December 2010 Chronicle

December 2010 Chronicle





I want to say a big thanks to all of you that supported me in my reelection as your president.  I sincerely appreciate not only the support, but the words of encouragement I have received.  It is an honor to serve you and I only hope that I can continue to represent you in a positive and productive manner.  If you ever have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I would welcome any input from any of you as to what you feel we should be doing that we aren’t doing, or how to do something better that we are already doing.


Other big thanks go out to the Blind of Central Missouri and to our convention coordinator, Susan Sanderson, for a great convention.  The convention was jam packed with a lot of activity and I believe that everyone walked away feeling good about MCB.  So thank you Blind of Central Missouri and Susan for a job well done.


Let me take a minute here to once again apologize for a blunder that I committed during this year’s banquet.  As most of you already know, I presented the Nathaniel Johnson award to the wrong person during the banquet.  This certainly was not intentional and I can’t even give you a for certain reason as to why it happened.  No one feels as bad about it as I do, and I again ask for forgiveness from the membership for my error.  The award was presented to Chip Hailey but should have gone to Charles Johnson.  I really feel bad for both Chip and Charles and I hope that they accept my public apology.  The mistake has been corrected and Charles now has the plaque he so much deserves.


Congratulations to our new officers in MCB.  DeAnna Noriega was elected as our First Vice President and Mike Keller as our Second Vice President.  I know that both of these people will be a great help to me and will serve MCB in a very positive way. Janelle Edwards was elected as our Recording Secretary.  We welcome Janelle’s expertise and professionalism that she brings to MCB in this position.


While I am congratulating, let me say how much I was impressed with our outgoing First Vice President, James Hollins.  As many of you know, during the election process for the first vice position, the voting came up as a tie three times.  Instead of putting the voters through another vote to try and determine a winner, James graciously withdrew his nomination.  This took courage on his part and demonstrated to all of us what a classy gentleman he is.  Thank you, James, for being an example for all of us.


I will be making some changes in our committee chairs for the next two years.  Some of the changes are due to the previous chair resigning from that position and others are because of a restructuring process.  Some of the changes include Janelle Edwards as the Resolutions and Bylaws Chair, Elton Thomas as the Resource and Development Chair, Gretchen Maune as the Membership Chair, Robert Vaughn as the Adaptive Technology Grant Chair and Beverly Kaskadden as the Summer Camp Chair.  Other changes will be made within the next couple of weeks and you can see those changes in the insert that accompanies the Chronicle.


We will be making some changes in the next issue of the Chronicle, nothing major, but a noticeable change.  If you would like to assist in the publication of the Chronicle and believe that you can make a contribution in a particular area, please let me know.  We will consider any qualified individual that has an interest in writing articles, gathering news or proofreading the Chronicle.


Let me send out a reminder for nominating a Member of the Month.  I encourage you to send in your nomination for a member that has served your affiliate or MCB faithfully and receives little recognition for their service.  Your nomination can be sent to Yvonne Schnitzler whose contact information can be found later in the Chronicle.  Congratulations to Richard Kolasch as the Member of the Year awarded during our annual convention.


I would like for MCB to actively promote the Missouri School for the Blind and I am looking for volunteers to work with me in the best way we can do this.  If you believe you can help in this area I hope that you will contact me and let me know.


Don’t forget about the MCB Connect we have on the third Sunday of each month.  This is an opportunity for you to hear the latest in what is going on in MCB.  It is also an opportunity for you to give us your suggestions, make comments or express any concerns you might have.  The next MCB Connect will be on Sunday, December 19 at 2:00 PM.  The number to call is: 760-569-0800 and the access code is: 250486#.  If you don’t have unlimited long distance and would like to participate, please let me know and I will make sure you are connected to the conference call.


Over the past two years I was able to visit each one of our affiliates and enjoyed each one of them.  I’ll be doing the same for the next two years and if you have a special event you would like for me to attend, or if you would just like for me to come and sit in on one of your regular affiliate meetings, please let me know and I will certainly put it on my calendar.  I always enjoy getting out and meeting you and listening to what you have to say.


I’ll be working more closely with our office staff over the next two years in promoting MCB to the general public.  We want to take more of an active role in working with not only other blind related organizations, but also other disability organizations in order to strengthen our combined efforts in various areas.  The office and I will be working closely with our new Education and Welfare chair, Jerry Annunzio, to address issues that face the blind community of Missouri.  If your affiliate hasn’t sent in your Education and Welfare representative name to the office, I encourage you to do so in order for us to keep you informed on what we are doing.  We will continue to have our quarterly conference calls and as we get started with our new Chair, there will also be some conference calls in-between the scheduled quarterly conferences.  But we need to know who your representative is so we can notify them of these very important conference calls.


Don’t forget about the MCB Phonecast.  This is a recorded message you can access via your telephone 24 x 7.  The recording is normally about 10 minutes in length and I try and update this monthly.  The number to call is: 816-298-8969.


In closing let me once again say thank you for your support.  If there is ever anything I can do to better serve you don’t hesitate to contact me.  My toll free number is: 888-362-1383 and my email is:  My postal address is: PO Box 515, St. Clair, MO  63077


Happy Holidays to all of you and don’t forget to give thanks for all you have.

Denny Huff


Another annual convention of the MCB is now history. 


It was held October 15, 16 and 17 in Jefferson City, MO, and was hosted by the Blind of Central Missouri.  Convention chairperson, Susan Sanderson, packed the weekend full of activities and prizes.


The Braille Revival League (BRL) of Missouri instituted the First Annual Alma Murphey Luncheon which was well attended and enjoyed by over 40 attendees.  The BRL of Missouri also launched a highly enjoyed and complimented Braille Reading contest with some attractive cash awards as prizes.  The contest followed the banquet on Saturday night.


There was another room where attendees, volunteers and guests could go during the weekend to just relax and get some refreshments provided by the MCB.

And yet another room opened at various hours during the weekend which was sponsored by a new special interest affiliate seeking membership in the MCB.  The Social Outreach Council (SOC) offered refreshments and snacks for sale as well as a social gathering-place.  While they initially sought membership in the MCB, they later reconsidered their application as they wanted to keep an age restriction of 21 years, and the MCB constitution would have prohibited that.


However, a new regular affiliate was accepted into MCB membership, the Capital City Council of the Blind in Jefferson City.


Elected officers were as follows:  President, Denny Huff, re-elected; First Vice-president, Deanna Noriega; Second Vice-president, Michael Keller, re-elected; and secretary, Janelle Edwards.  Something occurred regarding the First Vice-presidential election that was highly unusual:  The contest between James Hollins and DeAnna Noriega came in as a tie vote through the 4th ballot; at which point James graciously withdrew from the running as time was running out in the Sunday morning session.  DeAnna may possibly be the only officer ever elected with a tie vote.


Another probable first also occurred this year:  Eight amendments to the MCB Constitution and one resolution were presented to the By-laws Committee, read and heard, and then almost immediately dismissed.  One committee member, Tom Armstrong, pointed out the fact that most had been submitted by e-mail, and signed in that manner, instead of in print and Braille as the MCB Constitution prescribes.  The committee agreed to disqualify them all, and none were presented to the convention for consideration. 


In closing, congratulations are in order to this year’s award winners:  Charles Johnson, the recipient of the 2010 Nathaniel Johnson Award; Marty Exline, who received the Ellis M. Forshee Award; and Richard Kolasch, who won the Member of the Year Award.




Education and Welfare


Joined by disability-rights advocates and tech industry representatives, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.  The legislation requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be accessible to people with vision or hearing loss. 

"This law is life-changing for the millions of us with disabilities who are too often unable to take advantage of new technologies," said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs & Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). "It opens the door to the digital age, and gives Americans with visual or hearing impairments equal access to smart phones, emergency broadcast information, the menus and controls on televisions and cable TV guides, and much more."


"It will help Americans with disabilities work more productively, respond to emergencies more effectively, and participate even more in society and culture," said Mark Richert, Director of Public Policy at AFB and a principal negotiator with the communications and TV industries.


"This law builds on the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and ensures people with disabilities can fully participate in the 21st century," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB's President & CEO.  "We applaud the many advocates and lawmakers who fought tirelessly to make this law a reality."  The legislation gives individuals with vision or hearing loss improved access to television programming, smart phones, the Internet, menus on DVD players, program guides on cable TV, and more.  Specifically, it:


Mandates mobile phone companies to make web browsers, text messaging, and e-mail on smart phones fully accessible;


Restores and expands requirements for video description of television programs, in addition to requiring cable companies to make their program guides and selection menus accessible to people with vision loss;


Ensures people with vision loss have access to emergency broadcast information;


Provides $10 million in funding each year for assistive technology for deaf-blind individuals;

Ensures that Internet-enabled mobile phones are hearing aid compatible;


The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act passed Congress with bipartisan support.


Jerry Annunzio


Public Relations


In October, 2009 I attended the Children's Conference at Truman Capital at Jefferson City.  My wife and I handed out several products there. 


In February, my wife and I attended the Legislative Days at Jefferson City.  We stayed at the Deville Hotel and had a meeting the day before we went to the Capital.  We handed out paper clips & jotters to the representatives and senators.  The legislative Reps also got these to hand out to their Rep. and Senators, plus each Representative from the different affiliates got an MCB bag.  I sent a box of PR products to the Sedalia affiliate for a Health Fair.  I also sent Mr. Holt a box of PR products in Poplar Bluff later and also, Lake Stockton Area Council. I sent insulated bags and some PR products with Denny Huff when we were at Bolivar to get to Linda Gerken for convention.


I gave Beau and Denny some PR products, at the Board Meeting plus some other affiliates also got some products.


In April I attended the Board Meeting at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. Then, also, in April I attended the Power-Up Conference at the Holiday Inn in Columbia for 2 days, and handed out several PR products to a lot of people at the booth.


In June I attended camp at Cobblestone.  The last of July my wife and I and our 6 year-old grandson went down to Wynne, Arkansas to visit our daughter, son in law and 2 grandsons.


In August I attended Lake Stockton Area Council’s birthday and auction at Bolivar.  I won the hog calling contest and received a huge trophy and some other gifts.


In October I attended the Board Meeting and Convention at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City for 4 days.


My budget has been cut to only $2,500 for this year and $4500 for calendars.  This is an awful cut so unless it is raised I can only order for Power Up and Legislative Days.  I recommend my budget be raised to $5,000.00 instead of $2,500.  We were told I had overspent, but actually it was under by $1,700.00.  There are things which were attached to my budget which were not mine, that shouldn't have been charged to PR.  I need all my affiliate orders for calendars sent to me by February 1.


Leroy Welch


Youth Services


Youth Services would like to say a big Thank You for all the sweats, socks and other items you brought to convention for the Missouri School for the Blind.  We sent Patti Schonlau home with lots of bags filled from all of you. 


Next spring we will be letting you know what you can bring next year and what kind of game we will be playing with our first timers.  I already have some names for first timers. 


Thanks again,

Linda Gerken, Youth Services

God may say wait, but he never says worry.



by Bill Benson


Searcy was born in Kansas City, MO on March 30, 1928, one of eight brothers and sisters, and passed away on October 22, 2010. 


At age 5 he attended kindergarten at a public school.  This was the scene of a freak accident.  Coming down the stairs one day he failed to see a group of girls playing a game of jump rope; and they failed to see him.  The rope flipped and hit Searcy in the eye.  That was the start of his vision loss.


Searcy was nine years old before his parents first heard of the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis.  Education was very important in the Ewell household, and as soon as they heard of it, Searcy was sent there, and enrolled in kindergarten. 


That was the beginning of a life-long friendship between Searcy and Joe Powell.


“We were close,” Joe says, “not just in age; I’m talking about really close friends!”


Back in those days students who lived in the St. Louis area stayed at school during the week and went home on Friday evening for the weekend.  “Searcy had excellent mobility skills,” Joe says, “and he would take me home every Friday evening.  He did that till I was eleven or 12 years old and ready to try it on my own.  I learned my travel skills from him!”


“In the 1930’s and ‘40’s our dormitories at school were racially segregated.  Searcy was like the house parent for the younger black boys.  He had this uncanny gift,” Joe says, “of talking to you and convincing you that you wanted to obey the rules and do the right thing.  I’ve never known anyone like him.  He wanted to come across as very plain and ordinary, but, if you just knew him slightly you knew he was anything but that.  He was probably the most exceptional person I have ever known.  I owe him an awful lot.”


Searcy graduated from the Missouri School for the Blind in the spring of 1948, and went on to enroll in college at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.  He graduated from there four years later summa cum laude with a teaching degree.  He was voted most likely to succeed in his class, and succeed he did!


He went on to become a teacher, and later principal, of the segregated Arkansas School for the Blind.  When segregation ceased in a couple more years, and the two schools merged into one, he went on to teach vocal and instrumental music.  He was greatly thought of in that position, and held it for a number of years until his retirement.


During his teaching years he did a lot of “moonlighting” too, playing piano for numerous dinner and cocktail jobs in the Little Rock area.


As I reflect back on Searcy, I believe he was the best adjusted blind person I have ever met and I consider it a real privilege to have known him.  He was greatly loved and greatly admired.


Here is Searcy’s obituary as it appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:  “Ewell, Sr., Searcy James 82, departed this life on Friday, October 22, 2010.  Even though Searcy was challenged with blindness at a very early age, this did not prevent him from becoming a successful and productive member of society. 


Searcy was valedictorian of his graduating class at the Missouri School for the Blind.  He received his Bachelors in elementary education from Lincoln University, and his Masters in elementary education from Saint Louis University. 


Searcy was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Dorothy June Ewell (nee West).  He is survived by three sons, McIntosh Ewell (Loretta) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Searcy Ewell Jr. and Wesley Ewell (Tometta) of Little Rock; one daughter, Sherrelyn Diane Rosenberger (Steven) of Saint Louis, Missouri; one sister, Francis Lovett of Alamogordo, New Mexico; 14 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and relatives.  Services: Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday, November 5, 2010 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, 1400 Ringo Street, Little Rock, AR. Funeral Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 6, 2010 also at BROWN'S Christian Funeral Service, 2903 Martin Luther King Drive, Little Rock, AR 72206-2864, 501-244-8000.” 


Joe made the long trek to Little Rock for the visitation. “We had been so close for so many years,” he said, “I needed to be there close by!”


Google Tests Cars That Can Steer
Without Drivers



Google Inc. is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver, the company says.  The cars have traveled a total of 140,000 miles on major California roads without much human intervention, according to a posting Saturday on Google's corporate blog.



The goal is to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions," project leader Sebastian Thrun wrote in the blog post.


It's not the first signal that Google wants to change how people get from place to place.  In a speech Sept. 29 before the Techcrunch "Disrupt" conference, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "Your car should drive itself.  It just makes sense.  It's a bug that cars were invented before computers," Schmidt said.


The New York Times published a report on the development earlier Sunday. The Mountainview, California-based technology giant has sent seven test cars a total of 1,000 miles without a human touching the controls at all, the New York Times reported.  The cars know speed limits, traffic patterns and road maps.  They use video cameras, radar sensors and lasers to detect other cars, Thrun's posting says.  


Driving between Northern California and Southern California, the cars have navigated San Francisco's Lombard Street, Los Angeles' Hollywood Blvd. and the Pacific Coast Highway, the blog says.  Engineers consider the cars safer because they react more quickly than humans, the New York Times said. It said Google has not revealed how it hopes to profit from the research.


The cars are never unmanned, Thrun wrote. He said a backup driver is always behind the wheel to monitor the software.  It says the technology is being developed by scientists who were involved in an earlier set of unmanned car races organized by the government's Defense Advance Research Projects Agency.




Over, Around and Across Missouri

Let’s Find Out What’s Happening Where


Adaptive Technology Inc.


Greetings to All!


It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve as the president of ATI for the past four years.  With over 40 members this is one of MCB’s strongest special interest affiliates.  I hope I have served you well, and I thank you for the support you have shown me.


Your new president is Robert Vaughn, and I know that he will also do his very best to serve you in this position.  The membership also re-elected Rhonda Dycus as Secretary and Barbara Dewberry as Treasurer.  David Plumlee remains the Vice President of ATI.


We were honored to have Ray Campbell of the Chicago Lighthouse as our guest speaker at this year’s annual meeting. 

The Chicago Lighthouse has a help desk operated by Ray, who is totally blind, and has served people in 48 states, six Canadian provinces, China, South Africa and New Zealand.  Assistance from the HelpDesk has been well received around the world.  More than 2000 calls have been received.  If you have a computer problem and need help in resolving it, feel free to contact Ray.  The service was made possible in April 2005 when The Chicago Lighthouse successfully matched a $41,000 grant from The Boeing Company.  Contact: Ray Campbell, Help Desk Technician by phone at (312) 997-3651 (Voice/Relay) or (888) 825-0080 (voice/Relay);

E-mail:  There is no charge for this service.


The membership voted to raise the dues for membership to $10.00.  This increase will take affect for next year’s dues.


I’m sure you will show your support for the new officers of ATI and continue to make this affiliate a strong one.  Thanks again for allowing me to serve you for the past four years.

Denny Huff

Blind of Central Missouri


Hi again from Sedalia,


Here’s hoping everyone enjoyed the state convention.  We had a great time hosting it, and Susan Sanderson deserves tons of thanks and credit!


We want to warmly welcome our newest member, Linda Entelmann.  We’re really glad to have her with us.  We held our Holiday dinner on November 13 at the Methodist church hall where we meet, and had a delicious dinner.  Some of our members rang bells again this year for the Salvation Army on December 4. 


I just got engaged.


Hope your Christmas is bright, and your New Year is right!


Trudy Blood, Secretary


Braille Revival League


The members of the Missouri Braille Revival League hosted a luncheon at this year's MCB convention in Jefferson City.  This luncheon was the first of what will be an annual event, and, to honor our beloved founder, Alma Murphey, it will be called the Alma Murphey BRL Luncheon from this year on. 


Over forty people were in attendance, including our national president, Mitch Pomerantz, and our state president, Denny Huff.  Both of these gentlemen spoke eloquently of Alma and of their support for the continuing work of the Braille Revival League in the promotion of Braille.  President, Bessie Reece, spoke about Alma's founding of the MCB credit union which was most important to many blind Missourians back when credit was not easily available to many blind people.  Judy Burch also spoke about Alma's life and work, including her involvement in the founding of the Missouri Federation of the Blind in 1956 and the Braille Revival League in 1982.

Two elections were held this year, one for secretary and one for treasurer.


Judy Burch will serve another two-year term as secretary, and Susan Pearce will serve another two-year term as treasurer of our organization.


BRL of Missouri will be sponsoring and hosting a fun new telephone game the first Sunday of every month beginning on January 2 at 2 p.m.  All you need to take part is knowledge of grade 2 Braille, a slate and stylus or Braille writer, and a blank sheet of paper. The number you need to call is (712) 432-6100.  When asked for your pass code, enter 113676 followed by the pound key.  Call in 5 to 10 minutes before 2 p.m.  It promises to be a fun game, and another great use of Braille.


This article would not be complete without telling of the Braille reading contest which was held after this year's banquet.  Paul Mathews emceed the contest, and Sheri and Mike Keller and Mitch and Donna Pomerantz served as judges.  The three people who won excelled in reading paragraphs fluidly and with good expression.  These three people were DeAnna Noriega, who won a $50 prize for first place; Peter Altschul, who won the $30 prize in second place; and Laura De Vries, who won a $20 third place prize.  Everyone had fun reading and listening to the paragraphs, and we were all glad for those who won.


Bill Benson has been instrumental in helping with activities this year, and a big thank you goes out to him!  Bill will be helping with more fundraising ideas during the upcoming year. 


If you have not done so, please consider joining us.  We're growing, and we're on the move!  You can join by sending your $15 dues to Susan Pearce at 4914 Smart Ave., Kansas City, MO  64124.


Until next time, keep moving those fingers across those pages, or those Braille displays or whatever!

Judy Burch, Secretary

Joplin Service Club


Hello again to all of you from Joplin, we hope you are enjoying this beautiful autumn!  These last three months have been fairly active.


At our August business meeting, we had our election of officers.  Sandy Goettel, President, and Bill Boyd Vice-President, did such a great job this last two-year term that we decided to vote them in for another term.  Linda Russell is our Secretary, and Earl Ingle is our Treasurer.


On August 7, a group of us went to Bolivar for the Lake Stockton's 24th birthday party and auction.  As always, they really outdid themselves with all the fun and great hospitality.


On August 11, several of us went to Branson and attended 2 shows, the Duttons, and Island Fire. We really enjoyed the day.  Island Fire performed traditional dances from the South Sea Islands and they did a very entertaining show! There was real fire, and they danced up and down the aisles with it!


There were 9 of us who went to September camp.  We had a wonderful weekend of fellowship and activities.  We have had three Thursday night dinners provided for us by different local churches, and we have had some great entertainment provided by them as well.


Our Affiliate has just begun to sell candy bars as a fundraiser.  We seem to be doing pretty well with it, especially selling to club members! Smiles! Thank you to all who bought from us at the MCB Convention.


Speaking of the Convention, we had 12 people who attended.  Wow, what a busy time!  Thank you, Susan Sanderson, and Blind of Central Missouri for all your hard work.  Great job!


We have had quite a few people with health issues.  A few of them are so serious that they aren't able to be with us at our lunches, and we miss them deeply.  Our prayers are with all of them, and also with all of the Affiliates who have people with health problems.  One of our members, and hard working volunteers, Virgil McCoy is fighting lung cancer, and had the upper lobe removed from one lung.  He is recovering.  That is all I have for this time.


Our Affiliate wishes for all of you the greatest of all Holiday seasons!

Cindy Smart


Missouri Guide Dog Users

Waggin’ Tails


The Missouri Guide Dog Users held its annual breakfast this year at the MCB convention.  Besides revising the bylaws for our organization, a new slate of officers was elected.  They are as follows:  Nick Whitney, President; Janelle Edwards, Vice-President; Judy Burch, Secretary; and Kim Hallows, Treasurer. 


We invite you to join our growing affiliate.  We are looking forward to a productive upcoming year, and are already discussing several future activities.  If you would like to join, you may contact our treasurer, Kim Hallows, at or call her at (314) 781-0757.  Dues are $5 per year.


To contact other officers, you can reach our president, Nick Whitney, at or (573) 893-2255; Janelle Edwards at and you can reach Judy Burch at

And now, the promised article about guide dog etiquette.


Proper Dog Guide Etiquette: What To Tell Your Friends and Family


Dog guides are the guiding eyes for people who are blind or visually impaired, and they are specially bred and trained for this most important job.  The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind has developed the following guidelines that you can share with your family, friends, and strangers to keep in mind when they come across someone with a dog guide.  Let them know that disregarding these guidelines can distract the dog, which can create a dangerous situation.

* Don't touch, pet, talk to, feed or otherwise distract the dog while he is wearing his harness.

* For the safety of his owner or handler, allow the dog to concentrate and perform without distraction.

* Don't treat the dog as a pet.

* The dog is a working dog and deserves respect.

* Don't try to give the dog commands.  This is the handler's responsibility

* Don't try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler.

* Only assist if the handler requests help.

* Don't walk on the dog's left side. This may distract or confuse the dog.

* Instead, walk on the handler's right and several paces behind him or her.

* Don't attempt to grab or steer the person while the dog is guiding him or her or attempt to hold the dog's harness.

* Instead, ask if the owner needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm.

* Don't feed the dog unless the handler asks you to.

* Don't tease or abuse the dog.

* Allow it to rest undisturbed.

* Don't allow pets to challenge or intimidate a dog guide.

* Instead, allow them to meet on neutral ground when all parties can be carefully supervised.

* Don't allow the dog on your furniture or in areas of the home where the handler doesn't want it to go.

* Do ask the handler to correct any misbehavior that you have observed.

* Don't let the dog out of the house unsupervised.  It is a very valuable and critically needed animal!

* Don't pat the dog on the head.

* You can stroke the dog on the shoulder area but only with its handler's approval.


These tips were brought to you by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.  For more information on the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and its programs, visit, or call 800-548-4337.


If you are looking for a guide dog list where you can discuss different topics in relation to that subject, here are a few guide dog lists.  I've copied information from the websites.

* National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU): The National Association of Guide Dog Users maintains an e-mail list where NAGDU members and friends can share experiences, get support, ask questions and chat about guide dogs.  Topics include: experiences at guide dog training programs, diet, grooming, exercise, training, health, legal issues, access rights, choosing to use a guide dog, puppy-raising and anything else about guide dogs!  Anyone is welcome to join.  Currently, there are NAGDU members, guide dog users from many programs, guide dog program representatives, puppy raisers, family members of guide dog users, owner trainers, and other service animal users.  You can join by sending a message to: with subscribe in the subject line.  Or by visiting:

*Guide dog users INC (GDUI):

You can subscribe at:

*World guide dog partners: You can subscribe at:

And finally here is a website where you can find mailing lists of different kinds:


I hope all this does help.


Judy Burch
Progressive Council


Hello everyone from Kansas City, 


In June we had our elections, and the slate of officers is as follows:  President, Scott Vroegindewey; First Vice President, Barbara Dewberry; Second Vice President, Edward Reyes; Secretary, Patricia Reyes; Treasurer, Donna Wight; Board Rep., Eldon Cox and Legislative Representative, James Herndon.


We are in the middle of our annual nut sale, and we want to thank all of you who purchased nuts from us at the MCB convention.  We really appreciated not having to bring anything back with us. 


We have one new member, Lisa Watkins, who is sighted, and we want to give her a big welcome.  Lisa has jumped right in and organized our nut list to make it easier to find what the customer is looking for.  She has also arranged and booked our Christmas Party which will be held on December 4th at the Herford House restaurant in North Kansas City from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  This year, our club is giving a donation to Harvesters to help with food and other items they may need since donations are down.  We are also giving a donation to Audio Readers to help with their audio describing program.  Their volunteers read newspapers as well as describe plays for the blind at the Starlight Theatre here in Kansas City.


Well until next time be blessed.


Barbara Dewberry





Saw the cutest thing in a shop window.

Stopped for a close inspection.

Went in to buy the dog-gone thing;

Found out ‘twas my reflection!




Hope all is going well at your house in spite of the usual holiday hectic times.  We’ve collected several very interesting items in the drawer this time, so let’s get at it and see what’s there.  As always, please remember that any mention of a product or service is not to be taken as a solicitation or endorsement.  We tell you about them solely for their interest value.


David Kontra is blind, which is an unusual characteristic for a visual artist.  He began drawing at age nine in order to escape depression caused by his failing eyesight and discrimination by teachers and peers.  Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at 16, he has less than 5% vision in his left eye and only light perception in his right.  "In essence," says David, "it is like looking at the world through a straw."  As a result, he has learned to rely on his memory to create his work. 


Throughout David's life he has witnessed many prejudices, including discrimination against the disabled.  But the insolence and ignorance of others can be the best fuel for fierce determination.  For David, there is no greater challenge or pleasure than to create visual art without being able to see the work entirely, either during its production, or after its completion, and still find art-lovers enjoying it.


VSA, which stands for Vision, Strength and Access, Missouri is interested in collaborating with existing efforts and responding to unmet needs in the communities throughout the state.  As part of this outreach, Blindness Isn't Black, a display of art by visually impaired artists, (including some poetry by our own Deanna Noriega) will also travel to the Black River Arts Gallery in Poplar Bluff, MO; the Healing Arts Center in Kansas City, MO; and the Spiva Center in Joplin, MO.  Here in St. Louis, Blindness Isn't Black is open Monday thru Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.  For more information, visit


Source for Canes:  I would like to introduce myself.  I am Bob Riley, the owner of B Canes.  We are a company that employs blind people, and markets canes for the blind.  We are working with the ACB of Nebraska, as we are located in Fremont, Nebraska.  I would like to ask you to tell your members about us and ask them to try our canes the next time they have to order one.  You can check us out on our website  You can also email us at or call us at 402 727 5806.  Thanks for your time.  Bob


CD’s For Christmas:  If you act fast enough you may be able to get one of these for Christmas.  UWB member, Rick Belcher and his friend are part of a group called the St. Louis Fonk Brothers.  Rick is selling a CD of this group plus 2 other local groups in live performances of all original material.  The CD sells for $10, and you can get a copy by contacting Rick at (314) 289-8769.


Free Directory Assistance:  On Nov. 12, Google discontinued its popular free directory assistance service, 800-GOOG-411.  Many blind folks, especially those without computer or smart phone access (the vast majority) have come to rely on this service to obtain phone numbers and addresses for local businesses.  Fortunately there are still two other free directory assistance services:  800-BING-411, which gives you a variety of other information such as news and horoscopes, and 800-FREE-411, which will also give you weather reports and horoscopes.  And there’s always 1-800-yellowPages or actually since you can only use 7 numbers it comes out to 1-800-yellowP or 1-800-935-5697.

Promising Job Opportunity:  Individuals seeking careers in the Hospitality industry may apply for the National Statler Center Careers in Hospitality Program.  The National Statler Center offers this class to blind, visually impaired and physically disabled persons at their Buffalo, NY campus.  Statler will conduct this class backed by ten years of program excellence.  This course provides thorough training in Hospitality, Hotels, and Tourism using Customer Service as the driving theme.  Additionally, Microsoft Office training using assistive technology is significant to the curriculum, and personal job-search assistance to place graduates in fulfilling career positions is included.  Applications are being accepted immediately for our next ten-week course which begins January 26, 2011.  Renee DiFlavio, Senior VP of Employment and Education at the Statler Center, states "Students from throughout the US, North America and abroad benefit greatly from our classes.  We encourage prospective students to enroll immediately for our January 26, 2011 class as space is filling quickly.  We have ten years experience offering this program and are proud to have over 360 graduates.  Plus, our job placement rate exceeds 82%."


Students receive a comprehensive overview of each industry as well as job specific knowledge.  Graduates of our unique program will be computer-literate, equipped with a thorough knowledge of industry standards and ready for successful, long-term careers. 

Potential employers are every business where customer service is critical, focusing on hotels, travel and tourism agencies and other businesses needing a range of customer service professionals such as contact (call) centers.  More information is available by calling Jeff Pease, Statler Center, (716) 888-4526, E-mail: or on line at


Mind’s Eye Announcement:  The following was sent along by John Weidlich.  “I want to spread the word about some exciting news from the Mind’s Eye Information Service.  For those of you who may not know, Mind’s Eye is the radio reading service that serves the St Louis Area and has been available on the Internet for quite some time.  All Mind’s Eye programs are now being archived on the web site and can be downloaded as podcasts to your computer or to a player like the Victor Stream.  I have not tried this out yet but I am told that it is easy to do and very accessible. 


You will need to set up a user name and password if you have not already done so.  Go to and follow the links to the listener page.  There is an application to fill out similar to the application for receiving a radio.  Some questions on the form have to be filled out, but most are optional.  Mind’s Eye is also making big changes to the schedule beginning on Nov. 1.  Many new magazines and newspapers will be added to the schedule.  Talkback has been dropped but is being replaced by an interview show called Ear to Ear, which will air at 7:00 PM on Thursday.  The focus of the program will be on services to the blind and disabled.  Daily programs like the newspapers will remain on the web site for downloading until the next day, when they will be replaced.  Weekly programs will stay on the web for a week.  I am not sure how long the books will remain on the website.  If you need help getting your account started, you can call Mind’s Eye at (314) 241-3400, Ext 6444.  Enjoy.  John”


First Alert Safety:  Talking Smoke Carbon Monoxide Alarms.  These dynamic alarms will not only alert you to a safety hazard, but TELL you which hazard is occurring and in which room it is located!  This is A MUST-HAVE for every home!  AWB (Allied Workers of the Blind) is taking orders and selling these alarms as an on-going safety project/fundraiser.  Contact Tracey Hawkins, Public Relations Chairperson with questions: (816) 372-0939 or


Sleep Study:  Our President, Denny Huff, sends us the following information.  “The Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, MO is conducting a clinical research study in blind people who have a condition called "Non-24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder".  This condition, which is often undiagnosed, may occur in blind people who do not receive the light signals necessary to keep a 24-hour "body clock".  This can lead to insomnia or daytime sleepiness.  Adults 18-75 years old who are blind with no light perception and who experience difficulty sleeping at night or daytime sleepiness may be eligible to participate in this 9-month study of an investigational medication.  There is no cost for participation. Transportation to study appointments is available.  For more info, call the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at 314-542-4816.  I might also add there will be compensation for participating in this study.”


Free White Canes Offered by the National Federation of the Blind:  Any blind person in the United States or Puerto Rico is eligible to make a request once every six months for their personal use.  The canes are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 25 inches up to a full 63 inches.  These are light weight, straight canes but will certainly do in a pinch!  To request a free white can visit:


Disney Adds More Accessibility for the Blind:  Last year, Disney unveiled its hand-held device that allows for audio description on many of its rides.  Now, at Disney World, audio descriptions of the outdoor environment, along with the location of restroom facilities and restaurant menus, are available through this device.  It uses a wireless signal to pinpoint the device's location in the park and then loads pre-programmed interactive audio menus for that area.  This expanded accessibility will be available at Disneyland Resort next year.  Disney has patented and licensed the assistive technology, which is already being used at the World of Coca-Cola Museum, the Hall at Patriot Place and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  Disney has received the National Society of Professional Engineers 2010 "New Product Award" because of the potential access this technology could provide.  Guests can borrow this device for a fully refundable deposit from the Guest Relations desk.  To learn about all of Disney's accessibility features for people who are blind, visit or call (407) 824-4321.


Braille Dreidel:  The dreidel is a top which Jewish children spin at Hanukkah in a game commemorating the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem.  A dreidel with Braille markings is now available, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale go to the ACB.  If you would like some further information you can call (503) 344-6065.


Help With Christmas Shopping:  Those in the St. Louis Area may wish to take advantage of a wonderful service being offered by the Creve Coeur Lions’ Club.  If you need to do some Christmas shopping, they will volunteer to give you transportation as well as staying with you to help you shop.  What an absolutely wonderful service this is!  Call Denise Portman, 739-5408.


Fun New Game with Braille:  BRL of Missouri will be sponsoring and hosting a fun new telephone game the first Sunday of every month beginning on January 2 at 2 p.m.  All you need to play is knowledge of grade 2 Braille, a slate and stylus or Braille writer, and a blank sheet of paper. The number you need to call is (712) 432-6100.  When asked for your passcode enter 113676 followed by the pound key.  Call in 5 to 10 minutes before 2 p.m.  It promises to be a fun game, and another great use of Braille.  Normal long distance charges apply.


Here’s hoping your Holidays as well as the coming New Year will be full of fun and games and a lot of really nice things ahead.  Stay as warm and cozy as you can, and we’ll plan to meet in March as we await the coming spring.