Dots and Dashes 8/16/19

“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features articles about the 2020 leadership meetings, the FAA’s final statement of enforcement priorities regarding service animals, the latest Advocacy Update podcasts, upcoming membership focus calls, changes to ACB Radio’s schedule, an update on the convention archives, and Cooking Without Looking’s first podcast.

ACB General Session Convention Archive Updates

Many of you have been asking about the general session archives from this year’s convention. We are excited to report that these are now available. You can get them all by subscribing to the ACB Conference and Convention podcast. Search for this in your podcatching client of choice. The direct RSS link to the podcast feed is

You can download these files directly from the ACB Radio web site, but we would prefer that you use the podcast feed. The site links for each day are:

General Session Saturday July 6, 2019

General Session Sunday July 7, 2019

General Session Monday July 8, 2019

General Session Tuesday July 9, 2019

General Session Wednesday July 10, 2019

General Session Thursday July 11, 2019

Big thanks to Frank Cuta for giving us copies of the general session archives he recorded from the ACB Radio streams. Thanks to Rick Morin for the countless hours of audio editing and production work he is doing now to get all of our convention archive material to all of you.

Upcoming Membership Focus Calls

Mark your calendars for the membership focus calls! The topic for the August 26th call is “How to involve more younger members in your affiliate.” The call will be held at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Pacific.

For the October 27th call, the topic will be "How to actively engage at-large members.” The call will take place at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific.

To join either call, dial (712) 775-7000, and use passcode 640009.

Changes to the ACB Radio Schedule – Keystrokes Returns

We appreciate all of the kind messages we have received about the new schedule for the Mainstream Channel on ACB Radio. Many of you have asked about the Keystrokes program, and we are happy to report that it is returning to the schedule. The schedule for Keystrokes is as follows:

  • Saturday, 9:00 PM Pacific and Eastern Time
  • Sunday, 9:00 AM Pacific and Eastern Time

Keep your feedback coming about the Mainstream schedule. We truly want to get the mix right!

Cooking Without Looking’s First Podcast

Cooking Without Looking recently posted its first podcast, which can be found at Orly Shamir, one of the Vision World Foundation Community Outreach Managers/Cooking Without Looking TV Show Account Executives, is the featured guest.

We invite everyone to our podcast.  We would love to interview you. If you would like to be part of a podcast, contact Renee Rentmeester at (305) 200-9104, or email to set up a date and time.

Announcing the 2020 Leadership Meetings

The American Council of the Blind is pleased to announce its annual Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar, which will take place from Saturday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at the Holiday Inn & Suites Alexandria-Old Town in Alexandria, Va. This hotel is near the previous venue, as well as many restaurants and shops in historic Old Town Alexandria. So mark your calendars, make your reservations, and make plans to join us for what promises to be a fantastic set of meetings!

2020 Schedule of Events:
Saturday, February 22: Board Meeting
Sunday, February 23: Affiliate Presidents’ Meeting
Monday, February 24: Legislative Seminar
Tuesday, February 25: Meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill

Hotel Information:
Holiday Inn & Suites Alexandria - Old Town
Room rates (pre-tax): $109/night (king/double)
Address: 625 First St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone number: (703) 548-6300
Hotel Online Reservation Link (group code: ANC): American Council of the Blind
Holiday Inn Old Town Website:

Final Statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals by the FAA

On Thursday, August 8, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put out a final statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals. The statement responded to comments provided by a myriad of advocacy groups after an interim statement was issued in May of 2019. This final statement supersedes previous statements.

The new statement provides several provisions that positively impact the travel of guide dog users. First, service animal users are not required to provide advance notice to airlines before they travel with their service animals. Airlines can only request such notice if the flight will exceed 8 hours in length. In such instances, an airline can ask for documentation that the dog will not have to relieve on the plane. The airline can also request an early check-in.

If an airline employee questions the legitimacy of a service animal, the employee is allowed to ask limited questions concerning proof that the dog is a service animal. This limited questioning is comparable to the three questions business owners are permitted to ask patrons under the Americans with Disabilities Act when the legitimacy of a service animal arises.

Finally, a request for documentation is only permitted when determining whether a dog poses a direct threat to other travelers or airline employees. The test used to determine what documentation is permissible is that the documentation must be reasonable to believe that it would assist in determining if the dog poses a direct threat.

The final statement also stressed that breed and age restrictions for dogs are impermissible.

The FAA stated that a notice of proposed rule-making should be issued in the fall of 2019. ACB encourages you to submit comments at that time. For more information, or to read the statement in its entirety, visit

Advocacy Updates

Call to Action! The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act, H.R. 4129, was introduced by Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis on July 29th. In the August 7th Advocacy Update, Claire Stanley and Clark Rachfal discuss the importance of this bipartisan bill and encourage all listeners to contact their elected members of Congress during the August recess to support this legislation. Members of Congress may support this legislation by co-sponsoring H.R. 4129 in the House of Representatives, and by introducing a companion bill in the Senate. Listen to this episode via your favorite podcast player or online at:

Contact your representatives and senators by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121, or visit and

In the August 15th edition of the Advocacy Update, we hear from Chandrika “Shani” Jayant from Volkswagen. Shani is the Principal Universal Designer of Inclusive Mobility for the Volkswagen Group of America. Shani shares Volkswagen’s work on autonomous vehicles, silent cars and inclusive vehicle designs. To hear it, visit

Got an idea for a future podcast? Send it to