by Sue Lichtenfels

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. The Braille Forum cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in mailbox 26. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.


On Oct. 3, 2008, two more blindness professionals joined the 40 individuals already in the APH Hall of Fame. They were Sally Mangold and Richard Welsh.

Sally Mangold served as a resource room teacher for students with visual impairments for 18 years. Following that, she worked as a professor at San Francisco State University for another 18 years. Sally was a passionate proponent and champion of braille literacy throughout her career. She was a pioneer in the institution of the Distance Education Program at SFSU. She and husband Phil founded Exceptional Teaching Aids, a company promoting and selling products for visually impaired clients and teachers. Among her many achievements was the creation of the Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition.

During his illustrious career, Rick Welsh has served as an orientation and mobility specialist, a college instructor and professor, a counselor, a coordinator of rehabilitation services, and an agency administrator, most notably as president of both the Maryland School for the Blind and Pittsburgh Vision Services. Two of his many contributions include co-editing the first and second editions of "Foundations in Orientation and Mobility," and providing the leadership in the consolidation of two long-standing professional associations to form the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) in 1984. He then served as the first elected president of the organization.

Profiles of all 42 Hall of Fame inductees are available at


The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Carnegie LBPH) has been named the 2007 Network Library of the Year by NLS. Carnegie increased its readership by 1,000 patrons despite a 50 percent cut in its outreach budget.


Nearly 2,000 contestants from 30 countries entered the drawing for the Serotek Summer Sizzle, a contest offering $2000 worth of products comprising a Digital Lifestyle Makeover for the lucky winner. Congratulations to Amy Ruell!


The Jewish Guild for the Blind's GuildScholars are off to college. They are: Zoe Anthony, College of New Jersey; Derek Czajka, Stanford University; Spencer DeSena, Harvard University; Matthew David Devcich, Gettysburg College; Eric Glasser, Vanderbilt University; Rachel Hockenberger, Mercer University; Lauren Long, Texas A&M University; Steven Maxfaults, Harvard University; Sean O'Keefe, Columbia University; Patrick Saley, Gettysburg College; Caitlin Sarubbi, Harvard University; Katelyn Schuit, Eastern Illinois University; Emily Townsend, Florida State University; Jordan Walters, University of Colorado; and Craig Warren, University of the Pacific. For information on the GuildScholar program, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-7801 or e-mail [email protected].


On behalf of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress has awarded contracts for three critical elements needed to implement the digital talking-book system. Shinano Kenshi Corporation Ltd. of Japan and its subsidiary, Plextor-LLC of Culver City, Calif., will produce the digital talking-book players. LC Industries in Hazlehurst, Miss., will produce the mailing containers for digital talking books. SI International of Reston, Va., will develop training strategies for the network of cooperating libraries. The award of the cartridge contract is pending.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published a question-and-answer guide aimed at promoting the hiring and advancement of individuals with disabilities in federal government employment, called "Questions and Answers: Promoting Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Workforce." The guide answers frequently asked questions about what the law allows and what it requires federal agencies to do with respect to affirmative hiring and employment of individuals with disabilities, including: special regulations that allow federal agencies to hire individuals with severe disabilities who are qualified for jobs without going through the usual competitive hiring process; procedures that agencies are required to have for providing reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities; specific types of accommodations that enable people with disabilities to work in federal sector jobs; and much more. To find it, go to disabilities.html.

EEOC also recently published a question-and-answer guide addressing how the ADA applies to performance and conduct issues. It can be found at


Seedlings Braille Books for Children has launched a new fund-raising program that raises funds by participants purchasing groceries. Buy a specially encoded $5 Kroger Cares Card from Seedlings Braille Books. Go to the customer service desk at your local Kroger (or Kroger affiliate) and add an amount of your choosing to the card using cash, check, or credit card. Use your Kroger Cares Card to pay for your groceries every time you shop. Keep reloading your card as needed. Every time you do, 5 percent of your total will be donated to Seedlings to help make braille books for blind children. To purchase a card, call Julie or Dawn at Seedlings, (734) 427-8552 or 1-800-777-8552, or send a check or money order to Seedlings at 14151 Farmington Rd., Livonia, MI 48154. Include your name, address, and phone number, and a Kroger Cares Card will be mailed to you.


Congratulations to skipper Sengil "Inky" Inkiala and his crew, Nancy Jodoin, Ken Legler, and Harry Berman. This Massachusetts-based crew won the 2008 Blind Sailing World Championships in Newport, R.I.


The Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind and ACCO Brands have joined forces to help create jobs for the visually impaired through the recently opened Inland Northwest Lighthouse in Spokane. At this manufacturing facility, which includes retrofitted equipment from a former ACCO plant in Mexico, blind individuals from around the Spokane area will be creating ACCO white boards, hanging file folders, and other office supplies. The goal is to provide jobs for 40 blind people within three years.


Recently, the Industrial Design Operation of GE Consumer & Industrial teamed up with students and faculty of the Carnegie Mellon School of Design to address the concept of universal design within appliance development. The team gathered data from empathy sessions where participants taped their knuckles and wore gloves to simulate arthritis, put cotton balls in their ears to simulate a decrease in hearing, and wore special glasses that simulated vision impairment such as macular degeneration. This simulation allowed them to experience firsthand what an aging consumer or special needs consumer might experience when operating an appliance. The group also consulted with health care professionals and gerontologists. GE Appliances offers a wide range of appliances with universal design features to accommodate people of varying heights, ages and abilities, select appliances that are easy to open and use, with easy-to-read graphics and features that provide added convenience and flexibility. To learn more about GE's universal design efforts, visit


National Braille Press is in the process of producing an instructional book on crafts which can be done with little or no vision. They are seeking your craft ideas. If your project is chosen for inclusion, you will win a copy of the book. Please clearly state all necessary materials and step-by-step directions for each project. They will not be including any knitting, crocheted or intricate sewing projects. Submit all materials as well as your name, address and phone number to Ann Bliss using [email protected]. Print and unfolded braille will be accepted by Ann Bliss, P.O. Box 6579, Bradenton, FL 34281.


The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), which encourages people who are blind or have visual impairments to learn a foreign language and pursue international travel, recently published a new informational guide to support blind and low-vision students to take a broad range of foreign language courses, from Arabic to Turkish, by providing the tools needed so that course materials can be accessed. The brochure, "Accessing Foreign Language Materials as a Blind or Low Vision Student," is available online in various formats at


Challenge Tourism has developed an array of tourist activities within Ecuador, focused on people with visual impairment. Their tours are designed so visitors can get to know Ecuador through their other senses. To learn more, visit, e-mail [email protected], or call 59-3-22-48-0638.


Celebrate Louis Braille's bicentennial in January 2009! How? Contact National Braille Press at 1-888-965-8965 and ask about the bicentennial pin. NBP commissioned artist Judith Krimski to design an icon of Louis Braille to celebrate the bicentennial. Krimski chose the silhouette, and to capture Louis' genius, she "ignited a fire in his head" by painting his curly locks in vibrant colors -- orange, purple, lime, teal. The pin is about 1 inch wide and 1 3/8 inches high with a rubber clasp. It costs $5 per pin. Also available are note cards, with the same design as the pin, for $7.99. To purchase your pin, or note cards, contact National Braille Press at the number above, or visit


Pocket Reference Journals, Inc. recently released its first CD entitled "My Pocket Doctor, A Reference Guide." It is a helpful tool for educating the newly diagnosed diabetic. The CD includes information on blood glucose testing, insulin facts, pills, new medications, dining out, illness complications, as well as such other important topics as traveling, leisure and exercise, and smoking and alcohol. The ABC's of diabetes, a diabetes food plan, telephone and web resources are included. Running time is one hour in a conversational tone. The CD costs $12.50. Braille labels and a full braille version are also available. To hear an audio sample, go to Downloadable versions are available on

EMPLOYMENT WEB SITE is an employment web site designed specifically for people with disabilities. The goal of the site is to enhance the opportunities for people with disabilities to find employment by providing a vehicle where they can showcase their qualifications and talents to an audience of prospective employers. Job seekers can post their resumes and search the database for available positions. Employers are able to post jobs and search resumes, recruiting qualified candidates who are the best fit for their organizations.


On Aug. 5, 2008, Jack Hogarth received a service pin and plaque in recognition of 35 years of service to the U.S. government, 27 of which were at the VA hospital in Denver, where he worked as a medical transcriber.


Clarity Solutions' i-vu is a small, portable digital magnifier that can help you read menus, prescription bottles, books and bills, pictures, and much more. The i-vu weighs 4 ounces, and provides magnification from 5 to 20 times. Its push-button freeze-frame feature allows you to bring an image up for closer inspection. The i-vu also has color and inverse modes to allow for easier viewing. For more information, call Clarity at 1-800- 575-1456.


ZoomWare is one of Ai Squared's newest products. It provides a gentle boost of magnification (up to 2 times) so that hard-to-read text is larger, clearer and easier to see. Three different viewing options allow you to see the entire screen magnified, or have a small or large portion magnified. ZoomWare also provides color filtering features that improve text contrast and eliminate uncomfortable glare. You can reverse all screen colors for a dramatic reduction in screen glare, or apply a colorful tint to white areas of the screen to soften the overall brightness. ZoomWare also lets you adjust the size and color of the pointer and apply eye-catching locators to the cursor, making it easy to see and follow. For more information, contact the Ai Squared sales department at 1-800-859-0270, e-mail [email protected], or visit


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has launched a new web site to help people prepare for disasters. The Ready Campaign web site,, helps people get started by taking three simple steps: Get a Kit; Make a Plan; and Be Informed. features video demonstrations at Individuals can also call 1-800-BE-READY for more information.


Have you ever wondered how the Wizard of Oz seemed to know everything? Well, the secret's out, and it's You can find everything from student loans to government auctions and government benefits to, well, almost anything. So go to the official source of federal and state government information,, or call 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636). It can make you as all-knowing as the Wizard of Oz.


Gail Melpolder is helping to coordinate the Liberia Blind Project. The focus of the project is to collect and ship training materials such as braille books, Perkins Braillers, canes, computers, etc. to CAB and to provide training to their staff. If you can donate any of these items, or a financial gift, contact Gail at (505) 434-6510 or [email protected].


Marco Benavides teaches blind children in Colombia. He is requesting donated canes, Perkins braillers, slates and tutorials or manuals in braille or audio related to computers and learning English. Mail items to: Marco Benavides, M. 26 Casa 3, Corazón de Jesús, Pasto, Colombia. He can be reached directly at 57-3-15-64-35-847 or [email protected].

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