March 2016 Chronicle

March 2016 Chronicle

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

By Denny Huff

Greetings to All,

       I hope this edition of the Missouri Chronicle finds all of you doing well and looking forward to the beginning of spring. So far, the weather hasn’t been all that bad for Missouri but no matter, spring is always a welcome time.

       There are several items I want to share with you in this edition, so let me get right into it.

       First of all, we finally did it! The Missouri Chronicle in DAISY format! This has been a project in the works for the past few years and thanks to Mind’s Eye Radio and many others, it is now a reality. Your reader, Allan Newsham, is a member of the St. Charles County Council of the Blind, as well as a volunteer reader for Mind’s Eye Radio. Allan was even a Member of the Month in 2014 and the reading of the Chronicle is only one of the many reasons he was chosen for that honor.

       If you have any comments or suggestions for the Chronicle in DAISY format, please don’t hesitate to let me know. MCB always strives to serve its members in our communication with you, and the Chronicle has always been one avenue we use. Also, if you enjoy having the Chronicle in this format, be sure to let us and Mind’s Eye Radio know.

       Speaking of communications, we have begun recording a monthly podcast as another way of letting you know about news and information concerning MCB. A podcast is an MP3 file that can be downloaded onto your computer, MP3 players such as the Victor Stream and also to your Apple or Android device. So far we have produced two such podcasts that have included Chris Gray talking about blind pension and other news, Jeff La Montia talking about the MCB thrift store, and Beverly Kaskadden telling us about the ever popular summer camp. I have Yvonne Schnitzler, our member of the month chair and historian, Marjorie Williams, executive director of Mind’s Eye Radio, Darrel Vickers, adaptive technology chair, John Thompson of the St. Louis Lighthouse and some others ready to publish on our next podcast. I plan on featuring most all of our committee chairs talking about their committees and what they offer to MCB members in future podcasts.

For those of you that have a computer you can go to, http://moblind.podhoster.com to find all of the podcasts that have been recorded thus far. If you would like to know how to subscribe to these podcasts so that you will be updated when a new podcast is recorded, please contact me and I will help you accomplish that.

       During our last convention in October, I asked the membership if they would like to see a more balanced budget and most everybody answered with an enthusiastic, yes! I then added that in order to begin to try and balance our budget it would take some sacrifices from everyone. In January the budget and finance committee brought several recommendations to the Board. Below are some of the recommendations that were approved along with a synopsis of the Board proceedings from the teleconference call held on Thursday, January 28th.

In my President’s report, I asked the Board to appropriate money for a fund raising seminar to be held in February in St. Louis. The cost for the 40-hour class was $2,500.00 for three people to attend. Those people were Chris Gray, Kim Vaughn and Darrel Vickers. The Board voted to approve this.

       We asked our accountant, Jerry Nickels, to take a look at our expenses and give us some suggestions on reducing our budget spending. The Budget and Finance Committee met with Jerry and went over some of his recommendations. We presented some of those proposals to the Board and here is the outcome.

The ACB grant will remain at $20,000.00 but individuals will be limited to receiving $500.00 each. The past two years there were only 20 people attending the ACB convention, and each person received $1,000.00. If only 20 people attend the ACB convention this year that would mean a savings of $10,000.00 for MCB.

The committee also asked the Board to increase the rate attendees would pay for summer camp. They had asked for a $25.00 across the board increase, but that was modified to a $10.00 increase covering the next two years and a $15.00 increase in 2018. The rate for those attending summer camp will begin this year and are as follows.

  • Adults will be $85.00 for the week long camp for 2016 and 2017.
  • Children under the age of 18 will be $70.00 for both of those years.
  • The weekend camp will be $60.00 for 2016 and 2017.
  • The week long camp will be $100.00 for adults and $85.00 for children under 18 in 2018.
  • The extended weekend camp will be $75.00 in 2018.

The committee has recommended that we do away with the in-person Board meetings in April. The committee felt that this was unnecessary at this time and the Board agreed. Our by-laws do state that the Board must meet two times apart from the pre-convention meeting in October, but it does not state that these meetings should be an in-person meeting as opposed to teleconference calls. It is estimated that this will save MCB approximately $9,000.00 annually. The 2016 April board meeting is under contract, so this will begin in 2017.

The budget and finance committee also recommended that an affiliate requesting a visit from a staff member, committee chair, or Board member, with the exception of the president be responsible for the expense of that visit. The Board voted to approve this.

The Board approved the recommendation from the committee that we eliminate all donations with the exception of the following three organizations.

  • Power-Up, (Missouri Assistive Technology).
  • Mind's Eye Radio
  • Kansas Audio Reading Service.

Each one of these organizations will have a line item in the budget of $2,000.00 each. This will be a savings of $4,000.00 each year.

As an addition to the accounting and financial policy, the Board added one sentence which says, the Executive Director shall approve the President’s expenses and the President shall approve the Executive Director's expenses. This was done for the purpose of creating checks and balances, and for create transparency.

       In other business conducted, the Board approved three new chair people.

  • Resource and Development - Kim Vaughn
  • Emergency Preparedness - Merle Long
  • Special Services - Joe Dobbs.

The board also approved a recommendation from the Low Vision Committee, chaired by Jeff La Montia, to adopt the font policy used by the American Council of the Blind. Basically it says that we use Arial, 18 point as the font and use 1.5-line spacing. Only the headings will be bold. Of course, should an individual need a font different from this, they can always request it from the office.

       A modification was made to the public relations guidelines that when working with an affiliate, this should be done via postal mail, email or teleconference call.

       A proposal was made to the Board from Act Now! Council to create a Publications Committee. After a presentation by Ruthie Clark and much discussion, the motion was defeated.

       In closed session, the Board approved the new personnel manual and a new job description for the Executive Director. Both of these documents are available from the office upon request.

       Adhering to our mission has always been one of my priorities as your President, and I certainly couldn’t accomplish this without the help of many people in our organization. I always try to give credit where credit is due, and acknowledge those individuals that contribute to the success of MCB. We have several programs that benefit not only MCB members, but all legally blind residents of Missouri. One of these programs is the Adaptive Technology Grant currently being chaired by Darrel Vickers and previously by our treasurer, Robert Vaughn. I wanted to share with you a letter I received from a Sister in a convent that was able to take advantage of this program. I’ll leave her name out for privacy sake.

Hello Denny,

December 14, 2015

There are few pleasures I enjoy more than writing a thank you letter to someone; today that someone is YOU.

This past week I received a check from the MISSOURI COUNCIL OF THE BLIND in the amount of $1,397.50 toward the purchase of the Sara-CE Scanning and Reading Appliance Machine. This leaves our payment to $587.50 plus shipping. With four of us here in need of the machine that brings the cost down to about $125.00 each — very reasonable.

This certainly could not have happened without your service and encouragement: the trip from St. Claire to demonstrate the machine, the many phone calls I made to you, and your encouragement at every turn. I, along with about five of our Sisters suffering a decline in vision, are indebted to you for your gracious generosity of time, approaches, etc.

Your response to our need reflects the response of everyone I needed to contact in the purchase. Every individual was gracious, eager to help, anxious to see us benefit in every way, and almost pleading to be of service to me. This is not the usual reply. All personnel were most anxious to be of service, almost pleading to meet our needs.

May 2016 be an especially good year for you and your loved ones.

Sincerely, Sister ***.

       This is only one example that makes me proud to be a part of MCB. These ladies’ vision has deteriorated to the extent that they weren’t able to read their mail, favorite magazines and other printed material. With the help of the Adaptive Technology Grant, assistance from the office in getting their application in, the support of the Adaptive Technology Committee, NanoPac and many others involved, they now can live a more independent life. Isn’t that what we are all about?

       My thanks to Kim Vaughn for agreeing to chair the Resource and Development Committee. Kim has some experience in fundraising, but not to the great extent as MCB needs at this time. I think that you will agree that we shouldn’t give someone a job to do without providing the necessary tools to do that job. That is why I have asked Kim, along with Chris Gray and Darrel Vickers to attend a week-long seminar in St. Louis that teaches them how to do fundraising. This is a 40-hour class that will hopefully show how to do fundraising for a non-profit organization such as ours. The budget cuts mentioned above will hopefully be reinstated with the success of these individuals using what they learn in this class. They won’t be able to do it alone, so if you are willing to assist them in some of the projects they develop, please let us know.

       I also want to thank Merle Long, a member of Allied Workers for agreeing to chair the Emergency Preparedness Committee. With the ever present threat of terrorist activity across our country, some members were concerned on what they should do if ever in that unthinkable position. Of course, we never know when a terrorist might strike, so Merle is putting together some very valuable information that will benefit all of us. Of course, I certainly hope that none of us will ever need to put this information into action, but we never know.

Most likely by now I have featured Merle on one of our podcasts talking about this subject and you have learned something from it. We are also going to make this material available to you in various formats, not only for the blind and visually impaired, but also to other disability organizations, showing them what they can do to protect themselves should they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation. Thanks Merle for all of the work you are putting into this.

       As others will mention in this edition of the Chronicle, conference calls are a way of conducting meetings without the need of traveling to various locations. I have set up conference lines for several committees and affiliates and would like to extend an invitation to your affiliate or committee to do the same. A conference line is easy to use, and apart from it being a toll call it will cost you nothing. The Act Now! Council and the St. Charles County Council have both utilized a conference line to hold their monthly meetings. This saves on transportation cost, and when we have inclement weather it avoids your members from venturing out on the dangerous roads. If you would like to have a conference line set up for your committee or affiliate, please let me know.

       My condolences go out to the Rita Galbraith, Margie Whiteman and the Hank Pearce families. Rita was a member of the Friendship Council in Joplin. Margie, a member of UWB and Hank, a member of Act Now! Council in Kansas City. All were strong members of MCB and will be sadly missed.

       Chris and I met via teleconference call with the MO HealthNet Partnership Committee on January 29 and gleaned some useful information. We learned that the ability to receive updated information concerning Blind Pension through email or text messages will be coming soon. As soon as this is implemented, we will let you know.

       Don’t forget that if you have any questions about your Blind Pension, you can call (866)877-8155. This number has been established to handle only Blind Pension questions.

       Lastly, I want you to know that it was necessary for me to change my phone number. This number replaces the number that ended with 1383. The new number is (636)428-1500. My toll free number, 855-832-7172 remains the same. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

       That wraps it up for my report for this edition of the Chronicle. Until next time, I wish for you, safety, independence, and God’s speed.

 

THE CHRONICLE GOES DAISY

By Christopher Gray

The advent of the NLS digital player and the cartridges that go with it was a transformative moment in the history of the talking book.  To be able to navigate a book via headings and subheadings revolutionized reading for students, professionals and for the general reader as well. 

Beginning with this Spring edition of the Missouri Chronicle, the magazine is being distributed on cartridge using Daisy formatting just like that used for books & magazines from NLS.  With your NLS player, you can set your headings to level 1 and move article by article through the magazine.  For articles with subdivisions such as Affiliate News, set the player to the Heading 2 level and move from affiliate to affiliate.  Where applicable the heading subheading structure is used throughout the Chronicle.  Committee, Board and affiliate listings are indexed in just the same way. 

And, it gets even better!  In each issue of the Chronicle, additional audio material is included when available.  In this issue, you can hear Denny's most recent podcasts for example.  Just press and hold the Play/Stop key down for a couple of seconds and you will be taken to the bookshelf.  Then, you can navigate through each element on the bookshelf.

Denny, James and I are truly excited to bring this new technology to the membership of MCB.  We hope it adds to your enjoyment of reading the Chronicle and that it helps you find the information you need more easily than might have been the case in the past.  If you need help getting started to use the Daisy capabilities of the Chronicle cartridge, don't hesitate to contact me at the MCB office.

 

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO TOWN?

By Christopher Gray

In the early years of the American Council of the Blind, St. Louis and Missouri were focal points for the national organization.  Though MCB was not yet a member of ACB, many sympathized with the philosophy and work of the organization and were ACB members-at-large.  Also, with St. Louis being a central point in the country, many ACB Board meetings were held there.  In fact, my first meeting as a Member of the ACB Board was held in St. Louis in December of 1978 at Stan Musial and Biggie's Motor inn.  It was 8 dg F the evening I arrived.  You can bet that got my attention as the coldest day I had ever experienced.

In 1981, ACB held its annual conference and convention in St. Louis.  Perhaps most notable during that convention was the formation of the Braille Revival League.

And now, after a long hiatus, the American Council of the Blind is coming back to St. Louis for its 2018 conference and convention.  Though over two years away, Denny and I wanted you to be aware this is happening and we hope you are as excited about it as we are.  We have worked behind the scenes to facilitate this, but most of the credit goes to ACB's convention coordinator, Janet Dickelman.  She and the staff at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a Doubletree by Hilton, have worked for months to create an opportunity for ACB members and friends to gather here and enjoy all that Missouri has to offer!  The hotel is located at 1820 Market St. in downtown St. Louis.  You may also be interested to know that the company who owns this hotel, Lodging Hospitality Management, also owns the Sheraton Westport Chalet where we will have had two MCB conventions before the ACB convention comes to town.  This means that key people in the company are familiar with conventions of blind people and considerations for holding them.

As I said, Denny and I are extremely excited to share this news with you.  There will be much to do nearer convention time, and you may find yourself called upon to help with this event.  However, nothing will really start to happen until after ACB meets in Reno, NV in July of 2017.  At that time, you will be hearing much more both in the Chronicle, the MCB podcast and doubtless in many other ways.

 

 

AFFILIATE NEWS

 

Northern Lights Council of the Blind

By Steve Schnelle, President

Hello and happy spring to you. As you read this, Northern Lights is hard at work implementing fundraisers to further our cause and help our members attend the state convention. Many of our members are new to MCB and are interested in experiencing the convention and everything that goes on there. At our Christmas party, we not only had a great time with Christmas breakfast and singing Christmas carols, but raised $90 with raffles. A few of our members joined our community by attending a Christmas event in Ferguson with activities for the kids, caricature drawings and free carriage rides. This spring we will be participating in a local fair called Florissant Valley of Flowers. As I write this, the members have not decided between an informational booth or a sales booth. Our decision will be made at our next meeting on the 6th of February. It’s amazing how fast our little affiliate is growing. At each meeting we grow by one or two members. I am so blessed to have so many movers and shakers in our Council and everyone is excited to get fundraising under way. There are many ideas being tossed around that I have never heard of. The February meeting will begin our speaker series. Because we have quite a lot of younger members, we have invited a representative from DASA, Disabled Athletes Sports Association, to let us know what is out there as far as sports available to blind and visually impaired folks. Hopefully, in the next chronicle installment I will be able to update you on activities and not just plans for Northern Lights Council. Until then, stay safe and stay well.

 

Delta Area News

Hello to everyone from Delta Area. We have been working on updating our bylaws for several months, and now I am happy to say that we have completed that task. As of December 22, 2015 we have a new junior member. Her name is Rilee Matlock, she is 12 years old and is in the 7th grade. Some of you might remember Rilee from Camp Cobblestone. We also had a potential new member visit our affiliate at our January 26th meeting. His name is Jimmy Reed and he lives in New Madrid, Mo. We will certainly be encouraging him to join our affiliate. On March 10, 2016 Jim Taul and LaWana Copeland will be traveling to Jefferson City, Missouri to attend Legislative Day at the Missouri Capitol Building. We hope the legislators will be receptive and join in our concerns for all people with disabilities. On April 22 and 23, 2016, Wanda Matlock, along with Steve and Judy Bryant will be traveling to St. Louis for MCB Board training and the MCB Board Meeting.

 

News from the St. Charles County Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

By Beverly Kaskadden, President

First of all, SCCCB would like to congratulate MCB for making the Chronicle available in DAISY format. We know that this has been a work in progress for the past few years and are excited about its completion. SCCCB is proud to have the reader of the Chronicle as one of its members. We would like to thank Allan Newsham and also Mind's Eye for its role in making the Chronicle in this format possible.

       It has been a busy past few months for SCCCB. We were happy to have three social events since we last reported in the Chronicle. First, we were all invited to Steve Baker's home for food, games and fellowship in November. In December, we met at JJ's restaurant in O'Fallon for a Christmas party with games, gifts and fellowship. Then a few weeks later, we repeated the same with a Christmas party at one of our new members’ homes, Brianne Disney.

       Not knowing what the weather would be like in January, our affiliate held its monthly meeting via teleconference. This was our first time to try this, and it all went very smoothly. Not only did it keep our members safe from needing to get out in inclement weather, but also saved us a few dollars in transportation costs.

       In February, several of our members were able to attend a trivia night benefit for Patty Mitchell. For those of you who don't know, Patty has been hospitalized for the past year and her family brought her home to take care of her. Patty is on a ventilator and needs 24-hour care. The trivia night was a huge success! Not only did everyone that attended have a great time, but almost $40,000 was raised to help offset the cost of keeping Patty at home.

       SCCCB is now planning an outreach program to the St. Charles County area in April. We are planning on having various organizations that serve the blind and visually impaired to join together and provide information about the services they offer. Although details are not final at the time of this writing, we plan on meeting at the Spencer Library in St. Peters, MO on Tuesday, April 26 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

       We are also excited about the Power-Up seminar being held in St. Charles on April 18 and 19. Of course, both MCB and SCCCB will have a booth there to hand out information about our organizations. If you have never attended a Power-Up seminar we encourage you to come and learn about new technology in all fields of disabilities.

       We do ask you to keep one of our members in your prayers and that is Veva Wolbrecht. Veva suffered a stroke that has affected her memory and is being cared for by her daughter and son-in-law in their home.

       Our condolences go out to both the Rita Galbraith and Hank Pearce families. We will miss both of them.

       That's all of the information we can share for this edition of the Chronicle. We hope that you have a great spring and we'll see you in June.

 

OAB News

By Yvonne Schnitzler

Members of OAB were sorry to learn of the death of Hank Pearce. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Susan and his family. The MCB will miss Hank.

On a happy note, we thank Executive Director Chris Gray and his wife Marvelena and their driver, along with President Denny Huff and his daughter Sara for attending and taking part in our Christmas party dinner and festivities. It was held at the Audubon Restaurant, the old hotel Ste. Genevieve. It was a terrible rainy day and we are happy they were able to attend.

We are in the process of revising our bylaws, which is long overdue. Also, our goal is to work on gaining new members.

 

Act Now! Council of the Blind News

By Paul Mimms, President

Greetings, MCB Friends.  As we continue our efforts to grow as an affiliate, we are proud of our accomplishments during our co-hosting of the 2015 MCB convention in Kansas City. In particular, we received many positive comments on the gift bags we produced for the convention. Since the convention, we have been busy with carrying out fundraising projects and planning future projects.

On December 12 we had our Holiday party, which was attended by approximately 20 of our members and friends, including MCB’s Public Relations Chair, Wilma Chestnut-House. At that time, we presented an award of recognition to a supporter in our efforts, Steven Clark.

As we move forward into 2016, our goal is to build on what we have accomplished, and to go beyond by applying for and obtaining 501(c)(3) status for our affiliate. We have also made some changes to our constitution and bylaws that reflect our desire to be an affiliate accessible to those not just in KC, but to those without an affiliate home elsewhere in the state. If you are a member at-large and interested in joining an affiliate that has most of its meetings via conference call, please visit our website at www.actnowcouncil.org or call us at (816)663-9228.

I would also like to let everyone know about an ongoing fundraiser. One of our members makes fleece covered dog beds, as well as fleece blankets and couch throws. A portion of all sales go back to Act Now! If you are interested, feel free to contact her by email at ruthiestyle@gmail.com or by calling (816)663-9292.  Finally, we are very active on social media. We share many informative articles relating to blindness. Below is how to find us on social media.

Twitter: @ActNowCouncil

Facebook: www.facebook.com/actnowcouncil/

Google Plus: www.plus.google.com/+ActnowcouncilOrgkc/

 

Blind of Central Missouri

By Joe Morgan, President

Hello from Sedalia.

I hope everyone is doing well this winter. At least we don't have it as bad as folks in the eastern US. Now let's catch up on what's going on in our club. We had our annual Christmas party on December 6, 2015. Our special guests were Chris Gray and Wilma Chestnut-House and her guests. Wils and United Way of Petis County also had guests. It was well attended and Country Bumpkin Catering did a great job on the food.

In February, we will be talking about having a pizza party for the March meeting. That's all for this report. Until next time keep smiling!

 

SEMO United Blind

By Doris Carpenter

Hello from SEMO United Blind in Poplar Bluff. We have had a good year in 2015. We have added 6 new members. Our white cane walk in October was well attended and a great success. We had our Christmas party and the drawing for our fundraiser quilt on December 5th. We are pleased to report the quilt was won by Celita White. Congratulations Celita, and thanks to all who bought tickets for the quilt. Happy New Year to everyone.

 

Joplin Service Club of the Blind

By Mary Coe

Happy New Year to all,

In December of 2015, we welcomed Allen McCoy as a new member. Then in January we welcomed three more new members, Georgia Taylor and Van & Elfreida Greenwood.

The Club had once again decided to adopt a family for Christmas, so we invited them to come to our Christmas luncheon, hosted by the Joplin Association for the Blind. At this luncheon the single mom and her daughter, (who is blind), joined us, at which time we presented them with the gift!

Our support groups still meet on a monthly basis, sharing different topics of discussion each time.

Until next time, remember, "tomorrow is never promised, so love and appreciate the people who are in your life." –livelifehappy

 

 

Agape Council of the Blind

By Wilma Chestnut-House

Hello MCB family,

I am happy to say that our member Murlee Kelly is finally back in her house after the fire on July 2, 2015. She moved back in late December. She is still working on putting things together, but she is home.

Our November member of the month, Bessie Reece, is finally out of the hospital and rehab center. She is still recuperating but she is on the mend.

Our beep ball team, “The StL Firing Squad” and Agape Council will be starting a sports camp for visually impaired children from July 31 thru August 5, 2016. It is called “Camp Abilities-St. Louis”. We are #20 for the organization. Our campers must be between the ages of 10 and 16. I know that a lot of you know some of our directors, such as Tom Culliton, William Hawkins, and Geoffery Barney (superintendent of MSB). We are all so excited about this venture. Here is a little bit about us:

Camp Abilities-St. Louis 2016

The purpose of this camp is to empower children with visual impairments to participate in sports to the very best of their ability. This will help them to advocate for themselves and engage in the community to the maximum extent possible. Children with visual impairments should be included in sports and physical activities throughout their lifetime. It is very important that they receive the same opportunities as their peers and be successful.

A camp setting is able to offer children the instruction and tools to learn how to become active members of their schools and communities and provide developmental support for children who are visually impaired.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to Camp Abilities St. Louis, make checks payable to: USABA Missouri Chapter Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. You may mail donations to USABA Missouri Chapter Inc., 6714 Scanlan Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63139.  To facilitate your child's participation in our camp, please call and get a registration form. Complete and remit all accompanying documents and credentials as soon as possible. Due to the limited number of spaces available, only the first 20 applicants to submit their completed registration forms will be accepted.

I am most certainly excited to pass this challenging and unique opportunity onto your child so that they may feel as free and empowered as I do. It is a major goal of Camp Abilities to allow each and every visually impaired child who attends the camp to experience and enjoy the meaning of true independence through sports.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your child's participation in this exciting endeavor, please feel free to contact me by phone at (314)873-9022 or e-mail at wilmachouse@gmail.com.

 

Tiger Council for the Blind

Tigers are on the prowl to track down new members. We have lots of ideas but need more paws in the mix to get them accomplished. Christmas festivities were fun, despite a small turnout. We are working to get our tax free status issues resolved and looking forward to a prosperous New Year. Look for us to come roaring back in 2016!

 

Tower Club of the Blind

Get on board and enjoy the sights of St. Louis. Join us on a fun tour leaving the hotel on Thursday October 6, 2016 4 PM returning at 6 PM. This is a 90-minute riding tour, no walking, and is descriptive. The cost is $25.

Get ready for an exciting evening at the banquet on Saturday. There will be a silent auction at the banquet. More information will be sent to each affiliate.

Looking forward to seeing you in the LOU.

 

Adaptive Technology

By Darrel Vickers

Hi Everyone. I am writing this in January, but I hope spring will have sprung by the time you read it. I really do not have any news about our affiliate. I am sending out feelers to some new vendors to try and have them at the MCB convention. I really could use some input from the ATI members as to what we would like and/or what you would like ATI to do. I can’t or won’t do everything myself. I am getting busier with MCB business as well as trying to keep up with my own stuff. I’m just saying!

CES 2016:  Some interesting things from the Consumer Electronics Show 2016.

Samsung Accessible TVs:

“Samsung Electronics’ New Smart TV Won CES Best of Innovation Award for Accessibility.

Voice Guidance: A More Convenient User Experience: Samsung’s Voice Guidance feature makes a range of TV functions easier to use, including setup, web browsing and other steps typically only shown on screen. Using their normal conversational voice, people can easily interact with the TV, for example to record upcoming programs and manage various Smart TV applications, as well as to request information such as show times and program titles.

Amplify and Clear Voice: Improving Sound Clarity: The Amplify function of Samsung Smart TV can enhance high-frequency sounds to further improve sound clarity. Another Clear Voice function makes spoken dialogue easier to hear by adjusting frequency of the voices in the TV.

New Graphical User Interface: Enhanced Readability: New Smart TV’s graphical user interface offers better overall on-screen readability with twice the contrast of previous models.

Good Design is Accessible Design: Samsung’s drive to constantly develop its TV technology with advanced yet intuitive functionality and new accessibility features, helps provide an improved TV viewing experience for all consumers. Voice Guidance, Amplify and Clear Voice functions are also designed to be simple and easy for everyone to use.”

It is my understanding that all Samsung’s televisions will have these features later this year, not just the high end models. Now, if we can get cable boxes just as accessible, we will have made great progress.

Jabra Shows Off 3D Audio with Intelligent Headset Initiative By ©CRAIG LLOYD

Jabra has become a big name in audio over the last few years, but they’re taking things to a new level with 3D audio. Jabra’s Intelligent Headset uses a handful of integrated sensors that can detect your location and head movement, and when paired with the accompanying app, the headphones can get data from the app and your phone to figure out exactly what you’re looking at and your location. With a partnership with Microsoft, Jabra is figuring out ways to enhance the experience for visually-impaired users called Cities Unlocked, where users can use 3D audio to get a better sense of their surroundings when they can’t adequately see. Essentially, the project gives the visually impaired “eyes” with 3D audio that allows these types of people to be more independent out in the world. For example, someone can use an Intelligent Headset to get specific information based on where they’re at, thanks to an integrated GPS chip inside of the headphones. So, if someone is near a subway station, they can get audio cues about which subway station it is, or they could even get audible walking directions if they need to get somewhere. Currently, Jabra’s Intelligent Headset is only available in a “Developer Edition” for $420, as Jabra really wants to learn how and what its technology could be used for, so it’s certainly in its early stages, but its partnership with Microsoft looks like it’s been a good start so far.

Human-carrying drone debuts at CES (Ok, I know this may not fall strictly under our definition of adaptive technology, but I just had to include it.)  Human sized drone was presented at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the CES gadget show, Chinese drone-maker Ehang has developed the 184, a prototype of the first autonomous drone that will fly humans. The helicopter-like flying machine seats one, and after the flier enters the destination, it will require just two button presses from the rider: take off and land. That's all it takes to pilot the thing. The 184 (one passenger, eight propellers, four arms), isn't ready to fly just yet. There are all kinds of government clearances that it will have to obtain before you can fly by drone to work. But Ehang says it is working closely with government agencies on the technology. Once it goes into production, it will take off vertically (no need for a runway), and land similarly. When in the air, it's capable of speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. The 184 can travel up to 11,480 feet, and it's got a battery pack that's capable of 23 minutes of flying time. It's tiny too: just 18 feet long. But it's actually capable of being smaller than that: it can be folded into a five-foot space, so it can fit right into a standard parking spot. You can't exactly carry it, but its light for what it is: It weighs just 440 pounds.

For those who are afraid of flying, don't fear (that much). Ehang put all kinds of failsafes on board, including multiple power backups, a program that will land the drone at the first sign of trouble, and an On-Star-like command center for fliers who need help. And Ehang promises that it will be much safer than driving, where drivers themselves are the main source of accidents. Ehang hasn't estimated what the 184 will cost yet. But it plans on continuing to improve the product and get the costs down for when it's able to be produced.  Watch / listen to the interview: http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/06/technology/ces-

2016-ehang-drone/

Email:darrel@ww4b.org or Phone 636-667-3176

 

Library Users of Missouri

By DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

Hello all, I was honored to be asked to represent MCB on the Wolfner Advisory Board. Here are just a few things I thought you might like to know about:

LARGE Print for Adults: Wolfner Library is pleased to announce large print titles are now available for adults. This new collection features a wide array of genres, including mysteries, Christian fiction, westerns, romances, non-fiction and more. Patrons may check out large print books for a six-week loan period. New titles will be added monthly. A sample of the available titles includes:

Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert (LP030020)

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers (LP030052)

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day (LP030032)

Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson (LP030003)

Don’t be a Stranger by John D. Nesbitt (LP030015)

A New Hope by Robyn Carr (LP030029)

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning (LP30080)

Adult Winter Reading Program: Thrillers and Killers! Whether you like your books with a dose of blood, a touch of suspense, or an element of romance, this year's Adult Winter Reading Program is for you! With the theme "Thrillers and Killers" readers will have the opportunity to sample mysteries and thrillers from the beginning of the genres to the modern era.

Registration opens on January 11th, 2016 and the program will run January 25th through March 7th. The deadline for submitting the number of books read will be March 14th.

To qualify for prizes, patrons must read at least 10 titles from the provided reading list. Included in the program are books from 10 categories of mysteries and thrillers, including fiction and nonfiction titles. Patrons may elect to enjoy the program by category or by individual title. Wolfner Library would like to thank the Library Users of Missouri for funding this year’s Adult Winter Reading Program.

This year, Wolfner Library will be offering the following ten category themes:

Detecting from the Grave: Paranormal Mysteries – Ghosts, vampires and characters with supernatural powers drive the plots of these books.

Elementary, My Dear Fellow: Golden Age Detectives – Selected works from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, including a few modern day tributes to detective fiction and one true story of a Victorian detective.

Garden of Deadly Delights: Cozy Mysteries Vol. 1 – Sometimes humorous and frequently set in a small town, you won’t find blood, guts or extreme violence in these mysteries.

Warm, Fuzzy, and Wicked: Cozy Mysteries Vol. 2 – Crime solving cats? Canines? Knitters and bakers? Only in a cozy mystery would you find such an unlikely set of sleuths!

Gruesome Ends: Gruesome Killers and Thrillers – This category doesn’t leave out any of the gory details.

Murder, Missouri Style – Featuring a combination of true Missouri crime stories, mysteries set in Missouri and whodunits by Missouri authors. These titles were all produced by the Wolfner Library Recording Studio.
Step into the Past: Historical Killers and Thrillers – Find yourself immersed in mysteries and thrillers set in multiple historic eras.

Tough Guys and Gumshoes: The Hardboiled Detective – Cynical private eyes and double-crossing femme fatales populate these gritty and dark crime novels.

Until Death: Romantic Suspense – Romance is even more exciting when tangled with the intrigues and dangers of a good mystery!

Violent Truths: True Crime Thrillers and Killers – These books chronicle the human spirit in the face of profound violence and prove that truth is stranger than fiction.

Don’t Forget about NFB Newsline! Wolfner Library offers NFB Newsline, another free service, to patrons. This toll-free service allows patrons to listen to over 300 newspapers and magazines using their telephone. There is also an option to listen on a PC or portable device. Eight Missouri newspapers are available using the service:

• Columbia Daily Tribune

•Jefferson City News Tribune

• Kansas City Star

• Saint Joseph News Press

• Saint Louis American

• Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

• Southeast Missourian

• Springfield News-Leader
To learn more or sign-up for Newsline, contact your reader advisor.

New Books from the Wolfner Library Recording Studio:

Adult Books

8 Days by Barri Bumgarner–DBC06428.  The riveting story of a not-so-distant future when four scientists begin the process of cleansing humanity by releasing chemicals on cities around the world.

Dahlia’s Gone by Katie Estill–DBC01432.  Horrified when the daughter of fundamentalist neighbors is brutally murdered while in her care, Sand Williams forges a tenacious but healing relationship with the girl’s mother and a woman sheriff who investigates the case.

Frontier Swashbuckler by Dick Steward–DBC06100.  John Smith T--pioneer, gunfighter, entrepreneur, militia colonel, miner, judge, and folk hero epitomized frontier energy and lust for adventure. He was one of the most notorious characters in Missouri history, but had largely been forgotten by the late 19th century. Frontier Swashbuckler provides valuable insights into the economic, political and social dynamics of early Missouri history.

Indescribably Grand: Letters and Diaries from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Martha R. Clevenger–DBC06443.  In 1904, more than 12 million people flocked to St. Louis to take part in that year’s World’s Fair. In this book, readers will learn exactly what was on the minds of fair visitors in the words of the visitors themselves.

Ozark Tales and Superstitions by Phillip W. Steele–DBC06427.  Twenty-six stories that attempt to preserve the rich folklore indigenous to the Ozark region.

True Crime Missouri by David J. Krajicek–DBC01433. Examines criminal activity in the Show-Me state and explores the landmark cases that have received national attention.

Young Adult Books

Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader–DBC01477.  Sixteen-year-old Mia longs to escape from Reverend Eden’s cult, of which she has been a member for six years, and finds support from new arrival Gabriel, but their investigation into the group’s inner workings yields disturbing discoveries. Gateway Award Nominee, 2015-2016. For Senior High. 2013.

Inhuman by Kat Falls–DBC01442.  Beyond the Titan wall lies the Feral Zone, and the only people who break quarantine and venture there are the “fetches,” who are paid exorbitant sums to bring back items that were left behind when the wall went up. But Delaney McEvoy’s father is there and she is being forced to find him and bring him back. Truman Award nominee, 2015-2016. For Senior High. 2013.

Mila 2.0 by Debra Dirza–DBC01441.  Sixteen-year-old Mila discovers she is not who--or what--she thought she was, which causes her to run from both the CIA and a rogue intelligence group. Truman Award nominee, 2015-2016. For Junior and Senior High. 2013.

To enter bookshelf mode on your NLS player, hold down the “play” button until you hear the player go into bookshelf mode. Release the play button. Now you can use the arrows at each end of the play button to move to the books that are available. When you hear the title you wish to read, simply hit the play button. If you have further questions about using your NLS player to play multiple books, please contact Wolfner Library.

Featured App: Be My Eyes: The Be My Eyes app assists visually impaired users by connecting them with sighted helpers. By utilizing direct video call technology, the visually impaired individual can point a device’s camera at an item or area and the sighted individual can either help by reading the information on the product or guide the visually impaired individual in locating an item. This app is useful in navigating new surroundings or reading expiration dates on perishable items or medicines. All assistance is provided by a volunteer. The Be My Eyes app is currently available for Apple devices. The Android app is under development. The idea for this app came from Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually impaired individual who realized the need through his work with the Danish Blind Society. For more information, to download the app, or to sign up for an alert when the Android version is ready, go to: http://bemyeyes.org.

Coming Soon: Wolfner Library Book Club: Would you like to discuss what you read with other like-minded individuals? Look no further! Wolfner library is starting three new book clubs. Each book club will feature a different type of reading experience. One book club will feature a general fiction title, another will discuss a general non-fiction book, and a third club will give participants an opportunity to share a “mild” read (little to no sex, violence or strong language). Your chance to share your thoughts on the books you read is coming soon. Book availability will finally be guaranteed! Look for the book club registration coming in the spring newsletter!  From one bookworm to another, I wish you happy reading!

Quieth2o@socket.net

COMMITTEE NEWS

 

Youth Services Committee

Youth Services is one of the most important programs we have. This program does not help any member, because it helps kids up to 18 years old. If you know a child who we can help please let them know about this program. There are all kinds of camps out there for kids and it is not too early to send in your applications for them. Let us know if we can help your child.

 

MCB Public Relations

By Wilma Chestnut-House

In December, I visited with Joe Morgan and his affiliate, Allied Workers. I also visited with Act Now! Council for their Christmas party and a small kickoff for the 60th anniversary of MCB. I had a great time with all of them. I will be coming to other affiliates soon. Be ready! Your job is to have some prospective new members for us.

Congratulations are in order for some of our affiliates. For our first White Cane Walk this past October, we raised more than $700. First place was Agape Council, second place was SEMO Blind Club, and third place was St. Louis Council. They all received plaques for their participation. Tower Club and Springfield also participated and they received certificates of participation. Congratulations to all of you! This year, the walk is on the actual anniversary date of October 15. I hope that we have more affiliates join us for this next year’s event.

This year the StL Firing Squad is hosting a beep ball tournament at St. Vincent’s Community Center at 7335 St. Charles Rock Rd. The games will start on May 14, from 8:30 until 4:30. The championship games will be on May 15 from 8:30 until 12:00. We will be on the football field in the back, behind the community center. Come and check out the game! Believe it or not, the supervisor of the park is named Jackie Robinson (go figure).

If your organization would like to set up a table out there to pass out literature, let me know. MCB will be represented.

On behalf of the gold medal St. Louis powerlifting team and John Schrock, I am saluting Margie, the lady that introduced me to the USABA.

Margie was a member of our world championship powerlifting team in 1986 and 1988. She and her husband, Richard were coachable, enthusiastic, and anxious to be challenged. Margie, became a world champion for our championship team. In Ottawa, Canada she won the best lifter for females in the Master's Division. This award is called the "Malone Lifter Award".

I enjoyed having known Margie, and will miss her radiant smile.  Coach/Team Leader, John Schrock

 

MCB Scholarship Report

By Wanda K. Matlock, Scholarship Chair

The Missouri Council of the Blind is pleased to again offer scholarships to blind students who will be entering college during the school year of September 2016-17.

They must be enrolling in a full course of study and pursuing a degree.

Scholarships are also available for those blind students who are presently enrolled in college and are working toward a degree.

Guidelines and applications may be obtained by going to our web site at www.moblind.org and going to the Forms and Applications link. On that link the Scholarship Guidelines and Application can be found. A person wishing to obtain an application may also send an email to aa@moblind.org.

In the event a computer is not available, those wishing to obtain an application may write the Missouri Council of the Blind office at 5453 Chippewa, St. Louis, MO 63109 and the Guidelines and Application will be mailed to them. One may also contact the MCB office by phoning either toll free (800)342-5632 or (314)832-7172. Office hours are 8am-4:30pm Monday through Friday.

In order for an applicant to be considered, the application must be fully completed, be accompanied by all required supporting documents and typewritten or computer generated. If the applicant fails to meet these requirements, the application will be denied.

The deadline for submitting an application is May 1, 2016. The Scholarship Committee will review and make decisions on the applications during the month of May. Those applicants approved for a scholarship will be sent a letter notifying them that they have been approved for a scholarship and the amount of the scholarship. Checks will be sent to those approved applicants in June 2016.

We look forward to receiving many applications.

 

 

Health Benefits Committee

This year we have not heard from very many of you, so that should mean that everyone is healthy and not had an accident. This is great, but if you get sick or have an accident please let us know. A check in the mail always makes you feel better if things are not going just right. Please let us know if we can help.  Thanks.

 

Member of the Month

By Yvonne Schnitzler

Congratulations to MCB Members of the Month, Stephen Bryant, Dr. Bessie Reece, Anna Schell, and Beverly Kaskadden.

Stephen Bryant, Member of the Month, October 2015

The members of the Delta Area nominated him. They call him their “professional driver” because he is always there to provide much-needed transportation for meetings, conventions, and outings. Steve and his wife Judith travel two and one-half hours round trip to attend the meetings picking up members along the way. He takes them to shop before dropping them off on the way home. Active in the Delta Area, Steve works hard to make the affiliate more successful. Steve has a strong belief in his religion and family. Everyone likes him.

Dr. Bessie Reece, Member of the Month, November 2015

The MCB honors Dr. Bessie Reece as November 2015 Member of the Month. We thank Wilma Chestnut-House for nominating her. Dr. Reece received her PhD. from LAEL Christian College in 2001. Throughout her life, Dr. Reece has devoted time and energy advocating for legislation benefiting the blind at the State and National level and speaking for the causes of the blind at community meetings. She has been Chair of the Legislation Committee and has made many trips to Washington, D.C.

Dr. Reece’s life has been one of involvement, caring for and befriending people, especially those in need. Her positive attitude encourages a positive spirit in others. She is quick to assist, praise, and offer encouragement. Any young person is one of her children, and any older person is her friend.

Dr. Reece graduated from the Missouri School for the Blind. She was one of the founding members of the Tower Club. She helped start Agape Council and was the President, and Board representative for Agape.

Anna Schnell, Member of the Month, December 2015

Judy Burch, President of the Braille Revival League, nominated Anna Schell for December Member of the Month. Anna is a person that puts her whole self into whatever project she is doing. If you ask her to do something, it will be done! Anna finds the positive in any challenging situation. She is a cheerful person, always ready to greet someone and make him or her feel welcomed.

Anna is employed by the Missouri School for the Blind. She serves as secretary for the Braille Revival League and as recording secretary of the United Workers for the Blind. She is a member of the Maplewood Lions Club.

Beverly Kaskadden, Member of the Month, January 2016

Celita White nominated her. Because of Beverly’s caring attitude and her aptitude for listening, she is the perfect person to Chair the MCB Camp Committee. Beverly does a fantastic job assigning cabins and tables, and she is always ready to help with games or wherever is needed. Being easy to talk to gives her the ability to solve problems that may come up without causing hard feelings. Beverly does not hesitate to stay overnight at the hospital with a camper. She does not leave without the person or until family members arrive.

Beverly is a member of the St. Charles County Council. She has held offices, served on many committees, and represented her affiliate on the MCB Board and as a Director. She is always looking for new ideas and interests to involve her group and is more than ready to give of herself. Beverly is happy planning excursions and activities club members enjoy.

 

Convention Coordinator's Report

By Jerry Annunzio

For myself and all you old timers, “It is back in the saddle again.” For those of you who do not know me I was MCB's convention coordinator several years ago. And now, thanks to President Huff and our Board, I am back with some new ideas. I hope to create a thoughtful blend of the 60 years of MCB experience and some fresh new possibilities.

         As many of you already know, the 2016 convention is set for St. Louis and the Convention Committee, headed by Chris, Jesuita and Robert is actively working on the details. I will assist and support their efforts as well as work on future conventions. If your affiliate would like to host a future MCB convention call or email me at (816)741-2348 or yruup@yahoo.com.

Education and Advocacy Committee

By Chip Hailey, Chair

Hello fellow MCB Legislative Advocates,

The 98th General Assembly of our Missouri State Legislature opened on January 6th, 2016, with a promise to strengthen ethics reform, a renewed commitment to accountability and improving transparency.

Just a couple of weeks later, the week's session was shortened by the observance on Monday of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, a federal holiday that celebrates the life and achievements of perhaps America’s most influential Civil Rights leader. King is remembered for his efforts to promote racial equality in the United States.

On Wednesday of that same week Governor Nixon delivered his final State of the State Address to a joint session of Missouri’s General Assembly and highlighted some of his past accomplishments. In his last year as governor, Mr. Nixon called on the General Assembly to work with him to address the challenges facing our state, as well as asking them to work with him on his FY 2017 proposed budget.

In their limited time during that week, the Missouri House took action on and passed two bills before sending them to the Senate. Two measures - HJR 53 and HB 1631 were approved by the House before heading to the Senate. These two measures are designed to require a valid form of photo identification in order to vote in Missouri elections. HJR 53 will seek to change the Missouri Constitution to allow a system of voter ID. If approved by the Missouri Senate, it will then go to our state’s voters for their approval or rejection. The constitutional change by way of an amendment approved by voters is necessary because a voter ID requirement put into effect in 2006 was ultimately struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court as unconstitutional. By amending the constitution, lawmakers are hoping to avoid a similar challenge in the future by the state’s high court.

HB 1631 would implement a system of voter ID if the constitutional amendment is first approved by voters. The bill would then require voters to present a specified form of identification in order to vote in a public election. Valid forms of identification include a photo ID issued by the state, the federal government, or the military. In addition, this bill would require the state to pay for individuals to obtain the documents necessary for an ID or pay for individuals to obtain a valid ID if they do not presently have one. The bill also specifies that individuals without a valid photo ID may still vote by casting a provisional ballot. Both measures now move to the Senate for discussion.

Here's what we know so far about Managed Care. The State of Missouri will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) this spring to begin the process of moving Missouri’s Medicaid system to a statewide managed care system. Currently, the State of Missouri already operates a managed care system in 54 counties, with the remaining counties receiving Medicaid services through a state-run program. By the summer of 2017, Missouri’s managed care system will be operated statewide. For now, Missourians who are aged, blind or disabled, including those Missourians with developmental disabilities served through the Missouri Department of Mental Health, will not be included in the managed care system and will continue to receive services through the traditional MO HealthNet program.

Now on to our MCB Legislative Days. By the time you receive this issue of the Chronicle, we would have just completed our MCB Legislative Days at our State Capitol.

Once again, we had been working in conjunction with Disability Rights Legislative Day (DRLD), which was Thursday, March 10, 2016. It was the primary purpose of the Disability Rights Legislative Day planning committee to bring Missourians with disabilities, family members and those who care about them to the Capitol, to hear from legislators and to talk to legislators about issues impacting our lives each and every day. This year’s theme was “Freedom to Choose My Own Path”, and we projected we would once again be well represented by our members. Bills we had been tracking at the time of this writing were as follows:

HB1696 - Deaf-Blind Services: This bill requires the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to provide grants to organizations that provide various services for individuals who are deaf-blind including Support Service Providers. The bill is identical to last year’s HB469.

HB1379 - Voting Machines for the Blind: Requires election authorities to make available at least one electronic voting machine per polling location for blind or visually impaired voters at an election in order to comply with federal law.

Another bill we had been tracking but had not yet been refiled was the Braille Instruction for Blind Students bill. This bill would require a student to receive instruction in Braille reading and writing if an assessment demonstrated the need for the instruction. This act would require that all students who are determined to need Braille reading and writing instruction based on an assessment deemed appropriate by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would receive the instruction as part of the Individualized Education Plan. It also states that no student should be denied the opportunity to be assessed. This bill would again be sponsored by Representative Jacob Hummel and would be similar to last year's bill HB1003.

One other bill we have been tracking is HB1869. This bill specifies that any person who causes substantial physical injury or death to a service dog must be ordered to fully compensate for the injury, loss, or replacement of the service dog.

Next, we move on to the national level. The American Council of the Blind Legislative Seminar would be held February 29, 2016, and March 1, 2016. President Denny Huff, and our Executive Director, Chris Gray, along with myself, would be meeting with our Congressional leaders regarding our legislative issues. The issues for this year's seminar will be built upon our work during the first session of the 114th congress. They include:

  1. Passage of the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices act (H.R. 729),
  2. Passage of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535);
  3. Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.

These three issues continue to be vital pathways to opportunity and independence for people who are blind. Therefore, it is vital that our message continues to be heard loud and clear through the halls of Congress.

I will have more to say about these issues as well as the issues we have taken to our State Legislators next time. But for now, I would like to take a moment to thank our MCB office staff once again for all of the outstanding work they have done and continue to do in assisting me during this legislative session. It is truly remarkable the time and energy that they contribute to making my job so much easier and for making our legislative endeavors a huge success.

I also would like to give a great big shout out to all of our members and their guides who will be in attendance at this year's event in Jefferson City and the extraordinary job they will again be doing in taking our issues to our legislators. I am confident they all will do a truly awesome job and I must commend them on a job well done.

So please join together with me in saluting them for all of their hard work.

I would also like to thank president Huff for his continued support as well as the MCB membership for its confidence in me as MCB Education & Advocacy Chairman. Without your help, our legislative efforts would be minimized, but together, our efforts can be maximized to the highest level.

So thank you MCB on another great legislative year and for allowing me to represent you in this capacity.

Enjoy your Spring everyone!

 

Update on HB 1696, SSP Bill

By Mary Hale, Dual Vision and Hearing Loss Chair

Thank you to everyone who contacted their local Representatives or attended the public hearing on Tuesday, January 26 to show support for the SSP Bill. I am so proud that Deaf-Blind individuals and friends of the Deaf-Blind Community packed the room and several had the chance to offer testimony explaining the importance of SSPs. Scott Dollar, Jasmine Lewis and Barbara Tweedy were among those who spoke at the hearing.

Please join us. Missouri needs SSPs and say I support HB1696.

Want to follow us and show your support? Just log on to the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing website at www.mcdhh.mo.gov. More info to come.

Thank you

 

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.

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.

Year to date summary: So far this fiscal year, (2015 – 2016), we have awarded 15 grants for a total of $17,190.00. Note: We have a total budget of $25000.00. 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.

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

Until next time, take Care.

Email: darrel@ww4b.org

Phone: 636-667-3176

 

Summer Camp 2016

By Beverly Kaskadden

The 2016 Summer camp application will be available soon for those who would like to attend Camp at Cobblestone. The Leytons are planning our activities to assure those attending will have an enjoyable time.

The Presidents of all MCB affiliates will be receiving packets with the applications and guidelines enclosed. The fees have changed this year. During the Board meeting on January 28th, the Budget and Finance Committee made a motion to raise the fee for the participants. For 2016, the adult fee will increase by $10 and children will also increase by $10. The fee for adults 18 and older will now be $85.00 and $75.00 for children. The September extended week-end fee will also increase to $60.00.

The dates for this year are, June 5-12, July 31-August 7, and September 8-11. Please take time to read the guidelines carefully and fill out the application completely. If you have any request for cabin and table placement, please note these concerns on your applications. We will do our best to honor your needs. If you have never attended camp, I would encourage you to step out and have some fun and relaxation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me to answer your questions. I love getting to know our campers.

Hope to see you this summer.

bkaskadden@centurytel.net

 

BOARD MEETING MINUTES

November 16, 2015

The meeting was called to order by President Denny Huff at 7:00 PM.

Joe Morgan led us in prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. Members in attendance are listed at the end of this report.

Denny welcomed Executive Director Chris Gray.

The meeting was not streamed.

The agenda was approved with one edition, Christmas bonuses for the office staff will be added to the closed session.

The Minutes for October 1, 2015 were approved with the following correction. Beverly Kaskadden made the motion for the MCB Youth Leadership Conference.

Shirley Brokaw moved that we go in to closed session for personnel matters. The motion was adopted.

 

At the close of the Executive Session and reconvening of Open Session, the President reported that the Board passed a motion to hire Natalie Higgins as MCB's general Counsel, and that the Board passed a motion allocating Christmas bonuses for its staff.

Treasurer's Report

Robert Vaughn reported that as of today, the US bank checking account balance is $71,697.74.  US Bank investments total $1,122,124.92.  The Raymond James investment total is $2,397,081.57. Total in investment accounts is $3,519,206.49. Robert brought two recommendations from the Budget and Finance Committee. They recommended that MCB change our accountant from Rickhoff to Jerry Nichols. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted. The second recommendation was to eliminate the Human Resource charges from Paychex and use them for the office payroll only. This was considered a motion and the motion was adopted. A motion was made to give Paychex an official 30 day notice on November 16 to stop using Paychex H/R for the office. Robert will take care of this matter. Robert introduced the members of the Finance Committee; Denny Huff, Chris Gray, Sheri Keller, and Darrel Vickers.

 

Committee Chairs

Michael Keller moved that the four committee chairs that Denny appointed be approved. The motion was adopted. Denny is seeking a Resource and Development chairman, he would like a Board member to do this but if not someone who is a MCB member.

Thrift Store Report

Michael Keller reported that as of November 1, the Thrift Store is completely independent of the Missouri Council of the Blind. They have four members on their Board, and applications will be submitted to individuals for their Board. The four people on the Board are, Denny Huff, Viswa Valaji, Jerry Madox and Michael Keller. TV commercials have been made for the Store. Jeff La Montia and his staff are in them. The store is making a small profit and is averaging 250 customers a day. Michael answered questions from the Board.

A motion was made to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 8:47 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan, Recording Secretary.

 

 

FROM THE LOWER LEFT-HAND DRAWER

By John Weidlich

It’s time to look into the lower left-hand drawer once again and see what might be of interest to you. These items are collected from a variety of sources. They are not endorsed or sponsored by MCB; they are merely mentioned for your information.

It will probably be too late for you to take advantage of this by the time you read this, but I wanted to mention it just in case you might find it interesting. Even if you have never watched the program, you are almost certainly familiar with American Idol. Maybe you have even voted for your favorite contestant. Well, the Winston-Salem North Carolina Industries for the Blind is sponsoring the second annual National Blind Idol singing competition for legally blind contestants. Submission for this year’s competition must be in by March 15. Here is how it works. The contest is open to any legally blind US resident 18 years or older. Entrants must give proof of legal blindness. To enter, you must submit a video or mp3 audio file of a singing performance no more than two minutes in length. The IFB staff will then select twenty semifinalists to perform in a live audition in Winston-Salem in May. The five finalists will move on to the live finale competition in August, where a Blind Idol winner will be chosen. The Blind Idol winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and eight hours of recording time at a recording facility in Winston-Salem. Participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging costs. The contest organizers are both blind. Since submission deadline is March 15, it’s probably too late for you this year, but there is always next year if this continues. If you do want more information, contact Anastasia Powell at (336)245-5698 or email apowell@wsifb.com. I know we have some talented singers among our readers so you might want to give it a try. You might be the next Blind Idol!

Congratulations to Eric Bridges, who has been named the New Executive Director of ACB. Some of you met him and heard him speak at our convention. The ACB office has moved to new headquarters in Alexandria, VA. They made the move right at the time of the big blizzard, so things must have been quite hectic.

You know by now that the new Unified Braille Code UEB has been officially adopted and is now in use for all new Braille publications. You will see a lot of new punctuation symbols, many of which will probably not be particularly important to you. There are also some changes in spacing rules and some familiar contractions have been dropped.

National Braille Press has some new books. One of them is IOS 9 Without the Eye by Jonathan Mosen. It explains the changes and new features in the new IOS 9 operating system. There is a lot of information about the new Apple Music app and the other new apps. It comes in two Braille volumes as well as other formats. Another one is Stream It! Music, Movies and More, also by Jonathan Mosen, which is all about how to use Apple TV with VoiceOver. It costs $15 in various formats. These are available from National Braille Press through their website, www.nbp.org or by calling (800)548-7323.

I almost forgot this one, also from NBP. Anyone Can Play is a new book in which experienced blind gamers describe their favorite accessible iDevice game apps, how they work, and how you can win. It covers competitive games, word games, card games, adventure games, strategy games, role-playing games, and sports games. It sells for $12.

Consumer Vision Magazine is a bimonthly magazine for blind and visually impaired readers. Topics covered include cooking, trivia and special notices. To subscribe, send an email to branco182@verizon.net.

Message of Hope has nondenominational Christian books on SD cards that can be played on a Victor Stream. For information, contact Message of Hope at (866) 421-3066 or email message-of-hope@unityonline.org.

The National Library Service has released a BARD Mobile app for Android. It allows users to download audio books and magazines directly to Android devices. It offers features similar to those found on the app for iDevices. It is available free in the Google Play Store by Searching for BARD Mobile. The BARD Mobile iOS app has been updated to Version 1.1. The main addition to that app is a sleep timer. It is available at the Apple App store.

HIMS has released the Blaze ET, an upgrade to the Blaze EZ. Like the EZ, the ET can be used to download and play BARD books and media from other sources. It also includes a color identifier, a calculator, and access to internet radio stations if you have a Wi-Fi connection. It also has Bluetooth capability and stereo speakers. The price is $795. There is also a free upgrade for the Blaze EZ with new features. For information, visit the website www.hims-inc.com or call (888)520-4467.

The Hadley School has set up a new Low Vision Focus program to help seniors with vision loss to maintain independence at home by sharing practical information about daily living skills. It offers ten free audio recordings with detailed instruction on everyday tasks. Titles include “Making the Kitchen User-Friendly,” “Low Vision Cooking,” “Basic Tactile Marking,” “Simple Home Modifications,” “Keeping Prescriptions in Order,” “Going Out For a Meal,” and “Going Out with a Friend.” Contact the Low Vision Focus at (855)830-5355 to request any or all of the titles. The website is www.lowvisionfocus.org.

The Hadley School has six new correspondence courses: Independent Living, Housekeeping, Physical Science, Life Science, Strategies to connect with Social Media, and Introduction to Low Vision. To enroll in any of these courses or to see what else is available from Hadley, call Student Services at (800)526-9909 or go to www.hadley.edu.

The Nebraska commission for the Blind offers the Pathways to Independence Training series. It is a series of videos on such topics as cooking, cane travel, shopping, organizing the kitchen, techniques of daily living, and Braille. Videos can be watched online or downloaded for free. To purchase a full set of the videos, call (308)632-1304. You can also send email to Josephine.rodriguez@nebraska.gov.

A company called 7128 Software has released the 4 C’s App which contains four word games: Colossal Words, Crambles, Completion, and Combo. You can get it from the Apple App store. The company’s web site is www.7128.com.

The American Foundation for the Blind has developed a fully accessible software video player with HTML controls so that it can be used as part of a webpage. Users can select the size and color scheme they prefer and controls are labeled with text and include keyboard commands so they can be used with assistive technology or with a mouse. Video can be expanded to a full screen. To download the video player, visit www.afb.org.

Radio station WRBH-FM in New Orleans is a 24-hour radio reading service. Programming includes news, magazine articles, fiction and nonfiction books, children’s books, interviews, health programs, and cooking shows. WRBH has been on the air for many years. It is similar to other radio reading services like Mind’s Eye, but with one big difference. Instead of using the subcarrier of an FM radio station, requiring listeners to apply for special radios to listen, WRBH is on the regular FM dial and available to anyone who wants to listen. You can access WRBH on your Victor Stream or other devices that have internet radio stations.

That does it for this time. Spring is coming!