The Braille Monitor                                                                                                     February 2005

(back) (contents)

Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Braille Book Flea Market:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2005 Braille Book Flea Market, sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks, Twin‑Vision books, and books suitable for children are needed.

In a few months we will pass along a local address in Louisville to which you can send the Braille books you wish to donate. Begin your search through the boxes in your basement and spare room and get them ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277‑1288 or email her at <peggychong@earthlink.net>. Look for a Braille Book Flea Market update in the Braille Monitor very soon.

Anahit, Emily, Scott, and Alexander LaBarre.
Anahit, Emily, Scott, and Alexander LaBarre.

New Baby:

We are delighted to report that on Wednesday, December 1, 2004, at 11:32 a.m. Emily Catherine was born to Anahit and Scott LaBarre of Colorado. She weighed seven pounds, nine ounces, and was nineteen and three-quarters inches long. Older brother Alexander is very proud of his baby sister. Congratulations to the entire LaBarre family.

Elected:

The National Federation of the Blind of New Hampshire held itsannual convention on November 19 and 20, 2004, at the Holiday Inn in Concord, New Hampshire. The date marked the forty-eighth anniversary of the New Hampshire affiliate. Dr. Fred Schroeder was the national representative. At the business meeting held on Saturday, November 20, 2004, the following officers were elected: president, Bruce Gillis; first vice president, Edmund Meskys; second vice president, Donald Little; treasurer, Lucille Lynch; and secretary, Judyth Leavitt. Bette Ann Coy and John E. Parker were elected to one-year terms on the board.

Elected:

The Parents of Blind Children of New York conducted its election on December 15 with the following results: president, Maria T. Garcia; vice president, Victoria Murganti; and secretary, Jennifer Aquino. Additionally two members were elected to represent the boroughs of Queens and Manhattan: Queens Borough representative, Vilda Walker; and Manhattan Borough representative, Annemarie Lawson.

Braille Literacy Leaders Honored:

Carol Castellano recently sent us this brief report:

Several of the New Jersey literacy aeard recipients seated in the audience listen to welcoming remarks.
Several of the New Jersey literacy award recipients seated in the audience listen to welcoming remarks..

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped jointly held a ceremony to promote Braille literacy at the library's headquarters in Trenton. Human Services Commissioner James Davy, Labor and Workforce Development Deputy Commissioner Janet Zatz, Associate Vice President of Thomas Edison State College Carron Albert, and State Librarian Norma Blake were on hand to award certificates to students and adults.

"Braille skills are integral for the blind and visually impaired to have full, independent, successful lives," said Venetia Demson, director of the library. "Braille literacy is such a necessity and yet is little recognized for the importance it carries in the lives of the blind and visually impaired."

Introduced and specially recognized by the New Jersey officials were Kristen Diaz, Rocco Fiorentino, Ever Lee Hairston, and Sarah Weinstein. Also honored as Braille literacy leaders were Alexandra Acain, Manuel Aguero, Christina Brino, Ann Burns, Lauren Casey, Kenneth Cossaboon, Serena Cucco, John Ferry, Anthony Gilio, Eileen Goff, Michael Halm, James Jasey, David Loux, Ed Lucas, Ottilie Lucas, Connor Mullin, Sean Mullin, Kristin Panaro, Robert Rindt, James Ryan, Jessica Scannell, Alicia Ucciferri, and Margaret Winchester.

On each certificate were the words "Certificate of Achievement as a Braille Literacy Leader; in recognition of your use of Braille for the attainment of education, independence, intellectual freedom, and equal opportunity; October 25, 2004," and the signatures of Vito DeSantis, executive director of the New Jersey Commission, and Library Director Demson.

Ever Lee Hairston is a leader of the NFB of New Jersey, while Kristen Diaz, Sarah Weinstein, Alexandra Acain, Kenneth Cossaboon, Serena Cucco, John Ferry, Anthony Gilio, Michael Halm, Connor Mullin, Sean Mullin, Kristin Panaro, James Ryan, and Jessica Scannell are all kids active in Parents of Blind Children of New Jersey. In addition, Kristen, Serena, John, and Michael have all been recipients of NFB of New Jersey scholarships.

Congratulations, one and all.

 

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.

Attention Aspiring Leaders in the Education of Blind Children:

The National Federation of the Blind is serving as a public advisor to an important new initiative enhancing the doctoral studies of those interested in focusing on blindness--the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments (NCLVI). Recently established through a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the NCLVI's purpose is to develop a collaborative model for training leadership personnel in special education with an emphasis on blindness. The plan is to establish a national consortium of doctoral institutions.

Through this project the NCLVI will assist in increasing the numbers of doctoral graduates available for positions in one or more areas of emphasis, such as higher education teaching and research; public policy; administration at national, state, and local levels; curriculum development; and general research. The NCLVI Fellows Program will bring together doctoral students for a unique set of enrichment activities that will deepen their understanding of issues in the field and strengthen their commitment to family, consumer, and professional partnerships.

The National Federation of the Blind encourages those with a master's degree to seriously consider this creative opportunity to spark innovation and new leadership in the blindness field. Through the NCLVI, with the support of the NFB and our Jernigan Institute, we have another avenue to imagine a future full of opportunities.

Potential NCLVI Fellows must be accepted by one of the participating universities prior to applying for NCLVI Fellowship funding. The first cohort of NCLVI fellows is slated to begin their graduate programs in September 2005, so those interested in getting into the program during the first year should act fast. Learn more about the NCLVI on the Web at <http://www.pco.edu/nclvi.htm>. For more information write to one of the NCLVI codirectors: Dr. Kathleen Mary Huebner (kathyh@pco.edu) or Dr. Diane P. Wormsley (dwormsley@pco.edu) or call (215) 780-1360.

Participating universities include California State University; Teachers College, Columbia University; Florida State University; Northern Illinois University; Ohio State University; San Francisco State University; Texas Tech University at Lubbock; University of Arizona; University of Louisville; University of Northern Colorado; University of Pittsburgh; University of Utah; Vanderbilt University; and Western Michigan University.

Field Testers Needed:

Money Talks is an accessible bank account management software package now available for field testing. Whether you work for a rehabilitation agency or in the schools, you are a savvy blind computer user or are just beginning to learn, you are experiencing vision loss or have had no vision changes for years, you are studying budgeting and money management in high school or are managing three bank accounts and two credit cards, you are knowledgeable in the blindness field or work in a senior center or other facility where people experience vision loss and low vision, field testing this program may be for you.

Money Talks works without other computer access software; it has built-in speech and reads everything that you need. You can also enlarge the font and use both voice and large print. You can turn off the built-in speech and use your own screen reader if you prefer.

The final version of Money Talks will have clear speech, but we weren't able to have it in our field-test versions. The beta speech is Microsoft. Though it is pretty clear, many people find the voice unpleasant to listen to. Remember that the final version will have really nice‑sounding speech.

With Money Talks you can do the following and more: record all details of bank transactions--including categories, subcategories, and memo information--in the electronic check register; mark individual transactions as cleared in the register; import QIF-format bank files into Money Talks and reconcile them with your check register if you can download them from your bank's Web site; read cleared and total balances at any time; edit transactions to correct errors, set up recurring transactions, add categories and subcategories, and pull up a previously used payee name by typing the first few letters; examine totals and specific transactions in any of the categories and subcategories; and tell the program to check for program updates. When you are connected to the Internet, the program will tell you if there is a new version and ask if you want to download it. The program will print or Braille-emboss check registers (not yet implemented). It will also allow you to use your computer and printer to write three types of checks: Quicken three‑to‑a‑page checks; business‑size checks; and raised‑line, large‑print checks (the last two types available for purchase in checkbooks from most banks). Check printing is not fully implemented yet but will be very soon.

To field test, you must make a commitment to download and use Money Talks; join our Money Talks field-testing email list; share any questions, problems, or suggestions about any aspect of the program or documentation on the email list; not discuss Money Talks outside the email list; download and use new field test versions of the program as they are posted (downloading and installing them is very easy). Technical support will be provided on the email list only, not by phone.

We will give final versions of the software to up to twenty field testers who have offered significantly helpful suggestions. Everyone will receive the satisfaction of learning a new program and participating in its development.

We will post frequent updates to the program based on bugs you find, suggestions you make, and implementation of a few features that aren't quite finished yet. Please join us in working with this exciting program. To field test, go to <www.aph.org/beta> and follow the directions. Read the general license information and click yes. On the next screen click the link for Money Talks. Then click the download link.

Join the Money Talks email list by sending an email message to <moneytalks‑request@freelists.org> and write the word "subscribe" in the subject line. Email Terrie Terlau at <tterlau@aph.org> if you have questions about field testing.

College Scholarships for Children of Parents with Disabilities:

In recognition of the more than nine million parents with disabilities in the U.S. and their families, Through the Looking Glass (TLG), a nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the 2005 College Scholarship Fund specifically for high school seniors who have parents with disabilities.

Scholarship funds are available to students who (1) demonstrate academic and personal achievement; (2) have grown up with at least one parent with a disability who lives in the U.S.; and (3) will be a high school graduate or graduating senior by summer 2005. Up to four separate $1,000 awards will be given in summer 2005. (A new round of awards will be given in 2006.) These awards are one of several projects of Through the Looking Glass's National Resource Center for Parents with Disabilities. This National Center is funded by the National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education.

To be eligible, a student must be a high school graduate (or graduating senior) by summer 2005 and have at least one parent with a disability. Parents with disabilities include a broad spectrum of mothers and fathers--blind parents, parents with physical disabilities, deaf parents, parents with psychiatric disabilities, parents with intellectual disabilities, and parents with medical conditions. Some parental disabilities are lifelong, while others are more recent. A parent's disability can be stable, progressive, or varying.

These scholarships are limited to individuals pursuing a post‑secondary college or university degree program in the U.S. Individuals may submit only one application per award period. Employees and board members of Through the Looking Glass and their families are not eligible for these scholarships. All application materials must be completed and postmarked by May 1, 2005. Complete applications must include:

•A completed application form

•A typed two‑page essay describing the experience of growing up with a parent with a disability

•Transcript(s) of all high school academic records

•Two letters of recommendation.

A panel of parents with disabilities, advocates, and professionals will evaluate these applications and determine the award winners. Awards will be announced in July of 2005 and published on our Web site. Application forms are available on Through the Looking Glass's Web site: <http://www.lookingglass.org>. Forms may also be requested by calling (800) 644‑2666.

Online Technology Newsletter Available:

Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday is a concise, free summary of the week's news about adaptive technology, technology in general as it relates to the blind, and Internet audio. Each newsletter contains from seven to twenty news items, and most items are three sentences or shorter in length. Subscriber addresses are not used for any purpose other than distribution of the free newsletter. To subscribe, send a blank message to <tttt‑join@topdotenterprises.com>. Readers can see a sample copy by sending a blank message to <sample@topdotenterprises.com>.

Attention Secondary Science Teachers of Visually Impaired Students:

We invite you to participate in the national field testing of our ACE Evolving Universe materials for visually impaired students. Please take the time to go to the ACE Web site, <http://www.ace-education.org/> to examine the free-for-downloading materials available there.

These materials were developed by Mid-continent Research and Learning (McREL) with funding from a NASA IDEAS grant and were pilot-tested at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. We are asking for your help in national field testing all or any part of them by May 1, 2005. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email Donna Bogner, senior consultant, McREL, at <dbogner@mcrel.org>.

Music Lessons Available:

Learn to play a musical instrument without using written or Braille music notation. Bill Brown, creator of Guitar by Ear, has created courses for the guitar, piano, bass, drums, banjo, saxophone, and ukulele, specifically for blind people. These are high-quality courses on tape or CD designed for beginners as young as ten. Most courses are $39. For more information on what is available and how to obtain a copy, call Bill at (229) 249-0628 or go to the Web site at <www.musicvi.com>. These courses are also available through the National Library Service of the Library of Congress.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners Membership Benefits:

For a $20 membership in the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, a consumer advocacy organization, you and your guide, hearing, or service dog are eligible to receive free: Advantage or Advantix; Avid microchip and registration in lost-dog-recovery systems; Cosequin, a glycocyamine product; rebates on vaccines; and discounts for various corporate veterinary hospital groups. If you meet eligibility requirements and your assistance dog needs high-cost veterinary intervention, the Veterinary Care Partnership fund can help. Please visit <www.iaadp.org> or phone Carol at (760) 439-9544, Pacific time.

Call for Papers:

This is an active call for papers for the Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, a conference dedicated to the literacy needs of individuals of all ages with visual impairments that will be held in Denver, Colorado, December 1 to 3, 2005. The conference theme, Living Literacy, reflects the role of literacy in all facets of life and includes such topics as academics, horticulture, physical education, art, self-help, recreation, maps, computers/technology, math, sports, drama, movement, entertainment, and music.

Proposals for concurrent or poster sessions should address some aspect of Living Literacy in conjunction with any of the following: people with visual impairments of all ages (infants to adults), children with additional disabilities, federal requirements and laws associated with literacy, contracted and uncontracted Braille, low-vision-related literacy, and special literacy materials and equipment.

Individuals who are blind, parents, and professionals are invited to submit presentation proposals to the conference. There is so much to learn and share with one another!

Proposals are due by February 21, 2005; authors of accepted presentations will be notified by May 31, 2005. To learn more about the content and requirements of a proposal and to submit your proposal, please fill out the online form found at <http://www.gettingintouchwithliteracy.org/>.

Computers for $100:

Computers are once again available to blind people for $100. Use your Talking Book playback machine to listen to a seven-cassette step-by-step tutorial on how to use Windows, from Bryan Hartgen. It includes using email and reading Web pages. The computer comes with a demo copy of Window-Eyes. Keep track of your tax and insurance files. Write letters and email to your friends and family. Keep your own recipes and family genealogy records. An email service, Juno, and a shareware screen enlargement program are provided.

Contact Bob Langford at Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, Texas 75238; (214) 340-6328 during CST business hours. His email address is <Robert.Langford@NTPCUG.org>.

Brailler Repair Shop:

Richard Heigh has recently become certified to repair Perkins Braillers. His business is at 412 West Monroe Avenue, Linwood, New Jersey 08221. His phone number is (609) 601-0557.

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:

I am selling the following equipment: a BrailleNote 32, asking $2,950; a PowerBraille 80 Braille display, asking $2,700; a Juliet double-sided Braille embosser, asking $1,100; and a Braille Blazer embosser, asking $750. Call CJ Sampson at (801) 367-2559 or email <cj@byu.net>.

For Sale:

PowerBraille 80 Braille Display that hasn't had much use and needs a home. Don't have room for it in my apartment. Would like $2,000 plus $35 for shipping, etc. Please call (772) 219-4479, email <davidfee@bellsouth.net>, or write to David John Fee, 1081 S.E. Monterey Road, Apt. C-5, Stuart, Florida 34994.

For Sale:

DECtalk Express in perfect working order and in very good condition cosmetically. Comes with powerpack, serial cable, and protective sheath. I will charge the battery before sending. Asking $275, exclusive of shipping. Will charge an additional $10 for priority shipping in the continental states, $15 to Canada, and more to be worked out to other countries. Contact Steve Johnson, email <saxmonger@sbcglobal.net>, phone (512) 380-9585.

________________________________________________________________________________

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.

(back) (contents)