The Braille Monitor                                                                                                  June 2005

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News from the Federation Family


Convention Roundtable Discussions:

            On Saturday, July 2, 2005, Jernigan Institute Director Dr. Betsy Zaborowski will facilitate three roundtable discussion sessions for Federationists to share their thoughts on the most important research topics for development. The Institute will be formalizing a research agenda during the upcoming year, and input from members is very important. Each session will last one hour, and seating will be limited so that a real discussion can take place. These sessions will be listed in the agenda as "National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute Research Agenda Roundtable" and will be scheduled as follows:

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. 

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you cannot attend but have ideas, pleas either write to Dr. Zaborowski at the National Center or email her at <[email protected]>.

Happy Birthday, NFB-NEWSLINE®:

John Paré directs NFB-NEWSLINE, our electronic news service. Here is his summary of what we have accomplished in the first ten years:

On July 1, 1995, the first NFB-NEWSLINE black box was installed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Seven years later, on March 1, 2002, NFB-NEWSLINE® went nationwide with fifty newspapers. Now on its tenth birthday NFB-NEWSLINE® has over 170 newspapers and three national magazines. Beginning in April of 2005, two of the 170 newspapers are in the Spanish language. When NFB-NEWSLINE® encounters Spanish-language content, it automatically switches to the Spanish language engine and reads the content in Spanish.

At the 2004 NFB national convention we announced our partnership with Each morning the NFB-NEWSLINE® service converts over fifty newspapers into the DAISY-standard format and then sends these files to These DAISY-formatted newspapers can then be downloaded to a DAISY-compatible audio player or a Braille notetaker. To celebrate our first year anniversary, NFB-NEWSLINE® will hold a free drawing for one BookCourier and one Book Port at the 2005 national convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

The BookCourier is being donated by and the Book Port by the American Printing House for the Blind. Both of these portable audio players can be used to play DAISY-formatted books or newspapers. To enter the drawing for one of these two great prizes, just stop by the NFB-NEWSLINE® table in the exhibit hall.

If you would like to register to receive NFB-NEWSLINE®, please call your state's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or the NFB-NEWSLINE® team at (866) 504-7300.

Pictured here Maryann and James Gilliard enjoy drinks on the beach in the Caribbean with their guide dogs.
Pictured here Maryann and James Gilliard enjoy drinks on the beach in the Caribbean with their guide dogs.

Caribbean Cruise:

Join Diane and Ray McGeorge and the whole Colorado gang for a fun-filled week away on Costa Cruises' Costa Mediterranea for one of the best vacations you will ever have. This is a fundraiser for the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

Here is the itinerary: January 8 Ft. Lauderdale, depart 7 p.m.; January 9 Key West, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; January 10 Cozumel, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; January 11 at sea; January 12 Ocho Rios, Jamaica, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; January 13 Grand Cayman, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; January 14 at sea; and January 15 Ft. Lauderdale, 8:00 a.m.

Check out these phenomenal prices: Inside fares from $652.52 per person; Ocean View fares from $702.53 per person; Obstructed Balcony Fares from $752.52 per person; Unobstructed Balcony Fares from $852.52 per person; extra passengers in all cabins, $460 per person. These prices include all taxes and port charges. But keep in mind that the above fares include a $100 per person early booking savings, which will expire 120 days before the cruise. Fares will increase as departure approaches, so book now.

Call Sian at the Cruise Shop of Boulder, Colorado, at (888) 440-5777 to book your cabin for this wonderful trip. You will need to make a deposit of $250 per person when you book and be prepared to make the final payment on or before October 31. She can also help you purchase cruise insurance or airfare to Ft. Lauderdale.

A portion of all sales will go to the NFB of Colorado. Join us, and we'll make some great memories together. For more information email Maryann Gilliard at <[email protected]> or Diane McGeorge at <[email protected]>. You can also phone Maryann at (720) 284-2318 or Diane at (303) 321-4268. Learn more about the cruise line at <>.

Pictured here are Dr. Mark Stracks and Kristen Jocums with Lynn Swann and a group of other supporters.   Mark is standing second from the left in the top row.   Kristen is seated in the second row, also from the left, and from Mr. Swann's right.   The Hall of Fame ring is visible.   Graig Shope, photographer, TSS photography.
Pictured here are Dr. Mark Stracks and Kristen Jocums with Lynn Swann and a group of other supporters. Mark is standing second from the left in the top row. Kristen is seated in the second row, also second from the left, and to Mr. Swann's right. The Hall of Fame ring is visible. Craig Shope, photographer, TSS Photography

Kristen Jocums and Mark Stracks Score Touchdown for the Blind of Pennsylvania:

On April 28, 2005, NFB of Pennsylvania board members Kristen Jocums and Mark Stracks MD attended a political function featuring keynote speaker Lynn Swann. Mr. Swann, former wide receiver for the only football team to win four Superbowl Championships, the Pittsburgh Steelers, is considering a run for governor of Pennsylvania. Mark and Kristen wanted to make sure he knew who spoke for the blind of the Commonwealth. They attended a private reception for Mr. Swann, spoke with him personally, and gave him a business card so he knew whom to call in the future. Mr. Swann allowed Kristen to wear his Hall of Fame ring during a photo shoot.



Anna and Mark Hughes
Anna and Mark Hughes

Wedding Bells:

            We are pleased to announce that on April 2, 2005, Anna Cheadle, daughter of NFB staff members Barbara and John Cheadle, married her English fiancé Mark Hughes. Mark's parents, Andrew and Sylvia Hughes, stayed at the National Center along with approximately twenty British guests and twenty other out-of-towners. The rehearsal dinner was provided in the National Center's dining room by Marie Cobb and a group of NFB members. Anna, twenty-three, and Mark, twenty-five, now reside in England and are planning a move to the south coast. Congratulations to the Hugheses and proud parents Barbara and John Cheadle.


On Saturday, April 16 the NFB of Illinois Chicago Chapter held its annual elections. Elected were Brian Johnson, president; Joe Monit, first vice president; Anthony Thomas, second vice president; David Meyer, secretary; Kate Mayer, treasurer; and Bruce Paul, Debbie Stein, Carmen Dennis, and Debbie Pittman, board members.

2005 NFB Rehabilitation and O & M Conference:

The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board, and the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness of Louisiana Tech University are proud to announce that a rehabilitation and orientation and mobility conference titled "The Rehabilitation Revolution: Our History, Current Challenges, and the Future" will be held at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind on Saturday, July 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will include a rich agenda of key leaders and professionals working in the fields of rehabilitation and orientation and mobility. Consult the convention agenda for room location.

Registration for the conference is free and will begin at 8:00 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 a general interest in rehabilitation for the blind. For more information about the conference contact Carlos Servan at (877) 809-2419, email <[email protected]> or Christine Brown at (734) 763-1081, email <[email protected]>.


The NFB of Greater Louisville, Kentucky, held its annual elections in April. The following officers were elected: Denise Franklin, president; Tonia Boyd, vice president; Maria Jones, treasurer; Stephanie Brown, secretary; and Nickie Priddy and Mary Harrod, board members.


The NFB of New Jersey held its annual election for officers at the state convention in November. Elected were Joseph Ruffalo, president; Ever Lee Hairston, first vice president; Jerrilyn Higgins, second vice president; Jerry Moreno, secretary; and David Mostello and Mary Jo Partyka, board members.


The Capital chapter of the NFB of New Jersey has elected new officers. They are Mary Jo Partyka, president; Ben Constantini, first vice president; David Mostello, secretary; Jean Gaskill-Cannella, treasurer; Larry Morgan, historian; Liz Valois, legislative representative; and Casandra Jeanlor and Susan Tillett, 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.


In the recorded edition of the May issue the email address for the Potomac Talking Book Service contained an error. For more information about Graphicaudio, go to [email protected] We regret the error.

Talking Toolbox 2.0 Available:

Jump into the world of computers for just $75. MarvelSoft Corp., makers of the highly-acclaimed Talking Typing Teacher program, has just released version 2.0 of its Talking Toolbox product. Now you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a screen-reading package before you can begin using a computer.

Designed exclusively for blind people, Talking Toolbox is a self-voicing program that runs on any Windows machine. The software reads everything shown on the screen aloud using human and synthetic speech, which you can listen to on your computer's speakers or headphones. The Toolbox lets you independently send and receive email, plan your week with its electronic calendar, and enjoy an easy-to-use word processor. An address book, calculator, alarm clock, and CD player are also built into the toolbox, making it a must-have for blind kids, adults, and seniors alike. Talking Toolbox (which comes with seven powerful utilities) costs just $74.95. For more information visit <> or call (800) 987-1231.

The Super Inca Trail:

Erik Weihenmayer, the first and so far only blind man to summit Mt. Everest, recently sent us the following description of an opportunity available to blind high school students. This is what he says about it:

Four years after our historic Mt. Everest climb, sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind, I returned to the Himalayas to guide six blind Tibetan students on a month-long climbing expedition. Sabriye Tenberken, the founder of Braille Without Borders, the Lhasa-based training center where the six students attend school, stunned me with this comment in her first letter: "In Tibet people believe that blindness is a punishment for something which the person has done bad or wrong in his or her previous life. People believe that the blind are possessed by demons."

After an arduous month of navigating rocky steep trails, pushing through wind and cold, and weaving through open crevasse fields, we all stood on the East Rombuc Glacier at 21,500 feet. Blind teens who were told they were blind because of evil spirits inside them, who had been tied to beds in dark rooms, and who had been sold into slavery ultimately stood together, higher than any other team of blind people in the world had ever stood.

I believe strength, courage, and resilience exist in all of us. They start as tiny sparks, and through facing challenges they grow and blaze into the force that directs our lives and ultimately creates change in the world. I hope an adventure like this sets a course for a future generation of young leaders. Afterwards one particular question kept gnawing at me: "Why don't you do this with blind youth in America?" So I've taken that to heart. Teaming up with Global Explorers, a nonprofit organization providing comprehensive educational travel experiences for middle and high school students, I will lead a trek through the magical land of the Incas in June 2006. I chose this destination partly out of nostalgia, since the Inca Trail was my first long trek, which I completed with the help of my family at age seventeen, learning then to love the rugged and awe-inspiring mountains.

This one-time-only, twelve-day adventure will team blind, disabled, and able-bodied high school students in an unparalleled leadership experience. A highlight will be a six-day trek through lush mountains and ancient Inca ruins to Machu Picchu. Along the way, students will explore the rich cultural and natural history of this spectacular region. They'll learn a great deal about themselves and each other as they push beyond their boundaries on this journey of a lifetime.

The Super Inca Trail offers twelve days in Peru. From the spiritual energy of the ancient Inca Trail to the crisp, cool air of the mountains, from the textures and palpable history of the ancient Inca ruins to the vibrant lifestyles of present-day Peruvian culture--this trek offers an amazing opportunity for personal growth, discovery, and adventure. Students will have a truly unique opportunity to develop lifelong leadership skills as blind and sighted students work together in a fully integrated team.

Our team begins at 11,000 feet in the charming town of Cusco, Peru. We acclimatize to the elevation as we learn about Peruvian culture by visiting the handicraft markets of the sacred valley, exploring the town of Pisac, and touring the ruins of Ollantaytambo. We'll talk about the trek ahead, practice hiking techniques, and learn from our expert guides.

Our trek begins on day five as we cross a footbridge in Parpishu (10,168 feet). Days five to seven involve climbing multiple passes from the Watuq'asa pass (12,792 feet) to our highest point at Huayanay (15,744 feet). Along the way we explore quiet hidden ruins and enjoy the open air of the mountains. On day eight we work together with students from the mountain community of Keska on a community service and intercultural exchange project. By day nine we leave snow-capped peaks behind for the lush tropical valley of the Urubamba River. Finally on day ten we arrive at the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu. After exploring for a full day, we return to Cusco by train and then return home on day twelve.

Travel dates and cost are June 9 to 20, 2006, $3,870 per student. Interested students or parents should contact Julie Dubin, program director, Global Explorers, <[email protected]>, (888) 359-3801.

Recommended age and maturity level: this program is specifically designed for approximately twelve high school students. Blind and disabled students will team with able-bodied students in order to complete the trek successfully. We are seeking very capable, mature, confident students who believe this experience will help their personal growth and discovery.

Student preparation: in order to ensure that our trip is safe and successful, we require a good deal of preparation from our students prior to travel. This includes a mandatory weekend retreat in Colorado in the months prior to travel. It will also involve preparatory research and discussions using the Internet. I have teamed with Global Explorers to provide an educational experience that will prepare the group mentally, physically, emotionally, and intellectually for a life-changing journey.

Application process: students will be required to participate in a competitive application process that will include essays and references. You must obtain the application packet from Global Explorers.

Equipment: you will be responsible for bringing necessary hiking equipment such as warm clothing and sturdy hiking boots. You do not need to bring an internal-frame backpack, sleeping bag, or tent. You will receive a detailed packing list after being accepted into the program.

Accommodations: the accommodations on this adventure range from very comfortable hotels in Cusco to the rustic beauty of camping in the Andes. While we are on the trail, your tents will be carried and assembled by your porters. Meals will be served in a large, portable dining tent.

Physical fitness: this is the most strenuous workshop Global Explorers offers. It requires a serious commitment to physical and mental preparation prior to the workshop. You will be hiking long distances for five-to-eight hours a day at very high elevations. Students will be required to carry only a small daypack and their water. Porters will carry the remainder of the equipment.

Safety and support: I have safely led and advised many blind student groups on treks and climbs around the world. In addition to me three talented group leaders and one local guide will accompany the team. Though well-rehearsed emergency procedures will be in place for all points along the trek, our experience shows that the best emergency prevention technique is thorough preparation.

Guitar and Piano by Ear Courses Available:

            Summer is almost here, and it is time to learn to play your favorite musical instrument without using Braille or music notation. Bill Brown has created music courses specifically for the blind for the guitar, piano, bass, drums, banjo, saxophone, and ukulele. These are high quality courses on tape or CD designed for beginners as young as ten years old. Most courses are $39. For those of you who already know how to play, there are over 500 individual songs taught in the same all-audio format for only $10 each. 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 <> These courses are also available through the National Library Service, a division of the Library of Congress.

New Books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children:

New print-Braille-and-picture books with contracted Braille added on clear plastic. Included are Give Me Grace (board book); My Colors--Mis Colores (English and Spanish board book) by Rebecca Emberley; This Little Piggy by Teresa Imperato (tactile board book); What I Like About Passover by Varda Livney (board book); What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff (board book).

New print and Braille books in uncontracted Braille. Easy-readers that have the uncontracted (Grade I) Braille and the print words matched line for line (no pictures). Included are Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss. Explore the many meanings of "up" in classic Dr. Seuss style. Riddles and More Riddles! by Bennett Cerf. Riddle books are great for beginning readers, and this one has a special twist: the riddles are in print and Braille, but the answers are in Braille only. Stuart Little: Stuart Sets Sail by Susan Hill. When Stuart goes sailing, adventures come in all sizes.

New Braille fiction books: Included are Akiko on the Planet Smoo by Mark Crilley; Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry; A Finnegan Zwake Mystery: The Worm Tunnel by Michael Dahl; The Hardy Boys Casefiles #39: Flesh and Blood by Franklin W. Dixon; Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime by Barbara Park; Magic Tree House #13: Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osborne; Mysteries in Our National Parks #12: Buried Alive by Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson; and Nancy Drew #170: No Strings Attached by Carolyn Keene.

You can register your child or student to win a free Braille book through Seedlings' Anna's Book Angel Project (in memory of Anna K. Bonde). At least ten children's names will be drawn each week. To register, contact Seedlings at (800) 777-8552 or register online at <>. Also, if your child or student needs to do research for a school report or project, Seedlings offers free Braille World Book Encyclopedia articles through our Rose Project.

Music Position Available:

Alabama School for the Blind at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind is searching for a band and choral director. Must have or be able to obtain before employment an Alabama Teacher Certificate with endorsement in music. Must have V.I. certification or be willing to obtain within first thirty months of employment. Must be able to teach woodwind, brass, percussion instruments and vocal music. Salary range with bachelor's degree $30,654 to $39,951. with master's degree $35,931 to $46,015. both with full benefit package. Contact Daniel Wirth, coordinator of recruitment and employment, P.O.Box 698, Talladega, Al 35161, email <[email protected]>, after July 1 <[email protected]>, telephone (256) 761 3353

                                                                  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:

Large cassette magazine collection, including Newsweek, June 1994 to present; Fortune, July 1998 to August 1999 and January 2004 to December 2004; Smart Money, October 2003 to September 2004. All cassettes are in four-track, Library of Congress format and in good to excellent condition. Cassettes were produced by the American Printing House for the Blind and Recorded Periodicals, a division of Associated Services for the Blind of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prices for entire magazine collections are negotiable. Offers for individual issues of magazines will not be considered.

Asking $100 for everything. Cassettes will be shipped Free Matter unless purchaser provides the additional shipping cost. All inquiries can be sent in print to David Mostello, 168 Penn-Lyle Road, Princeton Junction, New Jersey 08550. His email address is <[email protected]>.

For Sale:

Nokia 9290 Communicator and cell phone with TALKS software. Included are instructions, tutorial, CD-ROM, charger, and connecting PC cables.  This device is a cell phone, notetaker, and  scheduler.  It has a very small QWERTY keyboard. TALKS software reads the screen. Asking $500 plus shipping. Contact Harold Snider (301) 460-4142 or <[email protected]>.


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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