From the President's Desk
Dan Martinez, AzCB President
Are people who are blind being killed by philosophy? In fact, it is moving vehicles striking blind pedestrians that is causing injury and death, yet it is a belief system authored by the leaders of the "organized blind" that is putting people in harms way.
People who are blind are being killed in pedestrian accidents at a disproportionately higher rate than others. We have the means to change this unacceptable outcome in the form of accessible pedestrian signals (APS). Accessible pedestrian signals provides traffic control information in a non-visual format, which includes audible tones or verbal messages, and/or vibrotactile information. Accessible crossing includes directional detectable warnings, truncated domes, placed at the bottom of any curb ramp that ends flush with the street. This information aids blind pedestrians in making decisions about when it is safe to cross the street.
Direct traffic control information is available to pedestrians in visual format. However, blind attorneys in positions of leadership outside of the American Council of the Blind assert there is no need for the blind to have direct access to this information. They state that resources should not be spent on devices. They do however believe that money should be spent on teaching people who are blind how to react and make decisions based on other peoples reactions to this direct information. They call this "appropriate training" and are willing to accept public dollars to provide this training. So, we see people in the blind movement leading the resistance against changes that facilitate the independence of people who are blind. To answer my own opening question, I have to say we are be slaughtered by doctrine. I will therefore work more diligently to make accessible pedestrian signals available in our community.
Please call the AzCB line at 602-273-1510 and leave a message sharing your opinion about accessible pedestrian signals.
AzCB Convention 2000
Edwin Druding, Chairman
Mark your new 2001 calendar for Saturday and Sunday, May 12th, 13th for the 30th Annual Convention of the Arizona Council of the Blind. We started early in the planning and have an excellent committee in place. We have selected the Quality Hotel and Resort, 3600 N 2nd Avenue, Phoenix as the location. Plans are to have a Hospitality Welcome on Friday May 11th in the presidential suite. The council has secured a discounted rate of $65 per night (plus tax) for those who wish to stay at the hotel. The Transportation Committee would like to know if there are individuals from outside the Phoenix Metro area who might be interested in transportation to the convention. If there are sufficient numbers of people from outlying areas, we may consider renting a van or paying individuals that can transport others in their personal vehicles.
If you live in an outlying area and are interested in transportation assistance, please contact Dick Bailey at 623-939-8785. We need to start planning transportation early. Also if you are planning to attend and would be willing to provide transportation for someone in your area, please let Dick know.
The program committee is trying to contact someone from the American Council office to be the keynote speaker.
Plans are to have concurrent "break-out" sessions.
Registration will hopefully remain at $20 for both days, including the snacks, lunch and banquet.
AzCB to benefit from classic car auction!
10 Million Rainbow Foundation, a National Heritage Foundation, announced today that it is holding its first fundraiser - raffling off a classic car to benefit three different Arizona--based organizations: Arizona Council of the Blind, Arizona Diamondback Little League, and Great Dane Rescue of Arizona. The fundraiser will help each organization by providing funds for the coming year.
Mary Ann Brandt personally created the 10 Million Rainbow Foundation after having won the Publisher's Clearing House 10 Million Dollar Prize Sweepstakes.
The car to be raffled is a personal favorite of Mary Ann's - a 1978 convertible Volkswagen Beetle.
Mary Ann states, "It is wonderful to be able to give back to the Arizona community that I so love. I'm looking forward to awarding the Grand Prize!" The 10 Million Rainbow Foundation plans to send Mary Ann on Super Bowl Sunday to the prize winner's home to award the Grand Prize classic car. This will be the anniversary of the date she won the Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes.
"We are delighted that 10 Million Rainbow is making this investment in our organization," said Dr Edwin Druding, Projects Vice President of the Arizona Council of the Blind.
"Our little leaguers are excited to be involved. "The 10 Million Rainbow Foundation has demonstrated the true spirit of community involvement," affirmed Jan West from the Arizona Diamondback Little League.
Linda Eckerson of the Great Dane Rescue of Arizona said "Mary Ann Brandt and the 10 Million Rainbow Foundation have truly recognized how critical care is for pets in Arizona."
The 10 Million Rainbow Foundation's mission is to partner with non-profit organizations to make an impact on the needs of the community. The Foundation promotes philanthropy, community lifestyle and makes grants to local nonprofit organizations. The 10 Million Rainbow Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant requests. More information is available by contacting Mary Ann Brandt at (602) 504-8869.
IRONS IN THE FIRE
Gail Irons, 1st VicePres.
(1.) In October I was privileged to be sponsored by AzCB to attend the state convention of the Arizona chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), held this year in Rio Rico - between Tucson and Nogales. It was packed with interesting people and presentations. Here are some highlights: Dr. Jane Erin, a professor at the University of Arizona who is involved in training rehabilitation teachers, received the Margaret Bluhm Worker of the Year Award. L. Penny Rosenblum, another U of A professor, was elected AzAER's new president, succeeding Sandra Stirnweis. Kathy Carlise, a rehabilitation teacher serving the Phoenix area, is vice president. Lukas Franck, an instructor from the Seeing Eye, in New Jersey, reviewed the history of guide dogs. Did you know that a program in Switzerland, which was training German shepherds to assist blinded World War I veterans, was the immediate forerunner of the Seeing Eye, which opened in 1929? Incidentally, as illustrated in old paintings, early canine guides were small dogs, such as Spitzes. Some programs, recognizing the advantages of the smaller breeds, are considering training small dogs as guides. ... In a later session, Lukas spoke about the confusion over what type of audible traffic signals would be optimal. He noted that while ACB supports audible signals, NFB opposes them, and that many in the engineering community as well as municipalities have used this conflict as reason not to forge ahead designing and implementing workable systems. He urged AER to go on record supporting audible signals. ... Scottsdale O&M instructor Jay Taska had a "poster session" of "Professional Humor - a Collection of Comics and Artwork Exploring the Lighter Side of Blindness"; e.g., one showed a blind man holding his guide dog up to a window to peer in at a woman who was showering. ... Another poster session, prepared by Irene Topor, featured The VIISA Project - "Spanish Resources for Families of Children with Vision Impairments". ... Yet another focused on Goalball -"Creating a Statewide Competitive Program for Children and Adults" - by Spencer Peterson and Rob Schulenburg, of the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, in Tucson. Goallball is a contact sport designed for the blind; it uses a three-pound ball resembling a small basketball, which has a bell in it. Every player, regardless of vision status, is required to where a blindfold. This game has caught on in many parts of the U.S. and Mexico. ... Ophthalmologist Dr. Henry Hudson stressed that everyone - sighted or vision impaired - should wear protective polycarbon goggles, such as Sports Specs, when engaging in any kind of work or sport that could conceivably result in eye injury. He noted that typical "safety glasses" are not sufficient protection. ... Professor Rosenblum presented preliminary results of an ongoing survey of people over 60 who have had to give up driving due to vision loss. While the responses are fairly predictable, the goal of the study is to provide research data as a basis for seeking a grant for a program to assist people in adjusting to this significant challenge. (In the October "Braille Forum" she wrote about the program she and colleagues have created for visually impaired teens, to help them prepare for the chore of arranging transportation throughout their lives.)
(2.) In Memoriam: Cathy Brown, 1952 - 2000 November 1st - All Saints Day - family, friends, colleagues and clients of Cathy Brown lost the earthly form of this hard-working, fun-loving woman. Warm memories remain. Legally blind since birth, she worked in various aspects of rehabilitation for the blind. She excelled at dealing with multiply handicapped children. For me, the most touching part of her memorial service was the reading of comments written on behalf of a multiply handicapped young woman who uses a communication board; in it she mentioned that she will miss "snuggling with Cathy." Yes, Cathy, we miss you!
(3.) The TEE Conference, on Technology for Education and Employment of the Blind and Visually Impaired, was held in Phoenix November 17-18. Organized by the Governor's Council on Blindness and the Foundation for Blind Children, it was attended by people from all over the state. It offered exhibits of a wide array of computer products, and talks by a diverse set of presenters. For instance, one session demonstrated a talking global positioning system, which fits in a backpack and can weigh as little as ten pounds (depending on the weight of the laptop being used). The GPS receiver tracks signals from several satellites, thus getting a location fix; the software provides information about street names, direction and speed of travel, addresses and phone numbers of whatever businesses, etc., are programmed in. The consumer can access details on where they are and what direction to go to reach a certain destination. Special information (such as the location of landscaping, potholes, etc.) can be added by the user. The laptop used for the demonstration was designed to military specifications, and is even rain resistant. Another interesting presentation featured a tactile talking globe. Its controls have both Braille and large print markings. By touching an electronic pen to any location a vast array of information can be heard, in a real human voice, about that point on the globe - its name, area, latitude and longitude, language spoken, type of currency, average income, birth rate, and even a sample of music. It is a fascinating, self-contained device. It costs $499, and is available from Accessibility, a company in San Francisco owned by a blind entrepreneur who helped to design it.
(4.) Audio Described Theatre: The 2000-2001 season is under way. The Arizona Theatre Company provides audio description for two performances of each production, in Tucson and Phoenix. Programs are available in Braille. Generally tickets start at $25. (One performance of each production is on a "pay what you can" basis, though it is not necessarily audio described.) For details, call 520-884-8210 in Tucson or 602-256-6995 in Phoenix.
(5.) "Inner Visions" is a marvelous exhibit at the Heard Museum, in Phoenix - a collection of touchable bronze and stone sculptures by Navajo artist Michael Naranjo, who was blinded in Viet-Nam. A sign says "please touch"! Each piece has a Braille label, and a Braille guidebook is available at the admission desk. This is the second project on which this artist has collaborated with the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC) to create an experience accessible to the blind. The first - Cradles, Corn and Lizards - was one of the most popular exhibits ever at the Heard. A third is in the works: Mr. Naranjo will be working with 4 blind high school students to create the design for a sculpture which will be cast in bronze, through the auspices of the Heard, and the piece will be displayed at FBC. Incidentally, FBC hosts a tactile art exhibit, the pieces of which are rotated periodically. It is open to the public, at no charge (1235 E. Harmont Dr., Phoenix; 602-331-1470). ... "Inner Visions" will be at the Heard till February 4 - 2301 N. Central Ave., 4 blocks north of McDowell Rd. General admission: $7; open daily (except some holidays) 9:30-5:00. For more information: 602-252-8840; www.heard.org.
(6.) Sparks, Flames and Blazes: Some times I feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the challenges facing AzCB members. One chilly morning while I watched a fire catch in a wood stove, it occurred to me that advocacy works like that - starting with a tiny flame which, with the right conditions, gradually blossoms into a cozy blaze. Each of us can be a spark. ... I'll bet those of you living elsewhere in the state get tired of hearing about all the things we write about that are taking place in Phoenix. We would very much like to hear from other areas about what is - or is not - going on, and what your interests are. We want AzCB to truly represent the state at large. Please Communicate with Us!
Vehicle Donation Program
Many of you have read or heard about the Vehicle Donation Program. Arizona Council of the Blind is involved with the program. There are many vehicle donation programs available and each has a specific charity it supports. Please note that the phone number to donate a vehicle is 1-800-553-3018. Other phone numbers will help other charities but not the Arizona Council of the Blind.
Bobbing along with Bob
Bob Williams - 4th Vice President
Thank you for "bobbing along" with me on this second column. The first order of business is a brief report of a trip taken on November 16 by AzCB board members Dan Martinez, Gail Irons, Hal Newsom and myself. The destination was to Green Valley, an unincorporated community of about 25,000 people south of Tucson. The purpose was to meet with a group of about 20 blind and visually impaired people who were concerned about accessibility and pedestrian traffic signals in their community. The meeting was hosted by the Friends in Deed Neighborhood Center and lead by Pastor Randy Mayer along with ACB member Robert Bennett. Dan Martinez helped get things underway by informing the group about the timeliness with the national organization concerned about accessibility and audible pedestrian traffic crossings signals. Gail shared valuable information about adjustment to blindness and advocacy. I offered a brief history of the American Council of the Blind and the Arizona Council in particular. The remainder of the session involved meeting the attendees expressing their concerns and fears as blind and visually impaired citizens in their non-user friendly Green Valley environment. Dan stated, "You folks are pretty involved and have an interest in pedestrian safety for people who are blind. Nobody is going to be able to do that for you but you. Nobody is going to come from Phoenix or Washington and do it for you. If this is something you require, you have to work together to make it happen." On a related note, Green Valley was not the only visit our board made. Ruth and Edwin Druding went to Red Mountain Community Church east of Mesa to meet with a similar group of blind and visually impaired people on November 20. AzCB was well represented at the annual White Cane Day sponsored by the Blinded Veterans on October 13 at the Veterans Affairs Regional Medical Center. Dan Martinez and Dotty Huntley were overseeing an obstacle course sponsored by Arizona Industries for the Blind while Hal Newsom and I manned the AzCB table. Our presentation included a 12- minute video on the American Council plus handouts. See you in three months!! Bob
The AZCB WEB Page
Tom Belsan, Webmaster
Several sections of the AZCB Web Page have been updated since the last newsletter. Links were added to the Health, ADA/Government,, Groups, Arizona stuff, and Vendor sections.
A new section for accessible games has been added to the main page. Several links are there for both adults and children. These Games are advertised as accessible so they are designed for the blind person using one of the screen readers. The Link also says that we can order and get the Games using the Internet.
The Vendor Section has a link to Freedom Box a new voice response system that can get people on the Internet with and without a computer. There is a very interesting demo to listen to on the first page.
The Groups Section has a new Link that is very interesting. It is called "Tell Me" and is also available using the 1-800-555-8355 telephone number. I have used the 800 number and it has made weather and movie schedules available to me. One of the problems I have had is finding the movie times and reviews so I could determine if and when I would like to go to the movies. This 800 number is "Voice Response" and is in my view just outstanding. It is only truly understood if you dial and use it. Give it a try.
The ADA/Government Section of the Page now has Links to the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, a list of email addresses of Senators and Representatives, and a List of Web Pages for Senators and Representatives. With the elections over it is a good time to learn who your people are in Washington and see what they are putting out on the Internet and then sending them messages letting them know the blind are watching them on the Web.
The Health Section has four new links. These are not blindness they are general health links. There are three that get you information from the Center for Disease Control. There is a list of drugs and information about there use. We all take something and we can't read the information the Internet is a good place for us to see what the sighted can read about the drugs.
As always if you have any questions or ideas about our Web Page send me a message or give me a call. If you need Help using your computer or the Internet we are here to give you a hand.
Tom Belsan email email@example.com
Maricopa Club o/t Blind
The Club had its annual Thanksgiving and Christmas party since last newsletter. There will be no meeting in January. The next meeting will be the second Wednesday in February (9th). Renewal dues of $7.00 for the new year are due now. New membership dues are $12.00 They may be sent to Edwin Druding, Treas at 7628 N 49 Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301. New cards will be sent. Remember this makes you a member of Maricopa Club, Arizona Council of the Blind, and the American Council of the Blind.
See the latest issues of the Braille Forum for interesting stories on:
* Complaints to the Justice Department concerning web-site inaccessibility
* Potential litigation regarding MBNA Credit Card billing in accessible formats
* Universal Voting accessibility
* Much, Much More!!!
It's that time of year!! Renewal Membership Dues of $5.00 should be sent to:
AZCB Treasurer, Hal Newsom,
3124 East Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008
SEE'S CANDY SALE
The AzCB is selling See's candy bars for $1.00. There are 24 bars in a box. Call Edwin Druding at 623-937-1211 to have your box delivered. For orders less than a box, call and pick th em up at 7628 N. 49 Ave - Glendale.
This space could have your article, questions and concerns. This newsletter belongs to you. If you have information that you feel would be of interest to others who are blind or visually impaired, or would like specific concerns addressed, please send your ideas to us. We want this newsletter to be a useful tool for all of our members. Your input is very valuable to us. Please mail your input to: r
AZCB Newsletter Desk
3124 East Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008
>Arizona Council of the Blind Home Page.
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