November 2009 Braille Forum
slovering at acb.org
Mon Nov 2 16:12:43 GMT 2009
Volume XLVIII November 2009 No. 5
the American Council of the Blind
THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND STRIVES TO INCREASE THE INDEPENDENCE,
SECURITY, EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY, AND TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL
BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE.
Mitch Pomerantz, President
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director
Sharon Lovering, Editor
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
fax: (703) 465-5085
Web site: http://www.acb.org
THE BRAILLE FORUM (TM) is available in braille, large print, half-speed
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The American Council of the Blind (TM) is a membership organization made up
of more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates. To join, visit the
ACB web site and complete an application form, or contact the national
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Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to
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If your wishes are complex, contact the ACB national office.
Join the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program and help improve tomorrow
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American Council of the Blind
TABLE OF CONTENTS
President's Report to the National Convention, Part III, by Mitch Pomerantz
Report on Currency, Part 2, by Melanie Brunson
Announcing 2010 Midyear Meetings and Legislative Seminar, by Melanie Brunson
Phoenix 2010: Changes in the Sand, by Carla Ruschival
ACB Enjoys 'Galaxy of Possibilities' in Orlando, by Jenine Stanley, Paul
Edwards, Judy Jackson, Sharon Lovering and Marcia Dresser
Disney's on the Right Track with Its Attraction Description Device, by Landa
Holiday Auction to Raise Money for ACB, by Brenda Dillon
ACB Raffle Tickets Available Now!
Clearance Sale at the ACB Store, by Carla Ruschival
ACB Advocacy MMS: What's the Connection?, by Kathy Brockman
Summary of 2009 Resolutions
Here and There, edited by Sue Lichtenfels
High Tech Swap Shop
FORUM SUBSCRIPTION NOTES
You can now get "The Braille Forum" by podcast! To subscribe,
go to "The Braille Forum" page on www.acb.org. If you do not yet have a
podcast client, you can download one from the Forum page.
To subscribe to "The Braille Forum" via e-mail, send a blank
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ARE YOU MOVING? DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION?
Contact Sharon Lovering in the ACB national office,
1-800-424-8666, or via e-mail, slovering at acb.org. Give her the information,
and she'll take care of the changes for you.
In the September 2009 issue of "The Braille Forum," Ron Milliman
wrote an article on the ACB MMS Program entitled Who Won the Olympus
Digital Recorder? That article recognized all of the new contributors to
the program as well as those who increased their monthly pledges. Missing
from that list was a very loyal ACB member and one of the very first to
support the MMS program from its inception in 2002 Ed "Doc" Bradley of
Houston, Tex. The list of names provided was inadvertently missing Ed
Bradley's name, an omission for which we sincerely apologize.
Also in the September issue of the Forum, there was an
announcement in "Here and There" regarding availability of products from the
Royal National Institute of Blind People. Bay Area Digital is not the only
vendor for products from the RNIB; Independent Living Aids has been carrying
some of their products for the past decade. We apologize for any confusion
our error may have caused.
PRESIDENT'S REPORT TO THE NATIONAL CONVENTION, PART III
by Mitch Pomerantz
My September and October columns were devoted to excerpting my
report to the membership at the ACB national convention this past July.
Here's the final installment.
I would be remiss if I failed to talk about the MMS (Monthly
Monetary Support) program and committee. Participation has been slow but
steady during the past year. Last year at this time, ACB and our affiliates
received a total of just under $50,000 annually. ACB alone received
slightly over $37,000 per year. This year, those figures are a bit over
$56,000 and almost $44,000, respectively. Individual contributors have
increased from 144 to 161. During these very tough times, ACB members need
to show their dedication by committing to making regular contributions...
In response to the recent closure of the Oregon School for the
Blind and the pending closures of the North Carolina and Illinois schools, I
have established a task force to develop a strategy in providing all
possible assistance to state affiliates facing either outright closure or
consolidation of their schools for the blind with schools for the deaf.
These hallowed institutions are at a crossroads, and ACB must do everything
possible to steer them down the path to continued operation, not the path to
extinction. (Note: Since the convention, both schools mentioned were funded
for the current fiscal year.)
It took far longer than I had anticipated, but ACB is now
offering the Washington Connection in Spanish. It can be accessed by
pressing "2" when you hear the prompt after calling the ACB office during
evenings and weekends. Along with the two Spanish-language brochures
available thanks to the efforts of the membership committee, we have the
tools to reach out to the growing community of Latino monolingual blind and
visually impaired people.
Communicating with individual ACB members is something about
which I feel most strongly. I continue to host "Office Hours" on a
semi-regular basis. For those who don't know about it, every six weeks to
two months, I chat with anyone who calls about any ACB-related topic for
approximately 90 minutes. It gives you the chance to put me on the spot, or
make suggestions on ways to improve our organization. While I haven't been
entirely successful yet, I've tried getting the word out to all our members,
particularly those who do not have access to the Internet.
The third aspect of the president's job concerns managing our
relations with entities outside of ACB. For too long, we ceded the
blindness playing field to the National Federation of the Blind. However,
we are taking steps to assume our rightful place as a major player in this
community, and those efforts will continue for as long as I have any say in
ACB is an active member, along with the Randolph-Sheppard
Vendors of America, in the Blind Entrepreneurs' Alliance (BEA). We know
that there are those within Congress and the larger disability community who
want to dilute the program or do away with it altogether. Through BEA's
efforts, and those of RSVA and ACB, we will do whatever is necessary to
protect and expand Randolph-Sheppard so as to provide viable employment
opportunities for blind and visually impaired people.
This past August, Chris Gray and I represented ACB at the
seventh quadrennial meeting of the World Blind Union in Geneva, Switzerland.
Marlaina Lieberg served as ACB's delegate to the Women's Forum and, along
with the former manager, Chrissie Cochrane, streamed the WBU conference on
ACB Radio. The highlight for us was the unanimous adoption of a resolution
regarding quiet cars which we drafted.
Let me bring everyone up to date on ACB's participation in the
Reading Rights Coalition. If you read the June "Braille Forum," you know
that ACB was asked to participate in a cross-disability effort, the Reading
Rights Coalition, which was organized to oppose the decision by Amazon,
Inc., regarding its then newly released Kindle 2 Book Reader. You also know
that the board voted unanimously to join this coalition. This action was
based on Amazon's decision to cave in to pressure from the Authors' Guild
and the six largest book publishers and turn off the text-to-speech feature
on the Kindle 2.
Right now, the Kindle is only accessible to persons with some
usable vision. In an effort to begin addressing this lack of access for
blind people, on June 25th -- in an unprecedented initiative -- ACB joined
with NFB in filing suit in federal court against Arizona State University.
The suit seeks an injunction to prohibit ASU from using the new Kindle DX
E-Book Reader in a number of designated classes because it is not accessible
to blind students. This suit is brought on behalf of blind students who
will be prevented from independently accessing their own textbooks on the
Kindle DX, and alleges that use of the Kindle is a violation of both the
Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. The named student in the complaint is
Darrell Shandrow, an ACB member.
Colleagues, with the help of a truly supportive board and
officers, state and special-interest affiliate presidents and other leaders,
but most importantly, each and every one of you, the American Council of the
Blind is assuming our rightful place as the pre-eminent consumer advocacy
organization of blind and visually impaired people in this nation.
We are making tremendous strides toward improving the lives of
blind and visually impaired people, but we have much more work yet to do.
There are advocacy issues on the local, state and national levels for every
ACB member to tackle: supporting installation of accessible pedestrian
signals; saving specialized state programs and services; and fighting for
equal opportunity and our share of the American dream. Please join me in
seeing this work through to a successful conclusion. Thank you, and take
At long last, that concludes my national convention report. See
you next month.
REPORT ON CURRENCY, PART 2
by Melanie Brunson
In last month's column, I shared the first part of the executive
summary from a report that was done for the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing, which examined a number of options that would make it easier for
people with visual impairments to distinguish between different
denominations of U.S. currency. The remainder of this executive summary is
Key Findings for Tactile Features
Three primary tactile features were included in the usability
test. The tested tactile features included a cluster pattern of raised dots,
a system of notches cut into the top and bottom edges of the note, and a
system of heavy intaglio raised print bars along the side of the note.
Usability test results showed that the prototype edge notches were the most
accurate means of identifying denomination for blind participants (average
of 89 percent accuracy). The raised dot clusters, as implemented in Canadian
currency, yielded positive results when the currency was essentially new
(average of 84 percent accuracy) but the results for raised dots were
significantly degraded on widely circulated notes (average of 49 percent
accuracy). The prototype intaglio print raised bars were very helpful when
new (average of 85 percent), but had similar results as the raised dots when
simulated to be well circulated (average of 42 percent). Usability tests
for the other tactile features yielded average accuracy measurements below
Blind participants had a strong preference for the notches
feature, though there was some concern about potential degradation of
performance with widely circulated notes. Blind participants said that they
used the raised intaglio print numerals on Canadian notes as backup for
identification when the raised dots were too worn down to identify.
Fifty-three percent of the survey participants said they thought a tactile
would help them denominate currency. In the survey results, 43 percent of
all respondents favored multiple accommodations (e.g., combination of a size
format and a tactile feature) so that one feature could be used if the other
was not discernable.
Key Findings for Currency Reader Devices
Three commercially available currency reader devices were
evaluated in usability
tests: two devices that require the user to slide the note into a slot in
the device, and a cell phone camera-based device. In addition, three
developmental prototypes were evaluated: two devices that require the user
to slide the note into a slot in the device and a cell phone camera-based
device. The ARINC team conducted the usability testing between June 2008
and April 2009, using devices that were operational and available at the
time. The ARINC team is aware that technical breakthroughs in this
marketplace are occurring at a rapid rate, and the manufacturers of the
prototypes tested may make changes to the devices before they become
Devices currently under development may yield different results
than the devices
used in this study. Survey participants were asked if they would take a
reader with them when they went out in public. The results were not
conclusive 36 percent of all participants said they would, either
occasionally or frequently, 23 percent said rarely, while 41 percent said
never. The type of device annunciation (e.g., tone, voice, vibration) is an
important consideration for blind and VI people. Most participants preferred
voice annunciation when using a device at home, but were concerned about the
reader revealing the value of the currency to nearby customers. Usability
test participants commented that portability and speed of use are important
factors in their willingness to use a reader device. One of the prototype
devices received high marks for portability; several participants said they
would carry something with similar size and speed with them and would use it
while standing in line. Timing is critical in this scenario and most blind
participants felt that the commercial devices were too slow for validating
notes received as change in a transaction.
Slide-in devices varied in ease of use. Proper use of these
devices orienting the
note, sliding it in without folded corners, pressing a button and waiting
for responserequired varying amounts of dexterity. One of the larger
devices was the easiest to use for virtually all participants. The smallest
device was easy to use for most participants, and was praised for its
portability, but was more challenging for those who had dexterity
impairments. Participants described the need to orient notes for some
devices as inconvenient because orienting the note added to the time it took
to denominate the currency. Cell phone-based solutions were fairly easy for
most participants to use, but took longer to identify the denomination.
Participants considered the high cost of currently available devices to be a
barrier to implementation.
Economic Analyses of Accommodations
The ARINC team conducted economic analysis of the costs and
benefits of seven selected alternative accommodations for blind and VI
communities, including: size changes along one dimension, size changes along
two dimensions, mechanical tactile features, raised tactile features,
embedded tactile features, overt machine-readable features, and currency
reader devices. Cost analysis results include initial non-recurring
(one-time) and annual recurring costs associated with each accommodation.
The ARINC team considered three top-level categories of costs in this study
U.S. government (i.e., the BEP, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), and the
U.S. Secret Service), U.S. market sectors (i.e., commercial banking,
automated teller machines (ATMs), vending, transportation, gaming, and
retail equipment), and U.S. individuals (e.g., the acquisition costs of
Cost and Benefit Findings for Note Size Variation
The ARINC team evaluated two size variation approaches,
one-dimensional (1-D), where only length varied by denomination, and
two-dimensional (2-D), where both length and width varied by denomination.
The identified government and industry costs (including initial
non-recurring investment and annual recurring cost) for implementing size
variation accommodations were relatively high more than $9.5 billion for
the first year of 1-D accommodations and more than $10.6 billion for the
first year of 2-D accommodations. Blind participants were able to achieve
only moderate denomination accuracy (average ranged between 41 and 73
percent) in usability tests of currency and prototypes with size change
accommodations. Distinct two-dimensional note size differences resulted in
the highest average speed performance (7.2 seconds) and accuracy (73
percent) for blind usability test participants for all of the currencies and
with 2-D size differences.
Cost and Benefit Findings for Tactile Features
The ARINC team evaluated three types of tactile features,
mechanical (notches along the edges of the notes), raised (raised dots and
printed bars), and embedded (foil patches).
Mechanical. The identified government and industry costs
(including initial non-recurring investment and annual recurring cost) for
mechanical tactile features were moderately high more than $6.6 billion.
Blind participants were better at denominating currency using notches than
size variation features. Most blind participants were able to denominate the
system of notches accurately (average of 89 percent) and quickly (average of
14 seconds in initial trials, improving to 8.5 seconds with practice).
Raised. The identified government and industry costs (including
initial non-recurring investment and annual recurring cost) for raised
tactile features were moderately high more than $6.6 billion. Usability
testing of raised dots and intaglio printed bars showed the benefits of
raised tactile features on new notes. Blind participants were able to use
the tactile feature to denominate new Canadian notes accurately (average of
84 percent). Intaglio printed bars yielded similar results on new notes
(average of 85 percent). However, recognition accuracy for widely circulated
notes was significantly reduced for both the raised dots and the intaglio
Embedded. The identified government and industry costs
(including initial non-recurring investment and annual recurring cost) for
embedded tactile features were relatively low more than $568 million.
However, embedded tactile features are of limited benefit because they are
typically difficult for blind people to locate. Enhancements to existing
embedded features would be required to make embedded features a viable
option for currency denomination.
Cost and Benefit Findings for Machine-Readable Features
The identified government and industry costs (including initial
non-recurring investment and annual recurring cost) for machine-readable
features were relatively low more than $75.8 million. There are no direct
benefits to the blind and VI population from machine-readable features,
unless devices are specifically developed to work with them, but new
machine-readable features could enable manufacturers to develop currency
reader device technologies that the blind and VI community would be more
inclined to use.
Cost and Benefit Findings for Currency Reader Devices
The ARINC team performed a cost analysis and a qualitative
benefit analysis of six reader devices (three commercial and three prototype
devices) to assess their efficacy as an accommodation for currency
denomination by blind people. For the prototype devices, the manufacturers
provided an estimated cost, but emphasized that the final price would change
based on design changes or estimated market size.
Slide-in note readers provided the greatest benefit among the
tested devices. These devices were easiest to learn to use and were very
accurate (98 to 99 percent average accuracy) in relatively short times
(average results for individual devices ranged from 17.3 to 21.7 seconds).
The estimated purchase price of these devices ranged from $100 to $330.
The commercial cell phone reader device, although highly
accurate (average 100 percent), provided moderate benefit to blind test
participants; the denomination time (average of 34.2 seconds) was slower
than they preferred. The estimated purchase price of the device was $1,600,
but this device provides other applications in addition to currency
identification. The prototype note corner reader was of marginal benefit to
the blind test participants because the device accuracy (average 81 percent)
was lower and the denomination speed (average of 36.5 seconds) was slower
than the other devices tested. The estimated purchase price of the device
was $100. The prototype cell phone device was too difficult for the blind
test participants to use to be beneficial. The estimated price of $30 covers
only the software; a cell phone would need to be purchased separately.
ANNOUNCING 2010 MIDYEAR MEETINGS AND LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
It's not too early to begin planning to attend the 2010 ACB
board meeting, affiliate presidents' meeting, or legislative seminar. These
meetings will again be held back to back in February of 2010. The dates are
as follows: Friday, Feb. 19, board of directors meeting; Saturday, Feb. 20,
first day of affiliate presidents' meeting; Sunday, Feb. 21, conclusion of
affiliate presidents' meeting; Sunday, Feb. 21, first day of legislative
seminar; Monday, Feb. 22, second day of legislative seminar; Tuesday, Feb.
23, final day of legislative seminar, and chance to visit Congressional
The 2010 meetings will be held at the same location we used in
2009, the Holiday Inn National Airport in Arlington, Va. The room rate is
$119 per night for singles and doubles, plus tax, and this rate is available
from Thursday, Feb. 18-Wednesday, Feb. 24. To make reservations, call (703)
684-7200. The deadline for reservations at this rate is Jan. 19, 2010.
In order to insure that we have enough materials available, and
can give the hotel accurate counts for meals, we are strongly encouraging
attendees to register in advance this year. Even when there is no charge,
we need to know you are coming, so we will be asking everyone to register by
Feb. 10. Registration forms will be sent out later this year, but we wanted
to make sure you have the information about the meetings in time to make
plans to attend. If you have questions, please feel free to contact any of
us in the ACB national office, either by e-mail (info at acb.org), or by
calling us. The phone numbers are 1-800-424-8666 and (202) 467-5081. See
you in 2010!
-- Melanie Brunson
PHOENIX 2010: CHANGES IN THE SAND
by Carla Ruschival
ACB held its 22nd and 31st national conventions in Phoenix, and
now we once again return to this great city in the sand in 2010.
That first Phoenix convention in 1983 looked very different from
today's grand event. Special-interest affiliates met on Sunday, Monday and
Tuesday. Exhibits were open over the same days, and there were less than 40
booths. The pre-convention board meeting was on Tuesday evening, and
general sessions were scheduled all day Wednesday, Thursday morning, and
Friday and Saturday. There were overnight tours to the Grand Canyon at the
beginning and end of the week, a beach party on Tuesday evening, and tours
on Thursday afternoon and evening.
The look of convention week changed in 1986, and so 1992 was
similar to today's schedule. General sessions began on Sunday evening and
met each morning, Monday through Saturday. Special-interest groups met
Sunday and weekday afternoons, Monday through Thursday. The ACB legislative
and diabetes seminars were on Friday afternoon. There were more exhibits,
short weekday afternoon tours, and a national convention committee in
addition to the local host committee.
Now in 2010 ACB will once again meet in Phoenix. As usual, much
will remain the same -- outstanding exhibits, tours that are both
educational and fun, and great programming. Also as usual there will be
some changes, some new twists that will make the convention week better than
At its September meeting in Phoenix, the board previewed the
brand-new Downtown Sheraton. The hotel received rave reviews; the food was
delicious at the District Restaurant (on the lobby level), and the staff was
ACB conventions are filled with fun; tours and events at the
hotel offer opportunities for learning and entertainment. But, like
professional conferences, this week with ACB is also packed with informative
workshops, seminars, programs and exhibits. In an effort to assist
attendees to receive professional development credit for their time in
Phoenix, the week of July 9-17 will be appropriately termed the 49th annual
ACB conference and convention.
Past changes in schedule have made it possible for more and more
programming and activities to be packed into the conference and convention
week. In response to the needs of several groups for more programming time,
in an effort to make more efficient use of available meeting spaces, and to
better accommodate the needs of exhibitors who offer sessions in the early
evening time block, a few schedule changes will be in effect this year, as
1. As in the past, all breakfasts will be scheduled from 7:00
to 8:30 a.m.
2. Luncheons will begin at 12:15; end times for luncheons and
their accompanying programs will be 2:30 if the group will not continue to
occupy the room for additional programming, 3 p.m. if the group will have
more programming after the break.
3. Afternoon and early evening sessions will be divided into
three time slots. Session 1 will be from 1:30 to 3:00; session 2, 3:30 to
5:00; and session 3, 5:30 to 7:00. Groups such as AAVIA and RSVA, who fill
their afternoons with speakers and business, will utilize sessions 1 and 2;
such groups will be asked to schedule their breaks around 3 p.m. Moving the
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. start times for short sessions to 1:30 or 3:30 will in
several cases make it possible for more groups to utilize the available
meeting spaces. More efficient use of volunteers and better service from
the ACB Café are also pluses.
We are now accepting reservations for exhibit spaces, and 2010
sponsors are beginning to add their names to popular services and events.
For more information about advertising and sponsorship opportunities,
contact Margarine Beaman at (512) 921-1625 or at oleo50 at hotmail.com. To
reserve exhibit space, contact Michael Smitherman at (601) 968-4164 or
msmitherman at mbhs.org.
It's not too early to make hotel reservations for conference and
convention week. Rates are $89/night, plus tax. Call 1-800-325-3535, and
be sure to let the reservationist know you are with the American Council of
ACB ENJOYS 'GALAXY OF POSSIBILITIES' IN ORLANDO
by Jenine Stanley, Paul Edwards, Judy Jackson,
Sharon Lovering and Marcia Dresser
SUNDAY, JULY 5
The opening ceremonies of the 48th annual convention of the
American Council of the Blind began with welcomes to the Orlando area from
Orange County Commissioner Lindsay Swindle, and Commissioner Robert Stewart,
City of Orlando. The Naval Operations Center of Orlando presented ACB with
a folded national ensign in honor of our convention. Sally Benjamin of
Tallahassee, co-chair of the host committee, completed the welcomes and
introduction of her fellow committee members.
Mitch Pomerantz noted that there are three aspects to his job.
The president oversees the work of the executive director and national
office staff. He also addresses internal organizational matters including
committee staffing, projects, affiliate relations and communication with
members. Finally, he facilitates working relationships with entities
outside of ACB, including agencies and organizations of and for the blind.
(For the complete text of his report, see the September and October issues,
as well as this issue.)
The national office staff has admirably handled several
challenges over the past year, with both national offices relocating. ACBs
advocacy on national legislative issues continues in such areas as quiet
cars, video description and accessible currency. Legal action against the
Social Security Administration continues regarding material in accessible
formats. In addition, ACB has contracted with Joel Snyder to administer the
ACB Audio Description Project, which is holding its first conference during
the 2009 national convention. All of these initiatives that represent the
independence of blind and visually impaired people are a result of the hard
work of our national staff along with our membership.
Regarding internal organization, Pomerantz reported that he has
appointed people to 25 committees and task forces. A number of these groups
held educational sessions throughout the year and plan workshops at the
convention. Pomerantz announced the formation of a task force to assist
state affiliates facing closure or consolidation of state schools for the
This year the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program continued
to grow slowly but steadily. Total contributions stand at approximately
$56,000, with approximately $44,000 going directly to ACB. Individual
contributors have increased from 144 to 161.
Spanish-language publications now include the Washington
Connection, available through the national toll-free number. Other
communication efforts over the past year included Pomerantzs attendance at
eight state conventions, and his monthly Office Hours open conference
Finally, Pomerantz noted ACBs increasing presence within
national coalitions. From access to Amazons Kindle digital book reader to
the Randolph-Sheppard program and policies of rehabilitation agencies, ACB
continued to make the views of its membership recognized. ACB also had a
significant presence at the World Blind Union meetings. Pomerantz thanked
the board of directors and board of publications for their support of these
many efforts over the past year.
Next, Carol Ann Ewing-Ragsdale presented the winners of the
Durward K. McDaniel First-Timers Awards: Mandy Holly from South Carolina and
Janice Moran from Texas. There was also a reunion of first-timers, during
which each received a certificate for his or her participation in the
Jerry Annunzio gave the first report of the credentials
committee. He noted that two affiliates were in question this year. The
Wyoming affiliate sent its membership roster and dues in after the deadline.
All attempts to contact its leadership had gone unanswered. The committee
decided to reduce this affiliates vote from 1 to one-half vote. The
National Alliance of Blind Students also was late in getting its membership
dues and roster in, but because the affiliate president readily communicated
with the committee and apologized for her mistake with plans to correct it
in the future, no penalty beyond a letter was assessed.
Following the credentials report was a much anticipated part of
the opening ceremonies, the introduction of new life members. This year's
life members were:
Bobby Cowan, Tennessee
Malinda Delbridge, North Carolina
Ron Eller, North Carolina
Joe Bishop, Mississippi
Mary Montgomery, Alaska
Donald Koors, Indiana
Jim and Becky Barnes, New York
The evening finished with the roll call of state and
MONDAY, JULY 6
Mondays session featured the spoken word, both in the reading
of books and describing of everything from plays to theme park experiences.
Awards and committee reports began the day.
Margarine Beaman lent the sparkle of gemstones to the 2009
convention sponsors. She noted that Ruby sponsorship helped defray costs of
transportation for tours. Opal sponsorship provided the Youth Activity
Center (YAC). Onyx sponsorships helped fund the ACB Café, convention
newspaper, ACB Radio coverage and additional YAC activities. Additional
sponsorships totaled $52,200. A full list of sponsors can be found in the
ACB convention program at www.acb.org. On-site donations also came in from
the Florida Council of the Blind and the Hawaii Association of the Blind.
Jerry Annunzio presented the final credentials report, which was
approved by the membership. Standing rules were also approved unanimously,
as was the convention program. Otis Stephens, chair of the constitution and
bylaws committee, gave a first reading of proposed constitutional
ACBs first vice president, Kim Charlson, presided over the
remainder of the program, starting with awards. Cindy Van Winkle, chair of
the awards committee, presented the Affiliate Growth Award to the Mountain
State Council of the Blind. The Middle Tennessee Council of the Blind won
the Affiliate Outreach Award.
Paul Edwards, chair of the board of publications, presented the
Ned E. Freeman Award to Rebecca Kragnes for her article An Open Letter to
Adult Blind Children and Their Parents (published in the August 2008 issue
of "The Braille Forum"). Eight affiliates submitted entries for the 2009
Hollis K. Liggett Braille Free Press Award for excellence in affiliate
newsletter writing. The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International
was this years winner.
The convention traveled to Africa with remarks from Dr. Shakila
Maharaj, an organizational psychologist from Durban, South Africa. There
are approximately 49 million people populating South Africa, with nearly 80
percent being African blacks. Approximately 9 percent Caucasians, 8
percent people of mixed race, and 2 percent Asians make up the rest of the
Though disability statistics are not readily available, it is
believed that approximately 10 percent of the population has a disability,
with 32 percent being visually impaired. Five percent of the South African
Parliament is also made up of people with disabilities. The South African
National Council for the Blind is the umbrella organization, and can be
found at www.sancb.org.za <http://www.sancb.org.za/> . SANCB is composed of
nearly 95 member organizations, 15 of which are at the national level. There
are also 24 schools for the blind.
Legally, the system of apartheid affected services rendered to
everyone living in South Africa for 50 years. This system divided people by
race, and provision of services to people with disabilities was not exempt.
Two citations specifically mentioning people with disabilities appear in the
current South African constitution and Bill of Rights ensuring the right to
dignity and the right to be free from discrimination. Currently the
National Integrated Disability Strategy is a white paper being considered
for incorporation into legislation similar to the ADA.
Maharaj noted that a variety of laws enacted since 1997 assure
equal access to people with disabilities, including an affirmative action
program under the Employment Equity Act. Employers set target hiring levels
from 1 to 4 percent within their organizations. There are also tax
incentives for employers for training and development. She cautioned that
though legally there have been many advancements, there are still
significant challenges, mostly attitudinal, among employers and society in
general. People with disabilities also face the challenge of accepting
responsibility for their own destiny.
Frank Kurt Cylke, Director, National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped, began his presentation with the news that
the Perkins School for the Blind had been named Library of the Year. He also
noted the 10th anniversary of Web Braille and the newly opened BARD web site
for downloading digital books. Delivery of the new NLS machines, both basic
and advanced models, was set to begin in August 2009. Cartridges and
containers are being produced on schedule. Unfortunately, the American
Foundation for the Blind will no longer be producing audio books for the NLS
program. Mary Beth Wise, NLS quality assurance specialist,
described the process of making an audio book. Each year the United States
alone produces 150,000 books, with NLS producing 2,000 audio books. Each
audio book must first be analyzed as to how it can be marked for digital
recording and easy navigation to chapters, sections, etc.
The next step involves assigning the book to a studio for
recording. Studios are chosen based on the type of narration each book
requires, foreign languages being one characteristic. The studio director
then chooses the narrator who will best fit the material, based on vocal
quality, expertise and interest.
Becoming a narrator is a rigorous process. Narrators must
possess the ability to turn the written word into credible audio through
interpretation of the authors work. They must be skilled in dramatic
reading, understand how to convey humor and irony and be free of any
regionalisms or dialects. Overall, narrators must be good storytellers to
convey that sense of intimacy with the listener.
Wise did note that though the system of monitoring and checking
recordings is good, some mistakes do happen, usually involving pronunciation
errors. Narrators skim each book, noting specific words or phrases, then
researching their correct pronunciation. Each narrator has a monitor when
reading and each studio checks the book for accuracy of the audio against
the print before it goes to NLS.
Consultant Rick Morin and Disneys Worldwide Safety and
Accessibility Manager, Jay Cardinali, brought the convention news about
audio description at Disney properties. Attraction Description allows a
person to carry a hand-held device and get information through headphones
about various attractions around the park in real time. The service is
available in all Disney parks in the U.S.; ask for it at Guest Relations.
Cardinali noted that although Disney has patented some of the
technology, produced in conjunction with Softeq, they have allowed that
company to use it in other venues such as the Coca-Cola museum.
The morning sessions look at audio closed with a report from
Joel Snyder, director of ACB Audio Description Project. He reminded everyone
that the first audio description conference was taking place during
convention, and it would cover such issues as national guidelines and
certification. A number of awards would be presented, including the Barry
Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description.
One of the project's highlights is the audio-described
inauguration of President Barack Obama. The 1979 television production of
The Miracle Worker is now available with description on DVD, with a
portion of the proceeds going to ACB. For more information on the Audio
Description Project's activities, visit www.adinternational.org
Lastly, Oral Miller left the crowd with some news to help them
shed those convention pounds and get in shape in the Recreation Zone.
Activities this year included rowing, Pilates and water aerobics.
TUESDAY, JULY 7
John Fleming, president of the Visually Impaired Veterans of
America, and a number of other veterans led the Pledge of Allegiance. After
announcements, a couple of resolutions, and the nominating committee report,
Pomerantz turned the gavel over to Brenda Dillon, second vice president.
The nominating committee recommended all of the current officers as the
slate to be voted on later in the week. Margarine Beaman announced the
names of the 64 bronze sponsors.
Patty Slaby, chair of the scholarship committee, presented the
2009-10 scholarships winners. They are: Sara Conrad, Alexandra Krauth,
Daniel Guenther, Miranda Hitzemann, Samuel Muwanguzi, Rebekah Balmer, Dawn
Lloyd, Laura Palmaro, Lisa Drzewucki, Casey Burkhardt, Justin Hodge,
Katherine Moss, Christina Tran, Jennifer Emery, Nichole Peters, Justin
Salisbury, Patricia Kepler, and Barry Hyde. Richard Rueda then presented
three scholarships on behalf of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision
WEDNESDAY, JULY 8
The children and teens of the Youth Activity Center, led by
Marcia Neilson, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Pomerantz honored Kathey
Wheeler with a certificate of life membership. Wheeler read a resolution
expressing her acceptance, appreciation, and thanks to the Missouri Council
for making this life membership possible. Cindy Van Winkle made
announcements regarding the silent auction and the live auction. She
encouraged everyone to come, eat, and buy lots of stuff. M.J. Schmitt made
an announcement regarding the first annual job fair that the employment
committee is hosting.
After the announcements, Pomerantz introduced Susan Mazrui, an
employee of AT&T. She encouraged ACB members to thank Eric Bridges and Mark
Richert for their work in advocating for accessibility in
telecommunications. She mentioned H.R. 3101 and encouraged everyone to get
involved in getting their legislators to support that legislation. She
indicated that AT&T does support that legislation. She ended her comments
by saying that AT&T does believe in accessibility.
Pomerantz recognized Cindy Van Winkle to present the Durward K.
McDaniel Ambassador Award. Van Winkle presented this award to Kathy Nimmer.
Following the presentation, Judy Jackson read a resolution
dealing with H.R. 3101. The resolution passed.
Ron Milliman talked a bit about the public relations committee
and its work. Then he mentioned the committee's mentoring program, and that
it has been very successful. He introduced Sharon Lovering to read the
mentorees' certificates, announce the names of the people receiving the
certificates, and to present them to the participants.
Pomerantz then turned the program and the gavel over to Marlaina
Lieberg. She greeted the assembly and quickly introduced Steven Rothstein,
the president of the Perkins School for the Blind. Rothstein gave a tribute
to Louis Braille and to braille literacy.
Lieberg next introduced a panel to discuss schools for the
blind. Rothstein was reintroduced to moderate the panel. He introduced
three gentlemen who participated on this panel. The members of the panel
were Dr. Phil Hatlen, Bob Beadles, and Carl Jacobson. Each panelist took a
few moments to speak about the importance of schools for the blind and what
they can provide for children who are blind or visually impaired. Rothstein
wrapped up the discussion with a few comments reiterating the importance of
diversity that is needed in schools for the blind.
Next, Lieberg introduced Kim Charlson to announce some
festivities planned for the 200th birthday of Louis Braille. Charlson
played a song that gave tribute to Louis Braille. The Braille Revival
League sponsored a birthday party in Louis Braille's honor, purchasing
cookies for convention attendees. The cookies had the letters "BRL" on
Next, Lieberg expressed her appreciation to LUA for its
assistance in getting L.J. Ganser to the convention. Ganser talked about his
experiences as a book narrator. He discussed how far recording books has
come. He stressed the importance of pronouncing words correctly. He talked
about the influences that his parents had on him, leading him to become a
narrator. In addition to his parents, he was also influenced by comic
books. He requested that everyone contact their legislators about
encouraging the Library of Congress to assist AFB with the Talking Book
The convention moved from the familiar voice of Ganser to the
topic of identity theft. Two speakers, Holly Salmons and Theresa Ronenbaum,
told listeners how to protect themselves from identity theft. Salmons works
with the Better Business Bureau and Ronenbaum works with the state of
Florida's Attorney General's Office. Ronenbaum asked those in the audience
to raise their hands if they had been victims of identity theft. Identity
theft is a crime, and all of us must have a system of privacy to protect
identifying information about ourselves. They gave convention attendees a
number of ways to protect themselves against identity theft. After a few
brief announcements, the session recessed.
THURSDAY, JULY 9
"Good morning, everyone!" stated Pomerantz, who then reminded
everyone that the session was on a strict time schedule. Following the
Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Margarine Beaman commended the gold and
platinum convention sponsors. She reminded everyone that "it's never too
late to contribute!"
Jeff Thom, chairman of the voting task force, presented the
group's report. He thanked his committee members: Brenda Dillon, Pat
Sheehan, and Ken Stewart. "It was our goal to hold a mock secret ballot
last year," Thom said. "We were unable to do that due to time and other
constraints. We will be doing it this time
in preparation for a potential
decision by this organization as to whether to adopt secret balloting in
replacement of the standing vote in future years. That decision won't occur
but it could occur next year." The task force will hold more
meetings to talk about potential technology for secret balloting as well as
remote balloting, and obtain more information about such technology.
Otis Stephens then gave the first readings of several proposed
amendments to the constitution and bylaws. One amendment dealt with removal
of an officer from office; another spelled out the number of people and
affiliates to request an evidentiary hearing. A third amendment also dealt
with removal of an officer from office, and the votes needed to do so.
Another amendment would have counted the members of the board of
publications as elected officers. Another dealt with the composition of the
Internet oversight committee.
Pomerantz then announced a change in schedule, which the
convention approved, before turning the microphone over to Mike Godino, the
presiding officer of the day. Pomerantz asked the telephone crew to dial
Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, in
Washington, D.C. While waiting for the call to go through, Godino asked his
listeners to sign up for the Monthly Monetary Support program.
Dale said he wished he could have been at convention in person.
"I think that the president has demonstrated his commitment to people with
disabilities and people who are blind, and that starts
with putting in
place people at senior levels
focused on disability issues," he stated.
"He goes beyond the commitments he made and does the right thing."
Dale describes his position as two-fold. He sits in the Office
of Public Engagement, the "front door or outreach arm" of the White House,
which reaches out to people with disabilities and communicates the
president's agenda to them. He also takes in complaints and concerns that
people want the president to know about. Additionally, he is involved in
making sure that people with disabilities are included and integrated into
events that happen at the White House. "For example, when we have health
care discussions, we make sure that ACB is represented. Eric Bridges has
been to the White House a number of different times
We've made sure to
include the disability community and ACB in all of the events that we're
The other part of his job is in the Domestic Policy Council,
where he works on policies for people with disabilities. Responsibilities
include looking at policies, implementing policies, and working with the
Hill and other members of the Domestic Policy Council. He focuses on
education and technology, "key areas for ACB."
One thing that Dale and his co-workers have tried to do is work
with different communities and figure out what things would really make a
difference for that community, and how to start implementing those changes.
"One of the things we talked about during the campaign was education," he
said. "We talked about enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, we talked about full funding of that act, and we have made
great strides, I believe, toward that. This year in the budget, with the
recovery plan dollars that were put toward IDEA -- $12.2 billion has
doubled the funding for IDEA compared to last year's budget."
He also discussed technology, stating that he had met with ACB
and with COAT and different members of COAT about legislation, including the
Twenty-first Century Communication Act. "We have not done a comprehensive
analysis and made the decision where, if anywhere, we fit into that
particular scheme of things," he stated. "This administration generally is a
supporter of technology accessibility for people with disabilities
Dale also discussed accessibility of books, mentioning the
Reading Rights Coalition. "One of the things that I'm trying to do is to
lead by example and say that we here at the White House are committed to
accessibility, we're committed to technology accessibility, we're committed
to people with disabilities, making sure that they have access to support
services and materials that are needed to be successful," he noted.
Dale closed by telling his listeners, "In the president, you
have a friend in the White House. You have a president that is committed to
improving the lives of people who are blind, to improving the lives of
people with disabilities, you have a president who is committed to listening
to full interaction with the community and ensuring that we have our seat
at the table." He then took a few questions from the audience.
Pomerantz made a few announcements before calling Cathie Skivers
in California to apologize for the "heroes" pages (which were labeled as the
"In Memoriam" pages in the convention program). "It's very nice to see your
own memorial," Skivers said. "As I told you, you could just save the page
and when that time comes and I hope it's a ways off because I'm not
through with the California history yet [then] all you've got to do is put
that page up there, and I think I'll be looking pretty good!"
Following Skivers' remarks, Melanie Brunson presented her
report. "I want to give you all a bit of an update on some of the things
that have happened since our last convention," she said. "Kareem Dale stole
some of my thunder, but I can elaborate a little bit on some of the things
that he told you. The White House has kept us busy since January. Both Eric
and I have been back and forth to a number of meetings on a variety of
topics, from the RSA commissioner and the qualifications for that position
and our thoughts on it to health care reform issues
to disability policy
in general. And in fact, we turned the tables and had Mr. Dale visit our
office for a meeting with us and some of the other folks from the blind
community in the D.C. area, had a very nice chat with him on the subject,
and it was a very productive meeting, a very frank meeting
Brunson reminded her listeners that both ACB offices have moved,
and the process of getting settled has taken longer than she expected. "One
of the things that we in ACB have been working on for a while, and we had
hoped to bring it to you at this convention
we've been looking for ways to
honor individuals whose contributions
have been extraordinary
and some of the folks in the resource development committee and I, and the
new development director, kicked around some ideas and what we came up with
was a plaque that we are going to display in the ACB national office that
honors ACB patrons. Patrons are those individuals whose contributions to
ACB have exceeded six figures, and there are a number of them." The plaque
has been designed and put together, but when she lifted it, she decided
against bringing it to convention, "because it might cost six figures to
ship it! So we're going to unveil it at the midyear meetings." It will be
displayed in the reception area in the office.
Other things that are new in the ACB office include the phone
system, "which is at the current time the bane of our existence, but we're
hoping to do something about that," she said. Thanks to voice-over-Internet
technology, both offices are linked to the same system, and neither needs to
make long-distance calls to reach the other. She asked the audience to bear
with the office while the telephone problems in Arlington got fixed. She
mentioned ACB's outreach to Spanish-speaking populations in the U.S., and
her hope that the phone system would help with that.
She discussed the Reading Rights Coalition. "ACB has taken a
stand in support of the right of blind and visually impaired people to read
books in all formats, including e-books," Brunson stated. "It is our intent
to see that Amazon.com follows through on its promise to make the Kindle
book readers fully accessible, and it is our intent to see that e-books are
accessible not just through the Kindle but through other DAISY-reading
devices that blind people have access to." She mentioned the suit against
Arizona State and the complaint to the Department of Education about five
other colleges which are using the inaccessible Kindle readers. "If that
continues, it's discriminatory because students can't fully participate at
the same level as their peers in those classes where those materials and
that equipment are being used. We believe that 'separate but equal' hasn't
been and will never be good enough."
ACB is also working on another issue concerning books. "The
World Intellectual Property Organization has not been forthcoming in terms
of wanting to let people in other countries have the same kind of access,
particularly to digital books, that [is] available here on sites like
Bookshare," Brunson said. "Folks can't get those books if they live outside
the United States, and books that are available in other countries aren't
available to us."
Another issue of concern is Section 508 compliance. "ACB has
been aware for some time that there are a lot of blind people who have lost
jobs, or who have failed to receive promotions, because of barriers,
particularly when government agencies switch to new software or upgrade IT
equipment. We are working on changing that trend." She talked briefly
about the suit against the Social Security Administration, regarding
information in accessible formats for benefit recipients.
Eric Bridges has been very busy with the Federal Communications
Commission, serving on the Consumer Advisory Committee, she stated. "One of
the things they've been really involved in is the transition to digital
Eric was instrumental in getting them to establish a
subcommittee specifically working on issues related to audio or video
description during the transition to digital television. We're anticipating
some further comments and information from the Federal Communications
Commission about how audio description is going to be handled as the digital
age moves forward."
The 2010 midyear meetings and legislative seminar will be held
at the Holiday Inn National Airport in Arlington, Va., Feb. 19-23. Brunson
would like everyone who plans to come to register at least two weeks in
advance, so that we may give accurate meal counts to the hotel and the
caterer on Capitol Hill.
Godino thanked his committees and the committee chairs he has
worked with for their hard work. The audit is complete, he stated, and
copies of the financial statement should be available later on this year.
"Last year we budgeted a net income of $1,176,096; we ended up with a
revenue of $1,531,550," he said. "To that, we had a net expense budgeted of
$1,142,703; we ended up with a net expense of $1,150,866, giving us a net
excess for 2008 of $380,684. That puts us well into the black, I'm very
happy to report!"
Carla Ruschival gave her report on the national convention. She
thanked the members of the Florida local host committee for their excellent
work. "They were so far ahead of the game that they had many tasks
completed by January that normally we don't think about until March or
April!" she stated. She also thanked the national convention committee
members for their work. The Youth Activity Center registered 40 kids,
double last year's total. She thanked Mississippi Council of the Blind for
its sponsorship of the YAC, and Regal Entertainment Group for its
sponsorship of transportation for the youth trips.
"Every convention has its highlights," Ruschival said. "This
year, we have a few things that some are not going to happen again, but
others are and one of those things that isn't going to happen again
because we're not in Orlando next year is going to be the Epcot focus
group." She thanked Rick Morin from Massachusetts for his assistance in
getting ACB involved.
Future conventions will be: 2010, Phoenix, Ariz., the second
week of July; 2011, Reno, Nev.; and 2012, Louisville, Ky. In Reno, the
hotel has free 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport. 2013 and
2014 are open for bids.
Following Ruschival's report, Chris Gray gave a report from the
American Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment board. "We began this
work as a provisional committee and moved forward working closely with the
board of directors of ACB and others, and ultimately created the actual
board of directors of the American Center," he said. "If an American Center
on Blindness and Visual Impairment is going to succeed, it's got to reach
out throughout the entire community of and for the blind in this country,
and that's one of the overriding goals of our group."
Board members include Gray, Mitch Pomerantz, Melanie Brunson,
Marlaina Lieberg, Donna Seliger, Otis Stephens, John Vaughn, Jim Halliday,
Pam Shaw and Carla Ruschival. "The overall purpose of the American Center
on Blindness and Visual Impairment is to create a welcoming and productive
environment, a place where small to large meetings can be held, where
conferences can occur in the D.C. area,
a museum on blindness
blindness hall of fame
[and] a place where ACB can have office space and
where office space can be made available to others," Gray stated. "It's a
long-term project; it's not going to happen overnight."
He reviewed how the bylaws were put together, talking about all
the discussions that went into its creation, and mentioned the incorporation
process. "Those things will be coming along in the next few months," he
Godino thanked Gray for putting the session back on schedule
before turning the microphone over to Larry Turnbull, acting manager of ACB
Radio. Turnbull thanked Debbie Hazelton, Steven Matzura, Kevin Minor, Rick
and Debbie Lewis, Jim O'Sullivan, Geoff Shang, the development team (Mitch
Pomerantz, Marlaina Lieberg, Paul Edwards and Chris Gray), and the
Interactive and Mainstream teams for all their hard work on convention and
in the months leading up to it. He also thanked the listeners. "Over the
last couple of months I've been adding some new content; added two new shows
to Mainstream," he said. "The first one is called Hear and There; it's
hosted by Dave Alman. He goes to a lot of places and talks about what's
There are also a few new programmers on Interactive, Turnbull
added. "If any of you have an idea for a show, feel free to contact me!" He
and the ACB Radio crew have been working on moving ACB Radio to the new
server, which should make things smoother. Another of his goals: getting
ACB and ACB Radio closer together. He invited affiliates to announce their
conventions and stream them on the radio. Any affiliate or individual
wishing to do a show on ACB Radio should contact Larry via e-mail,
support at acbradio.org.
Michael Garrett, chair of the ACB Enterprises and Services
board, spoke next. He thanked the ACBES board members for their hard work
and for allowing him to serve as chairman. "ACBES is our thrift store
division," Garrett said. "We operate six thrift stores across the country.
We are currently located in Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas; in the greater
Milwaukee area; Knoxville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; and Dearborn Heights in
the greater Detroit area." He pleaded with his listeners in those areas to
make donations of household items, furniture, small and large appliances in
good working order, clothing, and other such items to the stores. "Donate
things that you would buy, not something you're trying to get rid of,
because the ultimate goal is to sell the items," he said. "Our long-term
it's all about expansion. We are looking at areas throughout the
U.S. to expand our stores, expand our reach, and ultimately expand our
profits so that we can contribute more to ACB."
Following a few brief announcements, Dan Dillon stepped up to
the microphone to discuss ACB's participation in the Watermelon 5K walk/run.
"We had a walk for the first time, and we
did pretty well," he said. "We
had some obstacles to overcome, some glitches
but we did." He thanked the
committee members for all their hard work and support, as well as the Track
Shack, all participants and all donors. He gave special thanks to Regal
Entertainment Group, which donated $2,500, and Iams, which donated 3,000
8-ounce boxes of dog treats. "Those people that did participate in the walk
and you want to get pictures of you crossing the finish line, you can go to
" Photos were organized by finish time.
Trophies went to platinum-level fundraisers, those who raised
$1,000 or more. They were: Michael and Peggy Garrett, Sharon Lovering,
Cindy Van Winkle, Ron Milliman, and Brenda and Dan Dillon. Trophies for
most money raised by an individual went to Ron Milliman, who raised more
than $2,300; the affiliate that raised the most was the Tennessee Council of
the Blind, which raised over $5,000. The team bringing in the most money
was the Dillon team, with over $4,000. Trophies also went to the oldest
participant, Patricia Beattie; the youngest participant, Sara Conrad; and
first across the finish line, Doug Powell (runner) and Juan Carlos Gill
Dillon stated that it wasn't too late to donate toward the walk.
"We don't have a final tally
but at this time we have raised just shy of
$23,000." He said the plan was to keep the donation form for the walk on
the web site for a while after convention.
Judy Jackson came up to present resolution 2009-05 on accessible
insulin pumps, which passed. After a few announcements and a few door
prizes, the session recessed.
FRIDAY, JULY 10
Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the invocation, Doug
Powell of Virginia urged everyone to participate in the MMS program. He
challenged ACB to have base contributions of $70,000 by September 2010.
Next, Brenda Dillon announced that the ACB auction brought in $24,734.
Business began with the unanimous adoption of three resolutions:
2009-13 on accessibility of national parks; 2009-04 on iPhones; and 2009-11
on Native Instruments music software. Then there was the election of ACB
officers. The nominating committee presented the slate of officers:
president, Mitch Pomerantz; first vice president, Kim Charlson; second vice
president, Brenda Dillon; secretary, Marlaina Lieberg; treasurer, Mike
Godino. All officers were elected by acclamation. Following the elections,
resolution 2009-12 regarding the Duxbury braille translation software was
Otis Stephens presented constitution and bylaw changes for
consideration. The body voted unanimously to substitute the word
"advancement" for the word "betterment" in Article II. After some
discussion, 13 non-substantive changes in wording to the constitution and
bylaws were also adopted unanimously. A change to the first sentence of
Section P in Article IV was recommended to reflect what is required of ACB
to maintain 501(c)(3) status; this was adopted. A proposed change to the
ending of the second sentence in Section P of Article IV would add the
following wording: "or a minimum of 100 members representing a minimum of
seven ACB affiliates requesting such an evidentiary hearing." After some
discussion, this was adopted by a 2/3 majority. An amendment to add
additional language to this section was defeated. The committee recommended
that proposed additional wording to Article V, Section A, not be approved;
the body unanimously upheld the committee's recommendation. After
considerable discussion of Bylaw 6, which deals with ACB standing
committees, the body unanimously agreed that Pomerantz would appoint a task
force consisting of two members of the ACB board of directors and the chair
of the constitution and bylaws committee to examine Bylaw 6 and recommend
streamlining language at the 2010 convention in Phoenix.
The rest of the day was devoted to resolutions.
DISNEY'S ON THE RIGHT TRACK WITH ITS
ATTRACTION DESCRIPTION DEVICE
by Landa Phelan
I had the privilege to participate in the Epcot focus group that
helped Disney evaluate its audio description unit. The group consisted of
over 30 blind and visually impaired people, some of whom had guide dogs.
To get us to Epcot, Disney picked us up at the Rosen Center
Hotel. My first reaction was, "Wow! [Epcot] is huge!" I was told that
Disneyland could fit in the parking lot.
Once there, Disney staff divided us up into three groups. Each
group had its own guide. First, we learned how to use the device. The unit
was about the size of a remote control, attached to a lanyard around your
neck, and you held it face up. There were 9 tactile buttons that were simple
to operate. It had an earpiece and GPS system, and the capability to provide
us with audio description as we went from one pavilion to another. We did
have to stay on a certain path in order for it to work. Our guide told us
when to turn right or left. The guides were very nice, patient and open to
all suggestions along the way.
We received VIP treatment and did not have to wait in long
lines. The groups went to some of the same events. Each event was so
realistic, including sounds and smells; if there was a fire you felt the
heat and smelled smoke.
We visited France, which was wonderful. I really enjoyed and had
no idea how beautiful France was. We also went to Canada and Niagara Falls,
and it was beautiful!
Another attraction was Spaceship Earth, a journey through time
and back. I enjoyed it and felt the journey. It was interesting and
Then there was a journey into imagination with "Fig" (as in
"figment"). I really enjoyed this one; however, I would have liked a little
description of what the Figment character looked like. At the end of the
ride we were to select a button on a touch screen to see which imagination
category we fit into. I could not participate. If there were a way to make
it tactile, I could have participated.
My guide dog had no problem with the special effects like
explosions, fire, rides, or loud noises. I was impressed with the pavement.
It was a very hot, humid day, but the pavement did not seem to be too hot
for my guide's paws.
Thank you, Disney staff and Disney, for caring about the
disabled and understanding that we are part of the community and we want to
enjoy a full life just like everyone else. It was a pleasure to participate
in this focus group.
HOLIDAY AUCTION TO RAISE MONEY FOR ACB
by Brenda Dillon
ACB is trying a new approach for auctioning items for the
upcoming holidays. This gives you the option of finding great gifts for the
holidays without leaving the comfort of your home. At the same time, you can
be proud to support ACB. Check it out for yourself and tell all your
friends, visually impaired or not. Items may be added throughout the holiday
season, so check out the site often.
Also, if you have any wonderful items, including yummy holiday
goodies, gift cards or certificates you are willing to donate, please
contact Dena Wilson in the national office for details. See the
step-by-step instructions provided below for accessing the cMarket auction
site. Happy holidays, and have fun shopping with ACB!
How to Register
To register, go to www.acb.cmarket.com and click on or go to the
"register" button located under the banner at the top of the page. This
will take you to the registration screen, where you have to complete a form
with your personal information (name and address, etc.). You also must
create a username and password. The username must be between 4 and 32
characters, and the password must be 7-32 letters and numbers. You must
check the box with the statement "I agree to cMarkets terms" and then click
on the "submit" button. You will get another screen confirming that you have
been registered and you will be automatically in the system. You can then
logout and log back in with your username and password.
The Other Way to Register
Simply click on the "sign in to bid" button, which takes you to
the registration form. It will ask you for your name and address, as well
as credit card information. Be sure to fill out all fields. After that you
can start bidding. Remember to sign out after bidding.
Note: Whenever you return to the site, your username will
automatically appear. Once you find the username and click in the box, tab
to get to the password box, type in your password, then tab to the sign-in
box and hit enter.
How to Place a Bid
Bids can be made by clicking on "view all items." Next, select
the item on which you wish to place a bid. That will take you to a screen
with that item on it. Click on or tab to the "sign in to bid" button and
press enter. This will take you to the screen where you enter your username
and password, if you have not logged in already. If you have logged in, just
select the item on which you wish to bid, enter the amount you wish to bid,
and click the "place a bid" button and press enter. If you have not added
your credit card information, you will need to do so at this time. To do
that, click on or tab to the "add new credit card" link; that will take you
to the credit card form. Be sure to fill out all fields. When complete,
click or tab to "save" and press enter.
ACB RAFFLE -- TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
ACB will be holding another raffle to support "The Braille
Forum." Tickets are already available, in time for state affiliate
conventions, and just in time for holiday gift-giving for that person who
While tickets will still be sold at the 2010 national convention
in Phoenix, we urge members to take advantage of the early-bird incentive
for selling tickets now. A prize of $200 will be awarded to the individual
who sells the most tickets before June 30, 2010. Contact Dena Wilson,
director of development, at (202) 559-2045 or at dwilson at acb.org, to get
your tickets. Each ticket costs $50, and you can have as many as five people
go in together to purchase a single ticket.
We encourage local chapters, and state and special-interest
affiliates, to buy raffle tickets to have a chance of winning the grand
prize of $5,000, second prize of $1,000, and third prize of $500. Be sure to
ask family, friends, co-workers and others to consider taking a chance with
much greater odds of winning than with the lottery. The drawing will be held
at the ACB banquet in Phoenix; the early-bird winner will be announced at
the same time.
Let's get started early, and make this the biggest and best
raffle yet! If you have any questions, contact Dan Dillon at (615) 874-1223
or by e-mail, dan.dillon at bellsouth.net.
CLEARANCE SALE AT THE ACB STORE
Soon it will be time for turkey and ham and Santa and presents.
I've already been shopping for those special people on my list, and I bet
you are getting in the spirit, too.
Make this year's holiday shopping extravaganza easy by surfing
on over to the ACB store (www.acb.org/store). Here you will find braille
bracelets, charms, 2007 convention memorabilia and more on sale.
And there's more! Don't miss this chance to check out other
items in the store -- ACB jackets, music CD's, Florida pins and T's, and
other great gifts. Remember to stop by the store at www.acb.org/store
often; you never know when a new must-have goodie will appear!
-- Carla Ruschival
ACB ADVOCACY MMS:
WHATS THE CONNECTION?
At first glance there does not seem to be a connection. We all
know that ACB does a lot of advocacy on the national level. Its one of the
major priorities, and there are certainly enough areas that need attention.
ACB does an excellent job providing scholarships to many
students, advocating for accessible household appliances in this digital age
and finding ways to make quiet cars that can be heard by people who are
blind and visually impaired. It is important to have accessible information
on TV screens such as emergency warnings and audio description. The annual
July convention is one highlight of the year for attendees there are major
expenses to put on this wonderful event.
So these are just a few examples showing that ACB is out there
working for all of us. If each member helps a little bit, just think of the
good work that could be done! Right now less than two percent of ACB members
participate in the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program.
Unfortunately, membership dues do not cover everything an
organization does. Our payments barely pay for the cost of publications,
like "The Braille Forum." So that leaves salaries, operating expenses and
advocacy -- to be covered in other ways. That is where the MMS program and
other contributions are so important.
Please join with me and others and help both ACB and your state
affiliate by signing up for the MMS program. Monthly donations can be
withheld from your credit card or bank account. Information and the sign-up
form can be found on ACBs web site, www.acb.org, or by calling the
Minnesota office toll-free at 1-800-866-3242. If there is a change in your
credit card or bank account information, please also call the Minnesota
A steady monthly source of income helps plan for financial
expenses and the future. ACB staff can also let people in the community know
that our own members are supporting the organization; that is very important
to many donors. We appreciate your contributions!
-- Kathy Brockman
SUMMARY OF 2009 RESOLUTIONS
Note: This publication reflects only those resolutions which
were adopted by the convention. Resolutions which were referred to other ACB
entities for further consideration, tabled or withdrawn are not included in
Resolution 2009-01 instructs ACB to urge Congress and the
President of the United States to promptly enact H.R. 734 and S. 841, the
Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. It also instructs the officers,
directors, and staff to contact their representatives as a matter of
priority so as to advance the passage of this crucial legislation, and
directs the affiliates and members of ACB to add their efforts to this
critical endeavor immediately.
Resolution 2009-04 directs this organization to convey to Apple
our appreciation of the work that has made the release of an accessible
iPhone possible, and instructs ACB to work to provide the Apple Corporation
with feedback concerning what works well and what does not work well in the
current model and will work to help improve each subsequent release.
Resolution 2009-05 directs ACB to urge all manufacturers of
insulin pumps to immediately develop and produce accessible (talking and
tactile) insulin pumps. It also urges the manufacturers to seek input from
ACB and its affiliate, Diabetics in Action, to assist them with this
Resolution 2009-06 directs ACB to call on Congress to
incorporate language to eliminate the foregoing list of health care
disparities in its proposed health care reform legislation, and states that
a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the President of the United
States, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and each member of the
United States Congress.
Resolution 2009-07 expresses ACB's strong support of H.R. 571,
sponsored by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), and will use its best efforts to
secure its passage, and urges its affiliates to work for its passage.
Resolution 2009-08 instructs ACB officers, directors and staff
to petition the U.S. Access Board for research to be undertaken into how
people can wayfind successfully through a shared space with the removal of
traffic separation elements and to integrate the findings into the upcoming
Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines, and encourages affiliates of
ACB and their local chapters, when working with local authorities, to remind
these authorities of their obligation under the Americans with Disabilities
Act not to create town centers and streets that have barriers to the free
and independent movement of disabled people, and to recognize the importance
of providing a "safe space" for pedestrians in all street environments. It
also calls upon all traffic planning entities to issue clear guidance to
their designers, engineers and planners that, until issues concerning the
safety of blind, visually impaired, and other disabled pedestrians can be
resolved, the removal of clear lines of demarcation between pedestrian ways
and vehicle ways is not to be permitted. And it directs the Environmental
Access Committee to develop a white paper expressing concerns about the use
of the shared space concept, and incorporates research findings referred to
in this resolution.
Resolution 2009-09 expresses ACB's committment to the enactment
of comprehensive federal telecommunications and video programming
legislation meeting the needs of people with disabilities, especially the
unique needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. To be truly
comprehensive, such federal legislation must, at a minimum, expressly
address the following public policy objectives: full accessibility of the
user interfaces employed by telecommunications and video programming devices
through navigable audible menu prompts and readily identifiable and
manipulable user controls; accessibility of text messaging, e-mail, and
Internet access services available through wireless and other
telecommunications devices; restoration, and authority for dramatic
expansion, of requirements for the description of video programming and
access to emergency information; and wider availability of communications
devices meeting the unique needs of people who are deaf-blind through
equipment distribution made possible under the federal universal service
fund. ACB expects of its coalition partners, as a condition of ACBs
continued participation in such coalition, their unwavering commitment to
the inclusion and retention of provisions accomplishing the objectives
described above in any legislation, comprehensive or otherwise, that such
coalition may propose or endorse.
Resolution 2009-11 directs ACB and its special-interest
affiliate, Friends-in-Art, to request that Native Instruments, and where
appropriate, other developers and manufacturers of music and sound-related
software, work with blind and visually impaired musicians and audio
engineers, including representatives of the American Council of the Blind,
the information access committee and Friends-in-Art, to arrive at, and
implement, a solution to ensure that blind and visually impaired musicians
and audio engineers are able to fully and independently use software
products to enhance their practice of the musical arts, and in order to
maintain competitiveness in the ever-changing music business. It also
instructs the ACB president to correspond with principals at Native
Instruments, and subsequently other software providers as appropriate, to
introduce the concerns expressed in this resolution, and offering assistance
as outlined herein.
Resolution 2009-13 directs ACB to strongly urge the Director of
the National Park Service to develop policy directives for dissemination to
park superintendents to ensure that the access needs of people who are blind
or visually impaired are met. It also instructs ACB to seek additional
funding from the United States Congress to accomplish the goals set forth in
Resolution 2009-14 directs ACB to urge colleges and universities
to make accessibility a primary consideration when making decisions about
which software to purchase to manage distance learning. It also urges all
colleges and universities who are currently utilizing Blackboard Learning
Management Systems which are inaccessible to replace this software with
distance learning tools which will work with screen readers and screen
magnification, and directs that copies of correspondence sent to
universities, including a copy of this resolution, shall be forwarded to the
developers of Blackboard Learning Management Systems.
Resolution 2009-15 directs ACB to strongly urge the Civil Rights
Division of the Department of Justice to commit to responding to complaints,
at a maximum within one year of their receipt. It also instructs the
president of this organization to try to arrange a meeting with officials at
the Department of Justice, and to convey this resolution to the Attorney
General of the United States, Eric Holder.
Resolution 2009-16 affirms ACB's membership in the Reading
Rights Coalition, and states that ACB regards this issue as of paramount
importance. It directs that the membership be kept fully informed about
developments in this matter as they occur, and requests a full report on
progress that is being made to be provided at the mid-year presidents'
meeting and at next year's convention. It notes that ACB expects
representatives of the Reading Rights Coalition be invited to speak to the
whole convention next year if this matter is not entirely settled.
Resolution 2009-18 directs ACB to call upon the board of
directors to work in collaboration with the Audio Description Project to
develop and implement a plan that will address these and other problems that
are limiting the acceptance and effective utilization of this technology.
It requests that WGBH personnel who initially developed this technology and
leaders of movie chains who have agreed to deploy it be actively involved in
the process of implementing this plan to make MoPix more effective and
valued. It directs all parties to work to assure that the transition to
digital systems in theaters continues to encourage and expand the
availability of audio description for movies that are to be shown in
theaters. It also instructs ACB to commit to collaborate with elements of
the government, movie producers and distributors, and developers of digital
technology in an ongoing effort to assure that the movies being described
for use in theaters can be made available on DVD discs or via download for
people who are blind but cannot access movies in theaters.
Resolution 2009-19 directs that ACB reject absolutely all of the
specious assertions that are brought forward to justify the destruction of
schools for the blind which are vital to the capacity of this country to
continue to offer blind children an appropriate, free, public education. It
instructs ACB to work cooperatively with the Council of Schools for the
Blind (COSB), the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and the
Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually
Impaired (AER) to create a set of specific recommendations which all of the
organizations will commit to implementing. These shall include strategies
for publicizing the value of schools for the blind, the creation of state
caucuses of legislators focused specifically on issues of relevance to
people who are blind and visually impaired, training programs that can be
utilized to educate stakeholders as advocates, and such other approaches as
this coalition of organizations may deem appropriate.
Resolution 2009-20 conveys ACB's deep appreciation for the many
thousands of talking books that have been produced over the years, and
requests that the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Library
Service work to see if there is any opportunity that can allow a talking
book program to continue to operate in New York City or its environs even
after AFB closes its talking book department.
Resolution 2009-21 expresses that ACB deeply regrets the
decision taken by Florida State University and other colleges and
universities to eliminate progams or parts of programs intended to provide
specialized training which is now becoming more and more difficult to find.
It instructs the organization to ask the Department of Education to work
cooperatively with colleges and universities throughout the country to
create or expand programs that will assure that teachers who must work with
blind and visually impaired children can receive the specialized training
they need to provide effective instruction in orientation and mobility,
braille, listening skills, home and personal management and access
technology, without which such children will not be able to access a free
and appropriate public education. It also encourages ACB to work with the
American Foundation for the Blind and the Association for Education and
Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired to develop and implement
specific proposals which shall be submitted to appropriate authorities. At
a minimum, such proposals shall include the development of priority funding
for teacher preparation, stipends that will support students training as
vision teachers, and the strengthening of regulations at the federal and
state levels which will preclude the retention of out-of-field teachers who
do not receive specialized credentialing within three years of the date they
Resolution 2009-22 thanks the Rosen Center Hotel for the
services and accommodations it provided to ACB members and staff during
Resolution 2009-23 thanks and commends the host committee for
all its work on the convention.
Resolution 2009-24 thanks all the volunteers who worked to
assist ACB convention attendees.
HERE AND THERE
edited by Sue Lichtenfels
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 info at acb.org, or phone the national office at
1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Loverings mailbox.
Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
SIERRA REGIONAL SKI WEEKEND
Do you want to have a weekend getaway in early spring, yet enjoy
one last blast of fun in the snow? You may want to join Sierra Regional Ski
for Light (SRSFL) at Tahoe-Donner in the high Sierras for cross-country
skiing and/or snow-shoeing, March 13-15, 2010. Novices and veterans are
welcome. For details on this three-day event, as well as for information on
SRSFL's one-day adventures, visit www.srsfl.org <http://www.srsfl.org/> , or
call Cindy Quintana at (510) 483-2948.
NOAHS ARK SET
National Braille Press now has available Noahs Ark, a
three-piece set that tells the story of the man and his menagerie of
animals. The set includes: a print/braille book by five-time Caldecott
Award-winner Jerry Pinkney that tells the story of Noah; 12 tactile pictures
by tactile artist Ann Cunningham; and a booklet called "Fun Facts About
Noah's Ark" that tells you things about turtles, penguins, giraffes,
elephants, and dragonflies you never knew! The set retails for $28. For
more information, call 1-800-548-7323 or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/NOAH.html.
Do you need a gift that will keep on giving? "Dialogue" is now
offering an annual subscription for $20 for new subscribers. For more
information, call Blindskills, Inc. at 1-800-860-4224, or write to:
Blindskills, Inc., P.O. Box 5181, Salem, OR 97304-0181. "Dialogue" is
available in large print, braille, four-track cassette and e-mail. Call for
a free sample in a format of your choice.
BRAILLE CHOCOLATE BARS & MORE
Sweet Tooth offers a variety of braille chocolate items for
sale. Candy bar greetings include Happy Birthday, Love You, Happy Holidays,
Merry Christmas, Thank You, and Have A Nice Day. Also available are
chocolate guide dogs with the braille saying of Best Friend or customized
with a dog's name, chocolate watches with braille, and chocolate lollipops
and clusters. For more information, contact Judy Davis directly at (585)
544-1853 or judydavis12 at rochester.rr.com.
The PenFriend audio labeler is a pocket-sized device that
records information using self-adhesive labels as audio tags. When the pen
is held over the label, the recorded message plays. You can use it to label
food items, film and music collections, household objects, letters, and
other paperwork. It can also be used as a digital notetaker to record
shopping lists or leave audio messages. The pen has up to 70 hours of
recording time (1 GB of memory) and the ability to download MP3 files,
including books and music if desired. The standard kit includes 127 labels
in a mix of sizes and shapes, built-in speaker, USB cable, neck lanyard and
two AAA batteries. The PenFriend is available from RNIB at www.rnib.org
<http://rnib.org/> and Independent Living Aids at
NEW MAGNIFICATION SOFTWARE
ZoomText Express offers a slight boost of screen magnification
(up to 2x) for computer users with low vision or to help avoid eye strain.
The software has adjustable mouse pointer and text cursor as well as a
variety of screen tints to reduce glare and sharpen contrast. It works on
all laptop and desktop computers running Windows XP or Vista. Domestic
copies of ZoomText Express are $49.99 for an electronic download or $59.99
for a boxed product (plus shipping). For more information, contact Ai
Squared at 1-800-859-0270, e-mail sales at aisquared.com, or visit
SEEDLINGS EXPANDS SELECTION
Seedlings has recently added several new books to its braille
book selection now offering 1,000 titles. These books range from
print-braille-&-picture books for toddlers and preschoolers like "Clifford's
Animal Sounds" and "Curious George at the Zoo" to two-volume novels for
teens and tweens (Newbery Honor Book "Elijah of Buxton" for example). And
there are many great books in between (some "Magic Tree House" books and
"Black Lagoon Adventures," among others). And in honor of the President,
they have added a biography of Barack Obama, and one about Michelle Obama.
To view a list of all the new books, go to www.seedlings.org/whatsnew.php.
To browse the entire Seedlings catalog, visit www.seedlings.org
<http://www.seedlings.org/> . To get a copy of the 2010 catalog, call
1-800-777-8552 or e-mail info at seedlings.org.
EVEN MORE VARIETY FROM BOOKSHARE
Bookshare's accessible online library for people with print
disabilities has developed even more partnerships with textbook publishers.
The University of Chicago Press, the University of California Press and New
York University Press have all agreed to provide Bookshare with digital book
files that will contribute thousands of new scholarly works to the Bookshare
collection. Books from Nobel Prize winning authors and academic texts in the
humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and disability studies will
expand the choices available for students in higher education and readers of
In addition to downloadable ASCII and braille book files,
ReadHowYouWant offers over 2,000 titles from its Classics Library in DAISY
2.02 and NISO/2005 formats, as well as synthesized audio MP3 books.
Contemporary, bestselling titles are also available. Over 60 publishers have
partnered with ReadHowYouWant to release their titles in accessible editions
at or close to the time that the standard edition is released. Contemporary
titles retail for $9.99 in downloadable braille files and $12.99 for DAISY
and synthesized audio MP3 files. More than 100 new titles are added each
month. To receive announcements about new titles in all formats, and get
reviews of hot titles, sign up for the Registered Reader program at
PLAYBACK ARCHIVES AVAILABLE
All editions of Playback Magazine and Playback Underground are
now available as MP3 files for free non-commercial download. You can hear
great voices from the past, including Ed Walker, Joybubbles, Peter Scialli,
Mel Cohen, and others. The computer and technology age will unfold before
your very ears. Over 385 hours of material is included in this collection.
This collection is also available on CD. Playback Magazine on 16 CDs retails
for $25, while Playback along with Playback Underground on 26 CDs goes for
$39. For more information, visit www.bluegrasspals.com/playback or call
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE
AdaptiveWare offers assistive technology for people who are
blind or visually impaired. The Victor Reader Stream with a 2-gig SD card
retails for $325. Screen-reading software for cell phones retails for $285.
A netbook PC with System Access screen reading software retails for $549. To
learn more about these products or other technology solutions, contact
AdaptiveWare at 1-800-470-7482 or via e-mail, kathy at adaptiveware.net.
NEW COMMUNICATOR FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Enabling Devices recently released a Portable Communicator for
Impaired. This device uses high-intensity LEDs to illuminate its icons. It
is battery-operated and compact. It features auditory cuing, switch access,
four scanning modes, and can record for up to 10 minutes. You can choose
the number of fields you want to use, from two to eight. It requires 4 AA
and 2 D batteries. For more information, contact Enabling Devices at
1-800-832-8697, or visit www.enablingdevices.com.
CHOICE MAGAZINE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Choice Magazine Listening is available for free digital download
from the National Library Service. Produced six times a year, each issue
contains unabridged works from quality publications such as National
Geographic, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, and the New Yorker. The
articles, short stories, poetry and interviews are selected from more than
100 magazines and other periodicals. The selections are read by professional
voice talent. Choice Magazine Listening is available free of charge for
anyone with a print handicap through download or 4-track cassette. For more
information, visit www.choicemagazinelistening.org or call 1-888-724-6423.
To download from NLS, go to www.nlsbard.loc.gov
SYMBOL-BASED COMMUNICATION CREATOR
AbleNet, Inc. is partnering with Talk To Me Technologies, LLC,
the developer of Pogo Boards, to provide both a free version of the software
as well as an online subscription version of the world's first, all-in-one,
full-featured, online, symbol-based communication boards creator. Within the
free version, users can create unique communications boards, curriculum or
behavior support activities by accessing thousands of AbleNet symbols or
millions of Google images. Users can select from templates that have been
created to correspond with AbleNet's assistive technology devices as well as
their content and curriculum for use in the classroom and the broader
community. The user can also upgrade to the subscription version, allowing
them to create their own symbol-based materials and store, share and
exchange them online. For more information, visit www.ablenetinc.com
HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA THROUGH HADLEY
The Hadley School for the Blind now offers a high school
program, an accredited distance education program resulting in a high school
diploma. Students 14 or older can enroll for free and will receive all
course materials in their preferred accessible format. Students can choose
to graduate from their hometown high school by applying credits toward
existing coursework or receive their diploma directly from Hadley. Those
opting for a Hadley diploma rather than one from their local school district
are invited to an annual commencement ceremony in June in Winnetka, Ill.,
where Hadley is headquartered. Homeschoolers can also supplement their
educational program with courses from Hadley. For more information, call
1-800-323-4238 or visit www.hadley.edu <http://www.hadley.edu/> .
NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS
The Talking Voice Magazine for the Blind now has its own e-mail
address. If you have questions about the magazine, send an e-mail message to
thetalkingvoice at gmail.com.
HIGH TECH SWAP SHOP
FOR SALE: Nokia 6681 cell phone with Talks software already
installed, in good condition. Asking $300. BrailleSense (original) 32-cell
braille notetaker. Includes wireless adapter, all cables and manuals. In
excellent condition. Asking $3,200. Laptop Asus computer with 2.2-gig dual
core processor, 1.5-gig memory, 160-gig hard drive, DVD-RW drive, 1 3-cell
battery, 1 6-cell battery, carrying case, Bluetooth and wireless built in.
Also includes Bluetooth mouse, camera and Windows Vista ultimate. Only
weighs 3.4 pounds. Brand-new. Asking $1,400. PAC Mate QWERTY 20-cell
notetaker with Pocket Mobile operating system, leather carrying case. In
excellent condition. Asking $1,600 or best offer. If interested, contact
Robert Miller at (850) 906-9821 or easytalk at earthlink.net.
FOR SALE: MAGic version 8 enlargement software for $425. Contact
Monty Cassellius, 1518 Devney Dr., Altoona, WI 54720-2511; phone (715)
514-1619, or e-mail isuredbirds at centurytel.net.
FOR SALE: Open Book 8.0 with braille and cassette tutorial.
Comes with Canon flatbed scanner, software and cable. Asking $450 in U.S.
funds. Will accept check or money order. If interested, contact Nancy at
(319) 217-8385 or owenryder at sympatico.ca.
FOR SALE: 20-inch TV with online custom focus magnifying system
with remote control. Asking $500. Contact Lenny in Lake Worth, Fla., at
FOR SALE: Millennium M20 20-cell braille display and notetaker
with speech output. Comes with flash drive, all cables to interface with PC,
as well as carrying case and braille and print manuals. Asking $500; buyer
pays shipping and insurance. Call Chuck Wheatley at (541) 870-0350 for more
FOR SALE: Trekker V3.0 GPS. Includes power cords, manual,
speaker and traveling strap. Asking $800. Contact mary.hiland at sbcglobal.net
or call (614) 471-1869.
FOR SALE: Manual wheat grass juicer, brand-new. Asking $40.
Compaq laptop with 15.6"-wide screen. Includes numeric keypad. Brand-new.
Comes with Windows Vista or XP, your choice; JAWS 9.0; 160-gig hard drive
and 2 gigs RAM. Asking $550. Toshiba laptop with 15.4"-wide screen,
250-gig hard drive, 3 gigs RAM, Windows XP Professional, and JAWS 9.0.
Asking $700. Desktop computer with 500-gig hard drive, 1 gig RAM, Windows
XP and JAWS 9.0. Asking $350. Talking watch or clock, brand-new, $8.
Brand-new Braille 'n Speak, never used, still in box. Asking $400 or best
offer. Contact Jose Luis at (818) 220-6256.
FOR SALE: Blazie Engineering Braille Blazer, 5 years old. Comes
with parallel cable and power cord. In perfect working condition; lightly
used. Still in original box. Asking $1,000. Send e-mail to
cdog2005 at gmail.com or call my cell at (662) 213-2627. Ask for Cody or leave
me a message.
FOR SALE: Jordy 2 low vision aid, used less than one year, in
excellent condition. Includes head unit, docking stand, all cables, with
battery and charger for portable use. Features: automatic focus and 16 zoom
settings for up to 30x magnification. Asking $1,000 plus $200 S&H/insurance
via FedEx. Contact Kerwin Schaefer, (252) 634-9237 or klskvl at suddenlink.net.
FOR SALE: Power Braille 40-cell display in good condition. Comes with cable
and menu on disk. Asking $395 or best offer. Will trade for a laptop
computer in excellent condition. Call Joe at (803) 238-7498 or e-mail
Jdunham4 at sc.rr.com.
FOR SALE: Optron CCTV, two years old, in excellent condition.
Comes with monitor and stand. Asking $1,200 or best offer. Contact Barry
at (630) 427-9000.
FOR SALE: QWERTY-style Voice Note with KeySoft 7.5 version 31
and Sendero GPS version 5.3. Comes with a leather case, power cord, and
computer cable. Asking $1,100 or best offer. Price includes shipping and
insurance. Contact Kurt at (386) 214-9165 or by e-mail at
kaottman at bellsouth.net.
FOR SALE: Book Port reader with USB cable, flash card, CD
software and instruction manual. Asking $100 plus shipping. Contact
Cynthia (408) 656-2102 or e-mail cirqitous650 at yahoo.com.
FOR SALE: Kurzweil reader in good working order. Price
negotiable. Call Mary Unruh at (316) 835-2038 or e-mail
dmunruhsogoldpr at pixius.net.
FOR SALE: PAC Mate Omni QX400, with cables, documentation, wi-fi
card, carrying cases and packaging. $800 or best offer. E-mail
laurao at tsoft.com or phone (510) 848-0008.
1115 CORDOVA ST. #402
PASADENA, CA 91106
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
57 GRANDVIEW AVE.
WATERTOWN, MA 02472
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
313 OVERRIDGE COVE
HERMITAGE, TN 37076
632 S. 189TH ST.
BURIEN, WA 98148
104 TILROSE AVE.
MALVERNE, NY 11565-2024
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
94 RAMONA AVE.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103
ACB BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ray Campbell, Glen Ellyn, IL
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA
Marsha Farrow, Summerville, GA
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX
Billie Jean Keith, Arlington, VA
Carla Ruschival, Louisville, KY
Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, MD
Jeff Thom, Sacramento, CA
David Trott, Talladega, AL
Cammie Vloedman, Oklahoma City, OK
Ex Officio: Marcia Dresser, Reading, MA
BOARD OF PUBLICATIONS
Paul Edwards, Chairman, Miami, FL
Marcia Dresser, Reading, MA
Judy Jackson, San Antonio, TX
Jenine Stanley, Columbus, OH
Ken Stewart, Warwick, NY
Ex Officios: Michael Malver, Minneapolis, MN
Ron Milliman, Bowling Green, KY
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