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In July I will end my term as president of ACB. I suppose it is natural that, as my time as president draws to an end, I reflect on the last six years. This column will be personal. In my July message I will try to say some more global things about my time in office. For now, though, I am going to exercise presidential prerogative and take you some of the places I have been. I am going to share some of the people I've met. Come with me and meet some people who are great and some who are, well, who just are. As president I have gotten to meet both.
Come with me to a pool side and an affiliate hospitality suite where there are lots of blind people enjoying each other's company. I am there and, as always, I feel a little like a fish out of water. By nature, I am kind of a shy person, believe it or not, and one of the hardest things for me to learn was that people probably wouldn't talk to me unless I made a point of talking to them. So watch me going from person to person introducing myself and spending a little time getting to know people who I will probably not remember nearly as well as they think I should. And listen to many people telling me what a good job I am doing. Listen to many other people telling me all the things I have failed to do. Listen to most having a deep and abiding respect for the ACB president. You need to know that I never took that respect for granted or thought it much applied to me. I think the president of ACB is a symbol to many people of power and leadership. One has to do a lot of bad things to see that respect eroded. I found myself constantly in awe of the implicit expectation of excellence that being president of ACB provided me. It is very hard not to try to do your best when people expect it of you.
There are so many people, not all of them members of ACB, who wish us well. As president I got a chance to hear how many people truly value what we do. Invariably, one of the people by the pool would tell me a story that illustrated how ACB had helped. On the days when I had hard things to do for ACB or when I became impatient trying to juggle ACB, a full-time job, and having a life, these memories are what gave me the energy to go on.
Many of the people I talked to also had hard lives which they described not as burdens they had to bear but with acceptance and good humor. Around that pool or in that affiliate hospitality room I could always find people to admire. I valued them not because they were accomplishing great things but because they were surviving the ordinary slings and arrows the world sometimes sends us. So, thank you to all of you who shared with me your slivers of self. You made it easier on hard days. I hesitate to mention particular people because I will invariably offend lots of folks by not mentioning them so I will confine myself to talking about situations. I admire the talented musician and teacher who, though blind and a single parent, looked for foster kids to love and spoke matter-of-factly of walking through the snow with a youngster on her back. I admired the many men and women who go to jobs every day they don't much like because they are proud to work. I admire the several people I met who volunteer every week and who take their time with those they help as seriously as they would a job. I admired the man who had struggled three years to recover from a stroke that left him without speech, paralyzed and blind. He was walking and talking and looking to see how he could help others. All of the people I met who shared their lives with me gave me the strength to carry on.
No, it wasn't all milk and honey. Come with me to a hotel room where a bunch of us were trying to help a young lady come to terms with her vision loss. Hear her scream and sob and tear the very soul out of us because we could not make her understand that being blind truly is not the end of the world. Another of the hard things I had to learn was that there are times you just can't fix it. But there were so many times that I wished I could have the right words to say or knew the magic buttons to push that would lift away the hurting just a little from so many for whom life is too hard. So many people are thirsty for love and empty of hope and ACB is the place they come to be healed. Sometimes we can make a difference and sometimes we just have to let people choose to be where they are. That was hard for me to learn, too. I wanted everybody to magically throw off the prejudices and values of a lifetime and arise fully adjusted and ready to rock and roll. It didn't happen. In fact, it was probably presumptuous of me to expect it. So I gradually demanded less. Let the words I say make people think a little about who they are. Let a few of them get lodged in people's subconscious so that when the time comes, they will poke their way up to consciousness and do some good.
There are places I have been that are not so nice. Will you come there with me, too? Look at the affiliate where initiative is stifled by people who want to retain power for its own sake. Watch people with power hurt others with their thoughtlessness and self- absorption. Watch people with talent turn and walk away because the hurt just isn't worth it. Come to places where politics is more important than the work of ACB and watch good people intrigue because they can, not because they must. One of the toughest things for me to get used to is how often, right here in ACB, we allow the end to justify the means and leave wounded and broken people without a second glance. It has been hard sometimes to watch good people defeated by innuendo and cabals. It's politics as usual, I suppose, but I keep expecting ACB to be different.
Come with me to one more bad place. I get to go there two or three times a month. The president gets calls from all sorts of people. Most of the time they are a pleasure but there is one kind of caller that I dread. The calls always start the same. "I hate to be calling you like this! I know you are very busy and you have a lot to do but I just have to tell you all the bad things that ----- is doing. You need to come and remove him or her from office because he or she is ruining the ----- affiliate." Yes, there have been times when that advice has been good and appropriate though I don't know how I or ACB could, in fact, remove any officer from a local affiliate. Most of the time, though, calls that start out that way come from people who have nothing better to do with themselves than complain. Our democracy makes room for those folks too and, as your president, I get to hear from quite a few of these disgruntled, sour souls who thrive on the negative and who wouldn't know a positive unless it was their blood type. I had to learn that ACB has its share of malcontent naysayers and thus it will ever be.
If you had come with me to all the places I have been over my six years, the good places far outweigh the bad. Come with me to the woman who told me she had been waiting all her life to hear the things I had said in a speech and who, with tears pouring down her cheeks, said, "Thank you so much! You have given me the courage to go on!" Come with me to a hotel room in Virginia where a bunch of ACB students accepted me among them and shared a slice of their lives with me and, by the way, Mike, are you a turtle?
I have met governors, governor generals, senators, congressmen, and prime ministers. I have spent time with President Clinton and Vice President Gore. These are not the most compelling memories I will take with me as I leave the presidency. More important by far, I will take the evenings spent singing old songs. I will take the hugs of friends and the caring of strangers. I will take each of you who have shared yourselves with me because each single person is what it is really all about. Your caring means very much. So, as Bob Hope often said, thanks for the memories. They will sustain me long after the pomp and circumstance have faded.
As ACB celebrates its 40th birthday, I am reminded of the scriptural reference to the 40 years the Jews wandered the desert and their triumph upon entering the promised land. For them, as for us, the 40 years has symbolized a struggle that often seemed without end with milestones of hope and millstones of pain. Now as we complete our own 40 years, are we any closer to the promised land and how would we even know it if we found it?
When ACB began, the notion of equality and civil rights was tied mostly to the struggle of African-Americans to be free of systematic discrimination and their collective pursuit of a legal protection that was at least three years away. Our founding fathers could only have dreamed of an Americans with Disabilities Act or a world in which technology would create almost instant access to the printed word. Yet the men and women who created ACB had a deep and abiding faith in our ability to come together in a common cause that would unfold even as we struggled to create a better world for blind people with each passing year.
The American Council of the Blind of today turns 40 with a strength and vigor that arises from both our many successes and our commitment to meet each day with a hearty good morning and sense of optimism for all. We have learned that the fruits of tomorrow lie within the seeds we plant and nourish each day. We have learned patience, that is in some ways long suffering, but in many more ways a representation of shared hope and fellowship in a family that cares. So is our next stop the promised land? Have we come so far that it is truly only ours for the taking?
In some very important ways, the promised land lies miles away. We must tackle housing, transportation, lack of access to appliances, discrimination and other issues that still lay in our path; yet what if the promised land is not a territory that can be mapped or touched? Surely there are material gains and issues we must confront, yet look around and what is it that we see?
The promised land is the wag of a guide dog's tail as it hears a reassuring word from its handler, the laughter at an ACB picnic, the swell of pride and joy we feel at another blind person's getting a job, the lift of spiritual beauty at a convention gospel sing, listening to all the great programming on ACB Radio, the comforting support of our brothers and sisters when we are visited with pain, bringing up a web site that can be easily navigated, the pure fun of playing an accessible game, the hustle and bustle of a national convention, hearing the hope and joy of our ACB song, the full experience of watching a video described movie, the sharing of a good time at a chapter meeting or supper, or just getting together with new friends we met at ACB. The promised land is truly all these things and more. It is our common vision and sharing that produces a land overflowing with milk and honey not at the end of our journey, but as we travel and evolve as people and as an organization.
We have come a very long way in these 40 years, and yet we celebrate our most important accomplishment which has truly been ours from birth; we are the American Council of the Blind and the seeds we sowed at the beginning have become the mighty trees of principle, the fields of grain and dreams that nourish us, and the landscape of beauty with members everywhere living lives in the knowledge that itūs right to be who they are and itūs good to be a part of ACB.
This year's travel agency is Carrano Travel, Inc. of North Miami. Our travel agent is Donna Balaban. To make travel reservations, call (800) 327-3736 extension 129; local (305) 893- 8771 extension 129. Please note that the telephone is answered by the operator as CSM, The Super Show, Medical Business; ask for Carrano Travel or Donna.
If you are interested in ordering dog food for your guide during the 2001 ACB convention in Iowa, the following information may be important to you.
GDUI has made arrangements with Petco to deliver 8- or 20- pound bags of the following foods if ordered by Monday, June 25, 2001, and prepaid with either MasterCard, Visa or American Express. The phone number to call is (515) 223-7785. Ask for the manager on duty, and explain that you are with the Guide Dog Users, Inc. annual convention.
The food will be delivered to the GDUI room located in the convention center on Sunday, July 1, and will be available for pick-up by you from 2 to 4 p.m. We suggest you order only 8-pound bags whenever possible, as your hotel may be located some distance from the convention center and carrying the smaller size bags may be easier for you.
The foods available for ordering are: Eukanuba, Iams, Science Diet, Nutro Sensible, Choice Natural Blend, Pro-Plan, Bil-Jac, Wysong, Diamond and Nature's Recipe. Remember, you must prepay with a credit card by calling the number listed above and asking to speak with the manager on duty.
We hope you find this service of GDUI to be useful, and we express our appreciation to Petco for its willingness to work with us in this endeavor. See you in Des Moines!
Bank of America will have a live talking ATM at the 40th annual ACB convention in Des Moines. The machine will be in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel and will be available 24 hours a day during the convention. You will be able to use your debit or credit cards in this machine, even if you are not a Bank of America customer. We do not know yet if earphones will be made available, so it may be a good idea to bring a set with you. Bank of America employees will provide instruction in the use of the machine during convention week.
Many ACB affiliates are represented in the ACB quilt designed and crafted by the Tennessee Council of the Blind. Again this year at the ACB 40th convention in Des Moines, the right to display the quilt for whichever affiliate the winner chooses will be the grand prize in a raffle to raise money for ACB, TCB and the affiliate whose member holds the winning ticket. Raffle tickets cost $1 apiece, and will be sold in the exhibit hall and on the convention floor. The quilt will be on display in the exhibit hall until Wednesday of convention week, and thereafter on the convention floor until the winning ticket is drawn at the banquet.
Why? Because if you do, you'll miss an evening of fun, Las Vegas-style gaming, and some fabulous prizes. Besides that, RSVA will be splitting the proceeds from this popular event with ACB. So, check your convention program for the location, and make plans to join RSVA at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, at their casino in Des Moines.
A Youth Activity Center will offer games, crafts, and other interesting diversions for children whose parents register them, every morning from 8:15 until 12:15, at the Marriott Hotel. Come take a break from the official business of ACB, play a game, meet new friends, try out a new craft at this center which will be staffed by ACB volunteers.
Other family-friendly activities which are being planned for the 2001 convention include a pizza party and a movie night, as well as the tour of Iowa's Living History Farms on Tuesday, and a trip to the Blank Park Zoo on Friday afternoon.
Friends in Art is all about singing and playing and telling stories. Right? No, it's also about writing poetry and painting and sculpting. But that's still not all. Now there is Soft Fiber Art!
At the 2000 ACB convention in Louisville, a workshop on Soft Fiber Art was held. More than 25 people heard a presentation about yarns, the different qualities, fibers and sizes. Milly Lillibridge discussed crochet and Kathryn Johnson shared some of the "gadgets" she uses for knitting. Arlene Sylvestri told the group about accessible patterns available from Marjorie Arnott and Josephine Price passed around the jacket she had knit that she was wearing.
Suggestions from workshop attendees were used to develop the program for Des Moines. Several beginning knitting and crochet classes as well as an intermediate knitting class will be offered with limited space. And on Thursday afternoon a workshop will focus on beads and crocheting with beads, care of today's yarns and an open forum discussion of knitting and crochet techniques.
Elsie Monthei has expanded the scope of the FIA Art Parlor to include crocheted or knitted items that are original, not from a printed pattern.
So if you want to learn to knit or crochet, register as soon as you get the pre-registration materials before the classes fill up. And if you have something original that's made with yarn or other fiber, consider exhibiting it in FIA's Art Parlor.
The Durward K. McDaniel Raffle will be held again this year at the convention. The drawing will take place on Saturday, July 7. If you can help sell tickets, please call toll-free (800) 249-1414. Tickets cost $1 each or 6 for $5. First prize is $200; second prize, $125; and third prize, $50. Honor Durward's memory and benefit the First-Timers' Fund at a special breakfast, which will take place on Wednesday, July 4, at 7:00 a.m. Don't miss this opportunity to break bread with ACB friends and benefit a worthy cause at the same time.
For the first time in my life, on April 13 I used an accessible traffic signal in Baltimore. The device is at the corner of Calvert and Pratt Streets in downtown Baltimore across from the development called Harbor Place, about two miles from 1800 Johnson Street. Our committee worked very hard to convince city officials to go forward with accessible signals. While thanking them for their work, I want to say a special thank you to the 13 members of the Central Maryland Council of the Blind who were willing to demonstrate in front of city hall on a cold December day. The mayor was willing to listen to the NFB, but the efforts of this small but stubborn group convinced the city to stop listening to the NFB and start installing the devices. We know, however, that they are stubborn down on Johnson Street, so you can be sure the Maryland Federationists will continue to work hard to stop additional APS installations. We in ACB of Maryland are also stubborn, so you can expect to see more announcements about the installation of accessible traffic signals at lots of Maryland locations. We won't let others put up roadblocks to the safety of blind and visually impaired pedestrians in our state.
The South Carolina Low Country Chapter of Visually Impaired Veterans of America is growing! This chapter has 11 members at this writing, and is in the process of incorporation and acquiring non-profit status. One of our goals is to establish a volunteer visitor program for the Ralph H. Johnson Memorial Medical Center. In addition, there is an ongoing program to make kits for homeless veterans in the community; about one-third of homeless men are veterans. Long-range plans include establishing a program of renovating old computers and setting them up for use by blind and visually impaired people; sending some members to classes to learn about veterans' issues and how to help people find their way through the maze of paperwork and red tape. SCLC- VIVA also participates in sports and recreation activities in the area. If you live in South Carolina and are interested in getting involved, call Don Kopp at (843) 763-0785.
The chapter recently held a low vision fair at St. Andrews Parish United Methodist Church in Charleston. More than 60 people attended the event which had been planned for a maximum of 30. Extra chairs were brought in, and people had an opportunity to meet one another and learn about coping with low vision at the same time. Dr. Kenneth A. Sharpe was the guest speaker, addressing the topic of eye diseases causing vision loss. There were a number of demonstrations featuring computer displays with accessibility software, accessible diabetes management tools; magnification and reading aids, telephone accessories and enhancement devices; and life-enhancing equipment and services for daily living.
"Sassy?" you ask. "Why did the Deaf-Blind Concerns Committee choose that name?"
Well, SASI (spelled "s-a-s-i") is an acronym for Sight and Sound Impaired. Because many organizations who work on the issues which are particularly important to people who are both hearing and vision impaired have chosen to use that acronym, we decided it's time our ACB committee adopts the title as well, because "sight and sound impaired" is an apt description for our membership and the issues we address.
We hope that our name change will not be offensive to any of our members. We simply want to lighten up our environment and encourage many additional people who may be visually impaired and hard of hearing to come see what our committee is all about and get involved. Within ACB, SASI is a group that will work to increase accessibility to all ACB events, as well as to promote awareness about ways to interact effectively with people who have both hearing and vision impairments.
To be SASI is to be doubly challenged and oftentimes frustrated. It is sometimes difficult for people with hearing and visual impairments to communicate with others, and just getting around, finding one's way from place to place, can be a particularly daunting challenge. Whereas a visually impaired person may have been taught orientation skills that take advantage of the sense of hearing, if one is sound and sight impaired, those auditory clues can become irrelevant. We want people who attend the ACB convention to be aware that we who are sight and sound impaired are among you. We hope you will extend an extra friendly touch to make us feel welcome and help us compensate for our additional sensory challenges.
The SASI gatherings are open to everyone. On Saturday, June 30, 2001 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. we will host a dynamic social. Look for this event in your program which will identify the location, and plan to join us. On Tuesday, July 3, 2001 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. we will host a panel discussion where questions about dual sensory losses and inquiries will be welcome. We look forward to having you join us. If you need to contact us for answers to questions about the ACB convention or to learn more about coping with a sight and sound impairment, you may e-mail me at [email protected]
On Wednesday, April 18, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit at Richmond, Virginia, issued its opinion in the case of National Industries for the Severely Disabled (NISH) et al v. Cohen et al. As described more fully in several earlier articles in "The Braille Forum," NISH and other co- plaintiffs had brought this action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia challenging whether the priority in favor of licensed blind vendors to operate vending facilities on federal property under the Randolph- Sheppard Act should properly be applicable to awarding mess hall food service contracts at federal military installations. The trial court on cross motions for summary judgment had previously awarded judgment to the federal defendants (the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army) and to the intervening party defendants including ACB, RSVA and NELDS, thereby upholding as proper the applicability of the Randolph-Sheppard Act priority to the award of a food service contract for mess hall services at Fort Lee, Virginia. The losing plaintiffs had then appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Circuit Judge King delivered the opinion of the Court of Appeals for a unanimous three-judge panel with Circuit Judge Traxler and Chief District Judge Boyle of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina concurring in silence. The Court of Appeals set forth each of the appellants' arguments and rejected them all in turn. Contrary to the contentions of the appellants, the court found that the 1974 amendments to the Randolph- Sheppard Act specifically amended the definition of vending facility under that law to include cafeterias. The court also held that mess halls on military installations clearly fall within the definition of a cafeteria under the Department of Education's and the Department of the Army's implementing regulations under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. The court then turned its attention to the appellants' most important and crucial contention that the Randolph-Sheppard Act is not a procurement statute and thus cannot be properly applied to awarding mess hall contracts on military installations under the Competition in Contracting Act. Contrary to the appellants' arguments, the court held that the Randolph-Sheppard Act does fall within the savings clause exception under the Competition in Contracting Act as a federal law otherwise authorizing contract awards, and to that extent, that the Randolph-Sheppard Act qualifies as a procurement statute which can properly be applied to contract awards.
Finally, and most telling, the court held in explicit terms that in order to be upheld against the challenge mounted by the appellants, the contracting officer's interpretation of the relevant laws, regulations and interpretive precedents must only be a permissible reading of those governing authorities. The court, however, went further by stating explicitly that not only was the contracting officer's interpretation of the controlling legal authorities permissible, but in fact, it was and is the correct interpretation of the law. Thus, ACB, RSVA and NELDS can be appropriately proud of their role as intervening parties in holding the federal defendants' feet to the fire in this case and in winning a smashing legal victory and an expansive interpretation of the proper application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act and its priority in favor of licensed blind vendors. Time, energy and -- most important -- money were well invested by the defendant intervenors, when one realizes and celebrates the return achieved, a smashing litigation victory at the appellate court level in this very important case under the Randolph- Sheppard Act. ACB, RSVA and NELDS can rightfully and justifiably take great pride in their legal advocacy efforts in this case.
ACB MID-YEAR BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
by Kim Charlson
Paul Edwards opened the mid-year meeting held in Des Moines, Iowa by welcoming all board members and guests.
The minutes of the July 2000 pre- and post-convention board meetings as well as the September 2000 board meeting were adopted.
In his report to the board concerning the ACB's international activities within the North American/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union, Edwards said that he and Brian Charlson had represented ACB at the 5th quadrennial meeting of the World Blind Union in Melbourne, Australia in November 2000, where WBU elections were held. Kicki Nordstrom of Sweden was elected to the office of president. She is the first woman to hold this position.
Edwards presented a paper to the assemblage, on managing change within the blindness service delivery system, and he also delivered remarks about ACB Radio during a program segment on international radio and other information services.
"ACB should recognize that as an organization, we are truly taking a leadership role in the global arena on blindness issues," Edwards said. "ACB Radio has made a vast difference in the way information gets disseminated around the world. Selected programming from ACB Radio will now be carried on the reading services in New Zealand, Australia and Canada."
Jim Gibbons of National Industries for the Blind was elected to the position previously held by Frederic Schroeder of the Rehabilitation Services Administration on the WBU North American/Caribbean board. The next regional meeting is planned for March 2001 in the Caribbean, to be held in conjunction with a WBU-sponsored leadership training seminar for Caribbean women who are blind.
The report of the executive director, Charles Crawford, focused on internal operational issues. Crawford has developed an automated spreadsheet inventory tracking system for monitoring supplies and petty cash. ACB has also increased its access to information about grants and other funding opportunities.
Several committee reports were given, including the ACB membership committee report. Debbie Grubb, membership committee chair, announced that the Growing a Great Convention document and the officer and board member manuals are finished and will be available in alternative formats and on the ACB web site soon.
LeRoy Saunders presented a convention committee report. He outlined what is involved in identifying an appropriate location and city for an ACB convention. His most recent efforts took him to Birmingham, Ala. as a possible location.
Saunders introduced Jim Windsor of the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau to the board. Windsor spoke about the various advantages of Birmingham for hosting a convention. He described the topography and culture of the city along with other attractions. Saunders moved that ACB accept the bid for Birmingham, Ala. as the location for the 2004 convention. The motion was approved. Mitch Pomerantz then asked if a location for the 2003 convention had yet been identified. Saunders explained that no appropriate site had yet been determined and that efforts were ongoing.
Sanford Alexander gave a report concerning activities of the ad hoc committee on the National Accreditation Council. The committee held a conference call meeting that included MJ Schmitt and Paul Edwards. Alexander reported that more research is needed for the committee's members to gain a clearer understanding of NAC's current status and activities. President Edwards urged the committee to continue its work and present a report at the July pre-convention board meeting.
The resource development committee report was given by ACB treasurer Pat Beattie. The committee recommended to the board that ACB examine the issue of the low per capita dues for individual membership in ACB. This amount is currently $3 per member. Their recommendation to the board was to increase the dues to $5. It was also recommended that the committee examine the maximum membership ceiling of 625 members, which are paid for by an affiliate. Above that number, no dues are paid by an affiliate regardless of the total number of members. These issues were referred to the membership committee for input and recommendations to be presented to the board for consideration. Some discussion ensued as to whether ACB should apply for federal funding for specific projects. It was the general opinion of the board that there is no policy-based prohibition of ACB seeking federal funds.
The issue of whether ACB should consider giving organizational endorsement to products was discussed. There was consensus that it could be beneficial to ACB to investigate this possibility. A motion was made by Dawn Christensen directing the president to appoint a committee which would be assigned the task of developing a policy recommendation for the board's consideration on ACB endorsing products and the scenario of receiving revenue for such an endorsement. Oral Miller will chair this committee with Pat Beattie, Charlie Crawford and Jim Olsen as members. A preliminary report will be made to the pre- convention board meeting.
Alan Beatty reported on efforts to establish a state affiliate in New Mexico. An organizational meeting took place in December 2000, and there are at least 26 individuals who have paid their dues. This group has met all ACB constitutional requirements for affiliation. Alan Beatty proudly moved that we accept New Mexico as an affiliate of ACB. Following a second the motion passed unanimously. David Armijo was recognized for his efforts in organizing the New Mexico affiliate.
Kim Charlson reported on the meeting of the board of publications. A disclaimer statement has been developed for ACB Radio which will be aired before original blind-hosted programming. The disclaimer outlines the policy that ACB neither restricts nor censors program content with respect to the blind- produced programming on ACB Radio. The BOP is working on developing guidelines for monitoring coverage of ACB candidates for office on ACB Radio and the web site. The BOP will work closely with the ACB Internet committee to develop appropriate guidelines. The BOP welcomed its newest ex officio member, Earlene Hughes. Hughes is the ACB webmaster, and her expertise in this area will be extremely valuable to the BOP as policies regarding the web site are developed. The BOP wishes to thank Laura Oftedahl for her many years of service as an ex officio member of the board of publications.
Jerry Annunzio reported on the idea of marketing an ACB lapel pin or patch. The board appointed Alan Beatty to serve as chair of this committee, with the expectation that this product could be available for the July convention. Also serving on the committee are Jerry Annunzio, Dawn Christensen, Charlie Crawford, and Jim Olsen.
When the board meeting reconvened on Monday, Paul Edwards announced the formation of an ACB Public Relations Committee, with Ralph Sanders serving as chair. Others appointed to this committee include: Kim Charlson, representing the board of publications; Penny Reeder; Terri Lynne Pomeroy; Pat Shreck; DeAnna Noriega; and Pam Shaw. As one of its first official activities, this committee will be hosting a public relations seminar at the July convention.
Pat Beattie, ACB treasurer, and Jim Olsen, ACB Chief Financial Officer, provided the board with an analysis of the current financial situation and projections through the 2001 fiscal year. The board approved the hiring of PriceWaterhouseCoopers as the official ACB auditor for the year 2000.
Pat Beattie, the new chair of the American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services (ACBES), then reported on the results of the elections: Vice-Chair, Dawn Christensen; Secretary/Treasurer, LeRoy Saunders; and board members, Michael Garrett and Oral Miller. A proposal is being considered to hire a consultant for ACBES to advise on strategies to enhance revenue in the thrift stores.
The board then dedicated considerable time to discussion of the fiscal year 2001 budget. The discussion was separated into revenue issues and then expense categories. After considerable discussion, a 2001 budget was approved amounting to $1,181,000.
After meeting in a brief executive session to discuss personnel matters, the board adjourned its mid-year meeting.
On June 20, 2001, the business enterprise program for licensed blind vendors which is jointly operated by the U.S. Department of Education and recognized state licensing agencies in the various states will reach its 65th birthday.
On June 20, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Randolph-Sheppard Act into law. That act established a program under which blind individuals who were trained and licensed by recognized agencies were given a priority or preference to operate vending facilities on federal government property. The business enterprise program authorized under the Randolph- Sheppard Act has grown from meager beginnings to the point where today approximately 3,000 licensed blind vendors are making a good living working in this program which has grown into a nationwide enterprise grossing almost a half a billion dollars per year in revenues. The average annual income of licensed blind vendors employed in the business enterprise program has also steadily increased to a point that today a blind vendor makes on average almost $35,000 per year.
While some of our opponents in recent federal court litigation such as the NISH case, which is reported on elsewhere in this issue of "The Braille Forum," have argued that the Randolph-Sheppard Act has outlived its usefulness, we believe that the program is still a vital career option for blind people which deserves to be strengthened and more universally and uniformly implemented and enforced. Congratulations to the Randolph-Sheppard Act and to the thousands of licensed blind vendors who make their living under its authorized business enterprise program on this important anniversary of the act's original enactment into law.
Kansas has never had a freestanding commission for the blind. Its blind services have always been a part of a larger umbrella system.
This article is about a battle for a commission for the blind where I will discuss some of the casualties and the spilled blood. My hope is that other states can learn from our experiences. There are many classes to take at the school of hard knocks on the way to a commission, and perhaps our story will help other states quiz out of some of them.
When blind services were originally established in Kansas in the 1930s, there was reasonable autonomy for the unit within the agency umbrella. Blind services submitted its own budget, and the unit included counselors, social workers, and teachers who specialized in the field of blindness. In addition, there were units to cover such areas as prevention of blindness, restoration of sight, and provision of braille, as well as the traditional vocational services.
Over the past 25 years, we have seen the umbrella structure gain size and strength. With each gain in strength for the bureaucracy, blind services has lost a little more control and autonomy.
In the past three years, Kansans have seen the destruction of increasing numbers of categorical and specialized services for the blind. Here is a partial list of what has been lost.
Kansas Industries for the Blind, a state-operated industrial program for the blind which was paying competitive wages and benefits to its blind workers, and which was operating financially at a break-even level, was closed. The bureaucrats at the top of the umbrella did not think the industries program reflected "their philosophy of community integration."
Individual caseload budgetary authority for blind services was lost, as separate storage and record-keeping on blind cases were eliminated. The separate blind services field program was completely abolished, as blind services counselors and teachers became part of the general vocational rehabilitation program. In many areas caseloads are now being blended. Several areas of the state have no rehabilitation teachers for the blind available at all because office area-maps have been redrawn. (The social work positions had disappeared several years ago, and prevention of blindness and restoration of sight programs had also been moved to general medical services. Today, these services do not exist as identifiable entities.)
The generalists' umbrella agency also proposed to close the Kansas rehabilitation center for the blind last year. A lawsuit filed by the Kansas ACB affiliate, and a lot of lobbying on the part of blind citizens, prevented this closure, but, despite our efforts, the rehabilitation center has been relocated to less valuable real estate. The center is now in a beautifully remodeled building in a relatively remote location, where there is nothing blind rehab clients can walk to in the surrounding community. Only the training building has been relocated. Plans for replacement of a residential facility, which had been part of the program for many years, remain uncertain.
In past years, the Kansas NFB and ACB affiliates have introduced into the Kansas legislature their own versions of commission for the blind bills, and for many years one organization would make sure the other's proposals went nowhere. In the past three years, however, things had gotten so bad that the leadership of both organizations realized it was time to work together. We are therefore united on a commission proposal and we pushed aggressively for it during this year's legislative session. Envision, a private, non-profit affiliate of National Industries for the Blind (NIB) also joined the consumer groups in full support of the commission proposal. Until recently, I was employed as Envision's Director of Governmental Affairs. This was a systems advocacy position, so I had the honor of leading the charge on Envision's behalf.
We did not get our commission proposal passed even through one house of our legislature, but we did manage to get a recommendation for interim study of the way blind Kansans have been treated by our umbrella agency. The study is to include consideration of creating a freestanding commission operated by blind citizens and experts in blindness. This is further than the commission concept has ever gotten before in the state of Kansas.
Back when the blindness organizations in Kansas were still beating each other up over the details of commission bills, and it was clear to most onlookers that efforts were going nowhere, the leadership of our umbrella agency used to watch the processes with a certain tongue in cheek amusement. Cock fighting or Texas death wrestling matches are not legal in Kansas, but watching the "blind battles" was said to be a favored spectator sport of the umbrella generalists.
When the blind consumer organizations got together on a commission proposal, and then enlisted the help of Envision, a financially sound organization which had a full time lobbyist at the state capitol, all of a sudden those ineffective blind combatants apparently ceased to be so entertaining. The proponents of fully integrated services had to find a new way to attempt to silence the unified blind.
The alliance between the state NFB and ACB affiliates on the commission bill was rock solid. No chinks could be found in that armor. Envision's support and assistance therefore turned out to be the most vulnerable link in the determined chain.
Now the story becomes a little more personal for your author. I was, after all, the Envision staffer doing most of the work on the commission advocacy, and on attempting to get lost services restored.
On March 12, 2001, nine ACB members accompanied me to a House Social Services Budget Committee meeting. I testified for Envision and David Schwinn, a member of the ACB affiliate's legislative committee, also testified. This was the meeting which resulted in the recommendation for an interim study.
On March 13, 2001, my former boss had a meeting with some high level Kansas government officials. For obvious reasons, my boss has not identified the officials. It was after all a closed door meeting with no records kept. She cannot prove what was implied or said. The impression she left with, however, was that if Envision did not stop causing trouble over the commission bill and the restoration of categorical services for people who are blind, Envision would get no additional state business and might well lose much of the state business it currently has.
Envision has around 25 blind employees who work exclusively on state contracts. Another roughly 60 employees can charge a portion of their hours to these state contracts. Envision is attempting to grow its rehabilitation department, and has several blind and sighted rehabilitation employees who are dependent on state referrals for the funding of their jobs. In short, continuing to stand up for the commission bill could have caused a significant number of blind rehabilitation and production workers to lose their jobs. This is an unacceptable consequence, so my boss and I both reluctantly concurred that the only alternative was to reduce Envision's state systems advocacy and governmental affairs activities. I was not fired or asked to resign. I was in fact offered another job with Envision at equivalent salary and benefits. I was treated fairly, but I chose to turn the new job down for Envision's protection, and for my own peace of mind. Obviously, if I remained with Envision, I would be unable to do work on the commission bill. I could not represent Envision or the ACB affiliate either. After all, the essence of the message from the state officials, in whatever subtle form it was delivered, had been to silence that damned Michael Byington. The only way for me to continue working on the commission bill at all was to resign from the best and most fulfilling job I have ever had.
Oddly, I do not feel any remorse about this. If the unified effort for the commission bill was bothering the umbrella supporters enough to make them try such tactics, we must have been having some success. The fight will thus wage on.
Now in the category of what other states can learn from all of this, I want to point out a couple of tools which have been missing from our advocacy tool chest in Kansas. When advocates for the developmentally disabled re-wrote their enabling state statutes a few years ago, they added provisions which say that state-funded community developmental disability organizations cannot retaliate against agencies or individual case managers who speak out on behalf of a client or group of clients. In representing a client or clients, a direct service worker can even speak out against his or her own employer without fear of retaliation. The blindness field in Kansas, and, in fact, in most states, has no such provisions included as part of enabling statutes.
Many of our ACB affiliates have suggested to NIB affiliates in their area that they should get more involved in advocacy. As an employee of an NIB affiliate which has been a leader in such endeavors, I too had been challenging other NIB affiliates to become active as advocates. I still think this needs to happen, but now I understand that, realistically, there is a risk involved. If laws and regulations insuring autonomy for advocacy efforts are not in place first, the NIB affiliate could run the risk of losing state or rehabilitation business if they make the "wrong" people mad. This can mean a loss of blind jobs, and I do not think blind workers should have to bleed that severely for the cause of gaining control of the tax supported blind services programs.
As I write this, I have qualified for unemployment benefits. I am applying for other jobs which are not in the field of blindness, but which will afford me sufficient flexibility of hours to continue to help the Kansas ACB affiliate with the work on the commission bill, and the restoration of categorical services.
My wife and I will survive this experience. I have not been unemployed in 22 years, and it is proving to be quite an adventure. For years, our Kansas affiliate has advocated to make information systems at the one-stops accessible. Now I can focus much more specific energy on this project as I am learning firsthand exactly what is wrong with the access systems while I use those systems to look for jobs.
Several of my fellow lobbyists and professional associates have suggested that I open my own lobbying firm and continue to lobby in private practice. I am also researching this possibility. I do not know if I want to try and make a living this way, but I will establish the paper trail to start a firm. It will be called Byington Advocacy Consultation of Kansas (BACK). Whether BACK becomes my business, or something I do in my off hours, it will be a pleasure to point out to certain state officials that, "I'm BACK!"
On Tuesday, April 24, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Alexander v. Sandoval. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the opinion of the court, and Justice John Paul Stevens delivered a stinging dissenting opinion. The case arose out of a challenge under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mounted by a class of Spanish-speaking citizens against the State of Alabama's practice of administering its driver's license examination to all applicants only in the English language. Before the federal trial court in Alabama and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia, the plaintiff class successfully argued using a disparate impact theory, which was cited to prove that Alabama's practice unlawfully discriminated against them and all others similarly situated based on their national origin, as proscribed by Title VI and the implementing regulations of both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The State of Alabama then sought and successfully gained review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice Scalia's majority opinion holds for the court that Congress or the federal courts may only authorize causes of action to carry out the purposes and objectives of an enacted statute itself. The court then holds that the text of Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended merely outlaws simple intentional discrimination. While the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation implementing regulations under Title VI which authorize the assertion of claims based upon a disparate impact (or effects) theory of discrimination may well have been validly promulgated, neither the Congress nor the federal courts have created or implied a cause of action for disparate impact or effects discrimination under either Section 602 of Title VI or the various implementing regulations. Thus, Justice Scalia, who speaks for the five-to- four majority, holds that the disparate impact claim of unlawful national origin discrimination under Title VI is not authorized and cannot be brought before the federal courts.
Earlier, the Supreme Court itself had held that claims of disparate impact discrimination under Title V could be brought by private party litigants before the federal courts. The dissent argues that this case should never have been accepted for review in the first place by the high court, but that once accepted for review, well established principles of following prior decisions should have led the court to answer the question presented here in the affirmative. In effect, Justice Stevens accuses the majority of reaching out to accept review of this case and of then ignoring settled cannons for decision, to reach a preordained results-based conclusion despite prior decisions of the Supreme Court and a unanimous array of federal appellate court holdings on the question presented for review. The dissent also accuses the majority of rendering a muddled and erroneous interpretation of the earlier decisions of the Supreme Court and their historical context. The dissent then concludes by characterizing the majority holding as one of the least anticipated and most absurd and outrageous decisions that the court has rendered during Justice Stevens' more than a quarter of a century tenure on the high court.
The distinction between simple intentional discrimination on the one hand as contrasted with disparate impact (or effects) discrimination on the other hand established by the majority in the Alexander v. Sandoval opinion should be viewed as very troubling by disabled observers of the high court's proceedings. Until this holding by the court, the disparate impact (or effects) theory of discrimination had been thought of and held to be just another method of establishing the intentional discrimination outlawed by most of the federal civil rights laws. After the Alexander v. Sandoval holding, all of the prohibitions of unlawful discrimination by recipients of federal financial assistance (whether state government entities or private parties) including disability discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended are subject to challenge under the distinction created by the high court. You can be virtually certain that defendants in Section 504 lawsuits raising claims of disparate impact (or effects) disability discrimination will be attempting to have such claims thrown out of federal court arguing that such claims are beyond the power of Congress to authorize and of the federal courts to entertain. In addition, you can also be virtually certain that state government defendant recipients of federal financial assistance in Section 504 lawsuits for money damages in federal court will be arguing that the Garrett holding and rationale should be applied to dismiss Section 504 claims brought against them. The prognosis for avoiding or defending against such challenges is very guarded at best, and the legal landscape in light of these recent Supreme Court decisions appears to be bleak indeed. Such judicial decisions certainly do erect high legal barriers for our advocacy efforts to surmount, yet we dare not shrink from this challenge.
In the closest thing yet to the bionic eyes of science fiction, researchers at the University of Houston and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have developed retinal implants they say will restore sight in people with retinal blindness.
The devices, ceramic microchips that activate cells leading to optic nerves, have been successfully tested for biocompatibility in lab animals and could be ready for trial implants in human patients as soon as early 2002.
"This is not an eye replacement for those with an eye poked out," said Alex Ignatiev, a UH professor of physics and chemistry and lead researcher on the project. "But for those with retinal blindness, this device will allow them to see -- first light, then shape, then print and, ultimately, even color."
Ignatiev said his team is identifying patient and surgery- site candidates and preparing paperwork for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the trials. The microchip has been patented and two papers describing the team's work were recently submitted to academic journals.
Retinal blindness, a degenerative condition in which the retina detectors don't function, afflicts roughly 1 million people in the United States. Roughly one-third of all blind people in the United States have this condition.
Treatment of blindness has long been a holy grail of medicine. Previous attempts to implant artificial retinas failed, Ignatiev said, because the material used -- silicon solar cells encased in glass and connected by wiring -- was simply too big and unwieldy. Ignatiev's device, discovered serendipitously during UH Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center research to develop infrared-sensitive materials for NASA and surveillance applications, is microscopic, inert and optically active. Made of a zirconium-titanium-lead ceramic, the chips naturally adhere to the retina upon implantation and generate sufficient voltage to activate the retina's neural circuit, resulting in a signal the brain translates as "seeing light."
The chips are one-tenth the size of a human hair in diameter and one-hundredth its size in thickness. They are implanted in hexagonal arrays of more than 50. At some point, once enough chips are implanted, the researchers expect the brain optic nerve to relearn seeing on its own. The optic nerve connects the brain to the retina, the innermost coat lining the interior of the eyeball.
The first surgery will involve the implantation of four arrays of microchips, which Ignatiev said should allow the patient to see light in four directions -- up, down, left and right. Adding more microchips should enable the patient, initially, to see shapes and, then over time, to bring everything into focus. Within five years, estimated Ignatiev, the patient should be able to read again.
The microchips respond to monochromatic light -- meaning, the patient will see everything in one color. Ignatiev said the team will eventually make polychromatic chips to allow patients to see all colors, though that will be tougher.
Dr. Charles Garcia, chairman of the UT Health Science Center department of ophthalmology, said that once the surgery is optimized, patients will need only one or two procedures to restore vision. The procedure will involve rolling back the skin at the corner of the eyes and entering that area with a needle without cutting the skin.
The project, which began more than three years ago, included laboratory work that measured the amount of voltage generated by the chips. It also included laboratory work on non-blind rabbits, more than 50 of which have undergone the surgery and none of which have shown any adverse effects. Future laboratory work, perhaps at the same time as the human trials, will involve dogs with retinal blindness.
Retinal blindness comes in two main types -- retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition that can strike in youth and gradually causes one to lose eyesight; and macular degeneration, which usually, but not always, strikes late in life. Age-related macular degeneration is one of the two main causes of legal blindness.
"I have great confidence this will work," said Ignatiev, also a professor of electrical and computer engineering. "The big hurdle was the biocompatibility shown in animal tests. Now, I think it's just a matter of time before we're able to help millions of people with retinal blindness."
Researchers have given four blind dogs at least partial vision by injecting genes into the dogs' retinas. This is the first time that scientists have made blind animals see, and the success paves the way for a treatment for humans with some forms of congenital blindness.
"It's very exciting," said Dr. Jean Bennett, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead author of a study reported in the current issue of Nature Genetics. "We are very happy with the results and hope that this technique will work in children." The finding appears to hold promise for newborns with an inherited genetic disease called Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA). With LCA, the retina is not able to process information. Each year, LCA affects about 10,000 children in the United States. They are born blind or with very little sight.
The dogs in the Nature Genetics study were Briards, a breed known to have a genetic mutation responsible for about 10 percent of LCA cases. Each of the four had LCA, and was treated in only the right eye. Bennett collaborated with Cornell University researchers who originally cloned the gene, and scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville made the virus that would carry it into the retina, where it would take on its new job producing the healthy version of a protein involved in delivering the visual message from the retina to the brain for processing.
The dogs' retinal activity was measured electronically four months after the gene therapy. A light was shined into the treated eyes, and the results indicated normal retinal activity. "We found ... evidence that the signal was transferred to the brain," Bennett said. "The brain could understand what the eye was seeing." Researchers also put the dogs into a room with furniture. The treated animals managed to avoid the objects to their right, even as the untreated dogs bumped into the obstacles.
Researchers will now study whether there are any side effects of the gene therapy technique. If not, human trials could be a few years away. "This is an obvious treatment and we hope this remarkable progress will be translated to humans," Bennett added. For now, they are waiting to see if the new sight will last. The animals are still showing evidence of sight, nine months after the initial treatment.
The gene itself seems to be involved in the metabolism of vitamin E compounds, Bennett said. When this recycling of vitamin E and its by-products is hampered, the retinal cells can't process information normally.
Five genes have been implicated in different forms of retinal blindness and this research focused on one, RPE-65.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Diabetics won their first painless way to measure blood sugar Thursday, as the government approved a wristwatch-like device to do the job.
Cygnus Inc.'s GlucoWatch checks glucose levels every 20 minutes by sending tiny electric currents through the skin.
The GlucoWatch won't completely replace those finger-prick blood tests that diabetics perform because it's not perfect, sometimes giving erroneous readings, the Food and Drug Administration warned.
But it will supplement finger testing, providing the more frequent blood monitoring that can help keep diabetics healthier, the FDA said. Better, it sounds an alarm if blood sugar hits dangerous levels -- possibly life-saving if glucose plummets while they sleep.
To use the prescription-only GlucoWatch, patients slide a thin plastic sensor onto the watch's back each time they strap it on. Small electric currents extract a tiny portion of glucose from fluid in skin cells instead of blood, measuring it every 20 minutes for 12 hours.
So far, the device is only for adults, the FDA stressed. That will greatly disappoint many parents of child diabetics, who particularly struggle with those painful finger-prick tests and are anxiously awaiting painless monitoring.
But not only has Cygnus not yet studied the GlucoWatch in children, doctors simply don't know if glucose measured in skin cell fluid correlates to blood measurements in children like it does in adults. So the FDA will watch closely to ensure it is properly prescribed just to adults.
California-based Cygnus did not immediately say how soon the watch would start selling, or its price. But physicians must be trained to use it, and then train patients who must accurately answer a quiz before Cygnus can ship them a watch.
Some 16 million Americans have diabetes, meaning their bodies cannot properly regulate blood sugar, or glucose. They check their levels by pricking a finger and placing a drop of blood on reactive strips.
Doctors urge those tests be done frequently, four to eight times a day, because they can help patients better control diabetes and thus lower their chances of debilitating complications such as blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage. But these fingerstick tests are painful and inconvenient, leading the average patient to test only twice a day.
Even those who frequently test cannot know if glucose soars or drops between testing or during sleep. Indeed, many diabetics who become hypoglycemic at night set alarm clocks to wake them every few hours for testing and treatment.
But never decide to use insulin based on a GlucoWatch reading without first double-checking with a fingerstick test, the FDA warned. While the GlucoWatch generally is as good as blood tests, a quarter of the time GlucoWatch readings can differ from blood tests by about 30 percent.
That could be a problem, particularly in detecting hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. But Cygnus says patients can program the GlucoWatch to sound an alarm before glucose plummets to dangerous levels, giving time for a blood test.
Also, the watch won't measure if the patient's arm becomes too sweaty and is less effective at detecting very low glucose than very high levels, the FDA cautioned.
(Editor's Note: It is important to point out that these findings apply primarily to totally blind women. Please do not interpret the reduction in risk, reported below, to mean that self-exams for abnormalities and mammography are not still important.)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- High blood levels of the hormone melatonin may explain why blind women have significantly lowered risks for breast cancer compared with sighted women, researchers report.
Melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and plays an important role in the body's sleep cycle, is thought to influence the secretion of estrogen, which in turn influences breast cancer risk. "Our findings give support to the 'melatonin hypothesis,'" write Dr. J. Kliukiene and colleagues, of the Cancer Registry of Norway in Oslo.
Reporting in a recent issue of the British Journal of Cancer, the researchers used Norwegian government health data to track breast cancer in over 15,000 visually impaired women, nearly 400 of whom were totally blind.
The investigators found that totally blind women had a 36 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared with sighted women. Women who became blind relatively early in life (before age 65) appeared to be especially protected against breast cancer, with incidence rates 49 percent below those of sighted women.
Only total blindness -- not visual impairment -- seemed to protect against breast cancer. According to the authors, this supports the theory that increased nighttime exposure to artificial light reduces melatonin levels, altering estrogen secretion rates and upping risks for breast cancer. Blind women are by definition unreceptive to light, however, and may maintain high melatonin production at night regardless of external light conditions. Kliukiene's team believes this may be the mechanism whereby blind women are protected from breast cancer.
Mack Willard Riley was born in Mississippi November 19, 1938, the youngest of 13 children. By age 19, he had a driving record which included the sideswiping of several cars. However, his visual impairment was not apparent to him. Then, without warning, his left eye perforated from glaucoma and he learned the right eye was involved too. This discovery was devastating to Mack, who was studying piano and dance and had demonstrated great talent in painting and drawing as well.
A few years later he relocated to California, renting a room in the home of Emerson Trent, a voice and piano coach in Bell Gardens. He attended California State University, Los Angeles, completing a bachelor's degree in English. Eventually, with his deteriorating vision and his plans to obtain additional education, Mack decided to attend the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany, Calif. Incidentally, neither Juliet Bindt Esterly nor Patricia Burns was successful at teaching Mack Braille. At OCB, Mack met other young people with vision impairments including Susan Phillips Breslauer, Vicky Murdoch Bishop, Tim Ford, Mike Jones and Patty Davis. He also noticed that students were recruited into the NFB alumni group as they completed their programs at the center. This "pipeline" from OCB to NFB had not gone unnoticed in the ACB of California, and as it happened, while Mack was at OCB, the president of ACBC, Catherine Skivers, spoke at OCB to present the alternative viewpoint. As Cathie tells the story, the other students asked questions, but Mack cross-examined her. Mack called Cathie and told her that he liked her style and what she had said and that he would organize a group separate from the alumni. He called this group the California Alliance of Blind Students, which, along with the previously mentioned OCB students, included Eugene Lozano, Andy Baracco, Gina McGaughey, Danny Alvarez and others.
Meanwhile, at the 1970 ACB national convention in Oklahoma City, a resolution was drafted by two young attendees, Michael Byington and Scott Marshall, who enlisted the help of ACB board member Judge John Vanlandingham from Arizona, asking ACB to establish a student group. Shortly after this resolution was passed, ACB National Representative Durward McDaniel attended a state convention in California and saw all these young people that Mack had assembled. This led to Mack's being asked by the ACB President Judge Reese Robrahn to chair a steering committee to establish a national group of blind and visually impaired college students. And, after committee meetings in Portland, Ore. in 1972 and Knoxville, Tenn. in 1973, the National Alliance of Blind Students ratified a constitution, applied for affiliation and received its charter as an ACB affiliate at the 1974 convention in Chicago.
Back in Southern California, Mack had just completed his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of California, Irvine, publishing a book of 49 original poems as his thesis. He had applied and was accepted to Trinity College in Ireland but was unable to arrange financial support since his only income was Aid to the Blind in California. Mack returned to California State University, Los Angeles and obtained a secondary teaching credential.
To accommodate his visual impairment, Mack replaced the six light bulbs in the fixture above his table with 100 watt bulbs and purchased a special kind of typewriter ribbon for his manual typewriter, typically used by newspaper journalists, that left an extra heavy image. Deciding not to take a teaching position, Mack delved into his writing, preparing mailings for the California Alliance of Blind Students as well as writing letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times on current events. His mailings to the students often concerned the passage of new laws, such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, encouraging the students to advocate for their rights under these laws.
I met Mack Riley at the 1973 convention in Knoxville. He convinced me of the importance of the blind movement and taught me many things, from getting around Los Angeles by bus to using a cane. We worked countless hours on organization projects from conventions to recruiting to Christmas parties, not to mention fund raising spaghetti dinners or cocktail parties. I in turn taught him what I was learning as a Social Security Service Representative, which gave him more advocacy knowledge to pass on to the students.
In 1976, Mack concentrated his efforts on organizing more chapters in the Los Angeles area such as the Compton and Metropolitan Chapters. The "Metro" Chapter merged into the Greater Los Angeles Chapter as a result of the 1985 "Reunification" in California. Mack and I took responsibility for the spring 1977 state convention. Mack arranged the program, bringing in a few "controversial" speakers and I dealt with the hotel. One of the speakers, I remember, was a lady named Kim Young from Oregon, now Kim Charlson. Together we changed the face of the convention by including a pre-registration form with the "Convention Call," scheduling time for committees and special interest groups to meet, and adding an exhibit hall (of 11 exhibitors). It was also during this period that Mack took part in Frank Ryan's "Implications of Blindness" classes at Cal State LA, where he enjoyed debating ACB with Mitch Pomerantz speaking for NFB. Mack was editor of the ABC Digest which became the ACBC Digest and then served as the state president for a two-year term.
Meanwhile in his professional life, Mack took advantage of an opportunity for a part-time job in the Disabled Students Office at Los Angeles City College under the direction of Frank Booth. While there, he got his papers in order and was able to secure a part-time teaching position at LACC. These experiences led to his decision to return once again to Cal State Los Angeles, this time to obtain a VH credential, which led to employment at the Braille Institute of America. For almost 20 years, Mack's knowledge, style, wit and charm have left their mark in one way or another on the lives of hundreds of students who passed through his classes. Again, self-advocacy was a big part of what he taught, including rights under Social Security. Mack lost the vision in his right eye in 1987.
In recent years Mack has devoted his time to parenting his son Jonathan, now age 21, researching and writing about his family history, and building his dreams with Lea in their Hancock Park home in Los Angeles and a seven-acre retirement home in Mississippi, "Dogwood Manor." He made substantial improvements to the Mississippi property, enlarging the house, creating a pond, adding a gazebo, surrounding the property with a fence and selecting trees, plants and grass.
Mack Riley's death occurred April 15, 2001 in Los Angeles after a brief but intense struggle with colon cancer. There was a memorial service at the Braille Institute April 25 and the cremated remains will be interred in Mississippi near the graves of his parents.
Mack's legacy to the American Council of the Blind as well as the California Council of the Blind is evident in the course that ACB has taken. Even though membership in the National Alliance of Blind Students is notoriously transitory, causing rapid turnover of its leadership, it has survived 27 years. Furthermore, a look at the first few NABS presidents illustrates its important role in ACB as a whole: 1973 Ed Bradley, now on the ACB board; 1974 Mack Riley; 1975 Eugene Lozano, known to most as "Mr. Access"; 1976 Andrew Woods, deceased 1979; 1977 Christopher Gray, youngest person ever elected to the board of ACB; 1978 Brian Charlson, now first vice president of ACB.
Denise Joan Klahn died Tuesday at the age of 36 after falling into a diabetic coma at her apartment in downtown Council Bluffs.
Many Iowans have achieved greatness, fame and fortune. But few have done so in the face of such adversity as that which confronted Klahn.
Blind since birth and saddled with chronic health problems, Klahn became a much loved gospel singer who touched the lives of many people with her faith, talent and genuine affection for everyone she met.
From the age of 5, Klahn showed an amazing talent for singing and playing the piano. By 7, she was performing in front of her first audience and making guest appearances in churches in Iowa and Nebraska.
She graduated from Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton, and was president of her class. At age 22 in 1987, she became the first blind graduate of Simpson College in Indianola. She then moved to Council Bluffs to start her own business teaching private music lessons. By that time, she could play the piano, organ, clarinet, trombone and saxophone and had performed in more than 200 concerts throughout the Midwest.
She aspired to pass on her gift and filled in as a substitute teacher in schools in Council Bluffs and Treynor.
Her mother, Maxine Klahn, of Treynor said she was adored by the elementary school children she taught. "She loved gospel singing and the elementary kids in Council Bluffs and Treynor," she said.
Maxine Klahn said her daughter's death came as a shock because a recent round of new treatments had reduced her risk of coma.
"She was feeling so much better that we didn't realize she could still go into a coma, so it caught us off guard," she said.
A friend, Jim Ross, of Underwood knew her since they were children and recalled her tenacious spirit. "She was plagued with health problems but never felt sorry for herself," Ross said. "She never saw it as a hindrance. She wanted to be busy and contributing to society."
Ross said that whenever he went out in public with Klahn, she was always met by people who knew and loved her.
"When we would go to the grocery store, people would constantly come up to her," Ross said. "You couldn't take her anywhere without people wanting to say hello. She was very well known."
After reading in "The Braille Forum" the article, "Ruth Haglund Craig," from the "Salt Lake Tribune," February 13, 2001, the years of the time clock sped back to March of 1938.
I started kindergarten at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind and came to know the real person behind all those facts and statistics -- Miss Haglund, my kindergarten/first-grade teacher.
During a telephone conversation with Mrs. Craig late last year, I spoke to her of many memories I had in her class and how they had influenced my life. She was extremely interested in what I had to say, making me feel so important and special by entering my world, which should not have surprised me at all, because that's how it was back then when my universe was only the small world of a child.
Dealing with disappointment was one of the first lessons I learned under Miss Haglund's tutelage. Having entered kindergarten late in the school term, I felt keenly the disappointment of not being able to move on to first grade with the rest of my class. Miss Haglund, in her infinite wisdom, felt that I needed more time for growing.
In late March of 1940, I was hospitalized and did not return to school until the fall of that year. When I learned that I would be unable to complete first grade, I thought to myself, "Oh, no, the other kids in my class will go into second grade and I will be left behind again." I was terrified as only a little child can be.
I'll never know how Miss Haglund knew, but she did. I arrived home from the hospital and found a letter waiting for me. "Dear Evelyn," it said, "I'm writing to you to let you know that you have been promoted to second grade." My joy knew no bounds!
I recalled to Mrs. Craig's memory the time we had gone on a field trip and how during the long bus ride back to school, I grew tired, curled up in her lap, and fell fast asleep, safe and secure in her arms. "I'm so glad you told me that," she said, and the tone of her voice indicated that my relating this memory meant a lot to her.
On Miss Haglund's birthday, she punished my favorite playmate and me for misbehaving and we had to stay indoors while the rest of the students were allowed to go outside and play. We made all manner of things with blocks and then decided to build a house for Miss Haglund. After all, it was her birthday! When she came in to check on us, we excitedly showed her our handiwork and our little voices rang with the melody of "Happy Birthday." It wasn't until years later when another teacher related a similar story, expressing her feelings, that I realized how Miss Haglund must have felt. She never let on. She just thanked us for remembering her birthday in such a special way.
"I only have one memory of you," commented Mrs. Craig. "Oh, what's that?" "I made sure all of you were dressed warmly and took you out to experience the wonders of an ice storm. You stood there, Evelyn, listening to the ice striking the ground, and finally said, 'It sounds like my mother frying eggs for breakfast.' I remember you as a very curious child, always wanting to know everything."
"Do you use braille?" asked Mrs. Craig. "Yes," I replied. "Braille is my mainstay, even though I do listen to recorded books and use computers with speech and braille displays." My usage of braille seemed to concern her, because she again approached the subject.
It must have been in first grade when Miss Haglund showed me the braille alphabet. She told me that this would be how I would learn to read. I was fascinated. On going home for the weekend after this memorable event, my mother discovered me sitting on the floor, poking little dots with a safety pin in the pages of a print magazine. "What are you doing that for?" she asked. "I'm fixing it so I can read."
Through the years, I became an avid reader and read almost everything in the Van Cleve Hall library, including the "Sally and Tim" series Miss Haglund wrote with two other teachers.
Our conversation covered a wide range of subjects. I mentioned being employed for 37 years as a medical transcriptionist, my happy marriage of almost 13 years until my husband's death in 1999 and singing in the church choir for 36 years. Then we discussed my participation in the after-school tutoring program for first and second graders. I explained how useful print/braille books and raised print magnetic letters proved helpful to the children in reading practice.
I often think of Mrs. Craig while working with these first and second graders and want so much to impart to their young minds many of the things she has given to me.
Ruth Haglund Craig, you will always be remembered in my heart.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stooped in her wheelchair, the patient grumbles about the pain, the cold, her age, her world.
"Some nights I'm screaming in agony," she says. "You gotta help me, doc."
Dr. Stanley Wainapel sizes up the problem immediately. Arthritis has eaten away one 71-year-old knee and is gnawing at the other. The prospect of surgery terrifies her.
Wainapel checks the movement in the patient's arms and legs, prods the left knee until it hurts. "You're made of pretty sturdy stuff," he tells Myra Edelstein, walking back to his desk. "You should come through the surgery fine."
His voice is reassuring, but he's looking in the wrong direction.
"Hey, doc!" Edelstein yells. "I'm over here, doc."
Wainapel straightens his gaze with a slightly embarrassed smile. As Edelstein is leaving, she notices a thin white cane propped beside a bookcase in the corner.
"He's blind!" she exclaims. "My doctor is blind."
With his thick silver hair and silver-rimmed glasses, his staff jokes that Wainapel looks like Andy Warhol. He cuts a striking figure as he strides through the hospital, white coat flapping, white cane tapping out a path in front: past cabinets and counters and bewildered onlookers who quickly step out of his way.
Sometimes he bumps into patients. Sometimes he bumps into walls. And somedays Wainapel, the 54-year-old clinical director of rehabilitation at Montefiore Medical Center, has to reassure himself as much as his patients that he was right to choose medicine as his career.
"You need a lot more than eyes," he says, "to be a good physician."
Montefiore is an overwhelming place, even for those who can see. Cabs and buses loaded with patients stream up Gun Hill Road, disgorging a swirling human mass that can make it seem as if all the broken bones and sick hearts of the Bronx have landed at the hospital doors.
Inside, skillfully negotiating his way through the chaos, is the blind, piano-playing doctor who introduces patients to Mozart and Chopin even as he prods joints and listens to hearts and diagnoses disease.
Some patients swear the blind doctor sees their pain better than anyone.
"He doesn't judge you from the outside, because he can't see the outside," says Maria Asuncion Diaz, a 42-year-old nurse who is being treated for complications related to Lyme disease.
Wainapel knew from childhood he eventually would become blind. He has choroideremia, a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive degeneration of the retina and of cells in the back of the eye.
He knew he had to fill his "memory library" before his eyes stopped working. So he did. He traveled. He read. He took photographs: His favorite, taken 25 years ago in the Swiss Alps, is blurry and impressionistic, and it is hung proudly above his desk. He played chamber music: Other musicians marveled at his ability to sight read.
"I couldn't be a surgeon," Wainapel says. "But no physician is master of everything." So Wainapel specialized in physiatry, in the healing and rehabilitation of patients with all sorts of ailments: lower back pain, hip replacements, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue. He sees up to 200 patients a month. In fact, he says, patients often can be more accepting than peers, who sometimes see only the cane.
For years he fought using the cane, and the talking books, and the voice-activated computer that he now relies on to scan reports and write memos and read medical literature.
And then he reminds himself, as he reminds anyone who asks, that you don't need sight to feel the curve of a spine.
"And what is the first thing you do when listening for a very soft heart murmur?" he says. "You close your eyes."
For all his assurance and acceptance, there are days when the loss of vision has seemed unbearably cruel. Wainapel has raged at the fact he no longer can sight-read music. And he knows that if he and his wife, Wendy, are successful in their quest to adopt a Chinese baby, he never will see the child's face.
Still, these days Wainapel is more at ease talking about his blindness. He doesn't care when patients gasp at the huge black sprawl on their prescriptions: most doctors' prescriptions are illegible anyway, he jokes.
"You don't have to see in order to read," Wainapel said excitedly, pulling out his latest book-on-tape: "The Shipping News" by E. Annie Proulx. "I read all the time."
Wainapel rarely gives piano recitals anymore, but that has more to do with a tight schedule than with blindness. And then some days, when there is a lull between patients, he tap-taps his way upstairs to the hospital community room. The piano is as old and tired as the plastic flowers on the tables. Most in the audience, a dozen or so elderly patients in wheelchairs, are dozing. Suddenly, a Chopin polonaise fills the room, soft and enchanting and so otherworldly that nurses pause on their rounds to listen and patients take a break from their pain. For 15 minutes on a busy morning, the blind piano-playing doctor creates a little piece of wonder in Montefiore.
The announcement of new products and services in this column should not be considered an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.
The American Printing House for the Blind and the Braille Institute of America are hosting a workshop focusing on the needs of children with cortical visual impairment.
The workshop will be held July 23-25, 2001, and it will take place at the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles, Calif. Dr. Christine Roman of Marshall University will talk about characteristics of children with CVI, techniques and strategies for intervention, and appropriate materials and activities.
Registration will be limited to the first 125 participants to sign up. There will be a $25 materials fee for each participant. Hotel rates for the conference will be $99 per night for a single room or $109 for a double room. Registration information and materials are available on the APH web site, www.aph.org, or you can call Field Services Representative Janie Humphries toll-free at (800) 223-1839, ext. 367. E-mail responses or inquiries should be sent directly to Janie at [email protected]
Candle in the Window, a small national non-profit organization, will hold its 15th annual conference entitled "The Ways We Work: Reflections On Our Place in Employment and Beyond" August 15-19, 2001 at the Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center, located just outside of Louisville, Ky. We aim to bridge the gap between those with and without mainstream employment experience; identify and communicate strengths and interests; share hobbies not connected with professional pursuits; increase understanding of nonverbal communication; and enhance interviewing skills. In addition to provocative presentations and stimulating discussions, there will be plenty of time for swimming, hiking, eating, singing, quiet reflection, and just plain "hanging out." The conference costs $220 ($15 discount if we receive a $35 non- refundable deposit by July 1); limited scholarships and payment plans are available. For additional information, please contact Peter Altschul at (202) 234-5243, e-mail: [email protected], or Kathy Szinnyey at (502) 895-0866, e-mail: [email protected]
Great fun! Good food! Fantastic fellowship! Nestled in the heart of the Sandy River Valley, at the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind is hosting its annual summer camps. Adult camp, ages 21 and above, will be held July 21-28. Youth camp, ages 10 through 20, will be held August 18-25. Individual sporting competition, fishing, swimming, hiking, shopping sprees and a day at the Oregon coast are some of the activities that will fill the week. Completed registration must be received in our office no later than June 15, 2001. A $50 pre-registration fee will assure you a place with us. Interested? Call (503) 668-6195 or e-mail us at [email protected] teleport.org.
The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Department of Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment, is seeking persons who are blind or visually impaired and interested in receiving a master's degree or certification in orientation and mobility, education of children & youth with visual and multiple impairments, rehabilitation teaching or low vision rehabilitation. The programs encompass a mixture of classroom, laboratory, clinical, research and field-based learning geared toward meeting professional preparation needs in the field of vision impairment. Rolling admissions and scholarships are available.
For further information contact Traci Godwin at (215) 780- 1363 or [email protected] You can also visit http://www.pco.edu and click on Graduate Studies.
RNIB Research Library, Europe's largest collection of research material on blindness and partial sight, is now accessible over the Internet, thanks to a joint project with the National Library for the Blind (NLB). By logging on to http://www.rnib.org.uk, visitors can search and browse RNIB's catalog of books, journal articles, videos and other resources, join the library and request or reserve publications.
The site will provide answers to frequently asked questions about blindness, give access to online journals, and also links to other useful organizations such as government departments and other libraries of blindness and partial sight. With the launch of this online catalog, the RNIB collection is now more readily available to a wide range of users, including medical, social services and education professionals throughout the world. The site is accessible to all blind and partially sighted people, incorporating design features to aid users of screen magnification, speech and braille translation software. For further information, call on 020 7391 2052 or e-mail [email protected]
The Association of Blind Citizens announces the nation's first live beep baseball audio chat. Come and chat with some of the nation's beep baseball players, managers, coaches and team assistants. This forum will be aimed at providing an open exchange of ideas, information and tips in order to advance beep baseball as a competitive recreational opportunity for blind and visually impaired people. Join moderator John Oliveira, president of ABC and Boston Renegades manager, for an informative and lively discussion relating to beep baseball. The first chat was held on Sunday, May 13 at 9 p.m.; subsequent chats will be available every Sunday night until October at 9 p.m. Eastern time. To join the beep baseball audio chat, visit http://www.assocofblindcitizens.org and click on our chat page link then click on affiliate rooms and click on the Association of Blind Citizens room. Then enter a name that you would like to use and join the chat. Remember that to participate in this audio chat you must have a microphone attached to your computer's sound card. See you all in the chat and let us get ready to talk beep baseball.
National Braille Press has established three electronic mailing lists: NBP_General, which announces every NBP publication; NBP_Kids, which announces only children's and educational publications, including the Children's Braille Book Club; and NBP_Technology, which announces only computer publications, tutorials, reference cards, etc. To subscribe to any of these lists, send a message to [email protected] Leave the subject blank, and in the message body, write the word "subscribe" without the quotes, then the list name. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The Mississippi State University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center received funding for an academic certificate program to provide specialized training in vision disabilities for people employed in rehabilitation agencies serving people who are blind and/or people who are in graduate training programs leading toward a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. The stipend-supported 2002 summer program provides four graduate courses for 12 semester credit hours. For more information, contact Stacy Butler at (662) 325-2001.
"The Fast Track" is a no-nonsense, no-frills braille/tape/print manual for learning to read braille, which has been successfully used to teach braille to adults through a braille mentoring program. To obtain your copy, send $39.95 to Lois Wencil, 19 Parkview Dr., Millburn, NJ 07041. Mention ACB and $1 will be donated to the American Council of the Blind.
Would you like to be able to visit an accessible web site and download each book of the Bible in mp3, and play it on your computer for free? Then visit http://www.audiotreasure.com/ . You can also order various versions of the Bible on CD-ROM from this site, or simply listen to it online.
Houlihan's restaurants now offer braille menus! The chain's 52 corporate-owned locations will each have two braille copies of the menu.
Bank One Corp. has installed 30 "talking" automated teller machines in Illinois and Ohio to help visually impaired customers complete their banking transactions. By the end of the year, the bank hopes to have 100 of the machines installed in the Chicago and Columbus areas. To find out if there's a talking ATM near you, call (877) 241-8665.
The CAST Summer Institute will be held August 6-9, 2001, with the theme, "Teaching ALL Students: Universal Design for Learning." Addressing the challenge of IDEA '97, the institute will teach you how to make the general curriculum accessible for ALL learners! Educators are invited to attend a four-day, hands- on workshop that highlights Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational approach to teaching diverse learners through flexible applications of technology tools, networks, and digital content. The Institute will feature presentations, case studies, hands-on activities, demonstrations of exemplars, teacher presentations of UDL successes, and plans for school-based dissemination, focusing on: concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); application of UDL to classroom practice; process of UDL curriculum planning for ALL learners; design of accessible web sites for classrooms, schools, and/or districts, and practical implementation of UDL through development of an action plan.
This institute is for educators, technology specialists, and administrators of schools and universities who want to learn about Universal Design for Learning and its application in practice. Both individuals and teams of two to four people (recommended) from a school or institution are invited. Institute participants will receive a single copy of the CAST eReader (a text-to-speech browser that provides support for learners who have difficulty reading) and a certificate indicating the equivalent of 32 hours of professional development credit, and become CAST Summer Institute Fellows. As CAST Summer Fellows you will be included in the National Consortium, a community of educators who are involved applying UDL to practice. Three graduate credits will be available through Cambridge College in Cambridge, Mass.
Participants should be familiar with computers, including using Windows 95, 98 or 2000, word processing, e-mail, and Internet, and exhibit a willingness to learn new applications.
The Summer Institute will be held on-site at CAST, Peabody, Mass., 40 minutes north of Boston, August 6-9, 2001, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuition is $995 per person. Institute fees include all instructional activities, a resource binder of readings and materials, refreshment breaks, a certificate of completion, and membership in the CAST National Consortium on Universal Design for Learning. The tuition does not include travel, lodging, or meals. Three graduate credits will be available at an additional cost of $500.
For more information, please contact Brenda Matthis, Director - Professional Development, CAST, (978) 531-8555 or [email protected] An online registration form is available at http://www.cast.org/PDInstitutes.
Raymond Kurzweil, the inventor who created the first reading machine for the blind, was recently awarded the world's largest prize for invention: the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. Congratulations!
With the release of the $10 note in January 2001, the Bank of Canada has developed a comprehensive accessibility program as part of the design of its new series of bank notes. Four different features have been incorporated into the bank note design, to facilitate identification of note denomination.
The tactile feature is used to designate bank note denomination through a series of symbols formed by raised dots and separated by a smooth surface, in the upper right corner on the face of each note. Each symbol is composed of two columns of raised dots. The dots are embossed and back coated to enhance their durability.
The denominational numeral found on both sides of the note has a high print contrast, which is further improved given that the area behind the numeral is free of printing. The numeral on the front of the note is dark on a pale background while the one on the back of the note is white against a dark background. It is approximately 30 percent larger in comparison to the previous series.
The coloration difference for the various denominations has been maintained from the previous series (i.e., $5 is blue; $10, purple; $20, green; $50, red; and $100, brown) to help low-vision users identify their notes.
In addition, an improved bank note reader is a hand-held device being developed to denominate bank notes from the new series, as well as from the Birds of Canada series. The unit is expected to be approximately half the size and weight of the existing model. The selectable output modes (voice, tone and vibration) will address the privacy concerns that have been expressed by users.
For further information on the new series of bank notes, contact the Bank of Canada toll-free at (888) 513-8212.
In an effort to maintain the best in customer service, Dolphin is pleased to introduce a new toll-free phone number for customers in the USA. Dolphin clients can now enjoy free calls for all sales inquiries. The new toll-free number for all Dolphin product inquiries is (866) 797-5921. The usual phone and fax numbers also remain in operation: telephone (650) 348-7401 and fax (650) 348-7403. Dolphin can also be contacted by e-mail on [email protected]
Do you need medications, but have difficulty paying for them? Check out http://www.needymeds.com. This web site has a listing of 189 pharmaceutical manufacturers who have programs to assist people in getting their needed prescriptions. Each company has its own program with unique forms and procedures. Policies vary from company to company.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information is now available as a free resource at http://www.MerckHomeEdition.com. The new version is complete with multimedia components such as videos, animations, color photos, links, and pronunciations of medical terms. There is a link to a text only version on the page.
Windows 95 is no more! Microsoft has told its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that it will no longer supply Windows 95. In addition, Microsoft has changed its policy with regard to technical support for users. Now, you are permitted two free calls for a particular product; hereafter, you must pay $35 per call.
FOR SALE: Romeo RB-25 braille printer, barely used. Asking $1,900. Juliet Pro interpoint braille printer, barely used. Asking $2,900 or best offer. Optacon R1D. Asking $2,500. Contact Patrick by e-mail at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Two Index Basic-D braille printers in excellent condition. Barely used. $3,000 each or best offer (excluding shipping). Can do 80 characters a minute, hold three sizes of braille paper or cards. Can also do signage. Alva 40-cell braille display in excellent condition. Comes with case. Works with either DOS or Windows, JAWS for Windows and other popular screen readers. Asking $4,500 or best offer (excluding shipping). Arkenstone Hot Reader scanner in excellent condition. Has working card and works with DOS only. Asking $90 or best offer (excluding shipping). Serious offers only. No installments. Please call Marie Caputo at (860) 871-8224 or e- mail her, [email protected]
FOR SALE: Henter-Joyce Microsoft Word tutorial on cassette. Asking $70 or best offer. Free shipping. Contact Tai Tomasi at (501) 283-6340 or by e-mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Aladdin Personal Reader. Like new. Originally $2,000; asking $1,450. Call Ronald at (205) 822-3736.
FOR SALE: Perkins Brailler in great shape, $400; black & white standard-size CCTV and 13" CCTV, both in working condition, sold as a package for $400. Contact Jeff Johnson after 6 p.m. weekdays at (256) 362-2407.
FOR SALE: Open Book 3.0 with tapes and manuals, $100. Accent PC internal speech card with drivers, $100. One Ann Morris tone indexer with manual, like new, $25. External microphone plugs into unit. Prices do not include shipping. Free JAWS for DOS versions 1.0 up to version 2.3, includes training tapes and manuals. Training tapes and JAWS for DOS shipped free matter. Money orders only please. Contact Mr. J. L. Blackwell, 846 Skyline Dr., Chester, SC 29706; phone (803) 377-7913 (call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time only).
FOR SALE: 20" Optelec CCTV, used for only 3 years. A great deal, includes separate stand, for only $1,200. Contact William Gray at (732) 657-8625.
FOR SALE: Reading Edge. Nine years old. Asking $800 or best offer. Contact David Jollymore at (904) 323-9958 after 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
FOR SALE: Compaq Presario laptop computer, nearly new; still under warranty. 128MB SDRAM memory, AMD-K6 3D 500 Mhz processor, 6GB hard drive, DVD/CD-Rom drive, 56K ITU v.90 compliant, data/fax capable, Intel videophone compatible, touch-pad. Asking $1,295 or reasonable offer. Price includes additional external mouse, carrying case, and shipping. Contact Jackie at (206) 367- 8200; e-mail: [email protected]
FOR SALE: VersaBraille II System with dual disk drive and manuals. Will be sold as is. Cables and power supply included. Cashier's check or money order is required. Will accept best offer. If interested, please e-mail to [email protected]
FOR SALE: Mono cassette duplication machine. Only duplicates one tape at a time. Make an offer. Contact Bob Clayton in braille at 715 W. 11th St., Cedar Falls, IA 50613.
FOR SALE: Almost new fast Internet-ready computer with speech. Includes Open Book, new top of the line HP scanner, and new printer. Asking $1,500 plus shipping. Call Stan at (925) 778-7446.
FOR SALE: Brand-new Kurzweil Personal Reader. Comes with manuals on tape, original cables and packaging. Asking $2,500 or best offer. Contact Robert Lewis at home, (410) 653-2498, or at work, (410) 462-8580.
WANTED: Braille writer. Contact May Hardison, 5143 E. Washington St. #1, Indianapolis, IN 46219; phone (317) 356-0965.
Because so many members and friends of the American Council of the Blind responded so generously to our annual fall fund- raiser, "The Braille Forum" chose to list those contributors over several months. Contributors' names are, therefore, published according to alphabetic listings of the states where they reside, in May, June, July, and August issues of "The Braille Forum."
ACB wishes to thank its many members and friends who gave so generously in response to its fall 2000 letter requesting support for ACB's ongoing programs and services. This partial list of donors reflects only those people who gave us permission to publicly acknowledge their gifts.
Lola Abadilla, Wahiawa
Cynthia Hirakawa, Honolulu
Lynn E. Misaki, Honolulu
Betsy Whitney, Hilo
Ace Accounting Service Inc., Chicago
M. Ivonne Bradley, Macomb
Ann Brash, La Grange
Lynn Cooper, Chicago
Esther DeLoach, Chicago
William Etzbach, Mendota
Keith E. Garrett, Keithsburg
Sally Hering, Lake Bluff
Heidi Kimbel, Rock Island
Vincent C. Massalone, Godfrey
Dennis Mejia, Highland
Marjorie Miller, Chicago
Natalie Miller, Evanston
Donald G. Morrow, Chicago
Alberta O'Shaughnessy, Chicago
Terry-Ann Saurmann, Arlington Heights
M.J. Schmitt, Forest Park
C. Ronnie Strote, Rockford
Rachel Wiley, Vandalia
James J. Barnes, Crawfordsville
Austin Berkey, Bristol
Maurice Brockman, Bloomington
Agnes V. Grinnan, Carmel
Marlyce Hanna, Indianapolis
John Huffman, Indianapolis
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Kittredse, Bloomington
Donald and Gerry Koors, Indianapolis
Janet Markiewicz, South Bend
Ross N. Pangere, Valparaiso
B. Romaine, Bristol
Mike & Dolly Sowder, Bedford
Jennifer Thompson, Kokomo
Helen M. Witts, Elkhart
Deborah Caldbeck, Des Moines
Linda Dietrich, Fairfield
Kenneth Ebb, Mount Pleasant
Marjorie Hansen, Mason City
Jeanne D. Jensen, Mason City
Roger Larson, Eagle Grove
Arlo & Elsie Monthei, Des Moines
Frank Strong Jr., Des Moines
Conan M. Triplett, Des Moines
Betty Christian, Wichita
Don Enos, Wichita
Murl Heckel, Wichita
Jean Loggins, Wichita
Marilyn G. Lytle, Wichita
Howard & Glenna Morrow, Overland Park
Kimberly Morrow, Overland Park
Leon Fultz, Lexington
Thomas L. Lutes, Bardstown
Jenny Parks, Louisville
Susan B. Robertson, Louisville
Charlotte Himel, Covington
Tom & Kim Venable, Marrero
Carlene Wilson, Lafayette
Jim & Sue Martin, Ellsworth
Jeremiah & Anne Newbury, Portland
Jo Ann Kucic, Parkville
Walter Lackey, Frostburg
Susan McCarthy, Arnold
Sheila McKeown, Baltimore
Al and Hope Pietrolungo, Baltimore
Barry Riebman, Silver Spring
James Turri, College Park
Barbara Black, Northampton
Esther Connelly, Watertown
Edward Heurtz, Brookline
Angela Manerson, Salem
Joyce Nadell, South Weymouth
Myra Ross, Amherst
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Billie Jean Keith, Arlington, VA