A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF:
THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND OF MINNESOTA
PO box 19091
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55419
The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the position of the American Council of the Blind of Minnesota. They are the views of the article's author.
Catalina Martinez, Editor
Jason Santana-White, Webmaster
SSB main number (651)-539-2300
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Welcome to 2018. We have had a cold start to the year but ACBM has several events to keep you active. Read on for information on our quarterly meeting and bake sale on January 27th, a fundraising event at Curran's Family Restaurant on January 29th and our annual Beat the Winter Blues party February 24th.
Welcome to our new MN Memo editor Catalina
new Minn Memo editor. She has promised to give us a memo full of articles and information.
ACBM will be holding a fundraiser at Curran's Family Restaurant, 4201 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN on January 29, 2018. Please read the Memo for further information.
In April 2018, the election of officers and directors will take place; please consider running for one of the open positions. Every member is appreciated; thank you for your support.
It's that time again for our annual American Council of the Blind of Minnesota dues for 2018. Dues are $15.00 payable by January 31st, 2018.
$5.00 of the yearly dues must be sent to our national office by March 15th. If you plan to renew your membership, you can pay them in several ways:
1. You can make a check payable to ACBM and send them to: ACBM, PO Box 19091, Minneapolis, MN 55419
2. You can pay via paypal. Just go to www.acb.org/minnesota and click on donations.
3. You can pay at the January 27 quarterly meeting.
We don't want to lose you as a member.
Catalina Martinez, Treasurer
ACBM will hold elections at our April quarterly meeting. The following positions are up for election:
vice-president, treasurer and three board positions. Steve Robertson and Catalina Martinez are finishing up their first full terms as vice-president and treasurer if they wish they can run again. The board positions held by Gary Boettcher and Colleen Kitagawa are also finishing their first full terms and would be eligible to run again. Bonnie Robertson is finishing her second term and will not be able to run again.
If you are interested in being nominated for any of the above positions please contact ACB president Marian Haslerud, her contact information can be found at the end of the MN memo.
Hello ACBM members and guests,
Our quarterly meeting and bake sale will be held on Saturday, January 27th at Joseph's Grill 140 S Wabasha in Saint Paul. Social hour is from 11:30 until 12:30 followed by lunch, the bake sale and the ACBM quarterly business meeting. The meeting will conclude by 4:00 PM.
2. Penne Rosa
Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced Roma Tomatoes, Grilled Chicken Breast, Mushrooms, Alfredo and Marinara Sauces and Parmesan Cheese
3. Chicken Caesar Wrap
Grilled Chicken, Romaine Lettuce, Parmesan and Caesar Dressing. Served in a Spinach Herb Tortilla. Agenda items will include:
Discussion of ACBM 2019 state convention
2018 national convention update
ACBM April elections
Curran's restaurant fund-raiser
Beat the winter blues party
additional items will be added to the agenda at the meeting. Please bring baked goods to sell and money for buying.
Please e-mail Steve Robertson with your meal choices at
or call him at (612) 223-5543.
We would appreciate hearing from you by Sunday, January 14th.
you can pay for your meal via PayPal at
send your payment to
ACBM Box 19091, Minneapolis, MN 55419
or pay by check or cash at the meeting.
cancellation policy: If you make a reservation and then find you are unable to attend please call Steve by noon on Friday, January 26th. If you cancel after that time you will be responsible for paying for your meal.
We look forward to seeing you.
ACBM calling committee
Winters in Minnesota can be pretty brutal and sometimes people need to just get out and have a great time. With that said, The American Council of the Blind of Minnesota is having their annual Winter Blues Party! Time to shake those blues away and join us.
When: Saturday, February 24, 2018
Where: Joseph's Grill, 140 S. Wabasha St, Saint Paul, MN
Time: 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
The cost is $20 and The menu will be as follows:
All you can eat pasta bar with a Cesar salad, garlic bread, coffee and dessert. soft drinks and alcohol are extra. There will also be door prizes . The LDS will be available to assist.
You can send a check made payable to ACBM and mail it to:
PO Box 19091
Minneapolis, MN 55419
or pay via PayPal at www.acb.org/minnesota. You can also pay at the door.
Please RSVP to Catalina Martinez no later than February 10, 2018, 612-227-3011 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let her know if you will be bringing a guest.
The Winter Blues Committee
With the remodel of Nicollette Mall, as you all have noted, brings new challenges for us as blind travelers. The term for these new intersections is called "tabled" intersections. The actual street has been raised up to the level of the sidewalks at the intersections all along the mall. And, each new intersection now has accessible pedestrian signals. Except 5th Street. And, the 5th street intersection did not get changed because of the light rail.
Last night, the Minneapolis Advisory Committee met downtown and toured the mall crossings. I have had conversations with the Public Works department at Minneapolis as well as lengthy conversations with the US Access Board. The US Access board tells me these new tabled intersection designs absolutely meet ADA specifications as long as the truncated domes are present to indicate a change. This is the reason the truncated domes wrap around the entire length of the street until the actual curb is present again.
There are three issues the committee discovered:
1. With the level sidewalks at the same height to the street, if a pedestrian (blind or sighted) happens to be standing too close to the corners, cars and/or buses can easily cut the corners too closely and drive over the area where pedestrians might be standing.
2. Some blind travelers have indicated that the truncated domes are too difficult to feel under foot. There is the required 2 foot wide strip of truncated dome that wraps around each corner which meets ADA requirements. I did not have any difficulty finding the truncated domes when I used my cane - I could feel the domes under foot and my cane easily found them as well. Using my dog guide was a different story.
3. The APS's volumes were all screwed up. In many instances, the locator tone, that runs when the signal is not activated, was so quiet that it could not be heard even while standing directly next to it! At the same time when the button is pushed, the voice was often extremely loud!
Actually there was one additional problem we identified with the APS's. The placement of the speaker !
These new APS's have the speaker on the back side, which when placed on the pole is completely obstructed. So what sound you are hearing from the APS is actually coming from the inside of the box and is not directional. The sound then becomes distorted and those of us who rely on sound to guide us get disoriented to that sound. No wonder as it is actually not being projected in any one direction. The old APS's had the speaker directly in the front of the box, just below the pushbutton and could easily be heard. It was much easier to determine where the sound was coming from. I do not know why the speaker location got changed but they did. I have worked with the DOT to make sure the required technical specifications get changed on the orders the state places when they order new APS's in the future. I do not know how many of the current type of signal boxes cities have currently in stock so it may be a while before we see the better design pop up around town.
Here are the remedies the committee is going to recommend to the city:
1. The truncated dome strip needs to be increased to 3 feet wide. This should help people better find the domes. While this may help cane travelers, it won't have too much help to guide dog users. I have a call into the trainers at The Seeing Eye to discuss this issue further and am just waiting a return call. I have heard the guide dog schools have received many complaints about this issue. Stay tuned...
The committee is also urging a few experimental pilot projects. One suggestion is to also add some strategically placed ballards, or flexible poles. These are to discourage vehicles from cutting the corner and they may also help blind travelers as landmarks depending on their placement. For those with low vision we are recommending the crosswalks have zebra striping as this will enhance a greater visibility as to the location of the crosswalk.
As for the volume of the APS's, it is critically important that when you encounter a volume issue, or any other kind of issue, it is critical that you report it to 311 immediately. Obviously, the traffic department is not on the streets each and everyday and rely on citizens to report when there are issues. Once 311 gets the report, a work order is created to the department that needs to check out the problem and fix it. If there is no report, the traffic folks that can fix problems never know about the issue. It doesn't matter if more than one person reports the problem. As a matter of fact, if there are multiple reports from several people, the issue gets expedited.
The other issue to report quickly is if you ever encounter the truncated domes too difficult to feel under foot if they get encrusted by ice. As we all know, the colder and longer period of time we experience winter, ice builds up. The US Access Board tells me cities and governments *MUST* have a preventative plan to deal with ice clearance in place. They cannot just wait until someone reports ice build up and must have a proactive plan to check often and clear any issues. Still, if you encounter encrusted domes, immediately call 311. Because of the safety issue, these reports will be immediately addressed by city staff.
As for the wider sidewalks and the treatments used on the sidewalks:
Yes, all the sidewalks have designs stamped into the sidewalk. Some blocks it is a leaf design, other blocks have a twig design. All the stamps meet ADA compliance and should not cause cane travelers any issues, or be a problem for those who use wheelchairs or use other rolling devices. I did, however, find an occasional twig stamp with the tip of my cane but it wasn't a huge problem.
There is a section of the sidewalk dedicated to furniture, street sign posts, bus shelters and light poles
This zone Is closest to the curb. It does not interfere with the path of travel on the sidewalk unless you veer into that zone. Also, all sidewalk cafés have some kind of physical landmark to mark the area, like movable planters or movable fences. Again, these do not block the sidewalk at all as there is still a wide accessible path of travel
I will let you all know how we progress with the pilot projects to determine which features work best for blind travelers, cane and dog guide users, when we have more information. This will likely be in the spring or summer. Be aware that there are no traditional curb ramps at crossings along the Nicolette mall.
Listen carefully and travel smartly. Use your travel skills and be safe!
Please let me know if you have further questions or have comments/suggestions. We are only going to be seeing more and more of these table intersections in the future so it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep alert, and again, travel safely!
Who are your board of directors? What are some of their likes and interests? Here is an article with some tidbits about the ACBM board of directors. You just might learn something you didn't know about them
Our president Marian Haslerud was born in Duluth, Minnesota and currently lives in Minneapolis, MN enjoying her retirement from Social Security Administration. Marian likes to knit and crochet, read, shop and enjoys classical music the best. Her favorite food to eat is Mac and cheese and doesn't have a particular favorite restaurant . Marian says that her favorite holiday is Christmas because she loves seeing the little grand nieces and nephews opening their gifts. Marian is serving on the board because she thinks it is important to help other blind people deal with issues and concerns such as websites, accessibility, audio description and medication accessibility, in other words what is your medication.
Our Vice-President Steve Robertson was born in DeQuincy, Louisiana and currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife Bonnie Robertson. Steve works for Hennepin County as a Financial Case Aid. Steve enjoys reading, playing with technology, traveling and checking out new restaurants. He likes all kinds of music, it's like food. His favorite food to eat is southern cooking and his favorite restaurant is Jackeenos Italian Cuisine. Steve's favorite holiday is Christmas because it means a lot to him. He celebrates Jesus birthday all year around but this is a special day for him. Steve is serving on the board because he likes what ACBM generally stands for. Steve likes that he has the choice to use be it a cane or a dog, to go sighted guide or not. people are friendly and people learn from each other. Steve likes what ACB does legal wise and the hard work with the audio described program.
Our treasurer Catalina Martinez was born in Chicago, IL and is currently living in Minneapolis, MN with her 5 year old guide dog Elroy. Catalina enjoys crocheting, reading, computers, collecting Irish porcelain called Belleek and traveling. She loves to eat all Mexican food and her favorite restaurant is Jackeenos Italian Cuisine. She loves all types of music except for rap. Catalina's favorite holiday is Christmas because she enjoys the music and just the over all happy feeling she gets. Catalina is serving on the board because she feels it's important to get involved in helping make life for the blind better
Our secretary Dave Tanner was born in Independence, MO and currently lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife Cathy Tanner. David is currently working for State Services for the Blind. David enjoys computers and music. Dave likes all kinds of music like classical to oldies to pop. No rap please. he'll wrap it up and put it outside. His favorite food is barbecue ribs and cat fish and likes to eat at Red lobster. Dave's favorite holiday is Christmas because of the wonderful members and because he is Christian. David is serving on the board because he likes to be involved and likes to feel he is helping.
The following are our board of directors:
Bonnie Robertson was born in Madison, WI and is currently living in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Steve Robertson and is enjoying her retirement from B E P. Bonnie enjoys knitting, working out, going out to eat, shopping, going to plays and concerts. Rock n roll is her favorite music.Bonnies favorite food is broasted chicken and mashed potatoes and The Chatter Box is Bonnies favorite restaurant. Her favorite holiday is Christmas because she can celebrate the divinity of Jesus. Bonnie is serving on the board because she agrees with all of ACB's policies, freedom of choice, cane or dogs, audible pedestrian signals, audio description, use of Braille education for blind people.
Janet Dickelman was born in Chicago, IL and currently lives in Saint Paul, MN with her husband Terry Dickleman and her guide dog Krissy, her retired dog Isabel and Terry's Boston terrier Chaos. Janet enjoys reading, going to plays, going out to dinner with family and friends and enjoys listening to oldies. Her favorite food is Italian and Murray's Restaurant is her favorite place to eat. Janet enjoys Christmas the most because of the holiday spirit. Janet is serving on the board because she wants to help strengthen ACBM and promote the state and national conventions.
Colleen Kitagawa was born in Williston, MD and currently lives in Richfield, MN with her husband Al Kitagawa and guide dog Mackie. She enjoys reading, outdoors, traveling and enjoys listening to Christian music. Colleen's favorite food is shrimp and loves to eat at red lobster. Christmas is Colleen's favorite holiday because she celebrates Jesus birth. Colleen is serving on the board because she really enjoys helping out the organization and serving the organization for Minnesota.
Gary Boetcher was born in Bottineau, ND and currently lives in Saint Paul, MN. He enjoys playing darts, beep ball, movies, sports with friends, church activities and Gary enjoys listening to Christian and country music. Gary likes pizza and burgers the best and Olive Garden and Red Lobster are his favorite places to eat. Christmas is Gary's favorite holiday because of the birth of Jesus and giving back and all of the lights. Gary is serving on the board because he loves serving the organization and helping it grow to be a great organization.
Nicky Schlender was born in Saint Louis Park, MN and currently lives in Richfield, MN with her guide dog Eliny. Nicky is currently working for Ecolab and enjoys being a ham radio operator, being with people, enjoys darting, bowling, reading and enjoys listening to 70's, 80's, country and Christian music. Mac and cheese is Nicky's favorite food and she doesn't have a favorite restaurant. Christmas is Nicky's favorite holiday because you can get together with family you don't see a lot. Nicky is serving on the board because she likes to be a leader.
Michael Cleveland (Source: News and Tribune
HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A Henryville native and renowned musician was nominated for a Grammy on Tuesday, November 28, 2017.
Michael Cleveland, who now lives in Charlestown, is nominated for Best Bluegrass Album for his record Fiddler's Dream, according to Billboard.com.
According to WAVE 3 News' partners, the News and Tribune, Cleveland is a longtime fiddler and a previous Grammy award winner and nominee who was born blind.
Cleveland attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, where not being able to see wasn't considered a handicap. Cleveland attributes some of his fiddling talent to his blindness, News and Tribune reports. Music instructors often told students to not look at the fiddle's neck and fingerboard, even suggesting they play in the dark. Being blind also forced Cleveland to use his other senses, like hearing.
"Your ears are the most important thing when you're learning to play," he told the News and Tribune in 2015.
Cleveland also plays fiddle and sings vocals for the Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper band.
As a solo artist, Cleveland is up against four other albums for Best Bluegrass Album, including Laws Of Gravity by The Infamous Stringdusters; Original by Bobby Osborne; Universal Favorite by Noam Pikelny; and All The Rage - In Concert Volume One [Live] by Rhonda Vincent And The Rage, News and Tribune writes.
The Grammys will be held in New York City on Jan. 28. Nominations were announced Tuesday.
Copyright 2017 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
2018 will be one of the most exciting years for braille since its invention by Louis Braille almost 200 years ago. The World Blind Union and International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) have recently released a piece of software, Easy Converter Express, which will enable teachers and others who work with blind children and adults to produce braille text from digital files with little or no training. The software is free of charge to all, but the very richest countries and it can be downloaded from www.YourDolphin.com/easyconverter-express
The software was developed by the WBU Technology Committee at the request of ICEVI with funding from the Royal National Institute of the Blind of the United Kingdom through a grant from Google.com
At the same time, the Orbit 20 refreshable braille display, developed by a consortium of WBU Members, is beginning to emerge in substantial quantities from the factory. This device, which was designed in consultation with the WBU, is a low cost refreshable braille device which acts as a book reader, a simple note taker and a terminal to tablets, phones and computers. For more information see: http://www.transformingbraille.org/ and YourDolphin.com
As we celebrate this year's World Braille Day, January 4, it is important that we agree how to give braille a new lease of life now that we have overcome many of the technical and financial factors which have made it expensive and hard to obtain. This is also the year when we will also try to secure the future of braille music by adopting a much more co-operative approach to its production and cataloguing.
Braille is still, in spite of a massive increase in audio resources through internet broadcasting, the primary literacy medium for blind people; and we know that the use of braille gives a massive boost to employment opportunities. But if we are to ensure its survival we now have to do two things: we must make sure that braille as available to far more children and adults; and we must ensure that braille producers, no longer limited by the need to make hard copy braille products, produce far more braille titles for use on braille displays. The temptation will be to see expanding access to braille through cheap displays as an add-on to traditional production but the only way we will be able to afford a rapid expansion of title availability is to cut hard copy production except in those areas, like mathematics and law, where it is essential.
We have the technology for a massive breakthrough; now we need to win the argument about how we maximise it.
World Braille Day is celebrated annually in honour of the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the reading and writing system used by millions of blind and partially sighted people all over the globe. The World Braille Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about issues facing the blind and the importance of continuing to produce works in braille, providing the blind with access to the same reading and learning opportunities as the sighted.
The World Blind Union believes that reading is a human right. For more information and resources about braille, please visit our resources section of our website at: http://www.worldblindunion.org/./P./Braille-Information.aspx
Currans family restaurant 4201 Nicollet Avenue has graciously offered to donate 30 percent of their sales to ACBM. To participate visit Currans on Monday January 29th any time between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Diners need only to mention they are involved with the ACBM fundraiser, no coupons or flyers needed.
All are welcome; please share widely.
ACBM events (open to all)
The ACBM board will meet on January 15, February 19th, and March 19th. All meetings are held at Currans Restaurant, 4201 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, from 6:30 to 8:30.
ACB coffee will be held on January 13th, February 10th, and March 10th. These social gatherings are at the Nicollet Diner, 1428 Nicollet Avenue, in Minneapolis, from 10:00 to Noon.
The next quarterly meeting of ACBM will be held on Saturday, January 27th, at Joseph's Grill, 140 South Wabasha Street, in St. Paul, from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 P. M.
Monday, January 29th ACBM Fundraiser at Curran's Restaurant, 4201 Nicollet Avenue from 4 to 8 PM
Saturday, February 24th ACBM Beat the Winter Blues Party at Joseph's Grille, 140 Wabasha Street South, St. Paul from 5:30 to 8 PM.
Events of interest
The Minneapolis Blind Bowlers will continue their season on Saturday, January 13th, at Memory Lanes, 2520 26th Avenue South, in Minneapolis. Call Linda at (952)-888-6783 for more information.
The Twin Cities Blind Audio Dart League continues their season on Tuesday, January 9th. Email Phil Sporer at email@example.com for more information.
Minnesota Christian Fellowship of the Blind (MCFB), meets quarterly. The next meeting will be on Saturday, February 10, from 1:00 to 4:00 P. M. Call Marian Haslerud, Membership Secretary at 612-206-5883 for more information.
The Blind Computer Users meet on the third Saturday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00 P. M. at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Call Bill Herzog at (612) 408-9415 for more information.
Fellowship of the Blind meets for a meal and religious discussion on the third Saturday of the month from 12:00 to 2:00 P. M. at Faith Lutheran Church, 3430 51st Street East, in Minneapolis. Call Joyce at (612-729-5463 for more information.
President: Marian Haslerud
(First term ending in 2019) Phone: (612) 206-5883
Vice president: Steve Robertson Minneapolis, MN (First term ending in 2018) Phone: (612) 819-5222
Secretary: David Tanner Burnsville, MN (First term ending in 2019) Phone: (952) 890-5841
Treasurer: Catalina Martinez Minneapolis, MN (First term ending in 2018) Phone: (612)-227-3011
Gary Boetcher St. Paul, MN (First term ending in 2018) Phone: (651)-200-7020
Janet Dickelman Saint Paul, MN (First term ending in 2019) Phone: (651)-428-5059
Colleen Kitagawa Richfield, MN (First term ending in 2018) Phone: 612-869-8584
Bonnie Robertson Minneapolis, MN Final term ending in 2018) Phone: (612) 803-0694
Nichoel Schlender Richfield, MN (Final term ending in 2019) Phone: (612) 869-0647
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