Braille Monitor January 2006
News from the Federation Family
Nuance TALKS Free for Thirty Days:
Looking for an accessible cell phone? The National Federation of the Blind has the answer with Nuance TALKS. Nuance TALKS converts the display text of a cell phone into highly intelligible speech, making the device completely accessible for blind or visually impaired people. Using Nuance TALKS on a mobile phone running the Symbian operating system (such as the Nokia 3650, 6620, or 6682), all of your on-screen content is read to you out loud using text-to-speech software. It’s the best way to make today’s mobile phone content available to everyone.
Hear for yourself how the latest version of Nuance TALKS lets you access all of your phone’s features, including contacts and caller ID. You can write and hear emails and text messages and receive audible battery-level and network signal-strength information. Extra features such as Bluetooth Braille-device compatibility and five great bonus applications—Mini-GPS, Extended Recorder, Multimedia Player, Extended Profiles, and World Clock Pro—make Nuance TALKS a must-have for our members who use mobile phones. Visit <http://www.nuance.com/talks> for more product information.
Right now the NFB is sponsoring a free thirty-day trial of Nuance TALKS for our members. Between now and February 1, 2006, members can download a free trial version of the Nuance TALKS software. As a special bonus, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount if you purchase within thirty days of downloading the trial version. With this savings the recommended retail price for the premium version of Nuance TALKS is only $192. Just mention that you are an NFB member to receive the discount.
To request your free evaluation
copy of Nuance TALKS, contact one of the dealers listed below. Please note that
the National Federation of the Blind is not responsible for sales and support
of Nuance TALKS. Contact one of these dealers for assistance:
VisionCue, phone (888) 318-2582 and (503) 297-1510, email <at.info@ visioncue.com>, Web site <www. visioncue.com>, Beyond Sight, phone (303) 795-6455, email <support@ beyondsight.com>, Web site <www. beyondsight.com>.
Please note: Offer expires February 1, 2006, and is good for new Nuance TALKS customers only. Offer is available only through the assistive-technology dealers listed above. For a list of supported phones, go to <http://www. nuance.com/talks/phones.asp>.
Presidential Releases on the Web:
You can now listen to NFB Presidential Releases from the Web. The page to find the presidential cassette releases is <www.nfb.org/pr>. Release #335, December 2005, is there in MP3 format and can be downloaded to your PC. If you have a dial-up connection, do not click on the link to the release itself. Instead, right click on the link and select “save target as...” to download the MP3 file, which can then be played on your computer.
On Saturday, October 22, 2005, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the NFB of Pennsylvania held its annual elections. The following Federationists were elected: Denise Brown, president; Stanley Ingram, first vice president; Patrick Comorato, second vice president; Karen Comorato, secretary; Yvonne Mason, treasurer; and Russell Smith, Leon Conaway, Virginia China, and Ann Walters, board members.
Blindness, Leadership, and Superior Training 2006:
Mark your 2006 calendar for the National Association of Blind Merchants spring conference April 27 to 30 at the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel. The unbelievably low room rates are good from Tuesday, April 25, through Monday, May 1. Visit with merchants, agency partners, and suppliers; and even give yourself time to relax and enjoy all that Music City USA has to offer. Conference activities blast off on Thursday afternoon, April 27, and conclude midday Sunday, April 30. Enjoy the springtime in the beautiful Volunteer State, experience a Music City BLAST, and enjoy a mini vacation.
Training sessions and meetings will begin Thursday afternoon. We will be in meetings all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning. We are planning receptions, a leadership breakfast, and a luncheon banquet. We are developing a first class training agenda. Those who attended our Denver BLAST say that they gained much from the innovative, interactive, informative training. We are working now to develop the training curriculum for BLAST ‘06. Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated. Our goal 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 Music City BLAST the afternoon of Friday, April 28. New products, special pricing, accessible technology, and more will make this showcase one you can’t afford to miss.
This year registration is $160, which will cover all conference activities and training materials. Those who register before April 1, 2006, will pay only $100, receiving a $60 discount for early registration. Checks should be sent to NABM, 1223 Lake Plaza Drive, Suite D, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Please include name, phone number, best mailing address, and email (if available) for each person you are registering, along with your check. You can also register online at <www.blindmerchants.org>. Remember that the registration fee also includes tradeshow, receptions, leadership breakfast, luncheon, and more surprises.
We have reserved a group of tickets for the historic Grand Ole Opry and will be selling a package to include transportation to the show for Friday night, April 28. Tickets will be on sale at BLAST. Plan to join us.
The Airport Marriott offers luxurious lodging at tremendously low rates. Rates for our Music City Blast are even better than last year’s event: $79 a night for singles, doubles, triples, and quads all week long. All rates quoted are net per room per night, plus the current 14 percent tax. The Nashville Airport Marriott is located seven miles east of downtown in a campus-like seventeen-acre setting convenient to Interstate 40. Area attractions include Adventure Science Center, Grand Ole Opry, and Second Avenue shopping and entertainment—all within five miles—as well as Coreer Baseball Stadium, Country Music Hall of Fame and Music Row, Tennessee Performing Arts and the Coliseum, where the Tennessee Titans play football—all within ten miles of the hotel.
For hotel reservations call the Nashville Airport Marriott at (800) 770-0555. Tell the agent that you are booking at 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 Music City 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 blind entrepreneurs 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 pocket full 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 <www.blindmerchants.org>. At the bottom of the home page click on “Play BLAST Introduction Video.” To offer suggestions, contact Kevan Worley, president, National Association of Blind Merchants at (719) 527-0488, or email <email@example.com>. Make plans now to join us in Nashville. It’s going to be a Music City BLAST.
Braille Writer Wanted:
Federation leader John Bates is looking for a Braillewriter in good condition that he can purchase and send to a child in an orphanage in Mexico. Ignacio is a ten-year-old boy who needs a Braillewriter and Spanish tapes.
If you can provide either, contact John Bates, 9 Donatello, Aliso Viejo, California 92656 or email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
From the Editor: Inam Shalati is a Federationist who lives her beliefs about blindness and independence and volunteers to help whenever and wherever she can. On September 28, 2005, she was honored on the Points of Light Foundation’s Web site as Daily-Point-of-Light Number 3039. She received a letter from President George H. W. Bush. Here is the text of her Web profile:
When little Katy, a seven-year-old
blind student, met her new volunteer, she was not talking much to her teacher
or her aides in school. Her volunteer vision assistant, Miss Inam, was told
to expect a difficult time with Katy, whom teachers felt might also be somewhat
autistic. But what the teachers couldn’t have known was the impact that this
special volunteer would have on Katy.
To begin with, Miss Inam Shalati is no ordinary volunteer. She has won several volunteer recognitions, including a prestigious Bell Award given by WLKY in 1999. In fact, Inam is the lead volunteer vision assistant within the Jefferson County Public School system of Kentucky. In this role she teaches Braille and tutors children who are visually impaired. And she knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles herself, since she was born blind and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months of age.
Growing up as a child with disabilities who also moved with her family, Inam learned the value of doing things on her own. “I am a believer in doing anything you can to promote independence,” she explained. “My parents were great about letting me do things, even though it was scary letting their blind child go out into the world.” She also learned early on the value of physical and occupational therapy. “I have been to many centers and was always impressed with the caring of the staff.” In fact it was the therapists and aids that helped her growing up who motivated Inam to become a volunteer. “I know what it’s like to need some help as a kid. And it gives me great joy to help others.”
Inam’s work with little Katy has opened new doors for this youngster. Once quiet, Katy is now talking to teachers, learning Braille, and more. Miss Inam also goes beyond schoolwork to teach Katy manners, days of the year, months, and how to talk on the telephone in a proper telephone voice. She’s even reported to be more confident and social with other children during playtime. “I love to hear her talk,” said Inam. “Two of her favorite sayings are ‘that’s a good idea,’ and ‘you’re doing great.’” In May 2005 Inam was awarded a certificate for outstanding service to the Jefferson County Public School system. After a recent tour of the K.I.D.S. Center, she signed up to help and could be seen selling bracelets in May at the Walk, Rock ‘n’ Roll. She’s already agreed to be back next year.
Today at age twenty-nine
the obstacles presented by Inam’s disabilities are not over. Her eating, speech,
and mobility are all affected, and the severity is worsening as she gets older.
But one thing that is not lacking is her positive attitude and her belief in
In November the NFB of Cincinnati elected the following officers: president, Paul Dressell; vice president, Kelly Prescott; secretary, Deborah Kendrick; and treasurer, Cindy Conley.
The NFB of the Miami Valley, a chapter of the NFB of Ohio, recently elected the following officers: president Richard Payne; vice president, Ron Williamitis; secretary, Karen Noles, and treasurer, Gus White.
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.
Music Courses Available:
Now you can learn to play piano, guitar, bass, drums, banjo, saxophone, and even the penny whistle without using written or Braille music. Bill Brown has complete courses as well as individual lessons for these instruments in an all-audio format. Both the four-tape and CD courses are only $39, and the individual song lessons are $10. On his tapes and CDs he plays a section of the song for you and then talks you through the notes and fingering step by step. You can truly learn at your own pace whenever your schedule allows. To order these courses or for more information, call (800) 484-1839 and enter security code 8123 when you are asked. There is no charge for this call. You can also log onto Mr. Brown’s Web site at <www.musicvi.com>. Bill Brown’s courses are also available through the National Library Service.
Workers on Strike at APH:
We recently received the following press release dated November 29, 2005, from the American Printing House for the Blind:
The American Printing House
for the Blind (APH) regrets that workers who are members of Teamsters Union
Local 89 have voted to go on strike. APH and Teamsters’ representatives have
not been able to reach agreement on the terms of the three-year contract that
would have gone into effect November 15. This strike action by the Teamsters
Local 89 chapter will interrupt APH’s ability to deliver books and other educational
aids to the nearly 60,000 blind and visually impaired students that we serve
throughout the country.
APH stands ready at any time to resolve these differences so that we can get back to our work. Any delay in delivering accessible educational materials has a negative effect on student performance in the classroom. Since we believe that details of contract negotiations should be left to those who are involved with the bargaining process, APH will have no further statement regarding this matter.
According to the Louisville Currier Journal of November 30, the unresolved issues include salaries, health insurance, and vacation days. Proposed salary increases are sixty cents the first year, thirty-five the second, and twenty-five the third. Union members and leaders said those raises wouldn’t be enough to offset proposed increases in health insurance. Family health insurance would go to $272 a month from $235, and more increases could raise the monthly premium to between $336 and $471 a month, according to union officials.
When asked if the union was afraid that the public would criticize it for striking an organization that serves blind people, officials pointed out that a number of blind workers were on the picket line.
Survey Participants Needed by February 1:
Spoken Word Ministries, Inc., will be conducting a survey of those who are blind and visually impaired to determine interests in Christian ministries and desires for participation in Christian ministry opportunities. We welcome and need as many blind or visually impaired people to participate in the survey as possible to gather a broad range of ideas and participation.
To participate in the survey, contact Tim Snyderm (919) 635-1000 or email <email@example.com>. For inclusion in the survey, please contact by February 1, 2006.
National Writers Union Welcomes Blind Writers:
The National Writers Union
is affiliated with the United Auto Workers Union and works to protect the interests
of freelance writers. Because of the efforts of Sanford Rosenthal, a blind union
member from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the union has now budgeted $30,000 to create
a disabilities task force to recruit and integrate writers with disabilities
into the union.
Mr. Rosenthal presented his idea for the task force at his first union convention, but because of rookie mistakes in drafting it, his proposal was initially rejected. Undaunted, he worked with veteran union members to redraft it. It then passed by one vote.
Although the union has locals in some large cities, most members join through the at-large chapter. Sanford Rosenthal chairs the disabilities task force for the chapter. Writers (both published and hoping-to-be-published) are invited to contact him at (954) 563-9449 or <Sanford@joimail.com>.
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.
Braille Magazines Wanted:
I am deaf and blind and would appreciate receiving issues of the following magazines in Braille: National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and the New York Times. I would like to receive these magazines regularly. If you would be willing to pass along Braille subscriptions to any of these publications to me, contact Gordon Janz, 101-2425 Brunswick Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada JV5T 3M1.
Braille Lite 2000. Asking $650. Call (310) 948-8605 or email <Sk22@concentric.net>.
Type ‘n Speak in Good Condition Needed:
Carlos, a young man from Puerto Rico, needs to learn more English before his state agency counselor will agree to provide services. He has used a Type ‘n Speak for about ten years, but it no longer works. Because he is familiar with this technology, he would like to purchase another Type ‘n Speak. He needs a reliable unit but does not have a lot of money. If you have a unit in good order that you would be willing to sell reasonably, please contact Terri Osborn at (440) 324-2366, or email her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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.