The Scene from Iowa City

As I write I am reminded of the old story of the Finnish fisherman with a leaky boat who observed that owning such a thing is better than having a sunken boat, etc.

Connie and I are doing just fine here in "river city" (yes, Iowa City is the spawning ground of "The Music Man") and we are safe and dry.Flood

The good news is that according to the Army Corps of Engineers the Iowa River has "crested" and we should now begin to see the flood waters recede from the University of Iowa’s buildings. At present 19 buildings on campus are either flooded or are damaged.

But mercifully no one has been hurt and we have much to be thankful for.

I know I speak for many when I say I am thankful to the thousands of Iowa City citizens who worked tirelessly to save the University of Iowa’s library from the floodwaters. While several adjacent buildings to the library have been flooded the library is still operational as of this afternoon. Perhaps its just the student and scholar in me, but I feel great sentiment about the library and the sight of over 2000 people erecting a wall of lumber and sand in the service of saving our books, well that’s a very powerful thing to behold. The spirit of our students and staff and of the local friends of the University of Iowa has been evident all over this town.

If the weather forecast is right, and if the Army is correct, then we should begin to see the waters receding soon. It will take a lot of work to put the U of Iowa back together but I know that the Hawkeyes will succeed.



More Photos…

May 16, 2008 

Opening others’ eyes
Blind professor helping UI students, doctors see
disabilities in a new light

By Diane Heldt

The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Blindness is thought by many to be a great calamity,
still viewed in 19th-century Dickensian terms, says University of Iowa
professor Steve Kuusisto.

  But the reality, says Kuusisto, who has been blind since birth, is that
his talking computer, his guide dog and public transportation allow him to do
most anything sighted people can.

  “It’s not an obstacle to having a good job and a full life,” he said.
“Nobody has to have a second-class life. Really, the sky’s the limit.” That
philosophy, the 53-year-old Kuusisto said, fuels a new vision of disability
that is emerging. That vision moves away from viewing people with disabilities
as “defective,” he said, to finding ways for technology and society to help
them lead the richest, fullest lives.

  It’s a vision Kuusisto (pronounced COO-sis-toe) brought to the UI last
fall when he joined the faculty as an English professor with a joint
appointment in the Carver College of Medicine.

  At the medical college he is a “humanizing agent” who helps educate
doctors about disability issues. UI officials hope Kuusisto bridges the goals
of disability advocates and health professionals.

  “I’m probably the firstever poet named to a faculty of ophthalmology,”
Kuusisto says with a smile. 


Continue reading

fyi: featuring Steve and guide dog Nira

The University of Iowa has a great news magazine for faculty and staff called "fyi" and this month features Steve and "Nira" in an article and "picture show"!  This is very nicely done if you ask me.

~ Connie

Read article: Blind professor helps others see another side to disability
Photo feature: Steve and Nira’s first day of class
Audio slide show: Professor, Nira get acquainted with UI campus, each other