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Subscription requests, address changes, and items intended for
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Submission deadlines are the first of the month.
The American Council of the Blind is a membership organization made up of more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates. To join, visit the ACB website and complete an application form, or contact the national office at the number listed above.
Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to Ardis Bazyn at the above mailing address. If you wish to remember a relative or friend by sharing in the council's continuing work, the national office makes printed cards available to acknowledge contributions made by loved ones in memory of deceased friends or relatives.
Anyone wishing to remember the American Council of the Blind in his/her Last Will and Testament may do so by including a special paragraph for that purpose. If your wishes are complex, contact the ACB National Office.
To make a contribution to ACB via the Combined Federal Campaign, use this number: 2802.
For the latest in legislative and governmental news, call the "Washington Connection" toll-free at (800) 424-8666, 5 p.m. to midnight Eastern time, or visit the Washington Connection online.
The summary of the Feb. 11 telephone conference call meeting of the ACB board of directors which appeared in the April 2003 issue of "The Braille Forum" contained an author's note which stated that the board of publications at its Feb. 28 telephone conference call meeting had "overturned" the budgetary directive given to it by the board of directors. This choice of words may have left the impression in the minds of some readers that the BOP was attempting to reverse the budgetary allocation for the Forum. Such an impression is erroneous and must be corrected. During its meeting, the BOP decided to temporarily cut back the page count for the remaining seven issues of 2003, in the hope of accruing enough savings to publish a convention issue. The BOP regrets the temporary setback for "The Braille Forum," and hopes that these limitations can be removed, and the number of issues can be restored to previous levels in the 2004 budget year.
In 1994, the American Council of the Blind signed a contract, the impact of which will start to be felt at our annual convention in Pittsburgh, Pa. July 5-12, 2003. This contract is not related directly to this convention or any specific convention of our organization for that matter. Rather, it was a contract for the writing of a true history of the organized blind movement of America, the formation of our organization, and an in-depth look at the people and the issues that make up the American Council of the Blind.
The writing of this comprehensive history has taken nine years and spanned three ACB presidencies. I daresay that all these presidents, along with the chair of the history committee, Otis Stephens, a former ACB president himself, wondered at one moment or another if we would ever see the final version of this history. Compiling, chronicling, and annotating the history of our movement was a huge and complex job. It just couldn't be done overnight.
It takes a special talent and a particular personality to undertake such a large and detailed writing task. We are indeed fortunate to have found someone to research and write our history who has impeccable credentials in just such endeavors: Professor James Megivern, a noted historical scholar, perhaps most famous for his writings on the history of the death penalty and the position of the Catholic Church on related issues. The history of the death penalty spans multiple centuries, while our history only spans multiple decades of one century. Be that as it may, over 700 pages, packed with facts and backed up with appropriate notes and citations have come from his labor.
To assist Dr. Megivern, ACB had the good fortune to know a woman of great energy, boundless enthusiasm, excellent cheer, and a friendly, involving disposition. By happy coincidence, she happens also to be Jim's wife, Marjorie. Many ACB members have met and/or talked with Marjorie Megivern as she has criss-crossed the country in person and by phone, collecting oral interviews on all aspects of ACB's history and work. Together, Marjorie and Jim Megivern have worked on this project continuously over the last nine years.
At our 2003 convention in Pittsburgh, you will have the first opportunity to experience the outcome of their labors: "People of Vision: A History of the American Council of the Blind." On Wednesday evening of convention week, we will hold a history gala. It will be a time of celebration both of the publication of our history, and of the accomplishments and activities of our great organization. If you're coming to our convention, then, you'll have the opportunity to attend the gala. If you want, you can even pre-order an advance copy of the history itself. This handsome hard-cover book is almost 750 pages in length, and contains 50 compelling photographs of notable blind men and women of our movement. The authors will be on hand to sign your copies.
The history gala master of ceremonies will be the chair of the history committee and former ACB president, Dr. Otis Stephens. A variety of activities is being prepared to make for a festive, exciting, and historic evening for ACB. From the ceremonial to the comedic, we hope to have something for every attendee to enjoy and remember for years to come. Congratulations to all who had a hand in bringing this important project to fruition.
But wait, there's more! Besides the "big picture" of our ACB history, much more awaits convention attendees this year in Pittsburgh. I'd like in particular to highlight the attendance and speaking of Microsoft's director of accessibility, Madelyn Bryant MacIntire. She has lots of exciting news for techies and non-techies alike. Our annual NLS update is sure to be exciting, and, this year, the talking book narrator -- always a highlight of our convention -- will be Gordon Gould. Being downtown is always fun and brings back memories of other similar conventions such as those in Chicago and Phoenix.
History made and history in the making is what you can prepare to experience with ACB this July! If you can't come to Pittsburgh, perhaps you can hear us on ACB Radio on the Mainstream channel. And you can order convention tapes as well. With anticipation and excitement, I look forward to seeing all of you who can attend very soon.
One of Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner Joanne Wilson's major objectives is to insure that the system of rehabilitation empowers consumers. This theme has been repeated many times in her speeches and within the context of the following is well worth supporting.
First, we must understand the roots of Commissioner Wilson's idea of empowerment. Clearly her roots in the Federation and her administration of a rehabilitation center based in NFB philosophy coupled with a review of her talks on the subject show that her thinking is guided by her history. This is as it should be since all of us have a frame of reference which we utilize to develop our ideas and share them.
Given the above, empowering consumers is a promise well worth keeping by the rehabilitation establishment, but requires some critical thinking to insure it really is a promise of liberty rather than a reflection of a flawed process, no matter how appealing the goal may be.
Empowerment as represented by Commissioner Wilson is for the most part a highly desirable state wherein the consumer gets to be a real partner in the process and able to make informed choices that will direct the course of that person's rehabilitation. So far so good. Respecting the ability of consumers to understand information provided by counselors who are supportive of consumer dignity and choice is the way things should be. However, two issues arise that must be thought through if empowerment is really to happen.
First, we must accept consumer choice as authentic and not simply a choice between options that serve the agency more than the consumer. While some issues may be muddier than others, the fact remains that the rehabilitation system must begin to take a serious look at what it offers, so that the "jargon" of choice doesn't serve merely to maintain the trappings of the same old system. This, among other things, means a serious revamping of thinking and an examination of options, including facility access to guide dog users, and the opportunity for consumers to utilize their remaining vision within rehabilitation settings.
The second issue is even more important than the first. Simply put, empowerment is the process of nurturing the innate capacity within all of us to freely make our own decisions and take responsibility for them. This is the cornerstone of ACB. It is the value upon which we rely to assure our decisions as an organization are the product of discourse between members who are free to take positions which from time to time may challenge our conventional thinking and leadership.
If Commissioner Wilson is looking to facilitate the kind of empowerment described in this all too short article, then she will have contributed much to the advancement of people with disabilities. If her conceptualization of empowerment remains a product of her past, then freedom of thought may well remain imprisoned in a philosophy that, for all its appeal and good intentions, takes control of the person rather than allowing a person to take control of his or her own life and future.
When President Gray called the meeting to order around 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, all board members were present. In addition, ACB executive director Charlie Crawford and ACB Chief Financial Officer Jim Olsen were in attendance.
Gray reviewed the meeting agenda. Several amendments were offered and agreed to by consensus. Then budget committee chairman Brian Charlson led a discussion concerning the committee's revised report and recommendations. Board member Ed Bradley asked what additional time commitments and/or costs would be created if the board agreed to make the Minneapolis office the unified budget center for ACB. This question sparked a wide-ranging discussion about certain problems which might be created within ACB's financial administration and accounting functions if the recommendation were to be adopted. Gray said that because the recommended change in budgetary administration does not create a mechanism for dealing immediately with unanticipated income or revenue shortfalls, he felt that the revised recommendations should be referred to the executive committee for further consultation and refinement. Other board members wondered aloud whether some of the budget committee's recommendations should, in fact, be constituted as amendments to the ACB Constitution and Bylaws and be referred to the convention for deliberation and action.
As a result of this discussion, a motion was made, seconded and passed by voice vote to refer the budget committee's recommendation concerning the unified budget center concept to the executive committee for further consideration. That committee will be assisted by the chair of the budget committee, the chief financial officer, and the executive director who will be treated as non- voting committee members for purposes of deliberation.
The board then turned its attention to a report from the convention site selection coordinator. Carla Ruschival reviewed the 2008 convention proposal from Orlando which was presented during the mid-year board meeting, as well as a proposal from a Phoenix, Ariz., hotel which had been unsuccessfully offered for consideration for the 2005 convention, and which the presenter now wished to put forth as a bid for the 2008 convention. After some discussion, Paul Edwards moved that Ruschival be authorized to pursue further negotiations with the Phoenix 2008 convention bidder. If these negotiations can be concluded with terms which are satisfactory to the convention site coordinator, the board will approve the Phoenix 2008 convention proposal and Phoenix, Ariz., as the site of ACB's 2008 annual national convention. The motion carried. The board also adopted a motion reaffirming that it will entertain only future convention site proposals which contain daily room rate provisions of $85 or less for single and double rooms, and instructed the convention site coordinator to develop and come back to the board with at least two convention proposals for 2009 and future years which comply with these guidelines.
Jim Olsen then reported that the ATM machine that ACB had been operating in Anchorage in conjunction with several members from our Alaska affiliate has all too often been out of service, and the proprietor where the ATM is located has asked that it be removed because of the aggravation of having to deal with customers who are frustrated by the malfunctioning machine. Therefore, our Alaska members are proposing that we insist under our warranty that the manufacturer of the ATM replace the machine. In addition, they are proposing to relocate the machine to another site, and to increase the service fee charged, since the proprietor at the proposed new location is insisting on a share of our take from the service use fees. The board adopted a motion authorizing Gray and Olsen to negotiate with the ATM manufacturer for a new or substitute machine. This motion also authorized them to negotiate to obtain the most favorable terms for relocation of the ATM, for increases to the service fees which we may have to charge and for any division which ACB may have to end up granting to the proprietor of any new location.
Jerry Annunzio in his new capacity as the chairman of the ACB resource development committee then made a report to the board. Annunzio moved that the ACB offer sponsorships for convention banquet tables located in prime spots within the room for a fee of $1,000. The sponsorship fee will include ACB providing the sponsor with eight banquet tickets, and sponsorships will be made on or before Wednesday of convention week. The motion was adopted by the board. Annunzio then moved that ACB offer to sell sponsorships of evening convention-related events and receptions to individuals or corporations for $350 or more. After some discussion, the board also adopted the motion. Annunzio moved that ACB establish a series of non-voting sustaining membership categories with dues payments ranging from $100 up to $10,000 or more. Some board members asked whether the proposed membership dues would be one-time payments or would be annual dues or sponsorship payments. Other board members also indicated that since the ACB constitution sets forth categories of non-voting memberships and establishes the annual dues payments required for those non-voting membership categories, the proposal should be referred to the constitution and bylaws committee for further action. Annunzio then altered his motion to indicate that the board endorses the idea of establishing a series of sustaining membership categories at progressively increasing dues levels, and that the board is referring the proposal to the constitution and bylaws committee for its deliberation and action. This revised motion passed.
Several board members then expressed their views that the summaries of board meetings prepared by the ex-officio board member and representative from the board of publications had recently been unnecessarily detailed. A number of board members pointed out that the board often discusses confidential information which should not be reported upon in any detail at all. Some board members -- while professing not to be concerned with respect to the reporting of their own votes on roll call votes -- nevertheless pointed to the reporting of how each board member voted on roll call votes as an example of the unnecessary detail which had been recently included in the published summaries of recent board meetings. This reporter responded that neither he nor the editor of "The Braille Forum" believes that the reporting of roll call votes is in any way breaching the confidentiality of board proceedings, and has been provided, instead, in an effort to more fully inform readers of the magazine about board meeting proceedings and decisions.
Paul Edwards suggested that the ex-officio board member might submit draft board meeting summaries to the ACB president for his review and comment before the draft board meeting summary is submitted to the editor of "The Braille Forum" for eventual publication, and this reporter agreed, despite sometimes pressing time constraints, to make every good-faith effort to follow this protocol.
Crawford then reported that it would cost ACB approximately $5,200 to implement the summer internship program in the national office for this upcoming summer. This cost item is approximately $2,000 more than the amount allocated in the recently adopted 2003 ACB budget. The board then adopted a motion authorizing the executive director to employ a national office summer intern for the summer of 2003, and to derive the additional $2,000 of revenue necessary to implement the summer internship program by delaying filling the position of the assistant for the membership and affiliate services coordinator.
The telephone conference call board meeting adjourned around 11:25 p.m. (Eastern daylight time).
Visually Impaired Data Processors International (VIDPI), a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, has as its mission to foster the career development of blind computer professionals, promote the use of computers by blind people to improve the quality of their professional and personal lives, and advocate for improved information access for all blind people. To that end, we will present a series of program sessions which will address the varied technology concerns of ACB members, both consumers and professionals.
Saturday, July 5
4:30- 6 p.m.: VIDPI pre-convention board meeting
Sunday, July 6
9:30 a.m.-12 noon: VIDPI program
1:30- 4:30 p.m.: VIDPI Technology Vendor Showcase. Avoid the noise and crowds in the exhibit hall, and get the news on all the hottest blindness products from over a dozen of the top assistive technology providers.
Monday, July 7
9 p.m. - midnight: VIDPI Mixer
Tuesday, July 8
1:30- 4:30 p.m.: Programmer's Forum and Computer Trainer's Forum. These two concurrent sessions offer information technology professionals and assistive technology professionals the opportunity to learn about and discuss topics specific to their respective professions.
Wednesday, July 9
1:30- 3 p.m.: VIDPI Microsoft Forum
Thursday, July 10
12:30- 1:45 p.m.: VIDPI luncheon, Speaker: Joyce Bender, CEO, Bender Consulting Services
1:45 p.m.: break
2- 4:30 p.m.: VIDPI business meeting
5- 6 p.m.: VIDPI post-convention board meeting
For more information about VIDPI, visit www.acb.org/vidpi/. For more information about the VIDPI convention program, contact Frank Welte at (650) 508-8329 or by e-mail, [email protected]
Gordon Gould, this year's talking book narrator, will be speaking at the LUA meeting on Monday (NOT Wednesday, as announced in the LUA and Braille Revival League newsletters). You can hear him at the general session, then come to the meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., where he'll be speaking, or come to the wine and cheese reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. to meet and greet people. Hope to see you there!
Once again VAB has extended its reach out across the state of Virginia in an attempt to help those who are blind and visually impaired.
In March, Alice Malbone and Ken Lovern went to one of the westernmost points in the state to locate, inform and assist people who are blind. And two new satellites were born in southwest Virginia!
These new satellites, born March 13 and March 14, respectively, are near the Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia state lines and are: the Virginia Association of the Blind Mountain Vision Planning District 1, President Roger Vanzent, in Duffbill (near Norton, Va.) and the Virginia Association of the Blind Mountain Vision Planning District 2 (Ray Justus, President) in Claypool Hill (near Lebanon, Va.).
Alice did a great job as she filled in the new members on how VAB was launched in 1981 by her late husband Nelson Malbone, who left us July 7, 2001 to be with the Lord. Nelson and C. Lydon Harrell, an attorney with a caring heart for people with disabilities, along with many other blind people in the south Hampton Roads area of Virginia, incorporated VAB in August 1981. The group's mission has always been "to locate, inform and assist blind people throughout the state of Virginia." The VAB board is helping each satellite with $2,000 in startup funding.
Ray Justus, President of PD 2 and the organizer of both groups, said, "This check could have been for $100 and we would have been pleased to receive it. This is very thoughtful of your group. Thank you very much for your generosity!" Ray, who is a member of both groups, went on to explain how they chose to be called Mountain Vision 1 and 2. It came from the Bible, Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish!" Alice and Ken are looking forward to returning there to visit, for the new members made such a fine impression upon them both.
In addition to these two groups, the Virginia Association of the Blind includes the Peninsula Council of the Blind, President Rick Barry; Chesapeake Bay Council of the Blind, President Mary Durbin; the Virginia Association of Deaf-Blind, President Jenny McKenzie; and the Virginia Association of the Blind, Shenandoah Valley in Roanoke, President John Elliott.
VAB is looking forward to launching more satellites across the state, especially in the northern and southern areas. If you are interested in forming a satellite, contact Alice Malbone at 1-800-426-2144.
We have four great events planned for you during the ACB convention in Pittsburgh!
First is the annual luncheon with entertainment; then there's a mixer that is free to members. (You can become a new annual member at the door for $15.) There's also an informative advocacy seminar presented by AFB. Finally, number four is the drawing for three great prizes: an afghan created by Milly Lillibridge, Louisiana spices donated by Paula Marshall, and a $100 cash award.
There's still time for you to register for the AAVL meetings. If you can't come, you can still participate in the AAVL drawing. Buy some tickets for yourself, family, and friends. Tickets cost $2 each or three for $5. To get tickets, phone me at (937) 369- 3470. Give your name, address, and the number of tickets you'd like to buy. Or, send an e-mail to [email protected] I will mail you the tickets, and enclose a pre-addressed return envelope. You need to send back a check made out to AAVL and the completed stubs to arrive before July 3rd.
I look forward to seeing you at the meetings or receiving a check made out to AAVL or both.
I am extremely pleased to announce that Ardis Bazyn was appointed by the California Secretary of State to the Help America Vote Task Force. She will be an able representative for our viewpoints and for the citizens of California. She not only received my recommendation, but also that of the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, high praise indeed for one of our state and national leaders.
Make the 2003 Pittsburgh convention memorable for the whole family. The Youth Activity Center or YAC is making some changes and adding new activities too. All children ages 6-17 are welcome to come and participate.
The YAC will be located in the convention center, close to general session, staffed by volunteers. The YAC will be open for registered participants from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday of convention week.
Games, a craft area, reading corner, and lots of lively activities, and a few surprises are in the works for attendees each morning. A Fun Night is being planned in conjunction with the banquet on Friday evening.
Registration will open on Sunday, July 6 from noon to 2 p.m. and during operating hours Monday through Friday of convention week. There is a $5 registration fee for all participants.
To help offset the cost of this program, we are looking to ACB members, affiliates, and corporations for sponsorship. If you or your affiliates might be interested in sponsoring one of the YAC events (through financial means or volunteering time) or if you have any questions concerning the YAC, please contact: Patti Cox, [email protected], (502) 897-3864; 170 N. Bellaire Ave., Louisville, KY 40206.
Simon Says? No, it's not a children's game; it's an entertaining GDUI tradition, brought back again this year by popular demand! Whether you and your dog choose to play the obedience game or not, you'll find a variety of interesting and entertaining activities at this year's GDUI convention, held in conjunction with the ACB annual convention in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Activities range from opportunities to explore the lay of the land at one of GDUI's two Sunday hotel and surrounding area orientation sessions to Monday afternoon's timely and informative presentation by Kathleen Blank, a consultant for the National Organization on Disabilities, who will discuss improvements in airline procedures affecting people with disabilities. That same afternoon, The Seeing Eye will present the latest innovations in wayfinding technologies used in combination with working a guide dog, and Monday evening, guide dog schools will provide valuable information handlers need in order to make informed choices when choosing a school.
Tuesday afternoon, following GDUI's business meeting, candidate's forum and caucus, GDUI hosts a panel presenting information about dog nutrition, including everything from the advantages of feeding a raw diet to more traditional ones. GDUI will present a town-hall style discussion of guide dog ethics Wednesday afternoon, including such topics as handlers' rights and responsibilities, public perceptions, more pets in public places as well as murkier issues. Wednesday evening's session, "What Goes In Must Come Out," takes a serious and not-so-serious look at just exactly what's in that baggie.
GDUI's Wednesday luncheon debuts a hilarious radio reading theater style production featuring the Hambone players in Dog Club, an original story by DeAnna Noriega, in which canines converse under the table where their handlers are seated enjoying lunch. Other fun activities include Tuesday evening's rousing game of Simon Says for guides and handlers as well as Wednesday afternoon's ever popular "Tall Tails," told by those who tell them best, guide dog instructors. Come vote for your favorite story!
Monday evening at 9 p.m., and sure to be a historic 2003 convention highlight, GDUI will host a reception where President Debbie Grubb will welcome and introduce Stephanie Dohmen. Dohmen is the courageous woman who along with GDUI and several guide dog schools filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against the Iowa Department for the Blind, which refused to allow her to attend classes while accompanied by her guide dog.
GDUI is excited to report that for the first time ever, there will be a professional cleanup company responsible for guide dog relief areas. There will be three large man-made relief areas filled with frequently changed wood chips outside the front doors and to the right at the Westin and audible motion sensors to facilitate their easy location. At the Convention Center, relief areas will be located near the main entrance as well as on the terrace across from the main GDUI meeting room and GDUI suite which will be situated next to each other. At the Hilton, which is the overflow hotel, there is lots of grass. So between responsible handling and professional assistance in this department, convention stress should be minimized.
For those who do not wish to bring dog food to the convention in suitcases too stuffed with other essentials, you can call Four Paws Barkery and General Store at 888-735-8059 to place dog food delivery orders. Just leave a message including your name and telephone number, and you'll get a call back to complete your transaction. Available brands include various formulas of Nutro, Science Diet, Sensible Choice, Pro Plan, Eukanuba, Iams, Premium Edge, and Diamond Premium. If your dog food preference isn't listed here, it still might be possible to obtain it through inquiry to this source. Dog food can be picked up at the GDUI suite Sunday afternoon, July 6 between noon and 4 PM where there will be a bag with your name on it.
As this report is being prepared, GDUI is attempting to finalize arrangements for vet tech and grooming assistance to be available in the GDUI suite. If you need the services of a veterinarian during normal business hours, call VCA Fox Chapel Animal Hospital at (412) 781-6446. For emergency veterinary services at night, during weekends or on July 4, please call Veterinary Emergency Clinic at (412) 492-9855.
GDUI is looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Pittsburgh, and if you come, Simon says you'll have a good time. Another source of dog food and treats
Flint River Ranch, a human grade pet food not sold in most stores, will be available at this year's convention. Lisa Salinger, a Flint River Ranch Distributor, can ship Flint River Ranch Food and treats as well as edible Nylabones (other than those flavors carried by GDUI), to convention free of charge. If interested in any of these items, please contact her no later than June 25. She can be reached by e-mail, [email protected], or by phone, (570) 585-7999.
Are you coming to convention? Do you like helping out where needed? The press room is now seeking volunteers to help collate and staple papers, take ads and announcements, and staff the room.
Sharon Lovering is this year's operations manager, aided by Steve and Marcia Dresser, Judi Cannon, and others. She is seeking volunteers to fill two-hour shifts throughout the day (8- 10 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m., and 2-4 p.m.). The press room will be open Friday through Wednesday, and be taken down Thursday; it will open daily at 8 a.m. and close to the public at 5 p.m. To sign up for a shift, contact Sharon at the ACB national office, (800) 424-8666 extension 22, or via e-mail, [email protected] We especially need people with good braille skills to take ads for the paper and the ConventionEar.
This year's convention newspaper will be called "The Keystone Courier." The Courier will run from Saturday through Thursday. Ads and other items intended for publication must be in the press room's hands by 3 p.m. each day. By a directive from the board of publications, ads will be allowed to run for only three days, in order to give important convention announcements more space. Ads can only be 100 words long. (See "Convention Newspaper Fees for 2003" elsewhere in this issue.) The board of publications editorial policy manual prohibits us from producing or distributing campaign materials.
During the evenings, we will need people to help collate and staple the braille papers. Thanks to Enabling Technologies, we will have three braille printers this year, and we will need one person per printer. Got an hour to spare between 5 and 11 p.m.? Drop by and see if the press room needs help. Thanks to National Braille Press for their generous donation of 15 boxes of braille paper.
If you have signed up for home delivery of the Keystone Courier, PLEASE make sure you drop by the press room to give us your hotel and room number once you arrive. And make sure you specify braille or large print on your pre-registration form. This will ensure that you don't miss an issue. And please hold onto your Saturday issue; it will include all the suite numbers, phone numbers, and room changes.
The ConventionEar will be updated twice daily. Deadlines are 10:30 a.m. (or after the morning break during general sessions) and 5 p.m. If we do not receive your announcement until after 5 p.m., the item will not appear in the Ear until the next morning.
Please remember that the press room is a serious working room. While we understand that convention is a great time to see old friends and new, loud conversations make it difficult to record the ConventionEar announcements and even more difficult to hear the speech synthesizers on the computers which enable us to get the newspaper out to you, the readers. Help us help you get the information you need.
Photocopying will again be allowed this year. Copies will cost 10 cents per page. Please pay the registration office. And if your committee or affiliate needs something brailled, we will be able to do that as well. Make certain you label your disk(s) before bringing them down to the press room, and tell us how many of each format (braille and large print) you will need, by what time. If you bring your item(s) down in the morning, that will help us fit them in during the quiet time between other jobs.
Affiliates, if you know who your delegate, alternate, and nominating committee representative will be, please let the press room (and the ACB secretary) know as soon as possible. This will give us a head start on the official delegate list used during the convention by the nominating committee and others.
Once again this year, a three-tier fee structure will be in effect for convention newspaper ads. Organizations and individuals wishing to place ads in the "Keystone Courier," this year's convention daily newspaper and on our dial-in "Convention Ear" service will contribute to the cost of production via the following fee structure.
For-profit businesses will be charged $100 for a newspaper ad for three days or $35 per day.
Non-profit organizations and ACB affiliates will be charged $10 per day for a 100-word ad which will run for three days in the Keystone Courier.
Individuals will be charged $5 per day for a 100-word newspaper ad which will run for three days.
These fees will entitle the advertiser to announce his/her product in both the daily paper (available in print and braille) and on the dial-in announcement service. The 2003 convention will feature newspapers between Saturday and Thursday.
Don't forget, you can sign up for daily "home delivery" of the Courier. Home delivery of the Keystone Courier will be provided by members of the National Alliance of Blind Students for a cost of only $5 if you pre-register, or $10 if you choose to subscribe to the service after you get to Pittsburgh.
We're your sons and daughters, your parents, your friends and relatives, your colleagues, employees and neighbors.
We're of all ages, from all ethnic backgrounds, socio- economic groups and religions.
Some of us are blind or visually impaired.
We're also gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT).
Someone close to you -- a friend or family member -- is gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender and you probably don't even know it.
We want you to know.
Blind Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual People (BFLAG) was formed in 1996. We began as a group of people who are gay and blind who sought each other out for support and information. Today, we have a growing membership that includes heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In 2000, BFLAG received its charter as a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. BFLAG is the first such special-interest group of the leading organization of people who are blind in the U.S.
The purpose of BFLAG is to provide for the betterment of the lives of those who are visually impaired and who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
A. Through a membership organization primarily of visually impaired people who accept and affirm the purposes of BFLAG.
B. To provide a forum for the views and concerns of visually impaired people interested in issues facing those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
C. To provide information about publications of interest to members, that is produced in accessible format and by encouraging the production of such material in accessible format.
D. To facilitate the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information relative to matters of concern to blind people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
E. To seek to assure adequate services to those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender by agencies and institutions serving blind people. Anti-gay Prejudice Today
Homophobia (the hatred and fear of homosexuals) is a major basis for the suffering of GLBT people.
Some GLBT people worry about losing their jobs and being disowned by their families. Some family members live in fear that relatives or friends will "find out."
Homophobia exists today in the forms of family and societal ostracism, physical violence, employment and housing discrimination and unequal protection under the law. Fear and shame keep many GLBT people "in the closet," hiding behind the masks which society tells them they must wear.
GLBT people are likely to be the victims of physical, emotional and spiritual violence. This situation can be compounded by blindness or visual impairment.
Many GLBT people are accustomed to running up against prejudice and hostility just about everywhere they turn. They may fear that the widespread homophobia in our society has influenced your attitudes as well. They worry that you still believe the tired old myths.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are mentally ill. Fact
Homosexuality is not an illness of any kind. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association ruled, "Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability or general social or vocational capabilities."
Homosexuality is a choice that people make.
Studies have found that sexual orientation develops "naturally" and at a very early age. The "choice" that gay people must make is whether to accept their sexual orientation or to deny it.
Gay men are child molesters.
According to the FBI and the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, over 95 percent of all child sexual assaults are committed by heterosexual men with female children.
Homosexuality causes AIDS.
A virus causes AIDS. Anyone can be susceptible to it.
BFLAG would like you to join our efforts to improve the world in which we live. Become a member, buy our cool lapel pin, and join one of our sessions during the ACB annual convention.
Visit our awesome web site at www.bflag.org.
As I reflected on the breadth, depth and range of issues discussed and promoted at the legislative seminar held in late March in Washington, D.C., it struck me that as blind Americans generally, and as ACB members in particular, we are confronted every day with a mind-boggling array of challenges. ACB is at the very cutting edge on these crucial public policy matters attempting to do its very best to represent the interests of all blind Americans. Our national organization has earned and deserves our gratitude for its advocacy efforts on our behalf. As concerned blind citizens we have a responsibility to do what we can to support and sustain these constructive activities.
As an ACB life member myself, I would like to challenge and request all "Braille Forum" readers to examine your consciences and pocketbooks and determine if it is possible to become a life member yourself in order to foster ACB's ongoing advocacy programs. ACB life membership dues are admittedly substantial, $1,000, but this stiff dues payment can be split into up to five more manageable annual installments of $200 apiece. In addition, ACB affiliates and local chapters may wish to purchase a life membership on behalf of a truly deserving member. Individuals, affiliates or local chapters who may be interested in taking action to affirmatively respond to my challenge will want to speak with ACB's chief financial officer, Jim Olsen, in the Minneapolis office during normal weekday business hours at (800) 866-3242 to learn more about ACB's life membership program. If you decide to join the honor roll of life members, you and a companion will receive an invitation to attend a special reception for ACB life members and friends in the president's suite during the upcoming national convention in Pittsburgh in early July. Also, during the upcoming convention, new life members will be publicly honored and thanked when their life membership plaques are presented during one of the general sessions at the convention. I am looking forward to welcoming a banner new class of life members this July at our Pittsburgh convention.
The editorial staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, style and space available. Opinions expressed are those of the authors, not those of the American Council of the Blind, its staff or elected officials. "The Braille Forum" is not responsible for the opinions expressed herein. We will not print letters unless you sign your name and give us your address.
I am writing to you concerning all the letters lately to the editor about Iowa and the guide dog issue.
I do not feel it has been fair for all the letters to be in against Iowa. If there are not any in favor there surely are other subjects written about that could be published.
I have been in the Iowa Council of the United Blind and the Des Moines chapter for some time. After reading all these letters, if I were a new member and thinking of coming to a national convention I would wonder what kind of reception I would get.
I know this has been an issue that has interested a lot of people, but many of the comments made do not tell everything. Many people do not know the whole story and are taking things out of context. This is not fair to Iowa. We sure do not feel that we blackmailed ACB as many keep saying.
I am planning to attend the Pittsburgh convention and am looking forward to meeting many new people. The only other convention I have been to was the one in Iowa.
Thank you for letting me say what I felt was necessary and hope you feel that this letter should be published.
As a member of the Iowa Council of the United Blind and an alumnus of the Iowa Department for the Blind's Orientation Center, I was very displeased with the way Charlie Crawford handled the dog guide issue.
Crawford should have contacted ICUB for some input before going off and antagonizing everyone involved. Stephanie had several options which included the use of her dog. Neither ICUB nor the department has any objections to dogs; in fact, the department has several employees who use dog guides and they are present each and every day at their owners' work stations.
Perhaps it is actions like those of Crawford that have led to decreased contributions and a dwindling membership. When a member feels he or she has no say or input, they may feel that the organization no longer serves or listens.
The Orientation Center has been in operation for over 40 years and is considered one of the best if not the best rehabilitation center in the country. People have come from all over to train here.
The center operates on the contention that a blind person can be independent and helps change attitudes regarding blindness. You have to accept the fact that you are blind, something Stephanie apparently refuses to do. In a recent discussion, she referred to herself as "being like this." She apparently could not admit she was blind.
Stephanie was offered other alternatives at the Department for the Blind as well as help at other agencies which included her using her dog guide. These options should have been explored.
I am making an appeal to Mr. Crawford to seek the advice of any affiliate before taking action. For the good of the blind community, we must work together.
With reference to the case of Stephanie Dohmen, the young lady who wished to receive computer training accompanied by her dog guide at the Iowa Center, ACB board members contradicted ACB's "democratic principles and philosophy" by not supporting Dohmen's complaint, and also that of GDUI. The case has not only national implications, but this type of horrific discrimination and dictate to people could happen to any one of us. The days of discrimination are not yet over. Why is ACB taking such a passive stance in this matter? What about the civil rights of blind people? Other minorities would never have accepted such intolerance. They would fight for their rights as individuals and Americans. Is rehabilitation choice only a figment of my imagination?
It was a cross-disability group which actually assisted and advocated for Dohmen. Where is the democracy in ACB?
Such a postponement in her rehabilitation prolongs Dohmen's status of unemployment. If ICUB supports the "equality, security and opportunity" of blind people, well, Iowa has defeated its entire purpose.
The board's position is incorrect and out of order also, as the board and ICUB are all affiliated with the same organization. The board should have joined in the complaint. Forget this "local matter" nonsense. This is not local, it is national in scope! Is ACB more concerned with offending agencies which purport to serve blind people than advocating for one of its own?
What other horrendous violation will blind people face now that the ACB board is so passive and weak? By attempting not to offend blindness agencies, the ACB board and ICUB, as well, have succeeded in offending us! Where can a blind person turn to get help in a situation such as this, if neither ACB nor an agency will support him or her?
It is a sad commentary on our society that this young lady had to turn to a disability rights organization whose mission and purpose don't include blind people as their first priority. Where are the priorities of the "organized" blind?
I think it would be helpful to get an explanation from the ACB board as to the reasons for their position on the case in Iowa.
I was interested to read in the Forum that at one time at the Iowa Department, they were telling people that guide dogs make people look dependent. I'm reminded that about 1923 there was an article in a national magazine by a blind man telling blind people to toss away their canes because they were a sign of dependence. He argued that people could travel very well with hearing and feeling, no need for a cane. I don't think many folks would take that position today.
I read "The Braille Forum" and all the articles in there. We are an organized blind movement that advocates for itself. We want to be as independent as possible, and we can do it. I use a cane, and the bus system, wherever I go.
Things in Bakersfield, and California, are not good. Our governor is cutting the number of teachers at Bakersfield Community College which I attend, and other services and programs, including help with affording medical prescriptions, are being cut.
Who knows what the governor will cut next? The elderly are going to suffer more than others. California Council of the Blind is going to do all it can to prevent such cuts. We are going to work as a unit, and we are going to achieve our goals. We can do it!
I am writing to respond to Jennifer Ekern's letter in the April "Braille Forum." She says she is opposed to the APS because they are dangerous. She also says she can cross streets confidently. While crossing streets may not be a problem for Jennifer, or for me, she forgets that there are many blind people who have less than perfect hearing. There are many blind people who, regardless of how good their travel skills are, have trouble with today's traffic.
She seems to think that we are trained to use the APS as an indicator to tell us when we can cross the street at the proper time. I've never been told that. I wish to remind Jennifer that sighted people have the SAME indicator in place, the Walk / Don't Walk signal. Shall we lobby to remove those as well? That would indeed put sighted people on the same playing field as blind people. But wait a minute here. Isn't that exactly WHY we need the APS? To put US on the same level playing field as sighted pedestrians? Isn't the point of "reasonable accommodations" to help us do things the sighted population takes for granted? So why are APS different?
Jennifer says, "However, with proper training, a person can easily determine when the light and traffic have changed." While the statement may be true in an idealistic world, in the real world, it does not fit. She also says when she hears an audible signal, she ignores it. That is her right. But please, Jennifer, do not ignore OUR right to use tools that benefit us.
Accessible pedestrian signals are not dangerous. Neither are the vehicles dangerous. It's the drivers who ignore the traffic laws and kill pedestrians. Even sighted pedestrians become road kill. What chance do we have?
Just after the 4th of July, the Adventure Club to which my daughter, Tiara, belongs planned a field trip to the Forest Park Zoo in Springfield, Mass. Organizers asked parents to chaperone. Many of the parents wanted to go to the zoo, so the trip organizers collected a lot of chaperones. I signed up to accompany my daughter on the field trip.
Along with the usual packed lunch, sunscreen, proper attire, charged cell phone and a bit of extra emergency cash, Tiara, Graham, my German shepherd dog guide and I went properly groomed and looking presentable. I also made sure to mark the place in the little legislative digest booklet for Massachusetts and to take a copy of the Department of Justice's directive on admittance of dog guides and service dogs.
As I expected, when we approached the ticket window, the receptionist handed me a phone; the call concerned my dog. The zoo's director, John Louis, wanted to talk with me about the dog going into the zoo. We spoke briefly just inside the zoo entrance gate and Mr. Louis expressed concerns about Graham upsetting the animals or reacting to them.
I thought for a moment, then asked Mr. Louis whether he'd ever had a dog guide in the zoo before. He said no and that he'd never been directly exposed to a dog guide in his long career working with and around animals.
After handing Mr. Louis the Department of Justice material, I suggested that he show my daughter and me around the zoo and observe firsthand whether there were any difficulties. Mr. Louis readily agreed to my suggestion.
My protocol departed radically from my usual practice. Instead of asking Graham to follow Mr. Louis as Graham has been taught to do, I took Mr. Louis' arm and asked Graham to walk at heel. Graham heeled along politely while I talked with Mr. Louis about dog guides, access and disability issues. Later, Graham competently guided me back and forth across large open grassy spaces, along sidewalkless roads which ran in back of the predators' enclosures and around and through the zoo-goers as if he had never done anything else.
Mr. Louis and his staff saw Graham and me working around the park and zoo property in more than one setting. Later that day, my daughter was pushed off the playscape slide and punctured her lip. Tiara didn't have to visit the emergency room because our first aid, use of ice pops on the inside and ice packs on the outside, clotted and closed her lip injury.
Mr. Louis took us first to a barn housing some sheep. The sheep and Graham sniffed noses and afterward ignored each other. The sheep, used to being fed by visitors, found us extremely uninteresting.
Next, Mr. Louis took us to see the llamas, an emu and a camel. None of these animals, contrary to his predictions, reacted to Graham. Graham behaved in a exemplary manner throughout, a credit to his preparation and to his high canine calling.
Next, we went to visit the cats. Mr. Louis raised two cougars by hand and took us behind the scenes to meet the cats. Graham and the cats looked at one another, but as is the custom of cats, they feigned total disdain and disinterest. Mr. Louis brought me near enough to their enclosure to be able to stroke one of the cats while Graham sat at my left hand, patient and unruffled. The cougars are bigger than I imagined and have coarser fur than I would have expected.
Mr. Louis next showed us the cows and some rabbits. He explained that to keep the rabbits cool, staff placed frozen water-filled soda bottles in their hutches.
We visited the deer enclosure next. Mr. Louis explained that visitors may enter the enclosure, but the deer, being very skittish, would be alarmed by the presence of a dog. The deer watched but didn't react in alarm or run. I explained that it would be possible to instruct Graham to lie down and remain in place outside the enclosure while I went in with my daughter. Since my daughter did not want to go in to see the deer, we moved on.
Mr. Louis described the zoo's binturong, a nearly 100-pound rat-like rodent that, thankfully, is vegetarian. Some of the last exhibits were the raptors and the bears. The zoo has a pair of black bears and an owl who has a navigational problem in that he flies in circles. The raptors didn't react, of course; they're nocturnal. The bears grunted in surprise upon seeing Graham but Mr. Louis said they didn't seem the least bit put out.
Throughout this tour, Mr. Louis kept praising Graham's behavior and demeanor. Graham executed commands when asked, did not pull against his leash or harness, whine, make other sounds or bark or seem in any way disconcerted by where he was.
Before leaving the park, my daughter and I took a ride on a train that takes visitors around the Forest Park acreage. It isn't a true train, but a look-alike mounted on a diesel flat bed. The operator and one of the zoo staff wanted to know if I would be taking Graham on the train and wondered how he might react. Graham already mastered New York City's subways, Toronto's streetcars and Hartford's bus system. During the ride, Graham sat up, tongue hanging out, the breeze blowing through his ears. The park has a very large acreage and a lovely water park that is part waterfall and part water play area. The next time we visit, we'll have to bring our bathing suits.
Graham's able assistance resulted not as an accident or by chance, but rather as a product of design. Graham's sound breeding and my consistent education and handling of my dog guide made a positive impact on the zoo director. Tiara and I got a fantastic personalized tour of the zoo and everyone learned a lot.
On the 35th anniversary of helping legally blind people in New York City gain their independence, most people would have celebrated, been recognized by the company, but for Therese Snyder, it was just another day of service. Like the saint for whom she is named, "St. Therese, the little flower," Snyder works in small ways to improve the lives of blind and vision impaired adults and children who come to her agency, Catholic Guild for the Blind (CGB). This small, family-like environment has flourished under her leadership and in 2003, celebrates its 50th year of helping legally blind residents of New York City.
Born in Scranton, Pa., Therese Snyder lost her vision as a child from glaucoma, a disease that afflicts many more adults than children. With the support of her loving parents, Snyder went on to graduate from Boston College with a master's in social work. Her service to help other blind and vision impaired people began when she was recruited to head the Catholic Guild for the Blind in 1968. Then Director and founder of CGB, Msgr. Robert Ford, recognized Snyder's potential not only to expand the programs and services, but to be a living role model to other blind and visually impaired people. Over the 35 years since her start, CGB has grown from a two-person organization to one that currently employs 12 people. By keeping the agency small, clients can receive specialized services that address their needs. Legally blind New York City residents of all faiths, religions, ethnic backgrounds, ages and socio-economic status can benefit from a variety of services. These include: orientation and mobility training, personal home management skills, computer keyboard instruction, training in computers and assistive technologies, English as a Second Language (ESL), academic instruction, diabetic education, placement and job readiness skills for high school students. Additionally, people can receive assistance in a host of social services at CGB and the larger network available at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
Snyder always makes time for the legally blind person and her dedication to the blindness community extends beyond her work. In 1976, Snyder established the New Jersey chapter of the American Council of the Blind. She served as president for two terms. She joined other activists in the field to work for a safer New York subway system by getting the MTA to install security gates between cars, thereby eliminating a dangerous hazard.
Snyder continues to champion the cause of the ordinary blind person, to improve the daily life of all blind and vision impaired people. A great advocate for others, Snyder has been less adept at always advocating for herself. Her honesty, modesty and shy personality meant she received little recognition either from her workplace or from organizations in the field. But she received and continues to receive recognition from where it matters most -- blind and visually impaired people who recognize in her the courage, determination and extraordinary vision that inspire them as they strive for independence.
The true test of independence as a woman came in becoming a parent. After the death of her fianc‚, Snyder forged ahead and adopted a blind child from South Korea. Single parenting was less common 20 years ago, but Snyder relates, "I believe it was divine providence that helped me in this process." Snyder's qualities of tenderness, affection and creativity helped mold a self-confident, independent daughter who recently graduated from the London School of Economics with honors in international relations.
The scope of Snyder's accomplishments is ever-growing as she keeps her attention to ensure that legally blind people who come to CGB continue to receive all the assistance they need to gain self-esteem, confidence and independence. The loyalty of thousands of consumers who have been helped by Snyder can be seen as many past consumers return to visit and to express their appreciation to this ordinary woman with extraordinary vision.
Someone once told me that a person has to be smart to use a computer. I have discovered that is not necessarily so. I have also discovered, though, that if you can't see well, you do need the desire to learn and you have to know how to use a keyboard. I know my computer is a gift from God: an addition to my brain power, my computer is a tool to enhance my life. I think some people fear the computer and criticize it because they're afraid they will show their ignorance if they try to use it.
I once doubted I could master the computer, but now I use it often and I thank God for giving it to me, as well as for those who have taught me to use it.
My computer is a cookbook for rhubarb pie recipes and anything else I want to cook. It is a dictionary, thesaurus, and a reference for whatever information I could find in an encyclopedia or a local library. It provides a calculator, to solve mathematical equations and problems. It teaches me how to spell by letting me know when I spell something wrong.
I have used my computer to design and print brochures, and it allows me to write perfect business letters. Because of my computer, I could complete the forms for starting up two corporations. I have printed business cards with my computer, and although very slow, it can even be used as a fax machine.
I store my thoughts on my computer's drives, and its software helps me to write poems and letters with good grammar. It's a history book that acquaints me with all the presidents and more. I can read the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and many other historical documents. I can send e-mail to the White House and send letters to my representatives in the Congress, the Senate and my town and state.
Because I own a computer, my daughter can send me pictures of my grandson, and because my computer magnifies them, I can see them.
I can use the computer to learn about the medicines my doctor prescribes, and their side effects. I can find relatives and even look for ancestors with my computer "assistant."
My computer even makes games, like solitaire, available to me.
I use my computer to study the Bible and read Biblical commentaries. I use my computer to get directions to places I want to go -- it tells me every turn and exactly how many hours and miles it will take to get there.
I spend a reasonable amount of time with my computer. It enhances my life in many ways. It saves me money on postage, groceries and helps me shop. It plays music for me. I read the news and the local obituaries with it. It tells me jokes and makes me laugh. My computer is one of the best gifts that God ever gave me. Thank you, Lord, for my computer. I use mine for your glory.
If you've been thinking about learning how to use a computer and maybe even getting one for yourself, I hope my story will inspire you to take that plunge and make that investment. You will be glad you did!
The announcement of products and services in this column is not 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.
To submit an item for "Here and There," send an e-mail message to [email protected] You may call the ACB toll-free number, (800) 424-8666, and leave a message in mailbox 22. Please bear in mind that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. This year alone more than 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. To assist women with monthly breast self exams, a new tactile medical device called the Breast Self Examination Pad (BSE Pad) has recently been licensed by the FDA for over-the- counter sales. For more information and a free cassette tape on the BSE Pad and prevention of breast cancer, call toll-free (888) 448-8716, or send e-mail to [email protected]
The Iowa Department for the Blind's Project ASSIST program has obtained a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop a distance- learning program that will offer instructor-led classes for blind and visually impaired users of computer software. The classes will focus on the Microsoft Office Suite. The instruction and information provided will focus on keyboard commands, operational strategies for screen access software, and information uniquely relevant to blind and visually impaired computer users.
Classes to be offered are: Windows XP; Internet Fundamentals; Word - Core; Excel - Core; PowerPoint; Outlook; Access; Word - Expert; and Excel - Expert.
Priority for enrollment will be given to blind or visually impaired individuals who are clients of state vocational rehabilitation programs. A minimum requirement for all students is proficiency with the computer keyboard.
To be considered for the fall 2003 classes, your application packet must be received no later than June 30. For further information or to receive an application packet, contact Michael D. Barber at (515) 281-1305, or e-mail [email protected], and place the words "Application Packet" in the subject line. Or you may visit the web site, www.blind.state.ia.us/assist and download an application.
FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell has appointed International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) member Mike Duke to the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) to represent the interests of blind and visually impaired people, licensed radio amateur operators, and management of audio information services for the blind.
Mike Duke is the director of Radio Reading Service of Mississippi, an 8-station statewide network headquartered at WMPN in Jackson. As a longtime advocate for the rights of blind and visually impaired citizens, he has contributed professionally and as a private individual through his work in several local and national organizations, including service on the IAAIS board of directors.
"Mike is an ideal candidate for this post, as he has been involved with IAAIS for many years and is an avid ham radio enthusiast," says David Noble, chair of the IAAIS Government Relations Committee. "He is in a good position to help the FCC be mindful of the need to make new digital FM radios (HD radios) accessible to people with disabilities and other issues related to blind and visually impaired citizens under Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act."
The Fulbright Scholar Program will award a number of lecturing, research and lecturing/research awards for attorneys and law faculty for the 2004-2005 academic year. Awards for both faculty and professionals range from two months to an academic year. While many awards specify project and host institution, there are a number of open "all disciplines" awards that allow candidates to propose their own projects and determine their host institution affiliation. Foreign language skills are needed in some countries, but most lecturing assignments are in English. For more information, visit www.cies.org, or contact the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden St. NW, Suite 5L, Washington, DC 20008; phone (202) 686-7877, or e-mail [email protected]
Remember the AFB survey to identify the cities which are the most livable for people who are blind and visually impaired? Here are the results.
Charlotte, N.C., has been named the most livable city in the USA for blind and visually impaired residents; Berkeley took second place; Kalamazoo, Mich., took third; and in fourth place was New York City. La Crosse, Wis., and Louisville, Ky., tied for fifth.
Braille Books Dot Com is excited to introduce its first ever Summer Braille Reading Club! With the summer holidays just around the corner, kids are going to have a lot more free time on their hands. And what better way to spend some of that time than curling up on the swing with a good book to read? Braille Books Dot Com has more than 1,200 braille titles available for all reading levels, so we're bound to have something for everyone ... even adults. And if you join the club by August 31, we'll send along a sign-up bonus absolutely free with your first order. For orders between $10 and $25, you'll receive a braille alphabet magnet; orders between $25 and $50 will qualify for a portable radio; or if you spend more than $50 with us, we'll give you a talking alarm clock. And we haven't come to the best part yet: everyone who joins our summer reading club will be entered into a drawing at the end of the summer. The lucky winner will receive MarvelSoft's ground-breaking Talking Typing Teacher program, a $100 value. (Be sure to mention coupon code SummerBraille when placing your order.) Supplies of club items are limited, so drop by www.braillebooks.com today to be sure you get your free prize!
The Jewish Guild for the Blind recently announced the winner of its first annual Alfred W. Bressler Prize in Vision Science: Richard A. Lewis of the Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology, Houston, Tex. Lewis will receive the $25,000 prize at a ceremony in New York in the fall.
Ken Loden recently received the prestigious 2003 Governor's Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) award. The Tupelo resident was picked by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service for his work with senior citizens, especially in his capacity as an entertainer. He won one of the nine awards given in various categories that range from volunteering with children to recognition of companies that offer their resources and enable their employees to perform volunteer work.
Loden was nominated for the GIVE award by friends Debra and Robert Raines of Fulton.
For information about a local chapter of the Mississippi Council of the Blind, or to request a concert (paid or volunteer), call Loden at (662) 690-6699.
A new large print publication, Low Vision Resource Guide, is now available from Telesensory. The 30-page booklet explains the major causes of eye disease and provides information about products that help people with vision impairments remain independent. The guide also contains a comprehensive list of organizations that provide additional help, advice and support. The guide can be downloaded free from www.telesensory.com. The booklet is also available for $5 by sending a check to Telesensory - Low Vision Guide Dept., 520 Almanor Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085.
Our Place is a voice chat community that is now part of the ACB Radio portal. Here, blind people from around the world can hang out and chat in real time about a wide range of topics, using the latest Ivocalize technology.
Our Place is now open. To join us, come on over and have some great conversation at http://ourplace.acbradio.org.
Brierwood Custom Jewelry specializes in custom signet rings, I.D. bracelets, and earrings in gold and silver. Create a special design for your dad, perhaps for Father's Day! Or make any day a holiday. Call Brierwood Custom Jewelry at (714) 378- 1345 and ask for Rocky, or send an e-mail to [email protected] Let our designs speak for you!
The 2003 NCAA college football schedule in braille will be available again this year with 132 division 1-A and some requested division 1-AA teams. Also included are the results of the 2002-2003 bowls and the top 25 teams in the AP final polls, the 2003 pre-season poll, 2003-2004 bowl schedule and more. This year's schedules cost $10 each. Mailing is by free matter.
Please order your copy as soon as possible in order to receive it before the season begins. Make your check out to Allen H. Gillis, and send it to him at 302 Schaeffel Road, Cullman, AL 35055. Or you may call him at (256) 734-4047, or e-mail [email protected]
The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its 50th anniversary Bible conference Sept. 21-25, 2003 at the Ramada Inn North in Colorado Springs. Make your reservations now by calling (719) 633-5541, and be sure to mention NCCB to receive the conference rate. The price includes free breakfast every morning. The conference begins Sunday evening with a message, followed by a fellowship hour. There will be a talent show one evening, and a tour one day, possibly of Focus on the Family ministries. The conference ends on Thursday evening with a banquet. For more information, call Reheba Dunn at (970) 895- 2352, or write to her at NCCB, PO Box 196, Grover, CO 80729.
The National Captioning Institute (NCI) and Sesame Workshop recently announced the introduction of descriptions on Sesame Street to make the program accessible to children who are blind or have low vision.
NCI has described 26 new episodes of Sesame Street, which were scheduled to begin airing on April 7, 2003. By incorporating descriptions, Sesame Workshop will be making one of the most beloved educational children's programs accessible to millions of children who are blind or have low vision. Visually impaired children will have the opportunity to "see" the images through the descriptions of the visual elements and finally be able to embrace the full educational value of the program. The descriptions will also allow all children to enhance their vocabulary and articulation skills as well as improve their understanding of word associations.
The Princeton Braillists now have available the Atlas of East Asia. It covers China, Taiwan, Mongolia, North and South Korea, and Japan in two volumes of tactile maps and braille information. Japan is first shown as an overall map; subsequent maps divide the island chain into three main parts. Further enlargements depict three heavily populated areas on Honshu Island. A map and brief descriptive material are included for Tokyo. The maps of China each treat a specific feature -- population, rivers, mountains, natural regions. Two enlarged fold-out maps depict coastal China and western China. Additional maps provide further enlargements of three densely populated coastal regions and Hong Kong. A map and some information are included on the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Each country has an introductory page of facts followed by the map(s). Places on the map are generally labeled with key letters taken from the corresponding place name, which are identified in the key pages preceding each map.
"Atlas of East Asia" contains 26 maps, 106 pages total. It costs $21. Shipping is by free matter. Send your check or purchase order to The Princeton Braillists, 76 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540. Allow four weeks for delivery. For more information, call (215) 357-7715 or (609) 924-5207.
To better assist air travelers, the Department of Transportation has translated into several languages some of its publications addressing air travel by individuals with disabilities and discrimination in air travel. The following disability-related documents have been translated into braille and Spanish: (1) 14 CFR Part 382, DOT's rule on air travel by passengers with disabilities; (2) New Horizons, a booklet that provides information on air travel by people with disabilities; (3) the disability-related portion of Fly Rights, a publication describing general aviation consumer rights; (4) Plane Talk Fact Sheet on Disability Issues; (5) Complaint Processing Information Sheet; (6) DOT's Disability Complaint Form; (7) DOT Fact Sheet on Disability; and (8) Toll-Free Hotline For Air Travelers With Disabilities. Large print copies are also available.
In addition, the following documents have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu: (1) Complaint Processing Information Sheet Regarding Discrimination on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex, Religion or Ancestry; (2) DOT's Discrimination Complaint Form; (3) DOT Fact Sheet on discrimination on the basis of race, color, etc.; (4) Field Guidance to Screeners; and (5) Air Travel Civil Rights Problems: Where to File Complaints.
All of these documents are available via the Internet at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov. With the exception of those in Braille, all of these documents are also available through a fax- on-demand system. To access this system, call 1-800-454-3114 and follow the instructions. The fax on demand is available in Spanish to obtain documents translated into Spanish.
Individuals without access to the Internet or a fax machine may write or call the Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) to request copies of these publications through the mail. The number is (202) 366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511). Mailed requests should be addressed to: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room 4107, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20690. Our e-mail address is [email protected] Whether calling, writing or e-mailing, be concise. Give us your name, full address, daytime telephone number (including area code), the name of the publication you want, and the language you want it in.
"Music By Ear" offers two new course selections: Intro to the Bass Guitar and Intro to the 5-String Banjo. Both courses are tape-based. The intro to the bass guitar teaches the names of the parts of the bass guitar, the names of the notes, and the most commonly used rhythm patterns for the bass including the pop/rock pattern, the alternate bass pattern, the waltz pattern, and 6/8 and 9/8 time patterns. The price of the course is $39 (including shipping inside the United States). The banjo course teaches how to hold the banjo, how to tune it, the alternating thumb roll, the forward and backward rolls, chord progressions to several songs and banjo solos for the songs "Cripple Creek" and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." It, too, costs $39 (including shipping inside the U.S.).
Also available are Intro to the Guitar, Intro to the Piano, and Piano Course 2. For more information, visit the web site, www.musicvi.com, or phone 1-800-484-1839 code 8123.
FOR SALE: Romeo 40 braille printer. Asking $1,200. Contact Jim at (724) 274-5145 or e-mail him, [email protected]
FOR SALE: Toshiba Notebook PC 105CS Pentium, 600HD; 100MHZ; 8MB memory; Windows 95; 3/5 floppy; 2 PCM slots; cable; carrying case. It can be used in Windows or DOS. It's loaded with screen reader and other programs. Excellent condition, like new; I used it very seldom. Price $999. Keynote Gold PCM voice card with external speaker and batteries. It can be used in Windows and DOS. Excellent condition, like new. Price $1,200. Dell desktop computer with Windows 98, memory 64MB, genuine Intel Pentium(R) processor. It comes with monitor, voice card, modem, cables. Excellent condition. Asking $500. HP scanner ScanJet 3P. Excellent condition, like new. Price $99. Hayes Accura 144+ Fax144 modem for DOS and Windows. Very good condition. Price $50. Touch Tablet. It's used with an external synthesizer. Good condition; never used. Price $200. Cell phone antenna, never used. It comes with instructions and a tool to install it. Price $15. Four-track tape recorder with rechargeable battery. Price $100. 32 90-minute cassette tapes. Price $1 each. I'm willing to load the computers with other programs that the buyer may need. All products come with user manuals. I'll give some tapes about ham radio and many diskettes with different information for free to the first person who buys my items. Contact Irena Franchi, 301 174 St. #2206, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160; phone (305) 932-8856, or e-mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Braille Lite 40. Great for anyone on a budget who needs a reliable notetaker. The unit comes with a new battery; updated software; print, cassette and braille manuals; and carrying case. Price is negotiable and payment plan can be arranged. Contact James at (605) 995-2666 or (605) 249-2378 or e- mail him at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Braille Note 18, 16 months old, in excellent condition. Includes all standard accessories, as well as documentation in braille and on cassette. Asking $2,600. Contact John Glass by phone at (408) 741-1034, or via e-mail at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Compaq Presario model 5170 with 256K of RAM, 10 Gig hard drive, 1.4 meg floppy drive, CD drive, and 100 meg Zip drive. Comes with Windows 98 SE, Corel Version 8, MS 2000 Office Pro, Norton 2002, Quicken 2001, JFW 3.7U, Open Book Ruby, and Curio Firewall. Also has 17-inch CRT color monitor and surge protector. Asking $500 or best offer plus shipping. Call (541) 752-3890 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time.
FOR SALE: "Classic" model Juliet braille printer, used only once. Slight scratches on top. Instructions and software included. Firmware updates available. Originally $4,000, now $2,500 plus shipping (approx. $100). Call (715) 532-5731, or e- mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Perkins brailler. Purchased in 1997, never used. Asking $400 or best offer. Digivoice scientific calculator made by Captek, never used. Comes with instruction card. (Buyer may want to call for instruction tape.) Asking $200 or best offer. Call Shawn Cox at (757) 966-9131 or e-mail him, [email protected]
FOR SALE: ETC Bookmaker braille printer, interpoint, 80 characters per second. Comes with braille and print manuals. Asking $3,000. Juliet interpoint braille printer, 52 characters per second. Comes with braille and print manuals. Asking $3,000. Romeo braille printer, 40 characters per second. Comes with braille and print manuals. Asking $1,000. Braille 'n Speak with disk drive, braille and cassette manuals. Asking $1,200. Call Tom at (317) 786-3307.
FOR SALE: Fourteen Latin Stories, 3 volumes, $76. Russian Grammar, 10 volumes, $2,212. MLA Handbook, 7 volumes, $102. Two copies of Tu Dires, $64 each. For All Practical Purposes, math book, 32 volumes, $1,406. Call the Academic ACE at Goucher College, (410) 337-6529.
FOR SALE: Type 'n Speak. Asking $700 or best offer. Contact Bob Clayton at (319) 277-8290, or in braille at 715 W. 11th St., Cedar Falls, IA 50613.
FOR SALE: Alva 40-cell braille display with software, cables and carrying case, $4,295. Braille Lite 18 with latest firmware update, $1,895. DECTalk Express synthesizer, $650. Accent SA synthesizer, $325. IBM Screen Reader 2 for OS/2 including keypad, $250. MegaDots $200. SCSI Zip drive with several 100MB disks, $125. Printers, $50. All prices negotiable. Contact Kathy at (615) 883-9396 or via e-mail, [email protected]
FOR SALE: An older model of the Laptalk manufactured and sold by Beyondsight! Has Pentium III processor, 3.5-inch floppy drive, 20-gig hard drive and CD-ROM drive. This lightweight machine comes with Windows XP home edition and an embedded version of Window-Eyes. Its suite of programs allows for word processing, spreadsheet creation and more. It has a 56K modem, 1 USB port and a port for hooking up a monitor. It is under warranty and has been used only twice since its purchase in September 2002. Carrying case, tutorial and restoration disks are included. Asking $1,400 or best offer. Call (616) 248-9122.
FOR SALE: Alva 80-cell braille display in excellent condition. Asking $2,500 or best offer. E-mail J Scott at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Perkins brailler. Excellent condition. Hardly used. Comes with a cover. Asking $275 or best offer. Price includes shipping. Call Joe Castorina at (865) 583-0845.
FOR SALE: Unused Braille Lite 40, comes with cables and braille manuals. Asking $2,000 or best offer. External disk drive, $400 or best offer. Unused Braille 'n Speak, comes with cables and braille manuals. Asking $700 or best offer. DECTalk Express in excellent condition. Asking $500. Super Braille PC/notetaker with braille display. Asking $2,000 or best offer. Eureka 4A notetaker with power cable. Asking $300. Perkins brailler, hardly used. Asking $200 or best offer. Contact Dennis in the evenings at (516) 825-5815 or at (718) 557-6077 or e-mail him at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Telesensory Vantage CCTV. Asking $1,200 or best offer. Contact Jordan at (305) 591-7663.
FOR SALE: Perkins brailler, $200. Type 'n Speak with July 2002 revision, $300. Contact Barbara Mattson, 519 E. Main St. #8, Spartanburg, SC 29302; phone (864) 585-7323, or e-mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Oscar Schmidt autoharp in hard case. Excellent condition with no warping or cracking of soundboard. Made in late 1960s or early 1970s, instrument is stable for tuning with a bright, clear tone. Asking $200 or best offer. Perkins brailler, excellent condition with dust cover, newly serviced by Star Appliance, Minneapolis, MN. In wonderful working condition. It's a spare. Asking $400 or best offer. Braille 'n Speak 640, excellent condition, under renewed service contract, comes with new leather case, various connectors and computer cables, braille, disk and print materials and charger. Asking $500 or best offer. Please contact Cheree Heppe, 68 Gilman Street, Hartford, CT 06114-2536, phone (860) 296-4922 (leave message), or e-mail her at [email protected]
FOR SALE: Braille and taped cookbooks; braille hymnals; braille music and poetry books; cassette dictionary; various other braille books; slates and styli; an abacus; cassette mailers; braille notebooks and more. Write to G.A. Maiden, 3526 Hwy. 42 West, Carrollton, KY 41008.
FOR SALE: Caretec ColorTest color identifier with charger and leather case. This device is two years old but maintained perfectly. $300 or best offer. Laptop computer, only three months old, Intel P4 2.4 GHZ processor, 256 MB dual channel RAM, 30 GB hard drive, 17-inch XVGA display, DVD/CD RW drive, PCMCIA slot, SoundBlaster, infrared, network ready, 2 USB type two ports, Windows XP, Microsoft Office, Dragon Dictate, newest JAWS 4.51 and Kurzweil 7.01 already installed, Real Player and Winamp plus more than 1,500 songs already on the hard drive plus tons of other software including original manufacturer disks. This machine is top of the line with all the bells and whistles for only $2,500 or best offer. Magni-Cam low-vision reading assistant. Used only once. Connects to your TV or monitor for larger, sharper contrast for easier reading of mail, documents, medication labels and viewing photographs. Was originally $1,000 but can be yours now for only $500 or best offer. Call (571) 276- 6085 or e-mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Perkins brailler in good condition. Recently cleaned. Asking $300. Call Lynette at (408) 559-5115 or e-mail [email protected]
FOR SALE: Never-used 14-inch flat-bed HP4 scanner with SCSI connection. Requires ISA slot. Includes all cables, software, and SCSI card. Asking $125, which includes shipping and insurance. Call Ray Howard at (740) 432-2287 before 8 p.m. Eastern time.
FOR TRADE: Braille 'n Speak Scholar and talking Franklin Language Master. Will trade for a Braille Note. Call Jessica at (336) 784-8320.
WANTED: Montgomery County Association for the Blind (MCAB) in Pennsylvania is looking to enhance its Access Technology Training Department. We are looking for donations of the following items: Blazie Braille embosser, current Duxbury version, Braille Note or Voice Note. Please contact our organization weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time) at (215) 661-9800 and ask for Jaime Ann Cameron or Jamie Seeger. Your donation of used items can help others learn! Send an e-mail message to [email protected] or [email protected]
WANTED: JAWS version 3.2 or higher. Older laptop computer with JAWS installed. Type 'n Speak, Braille 'n Speak 640 or older Braille Lite. Braille dictionary. Any braille games as donation. Raised-print writing kit. Raised-line drawing kit. Hard case for Perkins brailler and dust cover. Handicassette II. Man's braille watch and braille clock as donation. VersaBraille II. Older braille printer as donation. Braille timer and braille Dymo tape labeler, as well as Dymo tape holder for Perkins brailler. Notebook with slate attached. Can't afford price. Contact Melody Edwards at (609) 347-7539.
WANTED: Perkins brailler as donation. Type 'n Speak as donation. Any talking games as donation. And a Speak and Spell. Contact Tiffany Cox at (206) 984-5728 and leave a message.
WANTED: Optacon model 2. Call Jim Craig at (812) 855-3926.
WANTED: Optacon in good working order, either model. Contact Sandy Edwards at (501) 753-5029.
WANTED: Large print easy-to-read computer keyboard for less than the $100 or more required to buy a new one. Please e-mail me at [email protected]
WANTED: Minidisk recorder. I need it for school. Can pay on an installment plan. Contact Walter Chavira at (661) 833-3663 or e-mail [email protected]
ACB wishes to thank its many members and friends who gave so generously in response to our fall 2002 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.
Jerry & Edna Annunzio, Kansas City
Barbara Borgmeyer, St. Charles
Pauline Krueger, Branson
Lina Nix, St. Louis
James D. Faimon, Lincoln
Missy Tijerina, Las Vegas
Julie Griffiths, South Sutton
Richard W. Bleecker, Jersey City
Sharon Burniston, Maplewood
Eleanor W. Falkenstern, Norwood
Joan Leonard, Edison
N. Sheffield, Newark
Brianne Kotschwar, Albuquerque
Lonnie & Brenda Lanning, Albuquerque
Mary Anne Meese, Tyrone
Victor & Loretta Bourgoin, Rochester
Alice Crespo, Astoria
James Dinnigan, Maspeth
Karen Gourgey, New York
Margaret Ricciardi, Oyster Bay
Karen Broderick, Raleigh
Allen J. Casey, Graham
Norma F. Krajczar, Morehead City
Richard L. Bird, Parma Heights
Sheila Brown, Cleveland
Roseanne A. Diehl, Sebring
Carl B. Kemery, Willoughby
Kate Morse, Cincinnati
Murray Saffron, Toledo
Lillian Alexander, Tulsa
Elizabeth Cahalan, Edmond
Robert D. Lambert, Norman
Peggy & Frank Alvarez, Tigard
Ria Ehrheart, Beaverton
Frank Beam, Dickson City
Edward McKelvey, Abington
Pearl McMichael, New Brighton
Christina Saylor, Saylorsburg
Bruno Wolozyn, Oil City
Ted Kneebone, Aberdeen
Robert B. Shaw Jr., Memphis
Jo Cassidy, Cypress
McLeod Stinnett, Dallas
Anita Romero, Sandy
Jack Wheeler, Ogden
Joann Nichols, Brattleboro
Debra Fetter, Sterling
Teena Hazel, Waynesboro
Charles Hodge, Arlington
Billie Jean Keith, Arlington
Sue Ammeter, Seattle
Helene Fatt-Everett, Port Townsend
Terry Waldron, Spokane
Ninetta Garner, Romney
Marian G. Hintermeyer, Eau Claire
Donald E. Lehmann, Kenosha
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ludois, Milwaukee
Jean Salzer, Milwaukee
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