June 2016 Chronicle

June 2016 Chronicle


Letter From The President

By Denny Huff

Greetings to All! 

I hope this edition of the Missouri Chronicle finds you and your family doing well and enjoying spring.

       As I mentioned in my last report, three of our members attended a fundraising seminar in February and they came away with a better understanding of what we need to do to increase our income. Chris Gray, our Executive Director, Kim Vaughn, our Resource and Development Chair, and Darrel Vickers, a member of the R&D Committee all state that the seminar was very educational and beneficial. I’m sure that they will have more to tell you about some of the fundraising projects we will be implementing later in this edition of the Chronicle. I hope that you will help support these events not only to help increase our income, but also to promote awareness about the Missouri Council of the Blind. 

Here is a synopsis of the Board meeting that took place on Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet. 

On Friday Stephanie Brady of the Joplin Independent Living Center presented Board training on the governance of the board and responsibilities.

       On Saturday, Stephanie did a training session on the financial responsibilities of the board and fundraising.

In my President’s report, I reported on several items including our participation in the 2016 Power-Up conference, the pizza party, the St. Charles County Council of the Blind public forum, and that the Policy Committee made changes to the by-laws and committee guidelines to say “chair” as opposed to “chairman” or “chairperson”. This was done simply to be consistent in the term. This was considered housekeeping and did not need membership approval.

I also asked the Board to approve having a caucus conference call with the candidates for office of the ACB officers as opposed to having an in-person caucus during the ACB convention. This was approved.

Chris Gray gave his Executive Director’s report and outlined several fundraising ideas and events that have been discussed by the Resource and Development Committee. This included a giving circle campaign, a ball drop, a Riviera cruise possibly scheduled for next year, and sponsorship for the 2016 MCB convention.

Robert Vaughn gave a Treasurer’s report and announced that the 2015 audit was finished and was designated as non-qualified, which is good.

Mike Keller gave a Thrift Store report and at the conclusion of the report gave a check in the amount of $10,000.00 to MCB.

Chip Hailey gave an Education and Advocacy report.

Jannel Morris gave a Membership Committee report. Her committee asked the Board to approve a 30 day approval process for members at large. This is intended to allow the Membership Committee to contact the applicants that are applying as members at large and make them aware of affiliates that might be in their area. We would like to see people join an affiliate if at all possible, and some of these applicants may not be aware of affiliates in their area. The motion passed.

Mike Keller presented a proposal for a Community Service Award and it was approved. The award can be presented to a company or organization that goes above and beyond in giving assistance to the blind, visually impaired and other cross disability communities. For a copy of the award guidelines please contact the office.

The Board approved Jesuita Tabor as the convention coordinator. Jerry Annunzio needed to step down due to personal reasons, and since Jesuita has been working with the committee and the hotel for the upcoming convention, she was a likely candidate. When I approached her about taking this position she was very excited and promised to do her very best in doing this job.

The Board approved sponsoring walkers for the ACB Walk in the amount of $1,000.00. The Board also approved donating an item for the ACB auction in the amount of $100.00 and also to purchase two Braille Forum raffle tickets for $50.00 each.

Ruthie Clark gave a report on the Mid-West Leadership Conference and Young Professionals Seminar that will be held in August in Omaha Nebraska. The Board voted to send Ruthie to the conference as our representative and to meet her expenses for the trip.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, our Executive Director, Public Relations chair, the Education and Advocacy chair and I all demonstrated adaptive technology at the Missouri state capital. Also joining us was a representative from Rehab Services for the Blind. The purpose of this event was to communicate to the legislators that the equipment we use to help live a more independent life is expensive and that the programs the state supports to assist the blind and visually impaired are definitely worthwhile.

I was able to participate in a public forum sponsored by the St. Charles County Council of the Blind on April 26th. There were several agencies and vendors on hand, and although the attendance wasn’t what we had hoped for, it still turned out to be a good event. The networking with all of the agencies between each other was very beneficial to all that attended. I commend Beverly Kaskadden for putting this event together and I hope that some other affiliates will follow her example and plan a similar event in their area. I am sure that Beverly will be glad to help get you started in making the necessary plans to do this.

Also on May 3rd what was billed as the World’s Largest Pizza Party was held throughout Missouri. This was done in conjunction with ACB as a fundraiser. We don’t know the amount of the money raised at the time of this writing but I do want to thank all of those that participated. Even if we didn’t raise a lot of money it was good to get together with everyone.

I am certainly looking forward to the 2016 MCB convention. This year we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary, and there are several special events being planned. I hope that you will make plans to attend the convention in October, which will be held at the Sheraton Westport Chalet in St. Louis.

In April, Chris and I attended a networking get together at the St. Louis Society of the Blind. It was good to meet and socialize with the various organizations serving the blind and visually impaired in the St. Louis area. I hope to have a similar event at our MCB office later this summer. It is always good to keep in touch with other like-minded organizations.

Speaking of networking, I was also able to attend a networking breakfast at the Baue Funeral Home in St. Charles. I was introduced to several other organizations and companies that served different disabilities in the area. When they said they were taking a tour of the crematoria and asked for a volunteer for demonstration, I quietly slipped out the back.

In closing, I would like to pay tribute to a lady that most all of you have known. Roselie Backer Thompson was the Tap-I Coordinator for Missouri Assistive Technology for many years. It is with great sadness that I report to you her passing.

Roselie was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and wasn’t expected to live but for a short while. She baffled everyone with her perseverance and lived long after her diagnosis. Roselie never let her illness get her down and in fact, she was normally the one that gave encouragement to those around her. She was always positive and always had a smile on her face. She faced each day with determination and a song in her heart. If you ever met her you know I am correct in saying that she was a very lovely person, both inside and out. The blind of Missouri benefited greatly from her way of caring and the service she always gladly provided through the Tap-I program. She is going to be sadly missed by all who knew her. 

Until the next time, dance like nobody is watching, sing like nobody is listening, and live like it’s your last day here.


ACB Candidate Forum

Instead of having the ACB caucus during the ACB convention this year we will invite all candidate’s running for office in ACB to join us on a conference call.

The candidate’s Forum will be on Sunday, June 26 at 3:00 PM.  The conference number is 218-548-8268 and the pass code is 26273#.  Anyone interested in hearing the candidate’s that are running for office in ACB are welcome to participate.



Fundraising Comes to MCB

By Christopher Gray

Whether we like it or not, fundraising has become a necessity in the nonprofit world which includes MCB.  We were so lucky for all those years we had funds coming into the organization from our thrift stores.  But, that time has come and gone.  Our single remaining store can help the organization financially, but the store can't do it all.

Recently, Kim Vaughn volunteered to chair MCB's Resource Development Committee and help work on fundraising initiatives.  The other members of the committee are Linda Coccovizzo, Denny Huff, Donna Giger and Darrel Vickers.  In February, Kim, Darrel and I attended a week-long course together offered by Let's Build Hope, an organization dedicated to assisting nonprofits in their fundraising efforts.  The 5-day course was absolutely first rate and we all learned a great deal from it.  Perhaps the most important thing we learned is that fundraising, if it is going to work, has to be a group effort.  We must all do it together.  It takes all of our shoulders, pushing the wheel, to get things rolling.

At the MCB Board meeting on April 23 held in St. Louis at the Sheraton Westport Plaza hotel, I outlined for the Board a fundraising package to be embarked on during the course of the rest of the year and into 2017.  It will be rolled out in stages and I and the Resource Development Committee will keep you posted all along the way about a variety of fundraising initiatives, all of which will support MCB.  No single initiative will, in and of itself, bring large sums of money to MCB.  However, taken together, the activities we will be rolling out can make a significant difference in the organizational budget for 2016 and 2017.

In general, people are inclined to view fundraising is distasteful, a have-to-do rather than a want-to-do, and often pretty scary.  But, it doesn't have to be that way and it's not the path I presented to the Board in April.

In fact, our first activity was downright fun.  On May 3, MCB participated with ACB, our parent organization, in a nationwide pizza party.  The only scary thing about that is how much pizza gets consumed, but let's not go there.     We must have passed out fifty coupons or more at the Board meeting.  And here in St. Louis, we organized a party at the MCB building with approximately 30 people in attendance.  Denny provided music from the 50s all evening so we actually had a 50s retrospective and pizza party.  Everybody had a wonderful time.  Thanks to Wanda Matlock, Delta Area Blind got together and went to a physical Pizza Hut and had a great buffet.  For every person who bought from a qualifying Pizza Hut in Missouri, MCB will receive a contribution.

The second major event we have rolled out is a convention sponsorship program.  What better time to do this but for the MCB 60th annual convention.  Working with the convention committee and its Chairperson Jesuita Tabor and with some advice from Let's Build Hope, we chose for 2016 the convention theme "Soaring to New Heights".  In conjunction with that, our sponsorship levels are all based on birds from Missouri.  Of course, the Cardinal is the top level at $5,000.00.  I believe we can find a cardinal sponsor this year!  The other levels are:

  • Eastern Bluebird (State Bird) Package $2,500
  • Horned Owl Package $1,500
  • Snow Goose Package $500
  • Wood Duck Package $150

As you can see, there is a sponsorship level for almost anybody on this list.  To illustrate how this works, let me describe for you the Wood Duck package.  Anybody who sings up as a sponsor under this package will receive:

  • Your name and/or logo on the MCB website sponsor page through March. 31, 2017
  •  Half-page black-and-white ad in the official conference program
  • Special acknowledgments during the convention
  • Two tickets to the MCB banquet

As a Wood Duck sponsor, you can choose any one of the following options for which you will be specifically recognized:

  • Conference Exhibit Hall (your sign at hall entrance)
  • Sponsor and receive acknowledgement of interpreter services for deaf-blind attendees
  • Sponsor an outstanding blind student

Finally, if you don't like the levels we have created, we are willing to work with you to fashion something you do like.  That's not a problem at all.

Many thanks go to Virginia and Eleanor who played the instrumental role in the final design and proofing of this outstanding package.  If you want a full copy to review, please ask either of them to send you one in the mail.

Right now, I am in the process of presenting convention sponsorships on behalf of MCB.  It's really quite enjoyable to discuss the good work we do in the organization and offer an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to share in that work.  It's truly amazing how many community businesses and friends we have, and they are eager to consider the sponsorship opportunity.

In the coming months, stay tuned for additional programs to raise funds for the work of MCB.  I believe we can raise some significant money and even have some fun doing it.  I look forward to working with all of you in these endeavors.


By Wilma Chestnut-House

As the Public Relations’ Director, I am happy to say that I am back in stride again. This year I have attended Power Up, the St. Charles affiliate’s Community Fair at Spencer Library, and was supposed to lead our team in the Delta Gamma “Run for Sight” walk.

I am in Utah for a Camp Abilities Directors’ conference with another director, Peggy Hurt. My daughter, Cush, is the captain for this event, and I am sure that she will do the job right. I would also like to say that this time we have four MCB members representing us.

When I return home Monday, I will leave the airport and go straight to Jefferson City for a mini adaptive technology exhibition at the State building. On May 7, we will be at the Valley of Flowers in Florissant representing MCB.

Once again folks, our White Cane Safety Walk will be held at Tower Grove Park. It is going to be on the actual date of October 15. We will have coffee, water, and maybe donuts to get us started. The fun will start after the walk. We will have a picnic with food and games. Come and join us. It would be good if all the groups in St. Louis would join together and participate. The other affiliates should also get ready for their statewide walk. Let’s do this MCB members!

Affiliate News

ATI News

By Darrel Vickers, President

Hello, everyone.  Spring has sprung at last. I thought I would tell you about some cool new technologies coming soon.

Thai university creates cheap, touchable ink for the blind: Thammasat University's Touchable Ink aims to lower the current $1-per-page cost of embossed Braille print down to around 3 cents.

Article Link:http://www.cnet.com/news/thai-university-creates-touchable-ink-for-the-blind/

Researchers at Thammasat University in Thailand have created something that will potentially make it a lot cheaper for the blind to read.  This new ink, called Touchable Ink, has the ability to rise when heated; turning what would normally be a flat row of printed Braille letters to an embossed version readable by fingers, according to a media release. Developed in conjunction with Samsung, who supplied the printers, and advertising agency J Walter Thompson (JWT), the university expects that the ink will eventually be able to be used in normal printers.

Touchable Ink promises to lower the cost of printing Braille text for blind users from the current cost of $1.1 (£0.75, AU$1.50) per embossed A4-sized page to just a mere 3 cents per page using a standard printer. Furthermore, there won't be a need to pay around $2,850 for a Braille embosser. "We are quite certain that the cost of touchable ink would be a lot cheaper than Braille printing, considering that the material ingredient that we use is a lot cheaper compared by volume to the average toner quantity in cartridges available on the market," said a JWT spokesperson to CNET.

Talking Tools: As some of you know, one of my hobbies is woodworking. As a blind woodworker, measuring can sometimes be a challenge. There are some devices as well as techniques we can employ to overcome some of the difficulties. For example, there are braille rulers or rulers with raised lines. There is also a click rule. This device clicks every 1/16 of an inch when you pull it out. There are even a couple of different companies who make talking tape measures. There are companies, such as Mitutoyo and Pro Scale who make measuring tools with digital read outs and data output ports. The problem is that these tools are very expensive. Plus, you need a computer or voice synthesizer to hear the measurement. For example, a Voiceman speech synthesizer cost between $600 and $800, if you can find one. So, something like a 6-inch caliper that talks would cost well over $1000. Now we have an exciting new option.

A company called IGaging makes these same tools for a much lower cost. A 6-inch caliper from IGaging cost $39.99 on Amazon. So, we now have a low-cost option for the tools, but we still needed to make them usable for a blind user. Myself and a couple of friends started looking for a low cost solution to get the tool to talk without the need of a laptop computer.

We have talked to manufactures of these types of tools to see if we could get them to include voice output. As you might have guessed, we have not had any success up to this point. However, we are still talking with them and have more hope because of the smartphone. This response is understandable, because we are a small market of users. In the meantime, we decided to see what we could come up with ourselves. After doing a lot of research and experimentation we have come up with a couple of different solutions for voice output for about $100. I am not going to try to explain it all here; most of you would be bored to death, if you’re not already. The point of all this, is that we can't always just wait for the world to provide a solution. I would really like ATI and the whole blind community to work on some ideas to make all our lives better.

Note: I plan to do a podcast to provide more information on this project in the near future.

Library Users

By Loretta Welch

The Library Users Club will be having a breakfast at the Missouri Council of the Blind convention in St. Louis. It will be on Saturday, October 8. The Breakfast will cost $10.00.

The Dues for Library Users is $10.00, so if you are attending the breakfast, it would be a total of $20.00. This pays for the breakfast and your dues. Payment is due by August 15. Please send payment to Paul Mathews at 2126 Louis Circle, Apt. C, Jefferson City, MO 65101. We hope to see several at the meeting on Saturday.

St. Charles County Council of the Blind

By Beverly Kaskadden

I am so excited to write this report for the Chronicle. I am so proud of St. Charles County Council of the Blind. We pulled off a community service project. It was so nice to be serving instead of asking for support with fundraising. We had 12 exhibitors collaborate with us in hosting a public forum. It was held at a local library. I wanted to get as many vendors and agencies concerning vision loss and low vision in one location as possible. It really concerns me that so many individuals in this position do not know of all the help that they can acquire. Even with a low turnout of the public, I believe that if we could help one person, it was all worth it. I believe we can grow with this effort and make this community outreach a reoccurring event. Just as fundraisers are needed, so are our service projects. Thank you to everyone who helped with this project.

We held our elections in April, and the results are as follows:

President is Denny Huff, (do you think he is qualified for this position? (Smile). Steve Baker is 1st Vice-President.  Victor Rodriguez is 2nd Vice-President.  Brianne Disney is Secretary.  Beverly Kaskadden is Treasurer.  Plans are being made for our annual Installation dinner hosted by the St. Charles Duchesne High School Key Club. I will report on the outcome of this festive event in the next Chronicle issue.  Have a wonderful and safe summer.

News from Act Now! Council of the Blind

By Ruthie Clark, Secretary

       Greetings Missourians! I hope as you read this, you are having a fantastic day. At Act Now! we are certainly doing that. We’ve had a lot going on in the past few months. First, the Little Affiliate That Could is growing! We would like to thank our new members for joining us, and invite anyone who does not have an affiliate home to join the fun. Our next big event will be our annual meeting in July, which we will hold as an in-person meeting. As our web and Social Media coordinator, I am looking into ways we can have anyone that can’t travel to our meeting spot in KC to actually join the fun from their home. Keep an eye on the website at www.actnowcouncil.org as things unfold.

       A reminder, if you like news about blindness and anything relating to it, check out our social media pages. Follow us on Twitter, @ActNowCouncil. If you prefer Facebook, just search for Act Now Council or go to https://m.facebook.com/actnowcouncil. If you use Google Plus, we’re there too. Just look for ActNowCouncilOrgKC or go to https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ActnowcouncilOrgkc.

       If you are interested on how to become a better leader in your local affiliate, in MCB, or in ACB, please consider attending the Midwest Leadership Conference. There is an article elsewhere in this issue of the Chronicle written by Ray Campbell about the MLC and the Young Professionals Seminar to be held concurrently in Omaha, NE. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates on the conference.

Interested in supporting Act Now! by purchasing awesome products? Do you like Scentsy but don’t know any representatives? Our Vice President, Amy Morrison is selling Scentsy, with a portion of all sales going back to Act Now! Council of the Blind. Check out her site at www.amystl.scentsy.us for all the wonderful smelling stuff that Scentsy has to offer. She is local to the St Louis area, but you can have products shipped to you state or nationwide.

One piece of important news: Act Now! received its 501(c)(3) designation within the last few months. Any donations made to Act Now! through our members’ fundraising projects are tax deductible.

St. Louis Northern Lights Council

By Steve Schnelle, President

Greetings from the north; St. Louis Northern Lights Council. We have so much going on, I didn’t get this letter to the Chronicle staff until April 30. On May 7th we will do our first informational booth at the Florissant Valley of the Flowers carnival. We’ll be passing out fliers and selling chances for a Cardinals package provided to us from a member’s family. This package includes four green seats that are 5 rows behind home plate, food and beverages throughout the game, and 2 free parking passes. The game is between the Cards and Cubs on Sept. 12th, a Monday night. This package is near $1400 of fun and all you have to pay is $10 per chance. Talk about a fundraiser!

By the time we see you at the convention in October, we hope to have many more members than our current twenty-five. I hope everyone has a great summer, and I’ll see some of you at camp. If any of you wish to get in on the Cards-Cubs game raffle please contact me, Steve Schnelle, at (314)440-0902. Thank you, and take care.

Agape Council

By Wilma Chestnut-House

We at Agape Council are sorry to announce the passing of long time member, Murlee Kelly in April. She is already missed. Mrs. Kelly Would have turned 87 on May 17. She always made sure that she read everything that was sent out through the Chronicle, and she had no problem with telling you that, “in the Chronicle it said…”.

We send our prayers to her sons and her daughter.

We will be hosting our annual “Gospelfest” on September 11, 2016. It will be held at Greater Faith Church at 4114 Natural Bridge Rd. The event will start at 3:00pm. This year, there will be a special little treat. We are going to present a Children’s Pageant. If you are interested in your child participating, contact Elizabeth Brown by calling (314)496-8146.

News from Delta Area

By Wanda Matlock, President

I would first like to say that LaWana Copeland and Jim Taul gave a good report from the trip to Jefferson City for Legislative days. They both felt the representatives were very receptive to the concerns for visually impaired/blind people, and also for people with any disability. I attended Power Up in St. Charles, Missouri. I thought the presenters did a great job with their presentations. I especially enjoyed the presenter from The Hadley Institute, I learned a lot about i-devices. The lady that did the presentation on Dragon, did some great demonstrations of how to use the device.

On April 22 and 23, Judy and Steve Bryant, along with Wanda Matlock attended the MCB Board training/Board meeting. I actually had to miss the Board meeting, but Judy Bryant as the Delta Area Board Alternate did a great job informing me of the content of the meeting. By the time this issue of the Chronicle comes out, several of the Delta Area members would have enjoyed a great meal at Pizza Hut for the ACB/MCB fundraiser. I hope this idea is a great success and maybe we can make it an annual event. At our March affiliate meeting, we had a potential member visit our affiliate. I am happy to say that not only did he join, but his dad joined our affiliate also. Their names are Jimmy Reed and Jimmy Dale Reed, they both live in New Madrid, Missouri. Our members are also getting excited about camp Cobblestone in July. Several of our members have signed up for the week long session. Others are thinking about the extended weekend in September. The Delta Area meeting scheduled for April 26 had to be cancelled because of illness. We would like to extend an open invitation for anyone that wants to come to a Delta Area Meeting. Our meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10:30.

We hope that everyone enjoys all the great activities that the Spring season has to offer!!

Joplin Service Club of the Bind

By Mary Coe

Spring has sprung! I trust that all of you enjoyed your Easter, as I did mine.

On the 7th of April the Joplin Association for the Blind hosted a fundraiser, a Spaghetti Red Feed, which was open to the public.

April 27th, another event is to be held at the "Joplin Association for the Bind," assisting Joplin High School with a "Celebration" of sorts, recognizing the "Peer Buddies" - these are general education students who are paired with special needs students to foster positive, supportive relationships that extend past the classroom. This will be a "Carnival" like setting.

Until next time, please take care of yourselves and remember: "A friend in need, is a friend indeed"

Queen City Council for the Blind

By Marilyn Tuso

Greetings Everyone!  Well spring has sprung, the flowers are in bloom, and let's not forget the pollen is in the air!

Our first bit of business is announcement of our new officers; President Jesse Robinson, Vice President Robert Ash, Treasurer Vicky Maples, Recording Secretary Grace Wright, and Corresponding Secretary Nancy Hodson.

Congratulations to all of you!!!

The following were guest speakers: President Denny Huff joined us in February, Jeff La Montia joined us in March to discuss the thrift store, and District Governor Randy Custer of Rehab Services for the Blind joined us in April.

We also discussed our fundraisers. Four members will be going to summer camp this year.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your spring and look out for that hot, hot summer coming our way!

Tiger Talk

By Gretchen Maune

The tigers have had to deal with some hard news in recent times, but are staying busy and trying to keep their tails up. We are very sad to report that on March 27, one of our members, Becky Craft-Delaney passed away. We will miss her kind, generous spirit, and our hearts go out to her husband, Mike Delaney.

Though our hearts have been heavy, we have been keeping busy this Spring. At our April meeting, we held elections for president and secretary. Congratulations go out to Jannel Morris who was elected to her second term as President! Deanna Noriega had served us well for several years, but termed out, and Gretchen Maune was elected to be our new secretary. On April 24, the tigers were once again tabling at the Columbia Earth Day Festival. This extremely popular, annual event always draws thousands of visitors and a variety of organizations and vendors, whether they do work focused on the planet or not. At the TCB booth, we gathered donations to send kids to CampAbility, educated folks about guide dogs, and told everyone we met about our chapter and MCB.


Committees Reporting

You Want To Understand Not Just Hear

By Mary Hale, Dual Vision and Hearing Loss Chair

We can all use some tips to help us in our daily lives. Here are some that can also greatly help those who have a hearing loss along with their vision loss.

There is a big difference between hearing the spoken words and understanding the spoken words. Remember, it is up to YOU, to request the respect you deserve. (written by the Helen Keller National Center: Confident Living Program).

Take Control of your Communication with others—Set boundaries. Remember, I am only in control of how I relate to another person. I can only change me, not someone else. Be aware of who gets to you (means you can decide when to relate, how to relate and if you are to relate). Are you pushing the pause button on life? Dealing with difficult people-its more about them, than it is about you! Don’t take responsibility for another’s feelings.

Plan-Ahead Tips for Better Communication—Educate others regarding

How to get your attention—Which ear is best.  Know where the speaker is, so you are facing him/her. Let me know when you leave the room. Do not leave me in an open space. Put me in touch with a table, chair, or object.

If the volume of your voice is too low or too loud (draw line up or down arm to lower/raise voice). Tell me if there is feedback on my hearing aid. Reconfirm important points. Speak clearly and in a normal tone of voice. Do not shout. Don't speak too fast or too slow. Hold your head still—I may be following your lips. Get your attention before speaking. Say your name first, and then you will know he/she is talking to you. Look directly at your face and get on the same eye level if possible. Stand or sit with the light above or toward them, not behind them. Keep their hands away from their mouth. Don’t eat or chew gum.

Eliminate background noise from radio and television. Ask them to try using different phrases with the same meaning if you have trouble understanding what is being said. Stay in the same room while talking with you. Build breaks into a lengthy conversation.

Self-advocacy—Know situations you handle well. Know difficult hearing situations.

Coping skills: What do you do when…

Know your preferred accommodations. Be able to state why you prefer one accommodation over another. Be aware of application accessibility laws.

Restaurants—Call ahead and ask for booth with high back, or sit with your back to a wall. Sound bounces back to you.

If you have an assistive listening device that has a directional microphone, you may want to sit with your back toward the crowd noise and point your microphone to the wall or back of the booth. The sound will bounce back to you and you may be able to understand speech better. If there is no booth, ask for a table in the quietest part of the restaurant. Ask to be seated away from the kitchen and front door. Ask if wait staff can assist you in reading menu or cutting meat (before leaving the kitchen).

Community Events – Plan Ahead. Ask if an assistive listening device is available. If not, ask if you can bring your own and if the speaker will wear it. Ask if the speaker will be using a general room microphone. Ask to be seated near the speaker. Ask the speaker to repeat questions from the audience when applicable. Do not bluff! If you do not understand, admit it! Ask if an SSP will be provided. If not, can you bring your own, and can that person have free admission? Try to remain patient and positive, but ask for what you need!

Bylaws/Resolutions Report

By Janelle Edwards, Bylaws/Resolutions Committee Chair

ARTICLE XI COMMITTEES Section 5 of our bylaws includes the following: "Amendments to the Bylaws and Resolutions to be presented to the convention shall be sent to the Chairman with the names of two members, an MCB committee, a Regular Affiliate, or a Special Interest Affiliate supporting that amendment no later than July fifteenth."

If you have questions or submissions, my contact information is in the Chronicle insert.

Summer Camp

By Beverly Kaskadden

“ARE YOU READY?”   I am sure many of you are so ready and maybe even have some items packed for Cobblestone. That should tell those who have never attended Summer Camp that you should consider trying it out this year. I can answer any questions that you might have if you just give me a call or send me an e-mail message. I love talking about spending time at Cobblestone. My committee of Sam and Celita White, and myself will be working on cabin and table placements this week. The deadline for the extended week-end in September is August, so you still have time to add your application to that list.

I cannot express enough the importance of reading the Camp Guidelines and filling out the application completely. If you still have questions, please give me a call or e-mail me.

When the applications have been processed, I will give the MCB office the okay to send out the acceptance letters.

Again, please call me, not Cobblestone, with any questions.

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chairman

Hi Everyone, I want to take a minute to give you an update on our technology grants and provide an overview of this great program for those of you who might not be aware of it and how it works.

Year to date summary: so far this fiscal year 2016, we have awarded $22,711. Note: We have a total budget of $25,000. When the remaining funds are exhausted, we will no longer be able to award grants until our next fiscal year, providing there is money in the budget.

Purpose: The MCB technology grant is a matching grant to help Missouri blind and low vision persons obtain all types of adaptive technology. The Missouri Council of the Blind (MCB) created this Adaptive Technology Grants Program to help fulfill its mission of enriching the lives of legally blind Missourians. Adaptive technology can be very expensive, so MCB understands why many legally blind Missourians are not benefiting from its use. For the purpose of this grant program, adaptive technology is considered hardware, software, electronics, equipment, etc. that is standalone or works in conjunction with a computer that makes it possible for blind people to do things that sighted people can already do without using adaptive technology.

Coverage: The Adaptive Technology Grants Program widely covers both hardware and software based adaptive technology, including upgrades and maintenance agreements, and narrowly covers computer systems as required by or used in conjunction with accompanying adaptive technology, such as screen magnification software, screen reader software, or a scanning system. Purchase of a computer along with or for use with accompanying adaptive technology is only eligible for up to a $400 matching funds grant. Only new adaptive technology and computers are covered, including adaptive technology upgrades to newer versions; used or previously owned adaptive technology and computers are not covered.

Note: A full copy of the grant guidelines as well as an application can be found on our web site at: http://moblind.org/programs/adaptive_technology_grants or by contacting the MCB office at (314) 832-7172. You can also contact me anytime.

How it works: For MCB members, MCB will match dollar for dollar for most types of adaptive technology with a $3000 limit over any five (5) year period. Any blind resident of Missouri who is not a member of MCB can also receive a grant but we will match 25% of the total cost with the same $3000 limit.

This is a wonderful program, and I encourage you to take advantage of it if you need to.

The Committee: The adaptive technology committee is made up of three members: Darrel Vickers, Ruthie Clark and Donna Giger.  Until next time, take Care.

Member of the Month

By Yvonne Schnitzler

Elaine Shirrell is the February Member of the Month. Thanks to the River City Workers for nominating her. Recording Secretary since 1985, Elaine keeps their business and government records up to date. She has served on all committees and is always ready to help her affiliate. Married almost 56 years, Elaine and Clinton host a fish fry in the summer, and she bakes banana nut bread for each member at Christmas.

Elaine worked with the Girl Scouts for 25 years, was PTA President, and involved in many projects of that nature. She was Activities Director at Hill Top Nursing Home, was a volunteer at Heartland Care, and now volunteers for Meals With Friends for the Salvation Army. Elaine is a driver for the Good Shepherd Outreach Center, for the blind luncheon. She delivers RCWB donated items for the Jaycee Toy Box at Christmas and to Mending Hearts, a home for abused women.

Elaine attends and serves on the Christian Education Board of Emerald Street Church of God in Cape Girardeau. On the State level, she is Secretary for the women of the Church. Elaine has held every office except Treasurer on the local level. She taught Sunday school for beginners, primaries, juniors, and presently is head of the nursery department. She works with Angel Productions, which sponsors an Easter extravaganza and a Christmas carnival. Elaine has counselled one week a year for 25 years at Camp Sharon.

She took part in a TV commercial for Southeast Missouri Hospital for rehab after having knee replacement surgery. She belongs to the group Red Hats. Elaine likes to read, walk, crochet, do water aerobics, and watch Nicholas Sparks movies. Her affiliate members see Elaine as the ever-ready Energizer bunny that just keeps going, going, and going. Everything she does is because she cares and enjoys what she is doing.

Linda Coccovizzo is the Member of the Month for March. She is a member of Allied Workers for the Blind, Adaptive Technology, and the Braille Revival League. Employed by Metropolitan Community College, she helps to ensure that students receive class materials in an accessible format. Linda served as secretary of MCB, an officer in her affiliate, and on committees at the state and local level.

Linda’s passion is the education of blind children. As a parent representative, she serves on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force on Blind Student Academic and Vocational Performance. A terrific mother of two beautiful blind girls, she has fought tirelessly to ensure that her girls receive the best education possible. Knowing the importance Braille will play in their life, she works hard helping them to learn it. Her girls Sarah and Terra have competed in the Regional Braille Challenge at the Kansas School for the Blind. Terra competed in the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles, and this year, placed second in the freshman group. Thanks to Brandi Jones for nominating Linda.

Gretchen Maune is the April member of the month. She was a newly blind college student when she first joined MCB. Gretchen joined Library Users of Missouri, ATI and Missouri Guide Dog Users. She attended the MCB Legislative Day at the Capital, representing the positions on legislation with professionalism. She has served MCB as Membership Chair, been a founding member of two affiliates, and serves on two ACB committees. Gretchen currently serves on the Women’s Concerns Committee and the Access to Information Committee at the national level. She served as Vice-president when the Capital chapter was formed, and president when the Tiger Council of the Blind was established. Her advocacy included representing Missouri in Washington D.C. as a delegate to the ACB legislative workshop. She was successful in getting funds allocated for audible traffic signals in Columbia and founded an organization to improve access for people with disabilities in the mid-Missouri region. Her energy, determination, and advocacy skills have been an asset to MCB, and she is a prime example of what growing young leaders can accomplish. Thanks to her affiliate, Tiger Council of the Blind, Jannel Morris, President, and DeAnna Noriega, Secretary, for nominating Gretchen.

Convention Coordinator

By Jesuita Tabor

Make your plans for an exciting weekend. There will be a city tour on Thursday, October 6 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM. You will be picked up and returned to the hotel. The cost is $25. This is a 90-minute descriptive tour, no walking required.  The hospitality dinner will be Friday night at 7:00 PM. The cost is $5, and the menu is hamburgers, potato salad, fruit cup, cookie, and beverage. There will be a jam session, so feel free to participate. The silent auction will begin Saturday at noon. At 6:00 PM, the banquet doors open and there will be a social hour with strolling violinists. The cost for dinner is $25. The menu will consist of roasted chicken, potatoes, salad, vegetables, a roll, a beverage, and dessert. Vegetarian meals will be available. On Saturday at 7:00 AM, the Library Users are having a breakfast for $10. Feel free to attend. On Saturday at 12:00 PM, the Braille Revival League is having a luncheon for $15; feel free to attend this as well. All these events will be available on the registration form in July.  Special thanks to President Denny Huff and Jerry Annunzio for supporting my becoming Convention Coordinator. I also want to thank the Board for the vote of confidence. Please feel free to contact me with your suggestions or concerns at (314)383-2045. See you at the convention.

Youth Services

By Linda Gerken

IT’S! BACK!  Youth Services is once again taking care of your children for a day, and having fun with your teens for a night. Kids Club, for children 12 and under will be held on Saturday, October 8, during the convention. Please register them on the registration form when you are handling your grownup business on that same form. And then, for those slightly older boys and girls, ages 12-17, they can come enjoy food and fun on that same Saturday evening while the parents enjoy the banquet. This can also be taken care of on the registration form. We are looking forward to meeting all of our young, and up and coming members of our great organization.

What Is Up With Wolfner?

By DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

       It has been about three years since I left the Wolfner Advisory Council as a patron representative. On March 18th, I had the honor of attending the council representing you. Thank you for allowing me the privilege.  The Advisory Council was given a report of some interesting statistics. The director used the statistics available from the last U.S. census to determine where Wolfner should concentrate outreach. Four southeastern counties reported from a 20 to 24 percent incidence of visual impairment. Audrain County came in as the county with the highest rate of visual impairment in the state at 39 percent. Since Wolfner has a limited budget to do outreach, they will focus on these areas. Staff attended three activities during the month of April in Audrain.

The month of May marks the 100th anniversary of the giving of the Pulitzer Prize. In honor of this important literary recognition, Wolfner will begin hosting three book clubs for patrons. The first club is for fiction, and members will receive digital copies of Beloved, by Toni Morrison. They will meet by conference call on May 12 to discuss the book. The second club is for those who prefer mild fiction without obscenities or explicit descriptions of sex. They will be reading One of Our Own, by Willa Cather. They will discuss their book on May 19th. Finally, those who enjoy nonfiction will be reading The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Their discussion group will be held on May 26th.

Each month, Book Club members will receive a new title to read for the next club conference call meeting. If you want to read interesting books and have a chance to discuss them, please call your reader advisor and sign up.  I wish you all happy reading. If there is anything you wish me to ask at the next meeting, drop me a message or give me a call and I will do my best to represent your concerns.

Our President, Denny Huff asked if a book by Charley Brennan could be recorded. Since the 2018 American Council of the Blind Convention will be held in St. Louis, I pointed out that the book might be of general interest for those planning to attend.

Craft Room

By Loretta Welch

As I will be working the Craft Room again this year at the Missouri Council of the Blind Convention, I will give you this information. The Craft Room will be in the Zermatt Room and will open on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from 1:00 PM-8:00 PM, on Friday, October 7 from 8:00 AM to noon and again Friday evening from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM.  You will need to pick up your craft items on Friday between 5:30 and 6:00 PM. Only homemade crafts are supposed to be brought in. We hope to see a lot there. You can reserve tables by contacting Loretta Welch at 7251 N.W. County Rd 3001, Butler, MO 64730 or by calling me before convention time at (660)679-5429.

Camp Abilities

By Wilma Chestnut-House, Director

From all of the directors of Camp Abilities, we would like to thank all of the affiliates that have reached out to our new organization. We would also like to thank all of those who are thinking about assisting us.  The StL Firing Squad Beep Baseball is hosting our regional tournament from May 13 -15. It will be held at St. Vincent’s Community Center. The address is 7335 St. Charles Rock Rd. The tournament will begin at 9:00 am on Saturday. The Championship games will be at 9:00 on Sunday.  Come and join us in welcoming Indy Thunder, Indy Edge, and Colorado Storm. I am sure that it will be an exciting time.

Leaders and Aspiring Leaders to Come Together, August 5-7 In Omaha

By Ray Campbell

There’s a good reason to save the dates and make plans to join several of your ACB colleagues in Omaha, Nebraska August 5-7, 2016. No, the college football season isn’t getting off to an early start, and no, help is not needed de-tasseling corn or anything like that. Leaders and aspiring leaders will come together for the Third Midwest Leadership conference. We will gather at the Regency Lodge hotel in Omaha. Room rates are $81 plus 18.61% tax per night. To make reservations, call 800-617-8310 and mention you are with the Midwest Leadership conference to get this rate. You can also make reservations on-line at http://v.ht/MLC. There will be programming of interest to leaders at all levels. From a mock election, where we’ll pick our football coach, to discussions of what a strong affiliate should have, to discussions about membership, fundraising and other things, it’ll all be there. A very special feature this year is the Young Professionals Seminar which will be held in conjunction with the Midwest conference. Young, aspiring ACB and community leaders will have the opportunity to participate in programming geared to their interests, as well as to interact and share with other conference attendees. For our Saturday night banquet on August 6, stay tuned as we have invitations out to two potentially high profile keynote speakers.

We hope to see many of you on August 5-7 in Omaha. If you have any questions, please contact Jim Jirak at jjirak@inebraska.com. Questions specifically about the Young Professionals Seminar can be directed to Sara Conrad, sjconrad88@gmail.com. Let’s all head to the home of the Cornhuskers for some fun, networking and learning in early August.  For more information, please contact Ruthie Clark at (816)974-7877 or secretary@actnowcouncil.org.


January 28, 2016

The meeting was called to order by President Denny Huff at 7:00 PM. Chip Hailey led us in prayer. Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. Members in attendance will be at the end of this report. Denny welcomed Executive Director Chris Gray, and online listeners. The agenda was approved. The Minutes for November 16, 2015 were approved with housekeeping corrections.

Presidents Report: Denny made a recommendation to the Board to appropriate money for a fundraising seminar which will be held in St. Louis in February. The class will start on February 15. The cost of the seminar is $2,500. Three people will be attending the 40-hour class; Chris Gray, Kim Vaughn, and Darrel Vickers. Sabrina Fowler moved to replenish the Resource and Development budget line item of $2,500.00. The motion was adopted. During the last convention he stated that we would be taking a look at cutting some of our expenses to have more of a balanced budget.

Executive Director's Report: Chris Gray said that additional information could be included with the chronicle on the cartridges. He sent one to Denny to check out and he thinks everyone will be pleased with the audio edition of the chronicle. He is doing support work for the audit which is ongoing. He is gearing up for the legislative day which will be held in March.

Treasurer's Report: Current balances on our accounts are $76,964.94 in checking, $2,837,747.63 at Raymond James and $1,094,516.26 at US Bank. Our total investments are $4,009,228.83.

Budget and Finance Recommendations: (Accounting and Financial Policy) Since the Thrift Store is no longer under MCB guidelines the committee asked that mentions of the Thrift Store be deleted. This was considered a motion the motion was adopted. A sentence was added to the other travel expenses section. Affiliates requesting a Board member, Chairperson or staff member, with the exception of the President, visiting their affiliate, would pay all expenses of the visiting Board member, Chairperson or staff member. This was considered a motion. The motion was adopted.  Limit the amount given to each individual attending the ACB Convention to $500. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted.  Do away with the April in-person Board meeting. This would be effective in 2017. The meeting could still be held by conference call. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted.  We will donate to the same three organizations every year; Kansas Audio Reading Services, Mind's Eye, and Power Up. Each will receive $2,000 annually. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted. 

Summer camp increases. The week long session will be increased to $85 for adults and the weekend session to $60 for 2016 and 2017. The camp fee will be raised to $100 for the week long session and $70 for the weekend session in 2018. This was considered a motion. The motion was adopted.  The Policy Committee recommended that the President approve the expenses for the Executive Director and the Executive Director approve the expenses for the President. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted.  A motion was made by the Budget and Finance Committee to forgive a debt owed by the Thrift Store to MCB of approximately $123,722. The motion was adopted. (Note: This amount comes from MCB’s audit for the year ended August 31, 2014. At the time the Board took this action in 2016, it should be noted the amount had been paid down by the thrift store to $34,166.81.) Modify Public Relations’ Guidelines by removing “in person” from the sentence, “Communicate with the President, board members and affiliates providing information by telephone, in written form, e-mail, and in person.” This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted.

Committee Chairs: President Huff presented three people for approval as committee chairs; Joe Dobbs for Special Services, Merle Long for Emergency Preparedness and Kim Vaughn for Resource and Development. Ruthie Clark moved that the three Committee Chairs be approved. The motion was adopted.

Thrift Store Report: On January 2, 2016, the thrift store had its largest sales day with total sales of $6,059.00. Sales are up and expenses are down.

Font Guidelines: The Low Vision Committee recommended that MCB use ACB standards for font which is 18-point Arial with 1-1/2 point line spacing and bolded headings. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted.

Publications Committee: Ruthie Clark recommended forming a Publications Committee. Brian Hallows moved that a publications committee be formed. After considerable discussion, the motion was defeated by a 10 to 14 vote.The Board approved the Personnel Manual and Executive Director Job Description presented by the Personnel Committee.  A motion was made to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 9:31 PM. Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan, Secretary

From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

By John Weidlich

Let’s see what’s in the drawer this time. This edition seems to be more news than product related. Two agencies have new directors, another agency has a new name, and a new notetaker may soon be on the market. And that’s just a few items. So, let’s get started.

Most of the things we feature here are things you can actually buy. This one is not quite ready for purchase, but may be very soon. If you have ever bought or thought about buying a Braille display, you know how expensive they can be. But that may be about to change. A number of blindness organizations, including the American Printing House, the Perkins School and the National Federation of the Blind, have joined together to form the Transforming Braille Project with the goal of producing an inexpensive Braille display, and they are about ready to offer the results of their efforts. The Orbit reader is a twenty-cell eight-dot Braille display and basic notetaker, using unique refreshable cell technology that is expected to cost around $500 and may be on the market later this year. It will have Bluetooth support and will use an SD card for storing input. It will weigh about a pound. It will be marketed in the US by APH. Perhaps we will be able to see it at exhibit halls in this summer’s National conventions?

No doubt many of you have used the services of the Hadley School for the Blind. If you are not familiar with Hadley, it is a correspondence school for blind students and family members with courses on just about any subject you can think of. It began operation in 1920 and is located in Winnetka, IL. But it’s not the Hadley school anymore; it’s the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The new name was chosen to better reflect the diversity of students it serves and how it has changed over the years. It was felt that the word “school” implies a building for children, while the word “institute” suggests education without space or place. The Institute serves a broad spectrum of people with vision loss, including older adults who will never become fully blind. Hadley is serving ten thousand students in one hundred countries with distance education. Their mission is to promote independent living through lifelong learning and helping students reach their full potential. The website is www.hadley.edu.

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has a new President, replacing Tuck Tinsley, who recently retired after 27 years. The new President is Craig Meador, who was Vice President of Educational Services and Product Development. He previously served as Principal of the Washington School for the Blind. I will tell you about an exciting new product from APH a little later.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) also has a new person at the top. Kirk Adams is the new President and CEO, replacing the retiring Carl Augusto. Adams was a member of the Board of Trustees. He was previously President of the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, a position he had held since 2008. AFB will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.

If you have dealt with National Braille Press, you probably have spoken with NBP Publisher Diane Croft. Diane has left NBP to operate her own publishing company, Interleaf Press. She has worked at NBP for 34 years. One of her accomplishments was the development of the popular Syndicated Columnist Weekly, which I read every week. She has been and remains a strong advocate for Braille and has won numerous awards from organizations of the blind for her efforts to promote Braille. Her replacement has not been named at the time of writing.

Now let’s go back to APH for a bit. The Printing House has developed a product that could be a very valuable tool to help blind children and adults learn more about the geography of the United States, and something that could be not only an educational tool but a lot of fun to use. It is an interactive U.S. Map with a tactile pen. It is a tactile map of the United States. The user can touch any state on the map with the Livescribe pen to hear information about the state. I think something like this was available several years ago but this one gives much more information. Each press of the pen to the state brings up a new layer of information. Information includes: state name and abbreviation, state capital, largest cities, land and water area, highest elevation, major rivers, estimated population, state symbols, famous people, points of interest, and interesting facts. I thought I had the price but I don’t, so contact APH if you are interested in finding out more about the map.

The Rite Aid Corporation has joined the growing list of nationwide pharmacies offering talking prescription devices to blind customers. The ScripTalk device from Envision America will be provided at no cost to customers who need the service. Large print prescriptions will also be available.

Speak to Me is selling a Talking non-contact digital infrared thermometer for monitoring body and room temperatures. To take your temp, you hold the thermometer a few inches from your temple and press the scan button. The result is spoken in a loud female voice and stored in memory. A fever alarm sounds if your temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees. The thermometer gives readings in Fahrenheit and Celsius with the touch of a button. The cost is $49.95. Contact Speak to Me Catalog at (800)248-9965. The web site is www.speaktomecatalog.com.

AI Squared has released ZoomText for Windows 10. To download the upgrade, enter the ZoomText help menu and click on program updates or you can download a 60-day trial from www.zoomtext.com.

Freedom Scientific has released JAWS Version 17. A new feature called Smart Navigation allows more flexible control of complex websites. Contact Freedom Scientific at (800)444-4443.

Sonar glasses are a device that can be used in connection with a white cane or dog guide to detect obstacles above waist level such as tree limbs, signs, walls or low ceilings, signaling their presence with a slight vibration. The basic kit sells for $149; an advanced kit with variable detection range cost an additional $50. They can be fitted with prescription glasses for an additional charge. The basic kit comes with either clear or dark lenses. For information, contact G-technology Group, at (571)297-4756 or go to www.g-disabilityproducts.com.

In a settlement agreement with the American Council of the Blind, Netflix has agreed to make its movies and videos accessible to blind viewers by adding audio description. Under the agreement, Netflix will provide audio description for many of its popular titles in its streaming and rental libraries. It will also include audio description with its original shows, such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. Their website and mobile apps will also be made accessible for people who use screen reading software.

“As I See It” is a podcast by Shawn Malloney that contains interviews about blindness. Fifteen episodes have been produced discussing topics related to vision loss. Shawn is currently taking a break, but more podcasts should be available soon. Topics include medical research, information about clinical trials, accessible sports, adaptive aids, and learning Braille. Shawn is a scientist who has RP. The shows can be downloaded to your victor Stream or from the website, www.asiseeitpodcast.com.

Shadows in the Dark offers Braille greeting cards and other Braille services. Cards include anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, get well, graduation, retirement, sympathy, Valentine’s Day, wedding and thank you. Braille playing cards are also available for a variety of games. The company also produces Braille business cards and invitations. For information, contact Shadows in the Dark, 22627 Mathis Road, San Antonio, TX 78264; phone (210)376-0017; email: sales@shadowsinthedark.com. Direct written correspondence should be directed to Phillip W. Myers.

Here is something I truly hope you don’t need: The Little Big Headache Book, a Fellow Sufferer’s Home Remedy Guide by Ojocion Ingram. Download it for free from www.livinganyway.com/wp/the-little-big-headache-book-2.

I leave you with a statistic I can’t even begin to comprehend. According to the Week Magazine, 481,685 emails are sent every second. No, not every day, every hour, or every minute, every second! At that rate it is likely that more than one million emails were sent during the time it took you to read this paragraph. But that’s not all. Every second, there are 7,173 tweets, 53,766 Google searches, and 120,607 YouTube video viewings. And you thought you used the Internet a lot.

See you next time.