Fore~Sight

Newsletter of the Arizona Council of the Blind

Volume 26, Issue 3, Winter, 2011

 

2011 AzCB Conference and Convention Watch

Dates, Location and an Exciting Program

The Arizona Council of the Blind is excited to announce that our 2011 AzCB Conference and Convention will take place from April 14-16, 2011, at the Phoenix International Airport Crown Plaza Hotel.

          There will be some changes this year, a Continental Breakfast and Box Lunch will be held in the Exhibit area to give you more availability to view what the exhibitors have to offer. For early arrivers there will be options for social activity on Thursday Evening, a possible outing or a “fireside” chat with Board Members.

          In addition there will be informational programs and workshops offered on Friday.  On Friday Evening, we are combining our annual Awards and Scholarships program with our annual Banquet.

          Don’t Wait! – Register Before April 1 and Save!

          For more information about the Convention, including links to additional details about the program and our on-line registration form, go to http://www.azcb.org .  You may also request an information packet by mail or by calling us at (602) 273-1510.

 

Registering For The Convention

          You may simply visit our website, http://www.azcb.org, and follow the links to the 2011 Annual Convention.  You can register on line and pay by mail or on-line through our convenient and secure PayPal portal. If you prefer you may complete a form, included in this addition of Fore~Sight and mail it to the address below.  Please note that the Convention “Earlybird Registration” deadline is April 1. 2011  After this date, you will be able to register at the door—although registration fees will be slightly higher.

          PAYMENT – If mailing payment please make checks and money orders payable to the Arizona Council of the Blind or AZCB and include a a copy of online or hard copy registration form..  You may pay for multiple registrants with one check or money order. You may register online and mail check or money order.

          Instructions for mailing registration forms and/or payments - Send your completed Registration Form and payment to the following address.

          Arizona Council of the Blind, Inc

2011 Convention Registration

3124 East Roosevelt Suite 4

Phoenix, AZ  85008

 

2011 AzCB Conference and Convention Hotel Information

All Convention activities will take place at the Phoenix International Airport Crown Plaza Hotel, located at 4300 East Washington Street in Phoenix. The hotel is located on the northwest corner of 44th and Washington Streets in Phoenix and is directly adjacent to the 44th Street Metro Light Rail Station. The hotel is also very convenient to a number of Valley Metro bus routes as well as Phoenix and East Valley Dial-a-Ride services. For more information about reaching the hotel by transit or paratransit, visit Valley Metro’s website at http://www.valleymetro.org.

If you are traveling by air, the hotel offers a complementary shuttle, or you can take the Metro Light Rail Connector buses available from all terminals of the Sky Harbor International Airport.

The AzCB and the Crown Plaza Hotel are pleased to offer a reduced rate of $82 per night plus tax for convention attendees, but this room rate will only be available if you make your reservations before March 31. To book your room, call the Crown Plaza Hotel at (602) 273-7778 or toll-free at 1 (800) 465-4329 (1-800-HOLIDAY)

 

AzCB Scholarships And First Timers Awards BY Lisa Brooks

The holiday season is a time of sharing, giving, and fellowship, and AzCB extends itself by giving monetarily to students and AzCB members during the rest of the year. As chairperson of the scholarship and awards committee, it's my pleasure to announce this years opening for scholarship and first-timer awards.

          We have two 2011 scholarships available for full-time, visually impaired, Arizona-resident students who are planning to attend college next year. The John Van Landingham and Frank Kells scholarships are each valued at $2000.00, and recipients will also receive attendance assistance to our state conference.

          An online application is available at the www.azcb.org website under the scholarship link. Applications including all supporting documentation must be received either electronically or by mail to our office address by March 1 2011. Email inquiries, requests for paper applications, or any questions can also be sent to lbrooks46@cox.net. We are accepting applications now, so if you know of a deserving student, feel free to pass along the information.

          For the nonstudents among us, who are members of AzCB and who have never attended a state or national conference, we are offering a first-timer award that will provide monetary assistance to attend these events. One award will be given for our state convention and the other award will be given for the national convention held in Reno Nevada. The state award will cover hotel, a food stipend, and travel assistance if applicable according to the board policies. The national award will include a designated monetary amount, which will be distributed to the

winner to use for agreed upon travel expense. Although, the national award will not cover all convention costs, it will provide a good starting point.

          These are new awards, and we would love to have lots of applicants. To apply the individuals must be an AzCB member and have not attended the convention for which you apply. To apply, write a brief essay describing why you would like to attend the convention and email it along with your contact information to lbrooks46@cox.net with first timer in the subject line. The awards committee will confidentially review essays and the two winners will be notified after the closing date for essays, which is March 1, 2011. If you are interested in applying, you don't need to wait till the last minute, and if you haven't yet renewed your membership, you can do that online at the AzCB website, then email in your essay.

          This is the first time we have these awards available, and the scholarships have increased this year, so I hope my inbox gets flooded with requests. The more we can interact with each other, and bring in new members, the stronger our organization will grow.

We are accepting applications now!

 

Setting SMART AzCB Goals for 2011 By Ron Brooks

          As I write this article, we are in the midst of the holiday season, and in between all of the shopping and celebrating and school events and family visits, I am beginning to think about my resolutions for 2011.  Some will be personal in nature—eating a little bit less and a little better, getting a bit more exercise, spending a bit more time with my wife and family, and so forth.  Some will be professional—developing some new skills that will improve my position and compensation at work, learning some new skill so that I can be more marketable, etc.

          A few of my resolutions will pertain to my involvement within the blind community and to my participation with and leadership of the AzCB, and it is this latter group of resolutions that I would like to discuss in this article.  Basically, I want to share my AzCB goals with you so that you can help me to achieve them and/or, at a minimum, so that you can hold me accountable for my plans.

Before listing my goals for 2011, I want to share my definition of an effective goal because as anyone in any realm of management will agree, a successful goal needs to be SMART

          S = Specific.  Every goal should have a subject and a verb.  For example, living better is a laudable sentiment, but it’s not much of a goal.  But change that laudable sentiment to something like “Eat less processed food and exercise more,” and you will have a specific goal.

          M = Measurable. Even a specific goal like eating less or exercising more can be hard to measure.  However, changing that goal to eating no more than one dessert per week makes the goal measurable, and you can know unequivocally whether or not you’ve hit the goal.

          A = Actionable.  Our goals need to be things we can work on.  This is where politicians who make promises fall short.  For instance, no single politician can lower taxes or fix the economy.  Instead of making a “pie in the sky” promise, the same politician could promise to introduce legislation to roll back taxes.  That’s not as exciting to voters, but it’s more honest.

          R = Realistic – One of my growing areas of concern is in the lack of audible pedestrian signals in Phoenix, and I would like to go on a crusade to have APS installed at every controlled intersection in Phoenix.  This is not a realistic goal.  Thus, it would be better for me to focus on a solid first step that I have some chance of achieving.  Otherwise, I will have unrealistic goals, and I will be unsuccessful at hitting them.  Over time, unrealistic goals lead to frustration and a lack of credibility.

          T = Time-Specific. – Every goal should have an end-point or a deadline.  This is why I love resolutions.  In 2010, I made a number of resolutions.  Some, I achieved, and some I did not.  Nevertheless, as December 31 draws near, I am better off than I was on January 1 of 2010, and I can set new, more challenging resolutions for 2011, which will hopefully take me even farther in the directions I want to go.

          Now that I have defined my definition of a sound goal, I want to share mine for 2011.

1.       Work with the Board, Membership Committee and members of AzCB to launch two new local chapters during 2011.  I had hoped to achieve this goal during my first year as President, but achieving this goal has proved very challenging.  In reexamining this goal, I believe that what I can do is stay more connected with our Membership Committee so that they continue to stay focused on this priority. What I need from each of you is your willingness to spend some time and effort to help me as your President and the AzCB as your organization to reach out to the local communities where we focus our development efforts.  To date, we have focused on the East and West Valley areas near Phoenix, but I think we should go where the ground is fertile, so please keep your eyes and ears open to find chapter development opportunities, and when you find them, please share them with the Membership Committee and me.

2.       Expand our outreach activities to college and high school students and other younger blind and visually impaired people.  We are already pursuing this goal on two fronts.  First, our Convention Committee will be exploring an expanded convention program to include programming specifically geared for younger members.  Second, our Scholarship Committee is working to broaden outreach for our annual scholarships.  In keeping with the SMART principles outlined above, the specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific goal will be to increase attendance by college students and other younger people at our 2011 convention to be held in Phoenix this Spring.

3.       Increase the amount of funds we make available for scholarships and financial assistance to members in need.  One of our primary missions should be to provide direct benefits to members, and two avenues for this are our annual AzCB scholarships and our Blindness Related Intervention Expense Fund (BRIEF for short).  Earlier this month, the AzCB Board adopted a new budget for 2011, and I am happy to report that despite deep cuts in many areas, funding for BRIEF was maintained, and funding for scholarships was significantly increased.  We are also working hard to develop new strategies to fund not only our scholarships and the BRIEF program, but our other programs and services as well, and achievement of any spending goals will depend on our willingness to do the work to bring in more money.

4.       Increase our profile in the larger disability community.  The AzCB has recently joined as a member of the Arizona Disability Advocacy Coalition—a cross-disability organization which works on legislative issues of concern to the disability community.  We have also become more involved in the Governor’s Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  I am also planning to reach out to the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration to strengthen our relationships with RSA staff.  My goal is to be better informed about issues impacting our community and to be better able to engage others in any efforts we take on to advocate for priorities which are important to us and our community.

5.       Work with local chapters to make positive differences in their local communities.  I do not know the issues that are important in Tucson, and I am only partially aware of those issues of concern to those of us living in Phoenix or in the rest of the Valley.  What I do know is that our local chapters must be engaged in their local communities and in their own advocacy efforts if they are going to be effective.  In recognition of this fact, I am going to work with each chapter’s local President and Board to help them identify local priorities and to develop strategies for pursuing them.  Achievement of this goal will be measured by the degree to which our local chapters and special interest affiliates are able to report progress on their own priorities during 2011.

In closing, I want to make four requests of you because I need your help to succeed.  First, I need you to support my goals.  To that end, please feel free to share your own thoughts about my goals—whether you agree or not.  If you agree, say so as this will be encouraging.  If you disagree with my goals, then tell me so, and tell me where you think I should focus our efforts as this feedback will help me to be more responsive to each of you. Second, I need your help.  Each of my goals entails real work, and not just for me.  If you’re in a local chapter, I’m counting on you to help to implement the goals I have enumerated in this article.  If you’re chairing an AzCB committee, I especially need your help and that of your committee.  Third, I need you to hold me accountable.  When you see me, please ask me how I’m doing on my goals, and be prepared to offer your encouragement, support and advice so that I can fulfill my promises to each of you and to the organization.  Finally, I need you to share your own goals for the AzCB, for your local chapters, for your special interest affiliates, for your communities and for yourselves.  Knowing your goals will help me to give you support for your efforts, and it will help me to strengthen my own resolve to work hard and to succeed.

2011 promises to be a very busy and exciting year, and it is my sincere hope that it is a productive and successful one as well.  I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we work together to achieve our common goals as well as our individual dreams and ambitions.

 

Resource Information from Gail Wilt

          The Phoenix Chapter and AzCB has updated website resource information, which may be of importance to people who are blind. The information is organized in two categories. The first is general information and the second is information on recreational resources. You may link to this information on the azcb.org website of go directly to the documents by entering the specific web address listed below.

          General Information: http://www.azcb.org/vip-Resources-12point.html

          Recreational Resources: http://www.azcb.org/recreational-Options-12point.html

 

MCAC Moving Forward In 2011 Bob Williams

          What do Michael and Peggy Garret of Texas, Donna Pomerantz and Pam Metz of California, Hattie Bond of Tennessee and Sarah Gale of Maine all have in common?  They’re all members of ACB’s national Multicultural Affairs committee established over twenty-five years ago to promote cultural and ethnic diversity within ACB.  Membership is voluntary and open to any member of a state or local ACB affiliate. The MCAC committee is one of almost thirty ACB interest groups and committees around which ACB’s National Conference and Convention revolves each year.

          Maintaining and building on our diversity was the theme of the committee’s 2010 ACB National Conference And Convention luncheon program presentation in Phoenix in July.  AZCB’s own Dan Martinez was more than equal to the task as the luncheon speaker and panel discussion moderator.  The panel focusing on diversity featured two of Dan’s co-workers from Arizona Industries for the Blind Gloria, and Loraine whose diversity represented Navajo and Hopi culture. The Luncheon audience of 35 conventioneers was moved by each presenter’s personal story of coping with blindness within the native American experience.

          “Exhibiting the Gold, Exploring the Treasure, Embracing the Cultures” is the committee’s luncheon program theme for ACB’s 50th annual National Conference and Convention to be held in Reno in July, 2011.

          Arizonans  currently serving on the MCAC include Bob and Faye Williams and Dan Martinez.  Chairing the small group of about twelve persons is Peggy Garrett of the Houston ACB chapter.  Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact Bob Williams locally for further information and note each monthly issue of the Braille Forum for information concerning upcoming national convention activities.

 

Seeking Partners for the AzCB by AzCB President Ron Brooks

          As the President of the AzCB, I marvel at what our organization of blind and visually impaired Arizonans, along with our families, friends, coworkers and interested parties, have been able to do for our community.  We have our website, our quarterly newsletter, our state conference and convention, local chapters in Phoenix and Tucson that meet monthly, a group dedicated to the specific concerns of dog guide handlers, scholarships for deserving blind and visually impaired students, financial assistance for blind and visually impaired people with urgent needs for blindness-related goods and services, and the list goes on and on and on.

Still, all of our efforts cost money, and during these challenging economic times, revenues are down--even as the needs of our community have never been greater.

          Currently, the Board and membership of the AzCB is working on new strategies for increasing the effectiveness of our fundraising efforts, but there are two ways you can help your organization right now.

          Make a one-time donation to the AzCB - At any time of the day or night, you can go to the AzCB website, www.azcb.org, and you can make a one-time donation of any amount.  The process is simple, and thanks to the magic of Paypal, your transaction is quick and secure, and the money comes to AzCB almost immediately.

Make an ongoing contribution through the ACB's Monthly Monetary Support program - Our parent organization, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has established the MMS Program to make it easy for members to provide ongoing support to ACB and to the ACB state or special interest affiliate of their choosing.

You can give as little as $5 per month through the MMS Program, but if you give at least $25 per month, the ACB will split your donation between the ACB and any affiliate you designate--including the AzCB.  It is my personal goal that every member of the AzCB, who can afford doing so, makes at least a $5 contribution to MMS per month.  For more information about the MMS Program, please go to the ACB's website, www.acb.org.

 

Advocacy and Legislation Committee By Barbara McDonald

          This summer, Ron Brooks, AzCB President, established an AzCB Advocacy and Legislation Committee.  He appointed the following members:  Sharon Booker, Barbara Hoober, April Martin, David Steinmetz, and Robert Williams with Barbara McDonald as the chairperson.

          In our first meeting, it was decided that the state affiliate should focus on state advocacy issues, while following the ACB lead of the national advocacy issues.

          It is the committee's responsibility to inform the ACB membership and the general public about the national advocacy and legislative issues., work on state advocacy issues, and be a resource for advocacy issues for the local chapters.

          The committee will develop various means of communications to disseminate information, such as, emails, newsletters, the AzCB Chat List, and links on the AzCB website, azcb.org.

          Searching the TV news, websites, newspapers, as well as working with other advocacy groups will help us  to keep informed on the latest legislative issues  so we can bring important advocacy updates to the board and our members.

          Look for information beginning in January 2011 when the newly elected members of congress will be taking their seats and deciding on many political issues, which could impact us in a negative or positive way.

 

Book Club 2011 By Mitzi Therran

          Tucson's SAC has a book club that meets in person and over the conference line statewide on the second Saturday of each month from 2:30 to 3:30. Each of these books is available on the BARD web site or through the state library. The numbers with each one are the digital numbers and the descriptions are by BARD.

Upcoming in 2011:

          January 8, Rebecca: A gothic novel by Daphne du Maurier. Read by Barbara Caruso.  Reading time 16 and a half hours. DB48914

Rebecca, the glamorous mistress of a great English estate, died eight months before Maxim de Winter brought a young and frightened second wife to live there. Mystery, intrigue, and violence eventually reveal the circumstances surrounding Rebecca's death.

          February 12, To Kill a Mockingbird: A classic novel by Harper Lee. Read by Carole Jordan Stewart. Reading time 10 and a half hours. DB36414

Scout Finch is an outspoken and literate six-year-old tomboy when she begins her tale of growing up in a small Alabama town with her brother Jem and her attorney father Atticus. The children's intense curiosity about a reclusive neighbor is eclipsed by Atticus's attempt to defend a black man against charges of raping a white woman. Pulitzer Prize winner. For high school and older readers. For high school and older readers.

          March 12 The Good Earth: A Young Adult novel by Pearl S Buck. Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time 11 hours. DB37294

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Describes the rise of Wang Lung, a poor Chinese peasant. The story begins with his wedding day With the help and patience of his new wife, O-lan, Wang Lung becomes a rich landowner. For high school and older readers.

April 9, My Sister's Keeper: A Medical Fiction novel by Jodi Picoult. Read by Erin Jones. 2004  Reading time 11 hours. DB58402

When Kate is diagnosed with a rare leukemia her parents create test-tube baby Anna to save her life. After years of medical procedures Anna, now thirteen, is expected to donate a kidney. She files for medical legal emancipation and throws the family into a fundamental moral crisis.

May 14, Olive Kitteridge: Short Stories by Elizabeth Strout. Read by Martha Harmon Pardee. 2008  Reading time 10 hours. DB67392

Thirteen stories set in a small community on the Maine coast are linked by the presence of Olive Kitteridge, retired teacher and pharmacist's wife. In "Tulips" Olive struggles in the aftermath of her husband's stroke and with their son's response to his father's nursing-home confinement. Some strong language. Pulitzer Prize. 

June 11, These Happy Golden Years: A Historical novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Read by Laura Giannarelli. Reading time 6 and a half hours. DB21200

In this last book in the 'Little House' series, Laura and Almanzo, the town's most eligible bachelor, enjoy a romance while she teaches in the district schools. They marry at the end of the school year and begin a long and happy life together. 

July 9, Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery:A Mystery and Detective novel by Spencer Quinn. Read by Michael Scherer. 2009 Reading time 8 hours. DB68453

August 13, Eye Of The Needle: A Spies and Espionage novel by Ken Follett. Read by Merwin Smith. Reading time 11 hours. DB12323

September 10, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years: A Stage and Screen book by Julie Andrews. Read by Jill Ferris. 2008  Reading time 13 hours. DB66539

October 8, The Blessing Way: A Mystery and Detective novel by Tony Hillerman. Read by Bob Askey. 1970  Reading time 6 and a half hours. DB49586

November 12   Cross Fire: An Alex Cross murder mystery by James Patterson. 2010  Reading time not yet known. This novel has not yet been put into audio book form by BARD, so we don't know the reader or the length of the book.

December 10, Santa Clawed: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery. A mystery and detective novel by Rita Mae Brown. Read by Laura Giannarelli. 2008  Reading time 6 and a half hours. DB68431

BARD: Braille and Audio Reading Download is a web based service provided by National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). BARD is intended for use  by NLS patrons in good standing. If you are not currently receiving service from The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, please contact them at NLSDownload@loc.gov.

If you are already receiving NLS services, fill out a BARD application on the NLS website. Library staff will check your information against their records. If you are approved to participate you will receive an e-mail message with sign-on information.

 

House joins Senate in approving Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act Washington, Dec 16 -

          The Senate approved its version of this bill, S. 841, and the House today joined in passing it by an overwhelming vote of 379 to 30. It now goes to the President for his signature.  S. 841 requires that NHTSA conduct a study to determine a minimum level of sound necessary to alert blind and other pedestrians of the presence of operating vehicles. It also requires the Department of Transportation to start the rulemaking process within 18 months of enactment, requiring all vehicles to abide by the minimum sound requirement within three years.

          A study by Dr. Lawrence Rosenblum, a perceptual psychology professor at the University of California, indicates that a hybrid vehicle must be 40 percent closer to a test subject than a car with a traditional motor before the subject can determine from which direction the car is approaching.”

          “This bill enjoys the support of the American Council of the Blind; the National Federation for the Blind; the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, Inc.; and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers,” added Stearns.  “In addition, the Congressional Budget Office reports that this bill is completely cost-neutral.” 

          The Motor Vehicle Safety Act had met with significant resistance in the beginning of December. This is a tremendous achievement given the amount of political gridlock that is so pervasive in Congress right now.

 

Correction

The newsletter editor erroneously credited Sharon Booker as the author of “Phoenix – up from the ashes of a prehistoric civilization” in the Fall 2010 issue of the Fore~sight. Penny Crane was the talented writer of that article. I most sincerely apologize for that error. Dan Martinez

 

The Low Vision Examination By Dan Martinez

While the fact of uncorrectable vision loss may be unavoidable and painful, there are steps that can be taken to help a person cope and adjust to his or her circumstance. One of the tactics available is to get a low vision exam from a qualified specialist.

          The goal of the low vision exam is to help people with partial sight function more independently by prescribing optical devices, lighting strategies and other techniques, to make use of remaining vision. The low vision examination is quite different from the basic eye examination routinely performed by an optometrist. The low vision exam includes assessing the functional needs, capabilities and limitations of the patient’s visual system, appraising ocular health and its impact on functional vision and prescribing low vision aids and therapies.

          The specialist providing a low vision rehabilitation examination will ask for a complete personal and family general health and eye health history. In addition, the specialist will discuss the functional limitations with the patient, including such things as reading, functioning in the kitchen, glare problems, travel vision, the workplace, television viewing, school requirements, and hobbies and interests. In other words, the low vision exam is focused on the specific characteristics, needs and lifestyle of the individual.

          After the exam, the low vision specialist will discuss the results of the visual assessment with the patient. The benefits and limitations of eyeglasses, appropriate magnification devices and modifications in the home and school environment.

          If your eye doctor doesn't specialize in low vision, he or she may only have a limited knowledge of the many choices that exist in low vision aids. You may need to ask for a referral to a low vision specialist who can perform a low vision examination and prescribe low vision devices.

 

AzCB Mission Statement

The Arizona Council Of The Blind works to enhance the independence, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people in Arizona.

Foresight is available in Braille, large print and audiocassette.  Publication is Quarterly with free subscription to members of AZCB.  Subscription requests, address changes and items intended for publication should be sent by e-mail to the newsletter editor, Dan Martinez. AZCB is the statewide affiliate of the American Council Of The Blind based in Arlington, VA.  ACB is a national consumer membership organization with more then seventy state and special interest affiliates.  To join AZCB, visit our website and complete an application form.  Or you may contact our office voice mail for a return call.

AZCB staff and governing board are all volunteers and perform their duties without pay.

Those much needed tax-deductible contributions should be sent to the Arizona Council of the Blind at the office mail address below.  All contributions are gratefully acknowledged in writing in a timely manner.  If you wish to remember AZCB in your will or if your contribution involves complex issues, please call our Phoenix office voice mail for a return response.

 

Ron Brooks, President: 602-616-1171 E-mail: ron.brooks@azcb.org

Daniel Martinez, Editor: 623-873-1378 E-mail: dmmar@qwest.net

Office: 3124 East Roosevelt, Suite 4 Phoenix, AZ 85008 Telephone: 602-273-1510