Braille Monitor                                                                                                            January 2005

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News from the Federation Family

Maria Roberta Zulueta Sandejas Shroyer, September 20, 1979, to November 7, 2004.
Maria Roberta Zulueta Sandejas Shroyer, September 20, 1979, to November 7, 2004

In Memoriam:

We are deeply saddened to report the death in the early morning of Sunday, November 7, of Roberta Sandejas Shroyer, who volunteered for many months at the National Center before joining the national staff in May of 2004. Mrs. Shroyer duplicated our cassettes. She was born in Manila, Philippines, where in high school and college she was a talented soccer player. We understand that she was almost certainly headed for the Philippines women's soccer team at the 2004 Olympics. After being badly injured and blinded in a tragic incident in her home, she left Manila and moved to Baltimore, where she graduated from the rehabilitation program at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM). There she met her future husband, Justin Shroyer. Before recently requesting to be assigned the job his wife had done, Mr. Shroyer worked in the Materials Center.

We enjoyed Mrs. Shroyer's easy laugh and great sense of humor, her excellent cooking at various chapter functions, her enthusiastic participation in our many activities, and her positive outlook on life. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.

New Division:

Paul Dressell writes to report the following:

The Ohio Organization of the Senior Blind, a division of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and the National Organization of the Senior Blind, came into existence on Friday evening, November 5, 2004, when it ratified a constitution, set its dues structure, and discussed possible projects. Or did it happen the next afternoon when officers were elected, dues collected, and projects discussed at greater length? In any case we're here, twenty-four members strong.

The Board of Directors consists of president, Virginia Mann; vice president, Trish Wright; secretary, Paul Dressell; treasurer, Judy Cook; and board members, Linda Freund and Quintella Haggins. The division has gotten off to a great start and looks forward to being an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind.

Eddie, Samantha, and Maria Bell
Eddie, Samantha, and Maria Bell

New Baby:

Eddie and Maria Bell, Federation leaders in Arkansas and everywhere they go, write to provide the following glad tidings:

Samantha Taylor Bell was born on November 12, 2004, at 3:42 a.m. She weighed in at six pounds, fourteen ounces and was nineteen and a half inches long. Everyone is doing well, and Victoria is taking her role as big sister very seriously.

Elected:

The National Federation of the Blind of Arizona's East Valley Chapter held its election at its November 20, 2004, meeting. The following officers were elected: president, Mark Feliz; first vice president, Mary Hartle-Smith; second vice president, Connie Ryan; secretary, Barbara O'Brien; treasurer, Tom O'Brien; and board members, Mark Hamblin and Tony Sohl.

Elected:

Judy Sanders, secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, sent the following report: The NFB of Minnesota held its convention from October 22 to 24 in St. Cloud. We were pleased to have President Maurer with us.

We voted to expand our board of directors from seven to nine members. Our current officers are president, Joyce Scanlan; vice president, Jennifer Dunnam; secretary, Judy Sanders; and treasurer, Tom Scanlan. The board members are Jan Bailey, Pat Barrett, Charlene Childrey, Mary Beth Moline, and Eric Smith.

Elected:

The National Federation of the Blind of Oregon Rose City Chapter conducted elections on November 20, 2004. The officers for the coming term are president, Celyn Brown; vice president, Michael Alvarez; secretary, Jerry Hathaway; and treasurer, Joyce Green.

Elected:

At its October 9, 2004, meeting the Bix Beiderbeck Chapter of the NFB of Iowa held elections for officers for 2004-05. Elected were Deb Smith, president; Mark Lee, vice president; John TeBockhorst, secretary; Tom TeBockhorst, treasurer; and Quana Chambers, board member.

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.

Portable Scanner Available:

Robert Leblond writes to say that the Assistive Technology Center announces the new Docu-Edge portable scanning system for blind and vision-impaired users. The Docu-Edge system combines cutting edge hardware and software to offer the first truly accessible pocket scanning solution.

The heart of the system is the Docu Pen scanner, a nine-inch-long scanner that weighs 1.7 ounces. The device looks like a short windshield wiper blade. It is drawn down a sheet of paper to perform a scan. Scanned images are held in memory until they can be transferred to the user's computer. The scanner can hold up to a hundred pages in memory.

The Docu-Edge system includes PaperPort software to enable the user to transfer files from the scanner to a PC. Also included is a special version of OmniPage for advanced optical character recognition (OCR). OmniPage is rated over 98 percent accurate and is the most widely used OCR software in the world. After scanning and transferring files from the scanner, users can send the files to OmniPage to turn files into text and read them with any screen reader or print or file the documents for later use.

Scan business cards, contracts, legal information, real estate documents, handouts, or any other printed materials and read them when you wish. This is a great tool for students, professionals, and executives. Docu-Edge also includes audio manuals for use by blind and vision impaired people. The Docu-Edge system is produced through a collaborative effort between Planon Corp, ScanSoft, and the Assistive Technology Center.

Docu-Edge special introductory price is $229. You may order by phone at (916) 956-2054. Online ordering may be done at our Web site: <www.assistivetechcenter.com>.

Brailler Repair:

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 <braillerrepair@yahoo.com>.

Research Announcement:

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center On Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University is conducting research on the way the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affects people between eighteen and sixty-four who are blind or have low vision. The contact person is Dr. John Frank, at (800) 675-7782 or email <jfrank@colled.msstate.edu>. Your input will help us describe the effects of this law on people with severe visual impairment.

The survey has questions about accommodation requests made because of a visual impairment since January 2000. If you have a severe visual impairment but made no ADA requests, there is a section for explaining your reasons for not requesting accommodation.

Survey participants may describe no requests, or only one, or may describe up to twenty-five requests that they believe relate in some way to their employment search or job. This includes accommodation or barrier-removal requests related to transportation, school and training, and communication, or requests for private services from entities such as banks, utility companies, restaurants, and stores, or requests for government services including local, state, or federal agency services, as well as requests for accommodations needed for job interviews or on the job.

The survey may take as little as ten minutes, or it could take over an hour, depending on how many requests you describe. The information gathered is confidential. The names of people who fill out the survey and the names of any entities mentioned that are covered by ADA will not be published.

The consent form is found at <http://www.blind.msstate.edu/cgi/survey/consent.pl>. If you agree to participate, check yes and hit the consent link at the bottom of the page--this goes to the survey form. If you have difficulty using the online survey form, contact Dr. Frank at (800) 675-7782, or email <jfrank@colled.msstate.edu> for a phone survey.

Please note that a request for a product or a service made by a client to a state rehabilitation agency is probably not an ADA request for accommodation. However, a request for a needed accommodation or barrier removal in order to use or access a product or service of a state rehabilitation agency may be an ADA request.

Report on Settlement in Perkins/Maxi‑Aids Litigation:

As Monitor readers may recall, the Perkins School for the Blind (Perkins) filed a lawsuit in federal district court in May of 2002 against Maxi-Aids, Inc., and its principals, Elliot Zaretsky, his two sons, and his daughter. (As we understand it, Mitchell and Pamela were later dropped from the suit.) The suit alleged, among other things, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and interference with economic benefit.

Perkins had entered into an agreement with the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) for assembly and distribution of Perkins Braillers to blind people and to schools and programs for the blind in South Africa and in developing countries. The Hilton Foundation subsidized this arrangement by providing a grant amounting to $100 per Brailler.

The suit alleged that Maxi-Aids, through covert intermediaries and shell entities, obtained the Braillers intended for South Africa and the developing countries from SANCB and diverted them back to the United States. Maxi-Aids then allegedly sold the Braillers in this country at a lower price than that at which Perkins sells them and of course at an exorbitant profit to itself. Maxi-Aids and the Zaretskys have been involved for years in prior litigation in which Independent Living Aids (ILA) and its principal, Marvin Sandler, obtained a sizeable verdict against them for trademark infringement and other unlawful business practices.

After some preliminary litigation Perkins and Maxi-Aids arrived at a settlement in April of 2004. Under the terms of that settlement, Maxi-Aids and the Zaretskys acknowledge that Perkins has exclusive right, title, and ownership in the Perkins Braillers. Maxi-Aids and the Zaretskys represent and warrant that they obtained no more than 1,670 Braillers from South Africa and that they have sold all of those Braillers and have none in their inventory. They further agree not to sell, offer to sell, advertise, or otherwise attempt to distribute Perkins Braillers, unless purchased directly from Perkins in the ordinary course of business.

In addition, Maxi-Aids and the Zaretskys agree to pay Perkins an undisclosed sum of money. All parties to the settlement agree that they will not discuss its terms with anyone else. Although this case did not go to trial, it appears Perkins has obtained an extremely favorable settlement.

Two Hundred Video Titles for Your Enjoyment:

The Texas Center for the Physically Impaired offers 200 videos for home entertainment to all visually impaired people. If you enjoy putting a descriptive video into your VCR to watch a good movie, you have 200 evenings of pleasure available. To subscribe send a one-time $25 gift made payable to Bob Langford, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, Texas 75238. If you have questions, call (214) 340-6328, Central Time, during business hours. You will receive a print or recorded list of most of the two hundred titles if you live in the United States or Canada.

Print-Braille Bookmarks:

Each year National Braille Press offers print-Braille valentines for kids to pass out to their classmates or for friends to remember the special people in their lives. This year's valentine design is a bookmark that says: "Dots Where I Stopped Reading!" At the bottom a bright red heart appears between the words "Happy" and "Day." The year is marked "2005." This is a keepsake, perfect for family and friends, classmates and teachers.

Valentine bookmarks are available in either small or large packets. Small packets contain twenty print-Braille bookmarks and twenty envelopes for $10. Large packets contain thirty-two print-Braille bookmarks and twenty envelopes for $14. To order a packet of print-Braille Valentine bookmarks, order online at <www.braille.com> or send payment to NBP, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-4302; or call and charge it at (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext. 20. Our previous valentine cards are also still available. Call us or visit <www.braille.com> for details.

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.

For Sale:

Webster Student Dictionary, 36 volumes, asking $200 or best offer. Braille medical speller, 12 volumes, $200 or best offer. Assortment of cookbooks including The Complete Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook in Braille, $100 or best offer. You may call Harold Bocock at (847) 249-3331.

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NFB PLEDGE

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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