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.
Cruise for Visually Impaired
American Star Travel specializes in group travel for people who are visually impaired. The agency is offering a seven-night cruise from Boston to Bermuda that sails Oct. 5-12, 2008 on the Norwegian Dream. Staffers will provide orientation on the ship at arrival and special assistance during embarkation and debarkation. Guide dogs are also welcome. The ship offers 13 places to eat, 10 bars/lounges, a casino, two swimming pools, a jogging/walking track, 24-hour fitness center and more. For more information, or to book a trip, call American Star Travel at (508) 815-4327, or visit www.americanstartravel.net. Fares start at $689 plus tax per person for an inside cabin. Time for this offer is limited.
Mind's Eye Travel specializes in trips for people who are visually impaired or blind. Three upcoming trips are: Discover the coast of Maine, Sept. 10-14, 2008; Sedona, Ariz. and the Grand Canyon, Oct. 8-13, 2008; and 7-day southern Caribbean cruise, Feb. 15, 2009. All trips are hosted by owner Sue Bramhall and a fully sighted assistant. Trips are designed for visually impaired or blind people traveling with a sighted guide. If you are traveling alone, the company will make every effort to offer assistance with scheduled activities and meals. However, Mind's Eye cannot offer assistance 24/7. Space and time is limited on these offerings. For more information, go to www.mindseyetravel.com. To make a reservation, call (207) 542-4438 or write to [email protected].
Envision seeks blind or low-vision individuals who want a rewarding career in manufacturing or retail operations. Good, stable jobs in an air-conditioned and clean facility in Wichita, Pittsburg, Kansas City, Kan. or in one of many base service stores across the Midwest and western U.S. may be available right now. Envision offers competitive pay and a generous benefits package, which includes relocation assistance. Our vision rehabilitation department is ready to assist with your needs, too. Envision's product line includes: plastic bags, grocery bags, seal closure bags, biodegradable bags, general purpose bags, plastic sheeting, industrial wiping towels, gunslings, high-visibility belts and compostable bags. To learn more, call (316) 425-7150 or 1-888-425-7072. You can also e-mail [email protected].
Social Entrepreneurs Training
The Braille Without Borders International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE) in Kerala, South India, will start its first course in January 2009. BWB is looking for engaged, motivated and highly talented people who want to contribute to society by setting up their own social or environmental project in their regions or countries. Participants should speak and read enough English to fully understand the application form, to follow a conversation and to do interviews. They should be confident and independent enough to live abroad for one year. Preference is given to blind and partially sighted candidates, although applications from engaged, motivated sighted individuals are welcome. Scholarships will be provided. BWB will accept applications for this 11-month program until September 2008. To find out more, visit www.braillewithoutborders.org.
Annual NCCB Conference
The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its annual conference Sept. 13-18, 2008 at the St. Louis Hilton Frontenac located at 1135 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. For hotel reservations at the $95 per night rate, call (314) 993-1100 by mid-August. For information regarding registration and payment, contact Rheba Dunn at (970) 895-2352 or [email protected]. For more information, visit www.thenccb.com.
Emergency Management Publication
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is pleased to announce the release of a new online publication, "Emergency Management Research and People with Disabilities: A Resource Guide." This guide provides a listing and description of research projects funded by the federal government and non-federal entities, research recommendations that have come out of conferences on emergency management and disability, and a bibliography of relevant research publications. NIDRR's hope is that it will facilitate the development and implementation of a nationwide research agenda on emergency management and people with disabilities, so that we can develop a strong evidence base about the best ways to ensure the safety and security of people with disabilities in emergency and disaster situations. This report is available on the U.S. Department of Education's web site at www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs.
Choice Magazine Listening Goes Digital
Choice Magazine Listening is one of the latest additions to the digital download pilot program sponsored by the NLS. CML presents eight hours of the best current magazine writing, free of charge, six times a year. The unabridged short stories, essays, poetry and interviews are chosen from approximately 100 periodicals and literary journals such as "The Smithsonian," "The New Yorker," "National Geographic," "Sports Illustrated," "Paris Review," and "Business Week." They are read by talented actors at the studios of the American Foundation for the Blind. CML also continues to be available on four-track cassette. Information about a free subscription and player is available on the web at www.choicemagazinelistening.org, or by phone at 1-888-724-6423.
Carl R. Augusto, President & CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind, was elected president of the North America/Caribbean region of the World Blind Union (WBU) on April 17, 2008, at its meeting in Nassau, Bahamas. The WBU is the internationally recognized organization that represents over 160 million blind and partially sighted persons in 177 member countries and is the only organization entitled to speak on behalf of blind and partially sighted people to global organizations such as the United Nations.
NBP New President
National Braille Press' board of trustees has named Brian A. MacDonald to serve as the company's new president. MacDonald brings with him a solid track record of success in operations, sales, marketing and donor development within the non-profit world. "To be chosen to lead National Braille Press is a most welcome joy and privilege for me and my family," MacDonald said. "Because my grandmother reads braille, I have a strong personal interest in its advancement. I realize there are challenges, especially in succeeding such a great leader as Bill Raeder. It is hoped that my leadership of the strategic plan for the future will continue to complement Bill's vision of strengthening programs and building capacity while remembering NBP's wonderful past."
"Legal Planning for Special Needs In Massachusetts: A Family Guide to SSI, Guardianship, and Estate Planning" by Barbara D. Jackins shares what this attorney has learned in over 25 years of practicing law. In a relaxed, conversational style, she explains the essential elements of SSI (Supplemental Security Income), guardianship and estate planning when there is a child with a disability in the family. Although some of the materials are specific to Massachusetts, most of the strategies are valid in any state. This 327-page book's ISBN is 0-9789741-5-8; it retails for $24.95. To review the table of contents, read excerpts, and purchase, go to www.disabilitiesbooks.com/legal_planning/index.html. To order by mail, send $28 (includes shipping) to DisABILITIESBOOKS Inc., 33 Pond Ave. #807, Brookline, MA 02445. Massachusetts residents, add $1.20 sales tax.
Website & Transcription Service
Toni Fraser has started a new web site solely for the use of blind adults. It shares hard-to-find information with regard to employment, education, technology, shopping, camps for adults who are blind, vocational rehabilitation, and much more. She is also starting a fee-based personal transcription service for people who are blind. Transcriptions might include: personal letters, reports, business letters, Excel spreadsheets, address labels, envelopes, etc. To learn more, visit Toni's web site at www.accessabilitysolutions.net.
New York Life Site Accessible
New York Life, the insurance company, has recently revamped its web site to make browsing easier for consumers, especially those who are visually impaired. One of the features, "Read this page," allows users who have visual impairments to have content read out loud. The reader function is the product ReadSpeaker, which is licensed from VoiceCorp International, and is available for all pages explaining products and their features. The New York Life web site is available at www.newyorklife.com.
Talking Web Portal
Spoken-Web is a web portal, managing a wide range of online data-intensive content like news updates, weather and travel, and business articles for computer users who are blind or visually impaired. The site provides a simple, easy-to-use interface for navigating between the different sections and articles. Using the keyboard to navigate, a person who is blind or who has a visual impairment can hear the full range of an article content provided in a logical, clear, and understandable manner with no advertisement interruptions. The full features can be operated from any computer or Internet caf‚ in seconds. This resource is available at www.spoken-web.com.
Slow Cooker Cookbook
National Braille Press is offering "5-Ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow-Cooker Recipes" by Phyllis Pellman Good, part of her famous "Fix-It & Forget-It" series. This cookbook includes 359 recipes for chicken, turkey, beef and pork main dishes, and offers convenience and comfort to anyone faced with a too-full life and hungry people to feed. Each recipe's instructions spell out every step so you won't get stranded along the way. Read more about this book, or order it, at www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/FIXIT.html. For mail orders, send payment to NBP, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302. For phone orders, call 1-800-548-7323 or (617) 266-6160.