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Hawaii Association of the Blind

"advocating independence, equality and opportunity for the blind"

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We are the State affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.
HAB welcomes DONATIONS to support its projects like scholarships, grants and training. Contact Ameila Cetrone for particulars. All donations are tax-deductible.

Photos-Audio-Video        Archives

News & Announcements


*RSVH 2016 Annual Convention
*In Memoriam - Filo Tu
* HAB Scholar Speaks
*HAB at the 2016 ACB Convention
*50th HAB Annual Convention
*Microsoft, American Council of the Blind Partner to Advance Accessibility
*Rite Aid to Offer Talking Prescriptions Devices to Customers with Visual Impairments
*EVA (Estimated Van Arrival System
*Talking and Brailled Prescription Labels
*Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming
*The Bus - Rider Alert!
*ADP website
*Med-Quest: Repeal of the Basic Health Hawaii program rules
*HAB Officers 2016-2017


RSVH 2016 Annual Convention

Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Hawaii (RSVH)
2016 Annual Convention


The Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Hawaii celebrated its 2016 Annual Convention at the Ho'Opono Auditorium on 15 October 2016. The audience enjoyed the flow of useful information form the speakers. Mr. Ivo Kerelski of Alakai Vending Machines brought an actual vending machine and demonstrated how to use an app called "PayRange" on the smart    phone. PayRange allows the customer to purchase an item with just his smart phone. The vending machine does not need to accept credit cards. Using bluetooth technology, the smart phone provides the customer's credit card info to the machine.

Dr. Pat Morrisey, the new Director of UH Center on Disabilities Studies spoke on Social Security matters especially those disabled individuals who are working under the SSA's Work Incentive Program. She explained about SSA 1619B. Tad Matsuno, BEP Vending Facility Specialist spoke on sound vending practices that would help blind vendors achieve and even improve profitability.

Kat Fujimoto, BEP Manager apprised the audience of the latest developments in Hawaii's Blind Vending Program. An open forum gave everybody a chance to relive their memorable experiences with the late Filo Tu. Filo's administrative assistant in Blind Vendors Ohana, Inc. - Maricen Olipares shared her stories on Filo.


The same set of officers were re-elected for 2017.



 In Memoriam - Filo Tu

Aloha To Our Brother Filo!

After battling cancer for sometime, our dear friend, brother,
charismatic champion of the blind Filo Tu finally succumbed to the dreaded disease on Wednesday, 27 July 2016. This wonderful and generous man has touched our lives more specifically the blind of Hawaii. Through his company,
Blind Vendors Ohana Inc., together with his other blind vendor partners Walter Ishikawa and Tom Morikami, he unselfishly offered his time and effort in pursuit of the betterment of the blind. While doing this act of giving, he never lost focus on his family who considers him the leader of the clan.

We, the Hawaii Association of the Blind, will forever cherish all those loving memories of our beloved brother Filo.

Farewell Filo and Aloha! Mahalo for dedicating much of your life helping us.




HAB Scholar Speaks

The Hawaii Association of the Blind recently awarded a scholarship to a visually impaired high school student to take college credits. She delivered a prepared speech at the November 2016 HAB meeting where she expressed her sincere gratitude as well as fears about college life being a visually impaired high school student taking up advanced college subjects.

Below is her speech.

"Good Morning,
My name is Alaina Atanes and I want to express my deepest appreciation and thank you all for funding my University of Hawaii, West Oahu, Psychology 499,
Research Project. I would like to take a few minutes to explain the amazing opportunity that you all have given me.
It’s fair to say that a high school student taking college classes is almost completely unheard of. I feel mind blown just standing here being able to
talk about it! I've been a part of the Early College program since my Sophomore Year and through it I’ve learned a lot about school and about myself.
For as long as long can remember, I’ve heard such exciting things about college and life after high school. And with constant encouragement and “push”
from my family, for as long as I can remember, I've dreamt of attending a four year university despite of the hardships that I may have to face on the
path to it.
When I began Early College, I was thrown in with wide eyes and very limited backstory on the program itself. The stares from others when I walked into
the classroom and my own anxious thoughts had me terrified. On the first day, I sat at the back of the room and listened to the professor lecture on about
our upcoming curriculum. While I attempted to look over the assignments with my monocular, I remember my stomach sinking when she added another paper onto
that list. It was English 100 though, so what did I even expect? I spent weeks after that just going through the class wondering what I was doing there,
wondering if I even belonged there. I had such a fixed mindset of the entire situation.
Ironically, that’s what the research for my Psychology 499 paper is about: mindset and the theory of what exactly holds together our self-confidence and
passions. “Fixed mindset,” “growth mindset,” and “grit,” are three words that I’ve been hearing nonstop for the past month, all of which fit evenly into
the story I’ve been writing for the past seventeen years.
I’ve faced a number of challenges because of my eye condition. Whether it’d be explaining myself thoroughly to everyone because no one will ever completely
just understand “I can’t see,” whether it’d be the anxious walks through the school hallways everyday where I have to try so hard to not bang into anyone
because even if I’m not in the way I get yelled at, whether it’d be the bullies that occasionally and unexpectedly pop up sometimes, whether it’d be the
struggle of making real friends who fully accept
me, or whether it’d be accepting myself and my own identity because knowing that I see things in a whole other perspective than other people do, isn’t
so easy sometimes.
However, though blindness may come with these so called “side effects”, I’m not discouraging it. I may not be the most perfect person or the person that
people want me to be but on most days, I’m grateful for this special aspect of me that truly allows me to stick out.
I’ve been labeled from head to toe and underestimated too many times to count and I never have the guts to stand up for myself. So i’ve spent a long time
attempting to prove myself in some way and this has carried over and manifested into the school system as a want to become a more engaged student. Though
some teachers may call me too much of an overachiever, I’m only trying to be and put out the best version of myself.
And it is again because of my support system: family, friends, teachers, adults and just people like all of you here today who believe in me, that I can
push through. Blindness isn’t a barrier to success, a disability is an ability that makes people like me stand stronger and as an inspiring teacher once
said to me, ‘There’s always a way.”
I plan to use the knowledge that I gain from my Psychology 499 class to comb further through the interesting field of psychology. Clinical psychology especially,
as i’ve recently realized that I want to be able to help people. I want to be able to grow a growth mindset, to be able to be the support for once and
give back for everything I have learned from many inspiring individuals around me.
Thank you all for believing in me, thank you all for accepting me, thank you."




HAB at the 2016 ACB Annual Convention



The following HAB members attended the 2016 ACB Annual Convention in Minneapolis, MN:

Art Cabanilla, Stacey Phasouk, Bobby Widhalm, Sharon Ige, James Gonsalves, Landa Phelan, Onkar Nerurkar, Keao Wright, Sazza Koirala, Bill Self, and Antonio Vega.


Our very own, Mr. Antonio Vega, delivering his speech regarding his ACB scholarship at the 2016 ACB Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minesota.




50th HAB Annual Convention

HAB is gearing up for a big celebration next year in preparation for its golden anniversary. Plans are afoot to hold the convention at the Ala Moana Hotel on March 4th 2017.

Stay tuned for the latest on the forthcoming celebration.

Microsoft, American Council of the Blind Partner to Advance Accessibility
Source: American Council of the Blind

REDMOND, Wash and ARLINGTON, Va – Dec. 17, 2015 – Microsoft Corp.
and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) on Thursday announced they will
partner on efforts to advance the accessibility of information technologies.
Through the partnership, the ACB and Microsoft will work together to enable
planned updates to various Microsoft products to better meet the needs of
persons with visual impairments.

“To deliver great solutions for people with disabilities, accessibility must be
central to our culture and an integral part of how we design and build Microsoft
products,” said Rob Sinclair, chief accessibility officer at Microsoft. “By
working with the ACB, we will gain valuable user insights about our
experiences. This will help us deliver more powerful assistive technology as
well as more inclusive and empowering experiences to help every person on
the planet achieve more.”

The partnership will provide a more consistent flow of information and
dialogue between Microsoft and the ACB. It better enables Microsoft to deliver
on its mission of empowering every person on the planet to do more, and
responds to customer requests. The response from all those involved about
the renewed partnership and future work has been incredibly positive.

“Having access to information through accessible technology is critical for our
members as they pursue education, employment and perform everyday
tasks,” said Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the ACB. “We are pleased to
build on the previous engagements we’ve had with Microsoft, and we look
forward to working more closely with the teams to review and test new
features and upgrades. We encourage interested parties to follow the
progress of these efforts at ACB.org.”

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and
productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to
empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Rite Aid to Offer Talking Prescriptions Devices to Customers with Visual Impairments

Source: https://www.riteaid.com/corporate/news?

Camp Hill, Pa. (February 18, 2016) - Rite Aid announced today the nationwide
availability of talking prescription devices to assist customers with visual
impairments. The device will be provided at no cost to customers who are
blind or who are visually impaired.

"It's important that all of our customers, including those who are blind or
visually impaired, are able to access and understand information on their
prescriptions," said Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of
pharmacy. "By offering these devices, we're helping customers who have
difficulty or who are unable to read a standard prescription label understand
and safely take their medications as prescribed by their physician."

Visually impaired customers can request a talking prescription device at any
of the nearly 4,600 Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide.

"The American Council of the Blind and the California Council of the Blind
congratulate Rite Aid on taking this step to better serve the needs of its blind
and visually impaired customers," said Kim Charlson, American Council of the
Blind president. "This action clearly illustrates their motto, 'With Us, It's
Personal,' and we are proud to have collaborated with Rite Aid to bring this
valuable resource to their customers."

Rite Aid is also able to provide customers with large print prescription
information sheets.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation's leading drugstore
chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and
fiscal 2015 annual revenues of $26.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid,
including corporate background and press releases, is available through the
company's website at www.riteaid.com.

The American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy
organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans
throughout the country with members organized through seventy state and
special interest affiliates. ACB is dedicated to improving the quality of life and
promoting equal opportunity for all people who have visual impairments. Its
members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the
advancement of policies and programs that will enhance independence for
people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB can
be found by visiting www.acb.org.

The California Council of the Blind is a state-wide consumer-based advocacy
organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Californians.
CCB is dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and
independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and
affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement
of policies and programs, which will enhance independence for people who
are blind and visually impaired. More information about CCB can be found by
visiting the CCB website at http://ccbnet.org/.

(Estimated Van Arrival) System

The Oahu Transport Service (OTS) Paratransit or HandiVan has
implemented the Estimated Van Arrival System in Oahu which enables
HandiVan customers to monitor their van's arrival. The software is
available on computers and smart phones. It is not an app that you can
download on your smart phones. Rather you visit the EVA website where
you sign in to monitor your van. This system relieves you of calling the
HandiVan to ask for the status of your ride and kept on hold for several

To sign up, you need to call the HandiVan Customer Service (808-456-
5555 x3) and request for customer ID number. This is different from the
number you have on your HandiVan ID. Once you get your customer ID
number - a four digit number, you can try signing in on your smart
phones. First you must run your web browser on the phone then enter
the following address


Next you type your five digit customer ID, then your last name. Click on
login and you're in!

The system will give you information on
- date of reservation
- estimated time of pick up
- Van Number

As this is is only an estimate, the HandiVan can make changes to the
estimated time of pick up and Van Number. And this is true based on

Maybe in the future they can develop a reservation system that runs on
your smart phone or computer available 24/7.


Braille and Talking Prescription Labels

Humana recently announced that it is now offering talking prescription labels and braille prescription labels. The company is also offering health plan documents in alternative formats, and has a long-standing policy of digital (web and mobile) accessibility.

The press release and agreement linked below are the result of Structured Negotiations between Humana, the American Council of the Blind, and three blind Humana members. No lawsuit was filed. Humana is the 5th company to sign a settlement agreement on talking prescription labels as a result of Structured Negotiations.

Humana talking prescription label / plan document press release: http://lflegal.com/2015/09/humana-press/

Humana talking prescription label / plan document settlement agreement: http://lflegal.com/2015/09/humana-agreement/

Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming

Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students
with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced in March 2015 the availability of free,
video-on-demand children’s television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.

Dozens of children’s and family TV episodes may now be viewed online featuring closed captioning and descriptions through the Education Department’s Accessible Television Portal project.
Website: http://www.dcmp.org/accessible-television

. Among the shows: “Ocean Mysteries,” “Magic School Bus,” “Bill Nye the Science Guy,”
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Expedition Wild” and “Peg + Cat.”

Check out the U.S. Department of Education's press release here!


TheBus - Rider Alert!

Beginning TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2015, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, buses traveling westbound on Kamehameha from Kaahumanu Road to Waiawa Road will be detoured from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday, except holidays), due to lane closures near the Acacia Road intersection. Shuttle buses will operate westbound from Kamehameha/Pali Momi, onto Farrington Highway, into Waipahu, to Mokuola then along Waipahu Street to Kamehameha Highway and up through Waipio Gentry to provide service to the affected area.
Note: Service subject to change without notice

AFFECTED AREA: Westbound from Kamehameha Highway/Kaahumanu to Kamehameha Highway/Waiawa Road.
AFFECTED ROUTES: A, 40, 42, 53, & 62
DATE: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 until further notice.
HOURS: From 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday, except holidays)

Buses will DETOUR westbound as outlined below:

Westbound: TheBus will travel the regular route to Kamehameha/Kaahumanu, detour right Kaahumanu, left Moanalua, onto the H-1 West, Waipahu Exit, onto Farrington, and then resume the regular route.

Eastbound: No Detour.

Westbound: TheBus will travel the regular route to Kam/Kaahumanu, right Kaahumanu, left Moanalua, left Hoomalu, left Hoolaulea, right Waimano Home Road, and then resume the regular route.

Eastbound: No Detour.

WESTBOUND SHUTTLE: Service Available 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Westbound: TheBus will travel from Kamehameha/Pali Momi, onto Farrington Highway, right Mokuola Street, right Waipahu Street, left Kamehameha Highway, right Waipio Uka Street, right Moaniani Street, to end at the Moaniani / Ka Uka bus stop.

Eastbound: No eastbound service.

ADP website
On Jan 9, 2015, at 6:12 AM, Fred Brack via adp-list <adp-list@acb.org> wrote:

The ADP website has links to the correct DVD with description on our DVDs page. The links take you to Amazon. Neither Amazon nor anyone else online lists whether or not a given DVD has a description track; but if you pick up an actual copy of the DVD, the fact that it is described is listed under LANGUAGES on the DVD cover. They usually start out with English
followed by some Dolby characteristic, then any language like Spanish or French, and then English Audio Description, English DVS, or some close variation. I generally examine DVDs at Kmart, Target, and Walmart, so buying them there should work fine, if we list them. Almost every DVD that has a description track is also available at Redbox for rental. On the rare occasion that a rental version doesn't have a description track, we note that fact online, although we only know by someone reporting it.

Bottom line: if we list it, in almost every case all copies of the DVD sold or rented in the United States will have a description track.

Fred Brack, Webmaster
For the ACB's Audio Description Project (ADP) www.acb.org/adp --

The Audio Description Project!
An Initiative of the American Council of the Blind

Here you will learn everything about Audio Description, from what is it, to samples, to who does it, to how and where it is available in various media. You can also join our online discussion, follow us on Facebook, and be notified of updates to ADP pages.

You can follow the Audio Description project by joining their mailing list.
Just  subscribe to:
ACB Audio Description Project Discussion List


Med-Quest: Repeal of the Basic Health Hawaii Program Rules


Pursuant to sections 91-3 and 92-41, Hawaii Revised Statutes, notice is hereby given that the
Department of Human Services, Med-QUEST Division, will hold a public hearing to consider the
repeal of the Basic Health Hawaii program rules, and the adoption of new administrative rules. A
brief description of the proposed administrative rule amendments are listed below.


This new chapter establishes the State Funded Aged, Blind, and Disabled Program, which will
cover certain lawfully present non-pregnant adult non-citizens who are aged, blind or disabled and
not eligible for the federal Medicaid program due to immigration status. Eligible individuals in the
State Funded Aged, Blind, and Disabled Program will receive medical assistance benefits that are
identical to the benefits received by aged, blind and disabled individuals under Medicaid.


Chapter 17-1722.3 is being repealed.


This new chapter establishes the Premium Assistance Program. This is a state funded program
that pays the health insurance premiums due to qualified health plans purchased through the
Hawaii health insurance exchange (called the “Hawaii Health Connector” or “the Connector”)
by certain lawfully present non-pregnant adult non-citizens who are not aged, blind or disabled and
not eligible for the federal Medicaid program due to immigration status. Eligible individuals must
been rolled in a silver level qualified health plan and receive advanced premium tax credit and
maximum cost-sharing reduction through the Connector, and have household income of less than
100 percent of the federal poverty level as reported by the Connector to the individual's qualified
health plan.

Date: January 5, 2015
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Kalanimoku Building, Room 322 B & C 1151 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

All interested parties are invited to attend the hearing and to state their views regarding the
proposed rules either orally or in writing. If written testimony is presented, a copy shall be provided
to the presiding officer at the public hearing, or mailed before the public hearing to:

Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division

Attention: Policy and Program Development Office P. O. Box 700190
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707

Residents of Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui, Lanai and Molokai wishing to present oral testimony may
also contact the Med-QUEST Division on the respective neighbor islands no earlier than seven
(7) days before the Honolulu hearing date to have their testimony recorded:

Med-QUEST Division Med-QUEST Division
East Hawaii Section Maui Section
88 Kanoelehua Avenue, Room 107 210 Imi Kala Street, Suite 101
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 (933-0339) Wailuku, Hawaii 96793 (243-5780)

Med-QUEST Division Med-QUEST Division
West Hawaii Section Molokai Section
75-5591 Palani Road, Ste. 3004 65 Makaena Place, Room 110
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740 (327-4970) Kaunakakai, Hawaii 96748 (553-1758)

Med-QUEST Division Med-QUEST Division
Kauai Section Lanai Section
4473 Pahee Street, Suite A 730 Lanai Avenue
Lihue, Hawaii 96766 (241-3575) Lanai City, Hawaii 96763 (565-7102)

A copy of the proposed administrative rule amendments will be available for public viewing from the
first working day that the legal notice appears in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii Tribune
Herald, West Hawaii Today, The Maui News, and The Garden Island for a period of thirty calendar
days after the publication of this notice, from Monday – Friday, exclusive of state holidays,
between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the appropriate Med-QUEST Division offices on
their respective islands listed above. On Oahu, the proposed amendments will be available at 601
Kamokila Boulevard, Room 518, Kapolei, Hawaii 96707, between the hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30
p.m., and 801 Dillingham Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817,between the hours of 9:00
a.m. to 2:00 p.m., from Monday – Friday, exclusive of state holidays.

The proposed administrative rules are also available at the Virtual Rules Center located at the following website:


Special accommodations (i.e. interpreter, sign language interpreter, large print, taped materials,
or accessible parking) will be arranged, if requested no later than seven (7) working days before
the scheduled public hearing on Oahu by calling 692-8058. Neighbor island residents requesting
special accommodations should contact the appropriate Med-QUEST Division Sections on the
respective neighbor islands listed above.



HAB Officers 2016-2017
The HAB Board members appointed Mr. Norman Ota as Interim Second Vice-President until the next election in March 2017 consequent to the passing of Mr. Filo Tu.

The following were elected during the 49th Annual HAB Convention on March 12, 2016 at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu.

President: Art Cabanilla
First Vice-President: Donald Thomson
Second Vice-President: Norman Ota

 Secretary: Maureen Sheedy
Treasurer: Amelia Cetrone

Board Members:
Warren Toyama

Landa Phelan

Myles Tamashiro
Ronald Flormata

Alan Kobayashi

Convention Delegate: Art Cabanilla







Hits since April 6, 2004

Hawaii Association of the Blind
225 Liliuokalani Ave. #5D, Honolulu, HI 96815
Phone: (808) 521-1402
Email: habinfo@hawaii.rr.com


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