Braille Monitor                                                                                                           November 2004

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News from the Federation Family

Golden Anniversary Convention Report:

The National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia held its annual convention September 10, 11, and 12 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in South Charleston, West Virginia. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the NFB of West Virginia. President Maurer's address highlighted the banquet. At the Sunday morning business session the following officers were elected: president, Roland Payne; first vice president, C. Edgar McDonald; second vice president, Daren Burton; secretary, Charlene Smyth; and treasurer, Marcus Soulsby. President Payne remarked that this year's group of enthusiastic Federationists came away with new hope and vision for the NFB of West Virginia.

At the Friday evening reception, former affiliate president R.L. (Dick) Porter was honored by the presentation of a flag to his widow, Joyce Porter. The American flag was presented by the oldest living Congressional Medal of Honor winner in West Virginia on behalf of the Marine Corps League. Also as a tribute to Dick Porter and other affiliate leaders, Ed McDonald presented a number of sound bytes which he had recorded from past state conventions.

Braille Coins for Sale:

Braille coin  key chain
Braille coin key chain

The Cincinnati chapter and the brand new Ohio Organization of Blind Seniors are selling Louis Braille coins. These unique coins have the words "Louis Braille 1809" (the year of Braille's birth) in Braille on one side and a picture of hands reading Braille and the words "Braille Opens Doors" in print on the reverse side. These attractive coins, which can serve as key chains, are ideal for affiliates or chapters to use in promoting Braille Literacy Week in early January. The Louis Braille coins sell for $5 each and will be mailed free matter. To order, send payment to Paul Dressell, 2714 Ruberg Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 481‑7662. Make checks payable to NFB of Cincinnati and mail to the above address.

Pen Friend Wanted:

Donna Jean Webb would like to correspond by email, cassette tape, Braille, or large, dark print with anyone who shares her interests. She is forty-six and legally deaf-blind. She uses a wheelchair and lives on her own in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Her hobbies are Bible study, bead working, camping, cooking, crocheting and knitting, drawing, painting, working jigsaw puzzles, leather working, latch hooking, and learning about other cultures and languages. She speaks English, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean. If interested, write to her at 701 Scott Street, Apartment 509, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-4624; email <>.

For Sale:

NFB of South Carolina T-shirts are royal blue with gold writing. Whozit is on the front, and "National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina" is on the back. Only four sizes are left: large, 1x, 2x, and 3x. The price is $12. This is a fundraiser for the Barnwell Chapter of the NFB of South Carolina.

To order, make checks payable to Barnwell NFB and send with size preference and mailing address to Diane Collins, 119 May Road, Barnwell, South Carolina 29812. For more information contact Diane at <> or (803) 259‑5867.

New Chapter:

Larry Streeter, president of the NFB of Idaho, announces that the NFB of Idaho has organized a chapter in the Moscow area. Officers for the Palouse Chapter are Andrea Travis, president; Marisela Nieto, vice president; Justin Brandis, secretary; Mike Mello, treasurer; and Diane Milhollin, board member.

National Association of Blind Merchants’
Business, Leadership, and Superior Training 2005:

Kevan Worley, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, says to get out your 2005 calendar and mark the dates of the spring conference scheduled for April 12 to 15 at the Adam's Mark Hotel, just off the exciting 16th Street Mall, Denver, Colorado. Travel to Denver for a truly rewarding experience and receive unbelievably low room rates, which are good from Saturday, April 9, through Saturday, April 16. This means you can visit with merchants, agency partners, and suppliers and even give yourself time to relax and enjoy all that the vibrant city of Denver and the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado have to offer. Conference activities BLAST off on Tuesday afternoon, April 12, and conclude midday Friday, April 15. So, if you wish, you could travel to the beautiful mountains of Colorado on Saturday, April 9, through Saturday night, April 16, and experience a Mile-High BLAST and mini-vacation.

Training sessions and meetings will begin Tuesday afternoon. We will be in meetings all day Wednesday and Thursday as well as Friday morning. We are planning receptions, a leadership breakfast, and a luncheon banquet. We are developing a first-class training agenda. Those who attended our Orlando BLAST say that they gained much from the innovative, interactive, informative training. We are working now to develop the training curriculum for BLAST `05. Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated. The goal of the BLAST `05 spring conference is to target training to meet the specific needs of blind entrepreneurs and our agency partners.

Working with our partner suppliers and purveyors, we are planning an even more extensive product and services showcase of exhibits during the Mile-High BLAST the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13. New products, special pricing, accessible technology, and more will make this showcase one you can't afford to miss.

This year registration of $160 will cover all conference activities and training materials. Those who register prior to March 1, 2005, will pay only $100, receiving a $60 discount for early registration. Checks should be sent to 18121-C E. Hampden Avenue, PMB 196, Aurora, Colorado 80013. Please include name, phone number, best mailing address, and email if available for each person you are registering, along with your check.

The Adam's Mark Hotel offers luxurious lodging at tremendously low rates. Rates for our Mile-High BLAST are even lower than for last year's event: $69 for singles and doubles and $79 for triples and quads per night all week long. All rates quoted are net per room, per night, plus the current 14% tax. The Adam's Mark Hotel is conveniently located on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall with free shuttle to all downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. The hotel is adjacent to the Pavilion Complex featuring dining, theaters, shopping, and more.

Area attractions include Coors Field, where the Rockies play baseball; the Rocky Mountains; and world-class skiing; convenient downtown RTD light rail; more than seventy golf courses nearby; the gaming towns of Blackhawk and Central City less than an hour from the hotel; Denver Center for the Performing Arts; Denver Zoo; Denver Children's Museum; Ocean Journey; Coors & Anheuser-Busch brewery tours; Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison; The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster; Denver Art Museum; Denver Museum of Natural History; national parks; and scenic and historic tours.

For hotel reservations call the Adam's Mark Hotel at (800) 444-2326. Tell the agent you are booking for the group rate for the National Association of Blind Merchants. Make your reservations now.

Working together, we can build a new Randolph-Sheppard Program; it can start with a Mile-High BLAST. As those of you who have attended previous BLAST conferences know, we are not planning the usual blind vendor conference. It will be a BLAST of fresh air with real take-home ideas merchant vendors and agency partners can use to build careers. BLAST will feature electrifying upward mobility training seminars taught by this nation's leading motivators in the fields of human resources, marketing, and retail management.

Join us as these scintillating speakers walk us through dynamic approaches to develop rapport with customers, building management, SLAs, and colleagues. You'll go home with a pocketful of tools and techniques that will reach customers and keep bringing them back--methods to anticipate, understand, embrace, and manage change in the marketplace. You will be energized by practical strategies to manage, teach, lead, profit. There will be formal and informal opportunities throughout BLAST to network and build strong personal and business relationships.

To listen to and view a five-and-a-half-minute video presentation highlighting last year's event, go to <>. At the bottom of the home page click on "play BLAST introduction video."

BLAST `05 is a National Training Conference for you. We want your input and ideas as we develop the specifics of this high-caliber conference. For further information and to offer your suggestions contact Kevan Worley, president, National Association of Blind Merchants at (303) 306-7122, or email <>. Make plans now to join us in Denver. It's going to be a Mile-High BLAST!

In Brief

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.

Expansion of Free Educational Pilot Program:

The positive response to All inPlay's initial program at the Carroll Center in Massachusetts, Dewitt and Associates in New Jersey, and other locations around the country has precipitated an expansion. All inPlay is pleased to offer this free three‑month program to eight additional blindness institutions and vocational rehabilitation centers interested in participating. The pilot program lets organizations that teach computer skills to blind and visually impaired students include All inPlay games in their current curriculum. All inPlay believes, and the first trials have shown, that All inPlay's games give students additional motivation and further their typing, Web-browsing, and screen‑reading skills.

To learn how to sign up your organization as one of the eight new Pilot Program Sites, contact Jeremie Spitzer by phone at (413) 585‑9691, or by email at <>.

Computers for the Blind:

Pentium II's and III's are available to blind people at an affordable price. You can have a computer that will give you free email and Web-surfing capacity and keep track of your checkbook transactions, insurance, taxes, utilities, and other expenditures. You will receive a demo copy of Window Eyes and audio cassettes that will teach you how to operate the computer keyboard using speech access. You will also have two methods of enlarging the text on the screen with a fifty-page tutorial that will teach you step by step how to operate the computer with a mouse. You get speakers, a dial-up modem, sound card, and a CD ROM. This gives you everything you need to learn how to use and operate a computer.

Cost is $100. This offer is for the United States and Canada only. Contact Bob Langford, president of Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, Texas, 75238, (214) 340-6328 during business hours, Central time; fax (214) 340-0870, or email <>.

Focus Group Participants Needed:

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic is conducting market research to determine how to better serve people who are blind or visually impaired. We are asking either former members of our service or people who are eligible for membership but who have never registered with us to contact Linda DiMaggio at <> or at (609)720‑8409. Those selected for participation in a focus group by telephone will receive a $50 gift certificate as a thank‑you.

Braille Writer Repair:

Perkins Braille Writer users need to know three things: 1) their Braille Writers can be repaired with a five-day turnaround time starting at $65; 2) broken or unwanted Perkins Braillers will be purchased; and 3) refurbished Braille Writers are available for sale starting at $250. Please call Paul Jackanin, Braille Writer Repair Service at (718) 384-2945.

Attention Robotics Enthusiasts:

My name is Cheryl R. Brown. I am an absolute robotics builder novice. I tinker with the following: Lego® Mindstorm™ Robotics invention kit; JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology. I am seeking and exploring other robotics building kits. I am planning to participate in and explore the online robotics curriculum. The Web site is <>. If you share these interests, please email me at <>. Please provide your email address in the body of the email.

Math Institute for Blind Students:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant to the Institute on Blindness and the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University to conduct a three-week-long summer math institute for blind high school students. The NSF has made funds available to create programs that will increase under-represented populations to pursue math and science careers. Blind students are certainly under-represented in the sciences. This is partly due to the fact that they are often discouraged from taking advanced math courses in high school.

The Louisiana Tech staff will be developing a curriculum that will make math more accessible to blind students and provide blind math mentors to help students overcome the fear and stigma often associated with advanced math. The course being developed is an introductory college math course. Space is available for ten participants. The grant will cover expenses related to the class, travel, and room and board for the students. Anyone interested in this program may contact Dr. Ronald Ferguson at (318) 257-4554 or email <>.

Help Needed for Bangladesh Library:

Feroza Maula, chairman of the Louis Braille Memorial Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Bangladesh, writes to say that the library is working to help blind and other disabled people in Bangladesh. Its services are free to all.

The library requests donations of used or extra Braille, print, and large-print books; magazines; journals (including religious books); Braille paper; white canes; Perkins Braillers; Braille slates; Braille and talking watches; a Braille printer; and any other kinds of educational materials and equipment.

Please send any materials by surface mail under the Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped privilege. Send all contributions to Feroza Maula, Mirpur P.O. Box 8157, Dhaka‑1216, Bangladesh.

The staff needs mailing and email addresses of educational, rehabilitation, and other disabled organizations in the United States. Mr. Maula concludes by saying, "Please help us. For more information we can be reached by email at <> or <>."

Position Available:

The Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) school board is seeking a Director of Education. Web sites for further information:

City of Faribault: <>

MASB: <>

Important qualifications but not limited to the following:

• Visible person in the Legislature who is approachable and has strong communication skills and values and respect of others' views

• A record of success in key administrative roles

• Articulate advocate for education of the vision-impaired and an educational leader who is visionary and practices long-range financial and program planning

• Creative leader who has integrity and can build trust and motivate others to commit to high expectations

• A consensus/collaborative style sensitive to the ideas of staff, community, and values diversity

• Ability to build sound board, staff, and community relationships through solid personnel management

• Passion for education of vision impaired

• Strong academic record, sensitive to learning needs of vision-impaired

• Licensed as an administrator and in visual education.

Compensation: The State of Minnesota will provide a competitive compensation package based on the selected candidate's background and experience. Salary range is $75,000 to $87,000. The package will include the State of Minnesota fringe benefits.

Application: A person wishing to be considered should submit an application which includes:

• A current resume

• A completed application form

• A letter of application, setting forth in detail personal qualifications, experience, and reasons for interest in the position; include a description of significant administrative accomplishments of the past few years

• The names of four persons who will serve as references and can be presently contacted; include names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers, and indicate type and length of relationship with each reference.

• College or university placement papers and credentials; the applicant is responsible for arranging to have college or university placement papers forwarded as an essential part of the materials before the deadline.

• Evidence of eligibility for a Minnesota Administrator's Certificate and vision education license.

• A signed affidavit and disclaimer

All materials will be accepted and treated confidentially. After all applications have been received, the consultants will recommend to the Board of Education those candidates it considers most qualified. The Academy School Board will interview the most qualified candidates. A final selection is expected to be made in December 2004.

For additional information, please contact Linda Mitchell, superintendent, (507) 332‑5400. Address applications, credentials, and requests for information and application forms to BKB Associates, Executive Search Consultants, 200 Chancery Lane, Mankato, Minnesota 56001, email <>.

Attention Those Interested in Electronic Worship Materials:

Longtime Federation leader the Rev. Robert Eschbach makes the following request of those who use devotional materials, hymns, and other Christian materials:

I am working with the United Methodist Church Board of Publications to determine how they can make materials available in electronic Braille. This is not an effort to eliminate the current production of hard-copy Braille by the American Printing House for the Blind. It is, instead, an effort to expand the opportunities for the church to help blind people share in all aspects of worship and study.

Whether you are United Methodist or not, your interest in having this option would be helpful in persuading the publishers to embrace this venture. If we can demonstrate that providing electronic files is a service that blind worshipers would use, we can make a real difference in these deliberations. If such a service would be of interest to you, please let me know by either email or telephone: <> or (520) 836-3689.

Announcing Free Recipe-Finding Service:

Need a recipe but don't have it in your preferred format? Contact Federationist Maureen Pranghofer, 4910 Dawnview Terrace, Golden Valley, MN 55422 (763) 522‑2501, <>.

Let me know what recipe you are seeking and your format of choice, and I'll find it and send it to you. Available formats: Braille, tape, email, large print, or computer disc.

Guide Dog Camp:

The next Guide Dog Camp will be held at Camp Wawona in Yosemite National Park, Sunday, May 8, through Thursday, May 12, 2005. Conducted by professionals, this three-day, intensive session will include evaluation of the guide dog team and recommendations for postgraduate training to meet individual goals using group and individual guidance. In addition, seminars will deal with the common interests of handlers and of others considering relinquishing the cane. Among other program offerings are country walking, obedience and control, and health and care of the guide dog.

This session may be of interest to you if you are choosing a school, applying for a successor dog, reapplying following rejection, or exchanging your cane for travel with a guide dog. Legally blind adults over age eighteen wishing to enhance their skills and others genuinely interested in pursuing securing a guide dog will be considered for this session.

The camp is six miles inside the south gate of Yosemite National Park at the elevation of 4,500 feet in the Sierra, Nevada, mountains. It borders the Wilderness Area and the Merced River, the source of the great Yosemite Falls.

Cabins are weatherized and contain kitchen facilities and a full bathroom. Camp Wawona is owned and managed by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. All rules and regulations must be adhered to by campers.

As with all national parks, wildlife such as bear and deer forage freely throughout. Park rules are posted. If you have concern for your safety and that of your dog, call the park ranger's office for information and advice at (209) 372-0409. For information about the camp program, call (559) 439-4457 between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., Pacific Time, weekdays only. We are particularly interested to hear from guide dog user groups and training school administrators.

A deposit of $50 for individuals and $100 for schools and organizations is required. Deposits are due before April 1, 2005. When accepted, the enrollee is assured a place at camp. Our session is limited to thirty-six campers. Deposits from applicants not accepted will be returned by April 1, 2005. Deposits of those accepted are not refundable and will be applied to the campership program if not used by the depositor.

For additional information, call Joe Ring, MSW, coordinator. May is the best time to enjoy the Yosemite experience.

 Gift Suggestions:

Our Favorite Recipes is a collection of over 200 mouth-watering recipes compiled by the members of the East Bay Center for the Blind, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley, California. The book is available in Braille (two volumes with easy wipe-off cover) or large print for a donation of $25 plus $3 shipping and handling. To order a copy, send check or money order in the amount of $28 to East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., 2928 Adeline Street, Berkeley, California 94703. For additional information call (510) 843-6935.

Attention Those Interested in the Wellness Business:

Paul Gabias, Ph.D. LL.D., writes to say that the Gabias Wellness Center is part of a large network of Wellness Consultants in thirty-three countries affiliated with Nikken, a Japanese multinational giant in the wellness and direct sales industry. The Gabias Wellness Center offers training to increase effectiveness in five areas of life: healthy body, mind, family, society, and finances. If you want to increase your health, protect yourself from disease, and help others do the same, we are interested in hearing from you. If you want to build a business in the trillion-dollar wellness industry, propelled by the commitment to be of service to others, we are looking for you. For more information call the Gabias Wellness Center at (250) 491‑7256.

New Book Available:

Loving in the Dark, An Incredible Journey, volume 1 of Lois Dingess Howard's autobiography is now available for $8 including postage. Unfortunately, at this time the book is available only in print. In the pages of this small, attractive book, the author shares with the reader many of her memories of the events that filled her young life and have made her the person she is today. She tells about her early childhood spent in Huntington, West Virginia (her birthplace), her life on a farm in Ohio during the forties, her fifth year of school when she was faced with the shocking realization that she was gradually losing her vision, and the four-plus wonderful years that she spent as a student at the Ohio State School for the Blind.

These heartwarming accounts, along with some historical facts and touches of trivia, combine to make Loving in the Dark, An Incredible Journey an interesting, informative, and inspiring book. It would make a great gift for anyone who enjoys reading. To order your copy, send a check or money order to Lois Howard, 61951 High Hill Road, Cambridge, Ohio 43725.

Monitor Mart

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.

BrailleNote 32 for Sale:

I am selling a notetaker with 32-cell Braille display, eight keys for Braille input, internal 56K modem, planner, word processor, Internet access, email, etc. Comes with Super disk drive and extra 48 meg of memory. Complete package includes AC adapter/charger and Braille quick reference guide--all for $4,800. Shipping is extra.

This equipment retails for the following prices: BrailleNote 32 $5,795, Super disk drive $269, and extra 48 meg of memory $425. The warranty covers repairs and cleaning until April 2005. For more information contact Georgia Kitchen at (810) 233‑4776 or <>.

For Sale:

Donna Jean Webb writes to say:

I have just opened Faith Enterprises. We do Braille transcription (literary Braille only) for five cents a page. We sell Mary Kay products for men, women, and teenagers, and Watkins products for cooking and baking. We have Malalucha products, which are nontoxic homecare and personal health care products. We also carry handmade crocheted and knitted items. Write or send a cassette requesting a list of these handmade items and prices. Contact Donna Jean Webb, 701 Scott Street, Apartment 509, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-4624.

For Sale:

My name is Glenn Levine, and I am a member of the North San Diego County and Beach Cities chapters of the NFB of California. I have the following items for sale:

ET Braille printer, embosses at twenty-five characters per second. It also prints on both sides of the page. It's in excellent condition and produces great Braille; asking $2,500. I have an external disk drive for use with the Freedom Scientific notetakers. I will include a check-writing program; asking $250. If interested in any of these items, call Glenn Levine at (760) 839-2601, or email <>.



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.


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