March 2010 Chronicle
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Attention please: Material for the Chronicle must be into this office no later than the first of the month preceding that issue. That is, material for the March issue must be in by November first; for the June issue by May first; for the September issue, August first; and material for the December issue must be received by November first. Thank you.
THE MISSOURI CHRONICLE
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
March, 2010 Table of Contents
The President’s Report: 1
From The Executive Director: 15
The Chronicle’s Anniversary: 20
Committee Reports: 25
Survival Braille: 33
The Blind Sportscaster: 36
Blind Sox Fan Gets MLB To Even game: 38
Member Of The Month: 43
Affiliate Affairs: 45
The Editorial Eye: 59
The MCB Rhymoceros: 60
From The Lower Lefthand drawer: 60
THE PRESIDENT’S REPORT
An old Chinese proverb says, “If we keep going the same direction, we’ll end up where we are going.” As simple as that may sound, it holds a lot of truth. Although this can apply to many things, let’s apply it to the Missouri Council of the Blind. When this organization began almost 54 years ago, our direction was clear and with a purpose. I believe our mission statement says it best:
“The purpose of The Missouri Council of the Blind shall be to promote the general well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to support or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally blind people everywhere.”
So what direction is MCB going? Are we reaching out to all legally blind residents of Missouri? Are we serving the members of the MCB in the way we should be? Do we have the participation of our members to fulfill our mission? Do we have the financial resources to meet the needs of our membership and still be able to reach out to those that may require our services?
These are questions that I have been addressing, and will continue to address throughout my term as your president. I don’t have all of the answers, but, with your continued support and input, I believe that we can accomplish our mission and begin going in the direction we need to be going.
Although the MCB is the largest blind consumer organization in Missouri, and we continue to grow each year, there are still a lot of legally blind Missouri residents who are not being reached. Some of our affiliates are declining in membership, and we have even lost one affiliate due to a lack of young people within the affiliate to carry on. This is a concern to me, and I have begun to work on a plan to deal with this problem.
As many of you know, we have a new affiliate in the Jefferson City area. Although the membership will need to approve this affiliate at our next convention in October, I am sure that won’t be a problem. We also have the possibility of new affiliates in Lebanon and Washington. As pleased as I am to have these new affiliates, I would also like to work with our current affiliates in strengthening their organization. My plan is to offer to your affiliate the help of MCB. If your affiliate needs help in reaching out to new members, please contact me so we can begin making plans on what we need to do.
Another one of the questions that need to be addressed is, are we meeting your needs as a member of MCB. If you feel as though there is an area in which we are not meeting your needs, I would like to know about it and we can see what we should be doing to meet your needs. I try and make myself available to you as much as I possibly can. So either give me a call or send me an email message and I will respond ASAP.
As for our financial situation, I feel as though we are headed in the right direction in assuring that the money we need to carry out our programs will be there in the future. With the hiring of a Director of Development to search for ways to generate new income for MCB and the establishment of our own thrift store, we should be in good shape down the road. The thrift store will not solve our financial needs immediately, but rather it is a long term solution. For our immediate financial needs, Lowell Newsom is working on meeting those demands. I have confidence in both of these endeavors and believe that they will be fruitful for MCB.
As our mission statement says, we are to promote the well being of all legally blind residents of Missouri. What better way to work toward this goal than to participate with other like minded organizations within the state? We have actively participated with Rehab Services for the Blind by visiting some of their offices, attending the Advisory Council meetings, participating in conference calls with Mark Laird and Mike Merrick and attending the RSB, NFB and MCB summit. We have worked diligently with Dr. Smith and Wolfner library and are promoting the Friends of Wolfner. Our Executive Director and I have visited several other blind related organizations in the St. Louis area to see how we can work together in meeting the needs of the blind in Missouri. We still have several organizations we want to visit within the state and those are in our plans for 2010.
In keeping with that direction of working with other like minded organizations, I have opened up a dialog with NFB of Missouri. I realize that we don’t share some of the same philosophical views, but we certainly do share many of the same concerns. We can walk shoulder to shoulder even though we don’t see eye to eye. We have worked together with NFB of Missouri in the past and I hope that we can continue to keep the dialog open between the two organizations. Gary Wunder, president of the Missouri chapter of NFB, has been more than willing to cooperate with us, and I certainly appreciate this. I hope that MCB can extend a hand of friendship across the divide for the common goal of accomplishing our mission.
The past three months have been a busy time for me and the staff of MCB. In an attempt to acclimate our new Executive Director and the Director of Development, I have taken them with me on several visits around the state. Our first stop in November was to visit one of the RSB offices in St. Louis. In doing so, Jennifer and Lowell were able to hear about the services that are offered by this organization. We also visited the RSB Advisory Council open forum meeting in Sikeston. I encourage any of you to attend one of these meetings when it comes to your area. During these open forums you can express any concerns that you might have about RSB or you may even be able to learn more about what RSB does and what they have to offer.
Since we were in Sikeston it worked out that we were able to attend the meeting of our affiliate in that area, Delta Area Council of the Blind. My hat is off to this great affiliate and all that they do for the southeast Missouri visually impaired residents and for the MCB.
Also in November, Lowell and I attended the open house of the Missouri Assistive Technology in Blue Springs. This is a great facility and I hope that if you are ever in that area you will stop in and visit. The Missouri Assistive Technology serves the blind and visually impaired of Missouri in many ways, and we are very fortunate to have them.
We also visited Alpha Pointe while we were in the Kansas City area and enjoyed a tour of their facility by Clay Barry. This is a first class operation, and MCB is looking forward to working with them in future endeavors.
Since we were in the Kansas City area Lowell and I were able to visit the Allied Workers for the Blind affiliate meeting. AWB is one of our stronger affiliates and I appreciate the support I am receiving from their membership.
Jennifer Lowell and I also visited one of the Independent Living Centers, Delta Area ILC in St. Charles. That was an informative visit, and we came away with an agreement of working together on various issues affecting the blind.
I ended up the month of November by attending a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Springfield Service Club. I always enjoy visiting our affiliates especially when there is food involved, and this was certainly no exception. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with their members.
December got off to a great start with a visit to Jefferson City. We hosted an organizational meeting at the Capitol Plaza hotel, and it was well attended. My thanks to the membership committee and other members of MCB for their involvement in this meeting. As a result of that meeting, and a lot of hard work on the part of several Jeff City residents, we now have a new affiliate in that area. The affiliate is named, the Capitol City Council of the Blind, and their president is Nick Whitley. Of course this affiliate will need to be approved by the membership at our next convention, but I am sure you will welcome them with open arms.
The next day several of us stayed over for the RSB, NFB and MCB summit. Along with Jennifer, Lowell and I, in attendance from MCB was our first vice president, James Hollins; second vice president, Mike Keller, and our Welfare and Education chair, Chip Hailey. The summit was great, and we came away with an attitude of cooperation from both RSB and NFB.
December also found Jennifer Lowell and me visiting the St. Louis Lighthouse. We had a long talk with President John Thompson, and enjoyed a tour of their facility.
Several of us attended the blind pension hearing in December held in Jeff City. Chip Hailey will have more on the status of the blind pension lawsuit in his report further in the Chronicle.
I attended the United Workers for the Blind Christmas party and really enjoyed the fellowship, the food and the music provided that night. My thanks to UWB for such an enjoyable night.
Instead of a Christmas bonus to the staff, the board voted to take them out to a dinner. I had the privilege of hosting that dinner, and I believe the staff enjoyed themselves. I was sorry that Eleanor couldn’t attend due to prior commitments, but Jennifer, Lowell and Betsy made up for her absence in the consumption of her portion.
One of the responsibilities I have as president is one that I do not enjoy but according to our by-laws it has to be done. As you know, the MCB gives out grants to the annual ACB convention each year. According to our by-laws, if someone accepts the grant and does not attend the convention and fails to repay the money, then we are to take them to small claims court in an attempt to retrieve that money. Unfortunately that was the case for four of our members last year. After sending out several notices and giving them every opportunity to pay back the money, Jennifer and I had to go to the small claims court in January. We did settle with all four of the persons involved with two of them paying what they owed in full and the other two setting up a payment plan.
On January 12th the MCB Board met via teleconference call. We heard an excellent report from the thrift store committee consisting of the chair, Mike Keller, Bill Johnson and Shirlene Pickle. The committee gave a summary of the business plan for the opening of our own thrift store. After much discussion, the board voted to approve a motion to donate $425,000.00 to the Encore thrift store board. $287,000.00 will be donated immediately with the balance to be donated in September. Encore will begin the monumental task of establishing this thrift store in accordance with the business plan that was developed. It was emphasized that this project is not an answer to our financial situation in the immediate future, but rather will take several years with the opening of additional thrift stores across the state to begin to realize an adequate income to support our programs. Encore will pay MCB 50% of the net profit with the other 50% going toward the future opening of subsequent thrift stores. I applaud the thrift store committee for their efforts and diligence. I dismissed the thrift store committee and will be establishing a new committee to act as a liaison between MCB and Encore.
The board also approved a change in the Adaptive Technology Grant guidelines. These guidelines will be posted on the MCB web site.
The board approved a new committee for fashion and etiquette. Brandi Jones was approved as the chair person for this committee. Although we in no way can dictate what a person wears while representing MCB, we hope to be able to impress to all members of the MCB the importance of looking nice and dressing appropriately while representing the blind at public events.
After some discussion, it was decided to postpone approval of some modifications to the personnel manual until the next board meeting.
Let me say thanks to the board for their time during that meeting. I realize that it was a long board meeting lasting three and a half hours, but the board was patient and the questions they asked were pertinent and astute. I am very proud of this board in the way they conduct themselves in a professional way and their willingness to see MCB move forward. You, as members, should also be proud of the representation you have with this board. They are serving you well.
On January 25th the MCB Connect conference call was held with 46 people participating. We had as our guest’s, members of NFB and I believe that all participants came away with hope and good expectations of working together in the future.
As I write this report I am also making plans to attend another affiliate organizational meeting to be held in Lebanon. The potential for a new affiliate is very good with between 20 to 30 people showing an interest in beginning that affiliate. Hopefully we will have three new affiliates to present to the membership in October including Jefferson City, Lebanon and Washington...
In closing let me say thank you for all of the support you have shown me. This is a great organization, and I am proud to be a part of it. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can call me at: (888) 362-1383 or email me at: email@example.com.
May God richly bless each one of you?
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
They say time flies when you’re having fun and that must surely be a true statement. It’s hard for me to believe that three months have already gone by since I first walked in the door of the MCB office. I’ve met so many people and learned so much in that short time, yet I realize that there’s so much yet to learn. Thank you to everyone for the assistance you’ve kindly given and the patience you’ve shown in working with the new kid in the organization. I would be remiss if I neglected to give a special Thank You to Sherry Keller and to Bev Armstrong for the time they have taken out of their busy schedules to meet with me, in person or by telephone, to explain the ins and outs of the organization and the office. Thank you also to our kind President, Denny Huff, for the patience he has shown as I have, at times, taken two steps forward and one step back.
In November, I had the privilege of attending a meeting in Sikeston of our Delta Area Blind affiliate. It was a great pleasure meeting you all and I thank you for your hospitality!
I’ve been getting acquainted with Rehabilitation Services for the Blind. I visited their North St. Louis office in November, attended one of their meetings while I was in Sikeston, and then, in December I was able to attend a joint meeting of RSB, NFB and MCB at RSB’s offices in Jefferson City.
The night before the meeting with RSB and NFB in Jefferson City, I attended the initial organizational meeting for a new affiliate in the Jefferson City area named the Capitol City Council of the Blind. How exciting it was to be able to participate in the introduction of the MCB and its programs to a new group of individuals. I know we all look forward to welcoming them as a new MCB Affiliate at our Annual Convention in October..
In mid-January I attended a meeting of the St. Louis chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. At the end of the presentation, the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired discussed and demonstrated various pieces of adaptive technology available to blind and visually impaired persons. Overall, it was an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning and I made some wonderful contacts and came away filled with ideas for the MCB.
On January 30, I was able to sit in on a meeting of the Building Committee. I was happy to meet this great group of individuals and let them know what great office facilities MCB has. They really do a great job of overseeing the maintenance of the MCB building.
As you can see, I’ve been very busy traveling around and meeting people. I had the pleasure of visiting and meeting with the Delta Gamma Center staff and I look forward to working with them in the future. I also had the opportunity to tour the facilities of the Lighthouse for the Blind. What a great experience that was. Thank you so much to John Thompson and the entire Lighthouse group for spending time with us.
I have also had the opportunity to work closely with Linda Gerken of our Youth Services Committee on a couple of special need issues that arose. What a great pleasure it is to be able to help her on such important needs.
A new tri-fold brochure has been developed using our new logo. It will be a great resource for attracting new members or even providing program information to potential new donors. If you would like a supply of these brochures, contact our office and we’ll get them to you.
The office has been busy receiving new membership rosters and grant requests from our Affiliates, sending out calendars, and carrying out our day-to-day activities. Chip Hailey has also been keeping us very busy as he prepares for the 2010 Legislative Conference in Jefferson City.
In closing, I want to again thank everyone for the assistance they’ve shown as I learn the ropes and a special Thank You to all of our volunteers serving on the MCB Board, in our committee structure, or some other capacity. Your efforts make MCB the great organization it is. I am looking forward to the next three months!
Jennifer Parker, CAE
THE CHRONICLE’S ANNIVERSARY
It was fifty years ago, February of 1960, that the first Missouri Chronicle appeared. It was only twenty Braille pages in length; about one third the size of today’s Chronicles. I assume there was a print format, but I don’t know that for a fact.
Our first editor was Alma Murphey. I used to affectionately call her Mother Alma, and truly she was. She was the driving force behind our fledgling organization, and she single handedly launched this magazine. We’ll read some of her own words in a bit, but if I may, first let me reminisce a little.
Back in 1988 when I first became editor with the September issue, I remember the previous editor, Louise Rieman, saying to me, “When Chronicle time rolls around, everything else must come to a halt. Put aside any other jobs facing you; the deadline date must be met.: I didn’t realize the full impact of her statement, but it sure didn’t take long for me to find out. I remember one of the things in that issue was a feature story on the Joplin spook light. I’m sure some would question putting that in a magazine designed for the visually impaired, however, the state convention was to be in Joplin that year, and I thought it would be good to feature a point of interest in that area. With this issue we also began a much more involved production of the cassette format replete with theme and background music for some of the features. Eventually economics forced us to go from regular to slower speed which in turn caused us to scale back on the production.
Our previous editors: Alma Murphey, Laura Welle, Bertie Lee, Louise Rieman and John Weidlich (who brought us his own unique style, and introduced the E-mail format which continues to grow in popularity) were all devoted and dedicated workers. What may appear to be a relatively simple task at first glance is in reality a laborious and time-consuming one. All of these individuals more than rose to the challenge, and we extend them a heart-felt thank you along with a big MCB salute. On a personal note, I would like to extend my gratitude to Janelle Edwards who stepped in on a moment’s notice to get the June 2007 issue out after I suffered a series of silent heart attacks.
Earlier issues of the Chronicle would often contain recipes and poems. I dropped the recipes, and began featuring in each issue a poem written by a Missourian. When our organization began in 1958 it was called The Missouri Federation of the Blind, and kept that name for over 20 years. The local organizations were called chapters, so in earlier Chronicles one was likely to find an article called Chapter Chatter which contained news from the local chapters. I renamed that article Affiliate Affairs. There was also a regular feature written by Xena Johnson comprised of all sorts of interesting tid-bits which was titled Bon Mots translated, I believe, as good words. In ’88 I replaced that feature with the one we now know as From The Lower Lefthand Drawer.
Well, as promised, here are some of Mother Alma’s own words. Let’s take a look at the Forword which was found on the inside of the cover of the very first Missouri Chronicle:
“One of the most vexing problems posed by the recent encouraging growth of our organization has been that of disseminating information. It is true, I hope, that my monthly news letters to the local chapters helped to relieve this problem a little, but their limited content and circulation, together with the time, labor and expense involved, left much to be desired. Thanks to the 1959 convention’s decision to launch a Braille magazine dealing with the problems and activities of the statewide organization, our efforts to keep the membership informed and interested should prove more helpful than heretofore.”
“As reported elsewhere, the Executive Board met on December 5 and laid plans for the first three issues of “The Missouri Chronicle” to be published before the next convention. This task was relatively easy because the M.F.B. constitution, resolutions, officers’s reports to the convention and a convention report will account for a large part of the available space. The remaining space will be devoted to news from the locals, comments and suggestions from our readers, special notices and any other appropriate items. Of course, the whole project is merely in an experimental stage and our plans are far from crystallized. So please help your temporary editor, with her good intentions and a phenomenal ignorance of journalism, to jockey “the Missouri Chronicle” until a competent pilot takes the helm.”
“Mrs. Alma Murphey”
I earn a seven-figure salary.
Unfortunately, there's a decimal point involved.
Education and Welfare Committee
“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”--Thomas Jefferson
I would like to begin my report by thanking all of you who called in and participated in our January MCB Connect, in which we talked about the legislative issues that we would be taking to our state representatives. Your participation was greatly appreciated and showed a growing interest and support in our legislative efforts. Special thanks, also, to Gary Wunder, NFB of Missouri president, and all of the other NFB members for their participation and cooperation as well.
I thought the call was very productive and was very delighted and pleased that the two blind consumer organizations were able to set aside their philosophical differences and come together to discuss their upcoming legislative imperatives. I think it was an exciting historical moment in our history and hope we can continue an open dialogue with NFB on other important issues effecting all blind Missourians. I would also like to thank Marty Exline, Missouri Assistive Technology Director, for his invaluable assistance during the conference call as well as his assistance throughout the legislative session. Marty has become a very good friend to MCB and there are just not enough words to do justice on just how much his kind assistance means to our organization.
The two issues that we had taken to our representatives this year were HB 1880, regarding Accessible Instructional Materials, sponsored by Representative Jeff Grisamore, and HB 1884, HealthNet Coverage of Hearing Aids, again sponsored by Representative Grisamore. The Accessible Instructional Materials bill would align state law with the federal standards by requiring elementary and secondary schools to procure print instructional materials from vendors who make the materials available for purchase in accessible electronic text unless doing so would impose an undue burden. The bill also would permit public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools to reproduce and distribute print materials in a specialized format when a student is entitled under IDEA or Section 504. Lastly, the bill directs the Missouri Assistive Technology (MoAT) advisory council to identify and approve available accessible text formats and to share information about vendors who make available print instructional materials available in accessible electronic formats. NFB also advocated for this important piece of legislation as well as requesting appropriations to maintain funding for 3 of the Blindness Skills Specialist positions and additional funding for the 3 positions that were cut last year. MCB was also very much in support of funding for all of the Blindness Skills Specialist positions..
HB 1884 - HealthNet Coverage of Hearing Aids: This bill would restore medically necessary hearing aids to the list of covered HealthNet services for adults and seniors under state statute. This bill would not require the state to appropriate funds for hearing aid coverage. It would merely restore hearing aids in state statute, subject to appropriation.
The next and final piece of information that we had taken to our legislators was a resolution regarding quiet cars. Here is a brief excerpt from the resolution:
WHEREAS, the State of Missouri is considering the purchase of the more fuel efficient, "quiet cars"; and
AND WHEREAS, the safety of blind and visually impaired Missourians would be in jeopardy until manufacturers of such vehicles incorporate sound emitting devices for the safety of all Missourians;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Missouri National Federation of the Blind and the Missouri Council of the Blind that these organizations jointly request that the State of Missouri refrain from the purchase of "quiet cars" until the manufacturers of such vehicles have satisfactorily equipped them with sound emitting devices for the safety of not just blind and visually impaired pedestrians, but all Missouri pedestrians.
The resolution was signed by both Gary Wunder and Denny Huff.
I would like to thank our MCB president for drafting this resolution and presenting it to the Statewide Rehabilitation Council and RSB for its consideration.
Should you wish a complete copy of the resolution please feel free to contact our MCB office with your request.
I would also like to thank our Madam Executive Director and the MCB office staff for putting together all of the legislative materials and getting it ready to be distributed to our legislators. We could not have had a successful legislative meeting and day at the Capitol without their hard work.
I would also like to thank all of the affiliate legislative reps and their guides and all of you who attended our MCB Legislative Days for all of your excellent work. I believe our legislative efforts will not go unrewarded.
I would now like to close with a brief report about our visit to Washington D.C. and the American Council of the Blind Legislative Seminar. But I would like to first of all thank Jerry and Edna Annunzio and Denny Huff for joining my wife and I in representing MCB at this year's National Legislative Seminar.
ACB LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES:
H.R. 3101, Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. This is Comprehensive telecommunications legislation that would update the communications Act to provide grater access for people who are blind or visually impaired to wireless devices such as PDA's accessible user interfaces like menus on DVR's and TV menus, along with accessible emergency alerts on TV and requirements for video description on primetime programming. At last report, there were 25 cosponsors to this bill, all democrats.
H.R.734 and S.841, Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. This is Legislation that would provide a minimum sound emission standard for hybrid or electric vehicles when traveling at low speeds. This would reduce the increasing danger that these vehicles currently pose to the blind community due to the lack of sound emissions. We currently have 4 cosponsors to this bill from Missouri, Representatives Blunt, Carnahan, Emerson, and Graves.
In conclusion I would like to once again thank MCB and its membership for its continued support of our legislative efforts on a state and national level. We have had some real challenges the past several years but MCB has risen to meet those challenges and has overcome with flying colors. Thank you all so very much for your support these past three years for me as your Education and Welfare Chairman.
May God continue to bless all of our organizational endeavors.
MCB Education and Welfare Chairman
By DeAnna Noriega
In this age of digital talking books, computers fitted with screen reader software, audio labeling systems like the Pen Friend, some believe that learning braille is no longer necessary for people with vision loss. It's true that we have reached an age when more access to printed material is available than ever before. Senior citizens are told that braille is too hard; parents are told that there aren't enough instructors and audio reading is a better choice anyway. If you ask my generation who grew up reading and writing Braille, I think you would get a different reaction.
I save any heavy duty plastic or card stock for labeling everything from spices to charger cords for all of my wonderful technology. When one of my note taking devices hiccups or crashes, I am grateful for old three by five inch address and phone number cards. Magnetic can labels help me find the tomato soup among identically shaped cans of cream of mushroom on the shelf. A few French knots on clothing labels aid me in locating the black tights among the brown ones in my sock drawer. A Perkins Brailler is close at hand near both my home and office computers to jot down a phone number or quick shopping list. A slate and stylus is in my purse and in my briefcase. I don't worry about power outages or battery conditions. Even the note takers I use have Braille displays so I can reference data by touch in a meeting or edit documents. Speech often misses that stray punctuation or sound alike word when I rely on a screen reader for this kind of task.
What do I mean by survival Braille? I believe unless neuropathy makes it impossible for a person to feel Braille, knowledge of at least grade I. Braille can be an advantage to any person experiencing vision loss. This is enough for you to read room numbers in a hotel, the floor buttons in an elevator and use a calendar or phone number. You don't need to get proficient enough to read a novel, but you won't panic if left alone in an elevator and have to push buttons and check the large numerals on the door frame to learn how the panel is laid out. You won't end up dropping Brussels sprouts instead of frozen strawberries into your punch. You can play Scrabble or Uno with a grandchild, keep track of small bits of information such as your flight and seat number, or directions on the side of a cake mix box. Sure there are high tech answers out there, but sometimes the reliability factor and low cost of using Braille makes sense to use methods that have worked for centuries. Like most skills, the more you use them, the easier they get too. If you are looking for ways to simplify and enhance your life after vision loss, then give Braille a chance. It might surprise you how useful it is as a basic independent living skill.
THE BLIND SPORTSCASTER
(reprinted from the October, 2009 edition of Connections)
The Spanish voice of Tampa Bay Rays baseball, Enrique “The Volcano" Oliu was born blind. Kelly Cobiella reports on the sports broadcaster's gift to explain a game he has never seen. Enrique Oliu, the radio voice of Tampa Bay Rays baseball. (CBS) They call him “the volcano." From the first pitch to the last out, Enrique Oliu, the Spanish voice of Tampa Bay Rays baseball starts talking - and doesn't stop.
“When you listen to him talk, you can visualize what he's saying," says Rays fan Manny Carmona. “Now, the question is how does he visualize it?"
How indeed, when he's never seen a single game. Enrique Oliu has been blind since birth.
Oliu told CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella, “I see light and that's about it. And the rest of it I just imagine what it would be."
While his partner in the booth calls the play. While Oliu listens to the crack of the bat, and the sound of the crowd to fill in the colorful details.
“He listened to the radio when he was a kid and he heard the TV broadcast. And that's what he always wanted to do. And he would never let anyone tell him he couldn't," says co-worker Mark Haze. He talks to everyone, and soaks up everything.
“He’s talking to me about base running, and the instinct's right there," says Rays manager, Joe Maddon. “How do you know about instincts without ever seeing a base runner, I have no idea."
Oliu says there's certain things that you just “feel, plus homework, plus everything else."
Everything else includes an understanding wife, Debbie. They met eleven years ago on a blind date. Every morning, she reads him the sports page. And every baseball evening, she whispers sweet statistics in his ear.
What's truly remarkable is not how Enrique Oliu sees baseball, but how he sees himself.
He doesn't think of himself as amazing.
“I think of myself as being a blind schmuck that's been fortunate to get a microphone."
He's got a passion for life, as much as the game.
Blind Sox fan gets MLB to even game
By Jason Woods,
(reprinted from the Boston Globe)
Like any true Red Sox fan, Brian Charlson attends as many games as possible, and listens to the rest, play by play, on the radio. But when it came to reading stats, his blindness sometimes got in the way. Not any longer.
At the urging of Charlson and fellow advocates, Major League Baseball rolled out a series of accessibility features this week on all league and team websites aimed at making statistics, ticketing, and other information fully accessible to the visually impaired.
"Blind people are big fans of baseball," said Charlson, who is director of computer Training Services at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.
"It's a sport where the play by play can make sense to a blind person. You've only got the pitcher, batter and fielder. With only three people to keep track of at any one time, it is a lot easier to keep track of than say, football."
Charlson, who lost his sight at 11, has long struggled to access information on league websites. In 2008, Charlson and a low-vision friend went on a baseball tour, attending eight games in six cities over eight days. They used the Internet to plan their entire trip, from hotels to tickets to transportation. However, they were often met with websites that were not easily navigated by the visually impaired.
"We looked at all the websites of all the teams, we purchased our tickets either online or got the phone number and called when the online ticketing system didn't work for us," he said. "We booked our hotels online, and when the Net let us down we used the phone. That's partly how we learned what worked and what didn't work."
After Charlson and several blindness advocacy groups approached Major League Baseball last year with their complaints, they were surprised to find their suggestions not only welcomed, but fast-tracked.
''We've never experienced that, where we didn't have to hold someone's toes to the fire," he said.
The features, which were announced Wednesday, are the result of a joint effort between Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind, and the California Council of the Blind.
Charlson accesses the internet using speech software that reads the links and makeup of websites he visits. Web developers take each piece of information on a site - links, pictures, video - and embed HTML descriptions that Charlson's software can see and read aloud. Now, Major League Baseball websites have a small feature that is virtually invisible to sighted users but that gives Charlson everything he needs to take advantage of the wealth of information on the sites.
"It's what's called a zero pixel gif, that's too small for you to see it because it's just a dot," Charlson said. While the dot is inaccessible to traditional point and click users, Charlson's software finds the information and reads it as a link, allowing him to access features.
"Our goal is not to have separate but equal, but to have universal access," Charlson said. "This gives me navigation of the website, without them going out and modifying their entire structure to meet my needs. There are ways to create solutions for the blind that do not add complexity for the sighted."
As the league developed solutions, Charlson said he got goosebumps as he began to follow and interact with his favorite team like an average fan -even voting for the All-Star Game for the first time.
"This past year was the first time I could read the stats on all the players; all of it was accessible," he said. "Although I didn't agree with all the All-star selections, I felt like a part of it for the first time."
Charlson hopes the effort will lead to other professional sports and organizations improving their user interface for the vision-impaired.
"It's exciting that MLB has joined with us in this effort, hearing what the blindness community needs to take full advantage of this wonderful thing that is baseball. They are setting the stage for other sports to do likewise. Next season I'll be asking the NFL, and I'll say, 'See what MLB can do? You don't want to be outshined by the MLB.'"
MEMBER OF THE MONTH
Member of the Month Award Winners are:
Oct., Trudy Blood, Blind of Central Missouri; Nov., Richard Kolasch, Rite for the Blind;
Dec., Edna Malone Kenser, Southeast Missouri
United Blind Club; and
Jan., Teresa Evans, Lake Stockton Area
Council of the Blind.
Congratulations and thank you for all that you do for your community, affiliate, and MCB.
Take time to send the name of someone special for Member of the Month. There are many who are deserving. If you do not have time to write up a nomination, please call one of the committee members and give them your suggestion and why you are nominating the person.
Member of the Month Committee
Yvonne Schnitzler, Chair
You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you
can by what others say about him."
There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the
real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.
‑‑ G. K. Chesterton
Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness; bad
days give you experiences; both are essential to life.
Over, Around and Across Missouri
Let’s Find Out What’s Happening Where
The Blind Of Central Missouri
Hello from Sedalia,
When you read this spring will be here,
Hope all are having a very good year.
Our Thanksgiving dinner was a big success. We had around 60 members and guests.
We have a new member in our club. Her name is Rhonda Alderson, and she is sighted. She is Kevin Alderson's new bride. They were married on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Kevin is also a member of our club.
Our affiliate will be selling candy bars again this year. It was such a good fundraiser for us. We were supposed to get them in January. We didn't get them then because of the bad weather.
Until next time, keep your smile, and a song in your heart; and if you can't be good,
be good at it.
Braille Revival League of Missouri
This year promises to be a busy one for BRL of Missouri. Plans are under way to develop a resource list which will include various free and pay-for sources where Braille books of many genres and for all ages can be obtained. We are making presentations to a number of
schools about the use of Braille and its importance. We also will be including seniors in various presentations and in articles by demonstrating and writing about various ways that Braille can be used: i.e., reading elevator buttons and identifying floor and room numbers, labeling medicine bottles, etc.
Later this year we plan to begin fundraising. In order to carry on with some future projects which we have discussed, we will need to bring in some money so that we can begin to implement them. You'll be hearing more about our fundraising activities later this year.
If you haven't already done so, do consider joining BRL. We need as many dedicated members as possible to get out there and promote and support the use of Braille!
Joplin Service Club of the Blind
Greetings To All,
We hope that all of you are enjoying the New Year, despite the winter weather.
Our group attended the US Airforce Band concert at Memorial Hall back in Nov., and everyone really enjoyed it.
We had our Annual Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Telephone Pioneers, and following the meal entertainment was provided by two amazingly talented 9 & 10 year old violinists. They are brother and sister and have won many awards for their talents.
The Association held their Annual Chili & Soup Fundraiser in Nov. and had very successful results. Many of the Service Club members do volunteer duties to help with this event.
We were able to enjoy the Annual Christmas Dinner and entertainment, hosted by St. Mary's Catholic Church; then it was time to break for the Holidays for the next 2 weeks. Little did we know that it would turn out to be 4 weeks break, due to the weather! Everyone was so eager to get back together again by the time the ice and snow melted. As I am writing this we are expecting ice and snow again.
We have recently "Welcomed" as new members, Gloria Beagle, Wynonia Hinds, Helen Hopper, and Jim Murray.
Until next time,
Lake Stockton Area Council
We wish you a Happy 2010!
We had much to give thanks for at our Thanksgiving Banquet. Many of our members have serious health problems. It was a blessing for God to grant us one more union.
As when one light dims, we are provided a new shaft, as in our newest member John Torbett. He resides in Bolivar. Wife, Aline, serves as our board member. John is a proud member of the Disabled American Veterans. He enjoys being with Family and watching them grow.
Our prayers are with Louise Cockrell, on the passing of her husband, Walter, on November 13, 2009. He was a faithful member, who with
Louise, kept us happy as recipients of her delectable bakery.
Leota Amblin celebrated her Nov. 27 birthday. We prepared her a Rainbow Cake with candles to blow out, and she was wished well,
especially by her guide dog, Haley.
We certainly had a white Christmas. Snow blanketed the Lake Stockton area. We shared our fondest memories of Christmas past. Most memorable was a recitation by Helen Gillham on "The Little Things," we remember at the seasons, as the surprise in a child's face on Christmas morning, as remarkable as a diamond ring present.
Eunice Ballinger was welcomed as our new board member. She has been a member since 2003. She graciously has supported one sister in the past, and one presently, Helen Gillam.
Due to the precarious weather, we decided to cancel our Jan. meeting. We snuggled by the fire, and made New Year's Resolutions to reach out to new & fellow members of the Lake Stockton Area Council of the Blind.
Happy New Year!
Angie Crowson, Secretary
Missouri Guide Dog Users
We have two items to offer this time. Which will be of interest to readers. The first concerns information about a survey which Alicia Starner posted to the Missouri Guide Dog Users e-mail list. Please read and consider responding to this survey, as many guide dog users may benefit.
Please consider filling out the brief survey below. Your answers will be anonymous and will be used to help establish a nonprofit organization based in Iowa to provide financial assistance to service dog teams. The goal of
the program is to ensure disabled people who use service dogs have the financial support they need to provide ongoing or emergency medical care ALLOWING their canine partner TO stay healthy. If this organization is
established, disabled people partnered with service dogs in the United States will be able to apply for assistance to offset the costs of veterinary care. Use the links below to access the brief survey. For service animal users”:
For prospective donors:
“Thank you for taking the time to help us gain valuable information that will
help establish an organization to provide financial support to people who
use service dogs. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
You will be interested to know that within a few weeks of the writing of this article (at the beginning of February), new guidelines from the Department of Justice should be going into effect which relate to service animals. If you are interested in reading more about these new regulations, point your Web browser to
where you will find a comprehensive article entitled Service Animals and the Law.
Some of the major changes in the new regulations include the omission of farm animals, (rabbits, goats, horses, pigs, etc.), primates and other such animals in those allowed to be counted as service animals. The list of duties which service animals can perform has been expanded. Comfort animals are not to be considered under the law. So Mrs. Smith can't bring along her Pomeranian, Fluffy, because she feels happier when Fluffy is present however, psychiatric service animals can be considered under the law. Psychiatric service animals perform duties which ameliorate or ease certain psychiatric conditions, alert their owners when it is time to take medications, and aid persons who may become disoriented to find their way. Of course, guide, hearing and service dogs are included under the new regulations.
Springfield Service Club
Our club's annual traditional Thanksgiving dinner occurred at a local restaurant as usual.
In December, our meeting featured our traditional Christmas dinner and $5.00 gift exchange.
The regular meeting location for our club is now Ziggie's Cafe.
Janelle Edwards, Secretary
St. Charles County Council
By the time you are reading this update, most of this winter will be passed, Daylight savings time will be here and we will be on our way to spring. My wife usually tells me to shut up when I tell her that summer's just around the corner when it's still February. Nevertheless, this winter was a time for St. Charles County Council to regroup, count our blessings and enjoy the positive direction St. Charles Council has taken. We were fortunate to be able to assist a family in need for Christmas which, especially in these tough times, is so important. We were also able to come together as a council for a Christmas party and dinner, taking advantage of the time when we didn't have to conduct business and could just let our hair down and joke around. We even had a little band that played country music and all of our favorite Christmas songs. Special thanks should go out to all who made this gathering a success including the ones who worked so hard in rounding up the Christmas gift donations for the party.
As 2010 rolls around we are already putting our heads together for the next fundraiser planned for this spring. The cook books are selling briskly, but still available for sale for $12 if anyone wants to stun their friends and loved ones with recipes from famous and not so famous contributors. You can call me if you'd like at 314-440-0902 for orders or contact the MCB office at 314-832-7172 to be directed to our sales department. Operators are standing by.
In April, we will be electing a number of new officers and have started the process of planning our installment dinner in June.
I would like to extend a warm welcome aboard to any new MCB affiliates, and look forward to an update from them and great success to all affiliates of MCB.
That's about all for now. Everyone take care and as Jerry Springer says, "be good to yourselves and each other."
First Vice Pres
St. Louis Council
Smiles and sunshine from our corner,
A few years back we decided that pre-Christmas time was so hectic and so busy that it would be easier to fit our party into the week between Christmas and New Year. So it is that we have a Holiday party; and a great one it was, too, with some wonderful food and lots of fun.
Mary Hale not only recently got a guide dog, she also got a cochlear implant. She was astounded at all the things she could hear. She said she had no idea the refridgerator was so noisy!
In February we held our second “Make-out” party. It is not only a good fund raiser, but a fun one, too. The next one will be May 15th, and if you are in the st. Louis area, we would love to have you join us. “Make-out” is a game we created to take the place of bingo. It is played with alphabet cards, and the object of the game is to “make out” a word from the cards you are dealt. It is a lot of fun, and the time just flies by.
And on that subject of time flying by, a couple more weeks and it will be Easter. We wish you and yours a blessed one; and a pleasant spring.
Bill Benson, president
THE EDITORIAL EYE
Joyce Lehman poses the following questions:
“Does anyone know why social security has to send a font size or format that works for low vision or blind and why Missouri social services doesn't have to follow that law?
Has the cost of re-investigations each year ever been published?
Why the social services folks cannot believe doctors that inform them blind people will be blind for life barring a miracle in their lives?
This has to be an awful large amount of money over one client's lifetime let alone thousands.
THE MCB RHYMOCEROS
Times have gotten pretty bad.
To show how far it’s gone:
I hear that Motel 6 has quit
Leaving the light on!
FROM THE LOWER LEFTHAND DRAWER
I think that spring is close at hand; and do I hear a loud cheer from us all? It seems like we’ve waited a long time.
Well, let us wait no longer to drag out the contents of the drawer. As always I must remind you that a mention of a product or service in no way constitutes either a solicitation or an endorsement. Okay, with that in mind, here we go:
A Tip From Dan Thompson: I have not tried this, since I am totally blind, but thought there are those getting this publication who are partially sighted and love reading when there's a slot of time available. This is the patented book cover that illuminates your reading material anywhere without requiring a separate book light. A light built into the cover's spine turns on automatically when it is pulled out and turns off when it is retracted. Its dual LEDs cast bright light across both pages and its head can be precisely adjusted so as not to disturb airplane seatmates or a dozing spouse. The cover is durable yet pliable .8 mm black leatherette that won't split or crack and protects against dirt and spills. Includes an attached cloth bookmark. Requires three AA batteries that provide 40 hours of illumination. For more information call Hammacher Schlemmer at (800) 321-1484.
A Warning: Bev Armstrong sends along the following reminder. “Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers, by Susan Johnson. With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States span and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data. The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice: If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau. AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION.. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Coblestone Camp Dates: the following dates are scheduled for the MCB’s camp sessions, June 6 through the 13th; July 18 through the 25th; and the extended weekend dates are September 9 through the 12th. Get your applications as soon as possible. If you need an application you can ask your affiliate president or call the MCB office.
Another Possible Camping Opportunity: “The Gospel Association for the blind hosts an annual camp for blind adults. This is a fun time to meet other blind people from across the United States. Simply send $25 to the address below and an application will be sent to you. First timers may have their fee and transportation paid for. Are You Ready For The GAB's 2010 Siloam Bible Conference and Camping Session? This year our theme is: A PASSION FOR CHRIST IS A PASSION FOR LIFE. Preparations for camp are in their final stages. This year, the dates for camp are Saturday, May 22 - Saturday, May 29, 2010. Our camp will be held in New Caney, Texas at the Golden Cross Ranch. New Caney is just north of Houston, Texas. Our morning Bible teacher is Bro. Bruce Coonce who is the Assistant Pastor of San Marcos Community Baptist Church in San Marcos, Texas. Bro. Coonce has a unique style of teaching which makes the Scriptures practical to our daily lives. The evening services will be conducted by our camp director, Bro. George Gray. Besides the morning and evening services, which hopefully will feed and refresh your soul, there are a host of activities planned to introduce you to Texas. A variety of activities are planned through the week, including swimming each day, horseback riding, horseshoe pitching and hayrides to name just a few. During the hours when there are no activities, you will be able to sit on large cushioned couches and chairs and "chat" with old and new friends in the lounges of the two air-conditioned dormitories. If you are in good health and between the ages of 17 and 68 get your applications. Come and enjoy the good food, fun, fellowship and Bible teaching at the 2010 Gospel Association for the Blind's Silaom Bible Conference! Registration for camp closes on April 15, 2010 so there is no time to waste to get your application in! The cost of the week of camp is $220. If you cannot afford the full amount, we will try to get a sponsor. Likewise, if you need help with transportation, please let us know. A $25 non-refundable registration fee should be mailed to:
The Gospel Association for the Blind
PO Box 1162
Bunnell, FL 32110
Phone: (386) 586-5885.
Upon receipt of this non-refundable $25 registration fee, our camp application form along with a medical form and other camp information will be mailed to you. Please include a 3 by 5 card with your name, address, phone number and e-mail and cell number if available. We are looking forward to a great week at camp! Our goal is to be a place away from the normal day to day surroundings, where you can relax and let down your guard long enough to receive that fresh touch from God. A toll free line has been set up where you can call and get updates to Camp Siloam 2010: (866) 251-5165. Enter mailbox 7128#.
Braille Jewelry: “My name is Kelly Fehr and “I am a jewelry designer in VA who specializes in jewelry for the blind and visually impaired. Please check out my website and share my line with anyone who would like special handmade items with Braille. Thanks!--Kelly
Please check out my website:
I have a variety of pendents, crosses and such. You can write me at:
Kelly M. Fehr
313 Meadow Beauty Ct.
Waynesboro VA 22980
Or call me at office phone: (540) 221-4548or cell (631) 875-3558.”
A Medicare Message From Chubby Checker: "Listen up, America! For 50 years, people of all ages and backgrounds have danced the Twist," Chubby Checker said. "Now it's important everyone learn about this new twist in the law. Check it out at www.socialsecurity.
To qualify for extra help, people must meet certain resource and income limits. The new Medicare law eases those requirements in two ways. First, it eliminates the cash value of life insurance from counting as a resource. Second, it eliminates the assistance people receive from others to pay for household expenses, such as food, rent, mortgage or utilities, from counting as income. There also is another important "twist" in the law. The
application for extra help can now start the application process for Medicare Savings Programs -- state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. These programs help pay Medicare Part B (medical insurance)
premiums. For some people, the Medicare Savings Programs also pay Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and B deductibles and co-payments.
To learn more about the extra help program and to view the new TV spot featuring Chubby Checker, go to:
Or call (410) 965-8904.” FAX (410) 966-9973.
Church Conference: The National Church Conference Of The Blind will hold its 2010 annual Bible conference July 24th through the 29th at the Marten House Hotel and Lilly Conference Center, 1801 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46260. Hotel phone (317) 872-4111; reservations (317) 736-5634. Hotel room rate is $89 + taxes, per night with up to four PEOPLE TO A ROOM. For more information, contact Mrs. Rheba Dunn, the Membership Secretary at (970) 895-2352 or go to the NCCB website
A gift for first-timers will be given.
You Might Have Money Coming: Celita White sends along this tip: “I was watching our local news about unclaimed money that is sitting in Jefferson City. Just for grins I looked up several names and there are a few of you out there that have money to be claimed. It may be as little as a dollar or more than $50. The web site is showmemoney.com which is a web site of the Missouri Treasurer.”
Digital Cartridges: Richard Smith, director of Wolfner Library, would like those of us with the new digital talking book machines to know that Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products of the Perkins School for the Blind, is now selling 1GB digital talking-book cartridges and compatible USB cables, designed to be used with NLS digital talking-book machines. Blank 1GB cartridges are $14.95, while blank 1GB cartridges bundled with a compatible 36-inch USB cable are $17.95. The USB cable may also be purchased separately for $3.95. Customers ordering by phone or online may use credit cards. Perkins also accepts e-mail or fax purchase orders. To place an order, contact Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products, as follows: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (978) 462-3817
Fax: (978) 462-3928. I understand that the American Printing House is also selling blank cartridges at $11.99 each. Their toll-free number is” (800) 223-1839. In addition to all that, you can request a blank cartridge and USB cable free of charge from Wolfner Library.
Battery Tester: The EZ Test Battery Tester is an audible or audible and vibrating battery tester designed for use by individuals who are blind or deaf blind or who have low vision. The tester is available in an audible version (model 1-03968-00) that reports battery status by beeps, and an audible/tactile version (model 1-03969-00) that reports battery status by vibrations and beeps. A flexible testing wire allows for testing of 1.5-volt batteries, including AAA, AA, C, and D batteries. Also included are two contacts for testing 9-volt batteries. The unit comes with instructions in print, Braille, and on cassette. An attached elastic band holds testing wire while the unit is stored. It uses 2 triple-A batteries. Dimension: 4.5 x 1.1 x 0.6 inches. Warranty: One year.
Talk Shop: “Talkshop is a chat line that I run along with another lady and is predominantly for blind and visually impaired folks. It is a great place to meet and greet people you've never met and meet up with people you already know. We are like a nice big family. We are always looking for new people and love forging new friendships and meeting folks from all over the place. Simply dial the number that is in my signature, and listen to the greeting. Long distance charges do apply so most people have flat rate long distance or use their night and weekend free minutes on their cell phones. Hope to see many of you there.
Call my new chat line for the blind at (724) 444-359.”
MCB is participating in a program in collaboration with Schnucks grocery stores. If you live in the St. Louis, Washington, Jefferson City, Columbia or Cape Girardeau Missouri area you can help MCB to bring in
revenue simply by shopping at the Schnucks Store in your town. This free program works off of a scannable card that designates MCB as the recipient charity of choice for you. It does not increase the cost of your groceries. The cards are available at the MCB office at no charge. We would love to mail one out to you so that we can begin receiving the benefits. It is simple and costs you nothing. With your participation, MCB receives the following dollar benefits depending on your monthly grocery purchases: Note: Cards for the Schnuck's stores in Cape Girardeau differ in looks from all the other Schnucks location store cards. If you shop at Schnucks in Cape
Girardeau please let us know this when you request a card. Though different in looks, if you present your Cape Girardeau Schnucks card at any other Schnucks location it will read and post correctly to MCB
Get A Grip: I hope, by the time you read this, you won’t have to give much thought to getting around on ice or snow. Nevertheless, you may want to make a note of this next item to get prepared for next winter’s onslaught.
“I came across these slip resistant overshoes. Talking to the distributor, I expressed my concerns with using a guide dog. He felt that there would not be an issue and arranged for the manufacturer to send me a pair to evaluate. Well today I needed a few things from the hardware store over a mile away, and we were having a snowstorm. So for a test walk I went. I traversed many situations, a few inches of snow, slush, cleared pavement and even some ice. I was very impressed with the way that they performed. I even walked on tile
and laminate flooring with no problems.
To describe them, they are kind of a sandal look. There are 8 studs that stick out about 1/16 inch. There are also several rubber cleats without studs which keep you from sliding on a tile floor. When I first received the sample pair, I was quite impressed. I called a
friend who is the chief of police to tell him about them for the force. He laughed and told me that they acquired them last year and have no problems. He can walk across the icy parking lot into the marble floor and not fall. After a year of use they show little wear.
My opinion is that they are the next best thing to dry sidewalks. Here is a link that has more information if you are interested.
Tax Help: ACB’s Ardis Bazyn wants you to know about The Alternative Media Center Spread the word about talking tax forms http://amc.enterprise.irs.gov/pdf.php
Talking forms are the latest tools to aid those who are blind or visually impaired. The
forms are easy to use with Microsoft Active Accessibility compliant screen readers and Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software.
Tell your friends and neighbors - you could make taxes less taxing for someone. The AMC provides alternative media resources for you and for taxpayers with disabilities. Popular products include accessible electronic files and hard copy Braille and large print. Please visit the AMC
Web site for these and other products.
Disability Rights Legislative Day: DeAnna Noriega wanted us to know that the state Disability Rights Legislative Day Rally will be held this year in Jefferson City on March 23; not much more time to make your plans. If you would like more information regarding this day or the organizations participating, please call (800) 500-7878 or visit
(Click on "Public Policy" then "Advocacy 101" for training packets, agenda and other important information.)
White Canes: “I am Bob Riley the owner of
B-Canes. We are a company that employs the blind and visually impaired. I started this company for the demand of canes for the blind. I found that most of the canes were being made overseas and not contributing to the US work force. The reason I started this company is to provide employment for the blind. My goal is to grow the company, and provide even more employment for the blind and visually impaired down the road. I am visually impaired myself. We make both rigid and folding canes. The rigid canes are made by gluing two to three different sizes of filament wound fiberglass tubing together depending on the customer's preference. The Fiberglass wound tubing is made here in the United States. These can be made in any length you wish, and we can also make child size canes. The folding canes we make are made from 100% of the same material which is rated five times stronger than steel. Both the rigid and folding are wrapped in a high grade white reflective tape. I hope that next time you are planning to place an order for white canes you will consider trying B-Canes. I strongly feel that you won't regret giving our canes a try. I thank you for your time.—Sincerely, Bob Riley” B-CANES; 1633 N. Irving
Fremont, Ne. 68025. Phone, (402) 727-5806 or (402) 960-9880. Email, email@example.com
No More Sticks: I recently heard a radio commercial from U S A Medical in which they were talking about a talking glucose meter you can use on your arm instead of your finger. In case you want to check into it further, there number is (800) 984-7022.
Friends of Wolfner Library: These folks do a lot of things for Wolfner, needs the library cannot afford to provide its patrons. Some of these include annually sponsoring the Wolfner’s children summer reading program; paying for Wolfner to purchase 6,600 blank digital cartridges for the Library’s 2009 transition to digital and downloadable books; paying for 5,000 digital cartridge mail containers for the 2009 digital transition so Missourians could be amply supplied with NLS digital books; budgeting for the purchase of digital duplication equipment so that Wolfner Library will be able to keep up with the high demand for these new digital books; funding the "Say How" data base of difficult to pronounce words and proper names, that audio book readers and broadcasters from around the world use; (go to http://www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner/SayHow/ and check it out) purchasing promotional items for distributing through Wolfner’s community and statewide outreach programs; underwriting the production of Wolfner's "Show Me Missouri" Braille/large print/tactile map; annually recognizing Wolfner Library staff anniversaries and volunteers; and providing feedback concerning library services upon request.
You can make a difference by becoming a Friend of Wolfner Library today! Your membership will help Wolfner provide better services for the more than 17,000 visually impaired Missourians who depend on its provision.
Levels of membership range from •$3.00 for students, •$5.00 for individuals,$10.00 for families, plus higher levels for those who just want to make a contribution. Join the Friends of Wolfner Library today! It's great to be a FRIEND! Call the Library for more information.
Power Up Conference: Save The Date!
Power Up 2010 Assistive Technology Conference & Expo is coming your way on April 26 & 27, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Select in Columbia, Missouri. Discover new AT devices and resources from interactive sessions and panels with experts including assistive technology users. The sessions and Expo highlight the broad range of assistive devices and services for work, the classroom, the community, and home. Try out adaptive software and hardware in the hands-on learning lab in the Expo! An excellent bang for your buck, early registration for both days is $125 by March 19, then $150 after that date. The tentative agenda is available online at http://at.mo.gov/powerup/index.html.
Free Cell Phone: Mary Hale sends along the following bit of interesting information.
“In Missouri you can get A FREE SafeLink Wireless phone, A FREE cellular plan that gives you 68 Minutes every month. Click below to learn more info and apply
You qualify for Lifeline Service in your area if... You already participate in one of the following assistance programs: Federal Public Housing Assistance/Section 8; Federal Social Security Disability; Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP); MO HealthNet (Medicaid); National School Lunch Program (NSL); Payments Administered by the Family Support Division, State Aid to Blind Persons, State Blind Pension, State Supplemental Disability Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); or Veteran Administration Disability Benefits
A Little Help From John: I wrote an article elsewhere in this issue about this being the fiftieth anniversary edition of the Chronicle. In it I mentioned that one of our previous editors was John Weidlich who brought his own unique style to the job. One of John’s favorite features was the Lower Lefthand Drawer. He still loves sharing things he feels might be of interest to you such as the following:
“I signed up today to get notices from Social Security in Braille. If you haven't done that yet, it is very easy to do. You can do it by phone, and everything is automated. The number to call is (877) 708-1776. Follow the choices to get to a list of format choices and choose the one you want. I chose to get information in Braille, but you can get regular print by certified mail, large print, information read over the phone, or Microsoft Word document on a computer disc.
You also give your Social Security number, date of birth, phone number and first and last name and it is done. The notices in alternate formats are supposed to start in April. Since we won this right via a law suit, I think we should take advantage of it if it is important to us. You can also sign up for this service by going to the web site
and follow the steps. You can also ask for a different format from the ones provided by call ing the social security office at (800) 772-1213 and request it. Social security will decide whether a special requested format will be provided under the court approved guidelines. If the request is denied it can be appealed. When I signed up for Braille, I was not asked for any proof of blindness.”
Many thanks, John, for many, many things.
Well, the Chronicle has had quite a run over these past fifty years. I’m sure you join me in wishing it smooth sailing and a good run during the years to come.
We’ve all been so anxious for spring to get here. Let’s enjoy every minute of it; and let’s plan on getting together again in June.
March, 2 010 Insert
MISSOURI COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
5453 Chippewa Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63109
Phone: (314) 832-7172 or
Toll-free: (1-800) 342-5632
Fax: (314) 832-7796
OFFICERS, DIRECTORS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS
President: Dennny Huff
PO Box 515; St.Clair, MO 63077
Phone: (636) 262-1383
or toll-free, (888) 362-1383
First Vice-president: James Hollins
4731 Sycamore Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64129
Phone: (816)841-9206 or (816) 739-6097
Second Vice-president: Michael Keller
St. Louis, MO 63118
Phone: (314) 771-5195
Secretary: Linda Coccovizzo
213 Farm Rd. #96
Springfield, MO 65803
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Treasurer: William Hawkins
Kansas City, MO 64114
Director: Beverly Kaskadden
646 Woodchuck Lane; Lake St. Louis, MO 63367
Phone: (636) 561-6947
Director: Steve Schnelle
1465 Vesper Dr., Florissant, MO 63031
Phone: (314) 838-5868
Director: Gregg Hollins
3050 Harrison, Apt. F
Kansas City, MO 64009
Phone: (816) 931-5151
Executive Director: Jennifer Parker
Director of Development: Lowell Newsom
Adaptive Technology Grants: Janelle Edwards;
2339 W Cantebury
Springfield, MO 65810
Phone: (417) 882-1516
Budget and Finance: William Hawkins
Kansas City, MO 64114
Building Committee: Charles Johnson
1920 east Warne Avenue
Saint Louis, Mo.63107
Chronicle: Bill Benson
612 Francis Place;
St. Louis, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 863-6353
Convention Coordinator: Susan Sanderson
1720 S. Stewart
Sedalia, MO 65301
Credentials Donna Geiger
827 N. Nettleton
Springfield, MO 65802
Phone: (417) 866-5778
Education and Welfare: Chip Hailey
2940 W. 17th St., Joplin, MO 64801
Phone: (417) 781-6728
Emergency Preparedness: Bunny Maginnis
320 Nicole Ct.
Sullivan, MO 63088
Phone: (573) 468- 5378
401Task Force: Patricia Schonlau
St. Louis, MO 63109
Phone: (314) 481-6722
Health Benefits: Cathy Brauner
808 E. Megan Ln.
Webb City, MO 64870
Phone: (417) 673-0109
Internet: Beau Barnhart
25325 Lawnwood Ct.
Kansas City, MO 64064
Phone: (816) 524-8433
Low Vision: Scott Vroegindewey
3912 Charlotte Street
Kansas City, Mo 64110
Phone: (816) 213-8222
Member of the Month committee: Yvonne Schnitzler
2107 Hwy. 61
Festus, MO 63028
Membership: Tom and Brandi Jones
510 N. Hocker
Independence, MO 64050
Phone: (816) 254-6385
Personnel: Patricia Schonlau
St. Louis, MO 63109
Phone: (314) 481-6722
Public Relations: Leroy Welsh
Rt. 2 Box 284
Butler, MO 64730
Phone: (660) 679-5429
RSB Representative: Beverly Armstrong
2149 Gray Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63117
Phone: (314) 781-1866
Resource and Development: DeAnna Noriega
5774 Windy Meadows Ln.
Fulton, MO 65251
Phone: (719) 641-1457
Resolutions: John Weidlich
St. Louis, MO 63109
Phone: (314) 752-3031
Scholarships: Jerrell Holt
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
Phone: (573) 785-0511
Special Services: Linda Burris
1906 Bluebird Way
West Plains, MO 65775
Strategic Plan: Naomi Soule
1731 B. S. 11th St.
St. Louis, MO 63104
Phone: (314) 588-9255
Summer Camp: Beverly Shockley
St. Louis, MO 63139
Phone: (314) 352-4233
Transportation: Robyn Wallen
12426 Lighthouse Way - Apt H
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Phone: (314) 878-3389
Wolfner Advisory Council: Alicia Starner
14 Harlan Dr.
Sedalia, MO 65301
Phone: (660) 827-3776
Youth Services: Linda Gerken
Hughesville, MO 65334
Phone: (660) 826-1690
Agape Council of the Blind:
President, Bessie Reece
607 N. Grand, apt. 204
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 534-4825
Allied Workers for the Blind
President, Tom Jones
510 N. Hocker
Independence, MO 64050
Phone: (816) 254-6385
Blind Of Central Missouri
President, Linda Gerken
Hughesville, MO 65334
Phone: (660) 826-1690
Delta Area Blind
President: Kristi Ryan
120 Norval St.
Sikeston, MO 63801
Phone: (573) 481-0402
Joplin Service Club of the Blind
President, Sandy Goettel
3210 N. Elmwood Dr.
Joplin, MO 64801
Phone: (417) 659-8974
Lake Stockton Area Council
President, Teresa Evans
2248 East 514th Rd.;
Halfway, MO 65663
Phone: (417) 267-0216
Ozark Association of the Blind
President, Melvin Brown
1707 Old St. Mary's Rd.
Perryville, MO 63775
Phone: (573) 547-2729
Pony Express Assoc. of the Blind
President: Betty Anders Beaver
13387 S.E. 55th Rd.;
Agency, MO 64401
Phone: (816) 253-9278
Progressive Council of the Blind
President, Barbara Dewberry
8306 E. 99th street
Kansas City, MO 64134
Queen City Council of the Blind
President, Louise Lathrop
1452 E. Portland
Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: (417) 782-9888
Rite for the Blind
President: Bunny Maginnis
701 Tessa Dr.
Sullivan, MO 63080
Phone: (573) 468-5378
River City Workers of the Blind
President: Clifford Bangert
2463 Alpine Dr.
Jackson, MO 63755
Phone: (573) 243-0044
St. Charles County Council of the Blind
President, Aaron Lane
1177 Sunny Slope Ct.
O'Fallon, MO 63366
Phone: (636) 379-2240
St. Louis Council of the Blind
President, Bill Benson
612 Francis Place
St. Louis, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 863-6353
Southeast Missouri United Blind Club
President: Tony Pickerell
3090 Elaine Ave.
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
Phone: (573) 776-1699
Southwest Missouri Friendship Council
President, Rita Galbraith
804 Snyder St.
Webb City, MO 64870
Phone: (417) 673-8559
Springfield Service Club of the Blind
President, Lisa Filroy
2219 S. Kings
Springfield, MO 65807
Phone: (417) 887-8503
Tower Club of the Blind
President, Jesuita Tabor
1920 E. Warne Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63107
Phone: (314) 383-2045
United Workers for the Blind
President, Rhonda Dycus;
5653 Janet Ave.;
St. Louis, MO 63136-3517
MCB SPECIAL INTEREST AFFILIATES
Adaptive Technology Inc.
President, Denny Huff
PO Box 515; St.Clair, MO 63077
Phone: (636) 262-1383or toll-free, (888) 362-1383
Braille Revival League of Missouri
President, Bessie Reece
607 N. Grand, apt. 204
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 534-4825
Library Users of Missouri
President, Phyllis Zirkle
11695 SW Rogers Rd.
Stewartsville, MO 64490
Phone: (816) 667-5884
Missouri Guide Dog Users
President, Steve Schnelle
1465 Vesper Dr.
Florissant, MO 63031
Phone: (314) 838-5868