The ACB E-Forum, April 2015

Downloadable versions available here.

The ACB E-Forum Volume LIII April 2015 No. 10
 
Published by
the American Council of the Blind
 
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© 2015 American Council of the Blind
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director
Sharon Lovering, Editor
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201
 
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.
 
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The ACB E-Forum, April 2015 downloads

President’s Message: What Can Marrakesh Do to Help Make Books Accessible for Everyone?, by Kim Charlson

Over the years, I have continued to be a staunch advocate for greater access to special format materials for people who are blind or visually impaired. In my work as a librarian, I deal with making materials accessible every day, in braille, large print or audio formats. Sometimes, it is frustrating when someone wants a specific title, and I discover that it exists in Canada or Great Britain, but I can’t get it for that person because of international copyright laws.
 
In 2009, ACB started to actively work on a treaty for the visually impaired through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), along with the World Blind Union. Eric Bridges and Melanie Brunson have both represented ACB at the numerous WIPO meetings that have taken place in Geneva, Switzerland between 2009 and 2013.
 
In June 2013, history was made in Marrakesh, Morocco, when all WIPO delegates voted to accept the treaty for the visually impaired. Following the acceptance of the treaty (now known as the Marrakesh Treaty), there was a one-year window where nearly 80 countries signed onto the treaty – 20 countries were required to start the ball rolling for country ratification. The U.S. signed onto the treaty in October of 2013, in the middle of the government shutdown, so it was done with little fanfare.
 
Now, the time has come to work and advocate for the U.S. Senate to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.
 
During our 2015 midyear legislative seminar, the Marrakesh Treaty was one of ACB’s legislative priorities. Melanie Brunson prepared a very informative fact sheet on Marrakesh, and I want to share that document with you, to provide background information on this important issue that I believe truly resonates with all ACB members – especially once you understand the full extent of this ground-breaking treaty opportunity.
 
In order to be full participants in the society we live in, people who have visual impairments must be afforded alternative means of accessing books, magazines, and other printed materials. Students need access to textbooks. Employees need access to publications related to their chosen work, and all of us need access to the books and magazines that influence the cultural life of our communities. Although advances in technology in recent years have given people with visual impairments many more options for accessing printed materials in accessible formats, the World Blind Union estimates that we still have access to only about five percent of the books published worldwide each year. In parts of the world that are less developed, less than one percent of published works are accessible to people with print-reading disabilities.  This situation persists in spite of provisions in copyright law in countries such as the U.S. that allow producers of accessible format books to publish and distribute such accessible format works to people with print-reading disabilities. There are several reasons for this. First, with very few exceptions, copyright laws in countries worldwide, including our own, only allow producers of accessible format books to distribute them to eligible persons within their own country. These works cannot be exported. Also, our libraries cannot import works produced abroad without risking violation of copyright laws, both here and in the exporting country.
 
In an effort to remedy this situation, the World Intellectual Property Organization adopted the Treaty to Facilitate Access to Printed Material for People Who Are Blind or Have Other Print Reading Disabilities. This treaty is known as the Marrakesh Treaty, because it was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013.
 
The Marrakesh Treaty received broad support from not only blindness organizations, but publishers and copyright law experts throughout the U.S. and around the world. It was signed by the United States on Oct. 2, 2013.
 
The Marrakesh Treaty is important to Americans who are visually impaired because it calls upon those nations who sign it to provide in their copyright law a limitation or exception that allows:

  • Reproduction of works, by an authorized entity, for the purpose of converting them into accessible format copies exclusively for the use of beneficiary persons.
  • Distribution of accessible format copies exclusively to beneficiary persons.
  • Export of accessible format copies of works, in order to make them available to a beneficiary person in another country.
  • Import of accessible format copies of works produced in another country, in order to make them available domestically.

In practical terms, this means that libraries and other organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities will be able to share those works with each other. That will ultimately free up resources that are currently used to make multiple copies of the same work, so that more publications can be put into accessible formats. The treaty contains provisions that protect both the rights of copyright holders and those who want to gain access to their copyrighted works.
 
Legislative Proposal
 
ACB urges members of the U.S. Senate to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. We urge senators to adopt a ratification package that is narrow, protects the spirit of the treaty, and does not attempt to use this treaty as a vehicle for addressing extraneous issues of copyright law that could undermine the desired result: increased access to printed materials for people with print-reading disabilities.
 
We need the Marrakesh Treaty to ensure that people who are blind in the United States and throughout the world will have access to the printed word for generations to come! Please help us get Marrakesh passed by the U.S. Senate by reaching out to your senators to support the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired. We will keep you posted on developments.

ACB Legislative Imperatives for 2015, by Melanie Brunson

By the time you read this, ACB will have concluded a very successful series of midyear meetings.  The commitment and determination of all who braved the winter weather and persisted in spite of flight delays to take part in the board meeting, the affiliate presidents’ meeting, and the legislative seminar was very much appreciated.  For those who were unable to attend this year, thanks to ACB Radio, you still have an opportunity to listen to much of the material that was provided during the affiliate presidents’ meeting and legislative seminar.  Both meetings were streamed on ACB Radio, and the recordings of those programs are now available in the ACB Radio archives.  You can find them at http://acbradio.org/midyear2015, or listen to them over the telephone by calling (231) 460-1047.
 
I also want to share with you the legislative agenda that was discussed during our legislative seminar.  Three issues were presented as ACB’s legislative priorities for 2015.  These included: support for H.R. 729, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015; seeking reintroduction of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act; and support for Senate ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for the visually impaired.
 
The first of these measures, H.R. 729, would establish a five-year nationwide demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change to the Social Security Act that would allow Medicare to pay for certain low-vision devices that are the most function-rich, most powerful, and least affordable by Medicare beneficiaries.  Individuals would be eligible to participate in the demonstration project only after completing a clinical evaluation performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who would deem a low-vision device to be medically necessary for that individual.
 
The second measure, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, has yet to be introduced in this Congress.  However, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), who introduced this legislation in the previous Congress, is planning to do so again.  He is currently seeking additional co-sponsors for his bill.  Some of the highlights of this legislation include: ensuring that all students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are identified, and properly served by schools; improving data collection about the quality and scope of special education and related services provided to students who are blind or visually impaired; holding states accountable for insuring that all students with visual impairments receive the specialized instruction and services they need and that such services are provided by properly trained personnel; and increased responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Education for monitoring and reporting on states’ compliance with their obligations with respect to instruction and services provided to students who are blind or visually impaired.
 
The final legislative imperative, ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, is the subject of ACB president Kim Charlson’s message, which appears elsewhere in this issue, so I will simply recommend that you read her column for a summary of this imperative.  Additional details about all of these issues, including copies of our background papers on each issue, can be found on the ACB web site.  Here are the links:
 
Imperative I: H.R. 729, Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015, http://acb.org/LILVdevice
Imperative II: The Reintroduction of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, http://acb.org/LICogswellMacy
Imperative III: What  the Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind is and the need for the U.S. Senate to Ratify It, http://acb.org/LIMarrakesh
 
We urge each one of you to contact your representatives in the House and Senate to express your support for these measures.  For those of you who have visited with Congressional offices during midyear, we urge you to follow up those visits with letters of thanks, phone calls, or other means of continuing to build relationships with the people you contacted during your initial visit.  And of course, if you, or any Congressional staffers you speak with about these issues, have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Eric Bridges or me in the ACB Arlington office.  Thank you for your contribution to ACB’s advocacy efforts.

The Bright Stars Align over Dallas, by Janet Dickelman

The stars in Texas are aligning! Airline and hotel reservations are being made for the 2015 conference and convention. The convention and host committees are also hard at work recruiting volunteers to assist throughout the convention, compiling information about the Dallas area, finalizing tours and in general getting ready for the big event!
 
The place to be is the Sheraton in vibrant downtown Dallas, Tex.  It all begins on Friday, July 3rd with our first tours and culminates Saturday, July 11th.
 
Convention general sessions are held Sunday evening, July 5th, Monday through Thursday morning, and all day Friday.
 
Attention vendors, sponsors advertisers and volunteers! On-line registration is now available at www.acb.org.
 
If you wish to place an advertisement in the convention newspaper, published daily, July 4th-9th, there are advance advertising rates for individuals, affiliates, and blind MLM representatives. Ads run a maximum of 3 days; 75-word limit per advertisement. If text is submitted prior to July 1, ads are available for $40. Sorry, no food sales.

Convention Registration

Pre-registration will open on Friday, May 22nd and will close at midnight, Thursday, June 25th. You can register online or via telephone. A one-page mailer will be distributed prior to the opening of registration providing registration details.  The information will also be posted to the acbconvention, leadership, and ACB-L e-mail lists.
 
Paper registration forms WILL NOT automatically be sent unless requested. If you would like a paper pre-registration form, request it from ACB's Minneapolis office by calling (612) 332-3242 before May 1. Forms will be sent via first-class mail when pre-registration opens May 22nd.

Sneak Preview

As I write this article, affiliates, committees and organizations are beginning to submit information about their programs. Here is just a very small sampling of what’s waiting for you in Dallas.
 
ACBDA (ACB Diabetics in Action) will hold the annual diabetes seminar on Sunday, July 5th. They will have their luncheon and business meeting on Wednesday, and a mixer Thursday evening.
 
Interested in learning about self-defense?  Join 1Touch on Tuesday, July 7th and Wednesday, July 8th for a self-defense course designed specifically for the blind.  1Touch addresses real life situations with practical applications. The workshops are hands-on, open to everyone and are great fun.
 
Want to learn more about your iPhone, iPad or Mac computer? Fedora Outlier provides teaching, consulting and support for Apple’s iDevices and computers to all blind and visually impaired individuals and those who work and interact with the blindness communities. Fedora will be offering training sessions for convention attendees.

Stay Connected

Once again this year the convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank e-mail to acbconvention-subscribe@acblists.org. If you've been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again. Don't have e-mail? No problem! New this year: convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (231) 460-1047.

Hotel Details

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double, triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13%) and tourism district fees (2%). For reservations by telephone, call 1-888-627-8191, and be sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2015 convention link.

Convention Contacts

2015 Exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, amduo@bellsouth.net
2015 Advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, oleo50@hotmail.com
 
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail, janet.dickelman@gmail.com.

FIA Reflects on Turning 30 and Looks Forward to the Future, by Dwayne Estes

We have been Friends-in-Art for 30 years; time has gone by so quickly. When you get to be our age as an organization, you are going to experience some growing pains.  We are still healing from the great loss that was the passing of one of our beloved charter members, Janiece Petersen Kent.  Yet, in the spirit of Janiece we are moving forward.
 
As a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, Friends-in-Art has quite a list of accomplishments. At national convention we present a showcase featuring the fine talent of greater ACB and other friends.  This year the showcase will be slightly reformatted.  We are reactivating the FIA chorus, which will open the Showcase singing “Magic To Do” from the musical “Pippin.”  This is a fun groove tune.  Look for a complete recording of the piece and your individual part on the FIA Showcase channel on YouTube. We also have a song just for the guys; don’t worry, women, you’re next year.  Again, the song “Go Ahead Charley” is on the FIA Showcase channel on YouTube.  Come sing with us!  Perform with people you know and meet other performers.  We will have a band and a sighted accompanist.  Bring your sheet music and we will see you at auditions. For the second act of the Showcase, we will feature three artists who are employed, living the dream and performing their art.  We want the world to know blind artists and performers are vital and out there making money presenting their art.
 
Friends-in-Art has given out some 15 scholarships, according to Dr. Harvey Miller, long-time chair of the FIA scholarship committee.  FIA has provided funds for several students and potential members to attend national convention.
 
Michael Mandel, Gordon Kent, and Wayne Pearcy helped advise Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. with configuring and installing a computer lab for the blind.  This lab is equipped with computers and the most up-to-date music software.  Blind students learn to use this equipment in a blind music technology class, part of their curriculum for graduation. Setting up this type of lab for other universities and assisting blind music students is one of FIA’s long-term goals. 
 
FIA is very excited to learn about the Theatre for the Blind in Los Angeles, Calif.  We have reached out to this impressive group and hope to have them with us next year at national convention.
 
Practitioners of other art forms are encouraged to join our organization. FIA can count several fine writers in our membership. These wordsmiths have been published and have won awards applying their craft.  We provide mentoring and support for everyone; we invite artists both amateur and professional, beginner and accomplished, to come and be a part of the greater blind arts community.
 
Finally, we want to develop relationships with you technological wizards out there. Your skills are so very important to our mission and society at large. It takes time to learn the efficient operation of current software and hardware, and this writer believes that this is an art in itself which we should support wholeheartedly.
 
Whether you just support and enjoy the arts, or you are an amateur or professional artist, you will find a home in Friends-in-Art. We encourage you to participate in our seminars and workshops, and attend our 2015 showcase in Dallas, Tex. If you’re a former member and want to rejoin us in our endeavors, or if you’re looking for a place to put your creativity to work, join Friends-in-Art. Who knows what the next 30 years will bring?

Walk with the Stars at the ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk, by Donna Brown

“ACB: Where the Stars Shine Bright” is the theme for the 2015 ACB national conference and convention. Many ACB stars shone bright during the 2014 walk – it raised more than $37,000 for ACB and its affiliates. Several affiliates raised over $1,000; some raised $2,000 and more!
 
The 2014 walk allowed teams to designate up to 50 percent of the money they raised to go back to an affiliate of their choice.  It was quite successful – more than 20 teams registered. This option will be available to teams this year, too.
 
The 2015 ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk will be unique. It will be held on Sunday, July 5, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. What’s the twist? It will be held at the convention hotel. You can practically roll out of bed, put something on your feet, and come join us for the walk! The starting and finish line will be in the convention hotel itself. Participants will walk across the sky bridge, and walk the loop around the second floor of The Plaza of the Americas, which is where the food court is. The route is approximately one mile in length.
 
The ACB Walk committee is hard at work designing a new web site, where teams will have their own web pages. This will make it easier for team captains to know who has signed up for their team and when donations have been submitted. More information about the web site will be coming soon. Stay tuned to “The ACB Braille Forum” and E-Forum, and the ACB e-mail lists, for walk updates.
 
Make your plans now to sign up for the walk, and help us to make the stars shine brighter than ever by raising a lot of money for ACB!
 
— Donna Brown

Seeking Helpers for the 2015 Information Desk, by Vicky Prahin

The information desk is an important part of the annual conference and convention. Make reservations for banquet tables, sign up for newspaper delivery, drop off door prizes and items for the Brenda Dillon Memorial Auction, find hotel orientation information and select menus, and report items you have lost or found.
 
Consider helping out for a few hours at the information desk this year. It’s a great way to meet new people, and you will learn more about the many affiliates and activities than you ever thought possible! Volunteers will answer questions in person and by phone about meeting locations, caucuses, and special activities; download documents for attendees; distribute newspapers, proposed changes to bylaws, and hotel information; and log in door prizes and auction items.
 
The desk will open on Thursday evening, July 2, for early arrivals. It will remain open throughout the convention, daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. the 3rd through the 9th and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 10th.
 
If you would like to work for a few hours, e-mail me at prahin@hadley.edu or call (614) 949-7757. You don’t have to specify when you are available until you have registered for the convention and know your schedule for the activities and events that interest you. We need a group of friendly, courteous, and able people to help make this year's convention the best ever!
 
— Vicky Prahin

Come One, Come All to the Lone Star Loot Auction!

One of the best-loved features of an ACB conference and convention is the annual auction! Y’all don’t want to miss out, do you? 
 
The Lone Star Loot Auction will be held on Wednesday evening. There will be a whole lot of perfectly legal lootin’! What sort? From chocolate balls to Capitol Steps chicanery, from cakes to quilts, from lunch with the best-lookin’ first vice president ACB has ever had to sportin’ some of the most beautiful baubles you can imagine, this auction has almost everything. You can score a super vacation package or take home a load of Texas bull with a couple of horns to hang on your wall. About the only thing we haven’t got is an oil well, and who knows?
 
Why do we do it? Why, to support the American Council of the Blind, and skedaddle with the bargains of the decade!
 
Got something to donate to the auction?  Here’s what you need to do. Be sure to provide auction committee chair Leslie Spoone with a description of the item by May 31, either via e-mail, lesliespoone@cfl.rr.com, or by telephone, (407) 929-9837. Then ship the item either to ACB Auction, Leslie Spoone, 3924 Lake Mirage Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817-1554, or to Stuart Swartz, 1201 Medical Ave. Apt. 3316, Plano, TX 75075. Items must be received by May 31.
 
Finally, unless a donor arranges to pay for shipping, the cost and responsibility for shipping items that cannot be carried home will be that of the winning bidder. For that reason, we would urge donors of items that may need to be shipped home, such as baskets, to consider packing them in a box or other manner that will either allow the item to be carried home or easily prepared for shipping.
 
So, come on out in your western garb ‘cause it’s party time at the biggest show in Dallas, the Lone Star Loot Auction!

Product Evaluations and Guides: A Review of the Odin VI: An Accessible Feature Phone from Odin Mobile, by Bill Holton

In previous issues of AccessWorld we reviewed three accessible feature phones, cell phones whose functions are limited to making calls and sending and receiving text messages. These phones, which include the Samsung Haven, Kyocera Kona, and Kyocera Verve, use physical buttons to access and control their features, instead of touch screens — which these days are nearly universal in smartphone design. Many individuals with visual impairments still prefer the simplicity and lower subscription costs of feature phones, however, and in this article I'll describe a fourth accessible feature phone, the Odin VI Talking Mobile Phone.
 
The Odin VI was designed from the ground up to be low- or no-vision accessible. It can be purchased either with an Odin Mobile service plan, starting at a cost of $10 per month, or unlocked for use with any GSM service provider, including AT&T or T-Mobile.

What You Get

The Odin VI package includes the phone itself, a charging stand, and a USB power cable and wall adapter. The user-accessible battery comes preinstalled, and is rated to provide up to five hours of talk time and 10 days of standby. Odin Mobile customers will receive their phones with the SIM card also preinstalled. The company offers phone and text services via T-Mobile. The company also provides customer service and tech support specifically tailored to users with visual impairments. Additionally, Odin Mobile customers can schedule a free telephone training session with a company accessibility specialist.
 
The Odin VI manual arrived via e-mail in Word file that was 100-percent accessible. There were no diagrams or pictures that all too commonly voice as, "To do this, press the 'IMAGE' button." Braille or recorded versions are not available, but technical support is free, and the Odin Mobile representatives I spoke with were without exception extremely knowledgeable about the phone's features.

A Touch Tour

Many feature phones use a "flip" design that unfolds to reveal the screen and keypad. The Odin VI uses a two-part design, with a single display that is always visible and a keypad that is accessed by sliding the screen section upward.
 
When in the closed and locked position, the Odin VI is a bit thicker than many flip phones, but it fit comfortably in my palm with the screen side up. Beneath the screen there are five color-coded buttons.
 
The square green Call button is located at the far left. The round red End/Cancel button is to the far right. Between these buttons is a narrow, horizontal blue OK button, and above and below this button, the black Up and Down navigation buttons.
 
Beneath these buttons, on the bottom edge of the phone, there are two square indentations in the phone's case, which connect the phone to the charger. It was a simple matter to position the phone for charging, and with the phone turned on you can be confident you have things right when the VI beeps and announces "Charger connected."
 
The battery compartment is on the rear of the phone. The battery comes preinstalled, but the compartment was easy to access, and the battery only fits one way so you know you have it in the proper position. The SIM tray is located beneath the battery, and it is thoughtfully designed and extremely easy to access. There is also a micro-SD slot that contains the text-to-speech voices and which the company does not recommend accessing or removing.
 
The left edge of the Odin VI includes two ports. Near the top is a headphone jack. Near the center is a USB port you can use to charge the phone by either connecting it to a computer with the included USB cable or connecting it directly to an outlet via the cable and power adapter. You must pop out a plastic flap before you can access the USB port, however, which may present problems for individuals with limited manual dexterity. Those users will appreciate the included charger, since you merely need to slide the phone onto that accessory to begin charging.
 
There are three buttons on the right edge. From top to bottom they are the Repeat Speech button, which we will discuss below, and the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons. When you are on a call, the volume buttons will adjust the call volume. Otherwise, they will adjust the volume of the phone's built-in speech.
 
Holding the phone with the screen up and the bottom toward you, there is a lip between the phone sections. This is where you slide the two halves apart to expose the phone's 12-key dial pad. The keys have excellent rise and separation. It is extremely easy to find the key you wish.

Set Up

There is no sighted assistance required to set up the voice guide. In fact, there is no voice guide setup required at all. Simply press and hold the round, red End button until you hear an old-fashioned telephone ring. Release the button, and in about 15 seconds the phone will begin to speak. The unit I tested used the Daniel voice, but there is also a female voice, Serena, available from the settings menu. Both of these were among the clearest and easiest to understand text-to-speech voices I have encountered on a feature phone.
 
Hold down the End button again to turn off the phone. Odin VI will ask if you want to turn it off. Press the OK button to confirm.
 
With the voice guide enabled, when you slide the dial pad open, the phone sounds a click to let you know the phone is at the home screen and ready to use. If you press the Repeat Speech key on the right edge of the phone at this point, the phone will announce your carrier, signal strength, and battery level. You can obtain any single piece of this information by performing a dial pad combination, such as star + pound + zero + 1 + pound to get the battery level, but these combinations seem needlessly complex and take more time than listening to the complete status rundown.
 
When you start the phone, the keys are unlocked. To lock the keys, slide the dial pad out and then back in. Slide the dial pad back out to unlock the phone. You can also press first the Call button and then the End button to unlock the phone. This will come in handy if you wish to make a call, send or read a text message, or access the phone's settings and menus, all of which you can accomplish without sliding out the phone's dial pad.
 
The first time you start the Odin VI you are asked to set the time and date. This is a simple matter, except for one issue. If you make a mistake, it is not obvious what you need to do to backspace over the wrong character. The End/Cancel button does the trick, but the phone does not auto-announce either the deleted character or what is left. You must press the Repeat Speech button to figure things out. This can be awkward. For example, when I typed my name into a text message and spelled it with three Ls — B, i, l, l, l — the mistake was not obvious, since there is no spell check. Uncertain whether I had typed two, three, or even four Ls, I had to press End/Cancel repeatedly, each time pausing to press the Repeat Speech key, until I reached the "i," at which time I retyped the two Ls.
 
The Odin VI uses the standard dial pad method of entering characters — press the 2 button twice to enter a B, three times for C, etc. Speech does not always keep up with fast key entry, however, and too often I had to rely on the Repeat Speech button to figure out where I was. This problem could be fixed easily with the addition of some way to cursor left and right to review by character, word, or sentence.

The Voice Guide

As mentioned, the Odin VI Voice Guide does not need to be activated; it starts up automatically every time you turn on the phone. You can toggle the voice off and then back on, though, if you wish to let a sighted friend or relative use your phone. Do this by pressing and holding down the Repeat Speech button for several seconds to turn the Voice Guide off, then again to toggle it back on. There are a few other settings you can adjust, and they are found in the Settings Menu.

  • Language: You can choose to have the VI speak and show menu options in U.S. English, British English, and several other major languages. The British English uses the male Nuance Daniel voice; the U.S. English uses the female Serena voice.
  • Speed: You can adjust the Voice Guide by one percent increments from 85% of normal speed to 120%.
  • Voice Guide: Male or female. The English version requires you to switch from British to U.S. English to change from male to female voices. Other language packs include both, and this option allows you to choose which you wish to use.

We will describe how to make these and other changes to the phone's settings below, but first, let's make and receive a call.

Using the Odin VI for Calls

Similar to most feature phones, you can make a call at any time by entering the number on the dial pad and then pressing the Call button. The End button disconnects the call. During any call, you can press the Call button to use the Odin VI as a speaker phone.
 
When you receive a phone call, the phone announces either the phone number or the name of the caller, depending on whether that number is in your contact list (see below). The Odin VI also announces when you have missed a call and when a text message or a voice mail is waiting. To listen to your voice mail, press and hold the 1 key, or call 123. The Odin VI also adds a voice mail entry to your contact list. Strangely, setting up and accessing voice mail is not covered in the product documentation.
 
If you receive a text message, press the up arrow button to open your inbox. Press the OK button to have the message text spoken. Press the OK button a second time if you wish to reply.
 
The up arrow key pressed repeatedly from the phone's home screen also calls up the text message outbox and the "Write a Message" control. The down arrow key summons your contact list. Press OK to make a phone call, or use the Add Contact control to create a new contact.

The Main Menu

The main menu is accessed by pressing the OK button from the home screen. The options include:

  • Call Log: Here you can review your received, missed, and dialed calls. Easily add a number to your contact list by highlighting it with the up or down arrow key, then press the dial pad 0 (zero) key.
  • Contacts: This will bring up your contact list, the same as if you had pressed the down arrow key from the phone's home screen.
  • Messages: This will bring up your Messages list, the same as if you had pressed the up arrow key from the phone's home screen.
  • Alarms: You can set 30 different alarms and give each a descriptive name. This feature allows the phone to act both as an alarm clock and a calendar.
  • Help: The Help menu calls up a list of useful topics and briefly describes how to use the phone's various features. Context-sensitive help is not available.

The Settings Menu

The last option in the Odin VI main menu is Settings. Here you can reset the phone's time and date. You can choose the Voice Guide language and set the voice speed. You can set the default ring tone — there are three — and set the Vibrate mode to Never, Always, or Silent Mode, which turns off the ringer and vibrates without a ring when you receive a call or text message.
 
If you enable the Talking Watch option, whenever you slide open the Odin VI the time will be announced. You can also set up to three S.O.S. numbers. In case of emergency, simply press and hold down any key except the End/Cancel button and the VI will try calling each of them in turn and place the phone in speaker mode. If this feature is useful to you, consider two family members or friends for S.O.S. numbers one and two, and 911 for S.O.S. 3, in case the first two options can't be reached. The phone announces "Emergency call in progress. Press the red key to cancel," which is useful if you have dexterity issues.
 
The final two Settings options are aimed toward users with low vision. The Odin VI presents screen text in 24-point font, and message text in 12-point font. You can't change these defaults, but you can increase contrast by setting the screen to display using white text on a black background, and set screen brightness to one of five levels.

Summing Up

The Odin VI is without doubt the most accessible feature phone I have ever tested. With the exceptions of the backspace characters not being voiced and the lack of cursor review, this phone performed exceptionally well.
 
At $150 for the locked version and $199.99 for the unlocked version, the Odin VI is a bit on the pricey side. Most carriers offer multiple smartphones at this price point, or even lower. The Odin Mobile service plans do seem quite reasonable — ranging from $10 per month for 150 minutes of talk and unlimited text to $40 for unlimited talk and text.
 
Sprint and Verizon both offer accessible feature phones, but T-Mobile and AT&T do not. If you do wish to use a feature phone and you already have a contract with T-Mobile or AT&T, or perhaps the best coverage in your area is available from one of these carriers, the Odin VI is definitely the phone for you.
 
Texas residents with visual impairments may be eligible to receive a free Odin VI as part of the state's Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP). Maryland residents with visual impairments may also receive a free Odin VI through the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications Program (MAT). California and Missouri are also currently evaluating the Odin VI for inclusion in their free phone programs.

Product Information

Product: The Odin VI
Manufacturer: Odin Mobile
Price: $150 with an Odin subscription or pay as you go plan using the T-Mobile network; $199.99 with T-Mobile, AT&T, or other GSM mobile networks.

Passings

We honor here members, friends and supporters of the American Council of the Blind who have impacted our lives in many wonderful ways. If you would like to submit a notice for this column, please include as much of the following information as possible.
 
Name (first, last, maiden if appropriate)
City of residence (upon passing)
State/province of residence (upon passing)
Other cities/states/countries of residence (places where other blind people may have known this person)
Occupation
Date of death (day if known, month, year)
Age
ACB affiliation (local/state/special-interest affiliates or national committees)
 
Deaths that occurred more than six months ago cannot be reported in this column.

Vivian F. Carstens

Feb. 5, 1920 – Dec. 24, 2014
 
Vivian Carstens, 94, of Gainesville, Ga., died Dec. 24, 2014.
 
Vivian was born in Spokane, Wash. She was raised in Pullman, Wash. She married Marion Robert “Bob” Carstens of Spokane. Vivian was a homemaker and the mother of three sons, Tom, Jeffrey and Chris. Over the course of time, Vivian lived in San Francisco, Calif.; Pullman, Wash.; Iowa City, Iowa; and Atlanta, Ga.
 
Vivian and Bob were among the “pioneer” residents of Lanier Village Estates who founded the community in 2001. Vivian enjoyed walking the common areas for exercise. She was always pleasant and conversant with an uplifting word to share with people. She had such a positive attitude about life. She liked community life at the village and was a member of Westminster Church (PCA) in Gainesville.
 
She is survived by her devoted husband of 73 years, Bob Carstens; her three sons, Tom and his wife Cathy in Oregon; Jeffrey and his wife Cici in Gainesville, Ga.; and Chris and his wife Andrea in Atlanta. Bob and Vivian have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
 
Her memorial service was held Dec. 30, 2014, in the chapel at Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville.

Richard “Dick” Jehu

Richard “Dick” Jehu of Gainesville, Ga., died Jan. 3, 2015 with his family by his side. He was 87.
 
Dick is survived by his wife of 25 years, Phyllis Jehu of Gainesville, Ga. and five children, Yvonne Hollingsworth of Gainesville, Joe Dietlin of Corbin, Ky.; Lorraine Fradle of Frasier, Mich.; Hugo and wife Kim Dietlin of Gainesville; and Mitzi and husband Rod Goldsmith of Ohio.  He is also survived by his daughter-in-law Barbara Jehu of Richmond, Va., and 21 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Richard was preceded in death by his wife of 39 years, Arbutus Jehu; daughter Laura Ann Smith; and son Richard Lawrence Jehu.
 
Dick was a native of Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Detroit Institute of Technology and was a registered professional engineer in the state of Michigan.  His engineering career culminated after 26 years with Dow Chemical Company where he designed Styrofoam manufacturing plants both in the United States and abroad.  Dick worked with his son designing Wahoo Boat docks for 18 years.
 
During World War II, Dick served in the United States Air Force, as a right waist gunner in a B-29 bomber, based on Tinian Island in the South Pacific.
 
Dick spent many years serving others in his church, as well as assisting with Meals on Wheels and the Hall County Chapter of the Visually Impaired. He was a fire warden and sang in the LVE Chorus. He even played Santa for local nursing homes. His hobbies included fishing, square dancing, and performing in various choirs.
 
Dick will be missed by many, and he will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather.  In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Hall County Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 2496, Gainesville, GA 30501, and First Presbyterian Church, 800 S. Enota Dr., Gainesville, GA 30501.  Condolences may be sent to Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Dr., Gainesville, GA 30501; phone (770) 297-6200; or online at www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.

Frances “Fran” Stokes

June 20, 1924-Nov. 4, 2014
 
Frances “Fran” Stokes of Gainesville, Ga., died Nov. 4, 2014. She was 90. Fran was born to the late Phifer Berry and Claudia Williams Berry on June 20, 1924, in Drexel, N.C. She subsequently lived in Pulaski, Va. and Hickory, N.C. before moving with her family to Miami, Fla. in 1940. She graduated from Miami High School in 1941.
 
Fran was a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer throughout her adult life and cared greatly about the communities in which she lived. Prior to her move from Miami she was a member of the University of Miami Women's Guild, a 31-year member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and a devoted member of the Coral Gables Garden Club for 35 years. She was a long-time member of Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove and had recently become a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, Ga.
 
Fran married Thomas J. Stokes on March 2, 1946, in Miami. They remained residents of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables until moving to Lanier Village Estates in February 2013. Fran is survived by her husband of 68 years, Thomas J. Stokes, and beloved children, Dr. Thomas J. Stokes Jr. and his wife Dr. D. Byron Stokes of Auburn, Ala.; John M. Stokes and his wife Carolyn C. Stokes of Nebo, N.C.; and Claudia C. Stokes of O’Brien, Fla. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Anne Gray (Craig), David Stokes, Christopher Stokes (Ashley), and Jessica B. Stokes, and one great-grandson, Craig Gray III. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
 
Her funeral service was held Nov. 22, 2014, at the Van Orsdel Coral Gables Chapel; burial at Woodlawn Park Cemetery.

Grace Christine Wilson

Sept. 15, 1951- Dec. 4, 2014
 
Grace Christine Wilson, age 63, of Cedartown, Ga., passed away Dec. 4, 2014.
 
Grace was born Sept. 15, 1951 in Cedartown to the late Frank C. Wilson and Mary Brown Wilson. She was a 1969 graduate of Cedartown High School.
 
In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her aunts, Jimmie Brown and Herstine “Dee” Maron.  She is survived by her sister, Mary “Tina” Williams; her stepson, Lee Watson; godson Shad Ayers; daughter Marcelle Robinson; goddaughter Shannon Anderson; special friends Vera Ramey, Rose Bell, Susan Flores, Marsha Huffsteller and Patricia Smith; and grandchildren Joe Hulsey, Cynthia Hulsey, Benjamin Watson, Jack Watson, Zach Robinson, Noah Robinson, Nikki Anderson, Paige Anderson, Tia Anderson, Kandice Flores, Bobby Ayers and Alexis Ayers. A number of cousins also survive.
 
Grace had worked for the Lester C. Litesey Funeral Home for a number of years, doing insurance and working in the office. She also had been employed by the Georgia Department of Corrections. She was a 1996 graduate of the Georgia Police Academy. She was a proud member of the Bold & Beautiful Red Hatters and a member of the Disabled American Vets. She was a dedicated member of Friendly Baptist Church for many years, where she was also a member of the WMU.
 
Grace’s funeral service was held Dec. 7, 2014, at the chapel of the Lester C. Litesey Funeral Home, with Rev. Jerome Smith officiating. Interment was held in the Buchanan City Cemetery, with Rev. Floyd Huffsteller officiating.
 
Those wishing to make memorial contributions may send them to the Friendly Baptist Church, 67 Friendly Baptist Church Rd., Cedartown, GA 30125. To send condolences to the family, visit www.liteseyfh.com and sign the online guest book.

Affiliate News

Friends-in-Art Scholarship

Friends-in-Art (FIA), a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing accessibility and opportunity for artists and audience members who are visually impaired, offers an annual $1,500 scholarship to college students who are legally blind and live in North America.
 
If you are a high school senior or a college student who is planning to, or currently majoring in, the field of music, art, drama, or creative writing, and are blind or visually impaired, we encourage you to apply!
 
Note: Legal blindness is defined as an individual who has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the corrected eye and/or 20 degrees or less visual field in the corrected eye. Only individuals who are legally blind in BOTH eyes are eligible to receive this scholarship.
 
To apply, go to www.friendsinart.com, complete the application, and upload/mail the required materials per the directions on the form by May 31, 2015. If you have questions, contact Wayne Pearcy, FIA's scholarship chair, at thetrumpetking@gmail.com.

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 ACB E-Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to slovering@acb.org, 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.

Envision Conference in Denver This Year

Envision’s 10th annual conference will be held Sept. 9-12, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver. Program organizers are now accepting submissions of prospective clinical education and research abstract presentations to be included on the four-day agenda. Full details of the 2015 program are available at www.envisionconference.org.
 
The Envision Conference offers 90 hours of clinical education and research sessions pertaining to low vision. Many sessions can earn attendees continuing education accreditation through agencies including: the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE), the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP), the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC), Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).
 
This year Envision is offering two scholarships to attend its annual conference. Each scholarship will be awarded to either a full-time student studying clinical areas of low vision rehabilitation (optometry, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility or low vision therapy), or to a Ph.D. candidate specializing in research related to low vision applications or clinical outcomes. Scholarships will cover the full cost of registration, but do not include travel or hotel expenses. Students interested in applying for a scholarship should submit a curriculum vitae, at least one letter of reference from a professor or clinical supervisor, a completed application and a one-page narrative explaining their interest in low vision rehabilitation or research and outlining how attending the conference would benefit their education or career. Applications are available at www.envisionconference.org/Envision_Conference_2015_Student_Scholarship_... and are due by April 15, 2015. Notification of acceptance will occur by May15, 2015.

NLS to Implement UEB in 2016

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will implement the Unified English Braille (UEB) code on Jan. 4, 2016 — the 207th birthday of Louis Braille.  UEB uses the same six-dot cell pattern as the present code, but drops some contractions, uses different spacing rules, and allows for transliterating a wider array of symbols.
 
Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, all books added to the braille collection will be produced in UEB.  Existing braille books will remain in the collection and be available. The UEB books are not expected to be available from the collection for at least six months.

Still Waiting for the Migraine Book?

Are you still waiting for the little migraine book that Ojocion Ingram has talked with 21 of you about? You can download it for free from Lulu! It’s called “The Little Big Headache Book, A Fellow Sufferer’s Home Remedy Guide” by Ojocion Ingram. Get it while it’s free! The cover will be on Instagram.

New Book of Prayers

Grace Franchi has just published another book called “Rivers of Light,” a book of prayers, positive affirmations, mental exercises and poems. The paperback and Kindle editions can be found at www.amazon.com/Rivers-Light-Positive-Affirmations-Exercises/dp/1502703637. She has also sent the book to NLS for recording and brailling.
 
For more information, contact Irena Franchi via e-mail, bluabirdo@hotmail.com, or by phone, (305) 932-8856.

New Book by Legally Blind Author

“The Soul and the Seed” is the first book in an intense new urban fantasy/contemporary dystopian series. The story focuses on Aranka, a girl who describes herself as “relatively normal” until those who hold power in society decide she is a threat. The United States and the rest of the modern world are dominated by a clandestine power that usurps the wills and emotions of individuals, but very few people know the truth. She is imprisoned and forced to watch as her friends are killed one by one, all because they are different in a small physical way and because they can't be easily controlled. It is only a matter of time before it is her turn to die. 
 
The Soul and the Seed, with text-to-speech capabilities, is available at www.amazon.com/Soul-Seed-Kyrennei-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00MQ99F0Y/ref=sr_1_....
 
The author, Arie Farnam, is a legally blind writer and former ACB scholarship winner who grew up in eastern Oregon. In 2000, she became the first successful international conflict correspondent with a significant physical disability. While reporting from Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Ukraine, among other international crisis areas, for “The Christian Science Monitor” and “Business Week,” Farnam also directed two documentary films, “The Eye of the Storm” (in Kazakhstan) and “Walls” (in the Czech Republic).

HKNC Names New Executive Director

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) recently announced two new leadership appointments.  Susan Ruzenski was named executive director.  Christopher C. Woodfill, regional representative for the Mid-Atlantic Region, was named to the newly created position of associate executive director.

NBP Announces New Board Leadership

National Braille Press (NBP) has appointed a new chair and vice chair to its board of trustees.  H. Clifford Watkin has been named chair of the NBP board of trustees; Dr. Nicholas Racheotes has been named vice chair.  Both have been strong advocates for braille literacy.  
 
Watkin has been on the board since 2010 and is currently the managing partner of Ipswich Bay Advisors.  He has 25 years of experience in human resources and employee benefits.
 
Racheotes has been reading braille since age 11.  A historian and professor at Framingham State University, he reads braille in English, French, modern Greek and Russian.  He has served on NBP’s board of trustees since 2008, and joined the National Braille Press Publications Strategic Planning Committee in 2012 to work toward helping others understand the importance of braille literacy.

New CFO at Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dogs for the Blind appointed Cathy Martin to the position of treasurer and CFO of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
 
Martin has over 25 years of experience with financial management, business planning, corporate development, and equity and debt financing for Humane Society Silicon Valley as well as many rapidly growing technology-based companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.  She also has 13 years of public accounting experience, culminating in partnership status at Coopers & Lybrand (now Pricewaterhouse Coopers), an international accounting firm. She holds an MBA in finance from the New York University Stern School of Business along with a B.S. in accounting and quantitative methods from the University of Oregon.

Spotlight on Kids’ Vision

Welch Allyn, Inc. recently announced its support and sponsorship of KidSight USA — a new Lions Clubs initiative designed to help ensure children between six months and six years of age receive proper vision screening and professional follow-up care.  Conducted at schools, community centers and public health fairs using portable screening devices like the Welch Allyn Spot™ Vision Screener, the screenings can help identify refractive errors which may be associated with several ophthalmological conditions.
 
Lions in the U.S. currently screen more than 500,000 children each year through state and local programs known as KidSight.  Lions KidSight USA brings together established Lions vision screening programs and supports the development of new programs in order to create a coordinated national effort that can help more children.

NBP Books Honored

Lauded as "very exciting examples of great activity books to be shared by blind and sighted at the same time," National Braille Press’ books “Stir It Up!” and “Out-of-Sight Science Experiments” have been chosen as outstanding for the 2015 Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). These volumes will be available for tours and will also be catalogued and on the shelves of the North York Central Library branch in Canada.
 
Congratulations to “Out-of-Sight Science Experiments” authors Dr. Lillian A. Rankel and Marilyn Winograd — and to the NBP staff and friends who helped create “Stir It Up!”

Next Issue of The Consumer Vision

“The Consumer Vision” is a bimonthly publication.  Much of the material relates to blindness and other disabilities.  If you would like an e-mail subscription, send your request to branco182@verizon.net.  To check out a back issue of the magazine, visit www.consumervisionmagazine.com.

Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Author T.A. Barron believes that today's youth can make a difference in the world.  To inspire young people, he created the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.  Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.
 
The 2014 honorees are:
 
Josh, age 10, was born blind and created a foundation to help blind people be more independent by putting braille in grocery stores, with braille store directories and layouts as well as aisle signs and scanners.
 
Claire, age 17, a teen living with cystic fibrosis (CF), created a foundation to provide emotional and financial support to other families whose children have CF.  In three years, her foundation has raised over $150,000. She set up an extended hospital stay fund and a web site of text and video resources to help newly diagnosed families understand the world of CF.
 
Michael, age 14, and his two brothers have raised over $225,000 in the past year to help victims who lost limbs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Michael, a quadruple amputee due to a severe bacterial infection, knows firsthand the challenges and possibilities of living without limbs. With the help of prosthetics, Michael is an independent 8th grader who plays on nearly every sports team at his middle school.
 
Rachel, age 10, helped to build an accessible playground in her community.  She was inspired after seeing a friend of hers who uses a wheelchair sitting on the sidelines watching other kids playing.
 
Stefan, age 18, lives with Tourette's Syndrome and has written four books about his adventures with his pet rat to raise money to build schools in Kenya.
 
Raymond, age 16, provides local hospitals with toys and crafts.  He began his work at age 6 following long hospital stays for a rare hip disease.

Orbit Research, Transforming Braille Group Partnership

Orbit Research LLC and the Transforming Braille Group LLC have joined forces to produce a low-cost, refreshable braille display. Orbit will be undertaking the research, development and manufacture of this unique product.  The Transforming Braille Group LLC is a global consortium of organizations of and for the blind, which is investing $1 million in the project.
 
The objective of the project is to produce a stand-alone 20-cell refreshable braille display for $300, which will bring refreshable braille within the reach of children in developing countries and will provide libraries in developed countries with a viable alternative to hard-copy braille. The product will be launched at CSUN in 2016.

High Tech Swap Shop

For Sale:

Talking cooking thermometer. Comes with printed instructions, case, and a variety of features. Asking $30. Check or money only. Contact Tonya Smith at (734) 430-1992, or write her at 1632 Paree St., Newport, MI 48166.

For Sale:

BookSense XT in excellent condition.  This is a small, lightweight DAISY digital talking book player. It has a built-in text-to-speech engine which is used for reading text files, other file formats, and Bookshare books.  It records in MP3 and WMA formats. Also has a rechargeable battery.  Comes with electrical adapter, SD card, and documentation.  It has 4 GB internal storage; also has an FM radio. Asking $300 or best offer.  Contact Kurt Ottman at kaottman@att.net, or phone him at (386) 872-6581.

For Sale:

20” Samsung monitor in good condition. Asking $45. 15” Dell monitor in good condition. Asking $30. Desktop computer with Windows 7, JAWS 15, Office and Nero. Includes 15” monitor. Asking $325.  Brand-new LG 450 unlocked cell phone with text-to-speech feature. Asking $60. Sony laptop with 14” screen, 1 TB hard drive, 4 gigs RAM, Windows 7, JAWS 15, Office, Nero, and anti-virus software. Asking $800 or best offer. Call Jose at (818) 220-6256.

For Sale:

PAC Mate Omni BX400 with Perkins-style keyboard. In excellent condition; hardly used. Includes wireless Internet smart card, 8 GB compact flash card, and documentation. Asking $300 without display; with 22-cell display, $400; with 40-cell display, $500. Trekker Breeze. Hardly used; in perfect condition. Comes with SD card and charger. Asking $400 or best offer. Victor Reader Stream original edition, in perfect condition. Comes with power adapter. Asking $150. Contact Shawn Cox at (585) 905-8630 or via e-mail s.cox76@frontier.com.

For Sale:

Blazie Engineering BTL-2000 20-cell braille display with speech. Hardly used; works well. Also has a 45 RPM single of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles as it came out originally. Contact Ken Buxton at (647) 438-1000 or (416) 900-6231.

Blind Bind, by John Lee Clark

Why is my bladder growing
badder?  Banks
love to give me blanks. 
 
I do not wish to bend
to blend in, yet I try not to
clash with cash.
 
To flail is to fail.
 
I cannot flee a fee,
my feet are not fleet enough
and flight would be too much
of a fight.
 
But if a goat can gloat
and each place have its pace,
why should not I not be plain
without pain? 
 
I should plant and never pant
nor pay to play.
I should save myself
from being a slave.
 
The best way to sow
is slow.
 
— John Lee Clark

ACB Officers and Board

ACB Officers

President
Kim Charlson (1st term, 2015)
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
 
First Vice President
Jeff Thom (1st term, 2015)
7414 Mooncrest Way
Sacramento, CA 95831-4046
 
Second Vice President
Marlaina Lieberg (1st term, 2015)
15100 6th Ave. SW, Unit 728
Burien, WA 98166
 
Secretary
Ray Campbell (1st term, 2015)
460 Raintree Ct. #3K
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
 
Treasurer
Carla Ruschival (2nd term, 2015)
148 Vernon Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
 
Immediate Past President
Mitch Pomerantz
1115 Cordova St. #402
Pasadena, CA 91106

ACB Board of Directors

Berl Colley, Lacey, WA (final term, 2016)
Sara Conrad, Stevensville, MI (1st term, 2016)
Katie Frederick, Columbus, OH (1st term, 2018)
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX (final term, 2016)
George Holliday, Philadelphia, PA (final term, 2018)
John McCann, Falls Church, VA (1st term, 2016)
Allan Peterson, Horace, ND (final term, 2018)
Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, MD (1st term, 2018)
Dan Spoone, Orlando, FL (1st term, 2016)
David Trott, Talladega, AL (1st term, 2018)
Ex Officio: Denise Colley, Lacey, WA

ACB Board of Publications

Denise Colley, Chairman, Lacey, WA (1st term, 2015)
Ron Brooks, Phoenix, AZ (1st term, 2015)
Tom Mitchell, Salt Lake City, UT (1st term, 2016)
Doug Powell, Falls Church, VA (1st term, 2016)
Judy Wilkinson, San Leandro, CA (1st term, 2016)
Ex Officios: Nolan Crabb, Hilliard, OH
Bob Hachey, Waltham, MA
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA

Accessing Your ACB Braille and E-Forums

The ACB E-Forum may be accessed by e-mail, on the ACB web site, via download from the web page (in Word, plain text, or braille-ready file), or by phone at (231) 460-1061. To subscribe to the e-mail version, visit the ACB e-mail lists page at www.acb.org.
 
The ACB Braille Forum is available by mail in braille, large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, data CD, and via e-mail. It is also available to read or download from ACB’s web page, and by phone, (231) 460-1061.
 
Subscribe to the podcast versions from your 2nd generation Victor Reader Stream or from http://www.acb.org/bf/.