ACB Braille Forum, May 2013

The ACB Braille Forum
Volume LI May 2013 No. 9

Published by
the American Council of the Blind
The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.

Mitch Pomerantz, President
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director
Sharon Lovering, Editor
National Office:
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
(202) 467-5081
fax: (703) 465-5085
Web site:
The ACB Braille Forum (TM) is available in braille, large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, data CD, and via e-mail.  Subscription requests, address changes, and items intended for publication should be sent to Sharon Lovering at the address above, or via e-mail to
The American Council of the Blind (TM) is a membership organization made up of more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates.  To join, contact the national office at the number listed above.
Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to Attn: Treasurer, ACB, 6300 Shingle Creek Pkwy., Suite 195, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430.  If you wish to remember a relative or friend, the national office has printed cards available for this purpose.  Consider including a gift to ACB in your Last Will and Testament.  If your wishes are complex, call the national office.
To make a contribution to ACB via the Combined Federal Campaign, use this number: 11155.
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 read it online.
Copyright 2013 American Council of the Blind
All content created initially for use by ACB in publications, in any media on any web site domains administered by ACB, or as a broadcast or podcast on ACB Radio, archived or not, is considered to be the property of the American Council of the Blind. Creative content that appears elsewhere originally remains the property of the original copyright holder. Those responsible for creative content submitted initially to ACB are free to permit their materials to appear elsewhere with proper attribution and prior notification to the ACB national office.

Forum Subscription Notes
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ACB Braille Forum, May 2013 downloads

President's Message: Why We Do What We Do by Mitch Pomerantz

As I approach the final few months of my six years as president of the American Council of the Blind, I thought I would share some personal observations regarding what motivates those of us who devote so much of our lives to advocating on behalf of people who are blind and visually impaired.  Partly, I am doing this because I am contemplating what amounts to the next phase of my life: what road do I want to travel once my daily presidential responsibilities are behind me, especially the question of how involved I'll be in the overall leadership of the organization.  Obviously, I will continue serving on the board of directors as ACB's immediate past president for as long as my successor remains in office; no more than an additional six years.
Of greater importance, however, is the desire to convey to those of you reading this just how vitally necessary our work continues to be at a time where so many in society are turning away from collective action.  If you doubt this, let me suggest that you read a book published in 2000 by a political scientist, Robert D. Putnam, "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," which documents the decades-long decline in the civic engagement of Americans.  In it, Putnam, through the use of extensive survey data, demonstrates that activities such as joining and participating in membership organizations, attending community meetings and events, signing petitions, running for political office, etc., have trended significantly downward since the mid-20th century.  Putnam also cites a number of causes for this trend and suggests possible ways of re-engaging citizens to become more involved in local, state and national affairs.
My personal epiphany happened in 1972 while working on a paper surveying law school entrance policies toward people with disabilities as part of my master's degree in political science.  I interviewed a number of law-school admissions deans throughout California including Fred Slaughter, dean at the UCLA Law School.  An African-American, Slaughter discussed his personal experiences as a part of the civil rights movement.  It occurred to me during that conversation that "the handicapped," to use the vernacular of the day, are a legitimate minority group just as surely as any ethnic minority advocating for their rights during that turbulent era of our nation's history.  From there, it was a relatively short step to becoming a charter member of the Los Angeles City Mayor's Council for the Handicapped, and finally, to joining the NFB.
When I became a member of ACB in 1984, I learned early on what a truly democratic, grass-roots organization we are.  Being able to speak my mind freely without fear of reprisal from those at the top was a wonderful and refreshing change, particularly for someone as outspoken as I've always been and remain to this day.  To the specific point of this column, it also meant and continues to mean that when we as ACB members decide to advocate for a particular issue, we make the conscious decision because we honestly believe in that issue and not because someone in authority has demanded that we do so.  A member who chooses to actively support a national ACB initiative or a state or local issue must believe both that such an initiative is vital to their interests, and that their efforts are worth the time and energy required for ultimate success.
Perhaps as the result of having two degrees in political science and an abiding belief - even after over 40 years in the advocacy trenches - that positive change can still happen given sufficient effort and persistence, I do what I do because the alternative strikes me as especially unpalatable.  I am neither prepared to see the programs and services our predecessors fought to have established disappear due to benign neglect, nor cede the advocacy arena to those who oppose specialized programs and services for the blind or believe in that proverbial one-size-fits-all approach to their provision.  Those of us who work in the trenches, I strongly believe, share my point of view despite the sacrifices we've made to fight the good fight.
Notwithstanding the above, I hardly consider myself to be either an idealist or particularly altruistic.  What I get out of my advocacy work is personal satisfaction in knowing that during my presidency, I've seen three significant pieces of legislation signed into law; played a part in the expansion of ACB's influence both nationally and in the international blindness arena; and observed the membership support measures to strengthen the organization's democratic process and fundraising activities.  These are concrete, measurable objectives which would not have happened without the hard work and active involvement of our membership and staff.
During this most contentious political and economic period in decades, some among us have told me that they don't think that what we do has had much of an impact on their lives, or indicated that the effort is just too difficult or stressful for them to pursue.  To the former group I request you to consider the following: whether requiring hybrid vehicles traveling the same streets you cross to make a distinguishable sound is important to your ultimate safety; whether mandating audio description be provided weekly by the major networks is unnecessary to your viewing enjoyment; or whether participating in the development of best practices for pharmacies to offer accessible prescription drug label information serves no practical purpose.  To the latter group I urge you to consider the alternatives cited previously: the disappearance of categorical programs and services for the blind entirely, or the provision of those programs and services by individuals who believe there is only one right way to be blind.
For me personally, while I fully intend to take a large step back in the organization, I think I know myself well enough to say that I'll always be an advocate in some way, shape or form.  While I intend to pursue other interests over the next several years, working to achieve something positive on behalf of this community is a very difficult habit to break.  I sincerely hope that an ever-increasing number of us will also acquire that habit.

ACB Welcomes a New Director of Development

I am very pleased to let readers of "The Braille Forum" in on some exciting news from the ACB national office.  We have welcomed to our team a new director of development.  His name is Tom Tobin, and he began working with us just in time to take part in ACB's mid-year meetings.
Tom comes to ACB with over 25 years of experience in the resource development field.  He spent the last 17 years working for the Cleveland Sight Center, most recently as their chief development officer.  Prior to that, he spent several years as vice president of development & communications for the Hadley School for the Blind.  In addition, Tom was an active member of ACB for many years, holding a number of positions at both affiliate and national levels. He's been lurking behind the scenes lately, but we are pleased by the enthusiasm with which he has undertaken to change that.  We are fortunate to have found in Tom someone with both the level of expertise in the field of development, and the level of commitment to ACB that will be needed to lay a stable foundation for ACB's future.
If you have questions for Tom, you can reach him by phone at the ACB Arlington office, or by sending an e-mail to In the meantime, please join me in welcoming him back to ACB.
- Melanie Brunson

Tom Tobin, ACB's new director of development, poses for a formal portrait.  He is wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie printed with a blue-and-white graph paper pattern; has short white hair with hints of dark gray, and a dark gray mustache and beard.

Crossroads Conference Attendees Take a Journey to Success by Nolan Crabb

Think leadership conference, and what comes to mind?  Someone delivering a monotonous tome about how to be a leader and why you should be one?  Maybe you think of hours of lecture about things that aren't relevant to your affiliate and meals that leave a lot to be desired.
If that's your idea of a leadership conference, chances are high you weren't at the Crossroads Leadership Conference, held March 15 and 16 in Louisville.  This multi-state gathering of ACB members and leaders was anything but boring; the registration fee was more than reasonable, and the meal functions were excellent.
Attendees came from as far away as Iowa and Maine, and more than 50 people were present throughout the day-and-a-half-long conference.
Conference-goers were treated to a thoughtful discussion at lunch about leaders in literature, focusing primarily on some of Mark Twain's characters to portray excellent leadership qualities. 
There were "dress for success" sessions for both men and women.  The conference offered two sessions on social networking, focusing on Facebook and Twitter, among others.
Some of the sessions were somewhat more informal, allowing attendees to get better acquainted.  Because of the camaraderie that existed among participants, ACB treasurer Carla Ruschival remarked that Crossroads "was more like a large state convention rather than groups of people subdivided by geography."
The group enjoyed sessions on how to run a meeting using proper parliamentary procedure; there were sessions on board development, campaigning for office, and how to appropriately mesh the interests and needs of the state affiliate with the national one. 
There were sessions on iPhone and iPad apps designed to enhance productivity and better organize the lives of those who use them.  Additionally, the group learned about file conversions that make sense when dispensing information to affiliate members.  One of the final sessions of the day included a discussion on how to minimize bad publicity and damage when something goes horribly awry within the affiliate. 
So successful was the conference that attendees asked to be included on an e-mail list specific to the conference so that discussions begun there could continue throughout the year.  The small cadre of planners who helped put the conference together have already committed to Crossroads 2014, which will occur in early to mid-March.

Discovering Food and Fun for You and Your Family in Columbus by Janet Dickelman

Our conference and convention is loaded with workshops, seminars and meetings. One of the questions I receive most often is about our tours. We have tours to please everyone: sports lovers, adventurers, history buffs, and those of us who love to eat!
Dates, times and prices are still being worked out.  Here is a sampling of what will be available.

Cincinnati Tour

  1. Reds game:

    Visit the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame and enjoy a hands-on tour. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a game at Great American Ballpark where the Reds will take on the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants.

  2. Museum Center at Union Terminal:

    Not a baseball fan? Enjoy this customized tour of the history and science museum. This tour will be personalized for ACB members. Docents will re-enact various periods of history while conducting this tactile tour. Also visit the science museum and see and feel marvels of science.


Witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s. The huge, outdoor stages of the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre afford the audience a unique experience. You will sit beneath the stars in the beautiful Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre as sheer spectacle surrounds you with a herd of galloping horses, live military cannon in action, and the most dazzling battle sequences offered on the American stage. Audio description will be available.

City Bus Tour

Quickly becoming a "foodie town," Columbus is filled with Midwest history, amazing architecture, and more. You'll hear about Columbus' rich history spanning 200 years.
Wyandotte Winery
Sit down and sample some of the wines while discovering the interesting history of this winery. There is a variety of wines to please any palate. Dry to sweet, red to white, grape to fruit, no matter what kind or style of wine, you can be assured of the highest quality wines. After the wine tasting, have a wonderful lunch on the outside patio.
The Works and Velvet Ice Cream
The Works museum houses countless history exhibits dedicated to the progression of Licking County through transportation, manufacturing, and industry. You will be able to get hands on a large steam engine and a restored interurban railway car that were manufactured in this historic building.
The next stop is the Ye Olde Mill, an authentic 1800s mill, for lunch. While there, you will experience what it takes to produce 6 million gallon of ice cream every year. You will visit the interactive museum, and, of course, the gift shop.
Hocking Hill Zipline
Higher, longer and faster, you start from a 75-foot tower; launching two at a time from the platform, you will plunge into the green forest and fly through the tree canopy until the bottom drops out at the edge of a rock cliff. Swoop down the middle of the Hocking River, all this while in a "super hero" flying position. This zip will reach speeds of 50 mph over a quarter mile. You will have two trips down the zip line.  The weight limit is 250 pounds.
Santa Maria
Columbus was not named after him, but in 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail searching for a direct trade route to the Indies. Carrying him was the Santa Maria, a 98-foot wooden "nao," or typical cargo ship. In this private tour of the world's most authentic, museum-quality replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship, you will be able to dramatize the daring and determination it took for these explorers to set out on their mission. Touch replicas of equipment used by the sailors.
Anthony-Thomas Candy
This sweet tour will visit the state-of-the-art candy factory of this family-owned and operated candy companies in the Midwest.  Walk along a comfortable, glass-enclosed, suspended "Cat-Walk" and observe eight lines producing 25,000 pounds of chocolates per shift. Our experienced tour guides explain each process step by step, from the kitchen to the final packaging. The tour finishes in the retail shop.
American Whistle Factory
American Whistle Corporation is the ONLY manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States! This tour will show you a thriving, small, American manufacturing plant and entertain you with interesting information about whistles and fascinating machinery. Best of all, everyone leaves with a shiny new "American Classic" whistle!
The 2013 conference and convention will be a great venue to bring your family.  There will be events for youth and - new this year - events for teens and young adults. Stay tuned for more information.
Food for All
On the first floor of the Hyatt Regency as you enter the convention center, which is connected to the hotel, is a wonderful food court. What a great place for you and your family to have low-cost meals! Here is the current list of establishments in the food court, provided by the Columbus convention bureau.
Charley's Steakery
A Columbus original, Charley's specializes in freshly grilled Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, hand-cut fries and lemonade.  For more information, or a look at the menu, visit
Chicken 'N Eggs
From breakfast items to rotisserie and fried chicken along with pot pies, don't take time debating which came first.  Enjoy all their poultry items.
Fame's Diner
Sample a variety of daily specials featuring fresh grilled sandwiches, soups, bagel sandwiches, salads and Indian cuisine, along with breakfast items served anytime.
Goodrich Famous Ice Cream Shop
Serving a full line of tantalizing ice cream confections such as malts and shakes, banana splits, specialty sundaes and fudge royales.  For a look at the menu, visit
JaVa's Cyber Espresso Bar
Java's offers gourmet coffees, beverages, pastries and bagels, and computer kiosks to relax and browse the Internet or catch up on e-mail.  Check out their menu at
Kooma (West Garage)
Enjoy sushi prepared before you, as well as other Asian delicacies, at this sushi/karaoke bar.  For a peek at the menu, visit
Krema Nut Company
The country's oldest peanut butter manufacturer, Krema, offers freshly roasted nuts, chocolates, candies, nut butters and jams, as well as a variety of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Visit for a sneak preview.
Mykonos Gyros
Experience a taste of Greece in Columbus.  Mykonos specializes in Greek entrees, sandwiches, salads and desserts.
Noble Roman's
The better pizza people.  Visit to preview the menu.
Siam offers a variety of Asian entrees, soups and sushi.
Serving a variety of freshly prepared subs and salads.
Tony J's Mexican Grill
Mexican favorites, including steak, chicken and vegetarian tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and salads.
Cucina Rossa
Cucina Rossa is the perfect answer to traditional pizza, sautéed pasta, classic salads and Italian specialty sandwiches.
Gourmet Grille
Nothing is better than a burger done just right, fresh off the grill. Gourmet Grille takes your traditional grill and turns it into a destination for a fresh, fast meal.
Java City
Start your morning off right with a specialty coffee or chai tea. Java City coffee is sure to get your adrenaline going.
The Sandwich Company
Enjoy a good deli sandwich. The Sandwich Company feels like a friendly neighborhood delicatessen with its made-to-order specialty sandwiches.
Einstein Bros. Bagels
(Main Concourse - Level Two)
Offers quick-serve breakfast and lunch items, including coffee, sandwiches and bagels.
In addition to the food court, the Hyatt Regency has 3 restaurants: Market Stand Café, Perks Coffee and More, and Big Bar on two. They all feature reasonably priced items.  Menus for the food court and Hyatt restaurants will be available in braille, large print and electronic formats.

Local Restaurants

Thanks to the Columbus host committee, here is a peek at three local restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Ho Toy has been in business for decades. It offers a quiet place to have lunch or dinner during the week at a low price. The Chinese cuisine is always fresh, hot, and served with a smile. The restaurant is at 11 W. State St., six blocks south of the hotel.
For a more energetic atmosphere, try the Elevator Brewery and Drought Haus. The Elevator is only two and a half blocks from the hotel, at 161 N. High St. Whether you are in the mood for steak or just soup and salad, you will find it here. They are renowned for their microbrews.
At the corner of N. 3rd and Gay Streets is Latitude 41, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features classics and dishes to tempt more daring individuals.

Exhibitors, Advertisers, Sponsors and Volunteers

Online registration is now available on our web site,  We welcome your participation and hope to see you in Columbus!

Conference and Convention Pre-Registration

Pre-registration will be available online and via telephone on June 1st. We have worked with our web designer to make sure that the form is very user-friendly.  Next month's article will have more details.

Hyatt Reservations

Don't miss out on all the fun, learning and camaraderie. Make your reservations at the Hyatt Regency today.  Room rates are $89 plus tax for up to 4 people in a room.  Reserve your room on-line; visit, follow the 2013 conference and convention link, and choose the direct link to the Hyatt for online reservations.  Telephone reservations can be made by calling 1-888-421-1442; be sure to mention that you are with ACB so you receive the conference rate.
For more information, call the ACB national office at (202) 467-5081 or 1-800-424-8666, or contact Janet Dickelman, chair of the conference and convention committee, at (651) 428-5059 or

I'm Walkin' by Berl Colley

"I'm Walkin'" was the name of a song recorded by early rock-and-roll legend Fats Domino.  You can be walkin' while discovering the world of Columbus, Ohio at Goodale Park, which is close to the Hyatt, our convention home this year.
We will hold our fifth annual Walk-A-Thon on Saturday, July 6, and lots of prizes will be given out to those who participate, there in Columbus or at another site.  Goodale Park has a half-mile track that we will be using, so you may walk around it more than once.  The walk committee is working to make sure that there will be enough volunteers to provide an arm, or a back, for guidance.
To participate in this year's event, do one of the following:
Step 1:  Sign up for the walk by paying an entry fee of only $25.  You may do this one of three ways: register online as an individual or a team by clicking the walk link on, by requesting assistance with online registration by calling Donna Brown at (304) 822-4679, or by filling out a hard-copy form.  You may request one from the ACB national office or downloading one yourself from the ACB web site.
Step 2:  Begin collecting donations.  Just ask everyone you know, and even people you don't know.  You may be surprised! Don't forget to ask your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and businesses.
Step 3:  Walk proudly for ACB! You may walk either onsite in Columbus or in the comfort of your own community.
Once again, prizes will be awarded to individuals and teams who reach various levels of received donations, and to onsite walkers.  If you have any questions about the walk, contact Dan Dillon, chair of the walk committee, at (615) 874-1223 or e-mail Please join us and you can sing like Fats, "I'm Walkin'."

A Reminder from the Constitution and Bylaws Committee

Proposed amendments must be presented in writing to the constitution and bylaws committee before the end of the first day following the day of the roll call session of the conference and convention.  For 2013 this deadline is midnight (24:00) Eastern time Sunday, July 7. Amendments received after that time will not be considered.  All proposed amendments to the constitution and/or bylaws must be submitted in writing to the constitution and bylaws committee in accordance with the above deadline. Amendments, whenever possible, shall be submitted electronically in ASCII text format.
Proposed amendments may be sent to John Huffman at  If you have questions, send them to him at that e-mail address, or via telephone, (317) 228-0496.
Additional information about the amendment process or procedures of the constitution and bylaws committee can be found in Article X of the ACB constitution and in Bylaw 6, Section D.  These references are available on the ACB web site.  We encourage anyone interested in proposing amendments to review the current constitution and bylaws before doing so.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved: Readying for Resolutions at Our July Conference and Convention by Mark Richert

I'm very appreciative to Mitch Pomerantz for appointing me to serve as ACB's resolutions committee chair; what a privilege. And speaking of privileges, we are so very fortunate to be part of an organization that not only welcomes but actively encourages each of us as members to exercise leadership in formulating our organization's positions on matters of policy and nurturing the democratic spirit that continues to breathe life into ACB's mission and work. I'm talking about ACB's resolutions process undertaken at each year's conference and convention. In preparation for that important work, here are a few things to know and some tips on getting involved in the process even before July.
The resolutions committee will be meeting in person during this summer's Columbus, Ohio, conference and convention for four consecutive nights, Sunday, July 7, Monday, July 8, Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10. Please consult the convention program for the meeting location and each night's start time. Unlike previous years, the resolutions committee will not be meeting immediately following the opening session of the convention this year.
To have your resolution considered by the committee, I must receive it from you no later than 7 p.m. Monday, July 8, but I strongly encourage you to submit it to me well in advance of that deadline. Any ACB member is welcome to submit a draft resolution to me at any time up to and including during the July conference and convention, so long as I receive your submission no later than 7 p.m. Monday, July 8. Now, if you are working with or representing a group that wishes to submit a resolution, and your group will not be conducting a business meeting until after 7 p.m. Monday, July 8 (as scheduled in the convention program), I am nevertheless asking that you submit a draft "place holder" resolution of some kind to me as soon as you can but no later than 7 p.m. Monday, July 8. If such a placeholder draft is received in a timely manner, the committee will consider the group's near-final draft resolution provided that I receive such a draft no later than 7 p.m.  Tuesday, July 9. Drafts that are not received in a timely manner will only be considered by the committee at the committee's discretion. Thank you.
Now let me ask this of you, and while I'm serious about this, I hope this makes you smile. A draft resolution will only be regarded as having been received if I myself have received it; drafts, partial drafts, rumors of drafts, drafts merely existing in someone's consciousness, drafts that are only titles of resolutions, drafts that are merely a couple words scribbled on a soiled napkin, drafts that have been sealed in clay jars and buried in the Judean desert for millennia, or anything else that is transmitted to another person other than to yours truly by 7 p.m. Monday, July 8, will not be considered received. While you need not worry at all whether your resolution is in properly edited condition when you submit it to me, the thing you submit to me must clearly be a communication that says that you want the communication to be considered as a resolution by the resolutions committee, and the communication must, at a minimum, be written so that it plainly declares what you believe ACB should say or do.
You may submit your draft resolution to me via e-mail at so long as you make it clear in the subject line and/or the body of your message that you are indeed submitting a draft resolution for consideration by the committee. I will also gladly receive brailled copies of draft resolutions that you may hand to me during the conference and convention, and I will also gladly receive commonly used word-processed electronic files handed to me. Please do not ask another person, even someone whom you believe to be on the resolutions committee, to turn in your resolution for you. Between my e-mail address, my general availability during this summer's convention, and the regular hours during which the committee will be meeting, you should have plenty of opportunity to convey your draft. If none of these means for communicating your draft resolution meet your needs, I'm sure the ACB national office would love to hear from you and help you out.
If you have any questions about the preparation of your draft resolution or about the resolutions process, please do not hesitate to e-mail me or to call me on my mobile phone, (571) 438-7895, including during convention week this July. My hope is that by the time you read this article, your resolutions committee will have already met at least once by phone to get organized for this summer's work and to begin discussing resolutions submitted in advance of our conference and convention. I look forward to working with all of you. Bring 'em on!

Ride the Wave: The Exploration Party Auction

For a whale of a good time and bargains that even a gecko can't beat, come join us for the Exploration Party Auction, to be held on Tuesday evening, July 9 as part of the 2013 ACB conference and convention. If you've never attended the auction, you'll have the chance to learn just how much fun you can have while at the same time raising money to support the many services and programs that ACB provides.
Would you like to vacation in one of the gems of the South, Savannah, or maybe join the beachcombers at Key West? Perhaps your tastes run to sports memorabilia, jewelry, food to die for, technology, music, games, or a novelty for that special someone.  Whatever you might be looking for, there'll be something to suit your fancy.
If you or your affiliate would like to donate an item for the Exploration Party Auction, remember that we absolutely must receive a thorough description of your item by June 15, including its approximate value and the identity of the donor.  Get this information to Cindy Van Winkle either by e-mail,, or by phone at (360) 689-0827.  In fact, because we intend to promote our auction items on the ACB web site, the sooner you provide us with that information, the more we can promote the item and acknowledge your generosity.
When you or your affiliate are considering a donation that might be fairly large in size, remember that it may need to be shipped by both the donor and the purchaser. If you would like to ship an auction item to the convention, you may obtain shipping information from Cindy.
So, whether you are wild and crazy, a clever bargain-hunter, or just out to have a fun-filled evening, get ready for an ocean full of fun at this summer's ACB Exploration Party Auction.

2013 Friends-in-Art Exhibition: Call for Art

FIA has always worked tirelessly to promote visual arts as well as creative writing, the performing arts and music.  This year the art show has been restructured, so please read the following information carefully.
In order to gain more exposure and recognition for the participating visual artists, the FIA Art Show will be displayed within the exhibit area next to the FIA booth.   We feel this will give us a much wider audience to show and more opportunities for the artists to sell their work.  We have displayed artwork in the exhibit area in the past, which boosted attendance and exposure by a large margin.
Artists who reside in the United States and are legally blind may enter a maximum of two original, ready-to-display works of art. The areas are painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture, photography, woodworking or fiber art.  All pieces must be original works by you. No patterns or paint-by-numbers will be accepted.  We ask that all pieces be under an overall size of 36" x 36" due to space limitations in the exhibit hall.
Please call Elsie Monthei at (515) 277-0442 with any questions.
Entry Fees/Participation Information

  1. An entry fee of $10 per piece will be charged to cover the costs of display.  Fees will not be returned if the artist does not display their art work.
  2. FIA asks that you to commit to at least one 2-hour time slot at the booth as a featured artist to describe your art and techniques.  Doing this will give you an opportunity to meet other convention attendees.  Please sign up for a slot when you drop off your artwork at the show.
  3. FIA will also have a "Meet the Artists" afternoon session that we ask you to be available to attend so convention attendees have a chance to meet you and ask questions.  This event will appear on the convention registration form.

FIA asks ALL artists to call Elsie Monthei with your intent to enter at (515) 277-0442 by June 1st.  Doing this will help FIA insure that the appropriate amount of space is allocated for the show.  You may also fill out the entry form below, accompanied by check for your display fees (made out to FIA), and mail it to Elsie Monthei, 1304 39th St., Des Moines, IA 50310.
If you are bringing your artwork with you to convention, FIA will provide entry forms for the show at the convention.  Please note: You will be responsible for getting your artwork to and from the FIA show at the convention, either by bringing it with you or arranging shipping to and from the hotel. 
Liability and Insurance
All reasonable care will be given to art works in the exhibit.  Insurance during transport is the responsibility of the artist with the carrier of their choice.  Works unclaimed after July 12, 2013 will be considered a gift to FIA.  Sales are encouraged.  No commission will be charged by FIA.  FIA will not act as an agent.  All sales must be negotiated by the participants.
FIA reserves the right to reproduce works for publicity purposes.  Note: Works not ready for display can be withdrawn from the exhibit.  The names of artists may be published in "The Braille Forum" and "The Log of the Bridge Tender." (FIA publication agreement: Submission of an entry to this exhibition shall constitute agreement with all conditions in this application.)
Friends-in-Art Registration Form
(Please type the requested information in the space provided.)
Artist's Name:
Phone Numbers
1) Title
For Sale
Price $
Not for Sale
2) Title
For Sale 
Price $
Not for Sale

Great Graduation Gift for Grandchildren: Health Coverage by Ron Pollack

(Editor's Note: Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers.)
With spring comes another crop of college graduates. For many, graduation can bring a flood of widely varying emotions. On one hand, there's the fist-pumping, cap-in-the-air celebration of a diploma in hand: Four years of long nights of study, heavy class loads, and numerous deadlines for papers are now left behind. On the other hand, the day can also bring a gut-wrenching uncertainly about job prospects. There are few other milestones in life where emotions can run the gamut from one end of the continuum to the other.
Fortunately for graduates and their families, the Affordable Care Act has wiped away one of the big concerns young people have historically faced as they entered the working world. The class of 2013 will be the third spring graduating class that will be allowed to remain on their parents' health-insurance plans until they are 26.
Before the health-care law was enacted, losing access to parental coverage meant that many young adults ended up being uninsured. For those who were lucky enough to find a job in this economy, those jobs often didn't come with health insurance. Young people who tried instead to purchase coverage directly from an insurance company learned the cost of that coverage could be prohibitively high. Others who did buy such coverage sometimes found that the only policies they could afford didn't cover the services they needed - services that had been covered under their parents' health plan.  
Now young adults can stay on their parents' health-insurance plans regardless of whether they are still students, and whether their parents' insurance comes from a job or directly from an insurance company. This holds true even if young adults are married, live in a different state from their parents, or are no longer financially dependent on their parents (although if young adults are offered coverage through their jobs, they might not be able to stay on their parents' plans).
So why does this matter to you? Well, it's been three years, but there is still an education process going on about the benefits of the health-care law. As your grandkids celebrate their graduations, you can help make sure they know about this option.
In addition, if your grandkids are still in college but need better health insurance than what is offered through their school, you can encourage them to look into their parents' plans. During busy and exciting times, young adults may not make health coverage a high priority, so having a grandparent or parent looking out for them can make a big difference.
Also, it's important to remember that we all benefit when more people have health insurance. That's because, when people don't have insurance, we all pay the price: The costs of providing care to people without insurance are passed on to those of us who do have insurance in the form of higher premiums. Getting everyone covered keeps those costs down.
There are big changes coming in 2013 and 2014 that will provide access to quality health coverage for millions of Americans - but for students, the benefits of the health-care law have been in place for several years. In its own way, the law has given college graduates one less thing to worry about - which is a big plus for graduates and their families.

Strategies in Team-Building by Jessie Rayl

There are a variety of strategies in team-building and over the years, there has been considerable controversy on what are the best strategies to use when building teams.  This is, perhaps, why so many teams have failed.  Looking at the qualities of team leaders is another approach in explaining the success or failure of teams. 
A growing body of literature on empowerment, self-management of teams, and leadership suggests that the role of the leader or change facilitator is changing from planner and director to that of coach and supporter (C.F. Floyd, Gannon & Pauwe, 1996; Manz & Sims, 1993; Smith & Sims, 1995).  Therefore, the assumption that the leader influences the organization's outcome primarily through their influence on strategy formulation may need to be reconsidered. 
In other words, it was previously believed that all decisions were made, and had to be made, from the top down in an organization and that only management understood what was best for the organization.  Now, there is growing evidence through research that those who work for and with that organization understand what works best with that organization and that decisions need to be reciprocal: top down, bottom up.  To do this, there must be a team approach and everyone must be fully involved (Smith & Kofron, 1996).
The Qualities
The success of a team is often measured by both the cohesiveness of that team as well as its productivity.  Members look for tangible results from the team, or from the organization, and the team leader is judged based on these things (Bachiochi, Rogelberg, O'Connor, & Elder, 2000).  Some things that team leaders/change facilitators can expect to happen as a result of positive team-building include increased membership, increased opportunity for members, increased growth in the organization, increased morale, increased cohesiveness, increased interest and awareness of the organization, increased enthusiasm for the organization, increased attendance at gatherings, and overall increased participation.
In organizations that have poor team-building, the opposite is true.  Membership begins to decline, scapegoating occurs, enthusiasm for the organization declines, attendance at gatherings declines, and overall interest decreases.  People simply find reasons not to be involved.
There are four general approaches to the study of leadership:
Behavioral (Blake & Mourton, 1964; Fleishman, 1953; McGrath, 1962; Stordill, 1974; Yukl, 1998), which discusses leadership in terms of what leaders do, including the skills or functions that they serve as leaders in the organization. 
The study of traits (Basis, 1985; Burns, 1978; 1977) looks at the personality characteristics that leaders possess which enable them to lead.  "Charismatic and transformational leadership theories are just two examples" (Bachiochi, Rogelberg, O'Connor & Elder, 2000).
The social psychology approach (Dansereau, Graen & Haga, 1975; French & Raven, 1959; Hackman & Walton, 1976) views leadership as a relationship or social influence process.  "This approach has been influenced greatly by the work in areas such as social facilitation/loafing (Latane, Williams, & Harkins, 1979), group cohesiveness, (Berkowitz, 1954), group polarization (Pruitt, 1971; Stoner, 1961) and group think (1972)" (Bachiochi, Rogelberg, O'Connor, & Elder, 2000).
Lastly, situational leadership approaches (Evans, 1970; Fiedler, 1967; Hersey & Blanchard, 1969; House, 1971) view leadership as strongly contingent upon the environment in which the leadership is to occur.  Leadership is viewed as a strong interaction between the leader, followers and context.
It is important, then, to understand these concepts and the role of the leader to be able to determine the best strategies for the team because of the multiple variations of each organizational and/or team structure.
Role of the leader

"The major role of a leader is to guide and lead" (Williams, 1998).  This may seem obvious, but how does this happen?  The leader needs to be aware at all times of what is going on within his/her organization or team.  "He must keep everyone focused on specific duties" (Williams).   
Secondly, because change requires the imparting of new information, the leader must ensure that members are provided with the necessary information or training to meet the demands for that change.  For example, leaders of an organization or team cannot expect that a newsletter or web site will be developed by people who do not possess the skills to do the job or who do not desire to learn them, and those people should not be selected for that position regardless of how well liked or popular they may be.  They would be better served in other positions where they do possess the skills or desire to learn the skills.  The members need to be provided opportunities to practice these new skills prior to actually being expected to perform them.
The leader needs to provide resources for each member to utilize and it is each member's responsibility to make use of all available resources to enhance their learning.  Members need to understand that they cannot rely solely on any one leader to do everything for them, nor can they learn all they need to know from one person. 
Leaders need to be aware of issues that occur and are occurring within the team and/or the organization which are creating conflict.  They need to act immediately and quickly to intervene, realizing that otherwise, these may spin out of control, creating major problems for either themselves or for the organization, resulting in hurt feelings, possible legal problems or ultimate dissolution of the organization. 
"Change requires hard work from a person who finds ingenuous ways to gather the commitment and energy needed for the change process -- which is the function of the group energizer or engager" (Williams, 1998).

Now that we understand the above concepts and the role of the leader, what are some strategies for making this happen, both as a team and in our organization?

  1. Select your board and officers carefully.  Your board and officers guide your organization.  You want them to represent your organization well and to the highest possible extent.  People who cannot represent and moderate their own lives are not likely to represent your organization, or are likely to do likewise with your organization – patterns repeat and reflect.
  2. Select team members who have, or want to learn, the skills.
  3. Set goals.  Many teams fail precisely because they have no goals.  They want to do something, but they have no specific goals.  Learn to set specific goals with specific objectives, both long-term and short-term.  Have deadlines for your goals and objectives; then celebrate the accomplishments, with new goals as soon as each objective has been met.
  4. Bust the blisters: When problems begin to form, end it immediately.  It is essential for all leaders to have a list of people whom they know they can call for support and consultation.  Even if you have to retract a decision to resolve something that will be a problem, it is better to do that than allow something to continue to grow only to fester into a huge infection throughout your organization and destroy your team, or your organization.  Ask yourself: How does this feel now? How will it feel to each person affected now, and in a year?  What is the overall impact?  If it is bad now, it will not likely get better later -- that is a myth.  Make it better now.
  5. Communication: Communication cannot be over-emphasized.  It is imperative to communicate in all ways: in person, phone, e-mail, via web site, and do so timely and respectfully.  While each person has a slightly different need for, and style of, communication, communication is essential for effective team-building.
  6. Quick intervention: An effective leader recognizes when fast intervention, regardless of whether it is a need or a problem, is needed.
  7. Recognition: People like and need to be recognized for their contributions, work and even existence.  Not one member of an organization has to be a member of your organization.  Each member is there because he/she chooses to be.  Conversely, each one could choose not to be.  Therefore, giving recognition of that fact is essential.  Member/team incentives are equally essential.
  8. An effective leader recognizes, and works with, issues of negative group think.  What is group think?  It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "a pattern of thought by the group."  When a group begins to think in negative terms, the leader must be quick to intervene and strategize ways of turning the group think into positive, proactive group think; otherwise, it can quickly become destructive to the organization.  Outside intervention or training can be effective, as may motivational speakers at conventions.  Fun activities may also help with this.
  9. An effective team leader recognizes group polarization as well.  Group polarization occurs when it becomes apparent that members are polarizing themselves against one or a couple of members.  Polarization is also referred to as scapegoating.  This may serve a purpose for members who are angry or insecure.  Nevertheless, it can be extremely hurtful to members who are being polarized against, and destructive to the organization.  Strategies for dealing with this include immediate intervention from the leader through communication with sides, mediation, and the recognition that the member(s) being polarized against is (are) the victim(s) and the organization/team is at risk of failure if such behavior is permitted to continue.
  10. Cultural awareness:  It is essential for leaders to be aware of cultural needs and concerns of all members.  Each member of the team needs to be included from his/her cultural standpoint.  For example, it is no longer acceptable to plan conventions for the predominantly white Christian heterosexual male and female population.  Other factors, including various racial ethnicities, gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender, disabilities, age ranges, etc., must be included from a vast array of perspectives from food to social activities to religious or non-religious functions.

What makes a successful team?  The group energizer is the leader.  Whether it is of a team or an organization, the leader has a tremendous responsibility.  Much of what the leader does is how the followers will follow. 
Research shows that there are four types of leadership styles (Stewart and Manz, 1995): overpowering, powerless, power-building and empowered.
Overpowering (those who are coercive, punishing, and autocratic) and powerless leaders (those who are intermittent, directionless and distant) are least effective.
Stewart and Manz (1995) posited that the power-building leaders allowed teams to be self-managing by using behaviors such as guidance and encouragement, delegation, reinforcement, and culture development.  Empowering leaders used behaviors such as modeling, boundary-spanning (networking outside the team/organization), and assisting (mentoring or coaching) which allowed teams to be self-leading.
In addition, knowledge of the change process, creativity, negotiation skills, and decision-making skills (Hackman & Walton, 1986) have been found to be essential to successful leadership.
Bachiochi, P. D., Rogelberg, S.G., O'Connor, M.S., Elder, A.E., (2000).
         The qualities  of an effective team leader. Organization Development
         Journal, 18(1). O D Institute,  ProQuest, LLC,
Smith, K.A., Kofron, E.A., (1996). Toward a research agenda on top
         management teams and strategy implementation.  Ibar, 17(1)  Irish
         Business and Administrative Research, ProQuest LLC,
Williams, B.R., (1998). Twelve roles for facilitators for school change.
         Argosy University Online Lecture, (E7033, 2012),

Handicapping America: The Book That Changed My Attitude and Shaped My Future by Larry P. Johnson

I was brought up to believe that society didn't owe me a living. I had to earn it. I was taught that, just because I was blind, didn't mean that I was entitled to special treatment. My grade school teacher, Miss Baker, told us, "Because you're blind, you have to be better and work harder to make it in this world." Those were tough words. But they instilled in me the drive and determination to be successful.
She said, "When you're in class in college, if you can't write it down, memorize it." There was no talk about the college being responsible for providing us with a reader or the material in braille. It was up to us to figure out the solution, to adapt to the sighted world in which we lived.
I took it as axiomatic that my blindness, my "handicap," was my problem, not the college's. Sighted students volunteered to read to me. Bus drivers helped me across the street. Waitresses read me the menu. They did it out of kindness, not because they had to.
I suppose I was pretty lucky, because I met a lot of kind, helpful, caring people along the way. It made my adjustment to blindness a lot easier. I got to go to college. I got to follow my chosen career in radio. And I got to go to Mexico at age 18, alone, with my guide dog.
It didn't occur to me that "handicapped" people were discriminated against by society. I never thought about barriers that confronted people in wheelchairs or the problems a deaf person might have in a job interview. Much less did I consider that "handicapped" people had rights, that they deserve the same equal opportunities as people who are not "handicapped."
Then, in 1977, I read a book by Dr. Frank Bowe. It was titled "Handicapping America: Barriers to Disabled People." It was a mind-opening, stinging indictment of our country's exclusion of people with disabilities. Dr. Bowe described both the visible and the invisible barriers confronting people with disabilities. He wrote: "For 200 years we have designed a nation for the average, normal, able-bodied majority, little realizing that millions cannot enter many of our buildings, ride our subways and buses, enjoy our educational and recreational programs and facilities and use our communication systems. There are in this country tens of millions of people who have difficulties hearing, seeing, moving, learning, controlling their emotions, talking, but all are people. Their disabilities are real, but so are their abilities." 
The more I read of Dr. Bowe's book, the more I realized that I was living in a shell. We were all guilty of creating these barriers, and so we were all responsible for removing them. I began talking with and making friends of other disabled people. In 1979, I was invited to go to Houston to join a small, energetic group of disabled leaders who envisioned the forming of a statewide non-profit advocacy organization representing all disability groups from across Texas. We did. It was called the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. I was proud to serve on its board for 8 years. At one point we had more than 95 member organizations and agencies, representing tens of thousands of people with disabilities in Texas. We got legislation passed. We got budgets approved. We helped with the writing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And CTD is still alive and well today.
In 1981, I helped co-found and served as chairman of the board of the San Antonio Independent Living Services, a local non-profit agency which provides advocacy services, peer counseling and information and referral service for people with disabilities in Bexar County and surrounding counties. I was honored to serve on its board for 9 years.
My full-time job for 21 years was as an HR manager with Southwestern Bell Telephone. While there, I was asked to be one of their consultant/trainers on disability issues. I did orientation programs for company supervisors, assisted disabled employees to obtain special accommodations, recruited qualified disabled applicants and represented the company on governor's and mayor's committees and at national conferences. 
For more than 35 years I have given motivational talks, conducted workshops and sensitivity training programs for university and college faculty, students, parents, city staff, private sector employers, civic organizations and the general public, focusing on our society's need to remove physical and attitudinal barriers and afford people with disabilities the same quality of life opportunities.
This devotion and dedication to equal rights for people with disabilities was awakened in me by Bowe's powerful words. "The obstacles that face disabled people today may face anyone. A skiing accident. A highway collision. A mistaken dose of medicine. The barriers that confront millions of Americans are important because they deprive our country of badly needed manpower, deplete our natural resources, waste human lives and potentially affect all of us." He convinced me that there was a huge economic cost being incurred by our society's failure to utilize this untapped reservoir of human talent. But even more importantly, he underscored the staggering human and moral cost of depriving people with disabilities the dignity and opportunity to earn a living and fully participate in the life of their community.
Yes, Dr. Bowe's book changed my reality and reshaped my future.

Coping with Being Disabled, Disadvantaged, and Discouraged by Philip Kutner

People who are physically attractive, able-bodied, advantaged, wealthy, well educated, and encouraged usually have little difficulty in coping with problems - let alone minor ones. This is not the case with those of us who are disabled, may be disadvantaged and may get discouraged. In the continuum of reactions to our physical appearance, our health, our social, financial, educational, and mental status, where do you stand?  Very, very few have it all, and very few have nothing.
For those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay area, we believe that we live in the best part of the best state in the best country in the world. Having said that, how can we (who have these 3 D's) cope with being disabled, disadvantaged, and discouraged? We must live with our disability - in some cases it is congenital. However, we do not have to remain disadvantaged or even discouraged.  Just as real estate has the mantra of "location, location, location," the way out is through education and networking. With the Internet today, both are feasible even for the most disabled.
Yes, government programs have been severely curtailed and non-profits are having difficulty in fundraising. Taking advantage of the educational facilities of libraries will help you to locate the free or low-cost necessities.
There may not be a well-paying full-time job for you, but part-time work comes in many forms. Perhaps you cannot mow lawns or do housecleaning, but answering the phone, tutoring, counseling, writing, receptionist, or working as a translator may fit your abilities.

Sofia Priebe Sees Things Clearly Even Though She Is Legally Blind by John M. Williams

Lenyard, Conn. - Enthusiastic. Determined. Ambitious. Independent. Visionary. These words describe 10-year-old Sofia Priebe.
As with most children her age, Sofia is challenged academically, physically and socially. Academically, she is a top student. Physically, she can keep up with her peers on the playground, and socially she has friends inside and outside of school.
A fourth-grader at Ledyard Center School, Sofia is challenged daily by an obstacle that all but one of her friends confronts. With a visual acuity of 20/500, she is legally blind.  When asked how long she's been blind, she replies, "I think my whole life, but we first knew it when I was three or four."
Sofia has Leber's congenital amaurosis, a degenerative condition that leads to complete blindness. After years of medical visits and research she was recently given a genetic diagnosis, identifying the gene causing her blindness.  Sofia can see small things within three to six inches, and she can distinguish details, and sometimes colors. Although her color vision is deteriorating, contrast (not color) is increasingly important. Beyond that point, the best is she sees shapes and shadows. Sofia is extremely sensitive to light and will sometimes have her eyes almost closed. She usually wears sunglasses, even indoors.  Shortly after she was diagnosed as being legally blind, she started learning braille. By 5, she was reading braille. She says she reads contracted braille and adds, "I learned un-contracted braille first, and now I know all of the contractions.  I read and write in contracted braille now.  I don't use un-contracted braille anymore unless I have to."
Braille is not a language. Rather, it is a code by which languages such as English or Spanish may be written and read. Any combination of one to six dots may be raised within each cell and the number, and position of the raised dots within a cell conveys to the reader the letter, word, number, or symbol the cell represents. There are 64 possible combinations of raised dots within a single cell. Due to the varying needs of braille readers, there are three different grades of braille.  In braille grade 1, each possible arrangement of dots within a cell represents only one letter, number, punctuation sign, or special braille composition sign.  It is a one-to-one conversion. Because of this grade's inability to shorten words, books and other documents produced in grade 1 braille are bulkier and larger than normally printed text. Grade 1 braille is typically used only by those who are new to learning braille, but as of the early 2000s a new movement was in place among elementary school teachers of braille to introduce children with sight difficulties to grade 2 braille immediately after teaching the basics of grade 1 braille.
Grade 3 braille is essentially a system of braille shorthand. Because it has not been standardized, it is not used in publications. Instead, it is typically used by individuals for their own personal convenience. It contains over 300 word contractions and makes great use of vowel omission. In addition, the amount of spacing between words and paragraphs is decreased in order to shorten the length of the final document. Sometimes it substitutes combinations of punctuation symbols for words.
Assistive Technology
Sofia uses a variety of assistive technology products at school and home for school work and entertainment. The products include JAWS, CCTV, magnifier, BrailleNote, and the iPad at school.  JAWS is a screen reader developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content. It reads aloud what's on the PC screen. A BrailleNote is a computer made for people with visual impairments. It has a braille keyboard, speech synthesizer, and a refreshable braille display.  Sofia also has access to the Internet so she can download books. She uses technology to take notes, for writing assignments in school and then to send the assignments wirelessly to an embosser to print in braille and send to the teacher's personal computer for printing and correction. 
CCTV magnifiers provide low-vision aid for a full range of visual needs, specializing in assisting individuals with macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye conditions that cause low vision. The benefits of a CCTV magnifier are many, as the versatility provided allows for independence through visual magnification and technology. Depending on the video magnifier, duties such as reading the mail, books, writing, enjoying a crossword puzzle, connectivity to a computer and much more can be accomplished. Sofia uses the CCTV for reading, assembling puzzles and playing with Legos.
The iPad's magnification feature helps Sofia see the board. "I use all of my technology.  I use the iPad so I can see the board in school," she said. She can synch the iPad's content to the Promethean board or Smart Board.  Smart Boards meld high-tech functionality and tradition by acting as a computer monitor and a chalkboard at the same time. Smart Boards instructors can show videos, write equations and check homework all on the same board in the classroom.
A Promethean board is an interactive learning whiteboard that connects to a computer.  This technology allows Sofia to have hands-on practice and personal involvement with learning. "I usually use the CCTV to read or see the white board, which we don't use as much," says Sofia. She mainly uses the BrailleNote to write documents or stories for the Writers Club, or something for school. She also uses it for fun.  "I can read and play games with it," she adds. She also uses BrailleNote to download books from Bookshare.  Her life's goal is to be a writer.  Sometimes she writes her stories in journals because, she says, "I have a lot of stories to write."
Sofia loves audiobooks. She has listened to all of the Harry Potter books.  They are her favorite books. She receives orientation and mobility (O&M) training and has for years. She believes that O&M builds her self-confidence and increases her independence.  She often walks the neighborhood by herself. To visit friends, she crosses the street by herself. When she is older, she wants to travel sometimes with others and maybe by herself. She is planning a solo trip to visit her aunts in a few months. 
There are a variety of skills and techniques that facilitate safe travel.  An O&M instructor teaches the student to focus on and accurately interpret sensory information available in the environment. Orientation is the ability to know where one is, where one wants to go and how to get there.  To do this, a person learns to create and maintain a "mental map" that changes as he or she moves through space, using landmarks and environmental clues to supplement whatever vision the person has.  Depending on the student's goals, teaching can include skills in traveling through complex urban environments and the use of public transportation.  Priebe will receive O&M training as long as she needs it. Connecticut's Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) pays for the service.
Sofia is precocious. She is determined to be a writer. She is not sure what college she will attend. She knows she has years ahead of her before she decides. She has a second and third condition for the college she picks. Proud of her achievements in O&M, she says, "I want it to be easy to get around so I don't have to drive. … I want to go to a college that teaches you about Greek mythology and stuff like that."  
Sofia is well adjusted. While she wishes she was not blind, she knows she can't change her situation. She has a strong family. Her parents, Chuck and Laura, and her brothers, Luca (youngest) and Dante (oldest) love her and she loves them.  She loves dancing and swimming, and during the summer, she spends a week at camp with other blind children. She has made friends at camp. She sees them at other activities and workshops for the blind organize by BESB. Recently she met some of her blind friends at the Northeast Regional Braille Challenge at the Carroll Center for the Blind, Newton, Mass.             
Sofia doesn't set herself apart because of her vision or dwell on it too much at this point in her life either.  She's a typical 10-year-old girl. While many things are harder, and there are a lot of things she does differently from her friends, she has a positive attitude about life.   Laura says, "She's extremely driven and competitive, not to mention fiercely independent.  Her independence has served her well so far; I have no doubt it will always serve her well.  When she loses her vision or we bump up against things she can't do, we try to be creative about and just deal."
This isn't to say things are always rosy.  Her parents say it's hard to watch when she's playing with friends and, as kids do, they'll run off playing.  There's Sofia spinning in place or talking to air because she didn't see her friends walk off, let alone which direction.  She also stumbles and falls and has run into more than one tree, door, wall, person, off steps, you name it.  Her parents try to make sure she uses her cane, but things still happen.  "I'm always worried about safety issues, friendships, school services, etc.  But at the end of the day, I worry about exactly these same things for her brothers, and they are sighted," says Chuck.  "With sight, they've managed to break more bones, secure more bruises and get more stitches."  (The chipped tooth count is currently tied, 2-2.)  If there is one thing that Laura does differently for Sofia because of her vision, perhaps it's that she is very conscious of teaching her independence and self-advocacy. "If it weren't for her visual impairment I can't say I would think about this much, especially from such a young age," says Laura.
Like every mother, Laura worries a lot. However, Sofia doesn't sit around worrying or feeling sorry for herself.  So Laura takes a deep breath, steps back from the situation, and as objectively as possible tries to assess if it's one of those times she needs to intervene, or just look away and let Sofia figure things out.  "Hovering is not exactly teaching independence," Laura says. "It's not easy to hold back, but when she needs me, she'll ask and I'll be there. She's a pretty cool kid.  I'm very proud of her."
For Sofia, ability counts, and she has lots of it.

The Art of Accepting Help by Carl Jarvis

Mary Williams has been helping others since 1930.  That was the year Mary turned 10, and her mother was killed by a runaway milk truck.  With six younger brothers and sisters needing care, Mary took over as the housemother, fixing meals, washing the family laundry, making sure Sunday night baths were taken and all prayers were properly said.  Back in those days she was Mary Olsen, and her father was known as Oley Olsen to his co-workers at the pulp mill, where he worked as the company blacksmith.  He worked long, hard hours to support his large family.  Mary stepped into her mother's shoes, and for the next 20 years her life was dedicated to caring for her family.  As the younger children grew and took on a share of the chores, Mary found time to fulfill a secret dream.  Mary wanted more than anything else in the world to complete her schooling.  And so it was that when the 1950 Lincoln High School seniors received their graduation diplomas, 30-year-old Mary Olsen marched proudly across the platform with them. 
Her new dream was to become an English teacher.  But she took a year off to become Mrs. Robert Williams and bring Robert Williams Jr. into the world.  In 1951 she entered the University of Washington.  Her years of doing for others held her in good stead.  She cared for her husband and her baby son and after four years graduated 10th in her class.  Her dream of teaching came true when she was offered a position with Bremerton High School as an English teacher.  Her husband Bob had been working as a machinist at Boeing and he had no problem catching on with the Navy Ship Yard.  This was 1955.  The couple had just the one son, although both had believed they'd have a dozen.  It didn't stop them.  They took in foster children and Bob became a scoutmaster while Mary taught Sunday school.  Children were the center of their lives. 

Life was busy and sweet for many years, filled with noisy, giggly children of all ages.  Then in 1969, Bob Jr. joined the Marines and was quickly shipped out to Vietnam.  He was a lance corporal. 
"It was November 2," Mary recalled. "The darkest, longest day of my life."  They told Mary and Bob that Bob Jr. had been a real hero, saving several other young men by throwing himself on the explosive device.  Mary said that Bob was never the same after that.  He dropped all of his youth activities.  His first heart attack came one year almost to the day that Bob Jr. had been killed.  Mary's father had died several years earlier but Bob's folks were both living and in very poor health.  They moved his parents into Bob Junior's old room and once again Mary became the housemother, caring for Bob and his parents while continuing to teach.  Bob never worked again.  After his second heart attack he was bedridden, barely able to care for his most basic needs.
Bob and his parents died within a year of each other.  By 1975 Mary was alone for the first time in her life.  "My work kept my head together," she told us.  As time passed, Mary became active again in her church, but not with the children.  Mary continued doing what she did best.  She looked in on the lonely shut-ins, bringing a pot pie or a big cauldron of soup or some tasty cookies.  She would sit and read folks' mail to them, read stories, gossip about things going on at church, and just shed a bit of joy and sunshine as she came and went.
Mary retired from teaching in 1985, but she continued her visitations for some years, and would have continued, except she developed macular degeneration; by 75 she could no longer drive.  But Mary never thought of herself as blind or in need of help.  For 15 years she continued on, keeping her home and yard neat and cheery.  Her life centered on her church, which she could walk to.  Gathering a few older ladies together, Mary began holding mid-week Bible studies in her home.  She always had a fresh pot of coffee, another of tea and a pile of warm, freshly baked cookies on hand.  Most likely Mary would still be throwing her door open to her lady friends.  But on her 90th birthday, she fell and broke her hip.  "I thought I'd just heal up and get right back to my regular routine," she told us.  But the weeks dragged into months, and the pesky hip did not want to heal properly.  Even then we would have never met Mary.  She had never thought of herself needing help because of her blindness.  "I can still see," she told us after her home nurse had called us in.  "I just can't tell who you are.  Your face is a blur."
It became quickly apparent that Mary had no adjustment issues to deal with, not so far as her vision loss was concerned.  "What's getting me down is not being able to get up," she said with a soft laugh.  "I have my talking books and now my lady friends bring me the containers of soup and cookies."  Her eyes went sad and her voice softened to a whisper.  "You know, it's so very hard having to accept help from others when you've been the helper all your life."
We reached out and held both of Mary's hands. "You have just put your finger on the greatest challenge confronting older people," we said.  "But perhaps it would help to look at it from a different angle.  Rather than thinking of yourself as needing help, think of yourself as a partner with your caregivers.  You have needs to be met.  Work together to find solutions.  Don't become passive and allow others to tell you what they will do for you.  You are your own boss until your last breath.  Because your health has failed, others will think of you as needy and helpless.  You must not allow them to think that.  Tell them you are a team, and if they don't want to be a team player, they can go somewhere else."
Mary was quiet for a long time.  Finally she smiled and looked up.  "I gotcha.  I am my own boss."
When we came to see Mary again we found her sitting in a wheelchair.  "We figured out how I can get myself into this chair and now I can once again wander about my house," she beamed, happily clapping her hands.  "We are a team."
And her caregiver nodded. "And you are the play maker, Mary," she said, smiling. 
We never saw Mary again.  Just one month after her 91st birthday, we received a call from her caregiver.  "I thought you would want to know," she said, and we could feel it coming, "Mary had a massive stroke and died yesterday."  We whispered, "Thank you for thinking of us," and sat a long time with tears on our cheeks and that choked-up feeling in our throats.  It is so very hard, losing friends.  But then Mary's laughing voice rang out loud and clear, "I really am my own boss again!"

The Smell of Sunshine and Colors by Marsha Whiteside

The sighted people know not what they miss!
The fresh smell of morning dew on tall grass
Luring small earthy-smelling worms to the surface
With precision of robins and other small birds to beckon their call
A flutter of primary discussions and events
As the scents of daisies, grass, and dandelions fill the air.
The smell of sunshine gently encompassing the grass
On a midsummer's day
Swirling breezes filling the air with the scent of clover and earth
Winding around your feet and slowly rising to your sensitive nostrils
In a flurry of resounding and encompassing glory.
The enticing smell of an autumn evening
With freshly fallen leaves covering the ground like a soft blanket
The sound of crunching under your feet
Releasing the scent of musk and molds in refrain
Pulsating and filling the air with every gentle step.
The smell of a summer night's gentle breeze
Filling the air with a sweet scent of blooming flowers
A gathering of multitudes of crimson, green and yellow
Feeling the scents as colors and the colors as scents
Surrounding the body in a cooling blanket of wonder.
The smell of winter, of frozen, quiet stillness
The cold, icy frozen north with subtle scents to discover
The hot breath of a nearby moose with fresh willows on his breath
A passing rabbit brushing by and leaving deposits of his recent meal
The smoke filling the air from wood fireplaces to warm the heart.
The sighted see, but often are unable to feel the wonders around them.
We have the ability and capability to smell the sunshine and feel the colors
To embrace the grace that surrounds us with compassion and understanding
To receive the gifts that abound in a unique and wonderful format.
To know, to receive, to feel, and to be as one with our surroundings.

The Amazing Blind Mowing Machine by Carl Jarvis

Long before many of you were able to do more than wet your diapers and hunt for your lost Binky, my neighbor Earl and I invented the Amazing Blind Mowing Machine. 
The year was 1967 and I had been totally blind for just over 2 years.  I had devised a tedious method of mowing my lawn, involving a couple of long stakes with heavy twine tied between them, driving them into the ground at each side of the lawn, then walking out three strides and backing up to the twine again, moving over a short distance and doing it again.  Over and over, each time I reached the opposite edge I'd move the stakes up three paces and repeat the trip.  It got the job done, but it took two and a half hours to mow what I used to mow in just an hour. 
My neighbor Earl was a backyard inventor, having several patents on some clever and useful gadgets.  Watching me got his creative juices running in high gear.  "There must be an easier way for you to mow that grass," he mused one day as I was wiping the sweat from my brow.  "Do you mind if I try designing something?"  I said I didn't mind, as long as I was involved in the design.  And so we thought and thought and figured and figured and scratched our heads and scratched other places, too.  Finally it was designed, drawn up, materials purchased, and the finished product was hauled into my yard and set in place. 
There it stood, the Amazing Blind Mowing Machine.  A long rail ran the length of my lawn, topped with a metal runner.  On the runner was attached a pulley.  From the pulley ran a length of heavy fishing line.  The line was attached to a device that I strapped to me.  It was about 18 inches wide and had a peg at either side.  The fishing line was wound between the pegs.  After I mowed one length of my yard I would wind the fishing line up one turn, reposition myself and trundle back down the lawn just barely overlapping my first cut.  And to keep me on target, each peg was attached to a buzzer.  If I veered just a bit to the right, "Buzz, buzz, buzz!"  And if I went too far to the left, "Rasp, rasp, rasp."  So down the yard I went, rasping and buzzing away.  It worked, but it drove me crazy.  I would have junked the whole thing then and there, except old Earl stood tall and proud, smiling his big, happy grin.  So I thanked him and put cotton in my ears. 
But that was only the beginning.  One fine morning a few days after our trial run, a knock came at my door.  There stood a young woman and a young man.  "We're from the Seattle Post Intelligencer," she proudly announced.  "We're here to see your Amazing Blind Mowing Machine in action." 
Earl must have been watching out his side window, because he came bustling over eager to explain just how he came up with this wonderful invention and how it had made life so much easier for me.  The next morning, there I was.  Fortunately not on page one, but on the first page of B section.  As if that weren't bad enough, my phone began ringing off the hook.  The story had made the AP Wire Service.  Calls came in from Tennessee, Florida, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Kansas and several from local towns.  "When are you going into production?" they all clamored.  "Boy, how's it work?  Can we have it shipped by next April?"
But good things happen to good people.  We sold our house and moved several miles away from Earl.   I packed up the Amazing Blind Mowing Machine, promising Earl that I'd be setting it up first thing.  Then I stacked it in the garage and forgot it ever existed.  New address, new phone number and the calls quit coming in. 
But I can't help wondering.  Did someone in the National Federation of the Blind hang onto that old AP press release and decide that if it worked for a lawn mower, it just might be adapted to a car?

Affiliate News

Scholarship Available

The American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys (AAVIA) announces the availability of a $1,000 scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year for current law students who are blind or visually impaired.  This scholarship is named in memory of one of our former members, Lester Ketterling, who was an active member of AAVIA for many years. 
Who is eligible? Any law student currently attending an accredited law school who is either blind or visually impaired. AAVIA uses the definition of legally blind set forth in law.  This does not include an individual who has been accepted to law school, but has not yet begun classes as of April 1, 2013.
Any student desiring to apply may do so by submitting an essay on the topic of "Why I Want to Be a Lawyer" of 500 to 750 words.  The essay must be typewritten in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect and sent to the following address: Chris D. Prentice, AAVIA president, by e-mail at, or if e-mail is not available for any reason, then by regular mail to 5516 War Admiral Drive, Del Valle, TX 78617-5868.  Along with the essay, the applicant must include satisfactory documentation of a visual impairment from either a VR counselor or a physician and a note from the law school being attended proving current attendance at that school.  These items must be in our hand by no later than 5 p.m. on June 1.  Incomplete packets will not be considered for the scholarship.
The student chosen to receive the scholarship MUST attend the AAVIA annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio from July 6-9, 2013, where the scholarship will be presented.  AAVIA will cover reasonable travel and hotel accommodations, and will provide a stipend for meals during the conference for the scholarship recipient.  If you will not be able to attend the conference, then do not apply for the scholarship.  There will be no exceptions. 
If you have questions, contact Chris D. Prentice, AAVIA president, via e-mail,, or by phone, (512) 215-2032 (evenings) or (512) 539-5708 (work).

A Moment in History

Please come join our celebration!!  The District of Columbia Council of the Blind, formerly known as the District of Columbia Association of Workers for the Blind, is marking its 100th anniversary.  DCCB has a long and vibrant history serving D.C. residents who are blind or visually impaired.  Our hope is that you will come and join us in this momentous occasion.
As announced in the March issue, the celebration will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the Channel Inn, 650 Water St. SW in Washington, D.C.
So far, our panels include: an oral history from past presidents; library services past and present; employment opportunities past and present; and vocational rehabilitation past and present.  In addition to a packed program, there will be exhibits, time for socializing, and a scrumptious dinner.  And DCCB is planning to have the program streamed on ACB Radio!
Registration packets are still in the works.  If you would like to be part of our glorious celebration, please contact DCCB president Marilyn Lutter at (202) 783-0548, or via e-mail,

Diabetics in Action Update

It is hard to believe summer is on the way, as is the annual convention.  ACB Diabetics in Action is busy setting up speakers, the luncheon and the business meeting.  This year we are combining resources with Blind Pride, so the seminar will definitely have interesting speakers.
We are also offering raffle tickets for $1 each, or 6 for $5.  The winner will receive $100; second prize is $75; third prize is $50.
We hope you will join us at our seminar and luncheon.  New members are always welcome.  Dues for our affiliate are only $10 per year.  For more information, contact Pat Wolf via e-mail,, or call her at (626) 279-2954.

CCLVI and IVIE to Hold Toastmasters Demo

Need to conquer the fear of public speaking? Need to hone your public speaking skills? Need to improve your communication style? Then Toastmasters might be just what you're looking for. The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) and the Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs (IVIE) will host a Toastmasters demonstration meeting at this year's conference and convention on Tuesday, July 9, at 2:45 p.m. Learn how to capture and keep your audience's attention. Discover the effectiveness of humor and sincerity. Explore the challenge of extemporaneous speaking. Already a Toastmaster? Share your tips on handling notes, making eye contact, and other possible obstacles. Want to be on the agenda for a speech or other role? Contact Mary Hiland at (614) 471-1869 or Be sure to put the word "Toastmasters" (without the quotes) in the subject line. All are welcome. Pre-registration fee is $5.

Here and There edited by Sharon Strzalkowski

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers.  "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned.  To submit items for this column, send a message to, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering's mailbox.  Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.

Carmel Needs a Family

Carmel is a 6-year-old child who needs a forever family. She was born with her sight but has become legally blind. Carmel is stable medically and has the ability to respond to her caregivers. She has a smile that brightens a room and she is considered a very sweet and lovable child. She is medically needy and requires 24-hour medical monitoring. In addition to being visually impaired, she is also non-verbal and non-ambulatory. Carmel enjoys listening to all kinds of music and loves being read to. She can respond to bright lights and to movement in a room, and enjoys toys with lights, music and vibration. She needs a family that can meet her medical needs or is willing to learn how to do so. If you are interested in providing a forever family for Carmel, or know someone who might be, please contact Kellisha Owens at (954) 414-6000,, fax (954) 414-9237, or write to her at Childnet, 313 N. State Rd. 7, Plantation, FL 33317.

Eye Will Needs Your Help

Eye Will, Inc.'s mission is to bring the education and social tools necessary to the visually impaired children of Central Valley, Calif. This non-profit organization provides special tutoring services, support groups, technological visual aids, braille instruction, a talking book library, and music.  Eye Will is looking for donations of any used or extra equipment or resources that you may be able to send. Please also send any information, brochures or packets with information that could benefit the children and their families. For more information, visit, or phone (209) 417-4420.

Walmart Expands Talking Prescription Program

The ScripTalk Talking Prescription program is being offered to customers across the country through Walmart mail order. In addition to the national mail-order program, Walmart now offers ScripTalk at 33 stores around the country.
To order ScripTalk talking prescription containers for use with prescription medications obtained from Walmart, you must first contact Walmart. For mail order, Walmart has a dedicated toll-free phone line for ScripTalk requests. The toll-free number is 1-888-227-3403.
To listen to the talking label provided by Walmart, you will need a reading device from En-Vision America, called the ScripTalk reader, which is available free of charge to Walmart pharmacy customers who are blind. En-Vision America has a dedicated toll-free line for requests, which is 1-855-773-2579 (1-855-SPEAK-RX). You only need to order the device once; it will work with any Talking Prescription label you receive from Walmart.
If your local Walmart store doesn't yet offer ScripTalk, contact Walmart at 1-888-227-3403 to request that the ScripTalk containers be offered at your store.
Which stores offer ScripTalk?  
Walmart #432
214 Haynes St.
Talladega, AL 35160
Phone: (256) 761-1819
Walmart #2113
1607 W. Bethany Home Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85015
Phone: (602) 246-6601
Walmart #2280
600 Showers Dr.
Mountain View, CA 94040
Phone: (650) 971-0878
Walmart #2598
3661 Truxel Rd.
Sacramento, CA 95834
Phone: (916) 928-9673
Walmart #2751
601 Englewood Pkwy.
Englewood, CO 80110
Phone: (303) 789-7209
Walmart #3125
3615 W. Bowles Ave.
Littleton, CO 80123
Phone: (303) 218-4879
Sam's Club #8120
3122 Dick Wilson Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 671-2711
Sam's Club #8138
1175 Beville Rd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32119
Phone: (386) 760-3078
Walmart #5854
8400 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33155
Phone: (305) 351-9519
Walmart #3235
1425 NE 163rd St.
North Miami Beach, FL 33162
Phone: (305) 949-5451
Walmart #579
2355 US Hwy. 1 S.
St. Augustine, FL 32086
Phone: (904) 794-4134
Walmart #4520
4021 Lagniappe Way
Tallahassee, FL 32317
Phone: (850) 656-7211
Walmart #3210
2760 N. Dirksen Pkwy.
Springfield, IL 62702
Phone: (217) 522-4054
Walmart #1580
10617 E. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46229
Phone: (317) 895-0316
Walmart #5991
3137 S. Seneca St.
Wichita, KS 67207
Phone: (316) 361-3351
Walmart #1206
3132 College Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 952-0776
Walmart #2867
3225 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912
Phone: (517) 487-9161
Walmart #2939
200 Marketplace Dr.
Richland, MS 39218
Phone: (601) 939-2958
Walmart #391
2270 W. Main St.
Tupelo, MS 38801
Phone: (662) 842-9375
Walmart #1014
4000 S. Bolger Rd.
Independence, MO 64055
Phone: (816) 478-3975
Walmart #1872
2750 Prospect Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 443-3455
Walmart #2593
2310 E. Serene Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89123
Phone: (702) 270-7837
Walmart #5178
220 Enterprise Dr.
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Phone: (973) 361-6709
Walmart #2210
3290 Sheridan Dr.
Amherst, NY 14226
Phone: (716) 691-0738
Walmart #2058
1725 New Hope Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: (919) 790-9856
Walmart #2552
4200 SE 82nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97266
Phone: (503) 788-0400
Walmart #2141
1675 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: (215) 468-4230
Walmart #1183
2401 Augusta Rd.
West Columbia, SC 29169
Phone: (803) 791-8114
Walmart #2625
1025 W. Trinity Mills Rd.
Carrollton, TX 75006
Call the mail-order center at 1-888-227-3403.
Walmart #4554
2525 W. Anderson Ln.
Austin, TX 78757
Phone: (512) 354-8904
Walmart #651
4145 Dowlen Rd.
Beaumont, TX 77706
Phone: (409) 899-3615
Sam's Club #6686
300 W 1905 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Phone: (801) 478-1695
Walmart #5753
6303 Richmond Hwy.
Alexandria, VA 22306
Phone: (703) 253-9908
Walmart #5697
7025 W. Main St.
Milwaukee, WI 53214
Phone: (414) 203-0683

Sports Encyclopedia

Andrew Leibs has recently published a new book, "The Encyclopedia of Sports & Recreation for Persons with Visual Impairments."  It profiles more than 100 blind athletes (elite and novice) and presents information on hundreds of accessible recreation programs, providers, and products. It also outlines how and where someone can get started in sports.  The foreword is written by Dr. Lauren Lieberman, founder of Camp Abilities and a leading expert on adaptive sports and physical education for the blind and visually impaired. Mark Lucas, executive director of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, wrote the afterword. For more information, contact Andrew Leibs at (603) 433-9157.

iPhone Updates

"iPhone iOS6 Updates: Getting Started with the iPhone for Blind Users" by Anna Dresner is now available in braille, ebraille, Word, ASCII text, ePub, or DAISY.  This book supplements "Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS5 for Blind Users."
If you already know the basics of using the iPhone, this update will show you what's new. This book includes updated versions of the braille display and Bluetooth commands and revised versions of all the appendices.  An additional appendix lists all the apps referred to in this book, along with links you can use to find them in the iTunes store.
For more information, visit, or call 1-800-548-7323.

Science Sense Tours

New York's Museum of Natural History offers Science Sense tours to visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Specially trained tour guides highlight specific themes and exhibition halls, engaging participants through extensive verbal descriptions and touchable objects.  Science Sense tours are available to individuals or groups, and are free with museum admission. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Programs may be subject to change. For additional information, or to register for a Science Sense tour, call (212) 313-7565 or e-mail
Sunday, May 19th, 10 a.m.: Scales of the Universe.  Explore the Scales of the Universe, a 400-foot-long walkway that hugs the glass curtain wall along the Rose Center for Earth and Space, that introduces visitors to the relative sizes of galaxies, stars, planets, and atoms through text panels, interactive terminals, and models.
Wednesday, June 12th, 2:30 p.m.: Living Large.  Join us on a big expedition throughout the museum as we discuss and examine several larger than life icons, such as the blue whale, the giant sequoia, dinosaurs, and the 63-foot-long Great Canoe.

High Tech Swap Shop

For Sale: Sony laptop with 18.5" wide screen, 750 gig hard drive, 6 gigs RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium, Office 2007, and JAWS 13.  Brand-new.  Asking $1,000.  Dell desktop with 1 gig RAM, 80-gig hard drive, Windows XP Professional, Office 2007 and JAWS 13.  Asking $200.  Toshiba laptop with 15.6" wide screen, 3 gigs RAM, 250-gig hard drive, Office 2007 and JAWS 13.  Asking $425.  Contact Jose Luis at (626) 310-3132.
For Sale: Sendero GPS 4.2.  Comes with speaker, receiver, software, and compact flash card.  Asking $798.  Contact Victor Andrews via e-mail, djponji09!, or via phone, (347) 987-1304.
For Sale: i.d. mate Summit for sale. Recently purchased, never used.  Comes with original carrying case, CD, and the labels. Contact Hamid via e-mail,
For Sale: PAC Mate BX 400 in excellent condition.  Seldom used.  PAC Mate 40 braille display.  In excellent condition.  Comes with USB cable as well as PAC Mate 20-cell braille display, all in excellent condition.  Asking $4,500 or best offer.  PayPal and money orders accepted.  Serious inquiries only.  Contact Shawn Cox at (757) 295-7785 or
Wanted: Click ruler with extensions, and band or table saws to work with wood to make items.  Contact Maryann via e-mail,, or call her at (318) 548-4520.
Wanted: I'm looking for a laptop computer with speech already installed. Contact Tonya Smith at (734) 430-2537.

ACB Officers

Mitch Pomerantz (final term, 2013)
1115 Cordova St. #402
Pasadena, CA 91106
First Vice President
Kim Charlson (final term, 2013)
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
Second Vice President
Brenda Dillon (final term, 2013)
313 Overridge Cove
Hermitage, TN 37076
Marlaina Lieberg (final term, 2013)
15100 6th Ave. SW, Unit 728
Burien, WA 98166
Carla Ruschival (1st term, 2013)
148 Vernon Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Immediate Past President
Christopher Gray
5568 Waterman Blvd., Unit 2W
St. Louis, MO 63112

ACB Board Of Directors

Ray Campbell, Glen Ellyn, IL (final term, 2014)
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA (final term, 2016)
Sara Conrad, Stevensville, MI (1st term, 2016)
Janet Dickelman, St. Paul, MN (1st term, 2014)
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX (final term, 2016)
George Holliday, Philadelphia, PA (1st term, 2014)
John McCann, Falls Church, VA (1st term, 2016)
Allan Peterson, Horace, ND (1st term, 2014)
Dan Spoone, Orlando, FL (1st term, 2016)
Jeff Thom, Sacramento, CA (final term, 2014)
Ex Officio: Paul Edwards, Miami, FL

ACB Board of Publications

Paul Edwards, Chairman, Miami, FL (final term, 2013)
Denise Colley, Lacey, WA (1st term, 2014)
Nolan Crabb, Hilliard, OH (1st term, 2013)
Marcia Dresser, Reading, MA (final term, 2014)
Judy Jackson, Austin, TX (final term, 2014)
Ex Officios: Ron Milliman, Bowling Green, KY
Bob Hachey, Waltham, MA