News from the Federation Family
Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB Resolutions Committee:
Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution.
At the 2004 national convention the Resolutions Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 30. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. These resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.
To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Maurer or to me by June 16, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you miss this deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, <[email protected]>; fax, (410) 715-9597; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045. Remember that resolution sponsors or someone prepared to speak for them must be present during the debate on the resolution during the meeting.
The Inland Empire Chapter (Spokane) of the NFB of Washington recently elected the following officers: president, Maria Bradford; vice president, Russ Smith; treasurer, Paul Whipple; recording secretary, John Croy; corresponding secretary, Gloria Whipple; and board members, Dolores Keyser and Erick Fornof.
New Student Division:
The NFB of Alabama now has a new student division, the Alabama Association of Blind Students. According to President Michael Jones, on March 6, 2004, at its annual convention the Alabama affiliate's board of directors approved a constitution for the student division and is thrilled to welcome this new group into the movement to change what it means to be blind.
The officers and board members are president, Maria Smith (Auburn); vice president, Apryl Stringer (Birmingham); secretary, Alice Hebert (Birmingham); treasurer, Chiara Smith (Talladega); and Jennifer Norwood (Talladega) and Kassie Taylor (Tuscaloosa), board members. Congratulations to the newest state division of blind students and to the entire Alabama affiliate.
Lola Pace-Wilson, May 18, 1926, to February 2, 2004
Lola Pace-Wilson, seventy-seven, died Monday, February 2, 2004, in Wichita Falls, Texas. Mrs. Pace-Wilson was a retired employment counselor for Sheppard Air Force Base Civil Service. While employed there, she was selected as handicapped employee of the year. She was president of the Wichita Falls Chapter of the NFB of Texas for twenty years as well as serving on the state board of directors. She especially enjoyed her work on the NFB of Texas Scholarship Committee. Her many Federation friends and colleagues will miss her.
All Aboard, Federationists in Mississippi and Tennessee:
In an effort to assist Federationists to attend the sixty-fourth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, a chartered bus is scheduled to pick up Federationists in Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee. The bus schedule is as follows:
Departure June 29
Pick-up, Jackson, Mississippi, 8:30 a.m.
Pick-up, Memphis, Tennessee, 11:00 a.m.
Arrive, Atlanta, Georgia, 7:00 p.m.
Departure from Atlanta, July 6
Pick-up, Atlanta, 9:00 a.m.
Arrive Memphis, 4:30 p.m.
Arrive Jackson, 8:00 p.m.
A round-trip ticket costs $25 for Federationists only. Tickets for all others are $35 a person. Make checks payable to the NFB. Riders in Mississippi should send their checks or money orders and names to the attention of Sam Gleese, president, NFB of Mississippi, 268 Lexington Avenue, Jackson, Mississippi 39209-5431, phone (601) 969-3352 or (601) 969-0601 or email <[email protected]>.
Riders in Tennessee should send their checks or money orders and names to Michael Seay, president, NFB of Tennessee, 1226 Goodman Circle West, Memphis, Tennessee 38111-6524, phone (901) 324-7056 or email <[email protected]>. Space is limited, so make your reservations today. You don't want to miss this opportunity.
On March 31, 2004, Doug Elliott's appointment to a three-year term on the board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind was confirmed by the Iowa senate. Congratulations to Doug, one of the leaders of the NFB of Iowa, and congratulations also to the commission and the Iowa Department for the Blind, which it supervises.
At the January meeting of the Capital Chapter of the NFB of New Jersey, new officers were elected. They are Mary Jo Partyka, president; Ben Constantini, vice president; David Mostello, secretary; Jean Cannella, treasurer, Larry Morgan, historian; and Henry Ingra and Sue Tillett, board members.
On the evening of March 24, 2004, as part of Women's History Month, the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women presented its Vision Awards. The theme for the 2004 award was "Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility," and the commission honored six women who made significant contributions to the community. Our own Seville Allen, a longtime leader in the NFB of Virginia, was one of the six, each of whom was allowed three minutes to address the gathering. This is what Seville said:
When I was told I had three minutes to talk, I tried to decide what was the most important message I wanted to get across. The words that kept playing in my mind were, "No woman is an island; we are not successful on our own."
My friends know I often say God intended that we work in teams. So I've decided to talk about the teamwork that has made me the person I am today and made it possible for me to receive this award as a woman of vision. I have received my inspiration and hope from two major sources: the National Federation of the Blind and my church.
The NFB has taught me that it is respectable to be blind, and my colleagues have showed me that we too are normal people who happen to have no eyesight. This is important since we who are blind are usually seen first as blind and are measured by our blindness, not our actual skills and abilities. I saw myself this way until I met competent blind people who were not ashamed of that characteristic and did not measure themselves according to their degree of eyesight but by the same standards by which we measure our sighted peers. Some people in this room taught me to respect myself and move beyond my blindness to develop my real skills and abilities.
The other place I gain strength is from my church, St. George's, right up the street here, and some of those colleagues are here too. Fellow parishioners have helped me grow in my spiritual beliefs, giving me a firm foundation for the way I act on my values.
So what about this team stuff? I recall one of my first experiences as an Arlington resident was to join with many others to oppose I-66 coming through the county. I was impressed with how responsive county officials were, actually returning my phone calls. While we ended up with I-66, through this teamwork I made new friends and became involved in other county activities.
Within the National Federation of the Blind I've been invited to be a part of several teams. Whether it be advocating for blind kids in the schools, helping senior citizens receive training to live independently in their homes, or pushing a bill through a legislative body, I've been a part of teams that pool their talents to do the job.
And it is from being a part of St. George's Church that I've learned how to appreciate people's strengths and forgive their errors and weaknesses. I am a leader because people have believed in me and have forgiven my errors and called on my strengths. I am blessed with so much that I believe it only appropriate to give back to my community; that's what life is all about.
Agriculture and Equestrian Division Tours:
In the April issue readers were promised that the May issue would include more information about some special tours. Here it is:
The Agricultural and Equestrian Division will sponsor two tours at this year's convention. The first is Tuesday, June 29, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. We'll visit a small hippotherapy/adaptive riding center, an alpaca ranch, and a surprise destination, but we will not be riding at the hippotherapy center. Suggested donation is $16, which includes transportation and snacks.
Tour Day, Saturday, July 3, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Polo anyone? We've been invited to take polo lessons. The Chukkar Farm and Polo Club is intrigued by the idea of adapting the game of polo for blind riders. Be sure to respond fast. This tour will sell out. Suggested donation is $23, which includes transportation, polo lessons, and picnic.
Deadline for tour registration is Monday, June 14. Some seats may still be open, so please contact us before you leave for Atlanta or upon arriving at the hotel. Reservations may be made by contacting the tour coordinator below. Please make payments by charge or check using PayPal, to [email protected] He can also be contacted for additional information. Tour coordinator and aquaculture researcher is Fred Chambers, phone (760) 505-8500; email <[email protected]>.
Joe and Lora Van Lent
The Des Moines Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa held a chapter banquet on Saturday evening, March 27. Though Joe Van Lent didn't know it at all and Lora thought the honoree was Joe, the chapter had secretly planned a banquet to honor the long service and loving persistence of two of its very finest members, Joe and Lora Van Lent.
The name of the award from the Des Moines Chapter was the Jacobus tenBroek Award, given rarely and not given at all for a quarter of a century. Longtime Iowa Federation leader and fellow vendor Bob Ray ably chaired the banquet, and newly elected chapter President Peggy Chong closed the festivities with an elegant tribute to Joe and Lora. Allen Harris, director of the Iowa Department for the Blind, added to the many accolades with a certificate of distinguished service from the department, along with a commemorative picture of the Van Lents.
Dr. Maurer sent warm words, and two state legislators who have known Joe and Lora for years, Representative John Connors and Senator Jack Holveck, attended and gave moving tributes, as did many Federation friends, including state President Peggy Elliott. National Association of Blind Merchants President Kevan Worley keynoted the event, and former NABM President Charlie Allen and his wife Betty made the long trek from Kentucky to join in the festivities. Many chapter members noted that this was one of the few times Joe has been caught speechless, to much warm merriment from the many friends and admirers present.
Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.
New Publications Available:
Arc and Bark and Blindcites are new subscription quarterly publications available in both large print and standard cassette formats. Arc and Bark is for guide dog users. Blindcites publishes high-quality fiction and poetry by blind writers. Both these magazines are mainstream and pay contributors upon publication.
The cost of each magazine is $25 a year, and both publications seek contributions. To submit or subscribe, contact Dennis Holter, 1000 Kiely Boulevard, Apt. 21, Santa Clara, California 95051, or email <[email protected]>.
Washington Center's Public Service Internships for Students with Disabilities:
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in conjunction with the American Association of People with Disabilities introduces a new initiative to help increase employment for students with disabilities. Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Washington Center is working to help students with disabilities develop leadership skills and gain valuable work experience in public service. The Washington Center complements students' professional experience with solid academic training for credit from highly qualified instructors. In addition, students will be exposed to community, national, and international leaders through workshops, seminars, lectures, embassy visits, and networking events held throughout each semester.
For more information about the scholarship program and eligibility requirements please visit our Web site at <http://www.twc.edu/diversityingovernment.htm> or contact J.T. Taransky, AAPD/TWC Internship Logistics Coordinator, phone/TTY (202) 457-0046, fax (202) 336-7609, email <[email protected]>, accessible format application <http://www.aapd.com/Internships/washintern.html>.
Helpful Partnership for Students:
We recently received the following press release:
University Partners with Bookshare.org
to Expand Access to College Textbooks
for Students with Disabilities
Indiana University, one of the nation's leading alternative-text production facilities serving students with disabilities, has partnered with Bookshare.org, the leading online library serving individuals with reading-related disabilities, to make college textbooks available to students with disabilities nationwide.
Under the terms of the partnership, Indiana University will contribute all textbooks scanned in its production facility to the growing Bookshare.org library, the largest contribution of education-specific materials to Bookshare.org to date. These materials will be made available only to individuals with qualifying disabilities, including visual impairments, mobility impairments, and learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Qualifying Bookshare.org members may access the materials online by becoming subscribers themselves or through access sponsored by an organization such as a university or college.
The arrangement ensures that Indiana University students with qualifying disabilities will receive full access to the Bookshare.org collection of more than 16,000 books, including required course materials, reference books, and the latest best-sellers.
The Bookshare.org collection consists of books scanned by individuals and schools, making print materials accessible using scanning and optical character recognition technology, as well as books contributed directly by publishers and authors in original digital forms. Indiana joins a number of schools nationwide in the effort to maximize the educational impact of Bookshare.org by sharing the textbooks they have scanned for their students. The scale and history of Indiana's book-scanning operation--which has produced more than 1,800 books to date--promises to make Bookshare.org a key resource for students at postsecondary institutions.
Transitional Youth Program for the Blind:
Applications are now being accepted for Winning Independence Now Guarantees Success (WINGS). This five-week work program for blind youth begins July 11 and ends August 13, 2004. The all-inclusive program fee is $3,375. For more information contact Shirley Riffle <[email protected]>, or Robin Zimmerman <[email protected]> at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM); phone (410) 233-4567 or (888) 322-4567, toll free. You may want to contact BISM to find out about its numerous summer camps for kids.
Deep Sea Fishing Opportunities:
Join the Helen Keller Fishing Club for a day of fishing. The club is scheduling trips aboard boats for the 2004 season from ports along the north and south shores of Long Island.
This unique club is now entering its fifty-sixth season and is known to be the only deep sea fishing club in the United States for men and women who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind. If you would like to accompany the club for a day of fishing and excitement or would like information on becoming a member of the club, contact Walter Bach at Helen Keller Services for the Blind (718) 522-2122, extension 347.
Braille Magazines Wanted:
As Monitor readers know, materials produced for and circulated by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) are available only to citizens of the United States. Members of our sister organization, the National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom, would appreciate receiving copies of NLS magazines in Braille when American readers are ready to discard them.
Anyone interested in passing along Braille magazines should send them to Hans Cohn, 128 Walm Lane, London NW24RT, United Kingdom. Braille materials may be sent using the Free Matter privilege. For further information, contact Mr. Cohn at <[email protected]>.
Panasonic Soliciting Consumer Advice:
Ray Slaton of Florida writes to say that he has just learned Panasonic Corporation has created an access and compliance office. The company invites blind people to phone or email with ideas about how it can make its products--VCRs, telephones, DVD players, and such--more accessible. Contact information is as follows: email Robert Wegner at <[email protected]>, or phone (201) 392-6115.
The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.
Ultra Pro Aladdin closed-circuit TV, bought in 2001, is now for sale, hardly used. It originally cost $2,395, now asking $1,800. If you are near enough, come see it, operate it, and take it home. Contact Bonnie Dwork, 6810 108 Street, Forest Hills, New York 11375-3367.
I am seeking a copy of Braillables: A Manual for Parents and Teachers, published at one time by the Guild for the Blind of Chicago. Any reasonable offers will be considered. Please contact Shelley L. Rhodes at <[email protected]> or by phone at (814) 323-3533.
Telesensory Aladdin Ultra CCTV in excellent condition, used only a few times, fourteen-inch black and white monitor, asking $850. Original price, $1,845. Magnifies letters up to two inches in black text on white background or vice versa. Shipping cost is $65 paid by buyer. Call (215) 568-6232 and leave message.
Handheld Braille labeler with raised letters next to Braille letters, includes instructional cassette. Asking $140, plus shipping and handling.
Also woven cane carriers for sale.
For further information contact Tina Hubley at (207) 448-2719, 97113 Ancroft Road, Weston, Maine 04424.
Alexandra Bradstreet has the following items for sale:
1. Magni-Cam, a portable CCTV system that can connect to any TV and is easy to install. It is in excellent condition. Small and light, it is very portable. You can read anything from books to medicine bottles. Asking $600 or best offer.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in four Braille volumes. Asking $20.
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in ten Braille volumes. Asking $40, or best offer.
4. APH Handi-Cassette II. 4- or 2-track recorder/tape player in pretty good working condition. Asking $120.
5. Braille 'n Speak 640 that has just been repaired and is in like-new condition. Asking $110 or best offer.
6. Braille 'n Speak 2000 that has just been repaired and is in like-new condition. Asking $1,200 or best offer.
7. APH Handi-Cassette II, brand new and in excellent condition. Asking $130 or best offer.
8. APH Scholar that has just been repaired and is in like-new condition. Asking $1,100 or best offer.
9. Black talking watch with digital read-out and black leather band. It has an alarm, stopwatch, hour report, and set time. it is in pretty good condition. Asking $30.
10. Quartz talking watch with large-print dial, white with black numbers. It has Seiko movements by Marcel Drucker and features three alarms with either a rooster, cuckoo, or beep. It speaks the time and has an on/off switch for hourly time announcements. This men's or women's watch has a clear, audible voice and an expandable silver bracelet. Asking $60.
If you are interested in any of these items, please email Ms. Bradstreet at <[email protected]>.
Handmade tissue box covers, placemats, coasters, and many other items in various designs and your choice of colors. All items are woven yarn. Contact Henry Osborne in any format at Hands-On Crafts, 127 Platt Street, Apartment D, Milford, Connecticut 06460-7542. For pricing or other information, call (203) 876-1696, home, or (203) 809-4781, cell.
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts 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.