Here and There edited by Sharon Strzalkowski

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

Braille Summit in Massachusetts

For the first time ever, braille readers, librarians, braille teachers and other professionals with a stake in the future of braille will convene in a braille summit June 19-21 at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass.  This event, organized by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, will solicit ideas on ways libraries can promote and support braille literacy.  There will be five tracks: braille readers, library selection and collection development, braille production, braille technology, and promoting braille literacy and awareness.  Participants will have the opportunity to listen to experts on each of those topics, then engage in discussion with their peers.  To view the agenda, visit

Scholarship Winners

Learning Ally recently honored six students with its National Achievement Awards.  They are: Michael Jernigan, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Brenton Fuchs, Connecticut; Nichole Green, Lincoln, Neb.; Jack Greene, Boulder, Colo.; Nathan Bouldin, Birmingham, Ala.; and Keith Amundsen, Staten Island, N.Y.  Jernigan, Fuchs and Green received the Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards, which are presented to blind or visually impaired college seniors or graduate students. Bouldin, Amundsen and Greene received the Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Awards, which are presented to high school seniors with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Science Sense Tours

New York's Museum of Natural History offers Science Sense tours to visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Specially trained tour guides highlight specific themes and exhibition halls, engaging participants through extensive verbal descriptions and touchable objects.  Science Sense tours are available to individuals or groups, and are free with museum admission. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Programs may be subject to change. For additional information, or to register for a Science Sense tour, call (212) 313-7565 or e-mail
Saturday, July 13th, 10 a.m.: Ocean Life. Plunge into the ocean to explore aquatic habitat dioramas in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.
Thursday, August 15th, 2:30 p.m.: North American Mammals.  Discover the dioramas in the stunningly restored Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals, which offers a snapshot of North America's rich environmental heritage.

Voice-Compatible Weather Station

Netatmo's Urban Weather Station, made for iPhone personal weather station with air quality sensors, is now compatible with Apple VoiceOver!  It allows users to monitor indoor and outdoor environmental elements such as: CO2 concentration, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, noise pollution levels and air quality, indoors and outdoors, and sends data via Wi-Fi to the Netatmo app on an individual's iPhone.  For more information, visit

Big-Button Remote Controls

Big Button Universe recently released its newest product line, big-button universal remote controls, designed specifically for visually impaired, seniors and those with memory problems.  The BB20 controls a TV and one other device, such as a cable box.  The BB30 controls a TV and two other devices.  All BBU remote controls feature a large-faced keypad, which allows a senior citizen to easily see and understand which buttons he/she is pressing. Each button is also imprinted with braille, to help both blind and low-vision customers with channel surfing. For more information, visit

Ready for Graduation?

Are you looking for a special gift for your favorite graduate?  National Braille Press has many gift ideas for graduation, including decorative magnets, books and tutorials, pendants, and much more.  Go to or call1-800-548-7323.

Blind Campus Opens with Two Ribbon Cuttings

Blind Campus held an open house April 6th to celebrate the opening of its new office and resource center. Blind individuals and their families as well as center staff joined together to cut the ceremonial red ribbon.
The official grand opening of Blind Campus was held April 18th.  Rock Springs, Wyo.'s mayor, Carl Demshar, was in attendance, along with the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce's executive director, David Hanks; both presented gifts to Robin Lonnevik, executive director of Blind Campus. 
Many events, classes, support groups and clubs are being planned.  If you have any questions, please contact Robin M. Lonnevik, Blind Campus, P.O. Box 2303, Rock Springs, WY  82902; phone (307) 352-9811, or visit the web site,, or e-mail

Karen Gourgey Honored

Karen Gourgey, director of The Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College, was recently honored with two awards for her dedication and service to the blind and visually impaired community throughout the city and state.  New York City Council member Gale A. Brewer presented her with the Matthew P. Sapolin Visionary Award during the 6th Annual Employment & Visual Impairment Conference at Baruch College on April 19.  On April 23, the New York State Association for Education & Rehabilitation (NYSAER) for the Blind & Visually Impaired also recognized Dr. Gourgey's achievements with the Nat Seaman Award, given in recognition of leadership and service to people with disabilities throughout the state. The award was for 30 years of advocacy for furthering the cause of people who are blind and visually impaired.

WonderBaby Wins Award, a web site dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities, is among this year's winners of a Parents' Choice Approved Award in the Website category.  WonderBaby was created in 2006 by Amber Bobnar, after her son Ivan was diagnosed with Leber's congenital amaurosis.  The site offers helpful and practical articles and links, as well as the chance to connect with families in similar circumstances.

Children's Stories from Around the World

Storybud features children's stories from around the world.  It's designed specifically for visually impaired users.  You have 3 different formats to choose from: text versions, audio versions, and combined text and audio versions.  You can download them to your own computer and enjoy them anytime.  Stories are categorized by age, theme, continent and title. For more information, visit, or send e-mail to

Braille Awards & Signs

Rick Hume is a blind entrepreneur who owns an awards recognition company in Kalamazoo, Mich. The R.L. Hume Award Company sells promotional items, engravable gifts for all occasions, trophies and award plaques. The store can customize award plaques and ADA building signs with braille. The selection of braillable items can be reviewed at, or enter our new site, For more information, call the store at (269) 344-2307.

Facebook Group for Overbrook Grads

Are you on Facebook?  Did you graduate from the Overbrook School for the Blind?   If so, there's a Facebook group for you.  Visit

Blind Café

Looking for entertainment or inspiration?  Visit the Blind Café!  It's a place where the blind community can learn, laugh, chat and make long-lasting friendships with people from around the world. Come and check out the music, trivia games, tutorials, interactive chats, and a whole lot more! It's accessible and easy to use.  And it's free!  For more info, visit