A Quarterly Newsletter sponsored by the
Mississippi Council of the Blind, Inc.
Table of Contents
MCB June 2011 Board Motion Sheet
NORTH MISSISSIPPI CHAPTER NEWS
JACKSON CHAPTER UPDATE
GREETINGS FROM THE PINE BELT CHAPTER
HAZLEHURST CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS
GULF COAST CHAPTER HAPPENINGS
FROM THE MCB AWARDS COMMITTEE
THE JAMES DOYLE CASE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
MDRS WELCOMES NEW OVRB DIRECTOR
WINTER READING PROGRAM & DIGITAL PLAYER UPDATE
NEWS FROM MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY'S REHABILITATION RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER ON BLINDNESS AND LOW VISION (MSU-RRTC)
NOKIA RELEASES NEW FREE SCREEN READER
FCC REINSTATES VIDEO DESCRIPTION PROGRAMMING
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW
Tax deductible contributions may be sent to:
MS Council of the Blind
P O Box 31112
Jackson, MS 39286
Anyone wishing to remember the MS Council of the Blind in a last will and testament may do so by including a special paragraph for that purpose. If your wishes are complex, please contact MCB for clarification.
Contributions to the James Doyle Case Memorial Scholarship fund or to the Carter Gable Memorial Technology Assistance Fund should be appropriately marked, and sent to the above address.
Phone MCB at 601-982-1718, or 888-346-5622
Visit our web page at http://www.acb.org/mcb
Editor: Alison Smitherman
1412 Wilhurst St., Jackson, MS 39211
Home Phone: 601-366-5523; Cell Phone: 601-331-8084
Holiday greetings to one and all! I want to take a moment to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
We are all familiar with acronyms. So, today I want to share an acronym with you. It is "CCG." Doesn't spell anything, does it? Yet it is the foundation of any organization, whether it is an advocacy organization or a service-oriented one. I know you're wondering what these letters stand for. Well, the answer is: Commit, Communicate and Give. For MCB to reach its highest potential, it will take all of us to commit in whatever area you would like to serve in, whether that be in a local chapter or on the state level. Then after you make the commitment, you need to communicate your thoughts and your needs in order to fulfill your commitment. So, now that we have committed and communicated, it is time to give, which may be the most difficult part of involvement in an organization. You have to give of yourself, your time (our most valuable commodity), and sometimes your money.
With the loss of Bingo, CCG will be our most valuable tool for growth in MCB. We need to adopt this acronym for those who are involved heavily in the local chapters as well. I am putting forth this thought at this time because it's going to take all of us working together, by committing, communicating, and giving, to reach the goals and levels of service we are used to in MCB.
I want to remind you to start making plans for the State Convention in mid-April. It is also once again time to pay your dues. By now you should have received your membership forms. Remember, if you send your dues in by December 31st, you will be eligible for a $100 drawing at State Convention. If you are like me, you could sure use an extra one hundred dollars! By getting your dues in, MCB is better able to keep its records updated. Thanks for your help in this matter.
May your Holiday Season be filled with fun, food, and fellowship with family and other loved ones!
Note: The following motions were seconded and approved.
1. To accept the April 2011 pre-convention and post convention board meeting minutes.
2. To accept the Treasurer’s report.
3. To accept the operations line in the budget in the amount of $29,225.00.
4. To accept the donations line in the budget of $10,000.00.
5. To accept the Public Awareness and Outreach line in the budget of $2,750.00.
6. To accept the Scholarship Information budget line in the amount of $300.
7. To accept the Organizational Memberships budget line of $1,750.00.
8. To accept the Networking and Advocacy budget line of $18,500.
9. To allocate $20,000.00 for this fiscal year in technology.
10. That all applicants for technology grants who applied before June 1 of this year apply again.
11. To raise the co-payment for the technology grant program from ten per cent to twenty per cent.
12. To accept the Scholarship budget line of $12,000.00.
13. To allocate $200 for our two representatives to the MAER conference in August.
14. To allow the Fund Raising Task Force to spend monies as necessary and incidental for mailing purposes.
15. To send Mike Duke as our representative to the ACB national convention; with expenditure not to exceed $1,500.00.
16. To adjourn.
Greetings from the North Mississippi chapter to all our fellow Council members and friends.
Well, as usual, our cheese sale fund raiser went quite well. Well enough, that we extended it through December 15th. Along with the cheese sale fund raiser, we will also continue to have our “penny rolling” fund raiser in the month of January. As always, our chapter will hold a canned food drive during the month of December as we do each quarter. It certainly brings great joy to us all to be able to help those in need with these canned food drives. Also, in the spirit of giving to others during this wonderful season of joy and happiness, each of our members who choose to do so have been donating $1.00 each month to give to a family in need at Christmas time. We most graciously appreciate our members who continue to give so abundantly. In addition to this busiest of months, we will be having a Membership Drive/Christmas Luncheon on December 3rd at O’Charley’s restaurant. We hope to have a great turnout and enjoy a delicious meal while fellowshipping with one another.
We here in North Mississippi would like to wish you all a joyous Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year!!! Until next time.
Sara M. Rogers
Greetings from the Capitol City and the Jackson Chapter! Things are going well here. The Jackson Chapter held its annual business meeting/Christmas lunch at the Student Center on the campus of MSB on Saturday, December 3rd. Congratulations to the following people, who were elected to serve on the Chapter Board for the next year: Kenny Maddox, President; Jan Hawthorne, Vice President; Ralph Smitherman, Secretary; Peggy Maddox, Treasurer; and Bonnie Thompson, Three-Year Board Member.
We have held 50/50 drawings at our socials and at the Christmas party this year, with the monies raised going toward helping a blind family in need for Christmas. The Chapter also participated in the Marines' Toys for Tots Campaign.
Our chapter still has 96 members. We had a very successful year with our three fundraisers: A night with the Braves, a pancake breakfast at Applebee's, and the selling of Braille/Large Print calendars from the American Printing House for the Blind. I would like to thank all our Chapter members for their participation in our fundraising efforts and remind them to get behind the Chapter's new President and Board and support them as they have supported us this year.
The Pine Belt Chapter members wish everyone a very merry Christmas. We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that 2012 will be a good year for you.
The Pine Belt Chapter is doing well. Some of our members have already paid their dues for next year, plus some new members. We have a fund raiser going on now. One of our members has recently completed a training session at the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center, in Jackson.
Garland Steadman and his guide dog, Bosley, spent four weeks at the Rehab Center. Garland's main objective was to learn JAWS (a speech program for the computer). He went through the evaluation process at the Center. He took a course in Typing, Mobility, Daily Living and Computer with JAWS.
Garland told me some funny things that happened to him while he was in rehab. I had to laugh when he told me that he was told to keep the bathroom door locked between his room and the adjoining one. He searched for the door about 20 minutes. He went and told someone that he couldn't lock the door, he couldn't even find the door. He learned that there was no door in this particular room. In mobility, one day, the instructor put his hand in the middle of his back, which meant for Garland to get behind him. Garland didn't know this and he thought his back was itching, so he started scratching Robert's back.
We know that Bosley can go anywhere that anybody can go, but some people don't understand that. When someone tells him, "Mr., you can't bring that dog in here!" he just says, "Call the FBI." One day he went into a store, and the cashier told him that he couldn't bring that dog in there. Garland said, "He's a working dog." She asked him, "What kind of job does he have?" Garland just laughed and told her, "He's an accountant."
Garland went to Pilot Guide Dog School in Columbus, Ohio four years ago and trained with Bosley and brought him home with him. Bosley was 13 months old when Garland got him.
I am glad that Garland shared this information with me. He told me that he is happier now and that he feels more independent. Everyone at Addie McBryde was really nice to him, and it is a wonderful place to go when a person is blind or legally blind and needs help to adjust to a different way of life. He would recommend the Center to anyone.
Greetings from the Hazlehurst Chapter of the Mississippi Council of the Blind.
Currently our rolls are 67 members strong and growing.
We recently held the drawing for the shotgun raffle and the 50-50 split raffle and the winners were announced.
Chapter meetings have been held at Mr. D’s in Crystal Springs and will continue until the Country Fisherman is reopened in Hazlehurst.
Ella Reed presented an interesting discussion on the sleep disorder study she is actively participating in.
The sidewalk project is being checked into by the city board as there has not been any communicated update in the recent past.
The members are gearing up for elections next month, when we select the new chapter representatives for the coming year.
In closing, we would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving, and may we take a moment to truly give thanks for the bounty we are given.
I am happy to report that the Gulf Coast Chapter had its annual business meeting in November and our chapter elected officers for the 2011 - 2012 year.
Michael Mason is returning to office as our President.
John Erickson is also returning to office as our Vice-President.
Melba Armstrong was elected as our Secretary.
Felicia Cook was elected as our Treasurer.
Sandy Freed was elected as our 1 year board member.
Tim Watts is continuing his term as 2nd year board member.
Michele Redd is continuing her term as 3 year board member.
Michael has already scheduled his first board meeting that will be held on November 19, and they will discuss revising the Gulf Coast Chapter's constitution and committee assignments as well as the annual budget.
We will be having our annual Christmas party in Gulfport at the Golden Corral the first week in December. We have decided that a lively game of "Dirty Santa" will be the featured entertainment.
We wish all members a happy and safe holiday season.
Secretary, Gulf Coast Chapter
Once again it is time for your input and consideration of awards for our 2012 annual MCB Convention Awards Banquet. We invite and encourage you to take part in our selection process.
We will be accepting letters of recommendation from now until February, 15, 2012. Please send information to Janice Gable, Awards Committee Chairperson, 5611 Gladewood Drive, Jackson, MS 39211.
Awards for consideration are:
Icy Day Employer of the Year Award: This award recognizes a company or someone in private business who exercises the practice of hiring a blind or visually impaired individual to perform work skills in their work place.
Jessie Jaynes Employee of the Year Award: Recognizes an individual who is blind or visually impaired for outstanding work performance in the work place.
Annie Denmon Citizenship Award: Recognizes a senior high school student who exemplifies good citizenship in a leadership role in school activities, someone who is outstanding academically.
Frankie Thames Service Award: Recognizes an individual who gives of their time, compassion, and service to the blind community.
George W. Cantin Humanitarian Award: Recognizes an individual who has dedicated a lifetime of good will and service to promote and enhance the lives of blind Mississippians.
Awards Committee Chairperson
The Mississippi Council of the Blind is pleased to offer the James Doyle Case Memorial Scholarship to a legally blind applicant, to the child of an individual who is legally blind, or to a child whose legal guardian is legally blind. (Legal blindness is defined as (1) not more than 20/200 central visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses, or (2) a limitation to the field of vision in the better eye to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees.) MCB will be awarding two (2) scholarships of $6,000.00 each to be paid at a rate of $1,500.00 per year for 4 years.
The scholarship will be awarded to two outstanding individuals enrolled as full-time students in an undergraduate, graduate, or post-secondary vocational/technical program. ACT scores (or graduate school entrance exam scores), cumulative grade point averages and extracurricular activities will be reviewed to determine leadership potential and personal qualities. (APPLICANT MUST HAVE A GPA OF 3.0 OR ABOVE TO APPLY.)
Scholarship winners will be notified in late March. Scholarships will be presented during the Scholarship Luncheon at the Annual State Convention of the Mississippi Council of the Blind. Scholarship winners are encouraged to be present.
James Doyle Case was a graduate of the Mississippi School for the Blind, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his master’s from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He returned to the Mississippi School for the Blind where he taught for twenty-two years. He was greatly loved by students and fellow faculty, serving as a mentor for countless young people. He was voted “Teacher of the Year” five times. Mr. Case assumed a leadership role in organizing the Mississippi Council of the Blind, being a charter member and serving the organization ably as board member, treasurer, and president. All aspects of Mr. Case’s life were committed to ensuring that individuals who are blind be accorded dignity, respect and given the same opportunities to excel as others. When Mr. Case passed away in 1995, the loss was felt throughout the blind community. This scholarship is named in recognition of his outstanding and lifelong contributions to improving the lives of individuals who are blind.
Completed scholarship application and required materials must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2012, and mailed to the following address:
Mississippi Council of the Blind Scholarship Committee
C/O Ms. Ann Maddox
P. O. Box 31112
Jackson, MS 39286-1112
For more information about scholarships, or to obtain a scholarship application and instructions, call Ann Maddox at 601-982-1713 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) recently hired Mr. Richard Sorey as the new Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind. Below is the announcement from Mr. Butch McMillan, MDRS Executive Director, that was sent to all MDRS staff on October 5th, prior to Mr. Sorey's arrival on November 1:
"It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Mr. Richard Sorey as the Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind. Mr. Sorey will be joining the MDRS team on November 1, 2011.
Richard Sorey comes to us after a lengthy and successful career with the Virginia Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired. Mr. Sorey is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia. He attended James Madison University where he received a BS in Communication Arts in 1984 and his MSED in Counseling from Old Dominion University in 1995. He began his Rehabilitation career in 1984 as a Job Placement Specialist in Richmond, Virginia. He later served as the Regional Director for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired. Most recently Richard has served as Director of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Business Enterprise Program.
Please join me in welcoming Richard Sorey to the MDRS team."
Mississippi Council of the Blind also welcomes Mr. Sorey to Mississippi, and we wish him well as he serves in his new position as OVRB Director. We look forward to working with him in the future.
WINTER READING PROGRAM & DIGITAL PLAYER UPDATE
The Blind & Physically Handicapped Library Services
Mississippi Library Commission
It’s that time of year again, the middle of winter with falling temperatures, blowing snow and long, cold nights. Have no fear, your library is here! The Blind & Physically Handicapped Library Services is announcing our annual adult winter reading program. The theme is “Destinations to the World.” Call to join today and to receive a reading guide full of history, adventure, mystery, romance, fantasy, humor, true stories, poems and more. Book requests begin January 21st, and to be eligible for the grand prize drawing, you must read more books by the closing date of February 28, 2012. Email (email@example.com) or call 1-800-446-0892 to join today! From time to time, to improve usability, or to add additional features, the National Library Services’ digital players need updating. All new players going out will have the updated firmware on there, but patrons will need to put the update onto their players. The latest player firmware, version 2.1.7, came out on October 24, 2011. The website link is: http://www.loc.gov/nls/DTBM/DTBMsoftware-2.1.7.zip Libraries and patrons can upgrade players to the latest software in the following manner:
1. Obtain the latest software from the NLS web site: http://www.loc.gov/nls/DTBM/DTBMsoftware-latest.zip
2. Extract (unzip) this file onto a cartridge or USB drive so that the directory "upgrade" appears in the "root" directory of the drive.
3. Turn on the player.
4. Insert the cartridge or USB drive containing the software.
5. The player will announce "Upgrading your player's software."
6. Wait until the upgrade is complete and the player restarts (about 10 seconds), then remove the cartridge.
7. The upgrade will only occur if the player's version is older than the version of the software on the cartridge; reinserting the cartridge will not repeat the upgrade. This is fairly simple to do. However if you need any help, please call and speak to Jerry Roberts. In the Jackson area, the phone number is 601-432-4094 and outside the Jackson area, the phone number is 1-800-446-0892.
NEWS FROM MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY'S REHABILITATION RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER ON BLINDNESS AND LOW VISION (MSU-RRTC)
New! Participant Registry for Blindness and Low Vision Research
Are you or is someone you know interested in participating in blindness and low vision research conducted by MSU-RRTC? In late October, we launched an online participant registry. We invite all who are interested to visit this link to sign up: tiny.cc/participant-registry. This registry will help us with recruitment for current and future research, and will be used to inform individuals about projects at the RRTC that may be of specific interest.
Mentee Eligibility Recruitment Criteria Expanded
MSU-RRTC is continuing active, nationwide recruitment of legally blind college students and professionals for "An Employment Mentoring Intervention," one of six research projects under our current NIDRR RRTC on Employment Outcomes for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired. Mentees must be undergraduate or graduate students under the age of 35 who are legally blind. They must expect to seek employment after graduation, and have basic computer literacy and ability to access online materials. New guidelines expand eligibility to include students who will graduate between April 2012 and December 2014.
Mentors must be legally blind, currently employed or retired from a professional career, and must have basic computer literacy and ability to access online materials. To volunteer for participation in this project, please complete an online eligibility survey for students at http://tiny.cc/mentor-students or for professionals at http:tiny.cc/mentor. For more information, please contact Dr. Jamie O'Mally by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 662-325-2001.
Career Advantage Online Now
MSU-RRTC is happy to announce that we have gone live with our online employment preparation program, Career Advantage for V.I.P.s! This program offers eight self-paced modules of instructional materials and activities to guide job seekers, step by step, from exploration of interests and abilities, through the application and interview processes, to the optimal goal of employment. Career Advantage was developed and tested with youth and young adults who are blind or visually impaired under our recent NIDRR-funded grant, DRRP on VR: Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments.
More information and instructions for accessing Career Advantage can be found here: http://www.blind.msstate.edu/advantage/.
“Like” the RRTC on Facebook!
This summer, MSU-RRTC has joined the trend toward social media by designing a Facebook page. Visit us, "like" us, link to new publications, and follow the most current news at the Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University!
LONDON, United Kingdom – Nokia recently announced a screen reader at Nokia World 2011, in addition to a number of accessibility apps. These new products matter because they will make it easier for people with disabilities to use Nokia devices.
The software supplier for the Nokia Screen Reader is Code Factory, based in Spain. The CEO Eduard Sánchez describes the situation:
For a blind person, the only way to use a mobile phone without accessibility software is to know it by heart. That is, you need to know that if you press the Menu key and scroll down four times, you will be at the Message folder. And, when you get there, it is necessary to press the right softkey to open Options. It’s difficult to learn the different functions and memorize them. This makes the phone largely inaccessible. The Nokia Screen Reader provides a great alternative.
The Nokia Screen Reader is an application that converts screen content into speech. It’s helpful not only for users with sight limitations, but anyone who is not able to dedicate their attention to the screen. For example, it allows you to listen to text messages when you exercise.
Besides calling and texting, the screen reader is helpful for browsing the internet, accessing call lists and contacts, and managing the calendar. It works on touch screen devices and those with a physical key pad. The reader features a simple command structure which is easy to remember, as well as a configurable control panel. It’s available at launch in eight different languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish and Italian.
The Nokia Screen Reader can be downloaded from the Nokia Store free of charge. It will be available before the end of the year for the C5 5 MP, Nokia 700 and Nokia 701 with Symbian Belle. We’re also exploring opportunities to bring screen reader technology to feature phones to reach as many customers as possible.
The launch of the Nokia Screen Reader coincides with another important development: the new Accessibility Channel in the Nokia Store. This channel aggregates apps that can assist people with vision, hearing and speech, as well as cognition and dexterity problems.
So what kind of apps are available? Well, there is Vlingo, a voice recognition app that carries out commands on the device. Or T9 Nav, which finds information on your device when you type what you’re looking for. Or, if you left your glasses at home, try Font Magnifier, which allows you to zoom the text by 140%. There are now some 50 apps available for download from the Nokia Store for selected Nokia devices.
If you need assistance downloading the Nokia Screen Reader, please call Nokia Customer Care in your country, or send us a message on Twitter @NokiaHelps.
We’re continuously working to improve our accessibility offering. Please tell us what sort of accessibility apps and device features you would like to see in the future from us!
The U.S. government is reinstating a rule requiring video description programming by large-market broadcast affiliates of the top four national networks, and multichannel video programming distributor systems (MVPDS) with more than 50,000 subscribers.
On Sept. 8, the Federal Communications Commission posted a Federal Register Notice—Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010—which says this order reinstates the video description rules adopted by the commission in 2000.
“Video description” is the insertion of audio narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements into natural pauses in the program’s dialogue, which makes video programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, the notice says.
The FCC’s order reinstates the requirement that large-market broadcast affiliates of the top four national networks, and MVPDS with more than 50,000 subscribers, provide video description.
The order also reinstates the requirement that all network-affiliated broadcasters (commercial or non-commercial) and all MVPDS pass through any video description provided with network programming they carry, to the extent that they are technically capable of doing so and when that technical capability is not being used for another purpose related to the programming.
The FCC originally adopted video description regulations in 2000, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the video description rules on the grounds the FCC had insufficient authority to impose such regulations, according to the commission. However, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-260) directs the FCC to reinstate those rules with certain modifications. The new video description rule becomes effective Oct. 11, 2011, with Oct. 1, 2012 as the final compliance date.
I had a dream one wintry night
As the moon was full and bright
The snow fell softly on a tree
That stood alone just like me
Then a man came walking by
Whose caring look caught my eye
It was Jesus walking there
Calmly in the cold night air
In my heart at once I knew
All I'd learned of Him was true
He is the light in children's eyes
And shining stars on clear night skies
Life's answer to each hurt and wrong
The peace we've needed for so long
It was the holy Christmas season
And He had come by for a reason
He put a bow upon the tree
A symbol of His gift for me
I woke up thinking of my dream
Amazed of just how real it seemed
From my window I saw a bow
Crimson red on the pure white snow
Ribbons were flowing down the tree
Like the blood He shed for me
I was in awe of the bright red bow
Then I saw His footprints in the snow.
Submitted by Janet Erickson
Member of Gulf Coast Chapter
Thanks to all of you who submitted articles for this edition of the Periscope. Without your help, this newsletter would not be possible. I appreciate all your wonderful articles!
The deadline for sending articles for the Spring edition of the Periscope is February 21, 2012.
Until next time, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!