OK, I think I must be a bit blind, I just now realized that when I hit the Menu button to find a menu option to show me my progress in the book.... the status bar shows up. Now if only I could claim the space 'saved' for the status bar as usable reading space I'd be happy.
I re-converted my EPUB files using Calibre to change all the margins to 5 point. This is great for the top and sides, but the 5 points on the bottom go "above" the blank status bar. *sigh* At least I don't have 1cm margins top and sides and 2cm margin on the bottom like I did before the re-convert.