News from the Federation Family
Attention Chapter Secretaries:
This is a general reminder that new members have no idea how to get their names placed on the Braille Monitor mailing list. As a matter of course you should send names, addresses, phone numbers, and format preferences for the Monitor (cassette, large print, or Braille) to Marsha Dyer at the National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. You can fax the list to (410) 685-5653 or email the information to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. To receive an email subscription go to “Braille Monitor” on our Web site <www.nfb.org> and follow the directions. Please help us keep our mailing list up to date.
The results of the April 10, 2004, election of the Pierce County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington are as follows: president, Chris Jones; vice president, Neil Vosburgh; secretary, Shannon Salazar; and treasurer, George Miller.
Oregon Affiliate Drawing:
Again in 2004 the NFB of Oregon is conducting its travel drawing. The prize is $1,000 of credit at a travel agency, to be spent on anything a travel agent can book: plane or train tickets, hotels, cruises, car rentals, or tickets to shows or other events. It can be used for more than one small trip or for one big event. The only stipulation is that the winner accept the value of the prize in his or her own name for purposes of reporting to the IRS.
NFB of Oregon members are selling these tickets from now until the time of the drawing, which will be held at the banquet of the affiliate convention, November 6, 2004, in Salem, Oregon. You need not be present to win. Only 1,999 tickets have been printed, so the odds are very good. The winner will have from the time of the drawing until December 31, 2005, to complete the travel.
Watch for these tickets on sale at the national convention, and get yours while they last.
2004 National Federation of the Blind Rehabilitation Conference:
The Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals, and the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) are proud to announce joint sponsorship of a rehabilitation conference in Atlanta at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The conference, titled "Essentials for Effective Orientation and Mobility Professionals," will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2004, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will include a rich agenda of key leaders and professionals working in the field of orientation and mobility. Consult your preconvention agenda for room location.
Registration for the conference is free, and will begin at 8:30 a.m. The conference will be of particular interest to those currently working in the field of rehabilitation for the blind, students in professional preparation programs, those interested in travel training as a career, and those with general interest in rehabilitation for the blind. For more information about the graduate degree programs offered by Louisiana Tech University, contact Dr. Ron Gardner at (318) 257-4554, email <email@example.com>; or for more information about the conference contact Dr. Ron Ferguson (318) 257-4554, email <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Christine Brown at (734) 763-1081, email <email@example.com>.
An Event Worth Copying:
Robert Sellers, president of the Clark County Chapter of the NFB of Washington, writes to report a successful event at the Washington State School for the Blind: on Thursday, April 15, the Clark County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington held its annual NFB night at the Washington State School for the Blind. Students from grades seven through twelve attended the hour-and-a-quarter event. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce them to the NFB, its philosophy, and the way it has affected our lives and theirs.
We discussed the many laws that the NFB has worked to pass during the past fifty years and the difference they have made in blind people's lives. We spent a portion of our time showing NASA's presentation at the dedication of the Jernigan Institute. We stressed science and the science camps NASA is offering through the Institute, and we urged the students to consider careers in science. We also reminded them that good Braille and mobility skills are essential and that the NFB supports students through scholarships and a positive philosophy of blindness. Mike Freeman, having received a BA in physics at Reed College in Portland and then done graduate work at New Mexico State University, shared some of his experiences and described his strategies for success as a blind student in science. The nineteen students were quite attentive and asked several questions.
The gathering ended with several door prizes and ice cream, cookies, and a beverage. The door prizes came from several businesses in the surrounding area. The mobility instructors at WSSB are cooperating with us and will use the door prizes to help the kids work on their mobility skills.
I might add that attendance at this event is voluntary, so having nineteen students in the audience was a good showing. Our first such event had six students. The school administration is very supportive of NFB night.
The NFB of Mississippi conducted its annual convention at the end of March. Here are the election results; Sam Gleese, president; Gwen Stokes, first vice president; Barbara Hadnott, second vice president; Cassie Branum, secretary; Sarah White, treasurer; and Robert Skillon, Ellie Barrantes Bullard, Mae Catherine Lockett, and Ramon Holmes, board members.
Hazel Staley writes to report: on March 2, 2004, the NFB of Alamance County, North Carolina, was organized in Burlington. Chapter officers are Pat Yarborough, president; Michael Sutton, vice president; and Michelle Sutton, secretary-treasurer. This chapter gives every evidence of becoming a strong unit of the North Carolina affiliate.
The Tupelo Chapter of the NFB of Mississippi elected officers for 2004 during its December meeting. The officers are president, Robert Skillon; vice president, Mary Evans; secretary, Lananie Fields; treasurer, Ramon Holmes; and board member, Richard Joiner.
Reminder from Utah:
Don't miss the great values again this year at the Utah table in the Exhibit Hall at this summer's convention in Atlanta! Again this year we will have pocket knives for $2; FM scan radios $3; and Digital Voice Recorders $20. Exciting new items this year include pearl earrings and necklaces at bargain prices. See you there.
In the article titled "Speaking of Gratitude: Givers of Freedom and Creators of Opportunity" by Tonia Trapp, which appeared in the April issue, we made an error in Greg Trapp's job title. He is director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. We regret the error.
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.
More about Computer Assistive Technologies:
In the February 2004 issue we carried a letter in "Monitor Miniatures" from Marjorie Arnott describing trouble she had had getting acceptable service from a Florida company called Computer Assistive Services and owned by Robert and Stephanie Brown. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and both state and local authorities told her that they needed more reports of trouble before they could do anything to protect the public. Ms. Arnott requested people who had had problems with the company to contact her. People obviously have done so, and it looks as if progress is being made. Those in the market for access technology should certainly tread carefully when deciding to do business with this company. Here is a portion of an email that Ms. Arnott received from Vann Causey, another dissatisfied customer, and passed along to the NFB:
Well, here is the latest on the Browns. I talked to the BBB [Better Business Bureau] today at Port St. Lucie, Florida. The first words out of their mouths were that the Browns are in deep with credit card fraud. They wanted to know specifics, and I provided them. I also told them about the phones being disconnected. The BBB gave me the number for the Martin County Sheriff's Department, Economic Crimes Division. They also gave me the number for the state of Florida Department of Consumer Affairs. I talked with the sheriff's office today, and hopefully I will make contact with the state of Florida tomorrow.
The BBB told me that they have a two-and-a-half-year history of bad reports on the Browns. The reports range from poor customer support and complaint resolution to credit card fraud. Maybe now the state will get going on this. I am going to make every contact I can. If you know anyone that either had dealings or had problems with the Browns, please tell them to contact the Florida Consumer Affairs Department as soon as possible.
OUB-Sponsored Summer Camp in Michigan:
"Loads of fun," "challenges," "push the envelope": these are popular phrases not commonly associated with blind and visually impaired kids. Sponsored by Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB), Camp Tuhsmeheta, five miles west of Greenville, Michigan, has six one-week summer camp programs for elementary through high school students (and even parents) crammed with all of this excitement and more. For six weeks, beginning June 13, the sounds of young voices, splashing, running feet, and healthy panting from the exertion of meeting new challenges are all to be expected as blind and visually impaired children experience (many for the first time) the fun of a quality summer camping program in which NFB philosophy is energetically applied. For more information on camp schedules or a camp or employment application, contact Bud Ferrell at (810) 658‑1192 or Larry Posont at (313) 271‑3058, or go to <www.campt.org>. The camp also hires blind and sighted youth to work as staff and mentors.
If you want water, we have five lakes. If you want space, we have 297 acres of woods with trails and fields. If you want adventure, we have kayaks, canoes, and camping. If you want nature, we have all manner of wild flora and fauna to learn about and appreciate. If you have ever wondered if a blind person could climb a tree, swim a lake, build a campfire, take a hike, or identify the trees in the woods, we will introduce you to blind people who do all these things.
The Selective Doctor, Inc., is a repair service for all IBM typewriters and Perkins Braillewriters. Located in Baltimore, the service has done work for the Maryland School for the Blind and a number of other organizations in Maryland. They accept Perkins Braillers sent to them from around the country.
The cost to repair a manual Perkins Brailler is $50 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. Due to technical complexity the cost to repair an electric Perkins Brailler is $60 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. The Brailler will be shipped back to you by U.S. mail, free matter for the blind and insured for $600. The cost of this insurance ($7.20) will be added to your invoice. This listed insurance charge may fluctuate due to rate changes by the postal service.
To mail Braillers using the U.S. Postal Service, send your Brailler(s) to the Selective Doctor, P.O. Box 28432, Baltimore, Maryland 21234-8432. If you care to use UPS or Federal Express, please send Braillers to the Selective Doctor, 3014 Linwood Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21234-5821. With your Brailler(s) please include your name and organization (if applicable), shipping and billing addresses, telephone number, and a brief description of your Brailler's needs. Should you require additional information, please call (410) 668-1143, or email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The notice in this section has 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.
Wanted to Buy:
Braille printer and computer system with JAWS for our fifteen-year-old daughter, who is totally blind. If you have a reasonably up-to-date computer system in good condition that you would be willing to sell, please contact Janice at <email@example.com>.
She is remarkable, sweet, and loving (I'm not bragging; it is just a fact). Please read her story at <http://www.adoptn.org/janice.html> and hear her sing at <http://www.adoptn.org/blindness.html>.
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.