AS EYE SEE IT South Dakota Association of the Blind, Inc.  Volume 19 Issue 1& 2 & 3     January- July 2016 Editor: Dawn LaMee




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Everyone Plan to Join Us!

What:    SDAB Annual Convention

When:   September 16-17, 2016

Where: Ramkota Inn in Aberdeen, 605-229-4040

The motel is holding a block of rooms for SDAB until August 16, 2016 so make your reservations soon.

Contact: Convention Co-Chairs are Dawn Brush at, 605-229-4129 and Amy Chappelle at, 605-224-6801.

Agenda: Found elsewhere in this newsletter.

Auction: Start looking for great, beautiful, and useful items to bring for the auction. SDAB needs your support.


Presidents Message!  By Dave Miller, President

Summer weather is in full swing here in South Dakota.  I really enjoyed having the opportunity to spend four months this past winter in Hawaii so I’m betting it doesn’t seem nearly as warm to me as it does for those of you who enjoyed this past South Dakota winter. I’m excited to know that SDAB stays active all year round, even in my absence. We had a nice representation of members attending the American Council of the Blind (ACB) National Convention in Minneapolis recently as it was about as close as a National Convention will ever be to South Dakota so we made our presents know.  Our parent organization, ACB is always on the forefront of the happening in the blind and visually impaired community so attending their Convention is always fun and educational.  Locally we are getting ready for our State Convention for September 16th and 17th in Aberdeen. Thanks to the Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired we again will have some funding available to assist people to attend the Convention.  Priority will be given to first time attendees so if you are interested contact Deb Ver Steeg.  Also I want to give everyone a heads up that the organization will again be holding a fund-raising raffle.  This year’s grand price will be something new and unique, an original 18 x 24 painting by a local artist that can be enjoyed both visually and tactilely. I also want to share a little information about our SDAB web-site.  As many of you may have noticed it has not been updated since last summer.  Unfortunately the volunteer who helped us develop and maintain the site passed away unexpectedly so with his passing we loss the passwords to the site.  The Publications Committee is starting to work on finding a new web developer. A new and improved site should be up and operating soon.  I apologize for this set-back.  With that said I wish you all a great summer and look forward to seeing you all in Aberdeen this September.


Note from “Sir No Name Bear”

I’m excited to be coming to the Convention in Aberdeen in September with “my guy Dave” and I want to challenge everyone coming to be prepared to pay big $$$ to take me home!



SDAB will be holding a raffle again this year. The prizes will be: 1) tactile landscape painting, 2) $100, 3) $50. Tickets will be $1 each or 6 for $5. We have started selling tickets and will draw the winner at the State Convention. To sell or purchase tickets contact Seth Sims at 605-339-9512 or Steve Hart at 605-332-6059.


Summer Reading Program

The Braille and Talking Book Library is finishing up its summer reading program for children of ages birth to 20.  The theme of this year’s program was “On Your Mark, Get Set … Read!” There were four age divisions: 0-6, 7-11, 12-16, and 17-20. Each participant qualified by reading a minimum of 20 minutes per day and recording that time on a daily reading chart. There will be a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card in each age division with the more reading charts returned, the more chances to win. Parents were asked to assist their child to record his/her minutes. Support for the program was received from the SD Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired, local Lions Clubs, and blind organizations. Any questions contact Mary Sjerven at 1-800-423-6665 or


Rehabilitation Center Update

The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (SDRC) would like to invite anyone who is a South Dakota resident and has a visual impairment that makes it difficult to see or using technology, to participate in the upcoming 1st Friday computer and assistive technology training.  The next training will be held August 5th at the SDRC. There is no cost to attend the class, but registration is required because class size is limited.  To register, call JoMarie Laughlin at 1-800-658-5441 or 605-367-5260 or by email:

A “Walk-in” tech support clinic will also be held August 5th from 8:00 am - 11:00 am so if you have  assistive technology questions that can only be answered by our experienced staff, come when you can.  You can also call JoMarie directly as she can often answer your questions over the telephone.


Awards and Stipends     by Deb Ver Steeg and Belle

Hi from Sioux Falls.  It is time again to nominate an outstanding individual for the Gus Zachte Memorial Award. If you know anyone who deserves this award, please contact me as soon as possible. The person nominated should have affected the lives of persons who are blind or visually impaired in a positive, noteworthy, and long-lasting way.  I am certain there are a number of individuals in our state who deserve the honor and would be delighted to get the award.  On another note, our State Convention is coming up in September. Anyone wishing to attend but because of financial reasons cannot afford it can apply for a stipend to help pay for some of the costs.  We really do need our members to attend our Conventions so please don’t let anything stop you.  Please call me at: 605-331-2131 or 605-321-4501 or


News from Meeting by Lerae Olesen, Secretary

The following is a summary; for a complete copy of the minutes, contact Lerae. The SDAB Board Meeting was called to order by President Dave Miller on March 7, 2016 by conference call.  Treasurer’s report: SDAB will support the Summer Reading Program with the Braille and Talking Book Library and also did support activities held at the Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol where Amy Chappelle represented our Association. Finance Committee: Members have contacted Will Hawkins, last year’s Convention Speaker, to discuss finances and implementing new ideas. Membership Committee: Letters, as well as a brochure, were sent to everyone on the membership list, at this time we have 52 members. Koni Sims has ordered more copies of the brochure. Communication between members is very important so we need to remember to use every way possible to keep people informed; newsletter, Facebook page, email, or our web-site. Although the website is still active, there are issues related to updating it. SDSBVI Advisory Council: Dawn Brush will attend the meetings in place of Linda Biffert.  State Plan meeting: The format has changed to include other agencies in a combined meeting, it is important that SDAB be represented. ACB Convention in Minneapolis in July; Motion carried that $3000 be set aside to be distributed among the people who are attending if they choose to accept it. NFB Newsline: Ed Pinkman contacted the Board about possibly getting the telephone newspaper and magazine reader service in South Dakota as it is available in other states.


Board Minutes

The following is a summary; for a complete copy of the minutes, contact Lerae Olesen. The SDAB Board meeting was called to order by President Dave Miller on May 9, 2016 by conference call with all members present except Mary Sjerven, Casey Trowbridge and Chelle Hart.  Treasurer’s report: Membership dues have been sent to ACB and additional brochures were printed. Finance: Seth Sims reported that SDAB will hold a raffle again this year, with three prizes. Seth talked about doing a survey of members to assess their priorities. The survey can be done online using Survey Monkey and then sent to members who do not have online access. Seth and Dave will work on writing the survey questions.  Membership: Koni Sims indicated she likes ACB’S the computer program for tracking membership and SDAB paid for 62 members to ACB. With 3 ACB life members and two others who joined SDAB, we have 67 members. SDAB website: Koni and Seth proposed developing our web-site using Kathy Nelson from Virtual Office Creations it will have many pictures of activities. Facebook, blogs, and tweets will also be used to promote SDAB. A motion carried that the $400 be authorized to develop the website. State Convention: Agenda can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. The SBVI board has stipend money available in the amount of $175. They prefer this money be used for first time attendees. This money can be divided up. A motion carried to allocate up to $175 matching what the Board gave.

ACB Convention: Four members are interested in receiving stipends to go to ACB in Minneapolis These included Deb Ver Steeg, Nick Pavel, Virginia Miller, and Lerae Olesen. A motion carried to allocate a maximum of $500 per person. NFB Newsline: Dave Miller visited with Gaye Mattke and they will continue to work on this.  SDSBVI: Dawn Brush attended the Advisory Council Meeting in May.  On May 5, the SDFBVI held its 2nd Annual Dinner in the Dark Fund & Friend raising event. We need to replace Linda Biffert as the SDAB representative to the advisory council. This can be done at the annual business meeting in September.


“Dinner in the Dark”        By Dawn LaMee, SDFBVI Board

The South Dakota Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDFBVI) held its 2nd Annual “Dinner in the Dark” fundraiser event for vision loss awareness at the Ramkota Convention Center in Aberdeen. During the evening, piano music provided by Phyllis Heier was enjoyed while participants were able to purchase raffle tickets, raised the bids on auction items, and visit with friends. While enjoying the pot roast dinner, the participants dined while wearing a blindfold and a “Miss Manners” person without a blindfold assisted at each table. Judging by all the laughter, a fun time was had! The money raised by the Foundation from this event will enhance the lives of students with visual impairments throughout the state who receive services from the School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.


Division of SBVI Updates by Gaye Mattke

The Board of SBVI met in February and unanimously approved the SBVI portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified State Plan.  The plan was submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration on March 31.  Now the Division will concentrate on implementation the new mandates that are stipulated in the WIOA. Because all of our Board meetings are open to the public we invite current and past recipients of services, employers, service providers, and family members to attend. The agenda is available on the SBVI web-site two weeks prior to a meeting.  Please call (605) 773-4644 or (800) 265-9684 at least one week prior to the meeting to request an interpreter or other accommodations.



News and Notes Our thoughts and prayers go out to several of our members and/or family members who are fighting battles with medical issues. Happy Birthday: To all of us! Friends will be missed: To the family and friends of Charles Hodges, Michael Melvin (our web-site guy), Ivan Trowbridge, Armand Zender (Sherri Zuber’s father), and Ethan Joseph Schlautman; we keep you in our thoughts. I know I’ve missed someone, if so please accept my thoughts and prayers.



Mailing address: PO Box 1622, Sioux Falls SD 57101-1622   Facebook: South Dakota Association of the Blind  


President: Dave Miller: 2617 W Minnehaha Dr, Sioux Falls SD  57105  605-336-6628

Past-President: Lerae Olesen: 2500 S Dakota Ave Apt 102, Sioux Falls SD 57105 605-978-9267

1st co V-President: Dawn Brush: 1523 Royal Rd, Aberdeen SD 57401  605-229-4129

Amy Chappelle: 220 N Adam Ave, Pierre SD 57501  605-224-6801

2nd V-Pres: Seth Sims: 2000 S Grange Ave, Sioux Falls SD  57105 605-339-9512

Secretary: Lerae Olesen: 2500 S Dakota Ave Apt 102, Sioux Falls SD 57105 605-978-9267

Treasurer: Steve Hart: 820 S Juneau Ln, Sioux Falls SD  57106 605-332-6059

SDSBVI Advisory Council: Linda Biffert: 505 East 6th St, Volga SD 57071         605-627-5608

Newsletter: Dawn LaMee: 1702 Prospect Ave #A3, Aberdeen SD 57401  605-226-3211


Koni Sims: 2000 S Grange Ave, Sioux Falls SD  57105     605-941-9512

Deb Ver Steeg: 2505 S Willow Ave, Sioux Falls SD  57105 605-331-2131

Mary Sjerven: 208 North Jackson Avenue, Pierre SD  57501 605-224-4183

Doug Puetz:  1805 W. Fulton St #501, Rapid City SD 57702 605-355-0668

Casey Trowbridge: 405 21st SE Apt 14, Huron SD 57350 605-412-6002 

Chelle Hart: 820 S Juneau Ln, Sioux Falls SD  57106  605-332-6059


COMMITTEES   (The first person named is the chair of the committee)

Scholarships/Awards: Deb VerSteeg (Seth Sims, Virginia Miller)

Amendments: Doug Puetz (Lerae Olesen, Casey Trowbridge)

Finance: Seth Sim (Steve Hart, Dawn Brush, Amy Chappelle, Lerae Olesen, Casey Trowbridge, Doug Puetz, Virginia Miller)

Membership: Koni Sims (Mary Sjerven, Chelle Hart, Doug Puetz)

Nominations: Chelle Hart (Dawn Brush, Amy Chappelle)

Program/Social: Dawn Brush-Amy Chappelle (Chelle Hart, Steve Kelsey, April Dominick, Tevan Fischbach, Dawn LaMee)

Publicity: Koni Sims (Nick Pavel, Erwin Wiest, Dawn LaMee, Steve Hart)

Resolutions/Legislation: Lerae Olesen (Marjorie Kaiser, Linda Biffert)


Fun, Fitness, and Frolic in 2016 South Dakota Association of the Blind Convention

Please wear casual clothes & good shoes so you are comfortable to move & groove!!!

Friday: September 16, 2016 (activities to be held at School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, 423 17th Ave SE)

12:00 PM Registration – SDSBVI Front Lobby (Steve Hart and Koni Sims)

1:00 PM Call to Order & Greetings: David Miller, President – Gym

Hi, My Name Is: Introductions of those in attendance      

1:05 PM Welcome to the City: Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen

1:20 PM Reading of Minutes: 2015 Business Meeting - Lerae Olesen

1:40 PM Happening at the School for the Blind & Visually Impaired: Superintendent Marjorie Kaiser

2:10 PM “Keeping Active at Any Age”: Christy Hulscher, SDSBVI Health & Physical Education Instructor

3:10 PM “Yoga from a Young Person’s Point of View”: SDSBVI students

3:30 PM Break

4:00 PM “Canes and Paws for a Cause” Fun Walk: (our health & SDAB’s health is important) Front Lobby

5:30 PM Picnic Supper & Social Get-Together: (SDSBVI Gym)  The remainder of the evening you are on your own!

Saturday: September 17, 2016 (activities to be held at Ramkota Inn, 1400 8th Ave NW, Aberdeen)

8:00 AM Registration (for those who did not sign-in on Friday)

8:30 AM Welcome and Announcements

8:45 AM Body, Mind, Spirit (speaker to be announced)

1015 AM Break

12:00 PM Lunch

What Does the Future Hold and What Part Do We Play? Dawn Backer, Director, Rehabilitation Center for the Blind; Representative, Braille and Talking Book Library; Sandy Neyhart, Program Manager, Older Blind Program,  Dave Miller, SDAB President)

1:30 PM ACB Convention Wrap-up: Chelle & Steve Hart, Virginia Miller, Lerae Olesen, Nick Pavel, and Deb Ver Steeg & Belle

2:00 PM SBVI Town Hall Meeting: Gaye Mattke, Division Director

3:00 PM SDAB Business Meeting: Dave Miller-President

6:00 PM Social & Get-Together (room to be announced)

6:30 PM Let’s Eat: Banquet (Speaker, Awards) Bid and Buy … Auction … fun!

Contact Dawn Brush, SDAB Co-Vice President at 605-229-4129 or

COSTS: SDAB Dues $15, Registration $10, Picnic (Fri) $10, Lunch (Sat) $15, Banquet (Sat) $20,

The Ramkota has a block of rooms for SDAB so get your reservations made soon.  When you call the Ramkota at 605-229-4040 be sure to tell them you are in the SDAB block; room 1-4 people at $99.99 + tax, per night.  State rates are available for those who have proper identification. The motel has requested that Dawn Brush keep a list of those requesting State Rate and turn in that list of those names 30 days prior to the convention so please contact Dawn Brush at (605) 229-4129. Again, she will only make reservations that apply to state rates!


2016 SDAB Convention Registration Form

To help get an accurate meal count we are asking all of those who are planning to come to any or all of the convention to register by sending in this form to: Dawn LaMee: 1702 Prospect Ave #A3, Aberdeen SD 57401 or email your information to: or call her at 605-626-2580. We need to have a meal count by September 7, 2016 but please remember everyone is WELCOME to attend the convention, so if you did not have time to send in your registration form please contact Dawn (1) or Dawn (2)!

Please complete membership form on a separate form. One (1) name per registration form!


An attendee may register for individual conference events at the following rates.


COSTS: # of persons Registration  $10, Pizza Supper (9/16) $10, Lunch (9/17) $15, Banquet  $20, SDAB Dues $15

Please make checks payable to SDAB; you can also pay the day of the Convention but please send in registration form in advance.

Send Form to: Dawn LaMee: 1702 Prospect Ave #A3, Aberdeen SD 57401 or email information to:


South Dakota Association of the Blind Membership Form (2017)


To recognize and welcome new members SDAB publishes their names in our newsletter, “AS Eye See It.” Please indicate if we may publish your name: Yes No

MEMBERSHIP Dues   $15 (per person) Dues are for the 2017 Membership Year. Please make checks payable to “SDAB”

We encourage everyone to send in their membership prior to March 1, 2017 to meet the ACB Membership deadline.

Newsletters,  your membership entitles you to receive a copy of our newsletter.  If you are interested in receiving any of the following formats, please indicate: Large print, Braille, E-mail (PDF & Text), none

SDAB is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB).  Your membership entitles you to receive their publication, the “Braille Forum.” Please indicate the format you wish to receive: Large Print, Braille, Cassette, CD, None

If you are coming to the convention send this form in with your registration form.

If you are not planning to come to the convention send your dues and this membership form to: Koni Sims: 2000 S Grange Ave, Sioux Falls SD  57105