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NINETEENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
STATE OF IOWA,
APPOINTED TO VISIT THE
INSTITUTION FOR THE BLIND
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
F. M. MILLS, STATE PRINTER.
To the General Assembly of Fowa:
YOUR committee appointed to visit the Asylum for the Blind, located at Vinton, respectfully represent that on the 31st day of January, 1882, they visited said institution, and they beg leave to submit the following report of their said visit:
In making our examination into the condition of affairs at the Asylum we were guided by the terms of the joint resolution under which we were appointed, and we make our report in accordance with the directions therein contained, taking up the several subjects in the order named in the said resolution.
First. We believe that the appropriations made by the last General Assembly have been wisely and economically expended. We desire to state that we investigated the matter of the expenditures in detail as far as possible and found that great care has been taken and economy practiced in this respect. In the matter of the purchase of supplies for the Asylum we found that in almost every instance a less price was paid therefor than was paid by individuals for like articles at the same time and place.
Second. We found that all appropriations had been expended for the objects appropriated. We submit, however, as part of this subject the statement made in connection with the fourth subject of inquiry.
Third. We could not find that any indebtedness existed in any form whatever, and there has been no expenditures in excess of appropriations.
Fourth. We found no evidence that there had been any diversion. of any public money from the specific purpose for which it was drawn from the State treasury. In connection herewith, however, we desire to state, with reference to the expenditures of the sum of money; to-wit, $1,000 especially appropriated by the Eighteenth General Assembly for repair of boilers the following facts: We find that by order of the Board of Trustees the boilers in use were inspected by a competent inspector who pronounced them unsafe and who advised the Board that the expenditure of the sum appropriated in making
repairs, while sufficient for that purpose, would be injudicious, inasmuch
as the boilers were old and would have to be replaced by new ones in
a few years at best. The Board finding that two new boilers greater in capacity than the three old ones in use could be purchased for about $2,000, and finding also that a sale of the old boilers could be effected for the sum of $670, decided to sell the old ones and replace them with new ones. The sum of $1,000 appropriated for repairs was used in the purchase of the new boilers, as was also the amount derived from the sale of the old ones. The balance necessary to complete the purchase was taken from a fund in the hands of the Treasurer derived from the sale of various products of the Asylum. The only diversion, if diversion there was, consisted in the use of the $1,000 in the purchase of new boilers instead of in repairing the old ones. We were satisfied that the Board acted wisely and for the best interests of the institution and of the State, the more so from the fact that the change has already produced a saving in fuel more than equal to the additional expense of putting in the new boilers.
Fifth. We submit herewith a tabulated statement of the names and number of persons employed by the institution, for what purpose employed and at what salary, etc.
Sixth. We made a special examination as to the sufficiency of the means of fire escape in cases of fire, and also as to the protection against fire, and found that there were four broad stair-cases leading down from each story to the ground floor-one in each wing and two in the main building-which were, in our judgment, amply sufficient to permit escape to the ground floor from all parts of the upper stories. On the ground floor were found ample means of exit from all parts of the building. As to fire protection, we found the engine-room provided with two force pumps and hose sufficient to run to any part of the building for each. We also found that a tank had been placed in the third story holding about 300 barrels of water; also, one in the attic holding about 200 barrels of water. These are kept full of water and to each are attached hose sufficient in length to be carried to any part of the building. We believe the protection to be ample. We believe, however, that the appropriation for the Asylum should be made sufficiently large to permit the Board to employ a night watchman. None is employed at present by reason, it is claimed, of the insufficiency of the appropriation.
In addition to the subjects concerning which we were directed to examine and report upon, we desire to call attention to several other
We found that from the
matters to which our attention was called. stone, etc., left after completing the buildings, a foundation for an iron fence was laid on the line of the street in front of the grounds. Several years have elapsed since it was laid, and the Trustees are anxious, now that the temporary fence first built is useless, affording no protection to the grounds from the depredations of animals, that an iron fence should be constructed thereon. The estimated cost of a suitable fence is the sum of $5,000. We believe that an appropriation should be made for that purpose at the present session. We also found that a considerable appropriation was needed for repairs. The buildings need painting-the roof of the main building leaks badly in places--in many places floors need to be relaid, besides which other repairs are needed. The Board ask an appropriation of $2,500 as à contingent fund for repairs. We believe that sum is needed for such purpose. A special appropriation of $300 is needed for the purchase of a washing machine for the laundry. The old one now in use is completely worn out. We would, as we believe, be derelict in our duty did we not call attention to the necessity of a special appropriation for the purchase of bedsteads, bedding, and other necessary bedroom furniture. The supply at present is insufficient, and we earnestly recommend the appropriation of $1,000 for that purpose. An appropriation is also much needed for the purchase of additional books, etc., for the library, and we recommend that the same be made. In conclusion, permit us to say that we believe the Asylum to be, in every respect, well conducted. Everything that can be done to better the condition of the sightless unfortunates seems to be done, and we believe that the institution is a credit to the State in every repect.
JOHN W. HENDERSON,
On the part of the Senate.
CHAS. A. BISHOP,
IRVING P. BOW DISH,
On the part of the House.