March 2018 Chronicle

March 2018 Chronicle

President’s Message

By Denny Huff, President

Greetings,

Boy, where has the time gone?  It seems like it was only yesterday that we were announcing that the ACB 2018 convention was going to be held in St. Louis in 2018 and now that time is almost upon us.  I hope you are making plans to be a part of this convention and come at least a few days.  The MCB host committee and the ACB convention committee have been meeting on a monthly basis planning for this event.

MCB will be hosting a welcome party on Friday night, June 29 at 8:00 PM.  Entertainment will be provided by Steve Schnelle’s band, Tim Buck Tu.  The cost is $10.00 per person and includes snacks and a cash bar.  All are welcome to come and socialize with other members of ACB.

There will be several tours available including one that will be going to the Busch brewery with a photo opportunity with the Clydesdale horses.

Another event that I find very interesting is being conducted by the attorney’s special interest affiliate and that is a reenactment of the historical Dred Scott case and will actually take place in the old courthouse where the original trial was held.  I believe that is going to take place on Tuesday afternoon, July 3.

Many people have asked how they can help and although there isn’t a lot member can do, here are a couple of areas in which we always need people to work.

Volunteers!  If you are sighted or have enough vision that you can assist someone around the hotel, your help is needed.  The hotel we will be in, the Curio at Union Station, is a very large facility and navigating it is going to be a challenge for most blind people.

We need to volunteer to work at the help desk.  Again, if you are a sighted person or if you have excellent Braille skills, please consider offering your services at the help desk.

For either one of these volunteer positions, please go to, www.acbconvention.org and register as a volunteer.

I hope you will make plans to attend the 2018 ACB convention.  I think you will find it informative, interesting and enjoyable.  It would certainly be great if MCB could have 200 people registered for this event.  You can find more information about the convention by going to, www.ACBconvention.org.

As it was announced last month, MCB now has an information line that you can call and receive information about what’s going on within our organization.  We are working on adding to the selections but for now we have the MCB podcast, the Chronicle, the in-memorial from the 2017 convention, a listing of all of our affiliates in MCB and the legislative report available.  To access the information line you can call, 773-572-6387 or if you don’t have unlimited long distance you can call toll free, (844) 605-4592.  Once you enter a mailbox number you can press zero to hear the options for listening to that mailbox content.

My thanks to all that make MCB the great organization that it is.  I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you.  God bless!

 

 

Affiliates reporting

ATI Special Affiliate News

By Darrel Vickers, President

Who we are:  Adaptive Technology Inc. is a special interest affiliate of MCB.

What We Do:  We discuss, support and encourage adaptive (assistive) technology for the blind.  We host the vendor room at the MCB convention.  We have our own website with a plethora of information about technology and how to get the most out of it.

Membership:  I invite anyone with an interest in adaptive technology or who wants to know more about it to join us.  To join, visit http://ati.moblind.org and click the membership tab or contact me. Dues are $15 annually.  Since we are an affiliate, if you are a member of ATI, you are a full member of MCB.

Helpful information:  Apple computer has a tech support line for iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, etc. just for visually and hearing impaired persons.  Call 877-204-3930.

For the Microsoft disability help desk, call 800-936-5900; or on-line chat at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/disability-answer-desk.

Amazon has a disability help line at 888-283-1678.

Podcast and other information sites: 

  • Applevis, for all things Apple, https://www.applevis.com.  You can also subscribe to their podcast. 
  • Cool Blind Tech - Assistive Tech News, Reviews and Interviews, https://coolblindtech.com/

Until next time, you can call me at 636-667-3176 or email darrel@ww4b.org.

Ozark Association of the Blind

By Yvonne Schnitzler, Treasurer

The Ozark Association of the Blind held elections in November. Melvin Brown was reelected president, Joe Dobbs, vice president, Joan Meyers, secretary, and Yvonne Schnitzler, treasurer. Melvin Brown was elected as the MCB Board representative and Greg Brown was appointed to the Education and Advocacy Committee.

The OAB held its Christmas party at the Café Genevieve in Ste. Genevieve in early December. It was a pleasure to host MCB Executive Director, Chris Gray, his wife Marvelena, and President Denny Huff, along with their drivers. Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner, games, and visiting. Thanks to our guests for their words of encouragement and for taking part in a fun afternoon.

Saint Charles County Council of the Blind

By Marjorie Petrofsky

I hope everybody had a nice holiday and stayed warm during those bitter, arctic, bone chilling days in January.  During our November meeting we talked about the Christmas party and upcoming elections.  Beverly had some braille bingo cards and we spent the last half hour playing bingo, we all had a lot of fun.

Our social outing for the month was a day at the zoo.  They have special tours for people who are blind and visually impaired.  We were led around the river’s edge; our tour guide was very entertaining and funny.  He said we can only ask questions that he knows the answers to.  There were some guide dogs and we were told we could not go to some of the zoo areas because animals were not allowed, how is that for an oxymoron.

After the zoo, we ate at Pietro’s which was close by.  The food was great and the staff was very friendly and accommodating.  When we were through eating, that would have been a good time to take a long walk.  It was a fun day for all.  Mother nature helped out by giving us beautiful perfect weather.

Our Christmas party was hosted and planned by Johanna Jeremiah and Kim Reese.  It was held at Ami's, a charming restaurant on Highway K in O'Fallon.

The owner and our server got in on the spirit and fun.  We each brought a gift and played rob your neighbor. Johanna and her mother brought some homemade peanut brittle for everybody.  Also there were goody bags by some of our members that had hot cocoa mix, candy and other goodies.  We also had a cookie exchange, so we all went home with a bag of different kinds of cookies.  We all had a lot of fun, way to go.  Great job Kim and Johanna.

Our social outing for December was Christmas caroling at various nursing homes where some of our previous members now reside.  Most of the residents and staff enjoyed our visit but I couldn't help but notice that when we were singing some of the folks took their hearing aids off or turned them way down. We had dinner at Mimi’s in Chesterfield.  Again, the food was great and the staff friendly. 

Our January meeting was on the phone because in January you never know what the weather may be like.  I missed the people but it was nice to be in my pajamas with hot chocolate.  We talked about coming elections and put together a nominating committee.

Our social event in January was a pot luck soup supper at Kim’s house.  Everybody knows I don't cook but I was going to surprise everyone and bring a home-cooked meal.  I called several restaurants around me but none of them served home cooked meals so I brought drinks and dessert from Schnucks.  After dinner we had dessert and told jokes.  We had a great time; nice job Kim.

Well, till next time stay warm and remember Spring is just around the corner. 

Blind of Central Missouri

By Marilyn Harding

Since my notes were lost somewhere in outer space last time, I will include the highlights here. In August, our meeting was postponed for several days due to the pesky Fair traffic.

Our Board voted to earmark $1,400 for convention to be divided equally between those members attending. We also provided four $10 door prizes.  Some of our members attended the last camp session and had a great time.

September 16th was the United Way kickoff for the year. Our club provided a duck pond game with candy prizes. This was a big hit with the kids.

Two new members, Kim and Rodney Thomas from Sweet Springs, were added to our roster and nomination of officers was held.

Elections were held in September; Linda Gerken is our new president, Joe Morgan, Vice President and Susan Sanderson and Marilyn Harding were retained in office respectively as Treasurer and Secretary.  Ken Carter was voted in by acclimation for a one-year Board position. We started preliminary work on the upcoming Christmas dinner party.

In November, Linda Gerken and Susan Sanderson volunteered to attend the Leadership Conference in St Louis.

We finalized arrangements for the Christmas Party. We voted to give several token monetary gifts to our benefactors and to the community Santa Program.

Linda Intelmann, Brenda Gardener, Linda Gerken and her granddaughter, Courtland, have been doing a lot of PR in-person and on the radio. Two local radio stations will air short segments throughout the year about our club.

December brought us to our Christmas dinner party. Needless to say, we all had a great time with good food, good company and lots of door prizes. The dinner also served as our December meeting.

The January meeting was cancelled because of weather.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Trudy Avants who calls our members each month to remind us of the meetings. We appreciate your work and send you a big thank you.

Joplin Service Club of the Blind

By Mary Coe

Since it has been some time since we had an article in the Chronicle, I’ll try to catch you up on the activities of the Service Club.  Back in the summer, the Club went to Webb City First Baptist church to hear the “Blackwood Brothers Quartet” along with “Duke Mason” for a concert.  At one of our Tuesday lunches we had Charlie Kemp with his Ukulele here to entertain the group.

The Club decided to go to the “Stone’s Throw Theatre” in Carthage, Missouri. for dinner and the performance of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.

Before winter set in, the group decided to take in a Branson show “The Dutton’s” and then dinner at McFarland’s. It was a long day but everyone really enjoyed it!

The Association’s “Chili & Soup” Fundraiser in November was very successful. The Association’s fundraisers are held so that the Association is able to support the Joplin Service Club activities and to be able to assist those with Vision Loss through the Low Vision Center, with magnification.

Every year at Christmas time the Club loves to help others, so this year we decided to assist the “Early Childhood Education” at Joplin Schools with a gift to assist them with clothing and supplies for the students.  They have several students with Vision issues in this program.

Delta Area of the Blind

By Wanda Matlock

Hello and Happy New Year from Delta Area of the Blind!

Our affiliate members chose to not have business meetings for the months of November and December, 2017 but we did have fun. 

On November 30th we had our Christmas party at the China King Buffet in Sikeston.  We invited our friends from River City Workers of the Blind and SEMO United Blind Club.  We had a total of 28 people in attendance.  We had a great lunch and everyone received a gift.  We also played games and sang Christmas songs.  On December 6th some of our members chose to go to St. Louis to the Service Club for the Blind.  We had a great time shopping and got to visit with some of our friends that live in the St. Louis area.  We also enjoyed lunch at Pietro’s and were happy that Patti Schonlau could join us for lunch.  We would like to thank Lisa, Donna and Celita for making our shopping experience fun. 

On January 23rd we had our monthly affiliate meeting.  We had many items to discuss such as, Legislative Days, Dates for Summer Camp and the ACB and MCB Conventions.  We also decided to help with the collection of eye glasses for the Lions Club.  We think this is a great project and we are glad to help.  We hope to collect many pairs of glasses.

If anyone is interested in visiting one of the Delta Area meetings, we meet on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 10:30, at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Sikeston.

From our affiliate to yours, Happy Spring!

Committees Reporting

Member of the Month

By Yvonne Schnitzler

The Missouri Council of the Blind congratulates the following members chosen for the Member of the Month for November and December, 2017 and January 2018.

Donna Franklin was nominated by the Blind of Central Missouri for her wholehearted commitment, support, and service to the Missouri Council of the Blind, the Blind of Central Missouri (BCM), and her community. Donna is a responsible take charge person planning the BCM gatherings assuring all of an enjoyable experience.  Members wholeheartedly appreciate Donna’s famous potato salad provided at summer picnics and her baked cookies.  Donna works at the Senior Center and is the co-chair of Pettis County Democratic Central Committee. She is dedicated to her commitment to assist those in need. Much of Donna’s time is spent with her daughters and her grandchildren.

Sheryl Townsend is the Vice President of the Tower Club. Sheryl graduated from the Missouri School for the Blind and is an avid Braille reader and writer.  She is employed at the Lighthouse for the Blind and has received the employee of the year award. Sheryl is active in the outreach community, nursing homes, and MSB.  She is deeply involved with family. She is the mother of three and grandmother of five.

Loraine Brokaw is a long-time member of Pony Express Association of the Blind and serves as Treasurer. Loraine is a faithful, dedicated member and a strong supporter of affiliate projects and activities. She has been active providing transportation for members and refreshments for meetings.

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chair

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.

Missouri Council knows how life-changing, certain types of technology can be to a blind person. We are also aware the cost of this type of technology can be expensive and may be out of reach for some people.  Therefore, MCB provides the adaptive technology grant.

Each year MCB sets aside moneys for technology that blind persons of Missouri can apply for, to help offset the cost of adaptive technology.

How it works:  For MCB members, MCB will match dollar for dollar for most types of adaptive technology with a $3,000 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 $3,000 limit.

Where we stand:  We have approved twenty nine (29) grants since September first. As of this writing January 30, we have approximately $10,500.00 remaining in our 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.  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, Nancy Lynn and Donna Giger.  If you have any questions about the program please contact me at (636) 667-3176 or by email at darrel@ww4b.org.

Convention Committee

By Jesuita Tabor

Meet me in Saint Louis on June 29, 2018 at St. Louis Curio Hotel at Union Station. MCB will be hosting a party on Friday night featuring TimBuckTu Band. Please call the hotel at 314-231-1234 to make your reservations for ACB Convention.  The ACB Convention will be held June 29 through July 5, 2018.  Remember we will also be in Jefferson City from October 4 through 9 at Capital Plaza Hotel for the MCB Convention. Lucky you, you have the opportunity to attend two great Conventions this year.

Summer Camp

By Beverly Kaskadden

During some of our bitterly cold days this winter, I have thoughts of the warmth we experience at Cobblestone.  We can look forward to another year at our favorite retreat thanks to Missouri Council of the Blind’s Summer Camp program.

If you have never attended camp, you will be assigned a cabin and a table in the dining room.  Cabin assignments are based on availability.  A heated swimming pool and hot tub are available with life guard.  Activities are scheduled every day.  You may join in or elect to relax.  The activities are too many for me to mention, but believe me, even a totally blind individual can participate in everything!  The dates for this year are, June 3, July 29, and September 6.  The deadline dates for applications are May 1st for the June and July camp, and August 1st for the September extended weekend.  Please get your applications in as soon as you can so the Camp committee can assign cabins and tables.  I have never asked on the applications to note if you will be bringing a guide dog, but I have found it to be helpful if I had that information.  It does make a difference in cabin and table placements.

Here is my news flash:  A dear MCB member who loved coming to camp, left funds in her will to go to deserving individuals to attend camp.  Otella Robson enjoyed camp so very much and wanted to make it available for someone who needed financial assistance. 

Guidelines have been adopted by the MCB Board with applications.  They will be mailed to the affiliate Presidents, and are available through the MCB office as well as on line.  This grant is for members only. 

If you have any questions on the grant or camp, please give me a call.  If I do not answer, please leave a message with a phone number and I will return your call promptly.  Thank you so very much.  I can be reached by phone at 636-561-6947 or by email at bkaskadden@centurytel.net.

Alphapointe’s Adventure Camp

Alphapointe’s Adventure Camp, designed specifically for kids with visual impairments is expanding and we can’t wait until summer is here. During Adventure Camp, children and youth are introduced to a variety of traditional outdoor camp experiences.  All activities are centered and build off the Expanded Core Curriculum used in most schools. Campers are taught outdoor and recreational skills to complement their knowledge of the natural world. Campers will experience creative arts, archery, hiking, swimming, horseback rides, a high ropes course, zip-ling and much more. This year, camp will be bigger than ever before. Alphapointe is happy to introduce a residency camp for youth ages 11-18. During this overnight camp, youth, ages 14+ can take part in a complementary C.I.T. Program (Counselors in Training). This program focuses on leadership and mentoring skills that will be used and demonstrated with younger campers (6-10) the following week. Campers discover newfound confidence and strength in themselves through new experiences this camp offers. They learn to trust in themselves, and each other, while they work together to explore, problem-solve, and achieve common goals. An empowering experience for all!

In addition to the two Adventure Camps, Alphapointe also provides a Technology Camp. This is a week-long day camp experience for middle and high school students who are visually impaired. Campers will train with Jaws or ZoomText software depending on the campers’ visual needs. Campers will also learn to utilize various technologies that impact academic development, advance their internet navigation skills, develop social networking knowledge, and establish internet safety and security awareness. All campers will work with a laptop during training with a Microsoft operating system. In addition to hands-on technology skills, campers will have an opportunity to meet and work with a variety of mentors who are visually impaired and successfully utilized technology in their chosen careers as professionals with vision loss. Campers will receive their laptops to take home after the five days of training.

For more information on camps please contact jmclaughlin@alphapointe.org. If you would like to volunteer for these camps please contact sbrown@alphapointe.org

Board Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2017

President Huff opened the meeting by conference call at 7:00 p.m.  Sabrina Fowler led the group in a word of prayer.

Secretary Noriega called the roll. All officers and directors were present. Representatives of the affiliates who failed to attend included those for:

Act Now! Council of the Blind,

Pony Express Association of the Blind

Route 66 Council of the Blind

Springfield Service Club of the Blind

President Huff welcomed executive director Chris Gray. There were no online guests as details had not yet been put in place to get that organized as yet.

Director Vickers requested the addition of the topic of AIRA to the agenda.  Morris moved the adoption of the agenda as proposed with this addition and the motion passed by voice vote.  Sabrina Fowler moved the approval of the October 5th board minutes as corrected.

Treasurer Vaughn presented the updated budget for 2017-2018 explaining the changes required when the fiscal year dates were voted by the membership at the convention. This year’s budget had to be adjusted to cover a fourteen month year when the fiscal year date was moved from September 1st to November 1st. In addition, $500.00 was added to cover the expenses of the emergency Preparedness Committee. The budget was approved as amended.

President Huff presented the request from the Internet Committee for a name change. They wanted to change the name of the Internet Committee to the Multimedia Committee and this was approved by voice vote. Chip Hailey moved acceptance of the guidelines for this newly renamed committee and this passed.

Director Vickers stated that the cost of AIRA was open to adjustment and asked permission to negotiate with the company for a reduced rate for MCB members. Director Soule moved that permission to negotiate on behalf of MCB be granted to Director Vickers and the motion carried.

Sabrina moved the board move into closed session to discuss employee matters.

The board voted to give office staff the same amount as last year for Christmas bonuses. President Huff proposed members should start thinking of activities they could hold in 2020 which he thought we should designate as the year of vision.

There was some questioning about the upcoming leadership conference. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30.

Respectfully submitted by Recording Secretary, DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

by John Weidlich

Only a few items this time but I will share what I have. If you have anything that you would like to have included in the column, maybe a new device you have purchased or a service you have tried that you think might be beneficial to other readers, please share them with me. My phone number is (314) 752-3031 and my email is jdweidlich@charter.net.

I have come across announcements for two new color identifiers. I haven't seen either one of them and I don't know why there is such a big difference in price, but here they are:

The first one is the Rainbow Color Reader Color Identification Device. It is about two inches long and an inch wide and has just one button. Hold the lens firmly against an object and press the button to find out the object's color. It identifies up to 40 colors and speaks them in a clear female voice.  It has adjustable volume and can be attached to a key ring or backpack.  It costs $95 and is available from the Adaptations Store, San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind, (415) 694-7301.

The other one is called Colorino. It identifies up to 100 colors, speaks in a female voice and weighs three ounces.  It has two buttons. Press one to hear the color or the second button to determine how much light is in a room. It sells for $175 from Blind Mice mart, (713) 893-7277.

Here is something that should make it easier to weigh heavy bags before going to the airport to make sure they are within the allowable weight limits.

Speak to me offers a talking portable luggage scale that does not require lifting the bags onto the scale. You place the handheld device on top of your suitcase and the weight will be announced in pounds or kilograms. The scale costs $30. Visit the Speak to me catalog website or call (800) 248-9965.

As reported in the Week Magazine, a new smart wristband is being developed to give the visually impaired information about their environment while traveling.

The sonar wristband uses echolocation to notify the wearer about nearby objects. The device will emit a high frequency sound wave that bounces off objects as much as 14 feet away and then registers the object's location with a gentle pulsing vibration on the wearer's wrist. The closer the object is, the more frequent the vibrations become. No word in the article about who the developer is, when this device might be marketed or what it will cost.

HumanWare has developed a new product that combines the features of the Victor Reader Stream and the Trekker GPS unit into one device. I will be getting one shortly so I should be able to tell you more about it in the next column.

If you have an iPhone, you have probably upgraded your phone to the new IOS 11 operating system. If you still haven't figured out all of the new features and changes, National Braille Press has just released IOS 11 Without the Eye by Jonathan Mosen. Jonathan puts these books out every time there is an IOS upgrade and they are very detailed and helpful, listing new apps and improvements to existing ones. It is available in Braille or electronic formats and I believe the price is $22. To order visit www.nbp.org  or call (800) 548-7323.

Kmart is offering home delivery for their products. For more information, or to order, visit www.kmart.com or call (800) 732-7747.

Walgreens Mail Service works with your insurance plan to offer free delivery of prescriptions through the mail. Prescriptions can be ordered online by mail or by phone. For more information, visit www.walgreens.com or call (800) 345-1985.

Walmart, CVS and Rite-Aid Pharmacies also offer prescription delivery to qualified customers. Here are the websites and phone numbers:

  • Walmart, www.walmart.com, (800) 273-3455;
  • CVS, www.cvs.com, (800) 746-7287;
  • Rite-Aid, www.riteaid.com, (800) 748-3243.

Here is some potentially exciting news for those of you with RP. Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered a way to revitalize cone receptors that have deteriorated as a result of RP.  In animal studies, researchers have found that replenishing the supply of glucose under the retina and transplanting healthy rod stem cells into the retina can restore function of the cones. Research has shown that as the rods deteriorate, the cones are no longer able to access glucose, with the result that the cones go dormant and eventually die. If the glucose supply can be replenished before they die, the cones can be regenerated. This research has the potential to lead to therapies for preserving or recovering central vision in patients with RP.

Wolfner Library has a catalog listing several hundred movies on DVD with audio description and more are being added as new movies are released. The movies are listed alphabetically giving the title, the genre, a brief plot description,  the main stars, the year the movie was release, the rating, and an order number. To get a copy, contact the Library.

That's it for this time. See you in June.