The ACB Braille Forum, November 2015

Downloadable versions available here

The ACB Braille Forum
Vol. LIV November 2015 No. 5
Published by
the American Council of the Blind
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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 1-800-424-8666.
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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 by the Combined Federal Campaign, use this number: 11155.
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For the latest in legislative and governmental news, call the “Washington Connection” 24/7 at 1-800-424-8666, or read it online.
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© 2015 American Council of the Blind
Eric Bridges, Interim Executive Director
Sharon Lovering, Editor
2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201

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President’s Report, Part III, by Kim Charlson

In another case with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of blind federal contractors and ACB against the General Services Administration (GSA), the federal executive branch agency responsible for administering the government’s non-defense contracts. The complaint, filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia, alleges that GSA has failed to provide a web site accessible to blind federal contractors who must register and annually renew their federal contractor registration. The complaint names three individual federal contractors and the American Council of the Blind as plaintiffs.
GSA is responsible for ensuring that recipients of federal funding comply with the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits both the federal government and recipients of federal funding from discriminating on the basis of disability, including blindness. GSA requires federal contractors to register and annually renew their registration on a GSA web site, The complaint alleges that is incompatible with screen-reading software that many blind individuals, including the individual plaintiffs in this case, rely on to navigate the Internet. The lawsuit seeks to force GSA to make its web site accessible to blind federal contractors.
The irony here is that the agency charged with ensuring that others comply with the Rehabilitation Act and make their web sites accessible to the blind is not itself complying with the law. GSA is effectively telling federal contractors to “do as I say, not as I do.” Discussions between the parties appear to be going well.
However, our goal is that become accessible to blind and visually impaired federal contractors, and we won’t rest until GSA has made it accessible.
Now, let me shift to television and audio description. ACB continues to dedicate resources to its world-famous Audio Description Project, ably administered by Dr. Joel Snyder, and with oversight from the ACB Audio Description Project Steering Committee, chaired by Dan Spoone.
We continue to develop and grow the Audio Description Project web site and Facebook page.  If it’s about audio description, you’ll find it on the web site. Please visit and “friend” us on Facebook!
Some ADP highlights include:

  • Providing weekly updates on audio-described DVDs and Blu-ray discs for sale (49 to date in 2015);
  • Providing updates on TV shows airing with video description;
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC now offer over 40 TV series with description, plus there are an equal number on all the other stations combined, not counting the many described programs on PBS;
  • The History Channel began offering description on some shows July 1, 2015;
  • Updating numerous entries to our performing arts, movie, and museum locations with AD;
  • Publishing articles on the expansion of AD on television to 60 markets; Hawaii’s mandate for movie description; and a new AD tour at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum;
  • Emergency signals must be voiced (as of May of this year) so all stations must now have SAP capability by then;
  • Audio Description Institutes – For the first time in 2015, we sponsored our intensive, three-day training for prospective describers in conjunction with the ACB mid-year meeting. We had 21 registrants, with a full complement of participants for the Dallas training later this week.

Much of the ADP’s planning has focused in 2015 on a Dallas “mini-conference” on Tuesday, July 7 for audio description consumers. Check the program for pricing and times.
With a more broad focus toward access, we saw a major development from Comcast as they rolled out Voice Guidance for the X1 platform last fall. Several people from ACB were involved in beta testing of Voice Guidance, including my household, and I can assure you that it has continued to grow and evolve over the past eight months. You will hear more from Comcast on Wednesday, but I have to say that as a corporation, Comcast has invested fully into accessibility at a level that few other corporations can rival. The leadership provided by Comcast and Thomas Wlodkowski is beginning to make an impact on other providers to begin their work to deliver accessibility by the required December 2016 regulatory deadline.
Beginning last summer in Las Vegas, the Audio Description Institute provided training for several employees of Netflix in the key principles of audio description; matched them with mentors who were blind to more fully understand why description makes such a difference in understanding media, events, museums, movies and television. ACB has also been working since December with Netflix and Disability Rights Advocates, a disability rights law firm in Berkeley, on a wide variety of access concerns. We will hear from the primary content manager from Netflix on Monday morning, but it is no small accomplishment that dozens of television programs from Netflix now have described content, and there are over 75 described movies available to customers who are blind as well.
ACB continues to make communication a high priority. ACB Radio is available on the telephone system at (605) 475-8130 – where you can listen to the six ACB Radio channels, including this convention. You can also listen to “The ACB Braille Forum” and “The ACB E-Forum” by calling (605) 475-8154.
For those using technology to keep up with information, ACB is there for you as well through social media.
The ACB Twitter account has gained more than 300 new followers since last convention, many of whom are other entities in the blindness system and in the broader disability rights community. This increased exposure on Twitter gives ACB much more recognition and visibility in the social media realm. I want to publicly express appreciation to both the Twitter and Facebook teams for ACB. The Twitter team consists of four individuals who handle tweeting responsibility for designated weeks in a rotating schedule. The team includes: Lisa Brooks (Ariz.), Jim Denham (Mass.), Michael Malver (Minn.), and Michael Capelle (Wis.). John McCann (Ariz.) serves as board liaison to the Twitter team, overseeing its overall operation and filling in as necessary. For those of you who want to follow the convention on Twitter, use the hashtag #ACB15.
ACB’s Facebook page is now two years old, and it has undergone amazing growth during this past year. Two years ago, on July 2, our Facebook page was born. Last year, I reported that it had grown to over 550 followers.  Now, we have over 1,330 followers.
ACB treasurer Carla Ruschival (Ky.) is the Facebook team leader.  She has been assisted this year by Eric Bridges, Katie Frederick, John McCann, Emily Starr, and a special thanks to ACB second vice president Marlaina Lieberg and new Arlington office staff member Kelly Gasque. ACB continues to have a strong commitment to expand its available communication channels and to utilize technology to further meet the information needs of our membership.
In addition to avenues of communication already discussed, I am very excited to announce the development of an ACB Access app for iOS devices that will enhance communication with affiliates, connecting users with ACB key publications, ACB Radio, ACB Reports, and other useful features. The ACB Radio management team has taken on the coordination of this project under the capable leadership of Jeff Bishop of Arizona. In fact, thanks to the Arizona Council of the Blind for their initial funding of the development of the app for ACB. We are hopeful that the app will be available in early 2016.   
In closing, the American Council of the Blind and our thousands of members continue to have much work to do over the next several years, not simply to advance programs and services for blind and visually impaired people, but to preserve what we’ve worked so hard to obtain during previous decades. ACB proudly represents all blind and visually impaired people regardless of economic status or functional ability. We advocate for a wide spectrum of programs and services, for people of all ages and capabilities. Our work is important, it isn’t always easy and at times, it can be disappointing. Nonetheless, that is our charge and our mission. When we have victories, they are even more exciting as they are hard-fought, and we should celebrate our successes as important steps in our advocacy. Working together we can make change happen … and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with all of you to make sure our dreams for people who are blind become realities.

An Update on the Taxi Discrimination Lawsuit, by Eric Bridges

On Sept. 3, 2015, Judge Maurice Ross (the judge presiding over ACB’s and Eric Bridges’ lawsuit against Yellow Cab, Grand Cab, Pleasant Taxi and Elite Cab) denied all four defendants’ motions to dismiss the lawsuit.  The cab company defendants had raised several issues in an attempt to dismiss or narrow the lawsuit, and the court rejected each of the defendants’ arguments.  The arguments that the court rejected were:

  1. Standing to Sue for Eric – The defendants had argued that Eric did not have standing to sue because he could not demonstrate that he planned to use a cab from these specific companies in the future. The court found that the prior testing by the ERC and the D.C. Taxi Commission (along with the WUSA9 report) demonstrated that the discriminatory practice was widespread and that Eric did not need to show an intent to use a specific defendant’s cab company in order to allege a threat of future harm.
  1. Standing to Sue for ACB – The defendants argued that ACB did not have standing to sue on behalf of its members. The court rejected this, finding that ACB can sue on behalf of its membership in addition to just Eric.
  1. Sufficiency of the Pleadings – The defendants argued that we had not alleged sufficient facts to give rise to an inference that the reason the taxis passed Eric was because he is blind and had a service animal. The court found that we had alleged more than sufficient facts, based on the prior studies we cited about the problem and the facts that were specific to the four incidents. The court believed it to be more than reasonable to infer that the taxis passed Eric because he had a service animal.
  1. Statute of Limitations – The defendants tried to argue that Eric had not filed a charge within the requisite one year from the time of the incident. The court rejected this argument, noting that Eric had contacted OHR well within the one-year time frame.  They also argued that ACB’s claims were not timely because it had never filed an OHR charge and so had not filed a lawsuit within one year of the incident. The court rejected this argument too, holding that ACB could take advantage of the fact that its member (Eric) had filed within the one-year time, and that ACB could “piggy-back” off Eric’s charge. This is a very important holding (and is likely the first of its kind in the nation) – this will have ramifications in many future discrimination cases in that an organization can now come into a case after the statute of limitations may have expired, so long as one of its members had correctly satisfied the statute of limitations.
  1. Negligence Claims – The court held that even if our ADA and D.C. Human Rights Act claims ultimately fail, we also have viable negligence claims against the cab companies related to the negligent hiring and supervision of their drivers.

In sum, this is a complete victory on these motions – we will now move into discovery with all of our claims alive and intact.  This decision will also have precedential effect on future discrimination cases.
If you would like to read the judge’s orders on the motion to dismiss, visit

Reps. Cartwright, McKinley Champion Comprehensive Bipartisan Legislation to Transform Special Education for Students with Sensory Disabilities

WASHINGTON – On Sept. 16, 2015, U.S. Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced the bipartisan Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535), named for two pioneers in the education of deaf and blind students.  This landmark legislation would dramatically improve educational results for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind.
In 1975, Congress enacted America’s federal special education law known today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Cogswell-Macy Act would amend and modernize IDEA to address the largely unmet unique needs of students with sensory disabilities. The bill would: ensure that students with vision and/or hearing disabilities are properly identified, evaluated  and served, especially when they may have additional disabilities; guarantee that students with sensory disabilities are provided with the full array of special education and related services they must have to truly receive a free and appropriate public education; promote and support teachers and associated professionals who are critical to the delivery of such services; and hold all levels of our public education system accountable for these expectations.
“Upwards of 350,000 students are deaf or hard of hearing, and an estimated 100,000 have blindness or vision loss. Yet less than one-third of those students are reported as having those needs under IDEA. That is completely unacceptable,” Rep. Cartwright said.  “This legislation would ensure that students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind receive an equal and appropriate education and have access to vital services.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to guarantee that all children can succeed and achieve their potential.”
“Americans have made great strides since 1975 toward improving the lives of children dealing with hearing and sight disabilities, but there is still more work to be done,” stated Rep. McKinley. “We need to ensure the nearly half a million kids with these disabilities have the same opportunity as other children to learn and develop skills. This is a common-sense step to ensure we are helping these children.”
The American Foundation for the Blind and Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf have endorsed the Cogswell-Macy Act, along with more than 100 other leading national, regional and community-based organizations.
“The introduction of this bill represents a momentous step toward the transformation of this country’s special-education system in a manner that will truly allow for students who are blind or visually impaired to succeed in a 21st century classroom,” said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind (ACB).
“The Cogswell-Macy Act is the most significant national proposal to improve education for students who are deaf-blind we’ve seen in decades,” said Mussie Gebre, president of the national consumer advocacy group, DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA).  “When America’s deaf-blind children and youth have their unique communications and learning needs fully met, are provided with essential supports such as intervener services, and are empowered by our national education system to rise to their full potential, well then, just you look out because they’re on their way to achieve great things. Just watch us and see for yourself!”
“Our national special-education law has been a success at getting kids with disabilities into their neighborhood schools, but what we haven’t done yet is to make sure that students with vision loss get the education they deserve once they get in the schoolhouse door,” said Mark Richert, director of public policy for the American Foundation for the Blind.  “We’ve waited 40 years, and we’re not waiting another 40 to give kids who are blind or visually impaired an education that is worthy of their tremendous potential. That’s why the Cogswell-Macy Act is imperative.”
“We expect that the passage of the Cogswell-Macy Act will rectify years of misapplication of IDEA for deaf and hard-of-hearing children everywhere,” said James E. Tucker, superintendent of the Maryland School for the Deaf and president of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.  “Deaf and hard-of-hearing children continue to experience language and academic delays because their educational environments are not optimal or even conducive to their learning. Every student’s Individualized Education Program needs to be student-driven and focused on the child’s language, cognitive and social development.”
NAD president Chris Wagner stated, “Every deaf or hard-of-hearing child deserves access to a quality education, and this act will be an important step toward reminding states of their accountability regarding deaf, hard of hearing, blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired children’s needs.”

ACB Adopts Cumulative Giving Societies, by Tom Tobin

In 2014, ACB successfully implemented an Annual Giving Society program – a proven development strategy to move donors up the giving pyramid in a focused and donor-centric manner. In January 2015, 193 individuals, households or affiliates had participated in the Annual Giving Society program with gifts totaling $201,896.
So, with a successfully completed first year of Annual Giving Societies, ACB’s board of directors approved the Cumulative Giving Society rationale, which will complement the annual giving program. This will continue to encourage ACB stakeholders to increase their philanthropy over time, moving them up the giving pyramid and, perhaps, culminating in a planned gift of some kind.
The Patrons’ Society for cumulative gifts totaling $100,000 or more was established in 2008 and includes bequests. Four additional Cumulative Giving Societies have been implemented, set at levels that are achievable and are structured in the same manner as the Annual Giving Societies.

  • 1961 Founders Society for cumulative gifts totaling $7,500-$19,999
  • Visionaries Society for cumulative gifts totaling $20,000-$49,999
  • Independents Society for cumulative gifts totaling $50,000-$74,999
  • Benefactors Society for cumulative gifts totaling $75,000-$99,999

As these are Cumulative Giving Societies, a donor’s annual giving would accrue year to year, driven by the Annual Giving Societies. Individuals, households and affiliates would be eligible for membership.
What Counts toward Membership?
Since the Cumulative Giving Societies would be driven by the Annual Giving Societies, the same criteria would apply.
If you need more information, or have questions about this new strategy, contact Tom Tobin, director of development, at, or call the Minnesota office at 1-800-866-3242.
— Tom Tobin

Tours and Transit in Minneapolis by Janet Dickelman

As I write this, the ACB board and members of the convention committee are getting ready to visit Minneapolis.  The local host committee is in place and has provided a list of potential tour venues, and is working on compiling a list of potential speakers to assist affiliates and committees with their programming.
Minneapolis will be the place to be beginning Friday, July 1st, and running through Saturday, July 9th. We hope you will plan to join us at the Hyatt Regency hotel. For those of you who are always anxious to find out about tours, here is what we have planned thus far!

Fun for Theater Lovers

If you enjoy audio-described theater, the beautiful Guthrie Theater will hold an audio-described performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” an enchanting and sweeping musical romance set in an island paradise during World War II, on Saturday, July 2nd.  It features such memorable songs as “Bali Hai,” “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”  Prior to the matinee performance, enjoy a sensory tour, which will allow you to explore some of the props, costumes and set pieces used in “South Pacific.” This tour will include lunch.

Thrill Seekers Soaring High!

Join ACB for an adventure of a lifetime, a sunrise hot air balloon ride where you will float along at treetop level in the Saint Croix River Valley. The cost for this unique experience will be approximately $200, a greatly reduced price thanks to Stillwater Balloon. This will be a weekday sunrise adventure well worth the cost and the 4:30 a.m. departure time!

Take Me out to the Ball Game!

Major league baseball fans will love attending a Twins game at beautiful outdoor Target Field in Minneapolis!

Blind Services Tour

We are working out the details for a visit to the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind and the Minnesota library, both located in Faribault, on Thursday, July 7th. We are hoping to visit Canterbury Downs for horse racing, take a dinner cruise on a riverboat and attend an Indian powwow. In addition, the Twin Cities offer many wonderful museums and other attractions for our tour coordinator Rhonda Trott to consider. There will be much, much more to come regarding tours in future Forum articles.


Minnesota has a unique option as part of its paratransit system. To be certified for paratransit, referred to as Metro Mobility, call customer service at (612) 602-1111. I was told by customer service you can call immediately or up to a week prior to your arrival in Minnesota to set up your visitor certification. Not certified for paratransit? No problem! As long as you are blind or visually impaired, you can be certified for Metro Mobility. You will be issued a temporary Metro Mobility card that you can use with your state ID. Rides on Metro Mobility can be reserved up to four days prior to the day of travel and are $3 or $4, depending on time of day. You can also ride city buses and light rail for 75 cents.
Now for the unique option! Metro Mobility offers a service called premium same-day taxi. To book this service, you would call Metro Mobility and be given a booking ID, which you would then use to call the taxi company. Your fare for premium same-day is $5; the next $15 is covered by Metro Mobility, then users are responsible for anything over $20. Although you have to provide Metro Mobility with a departure time, when you call the taxi company to activate the ride you can put the ride on “will call” and then just call back and request your taxi when you are ready to go. The phone number to set up rides with Metro Mobility is (612) 602-1100.

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 If you’ve been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again. Don’t have e-mail? No problem! Convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (605) 475-8130.

Hotel Details

Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis are $89 single or double; there is an additional $10 per night charge per person for up to four people in a room. Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%.  For reservations by telephone, call Central Reservations at 1-888-421-1442, and be sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit and follow the 2016 convention link.

Convention Contacts

2016 exhibit information:
Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2016 advertising and sponsorships:
Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via e-mail,

It’s Holiday Auction Time, by Carla Ruschival

It’s a holiday celebration! It’s bidding and buying and lots of holiday fun! ACB’s fourth annual Holiday Auction will be coming to you live on ACB Radio from Louisville, Ky. on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 11 p.m. Eastern (4 to 8 p.m. Pacific).
Kick off the holiday season in style. Join in the fun from anywhere in the country, from any computer or any telephone.
The ACB Radio staff and Holiday Auction Committee are teaming up to bring you a wonderful shopping experience and the perfect opportunity to support ACB Radio! Whether you are searching for that special gift for a loved one or a holiday surprise for yourself, the 2015 Holiday Auction has it all: sparkling jewelry, mouth-watering holiday treats, exquisite music boxes, and gifts for everyone on your list. There’s a Shirley Temple doll in her original box, a beautiful quilt handcrafted by our own Margarine Beaman, a special issue University of Kentucky basketball signed by Karl-Anthony Towns (2015 NBA number-one draft pick), and so much more.
Auction preview pages are now available on the ACB web site; follow the Holiday Auction link at to browse the preview pages and choose the items on which you plan to bid.
Then, on Dec. 6 between 7 and 11 p.m. Eastern, tune in to ACB Radio by computer at, or by telephone by dialing (605) 475-8130. Michael McCarty and Carla Ruschival will once again be your on-air hosts; Larry Turnbull and Jim Fenn will be in the studios, working behind the scenes to keep us on the air; and Patti Cox and Paula Wiese will be taking your calls and registering your bids.
Bidding is easy, and will be fast and furious. Two telephone numbers and multiple telephone lines will allow us to quickly take your bids.
To bid on an item, listen for it to be announced on the air. Call 1-877-904-1080 or (502) 571-1080 to place your bid. If you receive a busy signal, hang up and try again. Please note that there are more local lines available, so you may wish to use the 502 number for bidding.
Items will be shipped to winners as soon as possible. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer. Payment must be made by credit or debit card; sorry, no checks or cash payments can be accepted due to the short processing time.
Homemade treats will be shipped by the donor; all other items will ship from the ACB Minnesota office.
Happy bidding, and thanks in advance for your support of ACB Radio.

Durward K. McDaniel: A Timeline

Timelines are at best subjective structuring of an individual’s life and career. The timeline below is such a structure and does not purport to set forth the totality of Durward McDaniel’s 78 years.
1915: Born November 27 in Cross County, Okla.
1930: Lost vision in oil field accident. Subsequently attended Oklahoma School for the Blind.

1939: Member, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, until 1994.
1944: Received undergraduate and law degrees from University of Oklahoma. Practiced law in Oklahoma City for 24 years; admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

1947: President, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, until 1950.

1949: Co-founder, Oklahoma League for the Blind.
1953: Founder, LASS Federal Credit Union, serving the blind.
1961: Charter member, nascent American Council of the Blind.

1968: ACB national office established in Washington, D.C.  Appointed first ACB national representative; served until retirement in 1981.

1969: First ACB special-interest affiliates formed.
1974: Board member, National Industries for the Blind; to 1975 and 1981 to 1983.
1981: Legal counsel, Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America, until 1994. Succeeded as national representative by Oral Miller. Served on ACB board.  Subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas.
1991: Awarded Migel Medal from American Foundation for the Blind for outstanding service to the blind and visually impaired
1993: Received Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

1994: Died September 6 in Austin, Texas.

1996: DKM Ambassador Award and DKM First-Timers Award approved by ACB board.
2002: Inducted posthumously into Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field.

Remembering Durward, by Allen Casey

A century has passed since his birth, more than two decades since his death, and fewer of us have personal memories of Durward K. McDaniel, the father of ACB.  Who was this tall, quick-witted, persistent, erudite lawyer from Cross County, Okla.?  Who was this man affectionately dubbed “The General?”  Who was this man variously characterized as an organizer, leader, advocate, motivator and mentor?  Who was this man who labored for more than 50 of his 78 years to protect the rights and improve the lives not only of the blind and visually impaired but also the lives of all people with disabilities?
In “People of Vision,” the late Marjorie Megivern offers an answer to these questions: Durward McDaniel “. . . was the heart and soul of this organization (ACB).  His special genius was to help build an organization that was strong and effective and able to carry on without his guidance.”  The end product, according to Megivern, was an organization “. . . not about one individual but about all the blind people in America who participate in Council efforts to lift up and enable their lives.”  Those who knew Durward well, who worked with him to build an organization committed to dignity and opportunity, offer similar assessments of the man and his life’s work.
Cathie Skivers, who knew Durward almost as long as anyone in ACB, was present at the organizational meeting in Kansas City’s Aladdin Hotel in July 1961.  Cathie attributes her years of service to ACB and CCB to Durward’s encouragement and his reluctance to accept a negative response to a request for help.  “When you talked to that man,” she recalls, “you had to be careful because you didn’t know what he would talk you into.”  She credits the survival of ACB in its early years to Durward’s selfless commitment and his ability to motivate others.  Similar memories came from longtime Pennsylvania Council of the Blind executive director John Horst, who cites Durward’s membership development skills and the members’ loyalty to him and to ACB in its early years.
Anyone with a special interest – sports, for example – was a potential target for Durward’s efforts to promote ACB.  Oral Miller, a past president of ACB and Durward’s successor as national representative, discovered that his interest in bowling opened a door for Durward.  The result was an invitation for Oral to speak to the 1969 national convention in Charlotte on behalf of the American Blind Bowling Association (ABBA).  As fellow attorneys, Oral and Durward shared a passion for legislation affecting the blind and visually impaired.  As much as Durward loved to create nicknames for others, Oral returned the favor by calling the only person named Durward that he had met, the “Honorable Dogwood.”
Durward’s penchant for nicknames also extended to words of wisdom intended to instruct and motivate.  In response to criticism from another blindness organization, Durward replied simply:  “Don’t take the bait.”  He truly believed that only ACB and its mission mattered.  Roger Petersen, a member of numerous ACB committees through the years, cites one of Durward’s favorite sayings: “Liberal about what we don’t have and conservative about what we do have.”  A recipient of one of his nicknames was Bernice Kandarian, a founding member of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI), who earned the name “Kan-do-darian” for her volunteer work in the national office and on the resolutions committee.
Among Durward’s strengths was his commitment to bringing younger members into ACB.  He reached out to vendors and students who responded to his call and became leaders in ACB, including inter alia Ed “Doc” Bradley, Carla Ruschival, Chris Gray and Marlaina Lieberg.  Their impact was felt at the local, state and national levels.
Ed Bradley, himself an Oklahoma native and later president of ACB of Texas, was a young vendor when he met Durward.  Thus began a long and sometimes challenging friendship, as Ed’s  frequent questioning prompted Durward to refer to him as “one of his young upstarts.”  Ed recalls Durward’s role in organizing the National Education and Legal Defense Service (NELDS), Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA), the blind students with Ed as the first president, ACB of Texas and a credit union serving the blind (LASS FCU).  “He would help you,” Ed remembers, “whether or not he agreed with you. But he would do his best to change your mind.”
Currently ACB treasurer, Carla Ruschival was a recent high school graduate when she first met Durward at the 1965 Louisville national convention.  He “had time for any blind person” who wanted to talk with him, but you soon learned that he did not “take NO for an answer.”  When Durward visited Kentucky to re-establish a state affiliate, he asked Carla to join.  She responded that she would when he recruited 100 members.  At an organizational meeting a short time later, he informed her that the new Kentucky affiliate had 107 members.  “Now Carla,” Durward intoned in his deliberate way, “where are your dues?” As Carla recounts today, “He lived to recruit.”
Chris Gray was struck immediately upon meeting Durward by his “compelling presence.”  A past president of ACB, Chris journeyed in 1976 from Washington state to that other Washington on the Potomac to work as a volunteer student intern in the national office.  He saw in Durward the poise and charm necessary to gain and hold the attention of others and the determination to push forward until achieving the objectives he believed vital to ACB and its mission.  Durward’s view of the world around him was one of breadth and inclusion.  He developed a strong interest in civil rights, leading ACB to become the first disability group to join the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.  He likewise was committed to protecting the rights of Native Americans.  Chris remembers well Durward’s example and admonition to his fellow advocates that they remain positive.
Former ACB second vice president and secretary Marlaina Lieberg met Durward through the Blind Leadership Club of Boston.  Durward, she recalls, “believed in blind people.”  He advocated a “global view of the blindness community,” one which was “inclusive of all persons without regard to a specific orientation, interest or background.”  This global view, Marlaina asserts, is characteristic of ACB today.  Durward was a soft-spoken man who “exuded tireless energy, working constantly for the rights of blind and low-vision people.” While he is correctly regarded as an icon, he is more importantly remembered as the father of ACB.
One final tribute is due not to Durward, but to his wife and partner, Aileen.  The consensus is unquestioned that Aileen was the unseen power behind the throne.  Without her steadfast support, could he have accomplished all that he did?
This is but a glimpse of Durward K. McDaniel, an all too brief collection of memories shared by a few of his fellow advocates.  He was an accomplished political strategist who did not permit negative odds to spoil his vision for ACB.  He survived the trials and tribulations of local, state and national politics.  He was an icon, and he was the “heart and soul” of an organization committed to protecting and advancing the rights and interests of all people with disabilities.  Perhaps Roger Petersen has given us the most succinct summation of Durward: “He was the best source of information about blind people before Facebook.”
(Note:  Appreciation for assistance in preparing this article and the companion timeline is extended to Ed Bradley, Melanie Brunson, Chris Gray, John Horst, Bernice Kandarian, Sarita Kimble, Marlaina Lieberg, Oral Miller, Roger Petersen, Carla Ruschival, Cathie Skivers and the University of Oklahoma Alumni Association.  Additional resources: Megivern and Megivern, “People of Vision”; “The Oklahoman,” Sept. 8, 1994; “The Washington Post,” Sept. 9, 1994; Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field.)

The ACB Mini Mall: Holiday Happenings, by Carla Ruschival

There’s gifts for everyone at the ACB Mini Mall. Visit the Mini Mall from the ACB home page at, or order by phone by calling 1-877-630-7190.
When you shop at the ACB Mini Mall, you help ACB. Proceeds from every sale support the work of the American Council of the Blind.

Mall Shops:

A mall isn’t a mall without lots of shops, and the ACB Mini Mall is no exception. Grab a cozy blanket wrap at the Clothes Rack. Stop by Bags and Tags for a duffel bag, beach tote, or messenger bag. Say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” with special gifts from the Holiday Castle. Visit the ACB Logo Shop for jackets, thumb drives, luggage tags and more – all with ACB logos. Check out the Lazy Susan for mugs, steins and shot glasses; Home Impressions for decorative pillows; the Radio Wave for ACB Radio logo items; Pages and Tracks for cookbooks and other books and CDs, and the Tech Stop for stocking stuffers like SD cards and SD card organizers.

Cane Kiosk:

Oops! You broke your cane? It slid down a grate, or you left it on the bus? Visit the Cane Kiosk in the Mini Mall for top-quality folding graphite and aluminum canes.

Shop Amazon:

Support ACB when you purchase products through the link on any ACB Mini Mall page. ACB receives a commission on most purchases; excludes products sold in the Amazon Marketplace.

Just Movies:

Follow the link on the Mini Mall home page to an alphabetical listing of all audio-described DVDs currently available. Use the Amazon links to purchase your DVDs; you’ll be sure you are buying the versions with audio description.

The Price List:

Our Mini Mall price list includes products available online and by phone. New products may be added or discontinued in the online mall prior to publication of the price list, and prices are subject to change without notice. Price lists are available in braille, large print, audio CD, or electronic format.

Contact Us:

Visit the ACB Virtual Mini Mall by following its link from the ACB home page at Subscribe to the mall e-mail list by sending a blank message with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to  Reach us by phone at 1-877-630-7190, or by e-mail at

In Memoriam: Charles S.P. Hodge: Mentor, Colleague, Friend, July 30, 1946-June 18, 2015, by John McCann

It has always struck me as one of the more intriguing ironies of life — at least as I’ve experienced it — that the people who have played the most significant roles in my life are those for whom I can’t seem to fix any definitive memory of our first meeting.  So it is with me and Charlie Hodge, though I know it was certainly occasioned by my developing interest in the American Council of the Blind. While I was at Harvard Law School (1977-80), I had heard about Charlie since, after graduating from Amherst College in 1968, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1971.  While I had made the decision to forego any level of significant involvement in ACB during my law school studies, the members of the Bay State Council made sure I heard about Charlie, and they encouraged me to reach out to what was then the American Blind Lawyers Association, an ACB special-interest affiliate with which Charlie was extensively involved.
As it happens, upon graduating from law school, I relocated to northern Virginia to accept employment with the federal government.  It was then that I decided to become involved with ACB; more specifically, the Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, which was a very young state affiliate at the time, but one which was about to experience very significant growth with the rapid addition of several local chapters, one of these being in northern Virginia.  I don’t recall whether Charlie was the ODCBVI president at that time, but he was certainly in a leadership position, and being a northern Virginia resident himself, he took a particular interest in the development of the northern Virginia chapter.  If I had to guess, and as stated at the outset of this article I do, I’m thinking I met Charlie at my first ODCBVI meeting where the NOVA chapter’s charter was presented and accepted.
It should surprise no one that as fellow Harvard Law School alums and as fellow lawyers with a particular passion for protecting and expanding the rights of blind and visually impaired people, our friendship developed rather quickly, spurred on in no small measure by our mutual affinity for bluegrass music and our love of hockey.  My move to northern Virginia occurred at the same time that Charlie assumed a national presence in ACB with his election to the national board.  I think it is fair to say that Charlie was in the vanguard of the “second wave” of ACB leaders — the ones who stepped up in the early to mid-‘80s as those who had been instrumental in forming ACB began to become less involved.  It was a very interesting time in ACB’s growth and development, and through my deepening friendship with Charlie, I was privileged to have been given a fairly intimate perspective on this period in ACB history.
Of course, even with his expanding responsibilities and national presence in ACB, Charlie remained deeply involved in legislative matters in Virginia, and it was in this context that Charlie truly became my mentor.  When I think of my first few years in ACB, I think of our frequent bus trips to Richmond to testify in opposition to planned budget cuts and, in 1984-85, to support passage of the Virginians with Disabilities Act, a very progressive piece of legislation that predated the Americans with Disabilities Act by five years. 
As time passed, I gained an ever-increasing appreciation for the depth of Charlie’s commitment to ACB, which, in turn helped me to become a stronger ACB member.  His institutional memory was truly eidetic, and he was hence an invaluable resource to Jim and Marjorie Megivern as they undertook to write ACB’s history.  He was a tireless advocate for the rights of blind and visually impaired people and of all that ACB stands for, and thus it was personally painful for me to witness Charlie’s struggle as his failing health robbed him of the ability to continue contributing to ACB at a level commensurate with his abiding love of our organization.
While there are so many things for which Charlie can fairly be remembered, his commitment to ACB is perhaps most powerfully attested to by his championship of our life membership program.  He well understood that the protection of our rights as blind and visually impaired people would always be an ongoing struggle, and I can think of no better way to honor Charlie’s memory and his lasting contributions to ACB than to continue growing this important source of revenue in support of all that Charlie held so dear.

2015 Resolutions Summaries, by Mark Richert

The following are brief summaries of the resolutions adopted by the ACB membership at the 2015 conference and convention held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in July. Please note that these summary statements are not the authoritative voice of the ACB membership; they are simply intended to capture the overall scope and intent of the membership as authoritatively embodied in the full text of each of the resolutions. You can find the full text of resolutions at
Resolution 2015-01 commemorates the life and work of the late Walter Spillum for his pioneering contributions to the field of international blindness education.
Resolution 2015-02 calls upon the National Endowment for the Arts to require, as appropriate, audio description in its grants, to consider a national registry of described content, and to work with ACB’s Audio Description Project Committee.
Resolution 2015-03 demands that the Federal Communications Commission respond to repeated calls by the vision loss community to immediately implement a plan to hire professionals with expertise in blindness and visual impairment.
Resolution 2015-04 congratulates and thanks Melanie Brunson for her 17 years of devoted service to ACB.
Resolution 2015-05 expresses profound disappointment in Microsoft for its failure to ensure full accessibility of the Windows 10 operating system, calls upon Microsoft to change its practices to ensure accessibility of products at initial release, and demands that complimentary copies of Microsoft Outlook be made available to remediate Microsoft’s latest browser’s inaccessibility.
Resolution 2015-06 calls upon President Obama to direct the Attorney General to complete revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act implementing regulations within one year, ensuring that online-only public accommodations are covered by the ADA’s Title III non-discrimination obligations.
Resolution 2015-07 urges the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to rescind the requirement that electronic currency identifiers are only distributed to patrons who affirm their U.S. citizenship in writing, and reiterates ACB’s demand for accessible paper currency.
Resolution 2015-08 urges the U.S. Congress and the Rehabilitation Services Administration to address an array of serious failures in sound public policy affecting people who are blind or visually impaired embodied in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and its proposed implementing regulations.
Resolution 2015-09 voices outrage that the National Council on Disability utterly failed to honor its responsibilities to carry out a national public awareness initiative regarding accessible prescription medication labeling.
Resolution 2015-10 acknowledges that the needs of people with low vision are being neglected with respect to the accessibility of mobile apps, and directs the ACB Information Access Committee to work with the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International to develop and disseminate material addressing these unmet needs.
Resolution 2015-11 identifies the lack of a single national credential for assistive technology trainers as a significant barrier to competence and quality, and calls upon the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) to promptly develop and offer such a credential.
Resolution 2015-12 describes a variety of customer difficulties using Greyhound’s web site, customer services, and affiliated web sites, and calls upon Greyhound to improve its web site accessibility and related issues.
Resolution 2015-13 remembers the availability of a low-cost accessible microwave oven offered by Hamilton Beach and urges the appropriate entities to bring such a low-cost accessible appliance back to market.
Resolution 2015-14 commends Netflix for beginning to offer both original and third-party-produced audio-described content.
Resolution 2015-15 demands that the state of California allow follow-up and after-care services to be provided to guide dog teams in the state without requiring out-of-state instructors who provide such services to be licensed in California.
Resolution 2015-16 urges the Rehabilitation Services Administration to adopt federal regulations implementing the Independent Living Services to Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) program that would require state agencies to only contract with service provider organizations staffed by professionals possessing expertise in blindness and visual impairment as identified in such regulations.
Resolution 2015-17 reaffirms ACB’s support for a $2 for $1 gradual reduction in Social Security benefits when a beneficiary who is blind or visually impaired enters or returns to the work force.
Resolution 2015-18 thanks the management and staff of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.
Resolution 2015-19 commends and thanks the convention host committee and the American Council of the Blind of Texas for their hospitality and a successful national conference and convention.
Resolution 2015-20 expresses deep appreciation to convention volunteers for their generous assistance.

Affiliate News

Sagebrush 2016 National BEP Training Conference Announcement

Mark your calendar for the next RSVA® Sagebrush National BEP Training Conference, beginning on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 with the RSVA board of directors meeting and Sagebrush registration at 1 p.m. and ending on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 at noon. Note: Valentine’s Day will be on the Sunday preceding the conference. Why not bring your Valentine and celebrate the beginning of another spectacular learning opportunity at the Golden Nugget Hotel in downtown Las Vegas?
Our theme for 2016 will be “Inspiring, Collaborating, and Communicating.” We will have a full program of knowledgeable speakers and an opportunity to visit with exhibitors and sponsors. Past Sagebrush conference summaries are available at The agenda and archives from 2015 are available at; they are also available on the RSVA web site (look under the Sagebrush conference link).

Blind Crafters’ Group

Are you someone who likes to create beautiful and unique craft items using different materials? Do you knit, crochet, make jewelry, or make crafts in general? Then this group is for you! Minh Ha and Lina Coral of the Bay State Council of the Blind are interested in starting a group for blind crafters to get together and learn from one another. Get in touch with Minh at to learn more.

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 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.

Ski for Light

The 41st annual Ski for Light (SFL) International Week will take place from Sunday, Jan. 24th through Saturday, Jan. 30th, 2016. It will take place in northwest lower Michigan on the grounds of Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, Mich. Located just 45 minutes from the Traverse City airport, Shanty Creek Resorts is a 4,500-acre complex containing three housing and entertainment villages, both cross-country and downhill ski trails, a tubing hill, several swimming pools and hot tubs, a fitness center and spa, and much more.
If you are a novice and want to learn how to cross-country ski, or if you have skied before and just want to be matched with an experienced guide and meet new friends for a wonderful week of fun in the snow, this is the event for you! 
Applications are due Nov. 1. Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis. For more information, or to apply, visit  If you have questions, contact Bob Hartt at, or by calling (703) 845-3436 between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Sierra Regional Ski for Light

Sierra Regional Ski for Light provides guided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for the blind and visually impaired. The experience of gliding through the snow in the Sierra Mountains is simply magical. Our friendly and experienced guides and coordinators are ready to welcome you.
SRSFL provides transportation from Sacramento, Calif. to Tahoe Donner Cross Country. For more information, scholarship opportunities, and the skier application, visit and click on “Skier Information.”
The 2016 schedule is as follows:
Saturday day trips: January 23, February 6, April 2. For more information about day trips, contact Betsy Rowell at (916) 362-5557, or e-mail
Three-day event: March 5-7. The hotel is the Best Western in Truckee, Calif. 
You are invited to join us Friday night, March 4, at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Rancho Cordova; it costs an additional $47. SRSFL will hold an informal meet and greet from 6 to 8 p.m. Be sure to bring money for salad and pizza. We will depart at 7:15 a.m. Saturday from Sacramento to Truckee, Calif. For more information, contact Cindy Quintana at (510) 483-2948, or e-mail

Want to Be an Intern at NASA?

NASA has internships for high-school students and for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM fields. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for college and 3.0 for high school. High-school students must be at least 16 years old at the time the internship begins.
Students can apply now for summer 2016 internships. The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2016. To apply, register for an account at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at, then take a look at the opportunities available. Internships run for 10 weeks for college students and six weeks for high-school students.
Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit a completed application whether they apply to an opportunity or not. However, applying to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest. You may apply to as many as 15 opportunities.
Students who are selected for summer internships will receive an offer by e-mail sometime after Jan. 15, 2016. They will then have five days to accept or reject the offer. If you have questions, or need help applying, contact Kenneth A. Silberman at (301) 286-9281, or via e-mail,

Survey on Workplace Accommodations

Stacy Rademacher, a graduate student in the department of education at Florida State University, is looking for individuals with disabilities who have made decisions about asking for accommodations in the workplace.
You are invited to share your perceptions on job accommodations requests by (a) answering a few questions about yourself and the organization you work with, and (b) completing a few measures on your ability to request accommodations. This survey will take approximately 20 minutes.
Individuals who complete the survey will be eligible to enter a lottery and have a chance to win one of four $25 Amazon gift cards.
If you are an individual with a disability (18 years of age or older), and have had a need for an accommodation in your workplace within the past three months, go to to take the survey.
If you have any questions about the research study, or need alternate formats of the survey, contact Stacy by e-mail at

High Tech Swap Shop

For Sale:
PAC Mate Omni QX for sale. Asking $400 plus shipping.  Contact Brenda by e-mail,
For Sale:
Standard Perkins brailler. Asking $150. Contact Jean at (530) 401-0673.
For Sale:
PowerBraille 40-cell refreshable display.  Is compatible with JAWS without any Windows drivers. Asking $350 or best offer. Contact Philip by e-mail,, or call him at (703) 581-9587.
For Sale:
Braille Sense U2, in open box; has less than 15 minutes of use. Has a qwerty keyboard with all accessories. Asking $2,300 or best offer. Braille Sense Mini with Perkins-style keyboard, in open box; comes with all accessories. Will throw in USB LCD display. Asking $2,200. Contact Victor Andrews by e-mail,, or (917) 559-3800.

ACB Officers, ACB Board and Board of Publications

ACB Officers

Kim Charlson (2nd term, 2017)
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
First Vice President
Jeff Thom (2nd term, 2017)
7414 Mooncrest Way
Sacramento, CA 95831-4046
Second Vice President
John McCann (1st term, 2017)
8761 E. Placita Bolivar
Tucson, AZ 85715-5650
Ray Campbell (2nd term, 2017)
460 Raintree Ct. #3K
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Carla Ruschival (3rd term, 2017)
148 Vernon Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Immediate Past President
Mitch Pomerantz
1115 Cordova St. #402
Pasadena, CA 91106

ACB Board of Directors

Jeff Bishop, Tucson, AZ (partial term, 2016)
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA (final term, 2016)
Sara Conrad, Stevensville, MI (1st term, 2016)
Katie Frederick, Worthington, OH (1st term, 2018)
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX (final term, 2016)
George Holliday, Philadelphia, PA (final term, 2018)
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: Doug Powell, Falls Church, VA

ACB Board of Publications

Denise Colley, Chairman, Lacey, WA (2nd term, 2017)
Ron Brooks, Phoenix, AZ (2nd term, 2017)
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, Columbus, 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 (605) 475-8154. To subscribe to the e-mail version, visit the ACB e-mail lists page at
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, (605) 475-8154.
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