by Sue Lichtenfels
The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff, or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.
To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.
The holidays and the new year are coming. Do you need any fortune cookies for your special events? Contact the Lucky Touch Braille Fortune Cookie Company, a student-run business selling braille and large-print fortune cookies. Small braille fortune cookies, individually wrapped, are 40 cents each; braille chocolate-dipped cookies run 75 cents each. Specialization is available. Contact the company at the California School for the Blind Parents and Friends Association, 500 Walnut Ave., Fremont, CA 94536; phone (510) 794-3800, or e-mail [email protected] or jlesner@csb- cde.ca.gov.
Gifts Available Onlin
Ricky's Treasure Chest online and catalog sales offers gifts for the entire family. Save on Christmas items, home d‚cor, and Native American and Western items. Also available are Jim Shore Products. To view the catalog, visit www.rickystreasurechest.com.
Extensive Reel-to-Reel Collections
Darlene Barton is looking for a new home for a 600-piece collection of old-time radio programs on reel-to-reel tapes. This collection includes mysteries like I Love A Mystery, Inner Sanctum, The Whistler, and The Shadow. There are radio plays such as Mr. First Nighter and The Lux Radio Theater, and westerns like Gun Smoke, The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, and Have Gun Will Travel. There's comedy, too: Duffy's Tavern, Fibber McGee & Molly, Burns & Allen, Our Miss Brooks, and The Life of Riley, as well as quiz shows like Truth or Consequences, The 64 Dollar Question, and People Are Funny. Children's shows like Let's Pretend, Space Patrol, Sky King, Super Man, and Big John and Sparky, are included too. Almost all of these tapes are catalogued. The collection is free to whoever would like it; you need only pay for shipping. To learn more, contact Darlene Barton at (412) 341-0114 or e-mail [email protected].
Hadley School for Professionals
On Jan. 7, 2008, The Hadley School for the Blind will launch The Hadley School for Professional Studies (HSPS). The program consists of 24 distance education courses, 20 of which offer continuing education units. Tuition ranging from $99 to $139 will be charged for most courses. Enrollments will be accepted online only. For information on HSPS policies and procedures, visit www.hadley.edu/hsps, e-mail [email protected] or call 1-800-323-4238.
National Public Radio is looking for visually impaired participants to survey about their experience with media devices. If interested, please provide name, contact information, preferred contact method (phone, e-mail) and type of disability (blindness, dyslexia, etc.) to participant coordinator Daniel Schwab at [email protected] or (202) 513-2466.
2007 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation
Karen Gourgey and Steven Landau have been awarded the 2007 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation from the National Braille Press. They developed the Talking Tactile Tablet, an inexpensive and simple computer peripheral device that acts as a viewer for tactile diagrams, maps, and illustrations. Users place one of many overlay sheets on the TTT device and explore a graphic using the sense(s) of touch and/or vision. For more information on the 2008 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation, visit www.nbp.org.
Big News from Bookshare
The Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, recently made a major five-year award of $32 million to Bookshare.org. This funding will fully support all schools and students with qualifying print disabilities in the United States, K-12 and post- secondary, with access to the entire Bookshare collection of accessible electronic books and to the software for reading them. As of October 1, Bookshare ceased charging these schools and students any membership fees. The organization plans to add more than 100,000 new educational books and materials to its collection, and to reach out to every student, every family with a disabled student, and every school in the United States to offer them the chance to join; to coordinate with schools and publishers to deliver the best quality content possible and lower costs in meeting its obligation to serve every student. For more information, visit www.bookshare.org.
RFB&D Scholarship Winners
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic presented its National Achievement Awards at a gala reception in New York City in April. The winners of the Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards are: Christina Chang, Villa Park, Calif.; Thomas Hahn, Ruston, La.; and Elizabeth Phillips, Moraga, Calif.
Guildscholars off to College
In early 2007, the Jewish Guild for the Blind awarded 16 scholarships to high school seniors. They are: Maida Avdic of Omaha, Neb., attending the College of St. Mary; Alyssa Bates of Fairborn, Ohio, attending Pennsylvania State University; Christine J. Bouchard of Starkville, Miss., attending Sewanee: The University of the South; Casey Burkhardt of Toms River, N.J., attending Villanova University; Mindy Cook of Celina, Ohio, attending Ohio State University; Mandi Curtis of Massena, N.Y., attending the State University of New York at Plattsburgh; Colin A. Dalrymple of Midlothian, Va., attending George Mason University; Blair Douglass of Pittsburgh, Pa., attending the University of Pittsburgh; Carly Englander of Wantagh, N.Y., attending the State University of New York at New Paltz; Corey Grandstaff of Marengo, Ohio, attending Grace College; Elizabeth Haro of San Antonio, Tex., attending Stanford University; Maria Kristic of Rhinebeck, N.Y., attending Western New England College; Casey Joshua Lakritz of Bridgewater, N.J., attending New York University; Adlee Faith Manion of Leitchfield, Ky., attending Campbellsville University; Sarah Katherina Meyer of Kokomo, Ind., attending Indiana Wesleyan University; and Lauren Sullivan of Cumming, Ga., attending Furman University. For information on the Guild's scholarship program, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-7801 or e-mail [email protected].
Freedom to Compete Award
Naomi C. Earp, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently presented the Freedom to Compete Award to five employers from the private and public sectors for best practices that promote access and inclusion. The winners were: Johns Hopkins Health System, for developing a series of programs to increase job opportunities for area youth with disabilities; Emory Crawford Long Hospital, for its Project Search Program, created to assist hospitals experiencing shortages of nurses and medical technicians by employing young people with developmental disabilities to assist with routine tasks that don't require medical expertise; the IRS, for its Lions World program to facilitate the hiring and retention of individuals with visual impairments; the city of Norfolk, Va., for its Pathways to Public Service Program, which was designed to remove barriers to public employment for people of color, women, and individuals with disabilities; and Abilities, Inc., for its Experience Counts Program to assist mature workers with disabilities or age-related limitations to regain meaningful employment.
Out of Sight Fitness
The Out of Sight Health & Fitness Program is especially designed for people who are visually impaired and blind. The program includes one braille book, a companion CD that reinforces the exercise portion of the program, a quarterly e-newsletter and two free phone consultations. The program costs $39.95 plus $5 shipping. For more details, contact Bob at (201) 507-1510 or e-mail [email protected].
"Golden Moments: Reflections of a Retriever" is a heart-warming braille and large-print book. It is the story of how Camille Petrecca conquered her fear of dogs and other obstacles. Goldy, Petrecca's first Seeing Eye dog, tells the story in realistic and humorous terms. The photos included in the large-print edition are captioned in the braille edition. Each edition costs $20, including shipping and handling. To order, make check payable to the Campanian Society and mail it to PO Box 243, Rhinecliff, N.Y. 12574. Allow four weeks for processing.
"We Shall Overcome" is a romance novel written by Abbie Johnson Taylor and published by iUniverse, Inc. It is not only about falling in love and getting married but is also about overcoming fears and stereotypes related to disabilities. The author is visually impaired and has been writing full- time for several years. Visit her web site at www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com. The book is available in print and eBook on the publisher's web site and in print from Amazon.com and booksamillion.com. For more information, contact Abbie Johnson Taylor by mail at 352 W. Whitney, Sheridan, WY 82801, by e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at (307) 674-6109.
According to Wings & Safety Things, sound is the number one factor in deterring crime and finding people during emergencies. They offer a safety whistle that includes a key clip to attach it to keys or a pocket. It meets and exceeds U.S. Coast Guard and SOLAS regulations and the anti-choking federal regulations for children. It also has the endorsement of the American Red Cross. Each safety whistle costs $6.50 and includes shipping. Send check to: Wings & Safety Things, 1182 W. Hamilton Ave., Suite 2, Campbell, CA 95008. For more information, call (408) 378-0700 or e-mail [email protected].
Old-Time Radio Conference
There will be an Old-Time Radio Fans Get-Together in Chicago Aug. 7- 10, 2008. The conference is primarily for old-time radio fans who are blind. However, all are invited. Because hotel space is limited, you must write or call in a request for a personal written invitation. E-mail Robert Acosta at [email protected] or call 1-877-422-0300.
Vonage to Provide Free Directory Assistance
Vonage Holdings Corp. will be providing qualified disabled Americans with free directory assistance as part of a settlement with the DuBoff Law Group, LLC.