July 2004


THE MINNESOTA MEMO



A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND OF MINNESOTA
P O BOX 7341
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55407

The articles and comments stated in this newsletter are not necessarily the position of the American Council of the Blind of Minnesota, but rather are the position and opinion of the article's author.

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE

Bert Morlock, Editor
4815 28th Ave. South, #217
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: (612) 721-9970
E-Mail: albertmorlock@mn.rr.com

Bob Lockwood, Co-editor
3625 Cardinal Road
Minnetonka, MN 55345
Phone: (952) 932-7269
E-Mail: Peggy_Bob@email.msn.com

Michael Malver, Web Editor
1225 Lasalle Ave. 302
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: (612) 673-0664
E-Mail: mmalver@visi.com


Table of contents
President’s Message.
ACBM Welcomes New Members.
A Special Invitation, Just for You!
In Memoriam – Don Bergstrom..
2004 ACB Scholarship Winners.
Odds and Ends.
Introducing the ACBM Calling Committee.
Poem.
Ninth Annual Alternative Convention Report.
Blind Get Wireless Guidance.
Thoughts.
ACB-M Board of Directors.

President’s Message

It’s hard to believe by the time you are reading this message, spring will be but a memory and summer will be in full swing! Being a California born and raised guy, spring and summer are my favorite seasons. It never ceases to amaze me but year after year, the magic of nature kicks in all around us and things that by December look completely and utterly dead, dried up and even more dead, by May/June magically sprout tiny buds and begin to spring alive with new energy and life once again. And in just a few weeks, things even more magically explode, becoming bigger and stronger than the year before.

This dance of nature happens right before our eyes, year after year. And if we allow ourselves to pay attention to it, even for just a little bit, a great and valuable lesson can be learned. It’s a lesson and powerful story of new life and budding eenergy, bringing on renewed life and new possibilities.

ACBM is, in many ways, just like nature. It too, has life cycles that mirror nature. The tiny buds growing on the ends of new branches each New Year grow with renewed vigor and a renewed energy and purpose.

Recently, your officers and directors participated in a Leadership Retreat training program. It is the first leadership training program conducted by ACBM, for ACBM, in many, many years. Under the guidance of a skilled and talented presenter named Paula Mickelson, we were guided through a series of activities and exercises designed to pull out ideas, thoughts and concerns we each had hidden deep inside of our own heads. Paula Mickelson is one of %the co-owners of a company called “SLICES,” a company that specializes in various educationally based workshop and training programs. She provided us with a valuable resource tool, which provided us with a framework to use as we met throughout the course of the daylong event. We were able to discuss and identify some policies and directions we collectively would like to lead ACBM towards in the near future. The timing of this Leadership Training program happened to come at a very important time in our organizational life cycle.

With ACBM surpassing its quarter century mark, it is a perfect time to evaluate where we have come from and set our sights on where we want to go in the future. We decided to re-evaluate our Mission, making sure it matches whom and what ACBM is all about today. We created a long list of goals and priorities and painstakingly prioritized them in order of relevance and importance and from these are working on setting up some time lines for attaining the top ones. Through these priorities will come some new short and long-term goals for ACBM. And as we work to bring to life some of the top goals and priorities, we will be counting on your continued support.

We are already working hard to attain one of our top goals… to purchase our own Braille embosser. Partnering with the St. Paul Midway Lions Club this goal may soon be a reality. And for the first time in our history, you could soon be receiving documents and communications in Braille, if this is your preferred choice!

The Schwan’s Frozen Food Fundraiser kicked off our “Embosser Drive” and brought in a modest amount of dollars. Much more successful, however, was the ACBM-Lion Celebrity Beepball game held before the St. Paul Saints game on Friday July 16 at Midway Stadium. With ACBM and the Lions making up the blind players team, and playing against a team of St. Paul celebrities, including the Mayor of St. Paul, Randy Kelly, the two teams clashed on the field at 6:00 PM. By 6:40 PM, and 2 full innings played, it was all over with the blind team winning 3-0. But the biggest winner of the night was ACBM as all the proceeds for the game and Midway Lions collecting donations before and after the game went to ACBM!

We still have a way to go towards realizing our Braille embosser but are over half way there already. With the Worlds Finest Chocolate candy bar sale starting and the sale of Entertainment Coupon books beginning in August, that Braille embosser should be ours by the end of the year! If you know anyone that would like to contribute to our Braille Embosser Account just have him or her send in a tax-deductible donation in any amount to:
ACBM
P.O. Box 7341
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep calling ACBM Info Express at 651-642-5003 to stay up to the minute with all the latest and most current news for and about ACBM. Together, let’s move forward with renewed energy and vigor, creating a much bigger and even better ACBM!

Ken Rodgers, President

ACBM Welcomes New Members

By: Ken Rodgers

This past quarter ACBM is pleased to welcome three new members into our ACBM family. They are: Todd Fahlstrom, Bill Bryant and Pattie Sanner.

The Board of Directors unanimously approved each of the membership applications at recent Board meetings. Membership in general, and new members specifically, is critical to any organizations future. Members are the life-blood of an organization and without them the organization will die. That is why at each National Convention there is special importance placed on the topic of membership.

At the summer ACB convention in Birmingham, Alabama, it was shared that in a recent study, conducted by a major University in the New England area, a detailed study was taken on the topic of membership, and more specifically, why people first joined membership organizations. When people in this research study were asked, “ Why did you first join a membership organization?” the overwhelmingly largest single response, with a 93 percent response rate, said: "Because someone asked me to join."

Interestingly enough, in each instance of our three newest members of the ACBM family, each one was asked to consider joining ACBM by a current member.

Now, if you were to stop and take a minute to think about it, right now, this very minute, think about your circle of friends… I would almost bet good money that every one of us knows someone that would make a very good addition to our ACBM family. It takes all kinds of people to make any organization a strong and viable one. Obviously, the more good members an organization has, the more impact the organization can make. ACBM stands for some strong ideals. We believe in diversity. And we believe everyone must make important decisions about themselves that only they can make for themselves. In our interaction with the World, we believe there is no one correct answer for everyone and there is no “one size fits all!” But, we do believe each person has the right to want to make his or her life a better one.

Make no mistake about it; we believe that our vision loss is most certainly a disability. But this disability does not have to impede, in any way shape or form, our abilities! We also believe we are stronger together than we are alone. It is our own responsibility to help the ACBM family grow. Why not invite a friend that you know would make a great addition to our family to our next event? Then, it will be easier to ask them to join our family and become, for themselves, one of our newest members to the ACBM Family! If we really wanted to, we could easily double our membership, overnight. Who would you ask to join ACBM? Why not ask someone to become a member of ACBM today?

A Special Invitation, Just for You!

By: Ken Rodgers

Ever wonder what goes on during one of those monthly ACBM Board of Director meetings? No, you don’t need to learn a special knock to be able to enter… And you don’t need to know any secret password to get in either. There really is no secret about them because they are always open meetings and everyone is always welcome to attend. For those of you that need a special invitation, consider this:

"You are cordially and hereby presented with this, your very own SPECIAL INVITATION!"

Don’t worry if you can’t find the scissors, you don’t need to cut it out and present it at the door in order to be admitted. All you need to do is show up! How much easier could it be?

ACBM Board of Director meetings are where the real business of ACBM takes place. The financial records are reviewed; policy is talked about, discussed, sometimes debated and even sometimes voted on. Sometimes there is time for committees to give reports on what they have been working on and there is often opportunity to hear the most up to date advocacy work of the National office on our behalf.

Board meetings are also a time to review where we have been over the last month and to plan where we are going in the next months ahead.

You only have one more opportunity to attend a summer Board meeting that will be held on Monday August 16, 2004, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. This last summer meeting will be held at 1225 La Salle Avenue, upstairs in the complex meeting room.

Beginning in September, and continuing through next Memorial Day 2005, the ACBM Board of Director meetings will continue to be the third Monday of every month. These regular monthly meetings will be back at Bryant Square Community Center. The address of Bryant Community Square is 3101 Bryant Avenue South in Minneapolis. The time is always 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

These meetings are for and about your organization. Isn’t it about time you attended one of these meetings to see for yourself what goes on there? And really, since these meetings concern the future of ACBM you don’t really need a “SPECIAL INVITATION” at all to attend. Heck, for that matter, you don ’t need ANY kind of invitation to attend… you just need to show up. Really, it’s that easy! See you at a board meeting sometime soon?

In Memoriam – Don Bergstrom

By: Stephanie Hall

A kind, gentle member of ACB-M passed away on February 1, 2004. Complications from diabetes and a rare connective tissue disorder took the life of Don Bergstrom too early. Don first joined ACBM in the early 1990’s. Don served as a board member for two years and actively participated on the 1994 state convention committee.

As an advocate for the blind, Don often testified at the state legislature on behalf of SSB and ACBM. I once heard Chuck Hamilton praise Don for his “informative and thorough presentation” at a committee hearing. Don also contacted various legislators to discuss issues related to all of us in the blind community, especially those issues related to employment and transportation.

"A desire to inform others accurately and objectively," characterized Don’s quiet style. Don’s presence was often noted at Rehabilitation Counsel for the Blind meetings. His quiet demeanor encouraged thoughtful responses and a broad respect for all people. Being a good listener was Don’s greatest asset.

Don spent his last years of employment working for the Friendship Manor Care Center in Bloomington. Don is survived by his wife, a daughter, two sons and several grandchildren.

Thanks Don for your thoughtfulness, kindness, and humility in all that you did for ACBM and its members.

Since much of Don’s ACBM life was centered on his desire to keep others informed, it is truly fitting that ACBM dedicate this July 2004 edition of the “Minnesota Memo” in honor of Don Bergstrom’s service to ACBM, in memoriam.

2004 ACB Scholarship Winners

By: Ken Rodgers

Congratulations are in order for our own Michael Malver who was awarded a special scholarship this summer at the National ACB Convention. Michael won the John Hebner Memorial Scholarship, reserved for a student that is working full time while at the same time furthering his education. Besides winning money to help with educational expenses Michael also won a software package from Kurzweil Educational Services and was treated to his first National ACB convention held July 3-10, in Birmingham, Alabama. Other scholarship winners are as follows:

Floyd Qualls Memorial Scholarships
Caitlin Snyder, Michigan – Entering Freshman
Sina Braham, N. Carolina – Undergraduate
Lisa Boettcher, Missouri – Graduate
Michael Beukenkamp, Texas – Vocational

Duane Buckley Memorial Scholarship
Renae Goettel, Washington

American Council of the Blind of the Colorado
Ashley Fritz, Colorado
Harris Singer, Colorado

Eunice Fiorito Memorial Scholarship
Jason Perry, Ohio

National Industries for the Blind/Grant Mack
Benjamin Manning, Washington

Dr. S. Bradley Burson Memorial Scholarship
Jeremy Johansen, California

Delbert K. Aman Memorial Scholarship
Marsha Delagardelle, S. Dakota

John Hebner Memorial Scholarship
Michael Malver, Minnesota

Oregon Council of the Blind
Aaron Mathews, Oregon
Meghan Briggs, Oregon

Ross and Patricia Pangere Foundation
Cammie Vlodman, Oklahoma

Bay State Council of the Blind
Timothy Vernon, Massachusetts

Dr. Mae Davidow Memorial Scholarship
Leslie Sears Randolph, Ohio

Arnold Sadler Memorial Scholarship
Christie Gilson, Illinois

Alma Murphey Memorial Scholarship
Lisa Gordon, California

Kellie Cannon Memorial Scholarship < br /> Jeffery Smith, N. Carolina

Dr. Nicholas DiCaprio Memorial Scholarship
Mary Rogers, Massachusetts

Odds and Ends

By: Chuk Hamilton, Director Minnesota State Services for the Blind
2200 University Avenue W. #240
St. Paul, MN 55114-1840
Phone (651) 642-0512
Toll free (800) 383-8155
Fax (651) 649-5927
E-mail: chamilto@ngwmail.des.state.mn.us

I just wanted to drop you all a note on a few projects so you know what's going on.

-We have started work on the Adjustment to Blindness Training-Phase 1 curriculum. The training will be directly based on the new policy I sent you in June, following input and comment by you, the blind community and Council. I was pleased that almost everyone supported the direction we are headed. I am hoping we will have an all-staff meeting this fall where we can put on the training, and get your important feedback for improvements. It looks like the training itself could be two days.

-The formal process to solicit RFP's from Community Rehabilitation Programs for Adjustment to Blindness Training-Phase 2 is also underway. That will allow us to set up contracts with them and streamline our ability to refer staff for the training in the future. In the mean time we can start training a few people (when supervisors and staff are ready) as long as we don't go above a limit set by the Department of Administration. Once the contracts are in place, this limit goes away.

-I have become aware that there will be no departmental booth at the State Fair this year. However, I do want you to know that the Communication Center, through a partnership with AARP, will be highlighted there during Senior's Day at the fair.

-We have started the process of developing federal year 2005 budgets, as well as the state biennial budget process. This latter activity culminates in the Governor presenting his 2006-2007 budget to the legislature next January. I expect times to remain extremely tight.

-I hope to start traveling soon and visiting all our offices.

Keep up the Good Work!

Introducing the ACBM Calling Committee

By: Janet Dickelman

Several people may have contacted you over the last few months to be given or asked for information pertaining to ACBM goings on. Hopefully from now on you will have the same person phoning you on a regular basis. Michael Malver is now chairman of the calling committee along with some longtime callers and some new faces. Huge thanks to Joe Sorenson and Jane Lund who due to other commitments will no longer be members of the committee.

Please feel free to call Michael or your calling committee person with any questions or if you have not been called about meetings.

Marilynn Highland
612-824-9492
Members with last names beginning with A through F
Stephanie Hall
612-332-7837
Members with last names beginning with G and H
Juliette Silvers
612-824-2131
Members with last names beginning with I through L
Janet Dickelman
651-698-5059
Members with last names beginning with M through R
Michael Malver
612-673-0664
Members with last names beginning with S through Z

Poem

By anonymous

Submitted by Carol Heinl

one fine day in the middle of the night,
two dead boys got up to fight,
back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other;
a deaf policeman heard the noise,
came in and shot the two dead boys,
if you don't believe this story,
just ask the blind man,
he saw it too.


Ninth Annual Alternative Convention Report

By: Mike Vining

Well, it is time for Mike's ninth anual convention report of the Birmingham ACB National Convention. It was a very hectic and confusing convention, this year. Along with all the goings on in the national office this year, Jim Olsen had a heart attack the weekend before convention. So, it looked, as though he would not be in attendance. My thoughts were, well, this adds more to the weird mixture of this year’s convention. Doug Psick, Jim's son-in-law went down to Birmingham for the first few days to take care of getting things going. One of Jim's daughters was in the Minneapolis office on early in the week to tie loose ends together. Elaine was running the registration office, after Doug left Birmingham on Sunday, until the end of registration on Thursday, July 8th, during the week. Many people asked about Jim, JRO, as he is called by some in ACB.

Let's continue on with the rest of the news. Arriving in Birmingham was eventful. We had to get off the plane, the old fashion way, by going down the steps, outside. There was a storm in Birmingham, when we landed, so, we could not go down those steps to deplane until the thunder and lightning stopped.

I went on the tour of The Talladega racetrack. It was great for me, since we in Minnesota, have no NASCAR racing here. We got to ride in a pace car that went around the track at speeds of 125 to 130 miles per hour. We toured the NASCAR museum, seeing racecars, stockcars, and hearing about the races they won. One room was dedicated to crashes. The tour guide could tell us about every crash and how it happened. All of these exhibits consisted of mounds of twisted metal, plastic, and rubber. Of course, there was the gift shop. I purchased many items. Like I said, we do not have this sport in Minnesota.

Of course, what would any convention be without my city tour? It was a three-hour tour. However, no ship - like the Minnow on Gilligan's Island - no professor, Mary Ann etc. We made it back, and even in three hours. The tour consisted of traveling through downtown Birmingham, showing us the Civil Rights museum, the 16th Street Baptist church, older buildings that are gradually being renewed, and new refurbished buildings. Birmingham, to me, seems like the Twin Cities of twenty years ago, at which we were refurbishing and renewing the downtown areas. Birmingham is set in a valley, and so there are homes set in Mountain areas overlooking the city, where the wealthy live. There is a park around the civil rights museum, where monuments to the civil rights movement are located. It is hard to believe that we were seeing statues of people grabbed by dogs, jail cell, Martin Luther King, who visited Birmingham in the mid 60s, and others.

The church bombings changed the racial attitude of Birmingham. Many buildings have and are being restored in to newer and more modern uses of buildings.

On Friday morning, Mike Smitherman, Alison, Elaine and I were sitting at Sophie's, a deli type restaurant, when a woman came up and gave Michael a $10 to help the blind. After we got over being surprised, shock, and humorous feelings about the whole situation, we donated it to the National Office of ACB. The donation was from the Minnesota and Mississippi connection of ACB, if anyone asks.

Finally, Mike and Elaine, plus other people from the convention were TV stars. While standing around the area around the registration area, a reporter, with his camera from Fox 6, the local Fox affiliate, came up to me and wanted me to be on camera. So, Elaine and I were in a very short fill in which they used right after the commercial going back to the morning news. The program is called "Good Day Birmingham" just like Fox 9 with Good day Minnesota. The main reason he wanted us, was because I was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of one of our kitties, Gold Digger on the front.

I wonder if that woman from above saw that. You never know. She said Michael. But Smitherman may have had his name tag on too.

I do have the tape of our TV appearance.

One other thing, as the current hit country song goes, I did not see anyone on the street corner painting me a Birmingham. O well, you can't have it all. So, let's all say good-bye to Birmingham and get ready for Vegas, next year.

Blind Get Wireless Guidance

Associated Press story via CBS News:

HELSINKI, Finland, June 15, 2004

(AP) A government-sponsored research project aims to help the blind move freely about town by combining cell phones, wireless Internet, global positioning and voice-recognition technology to tell people where they are. The project, called "Noppa," is being developed by the Technical Research Center of Finland, or VTT, a nonprofit, government-owned research organization. The system is ready for testing this fall.

The guidance system, which works with a third-generation cellular phone coupled to a GPS device, tells the users where they are, how to get where they want to go, and gives directions and explains obstacles by voice.

"The idea is that the user can say, 'I'm going to such-and-such a place,' and the system responds by saying which bus to take, and how to get to the stop," said Ari Virtanen, a VTT researcher.

The device is also hooked up to municipal databases to warn about road and sidewalk construction sites when giving directions, as well as inform about train, streetcar, and bus timetables and possible delays. If multiple buses use the same stop, the Noppa service tells users where their bus is and when it's expected to arrive at the stop so they know which one to board.

A news and information service is also available to read users the latest weather reports.

The project might include optional applications such as a collision detection system that tells users about immediate obstacles, and a database that could give a spoken version of signs on roads and in the surroundings.

The project is going to be evaluated by a group of blind testers in the fall, in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and the city of Tampere. It's costing about $600,000, which is being picked up the Finnish state.

The core of the system contains speech-recognition and production software that relays requests and plays back replies in speech -- all of which is performed at a central server, not with the device. It identifies street names and basic requests.

Operating the device with speech instead of pressing buttons is a crucial feature for the blind, said Juha Sylberg, development manager at the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired.

"Imagine digging out your cellular phone -- which is the size of a large box of matches -- in midwinter, wearing thick mittens with rain and sleet whirling around you, and then try to start keying away at these tiny buttons," Sylberg said.

Although the project is not commercial, VTT's research often serves as a basis for marketable products. And in this case, the researchers believe the features and the products they're developing and testing would have a lot of appeal to a general population.

Indeed, some of the same technologies are already combined in other products, such as car navigation systems. Tourists in San Francisco can rent little buggies known as GoCars that combine GPS with an automated voice that serves as a tour guide.

"A number of similar devices are already out on the market," Virtanen said about the Finland project. "What we're doing instead is trying to estimate the range and variety of services that can be provided, and how reliable they are in real life."

By Mans Hulden
©MMIV, The Associated Press.

Thoughts

By: Anonymous

Submitted by Bert Morlock

The most destructive habit..............................Worry
The greatest Joy.......................................Giving
The greatest loss........................Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work.......................Helping others
The ugliest personality trait.....................Selfishness
The most endangered species.................Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource.......................Our youth
The greatest "shot in the arm"..................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome.........................Fear
The most effective sleeping pill................Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease....................Excuses
The most powerful force in life..........................Love
The most dangerous pariah..........................A gossiper
The world's most incredible computer................The brain
The worst thing to be without.... ...................... Hope
The deadliest weapon...............................The tongue
The two most power-filled words......................."I Can"
The greatest asset......................................Faith
The most worthless emotion..........................Self-pity
The most beautiful attire..............................SMILE!
The most prized possession......................... Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication.............Prayer
The most contagious spirit.........................Enthusiasm

ACB-M Board of Directors

Ken Rodgers, President
3941 12th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407 Ph: (612) 825-0248 E-mail: kgr@isd.net

Stephanie Hall, Vice-President
433 7TH ST S #2227
Minneapolis, MN 55415 Ph: (612) 332-7837 E-mail: stephanieh@vlrw.org

Janet Dickelman, Secretary
2086 Highland Parkway,
St. Paul, MN. 55116 Ph: (651) 698-5059, E-mail: janet.dickelman@comcast.net

Bob Lockwood, Treasurer
3625 Cardinal Rd
Minnetonka, MN 55345 Ph: (952) 932-7269 E-mail: peggy_bob@msn.com

Juliette Silvers, Director
3244 Colfax Ave. South,
Minneapolis, MN. 55408 Ph: (612) 824-2131, E-mail: jsilvers@mn.rr.com

Jane Lund, Director
8848 Nicollet Avenue South #206
Bloomington, MN 55420 Ph: (952) 888-4397 E-mail: jane.v.lund@healthpartners.com

Marilynn Highland, Director
3532 Bryant Avenue South #316
Minneapolis, MN 55408 Ph: (612) 824-9492 E-mail: mari@mninter.net

Linda Oliva, Director
4001 Blasedell Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409 Ph: (612) 827-1033 E-mail:Linda.Oliva@allina.com

Michael Malver, Director
1225 LaSalle Ave. #302
Minneapolis, MN 55403 Ph: (612) 673-0664 E-mail: mmalver@visi.com