Monday December 23, 1985

Cedar Valley Times
Monday, December 23, 1985

Anderson stumps for 
Braille school in visit

VINTON——Lieutenant Governor Bob Anderson was one of several special guests attending the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School’s annual Christmas program held Saturday Dec. 21st.

     Based on a Christmas card theme, the program entitled “Seasons Greetings,” drew a full-capacity crowd of parents and friends of IBSSS, as well as several other state officials.

     Those in attendance for the all student faculty event were Senator Emil Husak (D-Toledo), Rep. Kyle Hummel (R-Vinton), Rep. Doris Peick of Cedar Rapids and Rep. Ward Handorf of Gladbrook.

     Following the hour-long program, the officials were treated to a grand tour of the Braille school facility, headed by Director of Education Dean Stenehjem and Director of Home Services Mary Beth Young.

     It was the first visit for most of them, including Anderson, a likely candidate for the 1986 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

     Anderson is supportive of the Vinton delegation in its endeavor to “Save Our School” from Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposed merger of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School with the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs.

     The merger is one of the governor's plans for downsizing and restructuring state government.

     Anderson noted that many of the schools facilities, including the bowling alley, track, swimming pool and therapy pool, were purchased with trust funds. Thus, if IBSSS were converted into a prison for drunk drivers, “it'd be a betrayal of trust to people who’ve made commitments over the years,” he said.

     Handorf, who was also visiting IBSSS for the first time, said he thought it would be difficult for visually-impaired students to get as much specialized training anywhere else.

     With an institution like this, a good working relationship within the community is important, Anderson said. And IBSSS and Vinton certainly have that. Furthermore, it’s healthy for institutions to be dispersed throughout the state, rather than lumped into any one sum, he added.

     As for the possibility of the Braille school becoming a sort of luxury-line hotel for convicted drunken drivers, “I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said.