Dots and Dashes 1-25-19

“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features information about ACB’s leadership meetings, the membership focus call, information about ACB’s scholarships, some information about RSVA’s Sagebrush Conference, and much more.


ACB Leadership Meetings

The American Council of the Blind annual president’s meeting and legislative seminar will take place from Saturday, February 23, 2019 to Tuesday, February 26, 2019 in Alexandria, Va. 

The registration deadline is February 15th, 2019. If you would like to pay with a check, please download the paper registration form from the link at the bottom of the web page. 

To register online, visit To view our legislative imperatives for 2019, visit


2019 Schedule of Events:

Saturday, February 23: Board Meeting

Sunday, February 24: Affiliate Presidents’ Meeting

Monday, February 25: Legislative Seminar

Tuesday, February 26: Meeting with Legislators on Capitol Hill


Hotel Information:

Crowne Plaza Alexandria

Room rates (pretax): $120/night

Address: 901 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone number: (703) 683-6000 

Crowne Plaza Headquarters Phone Number: (877) 227-6963

Crowne Plaza Alexandria Website


Reagan National Airport (DCA) & Reagan Metro Station Shuttle

  • From the Crowne Plaza to DCA: Beginning at 5 a.m. and every 30 minutes thereafter until 10:30 p.m.; the shuttle drops you off on the upper level near door 2 or 4
  • From DCA to the Crowne Plaza: Hourly at 15 minutes and 45 minutes after the hour (approximately), located on the upper floor on the ticketing level, every half-hour
  • The last pick-up from DCA is approximately 10:45 p.m.


Membership Focus Call

This quarter’s membership focus call will be held on Sunday, January 27th at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific. The topic is “Using the Affiliate Membership Management System (AMMS) and how it can help your affiliate.” Each affiliate has at least one or two members who use it and we want to make sure affiliates know all the benefits of the system. To participate in the call, and learn more about the membership management system, dial (712) 775-7000 and use passcode 640009.


ACB Scholarships Available

Are you legally blind and looking to attend or continue your college or vocational education? Or do you know someone who is? Please share this with them!

The American Council of the Blind has a wide variety of scholarships for students who are legally blind, whether you are going to a technical college, an entering freshman, undergraduate or a graduate student. But don’t delay – the deadline is February 15th!

Over $55,000 in scholarships are awarded to students each year. To be eligible, you need to be legally blind, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and be involved in your school/local community. Apply online at The page includes instructions and information as to what other documents are needed. Be sure to submit the application no later than February 15th, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Central time.

For more information, please contact Nancy Christine Feela at (612) 332-3242 or (800) 866-3242 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Central).


Sagebrush Conference

The Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America will host the annual Sagebrush Conference Feb. 11-15 at the Golden Nugget Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. This year’s theme is “Expanding the Future of Randolph-Sheppard Utilizing Technology.” New this year: the opportunity to earn continuing education credits.

To reserve your room, call the hotel directly at 1-800-331-5731. Let them know you are with the RSVA® Sagebrush Conference 2019. Please check the hotel room reservation policy at for complete details. For more information, contact RSVA® by email,


Advocacy Updates

In the January 11th Advocacy Update, Claire Stanley and Tony Stephens talk about the beginning of the new Congress and the impact it might have on the blind community. Listen online by visiting You can also listen by subscribing to the ACB Advocacy Update via your favorite podcast app!

The January 19th podcast features an appearance by Diane Bergeron of Ottawa, Ontario, with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She talks about what’s going on in the North America-Caribbean region of the World Blind Union. Listen online at

Email questions and comments to


HBO: Audio Description & Screen-Reader Access

Disability Rights Advocates and the Disability Law Center are investigating complaints on behalf of the American Council of the Blind from blind individuals who report that the HBO GO and HBO NOW websites and mobile applications are not accessible via screen readers, and from blind individuals who want audio description tracks to be made available on HBO GO and HBO NOW.

We would greatly appreciate speaking with you if you are blind and you have chosen not to subscribe to HBO because you have heard about the lack of audio description available for HBO’s programs or about web access barriers on HBO’s websites and mobile applications. We are also interested in speaking with you if you have confronted access barriers yourself while using HBO GO or HBO NOW. To share your experiences, please contact Carson Turner by phone at (510) 665-8644, or by email,


T-Mobile Needs Your Help

T-Mobile is developing a new television service and has begun to implement accessibility features for the individuals with visual disabilities. They are interested in understanding how blind and visually impaired people access television. The questions relate to finding out what this population likes and dislikes about currently available accessibility features.  What features are most critical to them while accessing television?  What improvements would they like to see?  What features are perfect as is? 

They are in search of respondents who are over 18 and have a visual disability such as low vision, or are blind, regardless of if they currently watch television or use accessibility features.

Those who complete the 15-minute survey will receive an electronic $15 Amazon gift card for their time. To take the survey, visit