The Newsletter of the Arizona Council of the Blind

Summer 2007

From the Presidents Desk by Dan Martinez

The Phoenix Mayor's Commission on Disabilities Issues (MCDI), of which I am the chair, has made seven recommendations to Phoenix Transit regarding Paratransit services for the Phoenix community. The implementation of these recommendations is designed to create more mainstream transportation options for people with disabilities. MCDI Recommendations:

To identify solutions to Phoenix's paratransit system constraints fueled by increasing growth, the MCDI asked City Public Transit to gather information on other transit entities that have successfully alleviated similar capacity constraints. Systems identified as the most successful where those that completely eliminated ADA ride denials, despite the fact that they were confronted with rapid paratransit growth. The analysis established that the most successful systems were those that implemented all of the recommended strategies.

The ADA is a civil rights statute that clearly emphasizes nondiscriminatory access to fixed route service, with ADA Complementary Paratransit acting as a "safety net" for people who cannot use the fixed route system. Under the ADA, Complementary Paratransit service is not intended to be a comprehensive system of transportation for individuals with disabilities.

The ADA regulations include a requirement to strictly enforce paratransit eligibility both for individuals and for the trips they take. Eligibility is to be determined in a functional, non-medical model. Moreover, a thorough and accurate eligibility determination process is the key for ensuring that adequate resources exist to provide the high level of paratransit service that is the right of eligible individuals and to meet the overriding goal of the ADA to provide service in the least restrictive environment.

Moving from a process largely based on self-declaration through an application form supported by limited information collected from medical professionals is likely to cause anxiety and anger for people with disabilities throughout the community. It may cause some discomfort for people who believe that people with disabilities are not capable of using anything other than specialized services. Most current public transit systems segregate people with disabilities from mainstream transportation into paratransit services. This conflicts with the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and it is in conflict with my personal values.

Hadley School Foods Series

If you love to cook, or maybe you want to learn to cook, Hadley School for the Blind has the answer for you with five delicious courses guaranteed to help you prepare healthy and tasty dishes. Courses are available in braille, cassette or large print. This series explains food preparation concepts that enable you to prepare healthy dishes to enjoy on your own and with others.

Choose from five mini-courses: "Meat, Poultry and Fish," "Eggs and Dairy Products," "Fruits and Vegetables," "Grains and Sweets" or "A Social Perspective." Each course suggests preparation techniques, organizational skills, adaptive devices and techniques, as well as practical tips.

The Hadley School for the Blind offers a wide range of distance education courses to eligible students completely free of charge. Study in the comfort of your own home at a time convenient for you. Course materials arrive in the mail or online and for students in the U.S. and Canada, instructors are just a toll-free call away.

For more information: Website: Address The Hadley School for the Blind 700 Elm Street Winnetka, IL 60093-2554, Phone: 847-446-8111

The Hadley School does not provide basic equipment or supplies. You are responsible for obtaining equipment and supplies, such as cassette players and recorders, blank cassettes, braillewriters, typewriters, paper and envelopes. Students not eligible for Free Matter mailing will need to affix postage on all mailings to the school.

May 23, 2007

Dear AzCB Member,

My name is Barbara McDonald and I was recently elected to the 1st Vice Presidency of the Arizona Council of the Blind. This position is responsible for membership. I want to thank you for your continued membership in the AzCB. My first goal is to contact all members and update our membership list.

The Arizona Council of the Blind is a consumer advocacy organization of people who are blind and visually impaired in Arizona and one of 70 affiliates of the American Council of the Blind. We are advocates of descriptive video services, accessible voting machines, accessible currency, accessible pedestrian signals and true informed choices in the rehabilitation process. Through our membership, we have provided third party matching funds to blindness services groups throughout Arizona, scholarships to Arizona residents who are continuing their education, and assistance with purchasing adaptive technology.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as a leader, advocate and guide. I will be planning some informative social events with speakers. I will post this information on our website:

If you have a personal email address, please contact me at and I will notify you about upcoming events.

Sincerely yours,
Barbara McDonald
1st Vice President
Membership Chair


The Phoenix International Sky Harbor Airport Hilton hotel was the site of the Arizona Council Of The Blind's 36th annual general membership meeting on the weekend of May 3 to 5, 2007. The last time an AZCB activity was held at the Hilton was 21 years ago when the Hilton was then located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Phoenix and it was the site for the council's magic show fund-raiser. The year was 1986 and the council treasury was increased by more than $14,000 that year from the show with assistance from Encore Productions of California. In 1987 the magic show was moved to Phoenix College and the Hilton has been seeking the Council for a return engagement ever since.

The primary focus of the convention program agenda this year was membership development. On Thursday evening Mitch Pomeranz of Pasadena shared valuable information on building membership in our state affiliate and developing local chapters. Mitch is 1st Vice President of the California Council Of The Blind and 2nd Vice of the American Council Of The Blind National board. Pomeranz stated that membership development is really about selling. "We really have to sell the people we are trying to recruit into our organization. We have to say to them this is what we offer and this is what is in it for you. The trend in this country is that membership is down in every major organization and most experts will tell you that as busy as people are and as absorbed as they are in their own lives you really have to convince people that there is a real reason for becoming a member of your organization." President Dan Martinez summed everything up succinctly by stating that the number one reason persons join any organization is because someone asked them.

The convention planning committee headed by convention coordinator Larry Wanger and Ron Brooks put a quality convention program agenda together. The all day Friday schedule opened with Dan introducing Larry once again and Council Chaplain Richard Bailey invoking God's blessings on activities for the day. Arizona State Rehabilitation Services Director Kathy Levandowsky was just recently appointed to her position as the agency's permanent Director and Kathy stated that she is looking forward to working with her staff and consumer groups such as AZCB as we deal with the issues and the agency's expanding services to clients.

The Friday luncheon on the hotel patio brought welcome relief from the morning discussion sessions. Sharing the luncheon table with my wife Faye and I were Mitch and Donna Pomeranz and Carolyn Cameron and Desiree Hoogerhouis among others. Carolyn and Desiree work in the Chandler corporate office of First Credit Union. Carolyn is also a former board member of the recently merged AZCB Federal Credit Union.

Larry Wanger did a good job as emcee for the banquet on Friday evening Mitch Pomeranz shared once again and special guest DeAnna Quietwater Noriega of Missouri shared from her writings on friendship and other issues.

Council secretary and Scholarship committee member Barbara McDonald was at her usual best in awarding Scholarships totaling $3,500.00 to four deserving blind university students.

Faye and I were pleased to share our banquet table with the mother of scholarship winner Sidney Freeman who will be studying Music History at St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota. Scholarship winner David Hayden also shared our table. David will be majoring in computer science and math at Arizona State University.

Another banquet Highlight was the presence of Council board members Dr. Frank and Janet Kells of Tucson. Frank was given special recognition with the awarding of a plaque for his many years of service in the field of blindness on local and state levels in Arizona.

The Saturday business session was highlighted by the customary reports and annual election process. The council's governing board for the next year includes the following persons. Dan Martinez, President; Barbara McDonald 1st Vice President; Ruth Druding, 2nd Vice President; Robert L. Williams, 3rd Vice President; Larry Wanger, 4th Vice President; Harold Newsom, Treasurer; Sharon Carpenter, secretary; directors include Dr. Frank and Janet Kells of Tucson, Richard Bailey, Robert Shelley, Lillian Hosmer, Gabe Vega, Ron Brooks and Jim Locke.

I commend former board members Tim Ayers and Kevin Chinn for their service on the board. I hope both will return to active board membership at some future time.

Finally the Council governing board has already voted to return to the Airport Hilton for its 2008 Convention on the weekend of May 2 - 3, 2008. Plan now to attend and share this bit of news with others.

Four Students Awarded Scholarships By Barbara McDonald

Recently at the Arizona Council of the Blind 36th Annual Membership Convention Banquet, four Arizona resident students were awarded scholarships.

Andrew Greene is a visually impaired graduating student at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind. He is interested in hotel management and will be attending Pima College. He was awarded $500.00.

Michael Veach is a visually impaired student finishing his freshman year at Arizona State University. He is majoring in computer science because he hopes to help in the research and development of solutions for equipment for people with low vision. He was awarded $800.00.

Sydney Freedman, who was born blind, is at the end of her sophomore year at St. Olaf's College in Northfield, MN. She is majoring in the history of music and medieval studies. She hopes to do research in musicology and teach at the college level. She is currently a member of the St. Olaf's Choir and wants to continue performing as a singer. She was awarded $1000.00.

David Hayden is a legally blind student in his senior year at Arizona State University. He is majoring in computer science and mathematics. He feels that growing up and working on his family horse breeding ranch helped to build his character. He will continue his doctoral studies in computer science. He was awarded the John Vanlandingham Scholarship in the amount of $1200.00.

Being blind or visually impaired has not stopped these students from reaching their goals and trying to make the world a better place for all.

Celebrate the Music By Manuel Aregullin

Join in and celebrate the rich, traditional music of the Caribbean by calling for Manuel Aregullin at SAAVI in Tucson at 520-795-1331. All skill levels welcome and no previous experience is necessary. Consider taking the classes in the music that pay homage to Ancient traditions that emphasize unity and the power of communal creativity. Taught by Manuel Aregullin, dedicated Latin percussionist, teacher and student, spellbinding songs in the Yoruba and Spanish languages are combined with syncopated African percussion.

This ancient music is a legacy to the survival of the human spirit. " I continue to learn and teach this music to honor all of my teachers and those who have gone before."

Manuel Aregullin* Biography:
Manuel Aregullin was born in Saltillo, Cuahuila, Mexico in 1975 to a Mexican father and African-American mother. From his mother's gifted lineage he was exposed to the magic of music through his grandfather, the celebrated jazz saxophonist, Red Holloway.
When he was a year old he lost his eyesight to Retino Blastoma. In 1980 his mother relocated the family to Tucson, Arizona so that her son could attend the acclaimed Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind. There he was taught skills of independence and given the foremost education available to the visually impaired.

The pull of his natural musical penchant and swinging sense of rhythm magnetized his existence toward constant pursuits in the study and performance of music. His hunger for knowledge provides him with a philosophy that learning is never finished. That philosophy, tempered by patience and stability make him an understanding and enthusiastic teacher.

1981 to 1985 - Private piano studies with Barbara Baron beginning at age 6.
1987 to 1993 - Dedicated member of School Choir he participated in regional and state choir competitions, receiving recognition awards as soloist.
1991 to 1993 - Private studies in drum set under the tutelage of his uncle, James Holloway. During this period at the age of 16, he began working as drummer for the Rising Star Southern Baptist Church.
1992 - Recipient of the African American Honors Convocation Award for achievements in the arts.
1996 to 1997 - At age 21 joined a Motown band as sound engineer,rapper and backup singer, later becoming the drummer for the same band.
1998 to present - Participates in the annual Afro-Cuban percussion workshops and performances in Arcata, California.
Sept. 1999 - Through a cultural arts exchange program he traveled to Havana, Cuba where he studied conga drumming.
2000 - Private studies with Cuban percussionist Roberto Viscaino.
2001 - Attended the Berkley College of Music summer World Percussion Workshop.
2001 & 2005 - Accompanied "The Slackers," a nationally known New York Ska band in performance.
2001 - Accompanied "Ozomatli," an internationally known Hip-Hop/ world music dance band in performance.
2001 to Present - Board Member/Volunteer with The Sovereign Arts Society on several projects involving educational outreach presentations and performances. He acts as interpreter and assistant for master artists in numerous workshops and clinics and participates as percussionist and musical director in SAS performances.
2002 to present - Founded an Afro-Cuban folklore ensemble in Tucson, Arizona. Acting as Musical Director, vocalist and percussionist, he has led the ensemble in several collaborative projects with local and visiting artists in a variety of theatrical and musical performances.
2003 - Private studies with Cuban percussionist, Ramon Sandy Perez, Miguel Bernal Nodal, Juan de Dios
2004 - Recorded original sound track for Caribbean travel promotional video for Yuma Productions.
Jan 3 -17 2005 - In cultural exchange study program traveled to Matanzas, Cuba where he studied percussion and song with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, a world acclaimed Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble.
May 2005- Present - Singer and percussionist with Tucson area ensemble, Reggae Blue.
2002 - Present - Ongoing classes in Afro-Cuban folklore percussion and song through Sovereign Arts Society cultural programming
2007 - January 15 -29 - studied Afro-Cuban folkloric musical traditions in Matanzas with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, focusing on congas, batá, shékere and song.

New Employment Opportunities

Arizona Industries for the Blind (AIB) has recently expanded employment opportunities for people who are blind by adding a new business unit for Electronic Document Conversion Services, also known as Document Imaging (DI).

With the addition of this new department, AIB now provides competitive employment for over 60 blind individuals.

Document Conversion refers to the process of preparing and scanning paper documents to convert them to digital images that can be stored and retrieved on CD, DVD, or other electronic storage methods. During the conversion process, documents are indexed (or labeled) for easy computer retrieval. Converting paper documents to electronic images makes retrieving, viewing, sending, and storing documents much easier than working with paper.

Many adaptive methods (both high and low tech) have been used to optimize the capabilities of AIB employees performing DI functions.

AIB has already created nine new full-time positions in Document Imaging, with plans to add up to 10 additional employees by the end of this year.

In addition to the Document Imaging, AIB also has three other main business units: Distribution and Warehouse, Manufacturing, and Base Service Stores.

For more information about any of the business units or services provided by AIB, please refer to the AIB website at AIB also provides a recorded "Job Hotline" which posts all job openings and is updated each week: Arizona Industries for the Blind "Job Hotline" 602-269-5131 Extension 250

The Chaplin's Corner: New Beginnings By Richard Bailey

As we begin a new AzCB year with new officers and board members, it occurs to me that there will be new thoughts and ideas brought forward. Some of these ideas may be good for the organization and blind people and some may not.

In the book of Philippians, Paul suggests that we should seek after those things, which have virtue, are of good report and are worthy of praise.

In order to implement only the best ideas, there must be a spirit of cooperation, fellowship and friendship among our board members. May we therefore be blessed with the spirit of cooperation and the wisdom to make the right decisions to help us accomplish our goals.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

RadioShack Announces Point of Sale, Web Site Initiative for Customers with Visual Impairments

Washington, DC (June 13, 2007) -- In a move praised by state and national blindness organizations, RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) today announced it has undertaken a nationwide initiative to improve services for RadioShack's customers with visual impairments.

As part of the program, RadioShack will install new point of sale equipment with tactile keypads to protect the privacy and security of visually impaired shoppers and will make improvements to its Web site that will benefit visually impaired shoppers and other customers with disabilities.

Today's announcement is the result of collaboration between RadioShack and major blindness organizations including the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind, and California Council of the Blind.

It is anticipated that by the end of September of this year, every RadioShack store will have the new device, which is designed to protect the financial privacy of blind and visually impaired shoppers. The devices, manufactured by Ingenico (, have tactile keys arranged like a standard telephone keypad and plug easily into existing point of sale payment terminals. The new units will allow RadioShack shoppers who have difficulty reading information on a touch screen to privately and independently enter their PIN, telephone number, and other confidential information.

Blind community representatives praised RadioShack's plan to upgrade its point of sale devices. "Point of sale devices must have tactile keys so blind people do not have to share their PIN with strangers," explained Melanie Brunson, executive director of the American Council of the Blind. "Today's announcement, and the collaboration that led to it, demonstrates RadioShack's understanding of this fact and its strong commitment to blind and visually impaired customers." Today's initiative includes RadioShack's commitment to design www. in accordance with guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c) ( The guidelines, which do not affect the content or look and feel of a Web site, ensure that Web sites are accessible to persons with a wide range of disabilities. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen reader or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard inste

ad of a mouse. "Web site accessibility is of critical importance to both the blind community and to people with disabilities generally," said Paul Schroeder, vice president, programs and policy group of the American Foundation for the Blind. "We applaud RadioShack's leadership role in committing to address the accessibility of its Web site, thereby improving the browsing and shopping experience for a broad range of on-line shoppers."

Please let us know about your experience with RadioShack by contacting

The Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden in Glendale

The Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden was developed to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. Through the use of specific plants and trees for texture and scent, water features for sound, touch and sight and evening lighting for dramatic visuals, this garden is one of Glendale's proudest locations.

Elsie McCarthy was a long-time Valley resident and an avid gardener. She continued her gardening throughout her life even after she lost her eyesight. Through a bequest in Elsie McCarthy's will, she donated the money for "the purpose of establishing, purchasing, improving, expanding or maintaining a scented and tactile garden for the visually handicapped." Her only requirement was that the garden be dedicated to her father, Robert Henry Bourdon.

The garden contains five points of interest. The Wisdom Garden, the Celebration Garden, the Contemplation Garden, the Reflection Garden and the Story Totem Garden are all very special areas each with a unique type of water feature.

The main entry to the sensory garden contains a tactile map, giving the visually impaired a way to feel the individual areas of the garden and understand its layout. The Story Totem Garden features a sculpture, Seeing Beyond, by artists Joan Baron and Robert Miley. The sculpture is a tile mosaic tiles and has water sprinkling through the middle of it.

The garden reflects all the aspects of a tactile garden for the visually impaired, but is a wonderfully peaceful place for everyone to enjoy.

The Celebration Garden features four labyrinth rocks. A unique labyrinth design has been etched into each one of the blocks, allowing for a finger or two to follow the maze through its winding course.

Located south of Northern Avenue on 55th Avenue at 7637 N. 55th Ave. in Glendale, AZ the garden has no admission fee and is open dusk to dawn. 623-930-2820.

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