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Release: June 9, 2000

Christie Vilsack to help launch KSUI's reading service for blind

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa's First Lady Christie Vilsack will join WSUI/KSUI radio June 13 to launch a regional news program offered by the Iowa Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (IRIS).

Vilsack will go "on-air" at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 13 at the KSUI studio at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The volunteer reading service is scheduled to begin operation in Iowa City the previous day, Monday,June 12

Volunteers will come to the WSUI/KSUI studios each morning to read local stories from the Iowa City Press Citizen and the Iowa City Gazette from 8 to 10 a.m.

The IRIS broadcasts provide timely and topical information to Iowans who are blind, visually impaired, and/or physically challenged. IRIS broadcasts into individual homes, retirement communities, and nursing care facilities throughout Iowa.

In eastern Iowa, the service is broadcast on a subcarrier of KSUI, the 100,000-watt public radio FM station serving eastern Iowa. Special subcarrier receivers are being distributed to the blind and print handicapped in the area at no charge.

A state and national reading service is also broadcast 24-hours a day, seven days a week, on the subcarrier. But the new regional service starting Monday will bring local news and features to the blind of eastern Iowa for the first time.

Sally Vander Linden, executive director of IRIS in Des Moines, said, "We're thrilled that Christie Vilsack has agreed to come to Iowa City to help kick-off the program. The First Lady's participation will bring attention to the work being done on behalf of the blind in this area."

Since Tom Vilsack became Iowa governor in 1999, Christie Vilsack has been an advocate for literacy and reading disability issues, as well as education and library programs.

For more information, contact Tom Spaight at KSUI, (319) 335-5740.