To the Editor,

Local news is for everyone. The Lions Reading Program for the Visually and Physically Impaired provides a means for the visually and physically impaired to be kept informed by the hearing of local newspapers read and broadcast through online, through an app, or your smart speaker. 

The Lions Reading Program for the Visually and Physically Impaired started with an event the Fergus Falls area in 1992. Lion John Bloom wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal explaining the thing he missed most when he lost his sight was walking into the cafe in the morning and discussing what the local newspaper had to say about local issues. He asked if there was any way they could fill that gap.  

Interested people in Fergus Falls including an editor of the newspaper, State Services for the Blind, and representatives of the local Lions Clubs got together and the program was developed. In the next few months, readers were tested and trained. A small transmitter unit was made and installed in a room furnished by Bethlehem Lutheran Church. On April 1, 1993, the first broadcast of The Daily Journal went on the air with special radios that picked up the transmission. We now celebrate the 28th year of our program.

The broadcast has expanded to include local weekly newspapers from: Battle Lake, Frazee, Vergas, Grant County, Henning, New York Mills, Parkers Prairie, Pelican Rapids, and Perham. The broadcast, as of this year, it is available through your computer, online at Radio Talking Book Minnesota/ State Services for the Blind.

Volunteers are the heart of the program. An hour of broadcasting takes place Monday through Saturday at 7 p.m. due to the commitment of much appreciated volunteers: Lions and others from the public. Volunteers read with a partner and they dedicate two hours, in one evening, each month, for preparation and reading to our listeners. This reading program is very cost effective because of many hours of volunteer time. We are in need of volunteers. Any interested people can contact Lion Ginny Paulson (218) 736-5109 or Pamela Shroden (218) 731-2954. It is an easy and important way to make a wonderful difference in our communities.

This is a nonprofit organization. It is governed by representatives from Riverside Fergus Falls Lions Club, Elizabeth Lions Club, consumers, and readers.

We and our listeners are very thankful for the support of our communities.

Elizabeth Lion Sue Hanneman

Secretary, Lion’s Reading Board