JULY, 1981








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."




JULY 1981


by B. T. Kimbrough

by Betty Niceley





by James Gashel


by Rita Chernow and David Arocho

by Kenneth Jernigan

by Tom Stevens

by Florence Blume


by Jennie Allison


Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1981



(Reprinted from Dialogue)

Major personnel-related developments began to surface in early October at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. Indications are that some of these will have a significant impact on the agency for some time to come.

On October 10, APH president Dr. Carson Nolan announced the dismissal of plant manager Glen Scheurich and his assistant, James Medley. Nolan's first public statement on the firings, published in the Louisville Courier-Journal, touched on only one of several factors which were apparently involved.

Nolan charged that Scheurich and Medley were in conflict of interest, because, while working for the Printing House, they were silent partners in a small labeling business called Label Specialties. The implication of the Courier-Journal story was that Scheurich and Medley had used their high positions at APH to divert business, manufacturing materials, and/or money from the Printing House to the company in which they share a financial interest with Finis Davis, Nolan's predecessor as head of the APH.

A few days after the firing of Scheurich and Medley I sought firsthand comments from those directly concerned. Scheurich declined to say anything. Nolan commented extensively, answering some questions about the situation and raising others.

"Our problem was a conflict of interest," he told me. "The people who left us went into the Braille/cassette label business independently. We were in the Braille/cassette label business prior to this time, and so they were, in effect, in competition with us. We only lately became aware of it, and consequently we felt it was not possible for these individuals to serve us and compete with us at the same time. It was a regrettable thing for us, of course. These people had worked for us for many years, and all of us knew them and worked closely with them. So I don't feel I want to comment on the details of the situation."

The newspaper story had indicated that the Label Specialty Company had been formed about four years ago, so I asked Dr. Nolan what had changed to cause him to suddenly become dissatisfied with their affiliation with the company now.

"It was some time after the company was formed that I first became aware of it," he reiterated. "I was aware of it by September 1977. I was new in this position then and was confronted with a variety of problems that I felt had greater priority than this one. During the intervening period between that time and now we had a change in the chairman of our board of trustees, and this delayed our ability to come to grips with this thing. Volunteer boards work slowly, and this was a factor."

Since the only contractor that the two companies seemed to have in common would be the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I asked if this was where the conflict of interest had occurred, and specifically whether Label Specialties had pulled NLS business away from the Printing House.

"Quite possibly," he replied. "That could have been an occurrence."

"It happens that at the same time there have been some lay-offs of blind proof-readers from the Talking Book department," I observed.

"We have no intention whatever to cease employing blind people here in any capacity that is advantageous to us and to them," Carson Nolan said. "Proofreaders were laid off in our Talking Book department, as well as a number of readers and copyholders. I think the total number laid off may have been 20 or 25 people. What happened to us was that our contract with the National Library Service came to an end, and there was a space between the end of that work and the initiation of new work under a new contract. So we just didn't have anything for these people to do."

Some Talking Book proofreaders had been laid off briefly back in the summer, and Dr. Nolan had told me in casual conversation at that time that this was a problem raised by the NLS itself. So I pointed out that this was why I specifically brought up the proofreaders again.

"We did have some problems in our recording," he said. "The National Library Service, rightfully, I think, instituted a strong program of quality control in the recording area. It affected all people who were recording for them. The consequence for us was that the number of our recordings which were rejected increased very greatly. The Library insisted on a very literal recording of the print, so it appeared to be necessary to have the proofreading done by someone who could read the print copy and listen at the same time to make sure that the recording was literally identical with the print copy."

"Upon analysis, we decided to take the approach of tightening up our whole recording operation, emphasizing the need for readers to carefully review material and motivating our copyholders to be more careful. These steps enabled us to get around this problem without any further necessity to consider changing our personnel mix."

Glenn Scheurich had at one time been responsible for only the Talking Book department, and, as I theorized to Dr. Nolan, would still have had the over-all responsibility for quality control in this area. I asked if problems with quality control had contributed to Nolan's decision to terminate him.

"Of course, when you look at a problem you look at all facets of it," he replied, "and it is true that for a period of time we've had a continuing series of problems in our recording area. In terms of management we were not responding rapidly enough when the symptoms of a problem became obvious, and this could have been a factor that played into our situation."

Subsequent investigations have failed to disclose any financial damage suffered by the Printing House as a result of the alleged conflict of interest. Label Specialties and the Printing House do indeed have only one customer in common: the National Library Service. According to NLS chief, Kurt Cylke, Label Specialties is not one of his agency's larger suppliers.

"To the best of my knowledge the company did less than $1,500 worth of business directly with us last year," he told me in a telephone conversation. "I am very cognizant and always concerned about any potential conflicts of interest. We monitor that very carefully, using both my staff and the general counsel of the Library. I have already been in contact with the general counsel, with the associate librarian of the Library of Congress, and with the Printing House, and I could determine no area in which this would cause us a problem."

Successors for Glen Scheurich and James Medley have not yet been named. Because of subsequent developments, they may not be for some time. A serious effort is currently under way to turn the American Printing House for the Blind into a union shop. Under the sponsorship of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, cards of intent are being circulated for signature by APH employees. Well over half of them must sign before an election can be ordered by the National Labor Relations Board. If an election is held, the workers will vote by secret ballot either for Teamster representation or continuation of their present non-union status.

Predictably, management is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a union. So far, management objections have been expressed only in a mildly-worded letter calling upon the workers to cooperate in finding a nonunion vehicle for negotiation. However, reliable sources report that Printing House workers are being told that a general salary increase scheduled for this December will be postponed indefinitely. Whether or not this is a related development, it could obviously have the effect of giving pro-union forces a timely boost. In such a climate, even some workers who decline to sign the cards of intent look upon a victory by the Teamsters and ultimately some form of work stoppage as real possibilities.

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(Note: As Federationists know, Betty Niceley is the able President of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky.)

The American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville has been a growing concern of Kentucky Federationists for some time now. Although the Printing House is a recipient of both grants and contracts from the Federal Government, its percentage of blind employees is quite low. Of the approximately 600 full-time workers at APH, fewer than twenty are blind. A small number of blind individuals are engaged in part-time proofreading outside the Printing House. These, of course, are included in the number of blind employees when such statistics are requested.

Most of the blind workers at APH hold the "traditional" job of proofreading. The blind have been granted less than tokenism when it comes to consideration for the administrative staff. There has been no provision for improving computer technology in advanced fields such as Braille mathematics, music, etc. In short, the Printing House has a long history of neglect in real service to the blind.

Last September, when weighing these facts, the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky, at its state convention, unanimously passed a strong resolution addressing Printing House problems. This resolution is attached. Dr. Carson Y. Nolan, General Manager at APH, responded in a manner which Federationists have come to recognize. The attached Nolan letter is a masterpiece of self-defense.

Many of the statistics given in this letter refer to persons not on the payroll of the Printing House. Of course, it is all right to work with professional blind people, so long as you don't have to hire them.

Dr. Nolan's letter prompted me to ask for a meeting with him. I took with me David Murrell, a blind attorney who serves as Compliance Officer for NFBK. It was a revealing meeting. Obviously, there has been no awareness of 503 and 504 requirements regarding Federal law and the handicapped. Afterwards, it was decided that David should write a follow-up letter to Dr. Nolan reemphasizing some of the important matters discussed at the meeting. A copy of this letter is attached.

At the time of this meeting, production workers at the Printing House had expressed a desire to join the Teamsters Union, Local 89. The pay at APH has always been quite low. The union was later overwhelmingly voted in. It will be interesting to see how this affects relationships inside the Printing House.

It seems that the Printing House has been a cauldron for the brewing of all kinds of trouble. In October, the Courier-Journal carried an article which was nothing less than shocking. Out of the blue, word comes that there have been firings of individuals who have been with APH for twenty years and over. One is able to get very little comment from the management concerning these events. Perhaps you can draw some of your own conclusions from the clipping.

The Printing House receives Federal appropriations and contributions from a public who believes it supplies the needs of the blind. These factors make APH very vulnerable and provide its management with an ethical and moral obligation somewhat above the usual. Therefore, Kentucky Federationists will be on the barricades to protect the interest of blind people everywhere, who are dependent upon APH for specialized service.


WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is recognized throughout the world as being one of the leading institutions for the production of Braille and Talking Book materials for the blind throughout the world, and

WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind receives a principal part of its funding from Congressional appropriations, and

WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind also receives a great deal of its funding from grants from the Federal Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped, and

WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind solicits funds from the public as charitable donations for work with the blind, and

WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind employs more than six hundred persons and is located immediately adjacent to the Kentucky School for the Blind, and

WHEREAS less than two percent of the employees of the American Printing House for the Blind are themselves blind, and

WHEREAS the American Printing House for the Blind has taken no affirmative action to employ blind persons save at entry levels where blind people are necessary to perform tasks or jobs such as proof-reading of Braille,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky in convention assembled at Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, this sixth day of September, 1980, that the American Printing House for the Blind comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, take affirmative action to employ blind persons in other than entry level occupations, and to promote blind persons already employed, and that copies of this resolution be sent to the Vice President and General Manager of the American Printing House for the Blind, its Board of Directors, and all members of the Kentucky Congressional delegation.

November 6, 1980

Mrs. Betty Jean Niceley, President
National Federation for the Blind of Kentucky, Inc.

(Note: Observe that Dr. Nolan calls our organization the Federation for the Blind. Perhaps the mistake is multiple in nature.)

Dear Mrs. Niceley:

I am writing in response to the Resolutions 80-4 and 80-6 which were issued this autumn by the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky, Inc.

It was very thoughtful of your group to officially commend Livingston Gilbert for his years of reading for the Talking Book Program of the Library of Congress. I certainly appreciate receiving a copy of this resolution and have shared it with my staff.

I was surprised to read the Resolution 80-4 concerning our employment of blind persons. So far as any of us here at APH can recall, we have always made it a practice to employ handicapped persons, particularly the blind. The number of such persons in our employment has ranged over the years from six to ten percent. Moreover, these handicapped persons have served at many levels of responsibility here.

Currently, more than six percent of our work force is comprised of handicapped persons. More than four percent of our workers are blind. Additionally, our Educational Research Department employs, on a part-time contract basis, a group of approximately 30 professionals from across the county in the fields of education, psychology, and rehabilitation, who are blind. It is also of interest to note that among our ex-officio trustees over eight percent meet the definition of blindness or are otherwise handicapped.

In light of the above, I would like to request that in justice to the Printing House Resolution 80-4 be reconsidered at your next meeting.

Carson Y. Nolan

December 22, 1980

Dr. Carson Y. Nolan, Pres.
American Printing House For The Blind

Dear Dr. Nolan:

This letter is to confirm the agreement that we reached in a meeting with you on December 5, 1980.

As you recall, Betty Niceley and myself met with you concerning the employment practices of the American Printing House for the Blind insofar as those employment practices affect the visually impaired. We discussed not only the legal aspects concerning such employment practices, but also the moral and ethical responsibilities of the Printing House.

As a result of that discussion you agreed to check whether or not the Printing House had an affirmative action plan as required by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. You further agreed that in mid-February or the first of March you would meet with various agencies and organizations representing the blind to discuss the employment of the blind.

You stated that such a delay was necessary because of other pressing problems which you had to deal with at present.

I would like to request that you acknowledge whether or not you have an affirmative action plan as required by Section 503, and if you do have such a plan, I would like to have a copy of such a document.

Mrs. Niceley and I appreciate your cordiality and your frankness in your discussion with us. I hope that we can work together to our mutual benefit.

Sincerely Yours,
David E. Murrell




From the Louisville Courier-Journal, October 10, 1980

Two longtime officials of the American Printing House for the Blind have been fired because of alleged conflicts of interest between their positions and their part-ownership of another company.

The two men, Glenn Scheurich and James A. Medley Jr., were plant manager and assistant plant manager of the printing house, which makes Braille books and other products.

Along with Finis E. Davis, who had been a vice president and general manager of the printing house until 1976, they own Label Specialties Inc., a small producer of printed and Braille labels for various uses.

Davis, who had worked 29 years for the printing house, said Scheurich and Medley were "silent partners" in his company, not making day-to-day operating decisions, though sharing in its ownership and profits.

Carson Nolan, general manager of the Printing House for the Blind confirmed that Medley and Scheurich, who between them had more than 30 years' experience in the company, had been fired Wednesday.

"We'd become aware of it gradually over a period of time," Nolan said yesterday, discussing the alleged conflict of interest.

"We never bought anything from them, but there may have been others" who purchased products from Label Specialties rather than the Printing House, Nolan said.

Nolan, asked if Label Specialties had won any contracts for business that American Printing house had sought, said, "I don't want to comment on that."

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Note: Willa Patterson of Kansas City, Missouri, joined the movement in 1972. In a recent letter to President Jernigan she said:

"I have witnessed many changes in the organization since 1972. Although our philosophy remains the same as it was at its inception, I firmly believe with conviction that our members are becoming more and more dedicated to the movement because of not only our accomplishments, but also the ever increasing opposition of our enemies. Many people wonder why somebody isn't doing the necessary work that must be done on the chapter level. I often refer them to the many speeches you and Dr. tenBroek have written along with the articles in the Braille Monitor. Also, I have referred them to the banquet addresses which explain so well why we are what we are and the work we have yet to do."

Willa thought the following story was relevant and would stimulate thought on the part of the members. We agree, so here it is:

This is a story about four people named EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, and NOBODY.

There was an important job to be done and EVERYBODY was asked to do it.

EVERYBODY was sure that SOMEBODY would do it.

ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it.

SOMEBODY got angry about it, because it was EVERYBODY'S job.

EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn't do it.

It ended up that EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY, but NOBODY accused ANYBODY.


You can be SOMEBODY, but it's not easy.

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(Note: Jackie Billey is one of the leaders of our Connecticut affiliate. Under date of March 27, 1981, she wrote to President Jernigan as follows: “Here is an article concerning housing for the blind of Hartford. We had very short notice for this hearing, but we'll be better prepared for the next one.”)



Courant Staff Writer

From The Hartford Courant, March 27, 1981

A proposal to build housing for the blind and handicapped drew unexpected opposition Thursday when a spokesman for the Hartford chapter of an organization for the blind labeled the plan "a form of segregation."

Richard Chapman, speaking for the Hartford chapter of the National Federation for (sic) the Blind, told members of the Hartford Redevelopment Agency that the 150-unit housing project would "turn back the clock" on blind persons' efforts to become fully integrated in society.

But John Conley, an attorney, professor at the University of Pittsburgh and blind man with financial interests in the plan, disagreed.

"We are not talking about segregating, we are talking about conveniencing," he said.

The Redevelopment Agency postponed any action on the Payne Development Co. plan to build the housing on city-owned land off Prospect Street.

The agency asked for more information on the housing proposal and explanations of possible municipal interest in that parcel. The land now is used as a city parking lot and has been mentioned as a potential site for a new city public safety headquarters.

Hartford's Handicapped Services office also was asked to find out how workers in other agencies for the handicapped view the housing project.

Conley said the firm is seeking federal subsidies to build the housing. About half of the 150 units would be for the blind and the rest would be for the elderly and handicapped.

Carl Payne of Harrisburg, Pa., who also has proposed building a 300- to 500-room hotel on three acres of city-owned land off Main Street next to the Holiday Inn, heads Payne Development Co. He is a former director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority.

His partners in developing housing for the blind and handicapped include Conley and Kenneth Schwartz, a real estate developer with offices in Windsor.

The apartments for the blind would contain elevators with audial capabilities and hallways with changes in material textures to warn residents of up-coming doors, corners and stairwells.

Conley said the housing would fill an existing need.

Chapman disagreed and said real estate agents would direct the blind to the project rather than to other available housing. "I believe that is called steering. I believe that is illegal," he said. The project would have a certain stigma attached to it, he said.

"It is perfectly clear the blind in Hartford do not want to be isolated," he said.

Agency Chairman Gordon Kravet said there may be a public hearing concerning the use of the city-owned land next month, because of the extent of interest in the property.

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WHEREAS, on October 15, 1980, citizens of this state and nation will honor White Cane Safety Day; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of White Cane Safety Day is to make the public sensitive to the white cane as a symbol of the independence of the blind and to promote public awareness of the blind as equal and productive citizens within the community; and

WHEREAS, it is at this time that we remind all citizens that persons carrying a white cane or using a dog guide are legally blind and have equal rights, under the law, to housing; to all places to which the public is invited including, but not limited to, places of lodging, amusement, and recreation; to all modes of public transportation; and to all the streets and byways of our communities; and

WHEREAS, it is at this time that we remind motorists that the law requires that drivers exercise appropriate care when approaching blind persons. It is at this time that we remind employers that competent blind persons can be and are employed within the broad spectrum of competitive labor and within the professions:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tom Bradley, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, October 15, 1980 as "White Cane Safety Day" in Los Angeles; and

FURTHER, commend the National Federation of the Blind for their 40 years of dedicated service in assisting blinded persons in adjustment and orientation, including referrals to appropriate agencies, public education, employment opportunities, legal assistance, white canes and other special aids and appliances to the blind at or below cost, scholarships and consultation.

October 15, 1980
Tom Bradley, Mayor

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In the June, 1981, issue we carried an article entitled Falsified Records, NAC's "Quality Services" for the Blind, and The Emerging Pattern. It dealt with one Tandy Culpepper, who was, early in February of this year, separated from his employment with the NAC-accredited agency the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. The documentation indicates that there was a clear attempt by the officials involved to cover the matter up, but it didn't work. Mr. Culpepper had been "tapping the till." He had been double dipping on his travel expenses.

Fortunately Tom Mills, the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama, was alert and on the job. He went to the newspapers. They did some digging and printed the facts. Since federal funds were involved. President Mills also took the matter to federal authorities. At the time of this writing they have not given a final answer.

President Mills also took the matter to the Alabama State Ethics Commission. That body has now replied, and they agree with the NFB of Alabama. Mr. Culpepper violated the law, and the matter should be pursued further. Their letter reads as follows:

Montgomery Alabama
March 26, 1981

Mr. Thomas Mills, President
National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

Dear Mr. Mills:

The members of the Alabama Ethics Commission have requested me to inform you that on March 25, 1981, they found cause to believe that Mr. Samuel T. Culpepper of Birmingham, Alabama, did violate the Alabama Ethics Act. Consequently, the entire matter is being referred to the Attorney General of Alabama for review and appropriate legal action.

If we can be of further assistance, please let us know.

William T. Sheriff
Chief Investigator

There are still those who profess to wonder why the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) fights the National Federation of the Blind and claim that we are destructive and irresponsible. Perhaps careful reflection upon the contents of the letter from the Alabama State Ethics Commission will place the matter in perspective.

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Hester Bruner's battle against custodialism at the Iowa Commission for the Blind was reported in the May issue of the Monitor. Mrs. Bruner is a blind cafeteria manager, participating in the Business Enterprises Program of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. The cafeteria she operates is located in the Iowa Department of Job Service Administrative Headquarters at 1000 East Grand Avenue in Des Moines.

Mrs. Bruner's grievance against the Iowa Commission for the Blind arose last fall when Business Enterprises staff of the Commission attempted to take over many of the management functions of the cafeteria. Their reasoning in doing this was that the Job Service employees were complaining about the quality of the food service, and the Commission accepted most of the complaints at face value, determining that the manager, Mrs. Bruner, was largely at fault. That there were complaints cannot be denied, but the origin of the complaints and the motives involved in submitting them should have caused the Commission to question their validity. Nonetheless, the Commission's Business Enterprises staff failed totally to raise any questions or to try to isolate the real reasons underlying many of the complaints.

In point of fact, the cafeteria in the Job Service Building had just become part of the Business Enterprises Program, and Mrs. Bruner was selected to be the first operator under an agreement between the Commission for the Blind and the Iowa Department of Job Service. Mrs. Bruner began to manage the cafeteria in mid-July, but prior to that time it had been operated under a lease arrangement with a private food service provider. This agreement ended in late June, 1980, and the cafeteria then became available for management by a blind person under Iowa's little Randolph-Sheppard Act. Thus the situation was that the cafeteria had just changed hands, and even more to the point, that it was now being operated by someone from the Commission for the Blind. This was not exactly the most popular idea among the Job Service employees. Many of them report feeling that the blind had no business taking over the food service in their building, inasmuch as the cafeterias in the Capitol and other state buildings were believed to have a less than satisfactory reputation. All of the food service operations in the state buildings are run by blind vendors under Commission sponsorship.

But the Commission's Business Enterprises staff seemed oblivious to these and related factors which undoubtedly played a substantial part in contributing to the number and frequency of complaints. Also ignored was the fact that the complaints were actually solicited by a committee of Job Service employees who took on the responsibility of identifying everything that could possibly be found wrong with the cafeteria and then to do everything that could be done "to straighten the problems out." In the previous article we reported the details of the events of September and October, 1980, which led to Mrs. Bruner's complaint filed against the Commission under the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act. These details will not be reported here, but it is enough to say that the primary cause for Mrs. Bruner's dissatisfaction with the Commission was the failure of the Business Enterprises staff (and specifically the failure of the supervisor, James T. Robinson) to provide any support, whatsoever, to her as she attempted to improve customer relations for the cafeteria. In fact, as we reported previously, Mr. Robinson's position was worse than simple non-support, for in a private meeting with Job Service employees on October 16, 1980 (a meeting from which Mrs. Bruner was specifically excluded), Mr. Robinson announced that Mrs. Bruner had been placed in a probationary status and that a staff member of the Commission would be assigned for as much time as necessary to the cafeteria in order to handle any problems. His conduct was at times (to say the least) "unprofessional"—degenerating to such an extent that, in a fit of temper, he threw a plate of fried eggs at the stove in the cafeteria, splattering grease over everything in the vicinity, and then stalked out of the room.

What Mr. Robinson forgot in all of this was that Mrs. Bruner, too, has some rights. In the past we have looked upon the Iowa Commission for the Blind as the model for showing other states how a program for the blind (even the vending facility program) can be operated in a manner which gives dignity and respect to the blind persons who are being served by it. One of the most outstanding ingredients of the Commission's approach was the basic faith which was demonstrated in blind people and the adoption of policies designed to allow the blind the necessary freedom to achieve maximum independence. This was the long-standing, positive, and progressive philosophy of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, but over the past year or two it has become increasingly clear that the Iowa Commission can no longer be relied upon as a measure of how things ought to be.

One week to the day after Mr. Robinson's infamous October 16 meeting with the Job Service employees, Mrs. Bruner took action to fight back by filing a complaint with the Commission to prevent Mr. Robinson from committing additional acts adverse to her interests as the cafeteria manager. A few weeks later an administrative review was held, but as is usually to be expected from such normally one-sided events, the results of the review were totally unsatisfactory. In fact, this review was conducted as more of a charade than an honest attempt to resolve the problem. Even though the Business Enterprises staff failed to state openly and publicly any position whatsoever, the decision issued by an assistant director at the Commission (W. David Quick) was totally favorable to the agency, offering nothing at all for Mrs. Bruner. In other words, the whole affair was just what you would expect from your standard in-house review. This being the case, Mrs. Bruner chose to proceed with a request for a full evidentiary hearing—the second stage of the grievance process available to blind vendors.

As the title of this article suggests, the case is now over and Mrs. Bruner has won the most complete victory to be hoped for in any situation of this type. And it is also worth noting that this victory did not even have to come by means of an order from a hearing officer. When faced with the prospect of having to go through a full evidentiary hearing and thus being forced to defend their actions. Commission officials (specifically the Director, John Taylor) backed down. And well he might, for throughout the entire process Mrs. Bruner demonstrated that she is not one to be trifled with. Also, the Federation provided her with moral support and direct representation since it was clear that important, and quite possibly far reaching policy issues were at stake. So, as the stage was set for the hearing which was scheduled to begin in Des Moines on April 6, the attorney for the Commission (no less an individual than the First Assistant to the Attorney General of the state of Iowa) contacted us to see if a settlement would be possible. We assured him that we would consider a settlement, that we were reasonable people, and that all we wanted was a fair shake and the right for Mrs. Bruner to manage her own business without undue meddling or manipulation by staff of the Commission for the Blind. Apparently this seemed fair and logical to him, and the settlement talks began.

Then, on April 6, rather than going before an administrative law judge for the full evidentiary hearing, we negotiated the final terms of settlement. These will be explained later, but first it is important to have in mind the background of the specific charges brought against the Commission. Here they are, taken from the notice of the hearing:

(1) That, as a blind vendor, Mrs. Bruner is entitled to all of the rights and privileges provided to other blind vendors in the Commission's business enterprises program, including the grant of a license, the authority to operate a vending facility, and the right to a hearing and, if necessary, arbitration in matters of dispute with the Commission;

(2) That the Commission has secured entitlement to the opportunity for a blind person in its business enterprises program to operate a cafeteria in the Iowa Department of Job Service building located at East 10th and Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa;

(3) That on July 21, 1980, Mrs. Bruner became the operator of the cafeteria in the Job Service building by virtue of an agreement which she entered into with the Commission;

(4) That prior to Mrs. Bruner's assignment to the cafeteria in the Job Service building, she participated in a Commission program which purported to train her to operate vending facilities (including a cafeteria) in the Commission's business enterprises program;

(5) That subsequent to Mrs. Bruner's assignment to the Job Service cafeteria the Commission received complaints about the cafeteria from a committee of Job Service employees;

(6) That in responding to the aforementioned complaints and otherwise in performing its functions as a State licensing agency the Commission adversely affected Mrs. Bruner's public image and the image of her business by excluding her from conferences with Job Service employees, by notifying them that a Commission staff member would be placed in the Job Service cafeteria for the express purpose of correcting alleged deficiencies in Mrs. Bruner's operation, and by means of similar adverse acts. These harmful actions were and are unlawful in that they constitute unreasonable supervisory methods in violation of 45 CFR Section 1369.3(a)(7), "Rules and Regulations Governing the Vending Facility Program" page 3, paragraph 2 ("Supervision of Operators"), and "Agreement Between the Commission for the Blind and the Operator of a Vending Facility or Business Enterprise" paragraph 11;

(7) That in providing training and management services to Mrs. Bruner the Commission committed acts which obstructed Mrs. Bruner's reasonable efforts to achieve her maximum vocational potential and frustrated her reasonable efforts to become self-supporting and to demonstrate her capabilities. These harmful acts are violations of 20 U.S.C. 107d-4, Section 601C.1, Code of Iowa, 45 CFR Section 136.11, 45 CFR Section 1369.3(a)(7), 45 CFR Section 1369.3(a)(11)(ii), "Rules and Regulations Governing the Vending Facility Program" page 3, paragraph 2, and "Agreement Between the Commission for the Blind and the Operator of a Vending Facility or Business Enterprise" paragraph 11;

(8) That the Commission violated Mrs. Bruner's right to due process under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by failing to provide her with notice and an opportunity for a hearing prior to taking unilateral actions adverse to Mrs. Bruner's liberty and property interests;

(9) That in providing supervision to Mrs. Bruner in the management of her vending facility the Commission required her to comply with performance standards which are unreasonably vague and subject to arbitrary application. Imposition of these vague and arbitrarily applied performance standards violated Mrs. Bruner's due process rights under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States since the precise expectations and conditions of the performance standards and the consequences for failing to meet them were not provided to Mrs. Bruner;

(10) That upon receiving notice of Mrs. Bruner's intent to exercise her rights under the Randolph-Sheppard Act to an administrative review and, if necessary, a fair hearing, the Commission committed acts of retaliation against Mrs. Bruner which damaged her public image and the image of her business in the eyes of patrons and potential patrons. These retaliatory acts violated 42 U.S.C. 1983, 20 U.S.C. 107b(6), 20 U.S.C. 107d- 1(a), and 45 CFR Section 1369.13(a); and

(11) That in providing management services to Mrs. Bruner the Commission committed acts of discrimination against her on the basis of sex by unreasonably usurping Mrs. Bruner's day to day management prerogatives which are, under similar circumstances and as a matter of course, performed by male vendors in the Commission's business enterprises program. These discriminatory acts violated 45 CFR Section 1369.3(a)(11)(v) and were harmful to Mrs. Bruner in that they damaged her public image and the image of her business and impeded her ability to supervise and control her employees in order to provide effective cafeteria service.

Perhaps it was the gravity of these allegations which got the Commission's attention, or perhaps the Commission feared the embarrassment of having to go through a lengthy evidentiary hearing which could well result in a public rebuke. Possibly, too, even John Taylor may have been embarrassed over being caught redhanded, acting as the custodial overlord of an agency which increasingly seems more bent upon preserving its own professional image and its position as part of the Iowa State government than it does in fighting for the independence and dignity of the blind. Perhaps the Attorney General persuaded Mr. Taylor of the errors of his ways and his lack of legal authority for what had been done. Whatever the reason, there can indeed be no question as to what the Commission and John Taylor finally did. When their hand was called, they folded. And, without admitting any violation of the law (standard language, of course), they conceded that Mrs. Bruner should have every right which she asked for at the very beginning of this entire grievance process. Reprinted below are the specific terms of settlement and stipulation followed by a letter (sent pursuant to the agreement) by John Taylor to the Director of the Iowa Job Service Department.

Both the agreement and the letter express substantive rights for Mrs. Bruner, and these are rights which should be recognized for every blind vendor in this country. In many cases these rights are recognized by agencies who regard it as their objective to work with the blind toward greater independence and first-class status. But then, as we all know, there are other agencies and agency officials who, despite the best efforts we have made, continue to hang on (as if for dear life) to the last vestiges of custodialism. As we go forward with our work in the Federation, we are proving that we can remove these custodial attitudes about the blind from our culture. The struggle for social change is never easy, and this is especially so since it involves changing the behavior and thought patterns of people. But even so, we must continue to attack the custodial attitudes wherever we find them, with the hope that there will come a day when all of the agencies, including the Iowa Commission for the Blind, will, once again join us as partners in having faith in the blind and in standing forth to fight for our independence. In the meantime, here are the settlement stipulations and the letter.


1. That Mrs. Bruner is not now on probation and may not be placed on probation in the future.

2. That the Commission will advise the Job Service that Mrs. Bruner is the cafeteria manager. This will be done by means of a letter from the Commission to the Job Service official who coordinates with the Commission under the terms of the Commission's agreement with the Job Service. The contents of the letter will be agreed upon by the parties. The letter (attached as Exhibit B) shall be a part of this agreement and copies of the letter shall be distributed to the members of the Job Service Employees Committee. It is agreed that Mrs. Bruner's duties shall include all normal managerial responsibilities such as inventory control; product selection and purchasing; hiring, supervision, and if necessary, dismissing employees; and customer relations. With respect to customer relations the parties agree as follows:

(a) Cafeteria patrons who bring suggestions or complaints to the Commission will be referred to Mrs. Bruner, and Mrs. Bruner will have direct and first line responsibility for determining the appropriate resolution and/or corrective action.

(b) The Commission may respond directly to suggestions or complaints brought forward by the Job Service Management official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the terms of the Commission's agreement with the Job Service, provided that Mrs. Bruner is first given an opportunity to resolve the problem and that she is allowed to fully participate in any discussions or negotiations between the Commission and the Job Service which may occur.

(c) In the event that Mrs. Bruner and the Job Service Employees Committee reach an impasse in resolving a dispute, the Commission may intervene after the expiration of five (5) working days. In such cases, the Commission shall consult with Mrs. Bruner and the Job Service official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the Commission/Job Service agreement. If a severe sanitation problem is present the Commission expressly reserves the right to enter into a dispute at any time.

3. That the Commission will provide management services of a supportive nature to Mrs. Bruner and will expect Mrs. Bruner to handle all management responsibilities, including customer relations. The Commission will serve as a resource for Mrs. Bruner to draw upon in solving specific problems which may arise. Supportive management services will not include placement of a Commission staff member on the location on a regular basis. The Commission expressly reserves the right for periodic inspections consistent with Commission policy.

4. That Mrs. Bruner shall be responsible for meeting regularly with the Job Service Employees Committee, and it is understood that Commission representatives will not attend these meetings except under the following conditions:

(a) Upon a request from Mrs. Bruner to have a Commission representative present.

(b) Upon the request of the Job Service Management official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the terms of the Commission's agreement with the Job Service.

(c) It is understood that representatives of the Commission will not meet with representatives of the Job Service Employees Committee on any matter until the committee has first attempted in good faith to resolve the problem through discussion and negotiation with Mrs. Bruner. It is understood that if a problem remains unresolved after Mrs. Bruner has met with the Job Service Committee, Mr. J. Travis Robinson, or his designee, will seek to resolve the problem on behalf of the Commission with full consultation with the Job Service management official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the Job Service/Commission agreement.

(d) It is further understood that the Commission will observe, protect, and defend Mrs. Bruner's right to be present at any meeting which may be held with the Job Service Employees Committee or responsible Job Service officials.

5. That Mrs. Bruner will continue to operate the cafeteria in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and within the terms of her agreement with the Commission.

6. That in carrying out her responsibilities under the terms of her agreement with the Commission Mrs. Bruner will operate a food service business of high quality with due regard for the image of the Commission's Business Enterprises Program; and

7. That the parties recognize their continuing relationship and agree to conduct their normal and essential business transactions in an atmosphere of mutual courtesy and respect.

April 6, 1981
Letter from John Taylor,
Director, Iowa Commission for the Blind

To: Ms. Colleen Shearer, Director
Job Services of Iowa

Dear Ms. Shearer:

This letter is being written to explain more fully the relationship between the Iowa Commission for the Blind and Mrs. Hester Bruner, Manager of the Job Service Cafeteria. As you know, Mrs. Bruner became the manager of the cafeteria in July, 1980, shortly after our agreement for the food service operation in the Job Service Building took effect.

Mrs. Bruner is licensed by the Commission as a blind vendor, and she operates the food service business in the Job Service Building under an agreement with us. Mrs. Bruner is not a staff member of the Commission, nor is she an employee of the State of Iowa. Generally speaking, the arrangement we have is that Mrs. Bruner conducts the business as an individual small business operation. The Commission provides overall supervision, management assistance, and in-service training, while Mrs. Bruner's duties include all normal managerial responsibilities such as inventory control; product selection and purchasing; hiring, supervising, and, if necessary, dismissing employees; and customer relations.

Both the Commission and Mrs. Bruner share the objective of offering the highest quality food service possible to Job Service employees. Toward this end, we believe it is essential that Mrs. Bruner's management responsibilities include all aspects of customer relations. In the past, Commission representatives have met regularly with representatives of the Job Service Employees Committee, and a number of these meetings have occurred when Mrs. Bruner was not present. The Commission believes that this practice may have led to some misunderstanding as to our relationship with Mrs. Bruner and the respective roles we have in assuring high quality food service in the building.

With this in mind, the Commission and Mrs. Bruner have agreed on the following policy:

(1) Mrs. Bruner will be responsible for meeting regularly with the Job Service Employees Committee and Commission representatives will not attend these meetings, unless A. Mrs. Bruner asks us to do so, or B. we have a request from the Job Service management official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the terms of our agreement with the Job Service. We will honor requests to meet with the responsible Job Service official and Employees Committee only in those cases where a problem is not first resolved by working directly with Mrs. Bruner. We want to be sure that Mrs. Bruner has the right and is able to attend all such meetings which might occur.

(2) Mrs. Bruner will also have responsibility for all other aspects of customer relations, including responding as appropriate to suggestions or complaints (if any) about the food service. Cafeteria patrons who bring suggestions or complaints to the Commission will in all cases be referred to Mrs. Bruner and Mrs. Bruner will have direct and first line responsibility for determining the appropriate resolution and/or corrective action. The Commission may respond to suggestions or complaints which are raised by the Job Service management official responsible for coordination with the Commission under the terms of our agreement, provided that Mrs. Bruner is first given an opportunity to resolve the problem and that she is allowed to fully participate in any discussions or negotiations between the Commission and the Job Service which may occur.

The Commission and Mrs. Bruner feel that this policy represents a workable arrangement and the best approach to serving the needs of Job Service Employees and officials. We believe that Mrs. Bruner has demonstrated her ability to manage the Job Service Cafeteria, and the policies explained above represent our confidence in her. In this connection we note also the recent article (copy attached) reporting on the results of health inspections of Des Moines area food service establishments. We are proud of Mrs. Bruner's score of 98 out of 100 points.

We at the Commission for the Blind are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with you and others at the Job Service, and we can assure you of our continued cooperation. Mrs. Bruner and I felt that you should be aware of the working relationship which we have and our policy with respect to the day to day management functions of the cafeteria.

John N. Taylor
Director, Iowa Commission for the Blind

While the settlement agreement and Mr. Taylor's letter take great pains to outline in detail the mechanisms for dealing with problems in the cafeteria, it is an established fact (as Mr. Taylor, himself, has finally had to admit) that Mrs. Bruner has successfully demonstrated her ability to manage this business. The article which Mr. Taylor attached to his letter to the Job Service Director is one indication of this, since it says that Mrs. Bruner's business rates far higher than most of the others which were surveyed for compliance with the state sanitation codes. As Mr. Taylor says, Mrs. Bruner scored 98 out of a possible 100 points. What he did not say, however, is that the only other Commission-sponsored cafeteria surveyed (the one in the basement of the State Capitol Building) only got a score of 92—which, of course, is still quite favorable and quite respectable.

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(Note: The following testimony was presented on Tuesday, April 7, 1981, by Rami Rabby, on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State before the Legislative Task Force on the Disabled regarding legislation to amend the New York State Civil Rights Law.)

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Task Force:

My name is Rami Rabby, and I am testifying today in my capacity as the volunteer Legislative Chairman of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State.

Professionally, my background is in the field of Personnel Administration: I have worked for nine years as a Wage and Salary Administration and Executive Compensation specialist in a major management consulting firm, as well as at Citibank, and, for two years, I established and directed Citibank's affirmative action programs for the handicapped. I am now an independent consultant in Human Resources Management.

I would begin by publicly expressing to Assemblyman Hevesi the gratitude and congratulations of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State for his sponsorship of this bill which amends the New York State Civil Rights Law to include "disability" as a basis for nondiscrimination. We recognize that much progress has been achieved in the area of civil rights for the disabled ever since the National Federation of the Blind first succeeded in having White Cane laws enacted in the various states; however, we also believe that a number of glaring omissions and weaknesses still exist in the statutory foundations and framework of disabled civil rights law. Accordingly, any legislation which would strengthen these legal foundations and structures by promoting full and equal participation and integration by the disabled in the normal and regular processes of New York State's economic and social life, and reducing or eliminating outdated traces and elements of segregation, exclusion, denial of opportunity, forced dependency, invasion of privacy and unnecessary different treatment is to be welcomed and applauded.

The National Federation of the Blind is in full agreement with much of the content of Assemblyman Hevesi's bill; however, we would like to comment on two items of vital importance to disabled New Yorkers. These comments refer to Section 7 of the bill, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability on terms of employment and would protect the right of the disabled to equal compensation; and Section 2 of the bill, which would guarantee the right of the disabled citizens of New York to serve on juries.

We would urge you, in the strongest possible way, to amend Section 7 of this bill by including a clear and unequivocal statement that this section hereby amends the New York State Labor Law to cover, under the protection of this bill, workers in so-called Sheltered Workshops, and, specifically, to guarantee them the prevailing minimum wage.

Mr. Chairman, as you know, the National Federation of the Blind of New York State has, for a number of years, been pressing for such legislation that would apply to workers in Sheltered Workshops for the Blind and has constantly encountered bitter, and sometimes vicious, opposition from the managements and staffs of the rehabilitation agencies where such Sheltered Workshops are located. The most recent episode in the history of this opposition took place only a few days ago when Joseph Nocca, Chairman of the Advisory Board to the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, a man who might be expected to protect the interests of the blind of New York State, attempted to persuade Senator John Flynn (we are still not sure how successfully) to refrain from sponsoring a bill which would provide blind Sheltered Workshop workers with minimum wage protection.

Rehabilitation agency opposition to this type of legislation has been consistently based on claims that Sheltered Workshop workers are not as productive as workers in open industry, that they are, in effect, not employees but trainees, that they are engaged not in commercial activity but in rehabilitation and therapy, that Workshops would be forced into bankruptcy if they were obliged to pay the minimum wage, and that workers who would otherwise be employed (even though for a demeaning and shameful pittance) would be compelled to stay at home. While we know and believe that all these claims are patently false and designed to hoodwink, rather than to enlighten, federal and state legislators, they are also totally irrelevant in terms of today's public hearing and discussions.

We appear before you today with an urgent plea to recognize that the issue of minimum wage protection for Sheltered Workshop workers is not an issue of productivity, or the lack of it, but rather an issue of discrimination and civil rights in its purest form, and, therefore, belongs rightly and appropriately in Section 7 of this bill.

The concept of a minimum wage was originally incorporated into the New York State Labor Law not in order to differentiate between human beings who are productive and those who are not, not in order to differentiate between human beings who need six months to progress up the learning curve until they fully earn their wage and those who need only three months. The concept of the minimum wage was originally introduced to protect all human beings from possible exploitation and to guarantee all human beings a minimum decent wage floor which would permit them to subsist, if not to live; all human beings, that is, who are prepared to get up each morning and go to work in commercial, industrial and even most not-for-profit enterprises.

So, the question is, am I not a human being? I at least, believe I am. Yet, if you and I were to find ourselves working in a Sheltered Workshop, the management of that workshop would be at liberty to pay me, a blind human being, inept and unproductive with my hands, below that minimum decent wage floor, while it would be compelled by law to pay you, sighted human beings, equally inept and unproductive with your hands, at or above that minimum decent wage floor.

Several years ago, the National Labor Relations Board was faced with the decision whether or not to bring Sheltered Workshops for the Blind within the coverage and jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act. The issue before the Board was a petition by workers in a Sheltered Workshop for the Blind to be recognized as a collective bargaining unit. The arguments presented by the Sheltered Workshop management in opposition to any such recognition were identical to those now presented in opposition to minimum wage protection: Sheltered Workshop workers were not employees, but trainees; Sheltered Workshop workers were not engaged in commercial or industrial production but in therapy; unions would drive up wages and force the Workshops into bankruptcy; and so forth, and so forth.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Task Force: the National Labor Relations Board bit the bullet; it reversed its traditional stance on this issue and brought Sheltered Workshops within the coverage and jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act. The loophole we have before us in the New York State Labor Law permits several thousand Sheltered Workshop workers to exist in often subhuman conditions. On the other hand, their labor on work subcontracted to the Workshops by the country's major blue chip corporations, and the profits which that labor generates, are used to fund lavish salaries and benefits for rehabilitation agency executives and professional social workers, and to finance rehabilitation services to disabled clients outside the Workshops. This is an issue of civil rights. We appeal to you to bite the bullet too, and, once and for all, put a stop to such reprehensible exploitation.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Task Force: The National Federation of the Blind of New York State very much appreciates your including, as Section 2 of this bill, the provision prohibiting discrimination in jury selection and service on the basis of disability. As you know, our organization has, for many years, been pressing for legislation which would prohibit discrimination in jury selection and service on the basis of blindness, but, so far, unsuccessfully. This year we are making the attempt again with Senate Bill 1671, sponsored by Senator Frank Padavan, and Assembly Bill 2121, sponsored by Assemblywoman Elizabeth Connelly.

It seems outrageous to us that the New York State Legislature has found it so difficult to enact such legislation in the past. It seems even more outrageous that the real reason for this difficulty, according to the very Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his Staff Director, is not any misinformation or misunderstanding as to how a blind juror may make intelligent judgments on the basis of certain visual evidence, such as photographs, blood-stained clothing, etc. That kind of misinformation or misunderstanding can be easily remedied by a little education, or so-called awareness training. The real reason is that many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are themselves attorneys by profession, believe that by seeking to disqualify a juror, rightly or wrongly, on the basis of blindness, trial lawyers may damage their personal image in the eyes of the remaining jurors, who would tend, thereby, to be prejudiced against them.

Such convoluted thinking reminds us very much of the old argument which was so often used by bigoted business executives against employing blacks in any sales or other public-contact position: "Why, our customers wouldn't like it! We would lose business!" Such arguments were ruled to be unlawful by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and we urge you, similarly, to brush aside the same kind of arguments which will surely be presented in opposition to this provision.

Finally, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Task Force, I would like to refer to one aspect of discrimination which undoubtedly exists but which is not dealt with in this bill.

In their relationships with commercial banks, savings and loan associations, and other financial institutions, blind persons have sometimes been required to produce co-signers, while sighted persons seeking to conduct the same transactions have not been so required. In particular I refer to the practice of many banks to require blind persons who wish to rent, or gain entry to, a safe deposit box to be accompanied by a sighted co-renter or co-signer.

We frankly do not know for whose protection this requirement is instituted—whether the bank's, or the would-be safe deposit renters; however, we do believe that such a practice is based on a stereotyped notion that blindness inherently and necessarily robs the blind person of all awareness of what is happening around him and, consequently, as in the case of a blind safe deposit box renter gaining access to his box, the fear that someone other than the blind renter may dip his hand into the box and remove an item or two, unbeknownst to the blind renter.

We would request that such, and other similar practices on the part of financial institutions in New York State, be outlawed, not only because blind people are aware of what is taking place in their immediate vicinity, but particularly because such practices force dependency upon the blind and deprive us of our right to privacy in our most personal affairs.

Mr. Chairman: the National Federation of the Blind of New York State again congratulates you for sponsoring this legislation and is grateful for the opportunity which you, and the Members of the Task Force, have given us to appear before you today.

Thank you very much.

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Separate but equal is an old refrain. To those of us experienced in the movement, it is not too difficult to decipher that message, even when it arrives in the usual—and sometimes not so usual disguises, so when we learned that the New York State Civil Service Commission was preparing a pamphlet especially for us, our ears pricked up. Special is just another way of saying separate.

This special pamphlet first came to our attention when mentioned in the presentation by Mr. Martin O'Connell, Director of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, at our Annual State Convention last October. Our State President, Sterling France, immediately went to work, and in a letter to the Civil Service Commission dated November 7, 1980, said in part,

"The trend throughout the country for the past several years has been to integrate the disabled into the mainstream of society through education, employment and social activities. To be brief and to the point, to develop a brochure specifically for the blind, or for that matter any other disabled group, would say to the general public and specifically personnel officers, that blind people cannot take advantage of existing methods in which to enter the New York State Civil Service System. This assumption is totally false. In the past, blind persons in the State of New York have entered the Civil Service system with all its obstacles; and with continued improvements in the Civil Service System, such as its testing procedures and its attitude towards the disabled in general, blind persons in increasing numbers will secure employment.

"On behalf of the members of the NFB of NYS, I wish to state that we do not need a special pamphlet for us. We only need to be included in the existing pamphlet for general use. It would be of extreme waste of already strained taxpayers' dollars and would not be in keeping with the general trend to integrate the disabled into society in all aspects. I hope you understand what we are trying to say to you, and that the special pamphlet will be stopped immediately."

Mr. Charles G. Wolz responded to Mr. France's letter, and you can judge for yourselves his degree of understanding.

Albany, New York
December 8, 1980

Dear Mr. France:

I have just read your letter of November 7 to Mr. Michael Dollard in which you mention your opposition to a pamphlet we are preparing for the use of the blind and visually handicapped in seeking employment with New York State.

This pamphlet is one of several pamphlets being developed to assist our Department and the State of New York in meeting affirmative action goals of hiring more minorities, handicapped and women.

You state that the issuance of such a pamphlet "would say to the general public and specifically personnel officers that blind persons cannot take advantage of existing methods in which to enter the New York State Civil Service System."

While we have taken positive steps to assist the blind and visually handicapped in the selection process, such as the use of large-print, braille, taping, emanuensis, in our opinion these are only of use if the blind and visually handicapped become aware of career opportunities and wish to seek employment with the State; they are not an end unto themselves.

It is for that reason the pamphlet is needed. Encouragement and letters of support have been received from various public and private groups who have reviewed the proposed pamphlet.

While the expenditure of State funds would be most appropriate to print and distribute the pamphlet, we are not seeking such funds. It is our intention to seek a grant, from either a public or private source, to complete this project.

I am sorry we cannot count on you or your agency for support for this worthwhile effort.

Very truly yours,
Charles G. Wolz
Director of Examinations and Staffing Services
New York State Department of Civil Service

Mr. France did not take this response lying down, and in a letter to Mr. Wolz dated January 6, 1981, explained the facts of life. Mr. France began by informing Mr. Wolz that the National Federation of the Blind was not an agency, "but we are the blind who take the tests and who attempt to enter the Civil Service system." Not only was the NFB of NYS not consulted about this pamphlet, but neither were any of the other consumer groups; the Civil Service Commission did not think that of importance. In addition, the proposed pamphlet did not provide information which the Department would lead one to believe. The Department of Civil Service has not responded, to date, to blind consumer demand for telephone job and testing information, but it has the time, energy and funds for an unneeded and unwanted pamphlet. Mr. France concluded this letter with, "One would get the impression that you enjoy spending public funds by your statement that it would be most appropriate to expend State funds. Whether they be public, private or taxpayer dollars, when you waste money, you waste it regardless of its source."

As can be seen from Mr. Wolz's response in his letter dated January 21, 1981, our first message apparently did not get through.

"Dear Mr. France—I will try to clarify certain misconceptions that appear in your letter of January 6.

"In my two years working on this grant proposal, I have had the occasion to speak with many professional and lay persons, sighted and visually handicapped, concerning the pros and cons of a special informational booklet for the visually handicapped and the blind. My contacts were never intended to include all concerned persons or organizations.

"My concern and the purpose of the booklet, is to provide the visually handicapped person with the general information needed to find out about the State as an employer, not to list specific jobs. As all qualified applicants, regardless of any handicapping conditions, are eligible to compete in our examinations process, there is no need to list specific jobs. The ability of a handicapped person to carry out the duties of a position for which he or she has qualified through examination is determined at the time the eligible is being considered for appointment.

"I have reread part 84 of the regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and find nothing stated or implied therein that precludes the issuance of a booklet such as we plan to publish.

"Regardless of your opinions of the value of this separate booklet and of my competence to handle public funds, I cannot agree that for the blind and visually handicapped one pamphlet for all, printed in 10-point type would be as useful as a special pamphlet prepared in large print and Braille.

"You are the only one I know of who has expressed any opposition to this proposed pamphlet. I cannot understand that you seem to be arguing that the blind and visually handicapped have no special needs and require no special attention or accommodation. If such is the case, what is the purpose of your organization? Why would the blind have to be organized at all.

"I appreciate this opportunity to explain my position to you."

Some people are slow in coming, but when Sterling starts dragging you along, you begin to catch up. With the greatest of care and patience, the facts of life are once again explained to Mr. Wolz in a letter to him dated February 6, 1981.

"I am a member of the Advisory Committee of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. At our January 17 meeting, I specifically asked the question of the members (keep in mind the committee is made up of the three organizations of the blind, representatives from parents of blind children, blind private agency directors, the State Advocate's Office, the Ophthalmology advisor to the Commission and some blind consumers) if any committee member individually, or their respective agency or organization had seen the proposed pamphlet. No one, with the exception of Mr. O'Connell (and there were 13 present out of a committee of 15) was even aware that such a pamphlet was being proposed. I asked you in my previous letter that if you had letters of encouragement as you stated, not only I and the members of my organization would like to know who they were from, but the members of the Advisory Committee, I believe, will also express interest in knowing.

"...Under Section 'F' of the 504 Regulation, it clearly outlines the provisions of existing material relating to services to be provided in a medium usable to blind and deaf individuals—this is all we are asking for—to put existing materials in a form usable to blind persons.

"You mention that you have been working on this proposal for two years. In that two years, you have yet to seek the opinion, advice or input from the organized blind in the State of New York. If you had, it might have only been two weeks rather than two years to complete your task.

"You state the purpose of this booklet is 'to provide the visually handicapped person with general information needed to find out about the State as an employer...' Isn't this information already available to the non-disabled New Yorker? If it is, and I believe it is, then we only need to put it in accessible form so that blind and visually handicapped individuals can make use of it.

"Mr. Wolz, I believe we have both made our points. We have established a written record, and I see no further need to continue taking 'shots' at each other. Our main purpose as an organization of blind consumers is to have input in the decision-making process which will have a bearing on our lives, either directly or indirectly. This proposed pamphlet you are working on will have such a bearing..."

Let us never say die as we continue the saga of the Woe's of Wolz. Endurance and patience pay off as can readily be seen in Mr. Wolz's letter of February 11, 1981.

"Dear Mr. France—Thank you for your letter of February 6. I called you this morning and left a message on your telephone answering device.

"I just wanted to say that the information I intended to provide in the booklet does not exist at this time in any other published form. It will shortly be issued in English and Spanish as an effort on our part to attract more minorities to State Service.

"Basically, I was going to use this same material, with minor revisions, except it would be published in combination large print—Braille.

"However, after reviewing your comments and noting the opposition of your federation to this project, as evidenced in the twenty-five letters received this week from your members In the Hyde Park—Poughkeepsie area, I have decided to suspend this project and seek funds for other handicapped related projects Instead."

A careful reading of this correspondence between President France and Mr. Wolz leaves no doubt that although our philosophical message may not have been completely understood, our strength certainly was.

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On presidential release after presidential release last year I kept reporting new arrivals in Federation families and saying that 1980 was truly the year of the baby. The trend continues in 1981. In fact, it seems to be accelerating.

It was early afternoon of April 22. At the National Office a dozen things were happening (as usual), and a dozen more were in the wings waiting to happen (also as usual).  Jim Gashel called me and said, "I think I had better jump ship. Arlene says she thinks she needs to go to the hospital."

The story has a happy ending. The Gashels went to the hospital, thought it was a false alarm, returned home, and immediately went back to the hospital. At 6:22 on the evening of April 22, 1981 (ten minutes after arriving at the hospital) the Gashels became the proud parents of Valery Christine: weight 6 lb. 12 1/4 oz.; mother and baby doing fine; the year (or is it the decade) of the baby continues.

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(Note: As Federationists know, Tom Stevens is Director of Missouri's Programs for the Blind. Of course, he is also a dedicated Federationist. The following article is reprinted from the March, 1981, Blind Missourian, which is the newsletter of our Missouri affiliate.)

Several years ago, I watched from the veranda of a house as people traversed the sidewalks beyond the fenced yard where I sat. It was in Vung Tau, South Vietnam and was early evening. Directly across the street was an alley, which seemed to be particularly busy. It was not lighted, so as people walked into the alley, they disappeared. Male and female they entered. There was almost no vehicle traffic on the street. A young Vietnamese woman walked briskly toward the street from the alley. As she came into full view, a soldier called across to her, "Hey, young woman, what you do?" In a flash, she responded with a most appropriate retort: "You no sweat, G.I. What I do, I did."

Let us turn our attention to what we do. Whatever she did, she announced that she took responsibility for it. And many of us are that way. Yet, there are others who are reluctant participants. Perhaps it is for them that these words are written. The time is now for action, not resting.

Dick Edlund recently outlined his travels. He had just returned from Houston, where he and Bert Bisgyer had been for four days. Dick stated that a major labor complaint was in the making against the Houston Lighthouse for the Blind, with over 100 separate counts of violations. He had been to Washington, D.C., where he participated in the "March on Washington" and stayed a few more days to see after his duties as treasurer. He then flew to Utah where a sheltered shop worker had been assaulted by a person on the shop staff. And Dick has recently found that the city of Kansas City, Kansas is not in compliance with the self-study provisions of Section 504.

What keeps a person like Dick Edlund going? Or Eileen Edlund, whose assistance is so unswerving and so vital? Or Jim Gashel? Or the NFB leadership while the federal attorney in Iowa, Roxanne Conlin, investigated the NFB for three years before stating in writing that she could find no grounds for continued investigation? We can each ask, what have I done to encourage our leaders? What have I done for other blind persons? Can I say, "What I do, I did," with confidence that I have given my best?

One of the ways we can give our best is by seeking Associates. It does not matter what your job is. In fact, whether you have a job or not, you can do a great deal to assist. A Federationist can take pride when his/her state is in the top ten in Associates or PAC. There is greater satisfaction in knowing that these contributions are helping us intervene when an employer discriminates against a blind employee, or a blind child is not being educated.

Recently, I received a letter from a friend who had gotten her first Associate for the year. It was a tremendous uplift, my friend reported. In fact, the letter went on, the person who gave it had asked about the NFB and in the discussion, asked how they could help. Sometimes it is that easy. About two weeks ago, I found a letter which I had written in 1980 to a close friend, asking him for an Associate. Since he and I tease each other, I wrote him a new note, asking him why he had not replied to the letter which he had not received. Last week, I received a letter from his father with two Associates in it and the explanation that any time his son got a request for a donation, he passed it on.

In mailing an appeal we could send a copy of one of the NFB speeches, since a person will tend to read it. I usually send a one page letter with an NFB brochure, the Associate form on which I have put my name and stamped my address on the back, and a self-addressed envelope. Of the ones I received last year, nearly 90% responded through me. Thus, I was able to keep some track of who had joined.

One day, I gave an Associate form to a waitress. In ten minutes she was back with a check, and she read several speeches in the next few weeks. She also stated that she had asked others to participate, but was unsuccessful. Later, I asked her how she reacted to the speeches. "It's a weird feeling to be confronted with your own misunderstandings," she replied. "It's a real growing experience."

I gave one to a bus driver whose bus I ride often. The next week, he gave me an Associate for $25. I had also given him several speeches. A lawyer friend gave $50. Another person asked what the NFB does. When he learned that we had assisted in passage of a law regarding identification cards in Missouri for non-drivers, he mailed in a contribution of $25. In late July, I was eating with a friend in Alexandria, Virginia to whom I had mailed two different letters. He informed me that he is an Associate, a surprising development.

Gail Thompson of Michigan (formerly of Florida) and fourth place finisher in 1980 and runner-up in 1979, says that the real key is persistence. She gets most of her Associates from businesses. She reports calling on one business 16 times before she received their Associate. When working with businesses, she noted that there is a real need for credibility. Telephone contacts are especially important. If the chapter has a telephone listed, then a merchant can call, if he or she wants, to verify the authenticity of an appeal.

Our Alaskan friends go at it in different ways. Sandy Sanderson says that he tells the person that they are someone he would like to have as a fellow Federationist. Another person who placed last year states that he sent out over 900 letters, using bulk mailing rates.

Many people promise and do not follow through. We may send a letter, then call in a few days to ask if there are any questions. Some have said that they received the letter and intended to send one in but have just forgotten. Thus, a second appeal may bring ready success. It has diminishing returns but it is well worth it. And there are those who send them directly to Baltimore. Always send a personal "thanks."

Some friends respond and some do not. Some relatives respond and some do not. Some strangers or slight acquaintances respond and some do not. One thing is certain. Relatives, friends, acquaintances and strangers will not respond unless they are offered an opportunity. Some have given to organizations such as the United Fund or AFB, but will willingly donate money to the NFB once they are informed of what we are doing.

Last year, a young Federationist was walking the hallways of the state capitol building. He met a state senator and mentioned the Associate plan. To his amazement, the senator took him into his office and wrote out a $10 check. Sometimes it is just that easy. At the same time, I find that it is a very, very good way to make the Federation a more personal thing. Affiliate newsletters to these Associates bring them closer to our cause. In another instance, I have an aunt who baby sits for Recording for the Blind readers. She got six Associates. One thing has been particularly unsuccessful: sending another Associate form with thank you notes. Not a single one has come to fruition.

Many people benefit from the work we in the NFB do: blind merchants, sheltered shop workers, recipients of Library of Congress services, employed blind persons, and professionals in the field, just to mention a few. Unfortunately, many do not know of the benefit.

The important thing is not who wins, places or shows in the Associates contest. Rather, it is the support we at the grass roots are able to give our leadership at whatever level. By sending in Associates, we gain at all three levels, but more at the local level than anywhere else. Unlike some organizations which claim to be charitable, the number of people employed by the NFB is less than 15. At the affiliate level, we frequently employ no one, have no rental or utilities. So the donations go to directly assist blind persons. When the question is asked, "Hey, Federationist, what you do?" We can retort with assurance, "You no sweat. What I do, I did."

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The independence of state library service for the blind is being threatened. The first step was taken when New Jersey agreed to contractually provide equal and complete library service to Delaware. Eventually, this will lead to a dilution of library service to both New Jersey and Delaware readers. Hopefully, consumers will make themselves attuned to this matter and prevent it from being a detrimental trend. This was a very rapid move on the part of the New Jersey library officials.

On April 4, 1981, at a meeting of the Consumer Advisory Board of the New Jersey State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a motion was passed to supply Delaware with full and equal library service. This will be the first time that a state (once having established its own library) has dissolved that library and returned to the system of contracting with another state for service. A small number of borrowers and the loss of Library Service and Construction Act (L.S.C.A.) funds were the reason given for this move. Delaware will now lose their control in governing their own state library, and they will be at the mercy of New Jersey's state library bureaucracy. Consequently, this will leave the Delaware borrowers with just a hope for improved library service.

New Jersey is expected to receive approximately $36.00 per borrower from Delaware. Since New Jersey receives approximately $36.00 per borrower in New Jersey, there will be no financial gain for our library. In fact, if the number of borrowers from Delaware increases significantly, New Jersey will have to use its own state funds to absorb the increase in new Delaware readers. This can only result in dilution of service to readers in both states.

As an NFB of New Jersey member and a member of the Consumer Advisory Board of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I went to the April 4th meeting prepared with data and hopeful that this contractual agreement would not come about. When the vote was taken, five voted yes, and I stood alone with my negative vote. It is a difficult job to convince so-called "non-aligned" blind persons of the dangers of consolidating services for the blind. It is a matter that we all must be aware of and guard against in our respective states.

Delaware will be contracting with New Jersey for library service, but perhaps we can prevent another state from falling into this unfortunate trap. Awareness of this new step in bureaucracy may prevent us from having a central library service for the blind and handicapped in the future. In conclusion, consolidating library service for two or more states must stop.

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The National Federation of the Blind of Florida met in convention at the Ramada Inn, Orlando, Florida the week-end of February 20-22. Present were delegates from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Pensacola.

Friday afternoon was devoted to registration, and a pre-convention Board of Directors meeting was held in the evening. The convention opened on Saturday morning with a welcome to Orlando by Dan Hicks, NFBF member. Treasurer of the NFB Dick Edlund, the national representative then gave a report concerning activities on the national scene. From the Division of Blind Services came Donald Wedewer, Director, and two staff members. Also present was Donald Weber, director of the Multistate Library for this region. Both Mr. Wedewer and Mr. Weber spoke about developments in their areas.

The highlight of the convention program was the JOB Seminar, beginning with a buffet luncheon, followed by a most interesting and informative tape by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, recorded at a previous JOB seminar. The second segment consisted of a panel by employed NFBF members, telling about their work: Jim Rader, IRS Taxpayer Service Representative of Jacksonville; Judy Jones, Independent Living Specialist of Tallahassee; Dan Hicks, Administrative Clerk for the U.S. Navy in Orlando; and Gertrude Sitt, Proofreader for Triformation Systems, Inc. in Stuart. The other two segments of the seminar included discussions of the Job Interview, the Resume and the Job Application.

At the banquet on Saturday evening Dick Edlund made us aware of the progress we had made in the workshop area, and what more needs to be done. Charters were presented to the two newest NFBF chapters—Clay County, and Capital City.

The convention concluded with the business meeting on Sunday morning. Two Board members were elected for two year terms—Terri Thibodeau, re-elected, and Dan Hicks, newly elected. President Beth Bowen was elected delegate to the National Convention, and First Vice-President Judith Hanson, alternate. Two important resolutions were passed: one opposing NAC accreditation of the Millard Conklin Multihandicapped Center in Daytona Beach; and the other condemning the actions of the Division of Blind Services in promoting the spread of the ACB in Florida.


Excitement, enthusiasm, and interest characterized the Third Annual NFB of Alaska Convention January 9-11, 1981, at the Northern Lights Inn at Anchorage, Alaska. To kick off the event. Board member Tony James, wife Georgina, and Tony's cousin, Steve, formed a combo which provided an exhilarating evening of dancing and general good fellowship.

On Saturday, the second day of the convention, a burst of applause and acclaim greeted the two speakers from the National Office of NFB, Jim Gashel and Richard Edlund. Elections were held in which Sandy Sanderson was again elected President; Louise Rude, First Vice President; Darryl Nather, Second Vice President; and Gwen Janson, new Board member. Speeches were made by representatives of Social Security Administration, Alaska State Library, Alaska Blind-Visually Impaired Program, Jim Welch, Director of the Louise Rude Sensory Impairment Center, and Theda Smith of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

On Sunday, a formative meeting was held for the Alaska Vendors. The Merchants Guild of Alaska came into being. This was the largest and best convention the blind of Alaska have had.



Danbury Area Chapter

The 1980 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut was held on Saturday, November 15, at the Holiday Inn in Danbury. Jim Omvig was present as our National representative.

This year, for the first time, we reversed past convention format, and held our program segment in the morning, and our business meeting in the afternoon. With JOB and employment being very much on everyone's minds these days, our convention program was dedicated to this theme. Our first panel consisted of five blind Federationists, all of whom are working in competitive employment. Lynn Golden spoke about her job as a medical transcriptionist; Jim Ahearn spoke about his job as a laundry supervisor; Bruce Woodward spoke about his job as a data processer; Ray Wright told about his job marking prices in a department store; and Bruno Andreoli spoke about his job in a machine shop.

Following these presentations we had a panel of representatives from employers: Aetna Life and Casualty Insurance Company, Union Carbide, and Pratt & Whitney.

Jim Omvig concluded the morning program by speaking about affirmative action.

Jim Omvig was also the speaker at the noon banquet. A charter was presented to Bruno Andreoli, President of the Greater New Haven Area Chapter, our newest local affiliate.

The afternoon session was taken up with resolutions, a report from the Library, and elections. The following people were elected: Howard May, President; James Ahearn, First Vice President; Sally Prentice, Second Vice President; Mary Brunoli, Secretary; Bruce Woodward, Treasurer; and Keith Perrin and Bruno Andreoli, two-year board members. Ben Snow and Mary Main remain on the Board for one year. Mary Brunoli was elected delegate to the national convention, and Nancy Johnston was elected alternate delegate.



Our annual state convention was held October 17-19 at the Continental Inn in Manhattan, Kansas. Our National Representative was Diane McGeorge.

The Resolutions Committee, chaired by Tom Anderson, and the Nominating Committee, chaired by Maxine Bohrer, met Friday night.

Saturday morning Diane McGeorge gave a report from the National Office. This was followed by Dick Edlund's presidential report. Then, a presentation was made by Ralph Barley, Principal of the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped. To conclude the session Alan Alcorn reported on the Walk-A-Thon, which netted approximately $900.00.

During the afternoon session we held a mini JOB seminar, the participants being Diane McGeorge, Jim Walker, Roy Zuvers, and Dick Edlund.

At the Saturday evening banquet, a charter was presented to our newest affiliate, the Douglas County Chapter. This was followed by a rousing speech by Diane McGeorge.

On Sunday we held a business session and elected the following officers: President, Richard Edlund; First Vice President, Jim Steward; Second Vice President, Tom Anderson; Secretary, Susie Stanzel; Treasurer, Walter Long; and Board positions: Sharon Luka, Jackie Peters, Gerry Griggs, and Alan Alcorn. Alan finishes the term of Susie Stanzel.

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(Note: Jennie Allison is a member of the Greater Seattle Chapter, NFB of Washington.)


1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla

Stir together. Drop on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

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From Gintautaus Burba:

The 1981-82 U.S. Blind Correspondence Chess Championship commences during the month of July, 1981. Anyone interested in such a chess competition should write in Braille to Gintautaus Burba, 30 Snell Street, Brockton, Massachusetts 02401. The 1979-80 U.S. Blind Correspondence Chess Championship was won jointly by Robert Rathbun and Gintautaus Burba.

Concerning Jim Omvig:

Since his move to Maryland, Jim Omvig has been extremely active and has become known by others for his efforts on behalf of blind and other handicapped persons. On April 15, 1981, he was given a Certificate of Merit by the Maryland Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He was honored at a luncheon, with others, for his "courage and determination."

From Kathleen Hagen:

"The Womyn's Braille Press offers periodicals, books, and other information on womyn's issues on tape and in Braille. We provide feminist literature not currently available from other sources of taped or Brailled material. WBP produces a quarterly newsletter in print, Braille, and on cassette. For a sample newsletter send $.50, or for further information write to:

Womyn's Braille Press
Box 8475
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408

From Tom Bozikis:

Bettye Baysinger was a lively strong-minded person who was not afraid to speak her mind. She served as secretary and first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Vanderburgh County. She also served as secretary of our Indiana affiliate.

On Friday, March 27, Bettye died of cancer. She was forty-seven years old.

Bettye will be remembered and missed by those of us who knew her and loved her. She was a fighter and never quit. She was a source of strength and encouragement.

Bettye was a shining example of what a Federationist should be.

It is now that we are realizing what it is like without Bettye; but the movement and those who are blind have it better because our paths crossed and we knew the love and affection which she had for us.

The American Brotherhood for the Blind announces a new publication—one for which much need has been expressed in the field of work with the blind. A HANDBOOK FOR SENIOR CITIZENS: RIGHTS, RESOURCES AND RESPONSIBILITIES by Ramona Walhof will be of real value to nursing homes, independent travel programs, hospitals, libraries, blind persons themselves, and their families. It is available at a cost of $5.95, and checks or money orders should be made payable to the American Brotherhood for the Blind and sent to 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. The following is the Table of Contents from this book:


1. The American Brotherhood for the Blind
2. What is Blindness
3. Where to Live
4. Special Techniques
5. Aids and Appliances for Personal Use
6. Special Services and Agencies for Older Americans
7. Financial Assistance
8. Rehabilitation Services for Older Blind Persons
9. Handling Printed Materials
10. History of Organizations of the Blind
11. To Every Thing There is a Season


A. State Agencies on Aging
B. Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
C. State Rehabilitation Agencies for the Blind
D. Dog Guide Schools
E. National Agencies and Organizations that Provide Resources for the Blind

From the March 31, 1981, Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company publication, recognizing the International Year of the Disabled:

"Colonial is fortunate to have several employees who are physically handicapped. Their very presence here is strong evidence of the emptiness behind many common misconceptions. Our Company has realized that a handicapped person is often handicapped further by social and job-related discrimination. Our employees have shown that the physically handicapped are not unequal to the 'whole' person. Don Capps, Staff Manager of the Death Claims Section, says, 'My blindness is not a handicap in my job, but a nuisance.' In talking about the misconceptions some people have about the blind, Don recalls with amusement the woman on the telephone who told him, 'You don't sound like you're blind.' Sometimes a person has the tendency to talk louder to someone who is blind to gain their attention. He fondly remembers the time when his daughter Beth was young and her playmate said, 'Your Daddy is blind, you know;' and Beth responded wisely, 'Yeah, and he's real smart, too!'

"Don joined Colonial thirty-four years ago on April 15, 1947, at age eighteen. He was born with a congenital visual impairment which caused glaucoma. As a young man, the disease became increasingly troublesome and at twenty-five years of age, he was considered legally blind. When the doctor treating his condition told him that he would probably have to give up his job, Don wept. He recalls his meeting with Mr. John Clifton Judy, co-founder of the Company, when he told Mr. Judy that he could no longer read. 'We are not paying you to read. We are paying you for what you know,' Judy responded. 'We'll get someone to read for you.' Judy's confidence and insight turned Don's life around."

From the NFB of Alaska:

The members of the NFB of Alaska are pleased to advise all of you throughout the states that a grant has been awarded to the NFB of Alaska for an Independent Living Center.

The Center will be a completely separate entity, in separate physical quarters from NFB. However, NFB will be administering the grant.

The primary purpose of the grant will be to help persons of various severe disabilities to achieve the maximum level of independence and self-support that it is possible to attain. The Independent Living Center will also be collecting a data bank of the total resources of services available statewide. At the same time, any duplications will be discovered, as well as special needs and areas of service that are not covered.

Both the staff and the advisory board will be composed principally of consumers, whether they are actually receiving services or not. The staff and board will be setting both policies and practices which will result in a practical service program for all. Director of the Program will be Louise Rude, a long-time member and officer of the NFB of Alaska.

From Al Evans:

"During its last annual meeting, the Massachusetts Association for the Blind (MAB) held elections and voted onto its Board of Directors Priscilla Ferris, Mike Hingson, and Paul DeMendonca. These three are, of course, members and leaders of the Federation in Massachusetts. It will be remembered that the Massachusetts Association for the Blind acquired a good deal of national recognition last year when (despite pressure to do otherwise) it renounced its NAC accreditation."

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