by B.T. Kimbrough

I suppose that it would be unrealistic for us to expect that Blindskills could indefinitely avoid sharing some of the negative economic news experienced by so many over the past year or so. Indeed, we have felt the economic pinch so acutely that we must make painful adjustments in our financial budget for this year. As of the beginning of 2010, we must therefore resume DIALOGUE’s original publication schedule as a quarterly magazine. When I say that this is a painful adjustment it is something of an understatement for those of us who are directly responsible for the preparation and publication of DIALOGUE. We did not want to return to quarterly publication, and I can truly say that we postponed the decision until there was no other reasonable alternative. We are disappointed by this setback, which we prefer to think of as an act of conservation, initiated to help us survive a lean time and continue this priceless project for years to come.

To those of you who have given us your assistance and understanding as we have sought to increase our subscriber numbers with some special pricing for newcomers, your encouragement and support have meant more to us than we could possibly explain. The special $20 introductory price will remain in place through the end of 2009.

Though you may not have thought of it, you are in a position to recommend DIALOGUE to someone who might become a subscriber. It might be a fellow consumer, a professional, such as a teacher or social worker, a parent, spouse or sibling of a blind child or adult. That recommendation just might help us make a favorable impression on potential grantors, to whom numbers of readers always matter.

We know that other service organizations in our field are facing challenges similar to ours--indeed, we have reported some of these developments to you in our columns and articles. We also know that some of our longtime supporters are feeling some unusual financial pressures, because some of them have had to reduce or suspend their financial support to Blindskills.

At the same time, we are coping with the closure of the Oregon School for the Blind, whose campus has been home to Blindskills for the past 14 years. Our office lease, which still had a year before its stated expiration date, was terminated less than a week after the governor of Oregon signed the closure bill into law. After a diligent real estate shopping process, we have found suitable space, and by the time you read this, we will be busily packing decades of publishing archives into carefully labeled boxes, and figuring out how to squeeze 1,800 square feet of publishing activity into slightly more than half that much space, which we are nevertheless fortunate to have.

While the closure of a state school for the blind might not necessarily interest readers in distant states and countries, there are some political aspects of the story, and some hard-earned lessons worth sharing. The story may yet have one more chapter. At press time, there were indications that the question of the continued existence of the Oregon School for the Blind might be finally decided in court. In any case, such an article would require more space than we have to devote to it at the moment, so it must wait for a future issue of DIALOGUE.

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