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 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.

National Service Animal Eye Exams

2015 marks the 8th annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Since its inception in 2008, more than 30,000 service animals have received free eye exams.
 
The goal of the event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible service animals across the U.S. and Canada throughout the month of May. Service animals include: guide dogs, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and certified-current, and registered therapy animals.
 
This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors, volunteer ophthalmologists and staff. Participating doctors volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge to participate in the event.
 
To qualify, service animals must be active working animals that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. Then they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children’s Books and More from National Braille Press

National Braille Press has produced a number of children’s books in braille or braille-and-print.
 
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter is a children’s favorite for over a century. It’s available in a braille-and-print edition (contracted braille) for ages 3 to 8. Most parents remember what happens when Peter decides that, instead of gathering blackberries with Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, he’ll wander into Mr. McGregor's garden.
 
“Ed and Ted and Ted's Dog Fred” by Andy Griffiths is available in a braille-and-print edition (contracted braille) for ages 4 to 7. It’s written similarly to Dr. Seuss books, with repetition of sounds, a zany plot, and will make anyone who reads it laugh out loud. For more information on this book, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1412-ED.html.
 
And who could forget Elsa, Anna, and Olaf of “Frozen” fame? “Frozen” is now available as a read-along storybook and CD for ages 3 to 9. The CD features thrilling sound effects, word-for-word narration, and the original movie voices. Visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1501-FROZEN.html for more information.
 
Over in the adult section, there are many new books, too.
 
“Out and About: Our Favorite Travel Apps” by Judy Dixon and Doug Wakefield is available in braille (one small volume), BRF, Word, or DAISY file. It includes two dozen travel apps that are, in one way or another, related to moving around – from moving around town to moving around the world. There are even apps for the armchair traveler! With these apps, even the most timid traveler can grab an iPhone and head out with confidence. Every app described in this book has been tested with all iPhone models from the 4s all the way to iOS 8. Only those apps deemed usable and accessible are featured! For more information, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/APPSOUT.html.
 
“Friday Morning Quotes” is new too. It’s a spiral-bound braille booklet with 52 new quotes, one per week for a full year. We love how the funny, inspiring, and sometimes challenging quotes in this collection make for some very strange bedfellows: Helen Keller and Mae West, Nelson Mandela and Andy Warhol, and William James and RuPaul. Visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/QUOTES-FRI.html for more information.
 
Don’t have a computer? That’s no problem. Write to National Braille Press, 88 Saint Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call toll-free 1-800-548-7323.  You can view a list of all books at www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.

New York State School Alumni Reunion

The Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind will hold its annual reunion from Thursday, June 11 to Sunday, June 14, 2015, at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia. The Clarion is conveniently located just off the New York State Thruway at 8250 Park Rd., Batavia, NY 14020-1275; phone (585) 344-2100. Room rates are $87 for standard rooms and $107 for suites.
 
The bus companies that serve Batavia have agreed to provide front-door service for guests traveling from the east and west. For returning alumni who will be traveling from out of state, many of the buses that originate or are destined for Buffalo make stops at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.
 
This year's get-together will include a trivia contest, a trip to a nearby museum and our legendary banquet. And yes, you can bring your spouse. You won't want to miss our 2015 gathering!  For the banquet, you have your choice of rib-eye steak, salmon, chicken, and pasta primavera, which cost from $20 to $25.
 
The registration deadline is Friday, May 1, 2015. To enjoy the hotel room rates above, you must register with treasurer Chet Smalley by May 1. Chet can be reached at 541 W. Gore Rd., Erie, PA 16509-2329; phone (814) 866-3949; e-mail chet_smalley@neo.rr.com.
 
For more information, contact our corresponding secretary, Diane Scalzi, at 21621 Briarcliff St., Clair Shores, MI 48082-1299; phone (586) 337-5226; e-mail dscalzi@comcast.net.