The Braille Monitor                                                                                                  July 2005

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News from the Federation Family

New Chapter:

            Mark Harris of Texas writes to report that on Saturday, May 21, 2005, an enthusiastic group gathered to establish the Brownsville Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas. The officers elected were Mark Harris, president; Rosa E. Garcia Arreola, vice president; Diane Harris, secretary; Hilda Nino, treasurer; and Diana Anguiano, board member. Congratulations to this new chapter in the Federation family.

The End of an Era:

Donald Capps
Donald Capps

            Twenty-four years ago the then governor of South Carolina appointed Don Capps to serve as a member of the board of commissioners of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB). He has served continuously on that body ever since and has been its vice chairman for the past two decades. In recent years the current governor, Mark Sanford, has disagreed with the NFB of South Carolina on a growing list of issues important to blind people.

            To no one’s surprise he has just notified Dr. Capps that he will not be named to another term as a SCSDB commissioner. This brings to a close an exemplary career of service to the school by one of its most distinguished alumni. Here is the letter that the chairman of the commission wrote to Dr. Capps when the governor’s decision was announced:

            April 15, 2005
           
Dear Don:

            I am writing to congratulate you on almost a quarter century of outstanding service to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind Board of Commissioners. Thank you for your continued commitment to the school and to individuals who are blind, deaf, or sensory multidisabled.

            As I look back over your service to the SCSDB Board and to the greater community of sensory disabled individuals in our state and across the country, I am struck by the great leadership you have demonstrated, often in the face of adversity. You have made history as the school’s first commissioner who was appointed to represent the blind community at large. You have led admirably as the school’s vice chairman for two decades. And you have worked tirelessly for more than fifty years to promote the employability of individuals who are blind through your service as a member and leader of the National Federation of the Blind.

            You have achieved great accomplishments in improving educational, employment, and recreational opportunities for individuals who are blind or deaf. Your initiation of advocacy groups and legislative action have resulted in a significantly improved quality of life for thousands of individuals and increased awareness of the capabilities of individuals who are sensory disabled.

            Your public accomplishments have been momentous, but you and your wonderful wife Betty have also taken the time to make a difference in individual lives. I am often told of your visits to individuals who need assistance.

            It has been an honor to serve alongside you, and I wish to extend our appreciation to you on behalf of the Board, students, and staff of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind. I would also like to encourage you to visit us often, to be an active participant in the school’s activities, and to continue to serve as an encourager to us all.

With warm regards,

Norman F. Pulliam
Chairman, Board of Commissioners

            We salute Don for his commitment to quality education for the blind children of South Carolina and for his principled stand on rehabilitation and vending issues.

Legislative Luncheon:

            On Saturday, May 21, 2005, the Sno-king and Greater Seattle Chapters of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington jointly sponsored a legislative luncheon at the Marie Calendar Restaurant in North Seattle. In the presence of approximately fifty Federationists and friends from these chapters along with a few special guests from other regions of the Washington affiliate, this function successfully served the twin purposes of educating leaders in state government about the work and goals of the NFBW and its parent organization and presenting an opportunity for NFBW members to learn about the efforts of the Washington state legislature achieved during the just-concluded term.

            Members enjoyed fellowship over lunch and the awarding of door prizes throughout the session before Bennett Prows, NFBW first vice president, ably served as master of ceremonies for the afternoon program. Featured guests included state representative Toby Nixon (Republican) from the forty-fifth legislative district, Congressman Eric Wiseman, recently appointed to serve on the board of trustees of the Washington State School for the Blind; and our own Mike Freeman, NFBW president.

            President Freeman offered a general introduction about the mission of the NFBW for the benefit of new members and invited guests. Mr. Wiseman took this opportunity to promote his emerging commitment to quality education for blind children in Washington State and to affirm his belief in the value of relying on consumer direction to discuss best results for young blind learners. Finally, Representative Nixon surveyed the matters covered by the state legislature of particular interest to blind Washingtonians, giving special priority to a discussion of the study of residential schools commissioned by the legislature this year and a promise to be mindful of our needs for accessible voting, while also touching on issues of general interest to all residents of Washington State.

            NFBW leaders also used this occasion to surprise Kris Lawrence, NFBW Greater Seattle Chapter president and affiliate second vice president, with the inaugural presentation of the Unsung Hero of the Federation Award, a tangible recognition of one of our own who regularly goes above and beyond in performing the sometimes inglorious work of this organization. All agreed that Kris was a most deserving first recipient of this award, and everybody shared in celebrating her invaluable contributions to the NFBW.

            As the afternoon event drew to a conclusion and everybody savored the last delicious morsels of their Marie Calendar pie, we agreed that this innovative joint chapter initiative had been a resounding success. It is likely that a similar event will be planned for next year.

Elected:

            The National Federation of the Blind of Florida held its annual election at the 2005 state convention in Boca Raton, Florida. Newly elected officers are Kathy Davis, president; Dwight Sayer, first vice president; Dan Hicks, second vice president; Merry Schoch, secretary; Gloria Hicks and J D Townsend, board members. Other officers not up for election are Tom Hartig, treasurer; Elizabeth (Betty) McNally and Joe Minichiello, board members.

Elected:

            On May 14, 2005, the following officers of the NFB of Alaska were elected: president, Steven Priddle; first vice president, Larry Meader; second vice president, Allen Waldron; secretary, Helen Eckman; treasurer, Candace Powell; and board members, Don Stiffler and Bobbie Cleland.

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.

Car Mechanic Repairs Perkins Braillers:

Richard Heigh repairs a Brailler using an Allen wrench
Richard Heigh repairs a Brailler using an Allen wrench.

            Sister M. Elaine George, IHM, who repairs Braillers herself, recently sent us the following human interest story:

            Richard Heigh built models of cars, ships, and planes as a child. By sixteen he was rebuilding starters and alternators. After high school he worked as a carpenter, which allowed him spare time to rebuild cars for drag racing. In 1988 Richard was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) though he could still work and still rebuild cars for others to race. But by 2000 he had only light perception and lost his job. Undaunted, he devoted full time to maintaining and updating his car. In 2002 Richard registered with the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and received rehabilitation. He learned some Braille, orientation and mobility skills, and practical applications for daily living.

            While he was in the program, a student teacher working with Richard’s mobility instructor learned of his mechanical ability and suggested that he learn Brailler repair. Her son attends a day school for children with visual impairments, and his Braillewriter had been repaired by Sister M. Elaine George, IHM. So Richard called Sister Elaine and arranged for Brailler repair instruction.

            In the next year he spent more than one hundred hours disassembling, identifying parts, reassembling, and fine tuning thirteen Braillewriters. He used his talent as a mechanic to create specialized tools to aid with the assembly of the more than 700 parts including minute compression springs, stylus shoe spacers, and link pins. In June 2004 Sister Elaine introduced Richard to the master Brailler repairist at Howe Press in Watertown, Massachusetts. He observed Richard as he diagnosed and repaired a Braillewriter with multiple problems and was impressed. Richard Heigh has now earned certification as a competent Brailler repairist.

            He has started a small Brailler repair business in Linwood, New Jersey, called the Brailler Repair Shop. To date he has repaired Braillers from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the Montgomery County Association for the Blind, St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, and some individuals. Call (609) 601-0557 if you want your Brailler repaired.

            By the way, Richard has recently purchased a 1997 Ford Ranger race truck, so he is still burning rubber while resurrecting Braillers.

Attention Salad Lovers:

            Carmela’s Gourmet, owned by blind entrepreneur Carmela Cantisani, is offering her six gourmet salad dressings at the special price of $25 for six twelve-ounce bottles (including shipping) or five six-packs for $100 (including shipping). We will donate $5 of the sale of each six-pack to the NFB Imagination Fund. Great as gifts, these award-winning dressings are made with all natural ingredients, have no sugar, are low in sodium, and are cholesterol-free. The flavors currently available are Vinaigrette Authentique, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Low Fat Provençale Vinaigrette, Low Fat California Caesar, Low Fat Roasted Garlic Fantasy, and Low Fat Mediterranean Mystique Vinaigrette.

            To order, please send your check to Carmela’s Gourmet, 415 English Avenue, Monterey, California 93940. If you wish more information, please visit our site: <www.carmelasgourmet.com>. Please mention the Braille Monitor when placing your order.

Braille Alphabet Buttons from the Braille Superstore:

            Are you always on the look-out for fresh new ways to introduce folks to Braille? Could you use a great new fundraising idea? Our brand-new Braille alphabet buttons are so different, unique, and just plain cool that sighted and blind people alike can't help noticing them. Each two-inch button easily pins to your shirt or jacket and features all twenty-six letters of the Braille alphabet embossed in perfect, raised dots. And for the benefit of print readers, the words “THE BRAILLE ALPHABET” appear in a stylish font behind the actual Braille letters.

            To order a five-pack of Braille alphabet buttons for $9.95, please visit <www.braillesuperstore.com> or call (800) 987-1231. Or, if you'd like to order at least 500 personalized buttons printed with your organization's logo, complete with your company name in Braille, please call us for lead times and pricing info.

Looking for Book Submissions:

            In an effort to enhance the positive image of visually impaired people, Ann Morris Bliss is co-authoring an anthology of poems and short fiction which portrays visually impaired persons in an uplifting, inspirational manner that touches the soul by depicting refreshing contemporary images of blind people. Our goal is to widely circulate this book as a benefit to the general population and those losing their vision.

            The only criterion is that the works say something constructive or helpful about what it is to be visually impaired. There are many ways a visually impaired person can benefit society at large, and we aim to feature them in our practical spiritual book of poetry and prose.

            Please email all personal submissions, including screen plays, plays, and radio and television scripts, and references to other literary works, to <annmorris@optonline.net> and to Cheri Langdell at <cheril@family.net>. If necessary, you may mail them to Ann Morris Bliss at 551 Hosner Mountain Road, Stormville, New York 12582. Choice of materials for the book is the sole discretion of the authors.

Position available at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind:

            The South Carolina Commission for the Blind is currently recruiting for the position of commissioner. The SC Commission for the Blind is a state vocational rehabilitation agency serving individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired. With an annual budget of ten million dollars, the scope of services includes vocational training and job placement, prevention of blindness, services to older blind, services to children, and the administration of a business enterprise program (Randolph-Sheppard).

Nature and Scope of Responsibilities:

            The commissioner reports to and works at the will and pleasure of a seven-member governing board, serving as the chief executive officer of the agency. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the day-to-day operation of the agency, with duties including budget planning and development, policy development and implementation, human resources, staff development and training, program review, compliance with state and federal regulations, and liaison with the South Carolina general assembly.

Requisites:

            This position requires a minimum of a master’s degree in rehabilitation or closely related field, and an earned doctoral degree from an accredited university is highly desirable. A minimum of five years experience in rehabilitation or closely related field is also required. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate executive level communications skills, including exceptional writing skills.

Compensation:

            The salary range is $63,887 to $98,976. Salary offerings will be based on applicant’s qualifications and experience. Salaries above the minimum must be approved by the Budget and Control Board and the Agency Head Salary Commission.

Application Process:

            Interested individuals may apply by submitting a current resume, completed state of South Carolina application for employment, a list of three professional references, and a letter of interest specifically addressing suitability for this position. The closing date for this position is July 20, 2005. Applications can be downloaded at <www.jobs.sc.gov>. Please send all required information to Commissioner, State Career Center, 2221 Devine Street, Suite #100, Columbia, South Carolina 29205.

PartyLine Talking Cassette Support Group:

            Send for your free sample copy of this cassette publication to Sanford Rosenthal, 3360 NE 33rd Street Apartment 4, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308. Make requests on cassette, in print, or by email at <sanford@joimail.com>. Please don't send requests in Braille. If you decide to subscribe, the cost is $7 a year.

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.

Hoping to Buy:

            I am looking for a pre-owned portable Talkman recorder preferably Panasonic (vintage late 1980’s to early 1990’s) in good working condition. Will consider a unit that needs repair. Contact Justin McDevitt, email <jusliz@earthlink.net> or by telephone at (651) 646-9659, after 5:00 p.m.

Free to Good Home:

            American Bible Society Recording of the New Testament, Revised Standard Version read by Alexander Scourby, recorded at 16 2/3 RPM. Well used but in moderately good condition. Fifteen records. If interested, contact Barbara Pierce, 237 Oak Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074, (440) 774-2216 or email <bbpierce@pobox.com>.

For Sale:

            My husband recently died, so I have the following visual aids that I would like to sell:CCTV VoyagerX1 Visualtek w/b&w fifteen inches, VTEK monitor. Mounted stand, in good working condition. Asking $250.

            CCTV VoyagerX1 Visualtek, with stand but no monitor, in good working condition. Asking $100.

            ZoomText (Blue box) disk 8.11, also an 8.02 trial version, ZoomText Usher Guide 8.1, ZoomText Quick reference guide version 8.1 and 8.0. I will throw in Point and Speak Version 3.0. Asking $350. Contact me at (559) 292-6734 or at <vbbland@comcast.net>.

For Sale:

            Computer completely loaded and configured for blind users, excellent condition. DoubleTalk Lite synthesizer: computer completely configured for blind users with hot key and optimal adaptive software performance AMD Athlon 2500+, ASUS A7N8X nVidia motherboard, 512 MB Kingston 333MHz DDR memory, Seagate ST380013A 80 gig 7200rpm 8 mg cache HD, Creative Labs CD5230E 52X CD drive, Yamaha CRW2200E 20X10X40X CD burner, 56K modem, multi-channel PCI sound card, floppy drive, 6 USB ports four back, two front, built-in Ethernet, with Windows XP Home SP2 with license and manual, MS Office 2000 Premium, Norton Anti Virus 2005, JAWS 6.1 with CDs and authorization and previous versions CD 5.0 and 4.0, OpenBook 6.0 with manual and all documentation in original packaging, Duxbury 10.2 software with manuals and CDs, Spybot and Ad-aware, Skype, Eudora email, Anytime Deluxe scheduling software Pro 8, Quicken 98, HP Scan Jet 6300C scanner, 15-inch Envision Model EN-LM 500 LCD monitor, speakers, mouse, and keyboard, $3000. Also for sale, DoubleTalk Lite synthesizer in excellent condition, asking $195. Contact Laura Ann Grymes, (979) 680-0022, email <agapepetsitting@verizon.net.>

___________________________________________________________________________

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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