by Sue Lichtenfels

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 held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.


Blind Mice Mart and the Mouse Hole Scholarships congratulate the 2005 Mouse Hole Scholarship essay winner, Amelia Wearstler. While attending Olympic High School in Bremerton, Wash., Amelia maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and was active in the ACB and the International Order of Rainbow for Girls. The Mice are proud to have Amelia as their 2005 winner and wish her all the best as she begins studying early childhood education at Olympic College in her hometown. To read Amelia's essay, visit and select the Mouse Hole Scholarships link.

The 2006 scholarship essay contest will open in March. For details, visit the web site, or write to Blind Mice Mart, 16810 Pinemoor Way, Houston, TX 77058; or phone (713) 876-6971. Blind Mice Mart is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time. Remember, your purchases there fund the scholarship program!


Got a computer problem? Cory Jackson can help you solve it. He is good at troubleshooting and solving computer problems. He offers assistance via telephone for $20 per hour. For first-time users and long-term customers, the fee will be only $10 for the first hour until January 1, 2006. Phone him toll-free at 1-866-222-9046, or e-mail him at [email protected].


Great news for DVD users on the motion picture front. Universal Home Entertainment has included a descriptive narration track on the mainstream DVD releases of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and the award-winning "Cinderella Man." Universal previously released a special DVD version of the DVS-narrated edition of "Ray" that was distributed through and Kudos to Universal for committing to having closed captioning and audio description included on all major motion picture releases.


The 2005 Francis Joseph Campbell Award has been bestowed upon two highly deserving individuals this year. Judith M. Dixon, NLS consumer relations officer, and the late Wells B. Kormann, chief of the NLS Materials Development Division, have been recognized for making an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library services for the blind and physically handicapped. The honor includes both a citation and a medal awarded by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies of the American Library Association.


The Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped is developing an audio library for the visually impaired community of Sri Lanka. Donations of books on CD are needed to assist with the education and rehabilitation of these individuals. Both academic and non-academic titles are welcome. Send audio book contributions to: Miss Sashika Withana, 141/4, Vajira Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka. For additional information, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit


In August of this year, Dr. Russell Smith, Chief Executive Officer of HumanWare, was killed in a plane crash. In reaction to his death, the corporation's board of directors has named Gilles Pepin, the head of HumanWare Canada, as the acting CEO of the HumanWare Group. Pepin was the President of VisuAids when it merged with Pulse Data International to form HumanWare in January 2005. The appointment will last for approximately six months while an extensive search for a new CEO continues.


Those affected by Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS), a rare type of albinism, now have the opportunity to participate in a ground-breaking clinical trial for a drug designed to treat the pulmonary fibrosis of HPS. The trial is being run by doctors from the National Institutes of Health at its clinical center in Bethesda, Md. All trial-related medical care and transportation will be free to participating patients. For more information contact Donna Appell at 1-800-789-9477 or (516) 922-4022.


The FOFA EZ Finder is a new product that has been developed to help people locate their keys, wallets, remotes, and other "lost" items. When you attach an EZ Finder to frequently lost items, you can press the button of another EZ Finder to activate the locator alarm of the missing item. The system is $29.95 plus shipping and includes one key fob and one flat finder with double-sided tape. Each EZ Finder has six buttons on it, numbered in braille, allowing each EZ Finder to find six other misplaced items. The EZ Finder uses a two-way wireless operation that works up to 30 feet. Learn more by calling 1-877-439-3463, or visiting


This enjoyable historical novel, set on Mackinac Island in 1837, is now available in large print and regular print through Barnes & Noble or If you would like an autographed copy, order directly from the author, Kelly Ferjutz, by e-mailing [email protected], or writing to PO Box 1837, Cleveland, OH 44106. Be sure to specify the ISBN for your copy: large print, ISBN 0-9759251-8-0, or regular print, 0-9759251-6-4. Regular print copies cost $15 each; large print, $22 each.


Eight members of Congress were recently honored as JWOD Congressional Champions by NIB and NISH. Those recognized were: Reps. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), Ray H. LaHood (R-Ill.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), and Cathy McMorris (R-Wash.); Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and George Allen (R-Va.). Each person received a special plaque commending them for their dedication to the JWOD program, which provides a federal marketplace for products and services available through the national network of more than 600 community-based non-profit agencies.


The Jewish Museum offers specialized tours of its exhibitions for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Museum docents are trained to provide Verbal Imaging Tours of any exhibition and Touch Tours of the permanent exhibition. Touch Tours feature handling objects, reproductions, tactile images and fabrics, and can focus on the following themes: "Art in the Ancient World" and "The Modern Jewish Experience." Tours are available by appointment for individuals, adult groups and school groups, and must be booked at least three weeks in advance. The tours are provided free with the purchase of museum admission. To schedule a tour, call (212) 423-3289 or e-mail [email protected]. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of 92nd Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City.


The PERS-3600 is a new personal emergency reporting system for elderly users, those with a medical condition, or anyone living alone. The system enables users to make emergency phone calls to a 24/7 central monitoring station via a standard telephone network. The console has a large built-in HELP button and can receive signals from up to 16 panic-button-style transmitters. Each console button's function is identified in braille for users who are visually impaired. Synthesized voice prompts are available to provide important audible messages to the subscriber (Emergency, Fire, Timer Done Soon, etc.). The system can also be used as a smoke/fire alarm, door monitor, and motion detector. For more information on the PERS-3600, contact Linear LLC at 1-800-421-1587 or visit


The National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources offers new supplies to non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. It receives millions of dollars worth of donated goods from companies across the United States and redistributes them to schools, churches and health care facilities nationwide. Membership dues range from $495 to $595 per year, plus shipping and handling. The supplies themselves are free, and range from office supplies to arts and crafts items, clothing and shoes to maintenance and cleaning supplies. To become a member, call 1- 800-562-0955 or e-mail [email protected].


Alemayehu Amato, a ninth-grade student in Ethiopia, is seeking supplies to further his education. He needs a brailler, white cane, braille magazines, a braille Bible, blank cassettes and a tape recorder. If you have any of these items to spare, send them to him at the Association of Blind Students, P.O. Box 326, Imuolaita Soddo, Ethiopia.


Quick Braille is a new way to learn the braille code. It is shaped like a braille cell, with six dowel pegs provided to form any braille letter. And it's compact enough to carry along with your slate and stylus, 2 inches by 1 inches. To place an order, make your check payable to Robin King for $15 and send it to Robin at 34 Carter Ave., Wilmington, NC 28405.


The Jewish Guild for the Blind recently produced a heavy-duty card for use by people with low vision as a signature guide and as a guide for reading. It is made of black vinyl, measures 3 inches by 6 inches, with a half-inch wide, five-inch long rectangle cut out of it. Single copies are free to anyone requesting one. Additional cards cost 40 cents each, or $4 for a dozen. Contact SightCare, Jewish Guild for the Blind, 15 W. 65th St., New York, NY 10023; phone 1-800-539-4845, or e-mail [email protected].


"Steep Are the Ivy-Covered Walls" is about a man who had to leave the construction business after 16 years because of retinitis pigmentosa, only to start battling his state's commission for the blind for the right to attend college. While climbing through the stages of uncertainty, self- doubt and insecurity, he also found himself confronted with rampant discrimination and indifference throughout his college years before evolving into a self-actualized warrior against the systems that dared not accept and accommodate people with disabilities in the years before the Americans with Disabilities Act. You will laugh; you will get angry; you will share his attraction to the braille teacher who changed his life.

This true story is available on a 3.5-inch disk in Microsoft Word, plain text, or in a braille format that can be read with a BrailleNote, Braille Lite and other such machines. To order yours, send $6.50 to John Dragona, 234 Lafayette Ave., Cliffside Park, NJ 07010.


"Chicken Soup for the Soul: Creating a Better World," released in August, features an essay by Jeff Moyer. His narrative, "Losing It Finding It," was rated in the top one percent of submissions by reviewers who selected stories from thousands of entries for this Chicken Soup book.


Bob Groff is seeking a math teacher who can help bring his math skills up to the seventh-grade level. His skills are currently at the second-grade level. Groff would like to take Hadley School's math courses. The teacher must know Nemeth code and be able to use the abacus. Contact Robert Groff Jr. at 487 PC Circle, Quitman, AR 72131, or phone (501) 589-2886.


Need a starter computer to enter the world of computing? Or do you need a backup computer for emergencies? The Texas Center for the Physically Impaired offers you an entire computer system computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, modem, sound card, CD-ROM, synthesized voice and manuals for $100. Contact Bob Langford at (214) 340-6328, or write to him at the Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, TX 75238.

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