better to do this than the NFB, since we have been fighting cases of discrimination of this type for years? Also, the wheels of justice, even outside the courts, often grind slowly, and this is certainly true of Doug Usiak's case. Nevertheless, our efforts and our persistence paid off for in September, 1978, a decision came down from the Civil Rights office in the form of a "letter of findings" to Doug Usiak, which upheld our original allegations, stating as follows:

"OCR is now prepared to issue findings with regard to your allegations that SUNY College at Buffalo is in violation of Section 504 for (1) requiring you, against your judgment, to have assistants in your industrial arts classes; (2) requiring you to recruit, hire, supervise and see to the payment of these assistants; (3) making no modifications to your academic program, and (4) not adapting the machinery and apparatus in the industrial arts shops to meet the needs of non-sighted and other handicapped students."

All four of these actions, or inactions, were considered to be violations of Section 504 and negotiations were commenced to secure the University's compliance with the law. Meanwhile, Doug Usiak continues his industrial arts courses and reports a whole new atmosphere which has somehow developed as the instructors have learned to treat him with a good deal more respectwhether honest or out of fear, who can tell. The important thing is that they now treat him as a human being, a real person and realize that he and the organized blind will not tolerate further violations of our basic civil rights.

Recently Doug wrote to me putting the whole matter into perspective. Here is what he said, in part:

"Prior to filing discrimination under Section 504, Public Law 98-112, I found myself under a great deal of frustration in taking the Industrial Arts Course at the State University College at Buffalo.

"For the most part, I found myself dealing with unresponsive, insensitive, and inadequate professors in this curriculum. That is until the Office for Civil Rights, a division of Health, Education and Welfare, started to investigate my claim. Since that time, the Office for Civil Rights has found the State University College at Buffalo out of compliance with Section 504 on four major issues regarding my participation in the Industrial Arts Course.

"I have also found a change of attitude throughout the Department towards me in pursuing this field of work. It seems that the present director will now listen and try to meet my needs. Professors and instructors are attempting to get a hand on how and when they can assist me in my participation in their classes, and many voices are saying hello to me during the day in the Industrial Arts Building.

"I am thankful that I had the National Federation of the Blind for their support and assistance in seeing that I received an equal, fair, education in the course of study I have chosen."

The second victory came recently in a case involving Carole Papastefan, a blind Occupational Therapy student at Western Michigan University. Western Michigan is the institution which is noted (or perhaps notorious would be more accurate to say) for its federally-funded program for training rehabilitation professionals and mobility instructors for the blind. It has also been a prolific publisher of manuals or instruction guides describing a number of "techniques" for blind people, such as eating, and the professionals who publish or perish at Western Michigan are NACsters through and through.

Carole Papastefan's complaint was not specifically with the Department of Blind Rehabilitation at Western Michigan, although as we shall see later the outcome may have a profound effect on the Department's program. Her grievance arose from a memorandum placed in her permanent files, setting forth the opinions of two of her instructors, regarding the general ability of a blind person (any blind person) successfully to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. When she saw a copy of this memorandum, Carole was perceptive enough to realize the devastating impact it would have on her efforts to secure employment in Occupational Therapy, and her immediate reaction was to enlist the aid of NFB.

The memorandum itself was innocent enough, purporting merely to express some "concerns"just for the file, mind you, and intended only to helpbut this kind of concern or "help" the blind can well do without. The document stated, in part, as follows:

"1) Carole has been unable to participate in laboratory assignments independently as required of other students. She cannot see to read protocol sheets, nor is she able to score the tests.

"2) Carole has been working with a partner who records the observations for her. However, there is an important battery of professional tests that requires no other person be present while evaluating ....Carole is unable to record on regular protocol sheets when administering a test.

"3) She has been unable to administer certain sections of tests involving small equipment.

"4) She has usually provided readers for exams but on occasion waited for someone to ask her if she needed a reader.

"5) When asked by the professor to notify her of adaptations Carole needed to make for testing materials, Carole did not respond until after giving the tests.

"The course has been adapted to allow Carole to pass. I do not feel she has passed the course with the same requirements placed on other students."

It doesn't take long to see that a paper of this type shared with a potential employer would have a chilling effect on one's hopes for a responsible job. In fact, this memorandum (whether intentionally or not, who can say) would inevitably have ended Carole's career in Occupational Therapy before it could begin. Knowing this and knowing also that she needed some help, Carole wrote to Dr. Jernigan in early 1978, and by mid-March we had filed her civil rights complaint. In this complaint, the response came with surprising rapidity, although in the end it took nearly a year finally to settle the matter and clear up all of the details.

The terms of settlement are set forth in a letter containing a number of points to protect all of the parties involved. Regarding the memorandum, the Settlement Agreement states:

"8. It is agreed by and between the parties that the specific relief for the complainant shall be as follows:

"a. The removal of the memorandum attached as Exhibit B and any references thereto or statements therefrom from all records and files maintained by Western Michigan University and/or the Department of Occupational Therapy and, in the event that said memorandum has been transmitted to any person, firm, corporation, agency, or other entity outside of Western Michigan University, the issuance of a document which specifically retracts the said memorandum."

Achieving this objective, which in the immediate sense protects Carole Papastefan's career in Occupational Therapy, was itself significant, but the settlement terms go far beyond the scope of this one complaint. For instance, one of the terms is assurance that the University is fully committed to complying with Section 504 and HEW's regulations. Another states that HEW may monitor Western Michigan's compliance at any time. Upon reading these commitments, one wonders if Western Michigan was aware of its own long-standing belief that blind people cannot be certified mobility instructors and hence they have not been admitted to the professional preparation program for careers in this area, or maybe Western Michigan has realized that the blind, too, now have their civil rights. It is possible that this may be the long-range result of the Papastefan case and thus, its impact would be far-reaching, but of course, only time and the course of events will tell for sure.

The third victory is only now beginning to unfold. This case involves officials of the state of Alabama and a Federationist, Charles Hutchinson. It, too, is an important precedent-setting case, especially so because it deals with employment discrimination.

Charles Hutchinson is a qualified social worker. In 1978 he secured a temporary position with the Macon County (Alabama) Department of Pensions and Security, part of the state's public assistance program for needy individuals and families. The opportunity to work in the Macon County office occurred only after months of persistence during which Charles refused to take "no" for an answer. He was told by supervisors in the office that there were "too many forms to fill out," and that "a larger office would be more to his liking." But these protestations did not satisfy him, so appeals were made and finally a temporary appointment was granted in March of 1978, apparently with the expectation that this limited opportunity would prove him a failure and Charles Hutchinson would then be convinced and go away.

On May 25 the temporary job ended, but Charles Hutchinson had not failed; in fact, quite the opposite. It was about this time that he contacted the Federation, and before long, after researching the matter, we filed another civil rights complaint in an effort to secure permanent employment. The specific charges were set forth in the final two sections of the complaint as follows:

"(7) Mr. Hutchinson's name currently appears on the list of available applicants for appointment to positions which become open in the Macon County Department of Pensions and Security. He is also on the state-wide register for employment. On June 12, 1978, a meeting was held to discuss problems related to Mr. Hutchinson's appointment in the Macon County office and his potential for employment elsewhere in the state. Two people attended from the state office in Montgomery. Mr. Hutchinson's Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Ms. Henderson [a Macon County office supervisor], and Ms. Collins [another Macon County office supervisor] were also in attendance. Ms. Collins took the position that Mr. Hutchinson cannot work satisfactorily in the Macon County office, and she advised him to get on the register for employment in larger offices. Ms. Collins has the authority to hire or to elect not to employ Mr. Hutchinson in the future. Her stated position that Mr. Hutchinson cannot work in the Macon County office constitutes a refusal to employ in violation of 45 CFR Part 84.11

"(8) Ms. Collins unwillingness to consider Mr. Hutchinson for future positions is unjustified since Mr. Hutchinson demonstrated that he can successfully perform the essential functions of an intake worker. During Mr. Hutchinson's limited tenure appointment Ms. Collins did permit certain types of accommodations for Mr. Hutchinson (for example, he was allowed to bring in volunteer readers and to work from recorded materials) but Ms. Collins complained that using readers posed problems of confidentiality and that using recordings and Braille reduced efficiency. In reality the agency made an insufficient effort to accommodate Mr. Hutchinson's handicap (such as paying the cost of his readers or assigning other employees to assist him and insuring that manual materials were made available to Mr. Hutchinson in Braille or recorded form in a timely manner); the agency merely allowed Mr. Hutchinson a certain amount of flexibility to make some of his own accommodations and then complained because it was necessary for him to utilize methods somewhat different from those employed by sighted workers. This was a violation of 45 CFR Part 84.12"

For a time it appeared that we would be in for a long series of delays in this case, as in Doug Usiak's (we were first notified by the regional Office for Civil Rights in Atlanta that Mr. Hutchinson's complaint had been placed in the "backlog," meaning that several hundred more might be in line ahead of it), but again our persistence paid off and the investigation was commenced and completed earlier this year. While we still await formal notification of the results, we understand informally that all of our specific allegations in the complaint have been upheld by the investigator and further, that Mr. Hutchinson will be offered a job again in the Macon County Department of Pensions and Security, receiving as much as $3,000 in back pay, which will partially compensate him for lost wages. This is the first back pay award we have achieved under Section 504, and it should be helpful in winning other cases. Whatever else, it certainly ranks as another reason why the National Federation of the Blind.

Today Doug Usiak, Carole Papastefan, and Charles Hutchinson all have greater opportunities and a fuller measure of civil rights, but the important thing is that so do all of the rest of us because of the victories in their individual cases. We have often said that discrimination against one of us is discrimination against us all, and the converse is also true: when we can bring an end to discrimination against one among us, we have brought all the blind that much closer to equal rights and first-class citizenship. This the Federation must continue to do, for it is at the core of what the movement is all about. Common and concerted action does bring results; let us never forget it.

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Richard Bleecker and the others in the NAC/AFB/ACB/ALL combine talk at length about ethics, implying, naturally, that they have a lot of them and that the rest of us, especially those in the NFB, have few and quite likely none. But playing at ethics and loudly proclaiming to be the noble tellers of all truth is apt to be a dangerous game if you are unwilling to begin by putting your own affairs in order. This is exactly the predicament for the NACsters and their adherents who currently find themselves embarrassed and shamefaced over the immoral, and quite probably illegal, shenanigans of some of their flagship agencies. For example, they have long told us that the agencies, "lighthouses," and "associations for the blind" in New York state, especially those with sheltered workshops such as the Industrial Home for the Blind and the Jewish Guild, provide some of the finest services money can buy, but not according to the state auditor who found that proceeds from the workshops were actually being siphoned off for buying fancy automobiles and paying hefty bar tabs for officials of New York Industries for the Blind. A full description of the findings of this audit appears in the March issue of the Monitor. The Wall Street Journal reporters (whose articles also appear in full in the March issue) probed deep into the agency system, looking at several NAC-accredited sheltered workshops and coming up with the same practices of questionable ethics which we have long said existed.

There is a tactic understood by even the most primitive of beasts in the jungle which involves covering your own nakedness whenever you are challenged by setting up a kind of offensive smoke screen type maneuver. Anyone can learn this strategy; it operates something like this: When anyone questions your motives or asks you to account for your behavior, you respond by explaining that your purpose is "to promote ethical and responsible action," and then you question the questioner, or better yet, charge him with the vilest and grossest of misconduct. Having done this, if you can arrange it, you get a newspaper to print the story and then work with others to spread it all around, claiming what an unethical, unscrupulous, evil and paranoid opponent you have; the implication being that surely you cannot be all that bad, or can you? This is a pretty good maneuver, but a smoke screen only lasts for awhile, so the tactic must not be overused, or watch out, you might get caught.

Considering this, I got to thinking, since the NACsters like to talk about ethics and truth, let's talk about ethics and truth. The people who make up the Affiliated Leadership Leaguethat is the American Council of the Blind, the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and the American Foundation for the Blind, as well as their narrow circle of adherents, like to talk about ethics in fund-raisingours, not theirs, never mind the fact that NFB is approved to solicit funds in more states than most of these organizations put together.

A resolution adopted at the 1978 ALL Delegate Assembly states the organization's public position regarding ethics in fundraising as follows: "ALL endorses the standards and practices of the National Information Bureau, Council of Better Business Bureaus, National Accreditation Council and the State Bureaus for Charitable Regulation; ALL further urges every charitable organization of or for the blind, voluntarily, to endorse and comply with the standards of the appropriate fund-raising review organization(s)."

This is quite a lofty resolution, placing all of the members of ALL on record as "endorsing" the various standards and laws which exist to regulate charities. Now, as everyone already knows, the American Council of the Blind is one of the principals involved in ALL, so much so that the ACB Second Vice President, a Mr. Robert T. McLean, was elected Chairman of the ALL Board at the 1978 ALL Delegate Assembly. Given this ACB leadership role in ALL, it seems somehow appropriate to analyze ACB's compliance with both the letter and the spirit of ALL's resolution on ethics in fund-raisinga resolution which ACB apparently publicly endorses. As we do this, remember the smoke screen tactic for covering one's nakedness; could it be that ACB is actually guilty of the very deeds of misconduct which we have been charged with by all of the members of ALL?

One of the principles of ethics which ACB publicly endorses is "openess and full disclosure," which brings to mind ACB's current situation with respect to charitable solicitations in the state of Kansas. In at least that state, regardless of anything else it may have done or said, ACB has been avoiding compliance with the charitable solicitations law for years; in fact, the American Council and a "management corporation" known as Arliss Henderson Management Company, Inc. are co-defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of Kansas seeking to compel them to cease engaging in fund-raising activities in the state until such time as both organizations are registered in accordance with the laws of the State. According to the Attorney General's Petition for Injunction and Other Relief, which kicked off the lawsuit, ACB opened a "thrift store" in Kansas City, Kansas for the purpose of obtaining donations of articles from the public which could be refurbished by employees of the "thrift store" and resold to the public with the net proceeds from the whole operation going to ACB, after deducting the overhead expenses and an agreed-upon amount for Henderson Management, originally $4,000 per month.

The Attorney General considered this enterprise to be a charitable solicitations operation under the Kansas law, the same as any other non-profit organization soliciting by means of selling candy, greeting cards, tickets, or what-have-you. But the defendants (ACB and Henderson Management) claim that the Attorney General was wrong, that Kansas law did not apply to them, and, in any event, if it did, the law was unconstitutional. Does this sound like the same people who, at the same time, tell us through ALL that they "endorse" the laws and fund-raising standards of the charitable solicitations bureaus in the various states? Perhaps they didn't mean it, at least, that is, in Kansas.

This Kansas lawsuit offers only a partial look at the actual operation of an ACB "thrift store," and this is only the tip of the iceberg, since presently there are ten other such stores elsewhere in the country. This scheme of fund-raising through the resale of refurbished merchandise apparently originated with Henderson Management (at one time believed to be located in Missouri) which apparently began the venture by contracting with the Missouri Federation of the Blind, the ACB affiliate in that state.

According to its original agreement with ACB, Henderson Management actually had quite a good deal going, receiving a "fee" (later denied by ACB), of $4,000 per month for each of the proposed thrift stores which would be located in selected sites throughout the country. Annually, this would mean $48,000 per store for Henderson Management, so, for example, if there were ten, Henderson Management would take in nearly one-half million dollars. And what would ACB get from this arrangement, why whatever was left over, of course, but full details of how much this actually was and is at present are not available. The partial data goes something like this: for 1975 (September through December) ACB got $2,400 from the Kansas City thrift store; for 1976, $7,200; and $1,800 for the first quarter of 1977; no data was provided to the Kansas Attorney General for subsequent periods.

Now the questions arise, what were the actual costs of operating these thrift store solicitations, and what was the total income? These are important questions, for under Kansas law (and similar provisions exist in many of the states) at least 75% of the total income from solicitations is to be available for use by the charity for whose benefit the funds are raised, otherwise the charity and the solicitors cannot conduct their operations in the state of Kansas. But from the data provided to the Kansas Attorney General by the ACB and its co-defendant, there is no way to answer these crucial questions which were asked by the Attorney General in the form of Interrogatories. On July 18, 1978, ACB filed its version of the response to the Attorney General's Interrogatories, but on the question of gross proceeds and operating expenses for the Kansas City thrift store, ACB said, "See other defendant's answer to interrogatory [question number]." But on a thorough check of all of the court records we failed to turn up any such response from Henderson Management, which raises yet another question: Why would ACB refer the Kansas Attorney General to its co-defendant's response which presumably it knew (or could have known) never existed? Is this ethical, is this truth, or is it perjury?

So we really have no way of knowing how much the thrift store operation takes in, hence, there is no way to determine ACB's actual fund-raising costs for these operations, the most essential piece of information for complying with any of the charitable solicitations laws or standards established for "ethical fund-raising." Were the costs $25,000 per store, meaning another quarter of a million dollars of income unavailable to ACB if you take into account the operation of all the thrift stores nationally? Are these costs another $30,000 or $50,000 per store, meaning as much as another half million dollars annually on a national basis? If so, what is ACB's percentage of the total income? Is it 15%?  10%?  5%? Whatever it is, and especially how low it may be, they aren't telling.

Hoping that we might find the answer since the ACB endorses "full disclosure," we decided to go elsewhere to learn what the organization may have told the public about its operations and especially about those elusive fund-raising costs. In the state of Minnesota in mid-1977, ACB filed the required registration forms with the agency which regulates charitable solicitations in the state. Two entries on this form which provided data for the year ending December 31, 1976 interested us in light of other information gleaned from the litigation in Kansas. First, under the heading of "Total Contributions" ACB showed $159,723.42. Second, of this amount, ACB said that it expended 15.2% (approximately $25,000) on "administration and fund-raising."

But we found those figures puzzling, for where is Henderson Management? According to the agreements referred to in the lawsuit, Henderson must have received well over $25,000 alone for operating the Kansas store during 1976, and then there are the other stores, and certainly Henderson must have gotten its share there too. Indeed it did, but you won't find out how much went to Henderson, just as you won't find out how much actually came in the door of any of these "thrift store" operations, for all of that money is somehow and for some reason deliberately concealed, disappearing as though it were headed down a "black hole." The only thing that emerges, once again, is a small payment (labeled a contribution) amounting to an average of only $600 per month ($7,200 annually at the 1976 rate for the Kansas store), and who is ever told anything at all about the rest?

This is quite a scheme, hiding your total fund-raising costs in another corporation (called Henderson Management) and, incidentally, hiding your total income from public scrutiny as well. Who got all that money, and how much was it? Who was Kelly Management? Is Kelly somehow related to Henderson? Did they also swap money back and forth? There are a lot of unanswered questions hereit's a real bag of tricks.

And now we come to the American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services, Inc.a brand spanking new corporation (allegedly not-for-profit) formed in 1978 under the laws of the District of Columbia, but not registered to solicit, by the way. There are many interesting things about this new corporation whose very creation itself raises many, many more questions than it answers. For example, the following people are listed as incorporators: Carlee Hallman, Kathleen Megivern, and Aileen B. McDaniel, and yes, all of them are staff members (or, in the case of Kathy Megivern, a former staff member) in the ACB national office. And where, all of a sudden, did Aileen McDaniel come from? Is she, who in other documents signs herself as "Office Manager," actually on the payroll? If so, whose payroll is it that she's on?

James R. Olsen is another interesting figure who emerges with the birth of ACBES. Who is he, anyway? He lists himself as "Executive Director" of this new corporation, but we also note that he doubles as Treasurer of the ACB. This begins to look like quite a nifty arrangement all around. Just as a bit of further background, it is also worth noting that this same James R. Olsen resides in Minneapolis, and so does the Chairman of the Board of ACBES, one Raymond A. Kempf, coincidentally a member of the NAC Board as well. While on its corporate papers filed with the Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia ACBES lists as its principal office the address of Oral Miller, the current president of the American Council of the Blind, the corporation seems to have moved subsequent to incorporating and now headquarters at 1936 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the same premises, not too surprisingly, occupied by no less of a NAC agency than the Minneapolis Society for the Blind.

Now this raises another series of questions. What happened to Henderson? What about Kelly? Are they related to Olsen? Is Olsen related to McDaniel? Is McDaniel related to Kelly, or what does she (or he) have to do with Henderson? What do they all have to do with the Minneapolis Society? Who hides all the money now? How much does ACB get? How much goes to the Society, and, given what we already know about ACB's past practices of "full disclosure," are these not legitimate questions?

There is a lot more that could be said about the Kansas lawsuit and with it the formation of ACBES, but since the litigation still continues (a Motion for Summary Judgment against ACB and Henderson Management is currently pending) it might be good to save some things for another article, or perhaps we can arrange to write a whole seriesthen we will send them all to Dick Bleecker and he can help us spread them around a little. He has demonstrated quite a voracious appetite for this kind of thing, and since a little variety in any tasty tidbit is always helpful, I thought he might also like a little look at ACB's notion of "full disclosure" and "endorsement of standards and laws" in the District of Columbia, ACB's principal place of operation. This, I think, Dr. Bleecker will find real interesting.

We have a law in the District of Columbia which requires non-profit charitable organizations to register if they intend to solicit funds from the public to carry out the purposes for which the organization is established. The law in Washington, D.C. is similar in some respects to the one which ACB is fighting in Kansas and similar laws exist in every state. ACB is currently registered to solicit within the District until February 29, 1980, having registered in January, 1979.

The registration papers and financial report filed by the Council are intriguing, you might actually call them puzzling, and if we are to believe them, we now have a new (1984-like) interpretation of what is meant by "full disclosure." A thorough review of these papers fails to turn up any information whatsoever save for one little project, the Capitol Hill reception held earlier this year for Oral Miller. This is what ACB claims as its sole purpose for raising funds in the District of Columbia; hence it started the period January 1979 with no money and it raised $7,455.09, it spent $1,882.87, and it ended with a "Cash Balance to be Accounted For" of $5,572.22. What will happen to these funds, apparently left over from paying the expenses of the Oral Miller reception? Will they stay in the National Office of ACB, allegedly in some separate account, or will they quietly be slithered away into the regular treasury of the Council? What else might happen to these funds?

But again, this is quite a twisted notion of disclosure. According to this method, what you do if you want to hide the main body of your funding, especially your actual fund-raising costs is to break every activity up by specific appeal, hoping all the time that nobody asks you for more information than what you are willing to disclose.

Hiding your actual income in another corporation, as the ACB has done in Kansas and several other states, is certainly one way to handle the matter of charitable registration, but this business of specifying out limited short-range purposes and thus (for purposes of disclosure only) separating your money into specific little pots (without anybody ever getting to have a look at the whole kettle) is quite another kind of tactic altogether.

As I studied this new scheme a little bit, I got to thinking how we could make it work in the NFB, and actually it's not that hard. What you do, is in any state which tends to be fussy about fund-raising percentages, you simply specify a particular purpose you have in mind for raising money in that state (for example, to produce and distribute 50 television spot announcements), and then you say that you start with no money and you will raise, say, $7,000 to accomplish this purpose. This done, you never have to show anyone all the books, just those related to that specific purposethe production and distribution of the 50 television spot announcements. This is a nice plan, but there is only one slight problem, you are apt to get caught, and they usually lock you up for fraud if they find you quilty.

So this, Dr. Bleecker, is the organization which you tell us is so responsible. This is the ethical one, the one that knows the truth about NAC, and tells the truth about ALL. And speaking of truth, Dr. Bleecker, did you know all these shenanigans were going on? If you did, surely you were doing something to make these miscreants understand their civic responsibility. But, one question, Dr. Bleecker, if you knew of this all along, why didn't you tell the Des Moines Register, for they like to hear the truththeir own truth and nothing but their own truth, that is. Now the cat is in the parlor. Dr. Bleecker, and the dog is in the lakethe Monitor has "scooped" the Register on this one, so the Register will just have to do what it can to make the best of a bad situation.  

And yet one final question, Dr. Bleecker. You seem to have a great need to "understand" how it is that various organizations (specifically the NFB) managed to get themselves registered in the various states, and you are also very anxious to share any information about these organizations which might happen to come your way. Under date of March 8, 1979 you wrote, for example to a number of state solicitation bureaus as follows:

"It has come to our attention that the National Federation of the Blind is registered to raise money in your state. If this is correct, you will be interested in the enclosed copy of a recent article in the Des Moines Register highlighting some of NFB's controversial fund-raising activities and its relationship to other private organizations that are not registered.

"We'd appreciate it if you could send us a copy of NFB's annual report filed with you for this yearand any explanation that might help us to understand how this group of self-proclaimed 'sinners' was able to qualify to raise funds in your state.

"Please call us if you would like any additional information."

Now that's a straight-forward letter and quite matter-of-fact (not to mention lofty) in tone as well. Now that you know a little bit more about the "controversial fund-raising activities" of your own brand of consumer representatives, I wonder if you will send a similar letter. And speaking of such things, try these questions: How many ACB leaders are on your NAC Board? How many of them are on the board of ALL and of the American Foundation for the Blind? For that matter, how many of your board members are on these other boards? And how many members of the American Foundation for the Blind Board are on the other interlocking directorates? My oh my, Dr. Bleecker, oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

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California Industries for the Blind, the once State owned and now privately operated sheltered workshop for the blind in California, has forced blind employees to take to the picket lines in order to protect their interests.

CIB, which has plants in Emeryville, Monterey Park and San Diego, employed approximately 120 production workers (roughly half of whom are blind) under a contract with the Service Employees AFL-CIO union.

In December, 1978, this contract, meager though it was, expired and the company demonstrated an apparent refusal to bargain in good faith for a renewal. Through the end of December, all of January and into February of 1979, union representatives attempted to negotiate with CIB so that work for blind people could go forward. The company provided no meaningful solutions to the impasse, proposing not a livable wage but instead to completely nullify the original contract and insert language which would have provided the company free rein to take benefits and wages away from blind people who had worked zealously to acquire them.

When the employees had had as much of the company stall and lack of good faith as they could take, they finally took their cause to the streets in the last week in February. From that day to this, stout-hearted and determined blind workers have picketed the Monterey Park and San Diego plants (picketing went on at the Emeryville plant until it was sold by CIB and the fate of that plant has not been determined).

It is alleged that the Emeryville plant has been sold for $650,000.00 to a real estate speculator who is a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Henry Thomas, the Executive Director of CIB. Perhaps Mr. Thomas can negotiate better with his cronies than with the blind people he was hired to serve.

In spite of the fact that no blind production worker has crossed the picket line, work at California Industries for the Blind goes on. At least one contract is being performed for Proctor and Gamble Company (Note: See Monitor article reprinting the Wall Street Journal, March, 1979), and another contract involves an arming pin for a contractor to the Federal Government. This work is being performed by sighted, salaried staff workers at CIB. It is reported that the piece rate on the arming pin calls for production of 120 pieces per hour to earn minimum wage. It is also reported that a $1,700.00 a month sighted bookkeeper is the most efficient of these scab workers and does 75 units per hour. Under the special minimum wage rulings by the Department of Labor, she would be entitled to pay of $1.81 per hour, however, being "non-handicapped", she is paid $9.81 per hour.

In September, 1978, the Los Angeles facilities were sold and the operations moved to leased facilities in Monterey Park. The building in Los Angeles was sold for a reported $800,000.00 and it is alleged that the funds from the sale of that facility were used to pay off CIB creditors at approximately $.40 on the dollar. It is likewise stated that the $650,000.00 from the sale of the Emeryville plant must be used to pay the salaries of the administrative employees who decided to stay on the job after the strike was called and work until the time the plant was sold. CIB still owes the state of California $435,000.00 and apparently does not intend to use any of this money to retire that indebtedness.

In 1972 the NFB of California (at that time, California Council of the Blind) with the then President Tony Mannino, approached the California State Legislature with a proposal that the Legislature deed CIB to a private agency removing it from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and establishing a corporation with a Board of Directors consisting of consumers and other interested parties with the idea in mind of demonstrating that shops can be operated more effectively and efficiently in the private sector by eliminating ponderous bureaucratic encumbrances and the inherent inefficiencies of government. The legislature evidently viewed this as a reasonable proposal and voted favorably for the establishment of this system.

The new law contained, among other things, a five-year proposal that any major decisions affecting the shops had to be cleared by the Legislature. When the new system of shops was established as a private corporation, the first Executive Director was Tony Mannino, the then President of NFBC. California Industries and its blind employees did well for the next few years; and in the name of democracy and fair play members of the American Council of the Blind and others, who were not particularly friends of the NFB (or, for that matter, of the blind in general it would now appear), gained positions on the Board of Directors and then one day in 1976 the Board of Directors of CIB discharged Tony Mannino as the Executive Director. In 1977 the 5 years of supervision by the legislature expired. Also, since that point in time, there have been a series of Directors and also a series of financial scandals. Today (in 1979) in negotiations with the union, the Executive Director of CIB has entered a plea of "poverty," which means that the books of CIB now must be opened to the union, which has requested that the NFB (which they recognize as the authority in this field) send a representative to supervise the search of the books and financial records of CIB.

When Bob Acosta, the erstwhile leader of blind Californians, was asked for manpower to help the picket lines, he responded (according to the union leader) that the problem was too complex and, besides, he was busy fighting the NFB. Perhaps Acosta, CIB, NIB, NAC and others of the like have chosen to paint themselves with the same brush. I believe that the Legislature and the Courts should not and will not allow this situation to continue.

Federationists and blind production workers in California know who they are and will never go back.

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We need 50,000 membersthat means each of usto sell associates or enroll members-at-large, take your choice what you call it. But a thousand volunteers collecting $500 each can make the difference this year. Won't you volunteer to be one of the thousand? Trish Miller needs help, and only a thousand of us can pull a nice trick on her.

Here is how to do it. These are the methods that have worked for those of us who have tried them. We are mindful that the first thing that must be done is to get our mental attitude positive. All you have to do is solicit your relatives, friends, associates and the man on the street.

Who to ask? Any relative, your doctor, your lawyer, your druggist, your grocer, the guy you buy your clothes from, the people you go to church with, the members of your civic club or social organization, your neighbor, your employer, or just the guy in the business down the street. Just remind yourself how important it is, and get the nerve up to ask. We do not think these methods will work, we know they will. They are working for many of us now.

There is no substitute for the personal contact, but here are a couple of optional methods that have also been proven to work:

1. We first heard this idea from Sharon Omvig. Simply sit down, make a list of your friends, business associates, relatives and anyone else that knows you well. Write them a personal note telling them how important the NFB is to you and that, since they are going to be contributing to some worthy causes, to include the NFB. Tell them their pet cause does not have to suffer, that they can just make NFB their second choice.

How well does this idea work? One member made a list of 34 names of his best and closest associates and sent them such a letter with an associate form and a "What is the NFB" pamphlet. In less than three weeks fifteen of them returned the associate form with more than $500. You can bet that this guy has started a list taken from every organization to which he belongs. There will be a couple hundred more letters going out in the next few weeks. By the way, you do not have to limit your letters to your own state. The fifteen just mentioned represent four different states. Do not forget, make them personal, individual letters.

2. Most of us have two or three or four sighted people who think enough of us personally to help. Put your name on the form and ask them to solicit five or ten of their business associates or friends. Frankly, we suspect that you will find some sighted friends who will have less inhibitions to overcome than you do. Select somebody to solicit sighted workers in a friendly agency. Ask someone else to solicit their fellow workers. Do we think this will work? No. We know it will. One guy reports that five of twenty administrative workers in one agency have already signed up. We do not have the latest count, but Dr. Jernigan's brother is signing up his fellow workers in a GM Plant like mad.

Just remember all the above methods have worked and are working. Won't one thousand of you join us now? You will have something to cheer about when the reports are made at Miami Beach.

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You would think, wouldn't you, that, in an era when social and public policy is leaning more and more toward nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, toward the integration of handicapped individuals within their communities, and toward the promotion of independent living skills among the disabled, you would think that, in such an era, any agency which proposed to the federal government the construction of a blind-only apartment building where the blind tenants would be provided 24-hour, cradle to grave care, would be laughed out of court. Right? Wrong!

Yes, indeed, five years after the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, two years and more after the establishment of the Office of Independent Living for the Disabled in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and at the very time when Congress and the President were placing on the statute books the Independent Living Provisions of the 1978 Rehabilitation Amendments, the federal government not only agreed to the construction of a blind-only apartment building in the heart of Manhattan but was funding it to the tune of $9,700,000 of taxpayers' money.

Federationists in New York City have known, for some time, that one of the City's old-line social and recreation service agencies, The Associated Blind, was planning to construct a 200-unit apartment building designed "especially" for the blind, not merely to reside in, but literally to live in. This building would go well beyond those picayune features of "blind" design, such as textured walkways, lowered shelving and brailled elevator buttons, which have been traditionally touted as "necessary" by those who would build for themselves business empires out of the architectural barrier problems of the disabled and equally traditionally rejected by the National Federation of the Blind as positively harmful to our public image. This building would truly be an all-purpose, self-contained, total life support system for the blind so that they would not, to quote Irving Sells, The Associated Blind's Executive Director, have to feel "conspicuous". The building would be "safe" with no sharp comers, no unexpected stairways, and everywhere, there would be emergency cords and panic buttons to enable the tenants to summon the building's volunteer corps and alert the facility's security nerve center, whenever and wherever something un-toward might happen to them. A ghetto, you say? A colony? I would prefer to describe the building by paraphrasing the popular "Roach Motel" commercial: Here, the blind can check in, but need never check out.

The recent history of NFB's opposition to segregated housing projects for the blind reaches back to the 1977 annual convention, in New Orleans. It was at that time that we adopted two resolutions on the subject of housing: Resolution 77-17 expressed in a general way our distaste for the helpless image and dependent status of the blind which are inevitably created by segregated housing arrangements. Resolution 77-18, on the other hand, addressed itself specifically to the Associated Blind project which was then in the planning stages.

On August 4, 1977, Jim Gashel, NFB's Washington Office Chief, sent those resolutions to Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, soliciting her reaction, and soon after, received the following response:

"Dear Mr. Gashel:

"Secretary Harris has asked me to answer your letter of August 4 presenting two resolutions adopted by the 37 Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

"In regard to Resolution 77-17, certainly it is true that many blind people do not need adapted housing. When Secretary Harris announced HUD's goal that 5% of all new family housing units constructed under the Section 8 and public housing programs will be designed for use by the disabled, she meant that those living units would be accessible to and usable by persons in wheelchairs and others with substantial mobility limitations. Such units are to be integrated throughout housing projects and not to be segregated separate and apart from the mainstream of such projects.

"In no way is it HUD's intention to promote segregated housing for any segment of the population. To the greatest extent possible, housing for the disabled will be integrated into buildings and neighborhoods open to and usable by everyone.

"HUD is committed to providing integrated housing for the handicapped that allows mainstreaming throughout communities. HUD's new Office of Independent Living for the Disabled has been given the responsibility of developing a broad variety of policies and programs to attain these goals. Your views are always welcome.


Paul Williams
for Lawrence B. Simons, Assistant Secretary"

Sounds good, doesn't it? The policy is laudable. The problem is that what HUD says and what it does do not seem to coincide with each other, as Jim Gashel very clearly pointed out in a letter dated October 13, 1977, to Lawrence B. Simons, Assistant Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, as follows:

Dear Mr. Simons:

This will reply to and thank you for your letter of August 22 responding to NFB Resolution 77-17.

You state that HUD's goal of assuring that "five percent of all new family housing units constructed under the section 8 and public housing programs will be designed for use by the disabled" was arrived at to guarantee accessibility to handicapped persons who have substantial mobility impairments. You further tell me that "such units are to be integrated throughout housing projects," the purpose being full integration of the handicapped into the mainstream of community life.

Mr. Simon, I applaud your stated purpose and appreciate your goal, but HUD's actions seem to contradict what you are telling me. Take note, if you will, of the special apartment building for the blind to be constructed with HUD support in midtown Manhattan. I have also learned that a similar project will be supported in Philadelphia. Rumor has it that HUD is open to like ventures in other major cities. What about this? How does it square with your stated policy? Either HUD believes in special apartment buildings for the blind or it does not. We will know the answer not so much by what you say but by whether or not the buildings get built. The fact is that a segregated apartment building for the blind is being built in New York and others are contemplated elsewhere. This is the first time, to anyone's knowledge, that such an approach has been taken; and it strangely coincides with the establishment of HUD's new independent living office for the handicapped.

I ask you to review NFB Resolution 77-18 (copy attached) which discusses the New York situation, and I also ask you to look into the policy nationwide. After you have done this, I hope you will respond to me and tell me in all candor what approach HUD will take in the future. I also hope you will tell me what HUD will do to halt the apartment projects already under consideration. Not to put too fine a point on it, the New York project, as it has been described in the press, is an abomination. Even without the degrading special adaptations for the blind, the building is a ghetto in its purest sense; and once built, it will be around for many years.

What will HUD say now? Having declared its policy to be in favor of integration and independence of the disabled, it has been shown a project which it is funding which promotes the exact opposite: segregation and dependency. As we shall see, HUD is at no loss for an excuse. Under date of January 10, 1978, Lawrence B. Simons, Assistant Secretary of HUD, responded to Jim Gashel as follows:

Dear Mr. Gashel:

I want to apologize at the outset for having taken until now to respond to your October letter concerning the development of a large Section 202 project for blind persons in New York City. Be assured that we have not forgotten about your letter; rather, it has taken time to learn of the facts concerning this development to give you an accurate response.

The Associated Blind project you discussed was a Section 202 fund reservation made to the sponsor in 1975 for 200 units of housing in mid-Manhattan. It is our understanding that the final plans for this project were due November 30 of this year, and will probably be approved by the New York City Area Office.

I completely understand and concur with your feelings about the nature of this project. The size of the development is not in line with many of the underlying principles of housing for disabled persons which we, in this HUD Administration, have worked to implement since January 1977.

However, I can only stress that the decision to fund this program was made by a former Administration working with a different perception toward disabled persons than the perception we are incorporating in our work at HUD today. The reservation was made, approved and will undoubtedly be built according to an agreement made with the Associated Blind under the specifications in the original proposal.

I sincerely hope I have set the record in order so that you do not believe that there is any dichotomy between what we say concerning the development of small, residential living programs for disabled persons, and what we do to construct housing for disabled persons.

Please feel free to call upon me to give you further information or assistance concerning these or any other questions you may have.


Lawrence B. Simons
Assistant Secretary

So, if all else fails, blame it on the previous administration! Not a bad try, but, as we shall see, not quite good enough.

Throughout much of 1978, many of the details of the special design of the building were being negotiated between the Associated Blind and HUD and, it appears, at great cost to the taxpayer. One outrageous example will suffice: According to Irving Sells, himself, the original design of the building contained an auditorium whose ceiling was, as one might expect, supported by a number of columns. The Associated Blind vigorously criticized these columns as dangerous to the blind residents of the building who might bump into them, and told HUD officials that the auditorium would have to be redesigned in such a way as to eliminate the columns. HUD officials balked at this suggestion, claiming that such an architectural redesign for the auditorium would cost $300,000 more than if the columns were left intact. What of it, retorted Sells. When the health and safety of blind tenants are concerned, what's $300,000? And, to back up his demand, Sells threatened HUD officials, as follows: Either you give us the $300,000 to build the auditorium without internal supporting columns, or we shall back out of the project. According to Sells, himself, this exchange took place as recently as August 1978. By that time, Mr. Simons, your administration was almost half-way through its term! If funds were indeed reserved for this project in 1975, certainly not all of them were reserved and, Mr. Simons, what about this final kicker? At its March 15, 1979, monthly meeting, the New York City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind invited Sells, among others, to speak to the issues posed by the construction of the Associated Blind project. On that occasion, Sells unequivocally stated that the contract for the building's construction between the Associated Blind and the Department of Housing and Urban Development was not signed until September 15, 1978. Do you still claim that there is no discrepancy between what HUD says and what it does?

The National Federation of the Blind will continue and intensify its campaign to turn around the operating philosophy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to convince its officials that its policies and practices so far have perpetuated the image of the helpless dependent blind, and to persuade the federal government, in general, and HUD, in particular, that the artificial environment and isolationist atmosphere created by such projects as that of the Associated Blind, and the intensive-care mentality which drives them, have been the chief cause of the demeaning position of the blind in society, in the past, and unless they are eliminated, present us with a bleak prospect for the future.

The opening shot in this intensified campaign occurred on Sunday, February 25, 1979, when the New York Times published the following article on the front page of its real estate section:



A snake pit. That's how Sara Neufeld describes modern apartment houses. Circular walls, sunken plazas, shrubbery-lined walkways and artfully concealed elevators may be fine for most people, but for Mrs. Neufeld, who is blind, these eye-pleasing architectural flourishes are at best a nuisance and sometimes even hazardous.

Her ideal building is along the lines of one soon to be constructed on West 23rd Streeta house for the blind. Like buildings specifically designed for artists or the aged, or Europe's most recent experiment with buildings for working mothers (with in-house child care facilities), the 200-apartment complex will offer customized features for its tenants.

These include a sidewalk at the entrance made of textured cement, braille elevator buttons that pop up when the elevator arrives at the floor, car doors with hand rails and stair wells in which the doors face the "up" stairs rather than the "down," as in most buildings. And there will be a bowling alley, an auditorium and a library.

Apartments in the building, which will be completed sometime in the spring of 1980, will be rented on a first-come, first-served basis, with rents ranging from $511 for an efficiency to $600 for a one-bedroom apartment. Under the Federal Government's Section 8 subsidy program, eligible tenants will pay only 25 percent of their income toward rent.

Despite all the amenities, the idea of a house for the blind is anathema to many blind people. Indeed, among activists, the concept of such "segregation" is highly controversial. "We did this at the turn of the century," says William Gallagher, an administrator for the American Foundation for the Blind. "It's true that some people need more care than others, but all blind people don't need this. Landlords will use this as a cop-out. They will say, there's a blind home down the street, go there."

Rami Rabby, an official of the National Federation of the Blind, agrees: "The business of overprotecting, of coddling the blind, of being treated as if you're a different sort of person, is a form of discrimination. Blind people can operate in any environment like anyone else."

But Mrs. Neufeld and many others feel just as strongly that the need for special housing goes beyond the elements of design. "Many blind people, particularly those who go blind in later life are scared and sensitive," says Mrs. Neufeld, a social worker whose husband, Irving M. Sells, is the executive director of Associated Blind Inc. "They want to live together in the same setting. Blind people do not feel as conspicuous with each other."

Though the Federal Government is lending 97 percent of the mortgage for the $10 million project (with Associated Blind responsible for the remainder), there has apparently been a change of attitude toward large projects restricted to the handicapped since that support was given. In a letter to the National Federation of the Blind, Lawrence Simons, an official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says: "The size of the development is not in line with many of [our] underlying principles of housing for disabled persons ... I can only stress that the decision to fund this program was made by a former Administration working with a different perception toward disabled persons."

Though there are differences of opinion about where and how blind people should live, both sides would agree that for the blind New Yorkerthere are some 25,000 legally blind persons living in the cityit is finding the apartment that poses unique problems. Some of these, which make the sighted apartment hunter's complaints pale in comparison, are getting friends to read the newspaper ads, venturing into a strange neighborhood, and dealing with landlords who may be reluctant to rent to the blind.

Among those who are older and have recently lost their sight (20,000 of the city's blind are over 55 years of age), there are still more obstacles. A fixed income limits choice and type of building. While others who are financially able to move may stay in a deteriorated house or neighborhood because they are fearful of learning a new route or are dependent on neighbors who help them perform tasks such as reading their mail or shopping.

"One of the biggest problems is that none of the agencies for the blind helps us with finding housing," says Jamie Casabianca, a social worker for the Center for Independent Living, an organization that teaches older people to cope with blindness. "If you don't have a mother or a father to go with you, how do you know what the apartment looks like? How do you know the ceiling isn't falling in?"

Spokesmen for several of the large agencies for the blind maintain that they do assist their clients and will accompany apartment hunters. But numerous of their clients and former clients have found the assistance wanting. "They'll teach you to play golf, skate, bowl, feed you lunch and have a dance, but to help you find housing or employment, to become independent, forget it," says William Pickman, a rehabilitation counselor for the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. "If you had that, these agencies would lose their clientele."

By far the most serious criticism by blind people is against some landlords who, they insist, refuse to rent to them despite the city's 1968 antidiscrimination law protecting the handicapped. Four such cases have come before the Human Rights Commission since 1970. Many more prospective blind tenants do not have sufficient evidence to bring charges or do not want to be bothered.

Mr. Pickman recalls being turned down for an apartment because "blind people bring cockroaches." The landlord reneged only after Mr. Pickman threatened a lawsuit. Blind apartment hunters have been told they will not be able to work the stove or climb the stairs safely. Others tell of owners who refused them on the ground that the building's insurance rates would rise; that the owner would feel too guilty to evict them if they didn't pay the rent, and even that the blind person's presence would make other tenants feel uncomfortable.

Rental agencies take their cue from landlords. A blind woman who registered with over a half-dozen such agencies says never received a call, though she was willing to pay $400 for a studio. One agency representative told her frankly that it would be impossible for her to find an apartment and that she should either consider buying a co-op or applying to "the home for the blind" that he heard was being built on 23rd Street.

Josephine DeFini has found that she has had more luck in high-rise buildings where, she says, "landlords are more sophisticated and they can't say you'll fall down the stairs."

But not all blind people can afford high-rise rents. "The problem is poverty, not blindness," says Miss DeFini. "If I were making $120 a week and wanted to rent a top-floor apartment in a tenement, the landlord would say no. But if a blind person makes $20,000 and wants to rent a $400 apartment, there's a much better chance the landlord will say yes."

Sometimes, it is fellow tenants who are not willing to have unsighted neighbors. Dorothy and Al Matano owned a nine-room house in Queens when they decided to move after three of their four children had left home. With the help of her daughter, Mrs. Matano found a co-op in Flushing. The Matanos visited the apartment and submitted an application.

"The former owners, who were very nice, told us that they got vibes from the board that they didn't want blind people," Mrs. Matano recalls. "We met with the board and they told us they'd let us know in two to three weeks. Then they told us through the owners that their answer was no. The reason given was that although we together made $20,000the minimum incomethey wouldn't count my salary. I called the Human Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union and made appointments to see them. Then I called up the board director and told him, 'Listen, we both know why you said no.' I told him we were going to fight it. He said, 'We have 15 lawyers,' I said, 'Great, you'll need them.' "Soon afterward, the Matanos were informed that the board's decision had been reversed.

Some blind people have tried to sidestep discrimination by having a sighted person pose as the prospective tenant. Susan Spigle sent her mother to look at the numerous apartments that superintendents told her were already rented. Her mother was shown all of them.

But what Miss Spigle found most disquieting about her apartment-hunting experience was the attitudes she encountered. "The realtors, the supers, the doormen were all so patronizing," she said. "They'd say, 'Are you sure you want to see it' or 'I don't think you can afford it.' If I were small enough, they would have patted me on the head. They suffer from the old stereotypethat we're helpless. But we can cook and clean like anyone else. People would tell me, 'Aren't you remarkable to be looking for an apartment.' But I'm not remarkable. I'm just a person like anyone else who happens to be blind."

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President, National Federation of the Blind

(Note: Entitled "The Separate Agency for the Blind—Why and Where," this paper was originally delivered by President Jernigan at the 1970 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Minneapolis. Now, nine years later in 1979, many changes have occurred in the field. Nevertheless, the philosophical concepts contained in the article, as well as the bulk of the data, are as timely now as they were ten years ago.

With the updating which has been done, the article should continue to fill an important need in the decade ahead. It provides information and perspective concerning the most desirable structure, location, and function of services for the blind provided by state government.)

In 1975 a comprehensive nationwide survey which included data from each of the state programs for the blind found: "The strongest, best organizational pattern for an agency to service the blind is clearly the separate commission, separate agency form with direct access to the governor and legislature of that state."1 The study also elaborated on the condition and quality of the various state agencies, citing four as "extraordinarily effective"2 (each an identifiable, centralized agency). Twelve states were found to have "very weak"3 programs; fragmentation of services was the major reason given.

In recent years the blind have come to understand the significance of the particular organizational pattern of state programs. This is by no means accidental for increasingly through the vehicle of the National Federation of the Blind we are able to make comparisons among the various organizational structures which exist in the states and to draw conclusions based on what we find. The national picture is an ever-changing one, but it does contain certain trends which provide an important perspective as we weigh the various organizational alternatives.

Historically the first services to blind people in this country were educational. Toward the middle of the last century, schools for the blind began to appear throughout the nation. For the most part they were separate entities with the single purpose of educating blind children. In some instances, however, an attempt was made to combine them with schools for the deaf. Apparently the notion was that since both deaf children and blind children have sensory deprivations, their needs were similar and their education should be "integrated." The experiment was a failure. In reality the two groups had to be educated separately with different techniques to meet the two distinct problems. Although located on the same campus and combined under one administration, the two entities had to function separately.

Further, the blind necessarily got the short end of the stick. The deaf were always in the majority, and the orientation and planning were slanted toward the larger group. There are comparatively few such combined institutions left, and almost nobody would advocate going back to the "integrated" set-up.

In the early part of the present century, many states established commissions for the blind. Profiting from the experience of the schools, these agencies dealt exclusively with the problem of blindness. Mostly they operated sheltered workshops and had very limited concepts concerning the potential and capacity of their clients for regular competitive activity. To the extent that these agencies failed, the problem was not in their structure but in goals and understanding.

In the early 1940's, a new era came with the advent of retrolental fibroplasia. Suddenly thousands of premature babies were born blind. Regardless of philosophy, it would have been impossible for the residential schools to have accommodated all of these children. In addition, a new spirit was stirring in the land, and the parents wanted something more than the isolated existence which the old-line programs had fostered.

There was a move to establish "integrated" classes in the public schools, and separate agencies began to be in disfavor.

Many people confused the concept of integration of the blind person into society (which was certainly a good thing) with the concept of integrating services to blind persons, which was, of course, of more doubtful validity. The distinctive nature of the separate commissions began to blur. In some states services for the blind while remaining a distinctive unit were placed in the department of welfare or the department of education or institutions. In others, rehabilitation of the blind was combined with general rehabilitation-sometimes retaining separate identity, sometimes not.

For the past couple of decades approximately three fourths of the states have had separate agencies for the blind in one form or another—that is, the programs of rehabilitation for the blind have been administered separately from those for the remainder of the disabled. Relatively few of these separate agencies have had what one might regard as the ideal organizational structure. This would be all programs for the blind in the state located in one independent agency, not part of any other department of government but answerable directly to the governor and legislature, with a lay board consisting of at least some representation from the blind themselves.

Until the mid 1960's, the situation was fairly static. Then, through efforts of the NFB, Idaho and South Carolina established separate commissions for the blind, both geared to provide the total range of services needed and thoroughly imbued with a progressive, vigorous philosophy. Other states followed this lead and introduced legislation to accomplish this same purpose. A definite trend became apparent.

By 1969, however, matters had completely changed. Programs for the blind began to be caught up in the growing national avalanche of "concern for the disadvantaged." Actually, four phenomena combined to create the problem. (1) All state governments were being told that they needed to "reorganize" and make their operations more efficient. This trend swept the country and has continued to the present. What usually happens is that the legislature appropriates several hundred thousand dollars to conduct a study. A number of "consulting firms" are waiting in the wings to do the job. In most cases their recommendations could have been written without ever sending a single man or woman into the state, since the same plan always emerges, thus doubtless reducing the costs and raising the profits. The recommended patterns for reorganization for each state are so similar as to imply collusion not corroboration. In almost every case there is an attempt to combine all agencies and departments into about a dozen super-departments the heads of which hold cabinet rank and are responsible to the governor. In this set-up everything with the same name tends to get lumped into the same spot regardless of whether it has any similarity. Rehabilitation of the blind (and sometimes other services) tends to become part of the general rehabilitation agency, with ever-diminishing emphasis and identity. The rehabilitation agency, in turn, tends to become part of a large conglomerate such as "the Department of Social Services," "the Department of Health and Welfare," or "the Department of Human Resources." One looks at these "new" plans and almost expects to see the old 19th-century recommendation of combining the education of the blind and the deaf into a single institution.

(2) In 1967, the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare reorganized. Whether this came about because of internal departmental politics or some genuine belief that a constructive purpose was being served, one cannot say. However, rehabilitation, public assistance, and a variety of other activities were combined into what was called "Social and Rehabilitation Services." This combination followed the preferences of the efficiency experts by uniting functions which serve the disabled and disadvantaged, and welfare had been falling into disfavor while rehabilitation still seemed to be fairly high on everybody's list; but by 1974 it was clear that lumping the programs of rehabilitation with the functions of public assistance and social services had not worked. It was at this point that the Congress entered the scene to determine the organizational setting for federal rehabilitation services by placing these programs within a heretofore-little-known unit within HEW called the Office for Human Development. Then, in 1977, the latest phase of federal reorganization occurred when Social and Rehabilitation Services (which had three years before lost rehabilitation, but still retained it in its name) was abolished altogether, its components being redistributed almost entirely into other units within the Office for Human Development, which then became the Office for Human Development Services.

Indeed, this recurrent federal reorganization has had its effect on a number of states. Many have felt that federal officials tend to give weight to efforts to reorganize state programs along similar lines. Whether or not this feeling is accurate, there can be no doubt that the federal example has had influence—if in no other way by the very fact of its occurrence—and as a part of the federal reorganization there has been an ever-increasing emphasis on "coordination of all services to people." There has been much talk of "efficient use of human resources." This inevitably has led to a de-emphasis of separate agencies and a pulling together of all functions and activities into giant departments at the state level.

(3) In 1965 Congress amended the Vocational Rehabilitation Act to provide, among other things, that each state would be given up to $100,000 to develop a comprehensive statewide plan for rehabilitation whereby all eligible disabled persons would be receiving services by 1975. The troubles, needs, and hopes of all of the "disadvantaged" were viewed as a single problem to be solved by one "comprehensive statewide plan"—by 1975. The governor of each state was to designate an agency or organization to make the study and fashion the "plan." In some instances, the governor chose an existing entity; and in some, he created a special organization. But in almost all states, the influence of the general rehabilitation agency was paramount since the rehabilitation agencies themselves were the governmental units primarily concerned with the problem; and since (in those states having separate agencies for the blind) the general agencies dealt with the larger numbers and the broader categories, this is not surprising.

In a handful of cases the agencies for the blind substantially influenced the "plan," and in isolated instances the organized blind were heard. By and large, however, the trend was otherwise. Mostly the blind seemed unaware of the far-reaching significance of what was occurring and did not demand or get seats on the the state policy boards. As the plans began to come into Washington in 1967 and 1968, there was a noticeable trend to recommend that services to the blind as well as other smaller programs be submerged into general rehabilitation or even larger super-departments.

(4) In the early 1960's, the "Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind" (COMSTAC) was formed. In 1966 its successor agency, "NAC" (the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped) came into being. NAC was largely financed by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and still receives the majority of its funding from the American Foundation for the Blind. It advocates a type of so-called "professionalism" and a "methodology and agency structure" which many people feel reinforces the three phenomena already discussed, thus contributing to the fragmentation of services for the blind. It is probably easier, for instance, for an agency to meet many of the NAC "standards" if it is part of a larger department as opposed to standing by itself, since the approach of this brand of "professionalism" tends to favor the notion of "coordination" and forming "linkages." One must hasten to add that the NAC standards do not explicitly make such requirements and that the organization strongly disavows any intention to compel stifling uniformity. The NAC influence was probably less of a factor in creating the trend of combining programs for the blind than the three phenomena already discussed. Still it did its bit.

Although these four things are probably paramount, there are many other factors which fueled the trend toward combining programs. The very fact of the growing bigness and complexity of our society tends to make for bigness and complexity in government. The new technology, the giant computers, the data retrieval, and the increasing speed of communication plus the seemingly irresistible human urge to use these things now that we have them (the feeling as Simon and Garfunkel put it, that "we need to know a little bit about you for our files")—all of this doubtless plays its part.

A review of the events in several states shows the current trends in reorganization and the significance of the work being done by the organized blind. In recent years there has been a great shifting backward and forward in the status of separate agencies for the blind, and the situation has probably never been more fluid. For a period beginning in the late 1960's and running on into the 1970's, the tide of state reorganization was in full force, and quite a few states lost the separate identity of programs for the blind. This represented a very disturbing trend indeed; it was a time for vigilance and a time for action by the blind and their friends. In 1969 Florida's separate agency was abolished and its functions were absorbed into a larger department. The same thing occurred in Maine.

In Wisconsin the situation was somewhat different but, perhaps, even more ominous. First, the separate agency for the blind was transferred from the welfare department to the general rehabilitation agency. The blind were assured that they had nothing to fear since all that was being changed was the administrative location. Several months later the head of the services for the blind was informed that beginning July 1, 1970, he would no longer have any administrative responsibility. Counselors for the blind throughout the state would now be fully integrated into the district offices and would be responsible to the same local supervisors as other counselors. The former head of services for the blind would now become merely a consultant. If the situation had been thoroughly understood and vigorously resisted when the original transfer from welfare was made, perhaps specialized and meaningful services for the blind of Wisconsin could have been saved.

Early in 1970 Ohio took the first step on the same road. The familiar bill was introduced and passed, putting services for the blind under general rehabilitation. The usual assurances were also given (in the law itself) that this was only an administrative change for efficiency of government and that specialized services for the blind would continue unimpaired. But while the specialized services have been maintained in a bureau within Ohio's Rehabilitation Services Commission which serves all disability groups, there are constant efforts afoot to erode the separate status of programs for the blind in that state, and only the vigilance and repeated protests of the organized blind have preserved the identity of services.

In Delaware events took a similar course and served as a warning to the nation. The state had an independent commission for the blind for many years, answerable only to the governor and the legislature. Programs for the blind were administered through a single entity, and (even though the blind had often felt that services were inadequate) responsibility for problems could be focused and interaction with administrators achieved. Each year the blind had the opportunity to try to get some of their own representatives on the commission's board. The full time of administrators and staff was devoted to affairs of the blind.

But all of this was changed by action of the legislature in March of 1970, and Delaware no longer has an independent commission. The result has been that the blind of the state have had fewer opportunities for quality service. The reorganization in Delaware followed the usual pattern. The previously autonomous Commission for the Blind became the Council for the Blind, one of four councils in the Division of Social Services of the Department of Health and Welfare. Formerly the members of the Commission had full administrative authority to run the Commission for the Blind. Under the new set-up the former commissioners became mere advisors with only the authority to recommend. The director of the Council for the Blind lost independent status and was required to report to the chief of the Division of Social Services who in turn reports to the director of the Department of Health and Welfare.

It is critical to note that in the 1970 reorganization in Delaware, the Secretary or director of the Department of Health and Welfare was given the authority, with the written approval of the governor, to fragment and tear asunder the existing administrative entities of his department. This meant that he could, even without a hearing, transfer aid to the blind administration, let us say, to the Council on Public Assistance; vocational rehabilitation for the blind to general rehabilitation; talking-book machine distribution to the library; etc.

This policy placed the programs for the blind in a spot of extreme vulnerability. For several years the administrator of the Council for the Blind encountered great difficulty in obtaining approval for any new personnel or even in replacing present personnel when vacancies occurred. Personnel and fiscal functions were given over to agencies handling these matters for all state departments. Inevitably this arrangement grew to be as unworkable as we predicted, and more recently Delaware's programs for the blind have been given divisional status within the larger department, thus cutting somewhat the bureaucratic red tape.

Programs for the blind in Vermont also fell victim to the tide of reorganization. In 1970 the state legislature passed a bill establishing a "human services agency" containing a Department of Rehabilitation, designated as the sole state agency, which now administers the general vocational rehabilitation program and all the services programs for the blind which were in the Division for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Among other things the department also carries out the programs formerly conducted by the alcoholic and drug boards.

South Dakota and several other states also had bouts with reorganization in the late 1960's and early 1970's. These states along with the ones previously discussed in detail were the most representative of the trend toward bigger bureaucracy and less specialization. In 1969 (just as the state reorganization fever was beginning to peak) 35 states had separate agencies for the blind in one form or another. But by October 1976, this number had dropped to only 20. Thus 15 states had lost much of their separate identity, and what we faced could only be characterized as a direct frontal assault on our programs. The trend was ominous, and the threat was the virtual obliteration of services for the blind as most of us had known them. This was a time of challenge and a period of change, but the momentum toward state reorganization finally began to subside. Actually there were some more heartening developments. As early as 1975 (and in some ways this was not surprising, so artificial had been the combining of smaller agencies with others into super-agencies), our prediction began to come true. No real economies were achieved; in fact, quite the opposite. Imposing an administrative hierarchy over ten or more diverse agencies merely resulted in more and bigger bureaucracy with increasing wasteful paperwork and much less real service.

Discouraged by their unsuccessful ventures into the field of government through large bureaucratic structures, some states began to move toward correcting the mistakes they had made only a few years before. Many began to discover that services had not improved as had been promised by the "efficiency experts," and they began to wonder why.

Florida was one of the first states to re-examine what state reorganization had done to the programs serving the blind, and in 1975 the legislature removed the Bureau of Blind Services from the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (which was undergoing a second wave of reorganization in a desperate attempt to achieve the efficiencies which had not resulted from the first go-around) and placed it at a high level in the Department of Education. This gave the Bureau, now redesignated as an Office, more visibility and saved it from further emasculation if not total destruction. In 1969, when Florida lost its separate agency, the blind were unorganized (there was no NFB affiliate in the state at that time); but by 1975 we had an active and cohesive group with strong leadership, and the halls of the state capitol were lined with Federationists until the separate agency bill was passed.

Then, on the heels of Florida came Kentucky. For some time the Kentucky programs had been submerged under several bureaucratic layers in what is known as the Education and the Arts Cabinet. The line of authority went something like this: The director of programs for the blind reported to the state vocational rehabilitation director, who in turn reported to the state Superintendent of Education, who was under the direction of the state Board of Education, which reported to the Secretary of the Education and the Arts Cabinet, who was appointed by and accountable to the governor. The line to the top was complex and full of many branches not to mention dead ends. By 1976 the outcry from the ranks of the blind of the state had become so intense that the legislature became convinced that something had to be done. The bill which emerged that year, while not containing everything the blind had wanted, substantially elevated the programs for the blind, removing them from the vocational rehabilitation division and from the Department of Education and placing the director of the bureau for the blind immediately under the Secretary of the entire Education and the Arts Cabinet, giving him access to the governor and the legislature at an equal position with that of the state Board of Education. Again this represented a major victory for the Federation, testifying to the success of our national and statewide efforts. Next the spotlight shifted to the state of Washington, where technically there had been a separate agency serving the blind, but it was so buried in the large "human resources" bureaucracy that meaningful services could not be found. For several years we worked to improve the situation, sending representatives from other states into Washington to assist the blind of that state in a major effort to establish a state commission for the blind patterned after the agencies in Iowa, South Carolina, and Idaho. There had not been the creation of a state commission for the blind in this country for fully ten years (Idaho having established its commission in 1967); but on May 20, 1977, Washington State broke through and joined the ranks of those states having commissions for the blind. At this stage the commission in Washington is too new to assess its effectiveness in bringing real improvements in the quality of service to the blind, and it remains to be seen if the agency will establish a cooperative and constructive working relationship with the blind of the state, respecting the right of the blind to organize and to maintain an independent voice. But we can say that the programs are structurally identifiable.

Michigan is the most recent state to take positive action to remove its programs for the blind from the grip of wasteful and unresponsive bureaucracy. In 1978 the state legislature passed a bill creating a state Commission for the Blind. Again, as in Washington State, services for the blind had maintained a degree of separate identity, despite periodic assaults on the programs and threatening reorganizations; but the law passed in 1978 gave services for the blind a new focus and stature within state government. Again, it is too soon to know what direction the Michigan Commission will take and if it will be truly responsive to the blind of the state, but the identifiable structure is now in place.

At the federal level too, there have been developments, and the signs are much more encouraging than they were a decade ago. Over the years there have been periodic battles to preserve the Office for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (more recently designated as a Bureau) in the Rehabilitation Services Administration, but the most recent stage of federal reorganization has made this Bureau even more secure, and there is no longer any serious threat to abolish it as was attempted in 1971.

Also the 1978 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act contain new specialized authority for programs serving the blind. In fact, the U.S. Senate is now on record as favoring the identifiable agency approach in serving the blind, having passed some far-reaching provisions contained in its version of the 1978 Rehabilitation Act Amendments. These called for additional federal funding for states having identifiable units serving the blind. In commenting on the new authority for services to the older blind, the Senate Committee on Human Resources report which accompanies the Rehabilitation Act amendments states: "The committee is cognizant of the specialized nature of rehabilitation services for the older blind and therefore regards it as essential that knowledgeable administrators and personnel skilled in rehabilitation and related services for the blind have direct supervisory control over these programs. To assure that this will be the case, the committee has included the requirement that the vocational rehabilitation agency serving the blind which is designated to administer the older blind program must be at least an identifiable administrative unit with a full-time director and staff which develops and administers its own budget."

At this stage it is clear that the major shifts in organizational structure in the states of Florida, Kentucky, Washington, and Michigan, along with the more stable and encouraging position of programs at the federal level have turned the tide of state reorganization in a much more positive and hopeful direction. As late as October 1976 there were only 20 states having separate state plans for vocational rehabilitation of the blind, but by the beginning of the 1979 fiscal year there were 27 such states, and there is a strong likelihood that this number will be increasing. Yet we must not allow ourselves to become complacent or to believe that all of our programs are safe from attack. Even now in several states there are moves afoot to reorganize and to diminish the status of separate programs for the blind. Virginia and Connecticut are two of the more recent examples, and in both instances our resistance has made the difference.

The reasons for a separate, independent agency for the blind are as valid and compelling now as they have always been. Rehabilitation of the blind, for instance, has more in common with home teaching or library services for the blind than it does with rehabilitation of other disabled groups or the socially disadvantaged. Likewise, library services for the blind logically have close links with the rehabilitation of the blind and education of blind children—much more so than with library services for the general public. There is, indeed, a need for coordination and integration of services, but terminology should not be confused with reality. If, for instance, a state has a supervisor of highway construction, a supervisor of elementary education, a supervisor of pest control, and a supervisor of health and accident insurance, it does not follow that integration and coordination are achieved by creating a department of supervisors and lumping all of these people and functions together. Nor is any real integration or coordination achieved by establishing in a state a department of health and highways. Health is one function and highways another, and they cannot meaningfully be integrated. If such a department is established, all that can be accomplished is to superimpose an administrative hierarchy on the two departments which will still remain separate functions—whether they be called departments, divisions, bureaus, or whatnot. In fact, the administrative hierarchy will be detrimental and will cause inefficiency in such a situation.

Fragmentation is increased rather than helped by putting all of the services for the blind into a division of a super-department. What is needed is common sense rather than theory and neatness of organizational chart. The services for the blind complement each other and form one unique entity. They are only very slightly and incidentally related to services for other handicapped or disadvantaged groups, despite the similarity of terminology. The people who administer services for the blind should be able to administer the entire package and should not be distracted by other duties. They should not be responsible to people who have other program interests and who may therefore subordinate the needs of programs for the blind to other considerations. At the same time the professional administrator should be responsible to some authority as a check and balance and a testing ground for his or her judgment. This should be a lay board, preferably one containing a number of blind persons themselves—people who know firsthand what the services are like. If the administrator of programs for the blind is responsible to the head of a super-agency or directly to the governor, he is not really responsible to anyone, for these people are not knowledgeable and are likely to be extremely busy with other matters. Thus, an independent commission for the blind administering all state services for the blind and visually handicapped would seem best to meet the requirements of a good program. It is possible to have an inefficient commission just as it is possible to have an inefficient program under any other type of administration. This all depends on the caliber of the people who do the administering. However, if all other things are equal, a commission would seem to afford the best organizational structure. It is certainly not the only structure for good programs. The important thing would seem to be to have an independent, identifiable unit of government administering as much of the total package as possible.

Over the years, work with the blind in this country has made notable achievements. With all of its faults and shortcomings, it has brought improvement to the lives of tens of thousands of blind persons. As the blind themselves grow stronger in their organizations, there is every reason to believe that the various agencies will become increasingly effective in their performance and responsive in their behavior. As the pendulum of state reorganization swings backward and forward, one thing is clear; whatever else occurs, the blind cannot and must not permit the wholesale destruction of their agencies. In the name of trash-burning, arson must not be committed, nor must vandalism be sanctioned in the name of reform.  

  1. Mallas, A.A., An Evaluation of the Organization of State Programs to Serve the Blind and a Suggested Evaluation Sequence, Vol. 1, (Management Services Associates, Inc., Austin, Texas, 1975), p.32.
  2. Ibid., p. 2.
  3. Ibid., p. 2.

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by E. U. PARKER, JR.

Within two days after the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi (NFB) was organized on January 15, 1972, we got a couple of early lessons on how vicious and underhanded the keepers of the blind in Mississippi could be. By January 17, 1972, employees of what is now known as the Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind Agency (VRB) were attacking us and spreading false information about our organization and about many of us individually. They said, "NFB left town and beat their motel bills." We checked with both motels in Jackson, Mississippi, that had been used, and they assured us all bills had been paid. We asked the agency people to tell us of any unpaid bills so that the matter might be cleared up. They only continued to spread the rumors. Before the Welfare Board on December 14, 1972, we got an opportunity to challenge Mr. Carballo (the agency director). He took a letter from his pocket from a Greenville Mississippi Hotel stating that two blind people had left owing $8.00 for a telephone bill. We sent them a check, though we did not know where the error had been made.

The Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind Agency (VRB) claimed to be placing twelve or fourteen legally blind persons in private competitive employment at the minimum wage or better each year. In fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, they jumped this to twenty-four. In October, 1974, the Welfare Board ordered an investigation of the VRB Agency. They talked to twenty-two of the twenty-four only to learn that not more than six or eight of them, depending on whether you took the word of the client or the agency, had actually been placed. On December 22, 1974, the 'New Orleans Times Picayune' ran an article written by Mr. Wilson F. Minor exposing the sorry record of the division. (Reprinted in February 1975 Braille Monitor.)

There were a number of other interesting things in this report, such as one specific case where a vending machine company had put an agency employee's name on a check in connection with a refund on a machine that was traded in. Bank records indicated that this check had been deposited in the account of the employee. There were other irregularities found, but political pressure was brought on the Welfare Board to the point that they closed and sealed the investigation by a four to one vote. The Welfare Department's accountants told the NFB member of the Welfare Board that the books were kept in such a manner that no accountant could ever track all the money. Two years later H.E.W. Auditors would confirm this statement. Three years later, an auditor with the Mississippi Department of Audit kept telling this writer that she was satisfied no state funds were misspent and it was not her business to check on federal funds. When she was told that Welfare Department Auditors and Federal Auditors could not understand the books, and was asked how she did, she simply explained she did not understand the books, but apparently the VRB Agency did. She said she cried, pulled her hair and had shouting matches, but finally gave up. By the way, when she agreed to discuss the Agency's books with us, she made it a firm condition that she would not go back to the VRB Agency. The lawyer in charge of the Welfare Department Investigation had also told us that they almost came to blows because the Agency interfered with the investigation by accusing the investigators of interfering.

This Agency and services for the blind in Mississippi have been studied to death. In 1968 a report written by Dr. James Mann, for practical purposes, recommended a Commission for the Blind. Dr. Mann is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Mississippi Schools for the Blind and Deaf, which board also has the responsibility for the Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind Agency, (VRB) since March, 1975. In 1974 the Governor's Select Committee for the Blind made a study of the Agency. A $50,000 study was made in 1977 and 1978 on the needs of adult blind in Mississippi. This study was headed by the American Foundation for the Blind, but is still under wraps and we suspect will be covered up or many of the recommendations made will be omitted or doctored. We have just been advised by the Chairman of the Board that it will be several months before this study is finished. As you may have guessed, NAC has studied and accredited this agency. An interesting side light is that Mr. Lewis Davis of Rehabilitation Service Administration, Region Four of H.E.W. served on the Governor's Select Committee for the Blind in 1974. He filed a dissenting opinion lauding Royal Maid (the NAC accredited workshop in the state, which is owned by the National Industries for the Blind) and questioning that Mississippi Industries for the Blind paid all workers the standard minimum wage or more, which MIB was, in fact, doing. When the highly critical H.E.W. Audit report was made, he contended that VRB was doing a good job, because MIB made it possible to place any blind person in employment at the standard minimum wage.

In June, 1976, the long awaited H.E.W. Audit got underway. Workpapers and other background materials which we have secured, indicate that the auditors were harassed all the way by Mr. Jim Carballo, Director VRB and by Mr. Lewis Davis, Ms. Martha Carrick and Mr. Mike Gold of the Region Four Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) of H.E.W. Before it was over, the Regional Director of RSA, Dr. Stephen Cornett, got into the act. By December, 1977, over $105,000 had been spent on this audit. Since the political wrangling trying to cover up the findings of the auditors is still going on, we will bet that two or three times that much has been spent in this small "Watergate Operation." As a matter of fact, they were successful in stopping the basic work of the audit March, 1977. We did not know it at the time, but the audit agency was very concerned that E. U. Parker, Jr. had found out about their plans to stop work on the audit. As a matter of fact, E. U. Parker's sources of information were not as good as they thought. He just suspected they were giving in to pressure and took a shot in the dark. But regardless of what happened, it became apparent that H.E.W. Audit Agency does not have the independence nor the autonomy, and therefore, cannot do the job as it should be done.

On one occasion, when Mr. Davis was harassing the auditors, they explained to him they had asked the H.E.W. General Council for legal opinions on several points and this was delaying them. (Enter Ms. Lucinda A. Stewart, from the General Council's Officea vivacious, petite, redhead.) To illustrate his influence, Mr. Davis picked up the telephone and called Ms. Stewart and she came atrotting, and has been writing confusing legal opinions presumably to Mr. Davis' liking ever since. (More about Ms. Stewart later.)

At one point, it appeared there would be twenty or more adverse findings in the audit. Then there were twelve adverse findings planned for the first report and four for the second. After most of the field work was discontinued in March, 1977, the first report was cut to seven, but all twelve points were mentioned as part of these seven adverse findings, they simply were not developed as had been planned. The first part was finally released on June 12, 1978. The second part still has not been released. On December 1, 1977, the "Capital Reporter," a small Jackson, Mississippi newspaper, summarized what they believed to be the most important points in the first part of the audit. (Reprinted in January, 1978 Braille Monitor.) Later on, the "Clarion Ledger," Mississippi's largest newspaper, covered the first part of the audit in a series of articles. What is happening now? We are not sure, but we speculate that the team of Carballo, Cornett, Davis, Carrick, Gold and Stewart are working to delay or kill the second part of the audit, and to "resolve" the points in the first report in their favor. H.E.W. has strange ways of doing things. The Region Four Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Officials have the responsibility to "resolve" the audit. As we understand it, they determine what corrective measures will be taken. Since these same people approved or initiated most of the things that the auditors say are wrongthey are in effect auditees. Apparently they are their own judge and jury.


1. The first finding confirms the Welfare Department's Investigation and the "New Orleans Times Picayune's" reporting that the agency has a poor record in placing legally blind persons in private competitive employment at the standard minimum wage. They took a random sample of 138 clients in six districts as of June 30, 1976. The agency records indicate that 38 of these had been closed as rehabilitated. Only one person was placed in a competitive job. This person was qualified as a special education teacher, but had to agree to accept a clerk's job instead. You might say they placed a half instead of a whole.

2. According to two draft copies, the agency had obtained $2,200,000 federal dollars over a two-year period through improper matching. In the report as released, this amount was cut to $1,500,000. At any rate, the agency's books are so scrambled that it would be very difficult to arrive at an exact figure. One thing is obvious, somebody at VRB apparently goes around saying, "Double your pleasure, double your fundstwo federal matchings are better than one."

As part of this finding, it appears that the agency has improperly demanded that Royal Maid, Inc. and Regional Rehabilitation Center kick back twenty percent of the money received, which the agency proceeded to use for federal match again. The agency's defense was that these were voluntary gifts. It does not really matter, as such gifts are illegal when made by a private agency receiving funds from VRB.

MIB was required to kick back forty percent to VRB. In other words the agency got eighty percent from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and forty percent from MIB, which adds up to 120 percent, all of which went into the pot, out of which the state matching is put up for federal funds. The agency's defense? This was a voluntary transfer of funds from MIB to VRB. The only problem with this defense is that the auditors got letters or bills proving there was nothing voluntary about it. MIB was required to make the kick back if they got any money for paying training costs for new employees.

In October, 1977, VRB suspended payments for training costs to MIB. Apparently this was a punitive measure based on VRB's belief that MIB gave the auditors factual information.

In May, 1978, Mr. Jim Carballo, Director of VRB, asked the Mississippi Attorney General's Office for an opinionbasing the request on an April 14, 1978 letter from Dr. Stephen J. Cornett. They apparently wanted the Attorney General's Office to say that it was illegal for VRB to pay training costs to MIB. The four page Attorney General's Opinion dated April 5, 1979, concluded that Mississippi appropriated funds to MIB was seventy-five hundreds of a percent or less of MIB's operating funds and that, "It is unquestionable, therefore, that the suspension of FFP funds seriously jeopardizes not only the capability of MIB to provide on-the-job training to the blind, but the entire program for the blind at MIB."

3. The third finding was complicated, but what it amounts to is that at the end of the year they kept the federal funds that were given for specific purposes where they should have been reappropriated for those purposes. When the auditors questioned the finance officer of VRB concerning accounting for these funds, he told them directly they did not have to account for these funds and they were not going to do so. (This finance officer took early retirement April 30, 1977.) Maybe an example would do more to illustrate the problem. In fiscal year 1974, the sum of approximately $70,000 was secured from the federal government to buy equipment through the University Medical Center for a low vision clinic. This money simply disappeared. Three years later, when the auditors were breathing down their necks, the University Medical Center was paid over $90,000 for the equipment out of VRB's general funds. Apparently the $70,000 had been used for ordinary operating expenses and/or as state money for matching other federal funds.

Auditors also found that the Social Security Trust Funds (SSA) and Supplemental Security Income Funds (SSI) were paid to the agency on a hundred percent basis. The agency called twenty percent of this money earned and proceeded to use this twenty percent as they saw fitincluding using it for matching to obtain other federal funds.

4. The auditors also found that a very profitable snack bar at the Addie McBryde Center was given to Mississippi Valley Food, Corp. instead of to a blind operator. Also, that the stand was not used substantially for training purposes as claimed by the agency. This finding has been resolved by H.E.W. A Randolph-Sheppard specialist was sent from Washington and found that the stand should be in the Randolph-Sheppard program and that it was not substantially used for training. This will apparently make available a stand with a gross profit of more than $2,000 a month to a blind operator. The agency's excuse was that the cafeteria which served the trainees was operated at a loss so the private food corporation needed the snack bar profits to make up the loss. It is our opinion, had the books been made available to the Randolph-Sheppard specialist, he would have found that the cafeteria was also operating at a tidy profit. But once again the lack of books or the confusion of the bookkeeping left somebody just to depend on the spoken word.

There were four Mississippi Valley Food Service Corp. employees who were paid by VRB for more than five years. They call these employees, "trainers." The qualification was an eighth grade education. They were actually waiters, cooks and dishwashers. We are still trying to get an investigation on this part as it appears that state and federal funds were used to pay Mississippi Valley Food Service Corp. employees with no benefits accruing to the agency. Wouldn't you like to operate a business and have some government agency paying the majority of your labor cost?

5. In a sample of ten vending stands, the auditors originally found there was no proof that the operators of four of these stands were eligible. While the audit was going on, the agency managed to get documents saying that three were eligible. Their excuse for the fourth one was they could not get a blind operator to take the stand so they had temporarily placed an operator who was sighted in this stand for the previous three or four years.

6. "Over 35% (24 items) of 68 equipment items that we selected and reviewed from a total of 796 inventory items, could not be located at the location shown on property records and an additional 28% were not marked with a State Agency identification number." (Taken from the audit report.)

This deficiency was originally found by the State Audit Department. This finding was resolved in the Agency's favor. Mr. Mike Gold, Finance Officer for Region Four Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) in Atlanta claims to have come over and checked several hundred pieces of property in about twelve locations and found them all except six or seven, which he accounted for. In other words, they claimed that one man found in a couple of days, all items of property and they were properly identified. The State Audit Agency and the H.E.W. Audit Agency both spent weeks without this kind of success, and VRB Officials had every opportunity to tell them where these items were.

7. This is a catch-all finding containing five points which apparently would have been developed into major findings if the audit had not been brought to a screeching halt in March, 1977:

a. Auditors criticized methods of eligibility determination;

b. Auditors pointed out that the agency does not notify all stand operators when a stand is opened. While the auditors were there the agency began to do this, but several stand operators have told us that they have discontinued this since the auditors left;

c. Auditors criticized cafeteria management at the center;

d. Auditors pointed out some of the problems are the record keeping, which subject we have touched on once or twice in this article. In our judgment, this should have been developed into a major finding with some assurance that the next time the auditors were in the agency they could understand the bookkeeping system;

e. Auditors found some counselors, particularly at the Addie McBryde Adjustment Center, discouraged clients in their vocational aspirations. What they were actually doing was sending them to facilities like MIB and Royal Maid instead of helping them prepare for the jobs they wanted.


So far the agency and RSA have managed to keep the second part of the audit under wraps. However, as we have seen the workpapers and other background information, we know what the four major findings planned for the second part of the audit are. We admit, however, we do not know how much success VRB and RSA will have in preventing these findings from being released or in having them changed before being released. We will take a crack at explaining what is in them anyway:

1. Nepotism—The VRB Director has as his first of five assistant directors his nephew Joe Carballo. Joe Carballo was hired in 1971 without his name ever being brought before the Welfare Board, which was, by law required to make all appointments.

2. $29,000 was transferred from the Kuhn Memorial Hospital training stand and $7500 of vending stand machine money as matching money for the addition of the fourth floor at the Addie McBryde Center. Of course the Kuhn Memorial training stand as the Addie McBryde snack bar was not operated by a blind operator nor substantially used for a training stand, so it would appear to us that profits from it should have gone into set aside funds. However, the auditors will base their case on the fact that federal funds went into the stand and proceeds thereof were used to match federal funds again.

3. A major finding was concerning whether the Addie McBryde Center was an expansion of an existing rehabilitation facility and an expansion of an existing building, or was it new construction. If the first, the eighty percent federal money was correct, if the second, federal money should have been fifty percent. In other words, there would be about $400,000 difference. Dr. Mann, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Mississippi Schools for the Blind and Deaf, has advised the press that it has been resolved in VRB's favor—based on another of Ms. Lucinda Stewart's legal opinions. When the Audit Agency pointed out she used the wrong facts on the first legal opinion on the matter, Ms. Stewart gave them another legal opinion saying that it really did not matter.

4. The fourth floor of the Addie McBryde Center was originally justified as an addition to the center for a small low vision clinic, but primarily used for rehabilitation purposes. A large part of it was to be reserved for recreation, dancing and travel instruction on rainy days. Within six months they were back to turn it into the University Medical Center's Ophthalmology Department and private offices for doctors. We suppose the cane travel and recreation was moved out into the rain.

A Dr. Brinkley, H.E.W. Medical Officer from Washington, came down and on his return to Washington wrote that he could see how the plan was good for the University Medical Center, but they had not shown him how it would be good for the clients of the agency. Dr. Brinkley and anyone else who could not see the light were ignored.

The fourth floor was readapted to the Ophthalmology Department of the University Medical Center and for the private offices of doctors. This was justified as follows:

a. It would be primarily for use of clients of the agency;

b. Agency clients would get preference;

c. All patients would be screened to secure more clients for the agency.

In reality the auditors say less than seven percent of the patients were clients of VRB. It takes about two and a half weeks for a client to get an appointment which indicates they do not get preference. Very few of the patients are ever referred to the agency. We may add that the agency pays standard charges for their clients. None of these criteria nor agreements were ever met or kept.

Dr. Samuel Johnson, head of the Ophthalmology Department at the University Medical Center is one of the doctors who benefited from this arrangement. We long wondered why, in particular, in 1975, Dr. Johnson and a Dr. Wilson from the University Medical Center lobbied so long and hard against our Commission Bill and other legislation we supported. We also wondered why he wined and dined the out-of-state consultants brought in by the Governor's Select Committee for the Blind in 1974. We understood that Dr. Johnson and a Dr. Caldwell attempted to influence the out-of-state consultants' recommendations, but at that time we did not know that Dr. Johnson was personally benefiting from the agency.

For one final point, let us return to our old friends Ms. Lucinda Stewart and Mr. Lewis Davis. They visited the VRB Agency and Royal Maid in September, 1978. While there, they spent several hours in conference with Dr. Samuel Johnson. When we asked H.E.W. why they were there, we were assured they were not on a fact-finding mission. It is our opinion they were here to cover up facts.

We have seen a document not dated or signed, titled, "Draft Copy." This document refers to the September 20th trip and proceeds to justify both the use of the fourth floor of the Addie McBryde Center and the construction of the Addie McBryde Center adjoining the University Medical Center on the grounds that the clients are close to the hospital and doctors. It completely ignores H.E.W. criteria and the agreements between VRB and the University Medical Center.

If using VRB money for an Ophthalmology Department at the University Medical Center and for private use of doctors, can be justified on the basis of those poor blind people being near the hospital, the question that comes to our mind is: What should be done to people who are so derelict as to place the School for the Blind and other state institutions so far away from this good medical service? We assume as large a percentage of blind children need medical care as do adults.

This is the way it is in Mississippi. Perhaps the foregoing facts give some indication as to why officials of the Mississippi agency, as well as some federal officials, dislike the Federation and accuse us of being militants and radicals. It is not pleasant to be exposed. The Mississippi agency and the federal officials have money, power and connections; but they do not have right and justice on their side. Where can the blind of Mississippi turn for help? To the agency? To the federal officials? The answer is obvious: If the blind of Mississippi are to improve their situation (and the same holds true for other states), they will have to do it themselves through their own organization. One more example of why the National Federation of the Blind.

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Note: Ruth Schroeder, recently retired, has taught home-making skills for the past twenty years to orientation students at the Iowa Commission for the Blind.



2 cups hot water
1 heaping teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick margarine
2 eggs
1 package of yeast
7 cups (approximately) of flour

Mix in a large bowl the water, salt and sugar. Into this mixture, cut up a stick of margarine. Add the eggs and yeast (2 packages if you are using whole wheat or dark flour). Begin stirring in flour, 1 cup at a time. Start kneading with your hands after about 5 cups. Stop adding flour when your hands come clean of the flour. Take the dough out of the bowl and continue to kneadthe more kneading, the better the texture.

Shape the dough into a ball. Grease it and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with wax paper and cover that with a towel. Put this in your oven turning on only the oven light. The warmth from the light will be enough to cause the dough to rise. When it is double its size, take it out of the bowl and knead again.

At this stage, you can make tea rolls or cinnamon rolls and bake, or you can put the dough into a tupperware container and store in the refrigerator. Then you can bake rolls as you need themup to two dozen.

When you have shaped the dough into rolls, let them rise 2 to 3 hours. The bigger and puffier they are, the lighter they will be. Finally, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until brown. (You might use cupcake tins or a 9"xl3" pan.)

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Sandy Kelly, proud mother announces: Brent Kelly, Colorado's newest Federationist, attended his first NFB meeting at 23 days of age. He has an old MacDonald music box which makes him laugh, sleep when being quiet is important, and expresses his demands loudly, so what better Federationist could we have?

Margo Downey is one of the up and coming leaders of the NFB of Louisiana. The Hadley School for the Blind recently issued the following release concerning Margo, which says in part:

Mrs. Margo Downey, 25, unanimously chosen as Hadley School's Student of the Year, believes in lifetime learning. In recognition of her academic excellence and her constant pursuit of knowledge, Mrs. Downey will be honored at the Annual Board Meeting of Trustees which will be held in the Marvin E. Tench Memorial Auditorium at the Hadley School for the Blind on May 16, 1979.

Mrs. Downey, blind since early infancy, has in the past five years studied 17 correspondence courses with the Hadley School, including Medical Terminology, Business Law, Abacus, Applied Math, Health and Hygiene, Amateur Radio, Home Management, Computer Science and others. Always a prompt and thorough student, Margo is much admired by Hadley faculty who have had her as a student in their courses.

In addition to her Hadley achievements, she was graduated as valedictorian from the Texas School for the Blind having served in various offices of the high school as well as Editor of the school newspaper. She entered Loyola University in New Orleans in January of 1979, majoring in psychology. She married Mr. Grant Downey, also a Hadley student, in June of 1978. Margo enjoys reading, concerts, and outdoor activities and is presently serving as Secretary to the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana.

The 1976 Exchange for Meal Planning developed by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetic Association is now available free of charge in Braille, large type and audiotape forms for use by the blind and visually impaired from the Volunteer Braille Services, 3017 Harvard Avenue, Suite 203, Metairie, Louisiana 70002.

The Beach Cities Braille Guild of Southern California has also transcribed the Exchange Lists for Meal Planning into Jumbo Braille, Grade 1. Copies may be obtained at no charge from: Mrs. Mary Lee Carroll, R. D., Assistant Food Service Director, Blodgett Memorial Medical Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506.

Mary Ellen Halverson, Second Vice-President of the NFB of Idaho writes: On Saturday, March 24th, we organized another new chapter in our state. It is the Intermountain Chapter in the Pocatello area and is beginning with 17 enthusiastic members. The officers are as follows: President, Lynn McCallum; First Vice President, RaeLene Miles; Second Vice President, Jack Roderick; Secretary, Norma Wassmuth; and Treasurer, Janet Redlich. This is our second brand new chapter in four months. Can any of you other NFB affiliates top that!

TIM CRANMER HONORED. Long-time Federationist from Kentucky, Tim Cranmer was chosen most appropriately by the University of Louisville to receive an honorary Ph.D. in Applied Science which was presented to him May 13 at the commencement ceremonies. Dr. Cranmer is well known as the inventor of the Cranmer Abacus and in addition, he has developed many other scientific aids for the blind. He has done much work toward the production of grade two Braille by computers and has developed a talking telephone directory, just to mention a few of the more than twenty contributions made by Dr. Cranmer over the past twenty years. Federationists in Kentucky point out that Dr. Cranmer has long played a leading role in working for the improvement for services to the blind in that state. He is currently Director of the Division of the Technical Services at the Kentucky Bureau for the Blind.

Congratulations, Dr. Cranmer, on this much deserved honor!

Russell Getz writes as follows:

The National Federation of the Blind of Indiana is again offering its annual scholarship to a blind citizen of Indiana who has graduated from high school and plans to attend college. Such persons are welcome to apply for this scholarship by sending the information listed below to Russell Getz, 321 North Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526. This information should be received on or before August 25, 1979.

Name, address, age, name of high school, scholastic standing, PGA, name of college and marital status.

Linda Warrick, Secretary of the NFB of Idaho writes:

On January 16, the NFB of Idaho hosted its largest and most successful legislative banquet ever with 205 in attendance: 55 of those attending were legislators.

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