Monitor Miniatures

Clarification:

            President Maurer writes as follows:

            In the October, 1999, issue of the Braille Monitor, an article appeared entitled "Technology Replacing Braille." This article was a reprint of an article from the July 28, 1999, issue of the Los Angeles Times. The article consisted in part of material gathered in an interview with Mr. Jeffrey C. Senge.

            In introducing this article, the Braille Monitor Editor said, "It is refreshing to see reporters get the story right." Mr. Senge has written us a letter dated January 1, 2000, in which he says that the article we reprinted is misleading because it is incomplete, and it lacks a proper focus. He has sent to me with his letter an amended copy of the article with extensive commentary, which he has asked that we reprint. The Braille copy of the article as amended by Mr. Senge is forty pages long.

            There is insufficient space for us to reprint Mr. Senge's article. In addition, as I look at his letter and accompanying material, I reflect that he is facing the same circumstance that all of us have faced. Reporters have so much less experience of blindness than we possess that they almost never get the story reported with the depth of understanding that we would wish.

            Even when they get the story right, it is often incomplete. People in the news business report what they believe will sell papers. Fortunately we do not have the same limitations. We can report in depth, and we do.

            Although we have chosen not to reprint Mr. Senge's article as amended, we offer his address. Those who want more information about his interview can communicate with him directly. His address is 107 Revuelta Court, San Clemente, California 92672.

            I want to be clearly understood about one thing. Mr. Senge does not say that the Monitor reported errors. Rather he argues that the reporter from the Los Angeles Times failed to include material that Mr. Senge thought to be pertinent. If Mr. Senge had demonstrated that we had reported what was not so, we would have printed a retraction. This is the only responsible way to report the news, and we are committed to it.

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Time Magazine in Large Print Available:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Time Large Edition magazine is now available in 16-point type. It ships during the same week as Time's regular edition. For subscription information contact Caren Yanis, (212) 522-0925 or (914) 723-5991 or Diana Pearson, (212) 522-0833.

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Donations Wanted:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Braille, large print, cassette books, magazines and journals, Braille writing paper, computers, typewriters, Braille translators, photocopiers, Perkins Braillers, cassette players, talking watches, calculators, white canes, glasses frames, and various other materials and equipment for the disabled are needed for the blind and disabled population of Bangladesh. You can send most items surface mail marked "Free Matter for the Blind." Send to Mr. M. Milon, Secretary, Dustha, Juba-O-Pratibandhi Kallyan Sangstha, 12-E, 5/6, Mirpur, Dhaka 1221, Bangladesh.

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Attention Those with Agricultural or Equestrian Interests:

            Anyone out there interested in farming, ranching, gardening, composting, or animals like dogs and horses? For the past four years I have attended meetings of the NFB's Agriculture and Equestrian Interest Group. We had about forty people in Anaheim, a dozen in Dallas, about five in New Orleans, and about two dozen in Atlanta.

            Last summer a few blind farmers and government staffers mentioned the availability of grant money for blind people interested in starting farms or ranches of their own. As the meeting broke up, we were told to keep an eye on the Braille Monitor for a note like this calling on people to write in and sign up.

            I know we have many members who are very interested in the prospect of running a small service-dog ranch, earthworm farm, fish farm, dude ranch, or other such agricultural operation. We've got successful blind farmers with advice and stories to share. Atlanta farmers and ranchers have volunteered their places for us to visit. Let's start networking.

            Please write if you are in the Agricultural and Equestrian Interest Group or wish to be: Braille, print, cassette, or e-mail. Contact Fred Chambers, North San Diego County and Greater Pasadena Chapters of the NFB of California, 3510 Bedford Circle, Carlsbad, California 92008, e-mail <regenerative@earthlink.net>.

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Braillewriter Cleaning and Repair Service:

            Paul and Bernie Dressell, leaders of the Ohio affiliate, have asked us to carry the following announcement:

            We are now able to process orders made using VISA or MasterCard. We have a backlog of parts and normally have a turn-around time of two weeks for Perkins Braillewriter repairs. Contact Paul Dressell at (513) 481-7662, 2714 Ruberg Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-8118; e-mail: <pmd@pobox.com>.

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Online Store Now Open for Business:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            You can purchase unique step-by-step tutorials and keyboard guides twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. From the store Web site you can order a tutorial on cassette tape or download a tutorial and keyboard guide. Taped tutorials cost $35, downloaded tutorials cost $25, and keyboard guides cost $5. Go shopping at <www.blind.state.ia.us/assist>. The following are new: Windows 98 with JAWS for Windows 3.3; Windows 98 with Window-Eyes 3.0; Internet Explorer 5 with JAWS for Windows 3.3; Internet Explorer 5 with Window-Eyes 3.1; Excel 97 with WinVision 5; Word 2000 with JAWS for Windows 3.31; and Word 2000 with Window-Eyes 3.1. In the works are Outlook 2000 with JAWS for Windows 3.31; Outlook 2000 with Window-Eyes 3.1; Internet Explorer 5 with JAWS for Windows 3.31; and Outlook Express 5.

            You can still order a tutorial by calling (515) 281-1357 or by mailing your order to Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. You can contact IDB at <ASSIST@blind.state.ia.us>.

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For Sale:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Alva 380, 80-character Braille display for sale, all cells work perfectly, but there is a bow in the tape on one of the cursor routing buttons, which does not prevent effective use of the button. Asking $5,200 or best offer. May accept installments or trade for a portable 40-cell display plus cash.

            Computer tutorials and magazine: Up-to-date interactive tutorials from Top Dot Enterprises include Top Win98 basics, Top Eudora 4.2 and before, and Top Real Internet Explorer 5.0. These and other tutorials are available in two- and four-track tape formats; four-track tapes cost $19.95 each, while two-track tapes cost $27. A per-order shipping charge of $5 will be added. To order, send check or money order to the address listed below.

            Top Dot also publishes Sound Computing, a bimonthly magazine for any blind computer user. The magazine is available on tape and in RealAudio. Subscriptions to the cassette edition also give the subscriber access to the RealAudio edition. They cost $24 in North America. RealAudio-only subscriptions cost $19. Contact Top Dot for more information or to subscribe.

            Top Dot Enterprises, 8930 11th Place, SE, Everett, Washington 98205. If you wish to order by credit card or have other questions, contact us at (425) 335-4894.

Picture of Aileen Tscharner

Eileen Tscharner

Elected:

            During the January, 2000, meeting of the Seattle Chapter of the NFB of Washington, annual elections were conducted. The results are Dan Frye, President; Rita Szantay, First Vice President; Ben Prows, Second Vice President; Renee West, Secretary; Gary Deeter, Treasurer; and Doug Johnson and Yelana Semenyuk, Board Members.

                                                                             

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Eileen Tscharner]

In Memoriam:

            Karen Mayry, President of the NFB of South Dakota, writes the following:

            It grieves me to inform you that Eileen Tscharner, age seventy-two, of Rapid City, South Dakota, died on Friday, January 14, 2000. She had been suffering from emphysema for many years, and complications of heart disease hastened her death. She joined the NFB in 1985, following training at the Nebraska Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. She served as President of the Black Hills Chapter and as NFB of South Dakota Vice President. She volunteered in our state office until one month before her death. She is a great loss to all of us.

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Elected:

            At its November meeting the St. Louis Chapter of the NFB of Missouri elected Rhonda Dycus, President; Loretta Benavidez, Vice President; Kathy McCracken, Recording Secretary; Lori Pollina, Corresponding Secretary; Brian Schultz, Treasurer; and Thelda Borsch, Board Member at Large.

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Free Computers to Those Who Qualify:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Have you ever wanted a computer but been unable to afford it? There is an answer. To obtain a computer, you must know the keyboard or complete a touch-typing course. This can be done by using "Touch Typing in Ten Easy Lessons," available at your Talking Book library; by taking a free, home-study typing course from the Hadley School for the Blind (800) 323‑4238; or by going to a local high school or community college and taking a class. You then pay a $30 fee to cover the cost of packing and shipping. You can receive a 386 or 486 CPU, monitor, and keyboard if you demonstrate your interest by reading the provided recorded tutorials and practicing on DOS, WordPerfect, and the screen reader commands.

            If you lose interest, return all the materials so that another person can use them. Buying access software and the synthesizer are your responsibility. Your state rehabilitation agency may purchase the screen reader, synthesizer, modem, printer, and other equipment; consult your vocational rehabilitation counselor. For more information about this program, contact Robert Langford, Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, Texas 75238; phone (214) 340‑6328.

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Reading Resource Guide Available:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            The first reference book written for sight-impaired students and those who serve their needs, A Field Guide for the Sight-Impaired Reader by Andrew Leibs, explains how to locate, obtain, and integrate all forms of aid to construct a world of reading equal to that of the fully sighted reader. It profiles the major blind service organizations; explores specialized formats such as Braille, large print, and electronic texts; and shows what technology readers require and where to find it. It provides comprehensive lists of audio and large-print publishers, a state-by-state listing of resource agencies for the blind, and valuable Internet resources to assist students, their teachers, and librarians in obtaining the texts they need to succeed in both academic and pleasure reading.

            Beginning with thorough coverage of the national organizations in place for visually handicapped readers and how they can assist both students and librarians, A Field Guide for the Sight-Impaired Reader (ISBN 0-313-30969-8) outlines the types of technology available to readers and the companies that manufacture it. Available software, Braille resources, large-print resources, and Internet Web sites are all discussed in detail with contact information. Also included are reading strategies for a variety of academic subject areas, a detailed listing of state resources with addresses, phone numbers, and Web sites; an exhaustive list of audio publishers; and a list of books compiled from recommended reading lists such as the American Library Association's Outstanding Books for the College Bound. A discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its impact on libraries is provided, as well as funding sources for librarians who want to provide more materials and technology for their sight-impaired patrons than their budgets allow.

            To order using a major credit card, call (800) 225-5800; or send check made payable to Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 88 Post Road West, P.O. Box 5007, Westport, Connecticut 06881-5007, (203) 226-3571 or fax (203) 222-1502, or Web site <www.greenwood.com>. The book costs $49.95 plus applicable shipping and handling.

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Elected:

            At its January 11, 2000, meeting, the Jefferson City Chapter of the NFB of Missouri elected Rita Lynch, President; Brian Wekamp, Vice President; Connie Taylor, Secretary; Betty Walker, Treasurer; and Joe Dobbs, John Donley, and LaVerne Toebben, Board Members.

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International Exchange for SSI and VR Beneficiaries:

            We have been asked to carry the following Announcement:

            The Social Security Administration and Mobility International USA have joined together to ensure that people with disabilities and the professionals who work with them understand the importance of and options for international exchange as part of employment preparation. If a person with a disability receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and has the opportunity to participate in an international exchange program, he or she should apply to have benefits continued while abroad. A little-used SSI provision allows for the continuation of benefits while participating in an overseas educational program.

            The Social Security Handbook states: "A student of any age may be eligible for SSI benefits while temporarily outside the U.S. for the purpose of conducting studies that are not available in the U.S., are sponsored by an educational institution in the U.S., and are designed to enhance the student's ability to engage in gainful employment. Such a student must have been eligible to receive an SSI benefit for the month preceding the first full month outside the U.S."

            "There is no federal regulation that prohibits the funding of an international program as part of an individual's vocational rehabilitation plan," reports Mary Davis, Rehabilitation Program Specialist at the Rehabilitation Services Administration. "Each state has flexibility in the nature and scope of what activities they cover, but cost alone can never be the only reason to deny a particular program." She adds, however, "There does need to be a clear link between the international activity and the individual's vocational objective." It should also be clear that the experience is not available through participation in a domestic program. If a VR counselor agrees that the experience would be valuable and the VR department is supportive, it should be written into the vocational plan.

            For more information contact Mobility International USA and the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, P.O. Box 10767, Eugene, Oregon 97440, phone (541) 343-1284 (voice/TTY), Fax (541) 343-6812, e-mail <clearinghouse@miusa.org>, Web site <www.miusa.org>, or contact Georgia Thrower, Social Security Administration, 112 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235, phone, (410) 965-3987, Fax, (410) 965-9063, e-mail <georgia.thrower@ssa.gov>, Web-site, <www.ssa.gov>

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BANA News:

            The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) conducted its annual meeting at the close of October, 1999, hosted by the National Federation of the Blind in Annapolis, Maryland. Those elected to serve as officers during 2000 were Phyllis H. Campana, Chairperson; Eileen Curran, Vice Chairperson; Frances Mary D'Andrea, Secretary; and Susan Reilly, Treasurer. BANA can now be found on the Internet at <www.brailleauthority.org>. Principles of Print to Braille Translation 1997 (Volume 1: Rules) is now available on the Web at <www.brl.org>, a site maintained by the Shodor Foundation under the auspices of BANA. A link to the site is maintained on BANA's Web site.

            The American Printing House for the Blind has now provided BANA permanent office space. The new mailing address for BANA is P.O. Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206. Any mail or inquiries may be sent to this address.

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ICEB Election:

            At the November 2 to 5, 1999, meeting of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) in Baltimore, Maryland, which was hosted by the National Federation of the Blind, the following officers were elected: Betty Niceley, President; Darleen Bogart, Vice President; Raeleen Smith, Secretary; Kim Charlson, Treasurer; Reinette Popplestone, Public Relations; and William Poole, Jean Obi, and Bruce Maguire, Members-at-large.

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Stand Up and Be Counted:

            We have been asked to give you the following information:

            The United States Census 2000 is coming. The census questionnaire is sent to every residence in the United States. By completing your census questionnaire, you help insure that your community and your needs are not forgotten. Census data are used to distribute millions of dollars for schools, hospitals, community centers, healthcare, childcare, and facilities for sick or disabled persons.

            The questionnaire will arrive at your home during the month of March. The Census Bureau uses two different questionnaire forms. You will receive either a D-1 short form that comes in an envelope about the size of a half sheet of paper containing a cover letter, a return envelope, and a large piece of paper folded in thirds or a D-2 long form in an eight-by-eleven envelope. Inside is a questionnaire booklet and a return envelope that are also eight-by-eleven.

            If you need help in completing the form you receive, either have a relative, friend, neighbor, caregiver, etc., assist you or call (800) 471-9424. To use the Web at <www.2000.census.gov> to complete the questionnaire, be sure to have your ID code from the census form label available.

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Elected:

            The Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas elected officers at its January meeting. They are Zena Pearcy, President; Wanda Hamm, First Vice President; Mary Ward, Second Vice President; Norma Gonzales Baker, Secretary; Margaret (Cokie) Craig, Treasurer; and Angela Sasser and Diane Domingue, Board Members.

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Attention Blind Gardeners:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Blind Gardeners is an e-mail discussion group for blind and visually impaired people interested in gardening. Discussion topics include gardening in general, problems unique to blind and visually impaired gardeners, the availability, quality, and speech accessibility of gardening CD's, gardening books in other formats, and what to do with the produce of the garden.

            To subscribe to the group, send an e-mail to <blind-gardeners-subscribe@egroups.com>. Be sure to leave the subject line and body of the message blank. Also be sure to include the hyphens in the address.

            To post messages to the group after you subscribe, send them to <blind-gardeners@egroups.com>. Be sure to include the hyphen in the address.

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Hiring:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            The Alaska Center for the Blind is looking for an adventuresome, flexible rehabilitation teacher to assume the job as Braille instructor. Blind or visually impaired candidates preferred. Send resume and cover letter to Carolyn Peter, Executive Director, Alaska Center for the Blind, 3903 Taft Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99517. We are hoping to fill this position as soon as possible.

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New Cookbook Available:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            Are you sick of spending hours scouring books, magazines, and libraries for that perfect recipe you can never seem to find? Wouldn't it be nice to have over seventy delicious, quick and exquisite recipes in just one book? I Can See Books now offers Delicious Desserts, in Braille or on computer disk, a brand‑new cookbook filled with over seventy classic and new tasty recipes. The book costs $13.95 (U.S.) and can be ordered from I Can See Books, 88 Captain Morgans Boulevard, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 6R1 Canada, Phone (250) 616‑7414, e‑mail <info@icanseebooks.com>, Web site: <www.icanseebooks.com> or <www.braillebookstore.com>.

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Free Texts from the Jewish Heritage for the Blind Available:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            The Jewish Heritage for the Blind announces the availability of a new large-print Megilas Esther, as well as the Braille edition of Rabbi Shrage Feivel Mendlowitz, zt'l, free of charge for the visually impaired. Mail or fax your request to the Jewish Heritage for the Blind, 1655 East 24th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11229, fax (718) 338-0653. A doctor's note is not required. Supply is limited to one per family.

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Hoping to Buy:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            I am seeking Double Talk external hardware, which would facilitate JAWS for DOS or a PCMCI internal card for my 486 Toshiba laptop computer. You may e-mail Joe Morgan at <narcher@clsp.uswest.net>.

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Skits on Tape for Sale:

            The Nebraska Association of Blind Students has produced a cassette containing two original skits written by several of its members, produced by Easy Street Studios and performed at the Nebraska state convention during the last two years. The titles of these skits are "The Blind People's Court" and "Changing TV's Channel." They seek to entertain and educate people about blindness and Federation philosophy. Spoofing the popular TV program "The People's Court," the first skit uses humor to illustrate the need for blind people to take responsibility for themselves. The second skit depicts a young blind man learning about his blindness through popular television shows.

            The cassette contains both skits on each side. Side A is in stereo sound, and side B is in mono so as to be compatible with NLS or APH players. To obtain a copy of this cassette, send a check or money order for $5 per cassette, payable to NABS. Mail orders to Mike Hansen, President, Nebraska Association of Blind Students, Apt. #5, 910 South 22nd Street, Lincoln, NE 68510. If you have further questions please call Mike Hansen at (402) 475‑1280, or email Ryan Osentowski at <ryano@inetnebr.com>.

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For Sale:

            We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

            An Optacon I in working condition, asking $700. If interested call Leah Zamora at (305) 237-1313 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. or call (305) 362-1219 after 6:00 p.m.

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                                                                  NFB PLEDGE

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            I pledge to participate actively in the effort of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.