Braille Forum
Volume XXXIX April 2001 No. 10
Published By
The American Council of the Blind
Paul Edwards, President
Charles H. Crawford, Executive Director
Penny Reeder, Editor
Sharon Lovering, Editorial Assistant
National Office:
1155 15th St. N.W.
Suite 1004
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 467-5081
Fax: (202) 467-5085
Web Site:
Paul Edwards' voice pager: (888) 895-8553

THE BRAILLE FORUM is available in braille, large print, half- speed four-track cassette tape and computer disk. Subscription requests, address changes, and items intended for publication should be sent to:
Penny Reeder,
1155 15th St. N.W.,
Suite 1004, Washington, DC 20005,
or via e-mail.
E-mail the Editor of the Braille Forum
Submission deadlines are the first of the month.

Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to Patricia Beattie at the same address. If you wish to remember a relative or friend by sharing in the council's continuing work, the national office has printed cards available to acknowledge contributions made by loved ones in memory of deceased people.

Anyone wishing to remember the American Council of the Blind in his/her Last Will and Testament may do so by including a special paragraph for that purpose. If your wishes are complex, you may contact the ACB National Office.

For the latest in legislative and governmental news, call the "Washington Connection" toll-free at (800) 424-8666, 6 p.m. to midnight Eastern time Monday through Friday. The Washington Connection is also posted and updated on the ACB web site at

Copyright 2001
American Council of the Blind


What Will We Do to Respond to the Garrett Decision?, by Paul Edwards
The Garrett Case: The Verdict Is In, by Charles S.P. Hodge
The ACB 2001 Elections: A Time of Decision, by Charles H. Crawford
On the Air! Expanding Your Affiliate through ACB Radio, by Jenine Stanley
Space Camp: A Trip to Remember, by Kyle Conley
Letters to the Editor
Affiliate News
Alaska: The Land of the Future, by Robert Langford
Convention Time Is Coming, by LeRoy F. Saunders
There's No Business Like Show Business (FIA Style), by the Friends-in-Art Board of Directors
For the Price of a Daily Can of Soda, You Can Join the Honor Roll of ACB Life Members, by Charles S.P. Hodge
There's Nothing Wrong with Having a Disability: Educating on the Fly in the T-Ball Stands, by Kevin Lofton
Glenn Plunkett: Advocate Extraordinaire
In Memoriam: Ruth Haglund Craig
Here and There, by Billie Jean Keith
High Tech Swap Shop

Remarks by Paul Edwards
Delivered at the ACB Legislative Seminar
Sunday, February 25, 2001

Think back to the year 1964. In 1964, the Beatles made their first American tour. In 1964, Barry Goldwater ran for president, and lost. And, perhaps the best thing to happen in 1964 -- from the perspective of the social history of the United States anyway -- was that the Civil Rights Act was passed and signed into law by President Lyndon Banes Johnson. As monumental as this was, however, people with disabilities were missing from the groups who were covered by that landmark act.

As our country continued to evolve, and people with disabilities began to develop their own set of values and their own notions about civil rights, we began to believe that, as people with disabilities, we had the right to be fully included within the society, and we began to model many of the notions that we were acquiring about who we were, not on the medical model by which society had always insisted we define ourselves, but on a model of inclusion in society that we believed was appropriate for us.

Last Wednesday, in the Supreme Court, the notion of who we are was dealt a severe blow. In the decision that was written for a majority of the Supreme Court (a five-to-four majority), the same group of people who sought to narrowly interpret electoral law in the United States chose, this time, to insult people with disabilities. What this court essentially said is that, unlike other minorities, people with disabilities cannot be protected against discrimination by state governments, on the grounds that it is sometimes rational to deny people with disabilities protection.

On the face of it, that is a speciously ridiculous argument! More important, what the Garrett case essentially said -- and I think we need to stress this as strongly as we can -- is that somehow it is all right for people to discriminate against those of us with disabilities even though it is not right for people to discriminate against people who are African-American, people who are Hispanic, people who are Jewish, or Roman Catholic, or people who are women. According to the Supreme Court, those minorities warrant protecting because there is sufficient evidence of a pattern of discrimination which justifies their protection. The court found that there is not sufficient evidence of a pattern of discrimination against those of us with disabilities.

The American Council of the Blind has been concerned about the Garrett case for a long time. One of the folks who has been most vociferous about the Garrett case, urging us to pay attention and keep a watchful eye on the court and the case, was Charlie Hodge. Earlier this week, when the decision on Garrett was released, the first thing that Charlie did was to pick up his phone and call me and say, "Well, I could say I told you so," because he had been saying for a long time that he believed the case would come out the way it did. I, being an eternal optimist, had continued to believe that the Supreme Court couldn't really have the audacity to suggest that disabled people are truly second class citizens, as this decision suggests that we are.

Charlie Hodge asked what we were going to do about it, and particularly, what we were going to do about it in terms of the upcoming legislative seminar, and I told Charlie that I felt his was an important question, and one that deserved an answer. Therefore, nine of us met over lunch to try to come up with some answers. I'll tell you who was there, because I think it was a very distinguished group: We had three people from the board of NELDS (National Educational and Legal Defense Services for the Blind); me, as President of ACB; Jeff Thom, president of the American Blind Lawyers Association; and Charlie Hodge, also a distinguished member of the board of NELDS as well as a respected practicing lawyer and a person who is close to the Beltway. In addition, we had Sue Crawford, who spends her every working day as a mediator enmeshed in ADA issues; Michael Byington, who chairs our ACB Resolutions Committee, and was there to provide some historical perspective; our First Vice President, Brian Charlson, who was there to provide us with some sanity and good sense (with so many lawyers around, it was very helpful to have Brian there); Charlie Crawford, our executive director; Patricia Beattie, who is the policy analyst for National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and also serves as treasurer of ACB; and Melanie Brunson, who is, of course, the point person with regard to the issues raised by the Garrett decision.

As we assembled with our lunches in hand, I asked us, as a group, to try to avoid the hysterics we all tended toward with regard to the Garrett case, and to try, instead, to answer two questions: First, what in the long run does ACB believe we can most appropriately do to respond to the Garrett decision? And second, what is it that we should tell all of you to say to your folks on the hill tomorrow? A Long-Term Strategy

First, I want to talk about what we believe needs to happen in the long term. Any response we make to the Garrett decision must be an action that we take in an appropriate and forthright way. It's hard to do this with a decision like Garrett, however, because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, any of us in this organization who are not really furious about the decision essentially are not really listening to what the court said. It is absolutely crucial that we say to the country at large, through the actions we take in the next few months and years that every person with a disability is a member of a minority that is discriminated against, just as categorically and just as absolutely as is any one who is a member of any of the protected minorities, and to create a difference between people with disabilities as a minority and others as a minority is an attempt to divide and conquer. And we will not stand for it. A Three-Pronged Long-Term Approach: Now It's Our Civil Rights That Are At Stake

The American Council of the Blind is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. We have consistently stood up and been counted when issues of civil rights have been raised with regard to other minorities. We have worked with the Leadership Conference, we have supported the Leadership Conference financially, and now it's time that we go to the Leadership Conference as people with disabilities and say, "Now it's your turn to stand with us."

While we're saying to the Leadership Conference, "Now it's your turn," we also need to be saying to other people with disabilities, "You need to stand with us, and we all need to work together to say to everyone in this country that we are insulted and defamed by the notion that we are not worthy of being protected with the same civil rights as you accord to other citizens of this country."

I have asked that Charlie Crawford work with other elements of the blindness community, and Charlie and I will work with other elements of the disability community. We in ACB will take a leadership role. We will develop a position that we will take to leaders of Congress and we will take before the nation. But we're not leaving it there, because that is not sufficient. A Model Disability Law for the States

One of the core provisions of the Garrett decision was to suggest that one of the remedies that's out there is to pass state civil rights laws that would have the same provisions as those incorporated in Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is our intent, within the next two months, to develop a model state law which we will circulate to each affiliate so that you can work with other disabled groups in your states to pass laws that will say, "If the federal government can't make you live up to your responsibilities of enabling people with disabilities to work, then we'll pass state laws that will force you to do it." But that's not enough either. Congress Must Amass the Necessary Body of Evidence

We also need to begin to develop a long-term strategy that will enable us to go to Congress and say, "You have a responsibility to develop findings about the discrimination against people with disabilities that will be sufficiently demonstrative to overturn the Garrett case, because the Garrett decision hinges on the opinion of the majority of the justices that there is not enough evidence adduced by Congress to suggest that people with disabilities are systematically discriminated against, and in fact, so systematically discriminated against that a pattern of discrimination can be deduced legally."

Clearly the evidence is there. But we need to ask Congress over time to go back and put that evidence on the Congressional record, so that the Garrett decision can be overturned and once and for all, we can be regarded as having the same requirements for protection as other minorities. We will do that.

Finally, how do we respond tomorrow?

I said to our own assembly of nine at lunch that I believe that each and every one of us wants to respond when we go to the hill tomorrow. Is that true? [Edwards' query was met with resounding applause and a chorus of, "Yes!"] The Four Points We Need to Get Across to Our Congressional Representatives

This is what all of us should say in response to the Garrett decision when we visit our representatives on the Hill tomorrow:

Number one, we are very disappointed in the Supreme Court decision.

Number two, we know that Congress is disappointed in the Supreme Court decision because we recognize that Congress intended the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect people with disabilities and the Supreme Court chose to limit the Congress' ability to do effectively what it wanted to do.

There are two entities that still have the ability, under the Supreme Court decision, to take states to court. These are the Department of Justice, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). So, number three, we are asking our friends in Congress to allocate additional funds to enable the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to become advocates for people with disabilities when they're discriminated against by state governments.

Any of you who have followed the implementation of the ADA know that one of the things that has been disappointing has been that DOJ and EEOC have not exactly been paragons of enforcement. In fact, it's probably fair to say that if there's a term for what is opposite of "paragon," that's what DOJ and EEOC have been. Therefore, number four, please monitor the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to assure that they utilize the funds you allocate to vigorously fight the discrimination that we know exists against people with disabilities by state governments. A Turning Point

Ladies and gentlemen, the Garrett case is an important turning point because the time when we as people with disabilities could be nice, could be calm, could be quiet, could be "sensible," is past. Now we're at a place where we're disheartened, discouraged, and angry enough to change things. Now we have to go out and say to the rest of the country, we are minorities with the same rights that other minorities have. More important, we must be, and we will be recognized as having the right to work for state governments, having the right to be protected against the vagaries of state governments, and not ever accepting the notion expressed by the majority of the Supreme Court that suggests that it is rational and even appropriate to discriminate against people with disabilities simply because it is rational to assume that a person with a disability can't do the job.

I believe that the positions we have decided to take with regard to the Garrett decision are immediate, appropriate, and will have some impact. I believe the work we're asking you to do on the Garrett case, on accessible pedestrian signals, and on other important issues at the state level will make a substantial difference in the way that blind people will function in the 21st century.

And I believe that the role the American Council of the Blind will play over the next few months, in the unfolding of our disabled community's response to the Garrett decision, will offer us an opportunity to demonstrate, to the disability community and to the country at large, that we are the leading organization serving the interests of people who are blind.

by Charles S.P. Hodge

On Wednesday, February 21, the United States Supreme Court announced its long-awaited opinion in the case of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama et al v. Garrett et al. Based upon the high court's recent immunity precedents, by an all too predictable five to four vote, the justices ruled that the provisions of Title I of the ADA addressing employment discrimination against the disabled by entities of state government, which authorize private party lawsuits against such state agency wrongdoers, for money damages in the federal courts go beyond Congress' competence to enact, and thus violate the several states' immunity from lawsuits for money damages in the federal courts, which is guaranteed by the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist announced the opinion of the court with whom Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas joined. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy filed a separate concurring opinion in which Justice Sandra Day O'Connor joined. Justice Steven G. Breyer filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsberg joined. Chief Justice Rehnquist's stern, hard-bitten opinion sets forth in iron and unbending form the court's recently developed hornbook law on Eleventh Amendment immunity. The opinion states that even hard-headed or hard-hearted adverse distinctions made by state governments against the disabled are to be judged under a low rational basis standard, and if the state government entities involved can come forward even after the fact with a reason to support the distinction, the court will not find a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against those entities of state government.

The opinion notes that the disparate impact and reasonable accommodation provisions of Title I of the ADA go far beyond the simple non-discrimination required of the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, and thus are not congruent or appropriate remedies which Congress may constitutionally enact against state governments under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The majority opinion also notes that Justice Breyer in dissent attached an appendix to his opinion which details hundreds of incidents of discrimination against people with disabilities reported to Congress as having been committed by entities of state government. Yet the majority discounts most of the incidents referred to in the dissenting appendix as being unexamined and anecdotal versions of incidents of discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations and the provisions of public services by both state and local governments, and finds that these incidents fall far short of establishing a pattern of unconstitutional discrimination by the states against people with disabilities in terms of employment, which would be required to justify the remedial provisions enacted by Congress against the states in Title I of the ADA.

The final footnote in the majority opinion does seem to hold out some hope that Congress might be able to revise Title I of the ADA to pass Constitutional muster by making the appropriate findings both as to unconstitutional violations by the states and as to the congruence and necessity for the remedies which Congress might enact to redress the pattern of unconstitutional conduct found by Congress against the states.

The footnote also points out that even in light of the court�s holding, all is not lost for people with disabilities, because states must still comply with the substantive requirements of Title I albeit without the threat of private party enforcement litigation for money damages in federal court. The Department of Justice can still sue state government wrongdoers for money damages under Title I of the ADA in federal court, the footnote points out, and private individuals can also still sue such wrongdoers for injunctive relief in the federal courts. Furthermore, disabled individuals still have the rights and remedies granted to them under state law to redress unlawful discrimination in employment by entities of state government.

In his separate concurring opinion, Justice Kennedy attempted to soften the harsh tenor of the majority opinion by pointing out that even after the court's holding in the Garrett case, Congress may well be able to revise Title I of the ADA in a Constitutional manner by making the record and findings required by the court's recent immunity precedents both as to a pattern of unconstitutional disability discrimination by state governments and to the congruence and necessity of the private party lawsuit for money damages selected by Congress to counteract unlawful disability discrimination in employment by state government employers.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer stated forcefully that the court's majority has gone too far. In fact, Breyer stated that the majority opinion holds, in effect, that the only forms of discrimination by entities of state government which Congress may find unconstitutional under Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment are those differences or distinctions which are based on factors such as race, ethnicity and gender which have been accorded strict or heightened scrutiny evaluation under the Constitution. In effect, because the court continues to hold that disability discrimination is to be assessed under the lower rational basis test, Congress may never find such adverse and discriminatory distinctions made by state governments to rise to a pattern of unconstitutional Fourteenth Amendment violations which could then be outlawed and remedied under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. In effect, by its interpretation, the majority opinion broadens the states' Eleventh Amendment immunity while at the same time redefining and restricting Congress' powers under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In conclusion, Justice Breyer pointed out that Congress is not a court, but is the national legislative body, and that Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment grants to Congress wide latitude and discretion to determine what forms and types of legislation may be warranted to carry out the objectives of the Fourteenth Amendment. His opinion stated that the Supreme Court has traditionally granted Congress much deference in making the determination as to what kind of legislation is proper and necessary under its powers to enact laws to enforce the substantive provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment under Section 5 of that amendment. Here, however, contrary to the court's prior precedents, Congress' many findings are discounted and not accepted by the court, and the court is requiring Congress to break out its findings by specific subject matter and to specifically justify each remedial provision. Such an intense, high-handed review of Congress' Section 5 determinations has never before been required by the Supreme Court.

The Garrett decision is a major blow to adequate enforcement, especially of Title I of the ADA. Yet, as pointed out in the final footnote of the majority's opinion, all is not lost. We in ACB must now consult with our friends and allies in the disabled community to determine whether it is worth the political risks to go back to Congress to seek a legislative fix to the Garrett decision. Many in our community will be very reluctant to open the ADA to amendment in the current political atmosphere in Congress, where damaging rather than constructive amendments might result. Another possible long-term strategy is to build our alliances with an eye toward going to Congress to initiate the passage of a Constitutional amendment to protect people with disabilities from unlawful discrimination practiced by the several states. In addition, ACB and its allies might develop a model state law which would protect the disabled from employment discrimination by entities of state government with adequate remedies for violation, which we could then attempt to get enacted state by state. In the short term, however, we surely must urge Congress to provide additional manpower and financial resources to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which now are the exclusive parties who can bring lawsuits under Title I of the ADA in federal courts for full relief including money damages against state government employer wrongdoers. However, because of the dismal record of the Justice Department and EEOC in enforcing the ADA, we also must responsibly ask Congress to aggressively monitor DOJ and EEOC to guarantee that additional resources, if provided by Congress, are in fact utilized aggressively to enforce Title I of the ADA against wrongdoing state government employers. In any event, we must continue the good fight for strong enforcement of civil rights protections for people with disabilities at both the federal and state levels of government.

by Charles H. Crawford

As many of you may know, the American Council of the Blind will elect a whole new group of officers to lead the council for at least the next two years at this summer's national convention in Des Moines. While every election is meaningful, this one holds particular significance not only for ACB, but for our entire blindness community -- as many historic trends and forces come together in a time of real decision for our organization. Let�s look at a few of the most pressing issues, in order to establish why this election and the folks elected will confront many concerns of crucial importance to people who are blind, and in particular to the members of ACB.

First there is the social policy of the United States with respect to people with disabilities in general and blind people in particular. It is no secret that the "states� rights" direction of the Supreme Court may generate a need for the leadership of ACB to determine how we might best position blind people to be properly protected under civil rights laws. If that were not enough to do, we must also determine what special education, vocational and other rehabilitation programs should be. Add assistive technology and its sub-groupings of who should get it, how, and from whom, and you can see that we have much to do on the social policy agenda. Should I also mention Social Security and what those programs mean to what we now call people who are blind? Of course I should, since SSI and SSDI will most certainly be under the microscope along with the definition of blindness itself.

Then there are the challenges of both understanding and articulating the ACB agenda and philosophy to all who need to hear it, including not only the politicians, but also the larger blindness community, as well as our own membership. The message must be positive and affirm who we are. It must communicate the optimism of an organization that has lifted up thousands of blind folks and made concrete contributions to the quality of life for all of us. It must above all point to a future as the path we make for ourselves, and not some road chosen for us by others.

Finally, the new leadership of ACB will bear a grave responsibility for carrying our issues and concerns into a new political reality, one in which no organization can dominate the blindness agenda. One in which new understandings and multi-group actions will impact our lives, against the backdrop of changing world views -- by decision makers from the White House to each of the state houses.

Who will the new leaders of the American Council of the Blind be? Our members at the coming convention will exercise their common wisdom to elect them. I encourage all who plan to attend the convention to take this duty with the utmost serious consideration. Listen to the debates, talk with the candidates, ask questions, and think through the issues before making your choice. You are the engines of change. You and you alone will shoulder the responsibility for electing people who must confront the many challenges of leadership in a world that will need every bit of talent we can offer.

Yes, the ACB constitution has wisely created checks and balances on the respective powers of various officials and others, but it is an awesome privilege that has been conveyed solely upon our convention to choose good and wise leadership. All ACB members who can attend the convention should do so. All who cannot, must offer your views to your state and special interest affiliates to insure that your concerns are heard in the ballots they cast.

Whoever wins their respective offices must take on the challenges of leadership with eternal gratitude and humility for the trust we place in them, the opportunities for positive change with which they are presented, and the awesome responsibility they have for sustaining the values that have held us all in good stead from the first days of the revolution where we formed ACB and continue to carry us to the confidence we place once again in our elections.

Expanding Your Affiliate Through ACB Radio
by Jenine Stanley

Have you ever wondered if there might be a way to generate some renewed excitement about your local, state or special interest affiliate of ACB? What if I told you that you could broadcast news, issues, articles, music and more on the Internet to an audience already hungry for programming by and for blind and visually impaired people? That facility is available to you and your affiliate through the most exciting thing to happen to blind people in the last several decades: ACB Radio!

ACB Radio is an Internet radio station that can be accessed with your computer and Internet connection. The station went on-line in December 1999 and has expanded its programming to include four distinct channels and an on-line news service. Accessed from the main ACB web page at or its own home page at, the station offers three primary streams of programming. The Cafe features music by blind and visually impaired artists. Treasure Trove offers a selection of old time radio from around the world. On weekends, ACB Radio comes alive with nearly 80 hours of live music and DJs on hand to play your requests. The real excitement for affiliate leaders lies with ACB Radio's Mainstream channel.

The Mainstream channel features talk shows on topics from technology to religion, humor to guide dogs and living with blindness. Such programs as Blind Line and Miller Time with Dennis Miller enable people to converse with the hosts via free web-based telephone services. Main menu, the technology show, offers interviews with leading manufacturers of adaptive and mainstream technology as well as personal reviews and mini tutorials on commonly used products. Blind Spot is the "low tech, no tech" show featuring interviews with blind people engaged in all sorts of fascinating life pursuits. These are just some of the programs airing weekly, monthly and quarterly from around the English-speaking world.

According to station manager Jonathan Mosen, the one thing ACB Radio needs is more ACB. ACB Radio offers affiliates a unique opportunity to publicize themselves as well as to highlight local issues or special concerns. Currently, programming is aired in 24-hour blocks to give the international audience ample opportunity to hear the shows. In other words, a show will air and be repeated approximately every two to four hours for a 24-hour period. Programs may be from 15 minutes to two hours in length. ACB Radio has no commercials other than those from Live 365, the streaming service used to broadcast the audio on the Internet. These commercials do not interrupt the programming but only appear when one first logs on to the service.

What might your affiliate need to start its own ACB Radio show? Let's take the example of Guide Dog Users, Inc. We decided to have a show about guide dogs on ACB Radio when ACB offered special training in the use of Sound Forge, an audio production software package, at the 2000 convention. After the excellent introductory training by Mosen and Brian Charlson, GDUI began to make plans for its show.

Things to consider when putting together your affiliate's show include timing, issues and content. How often can the show air? According to Mosen, regular programming is needed rather than once a year programs. Weekly fare would be excellent but few affiliates have enough issues or substance to air weekly shows. GDUI chose to air its program, Canine Connections, at least quarterly, approximately one month after our audio magazine, "Pawtracks," is published. This way we can feature selections from the magazine as part of the show.

What issues do you want to cover? Remember that the population listening to ACB Radio is global. This does not mean that they might not be interested in local issues, however. If your chapter or special interest affiliate has accomplished something grand, or even small, to make your community more accessible to blind people, ACB Radio is the place to share. If there are issues specific to your special interest affiliate such as canine health, music and audio production software, veterans' affairs or sports, you could build even a monthly 15- to 30- minute show around them.

What other content might your affiliate want to showcase? In the case of GDUI, we always include a segment on GDUI specifically. We featured an interview with Jane Sheehan about our 2001 product catalog. In upcoming shows, we will interview GDUI's president and legislative committee chair and give information about the 2001 convention in Des Moines, Iowa. We also accept poems, music and stories from anyone with a guide dog. Canine Connections definitely has a sense of humor and dog jokes or pieces from the Internet are always welcome.

What will you need to begin producing your own radio show? The ACB Radio web site offers an excellent support section to answer many commonly asked questions about listening to and producing ACB Radio programs. Two e-mail lists also exist regarding ACB Radio. ACB Radio Announce gives program announcements and other information about ACB Radio. ACB Radio Friends allows you to discuss programming with the hosts of your favorite shows, ask questions about listening and pitch show ideas or ask for material. You can subscribe to these lists from the web site.

The most important components of any ACB Radio show are the host or hosts and production team. When planning such a show for your affiliate, be sure to have a reliable producer and host. The show's producer will need a computer capable of running Windows 98 and a multi-channel sound card such as Sound Blaster Live. The producer will also need audio production software such as Sound Forge 4.5 XP. This is the scaled down or "light" version of a powerful sound editing package. It works well with the major screen reading packages and is relatively inexpensive. The package can be purchased through Sonic Foundry at A good working knowledge of the Windows volume control, computer microphones and transferring information from audio tape to the computer enhances your show�s quality. I can safely wager that almost every affiliate has a member with some degree of talent in this area and you may be very pleasantly surprised at who comes forward to produce your programming.

Because of my past radio experience and love of guide dogs, I volunteered to serve as producer and host of GDUI's Canine Connections. The excellent training and support offered by Jonathan Mosen have helped me significantly in putting together a quality program. To begin your affiliate program, write up your idea, including time frame, issues to be covered and whether or not you might want a live call-in show. Next, e-mail this information to [email protected]. Once the idea has been approved, set some production dates. Mosen will then give you a tentative schedule as to when your program will air. All ACB affiliate programs will be archived on the ACB Radio web site in the On-Demand section so that web surfers can listen to all of the shows ever produced. Keeping this archived material pays off in many ways. Some people cannot directly access the shows when they air but will spend hours listening to the archived material. By publicizing your affiliate and its issues, you can generate new members or product sales. GDUI has already realized several new members through Canine Connections. Producing and hosting a radio show is fun and energizing for your affiliate, and even if you gain only one new member, it is all worthwhile.

If you would like more information or have material to contribute to Canine Connections, contact Jenine Stanley at 1815 Gardenstone Drive, Columbus, OH 43235-5901, or via e-mail, [email protected].

by Kyle Conley

September 23, 2000
Dear Journal,

Saturday night, I went to my room and unpacked. Then we had an orientation about what we would be doing this week. Then we went to dinner, and after dinner, we rode in the Micro-Gravity Chair! The chair takes you up and down, and you feel like you're floating.

Right after I called my mom, we had a fire drill, and after that, it was lights out.

Sunday, September 24, 2000

I got up and got ready for breakfast. After breakfast we rode the MMU, which makes many movements. It goes back and forth; it goes right and left; it tilts. It tilts you backward and forward, right and left, and it spins you around.

After we rode the MMU, we had lunch, and after that, we rode MARS! After that, we built rockets.

Then our night counselor came in, and we all talked about positions for our first mission. Next came dinner, then my call home to talk to my mom. After that, we all made alien heads, and then it was time for lights out.

Monday, September 25, 2000

I got up and got ready for breakfast. After breakfast, we went into the ship and practiced for our mission. Then we went to the museum. There were many different space shuttles for us to look at.

After lunch, we got to ride MARS again. Then we rode wings, and we got our pictures taken. Then we had a guest speaker who talked to us about space suits, and it was time for dinner. After dinner, we had script practice, and then it was time for lights out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

After breakfast, we had our first mission! I was the commander of this mission. Later in the morning, we looked at different kinds of rockets and shuttles, and then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, we had another guest speaker. She talked about what it was like to live in a space shuttle. Then we rode the space shot, and after that, we trained for our Mars mission.

After dinner, we saw a movie, and then I called my mom. Then, it was lights out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

First we had the Mars mission. I was the biochemist. Then we had lunch.

After lunch, we had water activities. It was fun to go swimming.

After dinner, we talked about our space station. Then I called my mom, and then it was lights out.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

First, we launched our rockets. My rocket went the highest -- it landed in a tree!

Then we rode Mars, and after that, we went to the gift shop. Then we had space bowling. (Space bowling is when they ask you questions.) And then we had our space-station act!

Then we had our graduation ceremony, and then our awards ceremony. Then it was lights out.

Friday, September 29, 2000

We came home.

by Penny Reeder

I met Kyle Conley's mother, Cindy, on the retinopathy of prematurity e-mail listserv. When I first heard about Kyle's upcoming trip to Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students, I wrote to Cindy and asked if Kyle would be willing to share his journal with readers of "The Braille Forum." Cindy and Kyle graciously agreed to share the journal which he planned to complete as a class assignment for his fifth-grade teacher.

When I was 10 years old, I would have been absolutely thrilled to go to space camp (if such a thing had even existed in that pre-Sputnik era!). The experience was very liberating for 10-year-old Kyle. It was the kind of "growth experience" for Cindy that most parents must endure as kids grow older and the apron strings become ever more frayed! Both agree that space camp was the best experience a mainstreamed 10-year-old, who hasn't had much contact with other children with visual impairments, could have had!

Kyle was a 23-week preemie; he weighed only one pound and 12 ounces at birth. His visual impairment seems to be the only disability-related ramification of his premature birth. He has only some light perception.

Kyle is in many ways a typical 10-year-old kid, with a big brother and a dog. He attends fully integrated classes in his local public school. Kyle is also a very talented musician, who sings in the Cincinnati Boychoir, where he made the tour choir last summer. He will be traveling with the choir to California in May to sing at the Crystal Cathedral and Disneyland. According to Cindy, "Kyle won his trip to space camp through an essay contest held by Clovernook Center for the Blind in Cincinnati. Kyle has attended a summer day camp there the past two summers. Clovernook got scholarships for six kids. They provided the transportation. All we needed was money for his food on the trip and spending money at the camp."

"Kyle would love to go back again next year," Cindy continued. "But unless we can get a scholarship, it will not be possible."

As for future ambitions, Kyle says that he would like to become an elevator operator! Could it be that those experiences on the MMU are addictive?

Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students is a week-long camping experience that takes place at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Space Camp for the visually impaired is just like space camp for kids who do not have visual impairments, except that the week's activities are coordinated by teachers of the visually impaired from across the country. Students live in a simulated space station called Habitat 1. They have the opportunity to practice their leadership and teamwork abilities as they prepare for two space shuttle missions. Students learn about the history of manned space flight, shuttle and space station basics, and water survival. Simultaneously, they experience lunar gravity (1/6 Earth gravity), the 5DF (degrees of freedom) chair, and the Zero G wall. The students collaborate to build a lunar colony, and they also build and fly their own rockets.

Special adaptations for visually impaired campers include braille, large print, speech output on selected computers, CCTVs, visually impaired speakers and support help from certified vision teachers. Sighted friends and siblings of visually impaired campers are encouraged to attend the camp along with their visually impaired peers.

According to Dan Oates, who has been administering the program since 1994, next year's Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students, grades 4 through 12, will be held in Huntsville, AL, from September 22-27, 2001. Tuition for space camp is $540. There are a limited number of scholarships, which are provided by the Delta Gamma Foundation. The deadline for scholarship applications is June 1, 2001. The forms may be downloaded from the Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students web site at Scholarship winners will be notified by June 15.

Oates says, "We are expecting a large group of students this year. Last fall, we had 185 students, and we estimate over 200 students will be in attendance in September 2001. At this time three students from the Czech Republic are planning to attend in addition to students from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Ireland."

Adults with visual impairments can also attend space camp, during the long weekend immediately following the week of space camp for kids (September 28-October 1, 2001). The three-day weekend, which tries to cram in as many experiences for adult space junkies as the kid-friendly camp, is open to any adult who has long had a fascination with space and space travel, whether or not he or she is visually impaired. The unique feature of this particular weekend at the end of September is that the adaptations which allow visually impaired kids to participate so fully in all the space camp activities are still available over the weekend.

For an overview of space camp, call (800) 637-7223 to request a brochure. To make a donation to SCI-VIS, or for more information about Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students, contact Dan Oates, SCI-VIS Coordinator, P.O. Box 1034, Romney, WV 26757; phone (304) 822-4883; e-mail: [email protected]. You may also visit the SCI-VIS web site at .

by Marsha Delagardelle

SCI-VIS has been a life-changing experience not only for me, but for others as well. This camp has raised my self-esteem and taught me leadership skills. I have made many life-long friends with other students who attended the camp. It seems that, by the end of the week-long camp, everyone has truly bonded with one another and no one wants to leave. Just writing about it makes me think of all the wonderful times I've had there. While I was there, I felt so accepted by everyone. This camp has touched my heart in so many ways that I can't even find words to describe it to you.

Space Camp also taught us about space science and aviation. We all learn a lot in one week's time. Many simulators were used to teach us how astronauts and fighter pilots train for their jobs. These simulations taught us how to work as a team and make smart choices as a group. Each specific program teaches many things. Every student who goes to SCI-VIS comes home with a new outlook on science and math, and a better idea of all the possibilities that really exist for people who are blind or visually impaired.

I am currently a senior in high school, and trying to decide which college to attend this fall. I plan to major in biology; I hope to receive a bachelor of science degree, then a master's degree, and get a job at NASA. All of my SCI-VIS experiences have given me a love for space and aviation.

I attended SCI-VIS again in 2000 and was part of the group of eight students who tried Aviation Challenge Mach III for the first time. The U.S. Space Camp Aviation Challenge had never tried Mach III with visually impaired students before. I felt very privileged to be given this opportunity to be one of the first ones to try it. I had a great and unforgettable time at camp, and I made many new friends.

Kyle Conley stands in front of his locker at space camp, preparing for the morning's adventures.

Kyle Conley receives his graduation certificate from U.S. Space Camp personnel at the graduation ceremony.

Marsha Delagardelle smiles for the camera in her senior picture.


ACB Quilt Comes to Visit Kansas
by Sanford Alexander
For Kansans, one of the most surprising and exciting events at the ACB convention in Louisville was the result of the drawing for the ACB quilt. The winning ticket bore the name of Michael Byington -- and so it also designated the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired as the ACB affiliate to be privileged to host the quilt until the next national convention in Des Moines.

During this year the quilt has traveled from one local affiliate to the next, being displayed at various events, and serving as the anchor for a fund raising effort which will benefit KABVI, the ACB and the Tennessee Council of the Blind (TCB). Raffle tickets are being sold for the right to gain possession of the quilt next year and the proceeds of this raffle will be equally divided between the TCB (the affiliate who created the quilt in the first place), the ACB and KABVI. The quilt evokes the unique nature of each ACB affiliate, with a square representing nearly all of the state affiliates and special interest groups. Because all of these separate squares have been stitched together to form a whole work of art, the quilt represents the unity and strength of the American Council of the Blind itself.

You may win the honor of hosting this masterpiece for your own state or special interest affiliate by purchasing a raffle ticket. Each ticket costs only a dollar. If you win the honor of hosting the quilt for your affiliate, you will also receive a man's or woman's analog/talking watch.

Tickets are available from KABVI Treasurer Robert Chaffin, 1105 Centennial Blvd., Hays, KS 67601. Or, you can plan on purchasing tickets during the ACB national convention. When you send your dollars to Bob, please include your name, phone number and the affiliate for which you are purchasing ticket(s). Here's your chance to help KABVI help ACB.

DC Council Braille Literacy Display & Demonstration Attracts
Attention of Young and Old
by Oral O. Miller
When the District of Columbia Council of the Blind decided to participate in Braille Literacy Month by conducting a display and demonstration at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown Washington on January 27, 2001, few people expected many visitors because the nation's capital would still be wrapped up in the publicity surrounding the transition from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. Wrong! On the day of the display and demonstration the primary competition came from the thousands of people thronging to the nearby MCI Center to see the college basketball game between highly ranked Georgetown and Notre Dame, but not even the Fighting Irish and the Hoyas could score more points that day than Louis Braille and the eight D.C. Council members who staffed the display, located prominently in the middle of the main lobby of the library. The display tables showed almost every possible application of braille � e.g., both religious and risque magazines, textbooks, cookbooks, calendars, print/braille stories for children, maps, novels, football schedules, watches and timers, and even the program from the Rose Bowl Parade. Of course, the physical arrangement and development of braille were shown, including writing demonstrations with slate and stylus, Perkins brailler and paperless braille devices.

The children were especially pleased to have their own names written in braille for them by Janiece Petersen or Marilyn Lutter. Charles Sutton and James Peaco, non-users of braille, greeted guests, answered preliminary questions and referred guests to Freddie Peaco and Roberta Douglas for further information concerning the value and uses of braille. I explained to many the usefulness of the large, colorful print- and-braille map of the Washington Metropolitan Area subway system. What would we have done without the assistance of Grace Lyons, the special services librarian? Not only did she make the logistical arrangements and provide many of the display items, but after the display closed, she invited the tired exhibitors up to her section for a rest and welcome refreshments of punch and cookies.

No, the display and demonstration did not attract the type of crowd that was going to the basketball game, but it attracted many very interested and curious students, teachers, parents and ordinary citizens. In fact, several teachers made arrangements to have D.C. Council members speak to their classes about braille and its many uses and forms. The visitors readily understood the importance and usefulness of braille, the need to have it taught and used during the educational process and the fact that it definitely should be in the arsenal of skills possessed by blind people hoping to participate fully in society.

Major Political Candidates Truly Hit the Mark at Alaska Convention
by Oral O. Miller
How pleased my wife and I were last fall when we were finally able to accept a long-standing invitation to attend and speak at the state convention of the Alaska Independent Blind (AIB)! The trip had been postponed twice during the previous year due to scheduling conflicts. Soon after arriving in Anchorage, the mood for the next several days was set by the scenic, awe-inspiring drive of approximately 100 miles by van down the Kenai peninsula alongside the Cook Inlet, with beautiful mountains, steep valleys and a distant volcano always in view. The convention took place in the picturesque community of Kenai and was attended by members and friends who came from throughout the vast state of Alaska via automobile, train, bus and plane. The outstanding program featured presentations on subjects ranging from traffic planning, rehabilitation services, museum access, library services, descriptive video and transportation for people with disabilities to recreation and sports activities.

One session was lightened up considerably by one member who, in response to a question from me, explained carefully that one calls a moose by saying "Here, moosie, moosie, moosie!" (Said in the tone one would use in calling his family cat.) A very spirited panel discussion featuring professional highway planners and Dr. Beezy Bentzen of Boston College reached an unexpected moment of truth when one traffic planner frankly admitted that "pedestrians could be damned and handicapped pedestrians could doubly be damned" when modern, high-speed traffic circles or "roundabouts" are being planned. Another unexpected and hilarious high point was reached during the annual legislative banquet, which featured presentations by mainstream candidates for state and regional offices representing the Democratic, Republican and Moderate Republican parties. Each candidate had made a lengthy statement and answered questions from the audience when AIB President Lynne Koral quietly asked me if the audible dart board which had been used during a recreational presentation was still installed in the hall. I explained that it was and at that point she invited each candidate to take his turn at the throwing line. Each candidate, as if the truth of his message depended upon his throwing ability, set to the task enthusiastically and with great effort, especially when challenged to close his eyes before throwing. The audience did not really keep score, but you may be sure the politicians did! In fact, we learned later that the incumbent legislator who threw for the best score was re-elected to office.

Many thanks to AIB President Lynne Koral, Allen �Sandy� Sanderson, and everyone else connected with the AIB for the outstanding hospitality we received. And, no, we did not see a single moose in spite of our best calling efforts!

Indiana state convention in September
ACB of Indiana will be holding its state convention Sept. 7- 8, 2001 at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Ind. For more information call Dolly and Mike Sowder at (812) 279-1669 or e- mail [email protected].


The editorial staff reserves the right to edit letters for content, style and space available. Opinions expressed are those of the authors, not those of the American Council of the Blind, its staff or elected officials. "The Braille Forum" cannot be responsible for the opinions expressed herein. We will not print letters unless you sign your name and give us your address.

ADA Blow-ups
In response to the recent article about requesting large print under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), my experience has taught me don't. Normally government agencies and public accommodations will only provide the minimum, namely a photocopy enlargement to 14-point type on low-quality paper.

Most people with vision loss need good quality large print which is not specified in the ADA. My answer is to request only audio cassettes and avoid a long and losing battle over print size, font style and typeface resolution, as well as letter, word and line spacing.
-- Larry Harper, Milwaukie, Ore.

Regarding the new dot-cons
I just read the article "Beware of the New Dot-Cons." I found it interesting, but there's one statement in the article with which I somewhat disagree. It suggests that you cannot always avoid getting scammed. As a matter of fact, I ALWAYS avoid getting scammed because as a matter of policy I don't do business on the Internet at all except with firms like Dell Computer Corporation and Microsoft. Even with these I do any product or service ordering by mail, using traditional, readily traceable methods of payment. I do not personally own or use general- purpose credit cards, and to those who do I give just one piece of sound advice: Never use a credit card except when making your transaction by signing a form at the point of sale, and keeping your copy of that form. When you use a credit card to make purchases on the web, telephone, or even the good old mail, you're risking not only fraudulent charges, but theft of your very identity as well. Bottom line? In today's business environment, "caveat emptor" regrettably means "don't trust anyone at all." Believe me, the business world doesn't trust you, either.
-- Charles Lott, Ithaca, Mich.

Regarding paratransit
Let me commend you upon the publication of a very excellent article regarding paratransit service within the nation. I found it to be very informative in terms of what ADA-mandated paratransit service actually is and is not. Furthermore, I appreciated your attention to the issue of rider expectations and paratransit service.

Thank you for favorably mentioning Access Services, Inc., coordinator of the largest paratransit system throughout Los Angeles County, in your article's discussion of flexible service delivery options. ASI takes great pride in its management of a quality system serving eligible ADA-paratransit patrons. The agency was the recipient of the American Public Transportation Association's Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Award for 2000. Access Services is unique in that it offers two types of paratransit service to its customers. It offers a same-day reservation "Ready Access" service and a premium subscription-based "Steady Access" service. You stated in your article that you were told that ASI ceased providing same-day service, and we are thus writing to let your readers know that we still offer same-day service to eligible ADA- paratransit riders.

In closing, let me once again express our appreciation to your article explaining paratransit service in the country. We thank you for affording us the opportunity to describe our two distinct paratransit services. Should you or any ADA-eligible paratransit rider need any information or questions about ASI answered, please contact us at (800) 827-0829.
-- Rychard Martindale-Essington, ASI Community Relations Analyst, Los Angeles, Calif.

I was mortified to learn that paratransit drivers are not required, under the ADA, to assist disabled passengers to and from vehicles or help them in any other way, and that people needing such help should travel with a companion or a personal care attendant. I can certainly understand drivers not being required to handle oxygen tanks and other medical equipment. But some visually impaired people live alone and can't always find companions with whom to travel. And some of us don't need personal care attendants.

In Sheridan, Wyo., where I live, the drivers for our local transportation service, which is run by the senior citizens� center, are very helpful. When asked, they not only assist disabled passengers to and from the vehicles, but also help carry groceries and other items. In order to facilitate the independence of our visually impaired residents, I don�t think it�s too much to ask for a driver to assist passengers in these ways.
-- Abigail L. Johnson, Sheridan, Wyo.

Regarding Paul Edwards' comments about the NFB Newsline
Yes, the artificial-voiced NFB Newsline is better than nothing at all. But at the Metropolitan Washington Ear we very much prefer the real-voice Telephone Reader dial-in software from Lawrence, Kansas. With our state-supported free 800 lines we service telephone callers throughout two states -- Maryland and Virginia -- plus the District of Columbia. Our live readers describe into the computer photos, charts, maps, illustrations, advertisements and, on Sunday, the comics. The stories are arranged as they are in the paper(s) so callers can casually say to colleagues, "Did you see the story on the front page... " -- stuff Newsline can't do. Also live readers don't (often) mess up foreign names as synthetic speech can. Janet Campbell of Audio Reader Network [email protected] can tell you more.
-- Margaret Pfanstiehl, Silver Spring, Md.

The "President's Message" in the February 2001 issue of "The Braille Forum" causes me to write in reply. Edwards seems to advocate that we all go out and buy a computer so that we can listen to the news as he does. Well! Everybody does not want to be computer literate.

Nearly everyone has a telephone which makes Newsline available to us all. Are elderly blind readers going to go out and buy computers? Many people would not be able to afford the costs or have the skills or physical ability needed to operate these devices.
-- Mark Miller, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Regarding Paul Edwards' January Message
With regard to Paul Edwards' message in the January 2001 edition of "The Braille Forum," well said. Edwards was right when he said that more blind people are using computers and going to regular public school, and fewer are using braille. It is also true that service and consumer organizations like ACB may have to adjust to these trends.

Yes, more and more young blind people are using computers. They make access to information and integration easier. For many with additional disabilities or conditions like cerebral palsy or diabetes, using a computer to read and write is more practical than using braille. Computers also connect blind people to others, blind and sighted, through e-mail, chat rooms, etc. Taking these benefits and more into account, I still think that braille is invaluable and should be encouraged whenever possible, just like print. It lends itself to higher levels of literacy in blind people than merely using voice or speech.

It also seems like more blind children are being educated in regular public schools. When I lost my sight about 20 years ago, mainstreaming was just starting its rise here in Canada. I was the only disabled person in my public school, and after three and a half years of it, I started and then completed high school at a school for the blind. By the time I left, mainstreaming was in vogue, as student numbers at the blind school had dropped. I think it's great that blind children are attending regular public schools. I have to wonder how satisfactory their experiences there are, though. Recently, I was informed during a visit to the school for the blind that attendance is skyrocketing, and waiting lists exist to enter the school. These are otherwise healthy blind students transferring from regular schools.

I am concerned about fear and denial. I know that fear and denial might contribute to a blind person's decision to associate only with other people who are blind and to avoid the sighted world altogether. And I think this might be a problem the other way around. I know several people whom I met at the school for the blind and elsewhere who avoid blind people and blindness organizations like the plague! I suspect that in many cases, parents and older blind students wish to avoid the possible stigma that can accompany blindness. I remember a few boys at the school for the blind who insisted on dating only sighted girls they knew, because of the prestige and convenience that dating someone who could see would afford them. I also know some parents and some blind people themselves who push for super- independence and expect the same in all blind people.

Don't get me wrong. As a blind person myself, and as a recent graduate of rehabilitation teaching for the blind, I encourage and applaud independence and integration -- to the best of an individual's ability. My personal experience and observations have shown me though that we need to strike a balance. Integration is good, but I think it can be great if an individual accepts his or her blindness and his or her place in the community -- the blind community as well as the sighted!

I think there will always be a place for ACB and other blindness organizations. Although society is slowly moving toward integration of blind people, organizations such as ACB provide education, advocacy, training and support. In light of Edwards' message and my own experiences, it seems that perhaps people who are blind need education about blindness as much as the rest of society does.
-- Sara Bennett, Brampton, Ontario, Canada

About John Wayne
We received the following letter via e-mail. In Jerry Annunzio's article "The Bridges of Madison County and More," which appears in the February "Braille Forum," he says that John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison. I believe his birth name was Marion Michael Morrison not Robert.
-- Harvey Heagy, New Orleans, LA

Our Response:
Dear Harvey,

We spent some time on the Internet trying to track down the essential information about John Wayne's birth name. Encyclopedia Brittanica listed his birth name as Marion Michael, and the John Wayne site listed him as Marion Robert. Now, whom do we trust?
-- Penny and Sharon

by Robert Langford

There is a feeling of pioneer power and growth in this, the largest state in geographical area and one of the smallest in population. It stretches from British Columbia, Canada to the North Pole. It started with furs and fish, then boomed with several gold strikes. The most recent population boom was because of oil. This petroleum development in the far north has added a great deal to the tax income for the state. Alaskans receive about $2,000 each annually from surplus oil tax revenue. They say this helps to make up for the higher cost of living they have.

The pleasant coastal summers are wet and cool, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The winters along the coast are similar to the northernmost states in the lower 48. Inland gets colder; temperatures of minus 30 and 40 are not uncommon. Winter-adapted trucks and cars travel the few highways. Dog sleds are used extensively in rural travel and through the national park areas.

Alaska has proven not to be Seward's folly, as it was called after the purchase in the 1860s. At that time, little was known about this cold and frozen land. The gold discovery in 1890 by Joe Juneau and Richard Harrison brought 10,000 gold prospectors to Juneau by 1891. This was greatly overshadowed by the Klondike strike in 1897. When a ton of gold was brought in to Portland�s harbor in 1898, an immediate rush of 100,000 people descended upon Alaska. There were two ways to reach the Klondike, which was 600 miles inland. The White Pass was the shorter route, but it was ravaged by robbers who would steal from the would-be prospectors. The second path, starting from Scagway, was also hampered by a Canadian requirement that travelers bring a ton of food with them so that they would not starve. This required that they walk five miles and leave their 60-pound backpack, then return for another pack. This process had to be repeated for the 600 miles to Dawson.

The popular starting way to find gold was to use a pie plate to pan. This involved filling a pan with gravel from the edge of the stream or river and shaking it back and forth in the water until the gold settled to the bottom. They would pour out the gravel little by little until the gold flakes and nuggets were left. Standing and stooping in the cold water and mud all day was miserable work. They also had to build cabins for warmth at night. Sickness and death were common. Gradually, better equipment was built to speed up the process of extracting the gold ore.

To travel this big wooded country we chose the Holland American Westerdam cruise ship to start. We arrived in Vancouver and were met and transferred to the ship. It is a large, 1,200- foot-long, six-level luxury accommodation floating hotel. The food was plentiful and available around the clock. You rise when you want and have your choice of three places for either ham, cheese, eggs, cereal, fish and rolls, coffee bar or pizza. The rest of the day you can choose from a variety of meals, formal meals or snacks. Formal tea is after 4 p.m., and then you have either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. seating for dinner. During the day it�s cafeteria style, at night, table service.

The biggest problem that you will encounter is deciding how much and how often you are going to eat. Otherwise, you are tempted to eat more of the many good choices than you should. Once you have paid for the cruise, all food is without additional cost. The shrimp, crab, salmon, steaks, cheesecake, and ice cream sundaes will all attract your attention.

Cabin selection is up to you. The more expensive ones are on the upper levels; the ones that face the sea are premium priced. The cabins usually have twin beds, their own bath and shower. They are compact, but comfortable if you keep your things put away.

The days are busy with activities. Each hour things change. Lectures on Alaskan history, whales, eagles, investing and other topics are available, as are bingo, shuffleboard, casino gambling, swimming, exercise room, sauna, strolling the deck and people watching. We spotted whales, eagles and a variety of birds.

The ship will take the inland route, guided by tugs, as the water is shallow. The first stop was Juneau, the state capital, a city of 30,000. It has airplane access to the outside world and to the sea. It has no roads that connect it to the inland. Yet the registration of motor vehicles is more than twice the population. Everyone has a passenger car and a truck or recreation vehicle to take them ice fishing or regular fishing, or maybe hunting or hiking. Though the roads only go 20-plus miles, Alaskans enjoy a vigorous outdoor life.

All types of fish are sought, but salmon is the most popular. Hunting includes deer, elk, bear, moose and caribou. These are used to supplement diets and budgets.

The last stop for our cruise was Scagway. This small town (population 800) remains about the same as when it was the starting point for much of the Klondike gold rush. Many restored hotels, bars and supply stores are available, and they sell all kinds of T-shirts and curios.

The inland trip is made easier now by the narrow-gauge train that takes you on a twisting, curving trip over rough wooded terrain. Those on the outside window seats can look down and away for miles. This train trip on the White Pass, a former way to get ore from inland to the coast, takes about three hours and brings you to Whitehorse, which is in the Yukon Territory. There you transfer to a motor coach. You then follow two or three gravel or paved roads north to Dawson, Chicken, Tok and finally to Fairbanks. This area is wooded and gives you occasional glimpses of deer, bear, elk, moose and fox. You will meet few trucks or cars during your day.

There are also a few museum and shopping stops along the way. The people you meet will dress and talk like your next-door neighbors back home. One change of pace was a ride on a newly built paddle boat for a couple of hours up a river paralleling the highway. This type of boat was built and brought in from Australia. The original ones were built and brought up from Oregon and Washington. Most of the first ones have foundered on obstacles in the river or succumbed to fire.

The Holland American Lines have developed a network of cruise ships, hotels, restaurants and buses to monopolize the tourist trade throughout Alaska. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the food is good and plentiful. The tour guides are knowledgeable and courteous.

Reaching Fairbanks was a milestone for me. A good friend from college days came from there. His father was a federal marshal when I knew him. I always enjoyed hearing him talk about wearing mukluks and living in 30-below weather.

Fairbanks is only a short distance from the Arctic Circle. However, it will amaze you with the August flowers that were everywhere, in neighborhood yards and in containers along city streets. Our supermarket and drugstore shopping found products and services similar to what was available back home.

We had a chance to examine a replica of the pipeline that brings the oil down from farther north. It is about five feet tall and has a heavy metal outside coating with insulation, then the inner four-foot diameter pipe that brings the crude. More than half the pipeline is buried; the remainder is on the surface. Because this part of the state is subject to earthquakes, the pipeline snakes in "S"-curves coming down the hills to better withstand earth movements.

The constant flow of oil is disrupted every few weeks to pump out the sludge to keep the pipe cleaned out for maximum flow. With new developments, it is expected that the oil will flow for another 30 or more years.

We stopped at the Denali National Park to watch and pet sled dogs. These thick curly haired dogs have a coat similar to sheep pelts. They are bred for size and personality characteristics. They are very comfortable in cool temperatures and thrive in subzero conditions. They love to pull the sled, and, at 40 or 50 pounds, can pull their own weight all day. The team size is determined by the loaded weight of the sled. If the total loaded weight is 160 pounds, four or five dogs will comprise the team. A light blanket is spread out on the ground for them to use at night. Dried fish and dried dog food are brought along to feed them. Lighter plastic sleds now sometimes replace the heavier wooden ones. The parks have all-weather trucks, but still do the park patrols on dog sled. They watch for lost hikers, poachers, keep count of animal life and condition of trees. Special helicopter and dog sled tours and interesting lectures are available.

We boarded another train that brought us back to the coast and the city of Anchorage. This, the largest city in Alaska, around 250,000 in population, has grown greatly since the oil boom. It is a modern city with museums, civic buildings, modern hotels and a big harbor. The harbor boat trip to the local glacier was spectacular. We were there on a clear blue day with the huge mass of ice flowing into the sea. The birds were following the schools of fish. Other boats in the harbor made interesting viewing.

Several times a day, ice would break off and drop into the sea. This is called calving. The breakoffs can sometimes weigh several tons. The glaciers are created by heavy snowfalls in upper valleys. About 100 inches of snow creates one inch of ice. The weight of this ice is forced by gravity to flow toward the sea.

We reluctantly boarded our jet in Anchorage to return to a hotter and more humid Dallas. We will not forget the warm and friendly Alaskans who approach their lives with zest and enthusiasm. It requires a challenge and innovations to deal with fewer cultural activities and a higher cost of living.

by LeRoy F. Saunders, Convention Coordinator

Before long we will be gathering for our July convention in Des Moines, Iowa. As I write this, it is early March, but time seems to fly faster and faster for all of us, and the convention will be here in a flash.

ACB's Convention Committee is working very hard to make this one of our most successful conventions. Since we will be using at least four hotels, three of which connect by a skywalk to the convention complex, we will do everything possible to make things run smoothly and be as convenient as possible for all of you who attend the convention.

The Des Moines Convention Bureau is making all our hotel reservations, and if you have not made reservations at this time, please do so as soon as possible. The number for reservations is 1-800-451-2625. When you call for reservations, please tell them you are registering for the ACB convention in July.

There are three hotels which connect to the convention complex by an air-conditioned skywalk and these are the Marriott (which will be the lead hotel), the Savery and the Kirkwood. Our fourth convention hotel is the Fort Des Moines which is a few blocks from the convention complex and can either be accessed by walking or shuttle. If you are staying at the Fort Des Moines you will need to make arrangements with the bellman for the shuttle to the convention center. All hotels pick up at the airport. The airport is about 15 minutes from downtown.

The skywalk also connects to a shopping area, food court and a Walgreens. We will have volunteers stationed at designated locations on the skywalk to give directions.

The general sessions, exhibits, and many meetings of special-interest groups will take place in the convention complex. Because we have so many people who want to get together for meetings of their special-interest groups, some of the meetings will have to be held at the Marriott and Savery. There will be quick meals in the convention complex for your convenience. If you have difficulty walking any distance, you can obtain free shuttle service to the convention complex from your hotel.

The Iowa Council of the United Blind has been tremendously supportive in helping in all areas of preparing for this convention. Donna Seliger, the president, has done an outstanding job in coordinating committees to assist with the convention. Donna and her husband, Bob, have written excellent directions for navigating through the hotels, skywalk and convention complex. The members of the Iowa Council are to be commended for their enthusiastic approach to this convention.

By the middle of January, 500 hotel rooms had already been reserved. I must remind you again that it is very important to ACB that you cancel your reservations as soon as possible if circumstances occur which prevent you from attending. In our contract we commit to a certain number of rooms in the hotels and if we don't use at least 80 percent of the rooms, then we have to pay additional money to compensate for the rooms that we did not use. This can be very expensive for ACB. One year we were not able to meet our block commitment, and it cost ACB about $25,000 more than we had budgeted for the convention.

At this time the Des Moines convention is on schedule; however, there are some things that cannot be completed until we get closer to convention time. All in all things are going very well and I think all of us will enjoy the convention. Des Moines is a friendly city with good restaurants and sites to see. The Iowa Council is willing to do whatever they can to make this a memorable convention. For detailed information about the ACB national convention, which will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 30 until July 8, visit the ACB web site at, and select the Convention Information link.

by the Friends-in-Art Board of Directors

During the past several years, we at Friends-In-Art (FIA) have instituted several innovations that we hope are making our world-renowned annual Showcase, which is held each July in conjunction with ACB's national convention, more enjoyable to audiences and artists alike. Every year since 1996, a talented group of choristers have come together to rehearse and perform two arrangements of well-known tunes scored and conducted by FIA members. Last year marked the debut of our "house band" with the unforgettable name "Grade Four Braille and the Funky Fonts," which accompanied several of the vocalists. And, most important, we have attempted to streamline the show so that audience members and performers can still have ample time to take part in other convention activities (mostly parties) after the last note fades away!

These streamlining efforts make it necessary to be more selective in our performance criteria. Previous experience has shown that 23 acts (including the chorus and one band number), with each act in the spotlight for no more than five minutes, makes for a good well-balanced show. To increase your chances of performing in front of an adoring audience, here are a few points to consider:

1. We tend to have a shortage of up-tempo acts, as potential performers often bring more meditative material to the microphone. If your preference is the latter, give some thought to preparing an upbeat backup.

2. Variety is key to achieving a successful show. Therefore, we usually judge within genre: that is, voice performances with accompaniment by piano will be compared to one another, while dramatic readings will be judged against other dramatic readings. Although music is the most popular mode of entertainment, all performing arts media are welcome, and we especially encourage new talent to audition.

3. Come well prepared. Polish and flair will both capture your audience, and go a long way toward ensuring your place in the show.

4. Let us know what you need in advance:

Piano accompaniment: For the first time in several years, a sighted accompanist will be available to play from a printed musical score. If you plan to use this resource, please send a copy of the music to us as soon as possible (see address at the end of this article) so that it can be forwarded to the accompanist. As always, several talented people are available to improvise accompaniments to show tunes, jazz standards, and gospel hymns.

Using a pre-recorded track: To those considering performing with the assistance of a prerecorded accompaniment, please send a copy -- not the original, as our best efforts at returning materials have sometimes gone awry -- to us as soon as possible so that it can be "burned" onto a CD. Please affix your name to the cassette or CD. Note that since your five minutes in the limelight are best spent displaying your own talent and style, overly lengthy instrumental interludes will be edited.

Fronting the band: To those considering using our "house band," please alert us to the title of the song you wish to sing (note that while we are not equipped to accompany tunes performed by such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, or the Raucous Rumps, we can play swing, pop, and R&B standards). You'll need to schedule some time to rehearse with the band during the mornings of either Monday, July 2 or Tuesday, July 3.

Join the Chorus: To those interested in singing in our world-famous chorus, and who have not previously received a rehearsal tape, please send us your name and street address. Rehearsal tapes and lyrics will be sent in mid- to late May. Please be prepared to attend rehearsals on Sunday, July 1 after the FIA mixer and Monday, July 2, at 10 p.m.

Audition procedures: Everyone, including those who have alerted us previously of their interest in auditioning, must sign up for a rehearsal time slot during our mixer on Sunday, July 1st. We'll need your name, the title of the selection you are planning to perform, and the name and room number of the hotel where you are staying. Auditions will be held in the FIA Suite from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday, July first. Pianists be advised that a full 88-note weighted keyboard will be available. While getting in touch with one another is always difficult at conventions, we plan to inform all performers of audition outcomes on Monday night or early the following morning.

Wrapping it up: We at Friends-In-Art appreciate the flexibility and cooperation of those interested in auditioning for the Showcase. We hope this article sets the stage for yet another memorable show. Our pleasure is in encouraging and supporting your best performance. And, to those NOT interested in auditioning, we hope that you will come and enjoy!

Please send all scores, cassettes, requests, and feedback to Gordon Kent, 35 Amity St., Little Falls, NJ 07424; phone (973) 256-8374; e-mail: [email protected].

by Charles S.P. Hodge

As the calendar moved on toward early March, I had been considering how I might pitch my annual appeal in "The Braille Forum" to persuade more people to become life members of ACB. A recent colloquy which I had with Janis Stanger from Utah on ACB-L gave me some inspiration. That conversation focused on the success the NFB has had in getting its members to make monthly contributions directly from their payroll checks. Janis Stanger opined that she would be willing to make such a voluntary contribution to ACB of let's say $20 per month, but that she had never been asked to make such a commitment, and she did not know or believe that ACB had such a monthly installment donation program.

I wrote back and told Janis that I believed that Jim Olsen, ACB's chief financial officer, would be happy to work with her to accommodate her wishes to make a monthly installment contribution directly to ACB. I also mentioned to Janis that for a commitment of less than $20 per month -- about $17 per month to be exact -- she could meet the requirement of five annual installments of $200 per year to become a paid-up life member of ACB. That's right, for a contribution of 55 cents per day -- the cost of one 12-ounce can of soda -- you too over five years could become an ACB life member, what a deal! Please think about this idea. Those of you who decide to take me up on it need to contact Jim Olsen in our Minneapolis office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time at (800) 866-3242. Olsen will work with any interested member in order to tailor an automatic monthly giving plan to your wishes and financial condition.

by Kevin Lofton

Clint, my five-year-old son, played in a T-ball league this past summer. As I sit at my desk and write this article, I think back to those hot summer evenings. I can still hear the sounds of parents encouraging their children as they ran out on the field trying to learn the basic fundamentals of America's favorite pastime. I hear my wife saying, "Clint caught the ball" or "Clint's taking his turn at bat," or "Clint just struck out." That was pretty much the norm for a weekday afternoon at T-ball practice.

I remember on one of those typical days at T-ball practice one of Clint's teammates struck up a conversation with me that really made me stop and think. This little girl came and sat beside me on the wooden bleachers. I didn't realize she was there at first, but then she spoke up and said, "Excuse me, sir, but why do you carry that stick everywhere you go?" I explained to the child that I was blind and used the white cane to tell what was around me and keep me from bumping into things and hurting myself. Then she asked, "What happened to your eyes -- why don't they work?" I explained that something happened to my eyes when I was born and the doctor couldn't fix them. That satisfied her for a little while but then she asked, "Are you sick? What's wrong with you?"

I remember thinking, "Good grief! Why doesn't she go away and bug somebody else?" After taking a deep breath, I realized I had a chance to do some good educating and advocacy with this inquisitive little girl. I told her that I felt fine. I also told her that just because someone is blind or walks with a crutch or uses a wheelchair doesn't mean they are sick. I further explained that it would be a pretty dull world if everyone were the same so God decided to make everyone different. I told her she shouldn't ever be afraid or ashamed to talk or play with someone with a disability. I said, "I'm just like everybody else, except I just can't see."

I think that is the attitude we should always convey. There's nothing wrong with having a disability. I don't want to imply that being blind or having any other disability is a picnic. We all know that it's not. I think we need to change the societal attitude that creates such an antiseptic atmosphere around people with disabilities.

I guess my final thought would be that if you have a chance to educate someone, whether it be an adult or a child, take it! I would like to think that little girl I talked with at the baseball field will carry the memory of our conversation throughout her childhood years and maybe into adulthood. I hope that maybe, if she has the chance, she will pass on the same education I gave to her.


This memorial represents a composite of the heartfelt sentiments of four people who worked with Glenn over the years in the aging arena: Jamie Hilton, Alberta Orr, Judy Scott, and Pris Rogers. Pris Rogers read these remarks at the memorial service which was attended by many AFB and ACB staff and other colleagues from the field. From Judy:

Glenn Plunkett devoted his life to helping others. He was passionate about his work and accepted nothing less from the rest of us. Those of us who knew him well found him to be a true friend and always interested in our work to improve the lives of older people who are experiencing vision problems. With his rich background with Social Security, aging, and visual impairment, Glenn forgot more than many of us will ever learn. His style was never intimidating. Glenn always made himself available to help and his guidance will be missed by all of us. From Pris:

I first met Glenn when he came to work for the Governmental Relations Office of AFB, having retired from the Social Security Administration. He was a real mentor when it came to aging issues and politics. One of his passions was to see the Chapter 2 program for older blind really take off and acquire the funding it needs to be effective. He was recognized by NCSAB for his efforts regarding Chapter 2 during the 1992 reauthorization of the Rehab Act and I was pleased to be a part of that. From Jamie:

Even after Glenn's last retirement from ACB, he worked several times a week at a senior citizens center, helping people with Social Security problems, housing, health care issues, and taxes. He also took several courses toward a second master�s degree. One of my fondest memories of Glenn was the way he introduced me to everyone who had anything to do with aging when I joined the AFB staff in 1984. I remember how involved he was with the Indian Project that Alberta Orr and I did in 1987 and 1988. He played an important part in training in New Mexico with the Navajo Nation. From Alberta:

Glenn was still working on aging projects up until the very end. He wrote me a letter when we first started to develop the Self-Advocacy Curriculum and asked to be involved. He did a very thorough review of the curriculum and emphasized, as always, the importance of taking responsibility for one�s own actions. From Pris:

During my conversation with him, just before his death, he asked what had happened with Chapter 2 appropriations. He was happy to hear that we had achieved another funding milestone. Another passion he had was to give older blind issues recognition in the Older Americans Act. That, too, finally happened in 2000.

Glenn was a tireless advocate. Writing in the Festschrift in honor of Father Thomas Carroll, he stated: "Self-advocacy can be formal and informal but it cannot be impersonal." Although Glenn did not personally experience visual impairment, he certainly knew how to make his advocacy personal and meaningful to those he was trying to reach. From Judy:

Through his work, Glenn had an impact on the lives of thousands of individuals throughout the country, most of whom never had the opportunity to know him. On behalf of those who knew Glenn both personally and professionally, I want to say "thank you, Glenn" for making a difference in our lives and to let you know that your "passion" will live on through us.

(Reprinted from the "Salt Lake Tribune," February 13, 2001.)

Ruth W. Haglund Craig, 83, passed away Saturday, February 10, 2001, at home after extended hospital treatment. She was born March 14, 1917, in Salt Lake City to Hakon H. Haglund and Eva Forsberg Haglund, the third of five children. She was given the middle name of Wainee because her father had been a missionary in Hawaii.

At the age of four, she moved with her family to New York City where she graduated from Roosevelt High as valedictorian at age 15. Her younger sister, Jeanne, was born blind, and Ruth learned to read Braille along with her sister. At nineteen she graduated from Hunter College and began teaching at The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. At the same time, she began attending Teachers College at Columbia University where she earned a master's degree in the education of the blind. While teaching at the Institute, she and two colleagues wrote and published the first reading series written specifically to help blind children learn to read Braille.

She married Ensign Marshall R. Craig on March 20, 1944, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. During World War II while Marshall was at sea, Ruth supervised and trained the non-military instructors of blinded veterans in Menlo Park, California. After the war, Ruth and Marshall lived in the New York City area while Marshall pursued his graduate studies at Columbia. Ruth designed and sewed sleeper pajamas to sell to supplement their income. She also taught kindergarten and bore four of their six children while living in various communities around metropolitan New York.

In 1953, Ruth and Marshall moved their family to Provo where Marshall took a position in the English department at BYU. At the request of the Superintendent of the Utah School for the Blind in Ogden, Ruth taught a Braille class in Ogden and later developed a program at BYU to train teachers of the blind and visually handicapped. Her long association with people in handicapped education led to a string of visitors to the Craig home from around the country and the world (many of whom were blind themselves). Ruth was acknowledged by her colleagues in blind education by positions of responsibility in national professional organizations and was well known for her innovative techniques and for her leadership in using new technologies and approaches.

During the mid-'70s, she painstakingly created the only textbook for use in training teachers in the complex Nemeth code for Braille mathematics. She did this work with such care that despite having no background in mathematics, the textbook is still the only work on the subject, used by all who teach Braille mathematics or transcribe printed mathematical materials into Braille.

After her retirement from BYU, she and Marshall spent three years teaching English at two different universities in China. In 1994, she was presented with the inaugural award for Meritorious Service and Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Blindness by the Utah chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. The following year, the award itself was named in her honor.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in Ruth's name to the Utah State Library for the Blind at 250 N 1950 W, Suite A, Salt Lake City, UT 84116-7901.

by Billie Jean Keith

The announcement of new products and services in this column should not be considered 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 responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit an item for "Here and There," send an e-mail message to [email protected]. You may call the ACB toll-free number, (800) 424-8666, and leave a message at extension 26. Please bear in mind that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.

Are you a working woman with a disability? Are you interested in sharing your employment experiences? Are you interested in developing your own career? The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) is conducting a national study about the career advancement of women with disabilities. The goal is to understand the challenges you encounter in the work world and the strategies that help you attain your career goals. We are very interested in learning about your successes, strategies for overcoming obstacles and opportunities developed. The lessons you have already learned could be of tremendous help to others.

We have several projects including a national survey (National Survey of Workplace Experiences) and an Eastern Massachusetts training (Career Development and Networking Program). The training program includes small group training and support for women with disabilities. We offer a small stipend for participants.

ICI is currently talking with women interested in being involved. Participants need to be women with disabilities or chronic health issues who are at least 22 years of age and who have at least 6 months work experience in the last two years. Contact the "Women and Employment" Project by phone at (888) 244-5323 (toll-free voice), (617) 355-5128 (voice), (617) 355-6956 (TTY), or by e-mail, [email protected].

Do you have an outstanding loan from the government -- perhaps a student loan? Or did you get more money than you're entitled to from a federal agency? If you answered yes to either question and you receive Social Security benefits, Uncle Sam is ready to collect. Starting in March, the Department of the Treasury will send letters to Social Security beneficiaries who owe money to the government. If you receive this letter of warning, you have two months to make arrangements to pay the debt to the agency you owe. Otherwise, come May, Treasury will start deducting a maximum of 15 percent from your monthly benefit payment until you're all paid up. This affects only those beneficiaries who receive $750 a month or more. We've got the information you'll need, so please check it out at, or call your local SSA office.

An on-line community,, specifically developed for people with visual impairments, their families, friends and colleagues, is seeking writers on various topics. Writers will receive a small stipend, their name in print and the opportunity to be a part of this unique on-line community. Potential contributors interested in writing should note the following subjects: travel, sports, lifestyle, romance, advocacy/disability rights, technology and fashion. If you are interested, please let us know. Work is available immediately! Contact [email protected], and provide your name, area of interest and phone number. Send completed articles for consideration. Submissions may be sent to Corporation, 700 Godwin Ave., Suite 110, Midland Park, NJ 07432.

Hold the dates! August 3-5, 2001, in Pittsburgh, Pa. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has joined with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to host a conference on assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired. The conference location is the Westin Hotel (formerly the DoubleTree Hotel) in Pittsburgh. This meeting will explore the future of access technology through lectures, presentations, and hands-on training using the newest access software and devices. Anyone involved in the blindness or low vision services field will benefit by attending this unique conference -- users who want to improve skills, trainers who need to upgrade their teaching techniques, as well as those who may not want hands-on experience, but wish to learn more about the technology that now plays a critical role in the blindness field. Keynote speakers will be Richard Chandler, chairman and president of Freedom Scientific, Inc., and John Williams, assistive technology columnist for Business Week On-line.

To receive a registration packet, contact Mark Uslan, AFB co-chair, phone (212) 502-7638, fax (212) 502-7773, e-mail [email protected] or contact Barbara McCarthy, AER co-chair, phone (804) 371-3661, e-mail [email protected].

We have all heard ghastly news reports about atrocities against citizens in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. A registered non-profit group based in Dayton, Ohio, the Society for the Advancement of Culture and Welfare in Sierra Leone (SACSL), is seeking assistance for the children at the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Freetown. The school is home for 80 children who are blind or visually impaired. Many are abandoned or orphaned. SACSL has built a security fence and installed an alarm system around the school to provide a safe haven for these children. They helped the children establish a vegetable garden and donated musical instruments for the school's band.

If you have items to donate, please send them to a volunteer for SACSL (address below). When enough items have been received to fill a sea container, it will be shipped to Sierra Leone (hopefully this August). The following items were identified by the school's headmaster as being most needed. Articles do not have to be new, but should be serviceable. They include: tape recorders (battery-operated), Perkins Braillers, portable typewriters, musical instruments, braille books for ages 5-18 (the school has many Bibles but not many other reading materials), braille paper and other writing materials, tapes of kids' songs (nursery rhymes and books), toothbrushes and paste, towels, sheets, pillowcases, tactile toys, and over-the-counter first aid items.

Articles can be sent free matter to David Brooks, 6419 Noranda Drive, Dayton, OH 45415, phone (937) 890-3039 (morning hours please), e-mail [email protected].

For people who are blind or visually impaired and have diabetes, this list may be of interest. Topics include information on exercise, diet and overall changes in lifestyle. The list will provide support for people having problems with being overweight, overeating and obesity. Even if you just want to lose weight and are not diabetic, you are welcome to join this list. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to [email protected].

The Hadley School for the Blind offers a free course called "Personal Safety: Self-Defense Strategies" designed specifically to help a blind person avoid becoming a victim. Through this course, students learn to implement their own safety programs and make informed choices about effective self-defense. The course teaches about specific safety issues when traveling and helps students cope with the impact of violent crime. As with all Hadley's courses, "Personal Safety" is taught through distance education so students take the course at home, communicating with their instructors via Hadley's toll-free number, mail or e-mail. All Hadley courses are offered completely free of charge. Course materials are provided in large print, audiocassette or in braille. For further information, phone toll-free (800) 323-4238, or visit the web site,

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is looking for a candidate to lead and inspire a growing organization that's in the business of independence for people who are blind. CNIB has 100,000 clients, and is one of Canada's largest not-for-profit organizations. The successful candidate for President and CEO will manage an annual budget of $70 million, supervise 1,200 employees and 20,000 volunteers. This is a leadership mandate of formidable complexity and opportunity for an executive who is blind or visually impaired.

To apply confidentially for this position, please visit the Opportunities section of, or e-mail [email protected], or write to 64 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B4, Canada, or fax (416) 922-8646. At the top of the resume, write Project 685.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is seeking applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds, ages 18-24, to apply for an upcoming 2001 cross-disability exchange program in Costa Rica. The US/Costa Rica Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Disability Program is designed for young people who are committed to strengthening cross-cultural ties, exploring disability rights and expanding leadership skills in an international environment. For more information, log ontothe web site,, e-mail [email protected], or phone (541) 343-1284 (voice/TTY).

ShellWorld, designed specifically for blind users, now provides dial-up shell and ppp accounts. Ken Scott, who is blind, is the owner of ShellWorld Internet Services, and can provide tech support from a blindness perspective. Accounts include unlimited 56K access and a 50-meg disk quota. Those who wish to have a ppp dial-up account can get a shell, accessible from the ppp account, at no extra charge. The ppp account costs $19.95 a month. To see if ShellWorld has an access number in your area, visit Numbers are available in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, send an e-mail to [email protected].

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is seeking volunteer, certified braille proofreaders. For additional information, guidelines and current opportunities, please contact the company directly, toll-free (800) 777-8552, or e-mail [email protected].

The Princeton Braillists, long known for their excellent tactile maps, will send braille information describing their maps to interested individuals. Among the tactile maps/atlases currently available are a two-volume set of "Atlas of Western Europe," "Atlas of North and South America," "Atlas of the Middle East," "Maps of the Bible Lands," "Atlas of the British Isles" and "Basic Human Anatomy" (tactile drawings). Prices range between $10 and $50. Purchase orders from educational entities are accepted, but not credit cards. To order, or for more information, call (732) 350-3708, or write to The Princeton Braillists, 28-B Portsmouth St., Whiting, NJ 08759.

The California School for the Blind runs a student-operated business called the Lucky Touch Fortune Cookie Company. They will customize your order for a special event such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation, love notes, conventions, etc., and the message can be provided in braille or large print. Orders take two weeks after receipt of payment, but for customized orders, add an extra week. Prices range from $1 for three cookies in an in-stock message to $11 for a chocolate dipped, giant fortune cookie with a customized message. To order, call Judith Lesner, phone (510) 794-3800 extension 300, fax (510) 794-3813, or write Lucky Touch Fortune Cookie Co., 500 Walnut Ave., Fremont, CA 94536.

Finding an on-line research tool is as easy as typing in the kind of resource you're looking for -- surrounded by www and com.

If you're not sure about the definition of a word, type into your web browser. This takes you to a free dictionary site. Type a word and the site queries several on-line dictionaries and gives you the results. Instead of one definition, you may have several. A companion site to is This site searches through one thesaurus after another to provide numerous selections. Both sites have links to other word-related resources.

Want to browse an on-line encyclopedia? Just type and go to a free version of "The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Third Edition." At first glance, its 14,000 articles may seem meager in comparison to the 30,000-70,000 articles you're likely to find on a CD-based encyclopedia. However, has links to more than 170,000 external articles on the Internet.

Visit an on-line electronic library at your fingertips. After typing, the site allows you to search an interesting array of on-line resources. From this site, you can search for any combination of newspaper articles, magazine articles, books, pictures, maps, or TV/radio transcripts. The electronic library offers two unique, free services. The "tracker" allows the library to monitor its database for new entries of interest to you based on preferences you specify. When any new item is discovered, you're automatically notified by e-mail. The other service is "Q&A." The site maintains a list of thousands of self-proclaimed experts, all sorted by their area of expertise. You can search through categories and sub-categories until you find the expert needed. This is your opportunity to pose a question to the expert without charge.

Computer training in a variety of programs is available in your home. Learn Windows, HTML, web page design, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Eudora and more. For information, visit, or call Cathy Anne Murtha at (916) 922-3794.

Vision Community Services now offers "The Harvard Business Review" in 4-track, 15/16 ips format. One year (10 issues) costs $118. VCS produces a variety of recorded books for approximately $5 per tape. There are cookbooks, computer books, and general fiction/non-fiction works. For a list in large print or cassette, contact: Vision Community Services, 23A Elm St., Watertown, MA 02472, phone (617) 972-9117, fax (617) 926-1412, e-mail m[email protected], or visit the web site,

The Selective Doctor, Inc. is a repair service for Perkins Braillers and IBM typewriters. The brailler can be sent free matter, and should be insured when mailed. Labor costs for repairs are $50 plus the cost of parts. Send item to be repaired to The Selective Doctor, Inc., P.O. Box 28432, Baltimore, MD 21234. For more information, phone (410) 668-1143.


FOR SALE: Alva 320 20-cell braille terminal. In excellent condition. Works well with DOS and Windows, Window-Eyes, OutSpoken and JAWS for Windows. Asking $2,100; negotiable. Navigator 40. Good back-up system. Recently refurbished; excellent condition. $1,000 or best offer. Braille Lite 18. Includes disk drive (older model), cables, carrying case, chargers, 1999 upgrade. No service contract. Asking $2,100; negotiable. Please call Isaac Obie at (617) 247-0026, or write him at 755 Tremont St. #205, Boston, MA 02118.

FOR SALE: Alva 3-80 braille terminal in good condition. Asking $4,000. Anyone interested should contact Liz Mayeux at (610) 254-8262, or via e-mail at [email protected].

FOR SALE: Enabling Technologies Romeo 25 braille printer. Has only been used 4 times, outstanding condition, $2000 or highest offer. Contact Patricia Walsh via e-mail, [email protected], or via phone at home, (541) 758- 0845, or work, (541) 737-1712.

FOR SALE: Three Perkins braillers. Excellent condition. Guaranteed for one year (parts and labor). Asking $250 each. Contact Chuck at (909) 242-3750 or e-mail him at [email protected].

FOR SALE: Dymo braille labeler. Like new. $45. 100 new double density 3.5-inch disks, $50. Versabraille external disk drive, $25 or best offer. Send braille letter to Eileen Wuest, 34 Kelly Ct., Lancaster, NY 14086.


Sanford Alexander
Wichita, KS
Jerry Annunzio
Kansas City, MO
Alan Beatty
Fort Collins, CO
Ed Bradley
Houston, TX
Dawn Christensen
Holland, OH
Debbie Grubb
Bradenton, FL
Oral Miller
Washington, DC
Mitch Pomerantz
Los Angeles, CA
Sandy Sanderson
Anchorage, AK
M.J. Schmitt
Forest Park, IL


Kim Charlson, Chairperson
Watertown, MA
Jay Doudna
Rosemont, PA
Winifred Downing
San Francisco, CA
Mike Duke
Jackson, MS
Charles Hodge
Arlington, VA
Ex Officio: Earlene Hughes,
Lafayette, IN


20330 NE 20TH CT.
MIAMI, FL 33179





LeRoy Saunders
4517 NW 25th Place
Oklahoma City, OK 73127-1911

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Billie Jean Keith, Arlington, VA

Return to the Braille Forum Index
Return to ACB Home Page