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Archive for Tuesday, November 19, 2013

25 years ago: Audio-Reader celebrates new headquarters

November 19, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 19, 1988:

Kansas University's Audio-Reader Network, a reading service for the blind and those with print disabilities, dedicated its new home this week to two benefactors. The new headquarters, a renovated fraternity house at 1120 W. 11th, was officially named the Baehr Audio-Reader Center in honor of Louis W. and Dolpha Baehr, the late Paola couple whose charitable foundation trust had given the network $150,000 to renovate the building. W. C. Hartley, a foundation trustee speaking at the dedication ceremony, said that Dolpha Baehr had been blind for the last 50 years of her life and that she and her husband had been well known for their generosity to others, though they themselves had lived simple, frugal lives. The Audio-Reader service, which had begun operating on Oct. 11, 1971, used FM radio subcarriers to carry its signal, while listeners used special receivers to get the signal. It was the second such reading service to be established in the United States and the first to be located on a college campus. "Ninety percent of our listeners are blind, 10 percent are physically disabled or dyslexic or have some other print handicap, and over half of them are 65 or older or retired," said Judith Ramaley, KU's executive vice chancellor. "Our voice is an important voice for them." Chancellor Gene Budig, also present at the dedication ceremony, agreed, thanking the foundation and other benefactors and praising the dedication, energy, and time given by the Audio-Reader staff and more than 150 volunteers. Budig also paid tribute to Petey Cerf, the Lawrence woman who was a key catalyst and sponsor for the service, and Rosie Hurwitz, who had directed the center for 13 years and had raised much of the $300,000 needed for the renovation.

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