Braille Monitor                                                                                 March 2006


Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Save Yourself from Check-in Woes:

Every year at convention hotel check-in, some are caught unaware by the standard hotel practices with respect to paying in cash or by debit card. This year at the Anatole, if you are not using a standard credit card or a debit card, you must be prepared to pay cash at check-in for room and tax for all nights of your stay, as well as a $50-per-day incidentals deposit. The unused portion of your incidentals deposit is of course refunded at checkout. With debit cards the hotel simply puts a hold as a "charge pending" in the amount required, so that that total is unavailable to you until checkout. You must be certain to have a sufficient balance in your account to cover the pending transactions amount. Being prepared for these facts of banking life will save you grief checking in.


The newly elected officers of the Charlotte Chapter of the NFB of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina are Pat Robbins, president; Charles Helms, vice president; Hazel Staley, secretary; Janis Lynn Stallings, treasurer; and Shirley McDuffie, board member. Carry-over board members are Mary Lee O’Daniel and Laurence Murphy.


New officers were elected on November 12, 2005, at the thirteenth annual convention of the NFB of Puerto Rico. Elected were Alpidio Rolón Garcia, president; Lydia Usero Quiñones, first vice president; Carmen Leon Bosque, second vice president; Vasthi Pérez Jiménez, secretary; Ana Casilda Rodriguez, treasurer; and Eduardo González and Gerardo Martinez, members of the board of directors.

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.

Online Braille Book Store:

Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announces the grand opening of its online Braille bookstore, <>. For the first time ASB has opened its archives and has created a bookstore to give worldwide access to its collection of Brailled books. The ASB Braille Bookstore currently has nine categories and over one hundred books ready for immediate sale. With updates every week ASB plans on having over three hundred books in its catalogue. The ASB Braille Bookstore currently contains classics like Lord of the Flies; The Call of the Wild; Cajun Cooking; and books by popular authors like Stephen King, Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz, and romance queen Sandra Brown.

With most books ranging from $15 to $35 (bound and shipped by Free Matter), this collection of books is affordable. All books are proofread and transcribed by certified Braille transcribers and proofreaders. Braille books make great gifts, and, if you include a short message (under twenty words), ASB will include your note in print and Braille, <[email protected]>.

Christian Camping Session for the Blind:

The 2006 Siloam Camp for the Blind will be held Saturday, May 13, through Saturday, May 20, at the Golden Cross Ranch in New Caney, Texas. The Siloam Bible Camping session is sponsored by the Gospel Association for the Blind. The campground is located twenty-five minutes from Houston’s George Bush International Airport. Cost for the camp is $200, including lodging, meals, and activities. A $25 nonrefundable registration fee is required of all campers. For further details call (866) 251-5165, enter mailbox 7128, and then press the pound key. You may also write the Gospel Association for the Blind, P.O. Box 1162, Bunnell, Florida 32110. To contact Camp Director George Gray, email <[email protected]>.


James Skelton
James Skelton

James Skelton is president of the Corpus Christi Chapter of the NFB of Texas. We recently received the following press release:

Each year since 1968 National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has selected one outstanding agency employee to receive the Peter J. Salmon Direct Labor Employee of the Year Award. Given in honor of the late Peter J. Salmon, this distinction is awarded to a blind employee who has demonstrated exceptional work ethic and achievement. Credited with playing a significant role in the passage of the Wagner-O’Day Act in 1938 and the formation of NIB, Salmon is widely regarded as a timeless advocate for blind people. To be eligible for this award, candidates must be legally blind, work for an NIB agency in a direct labor position, have demonstrated successful job performance, and have volunteered in their community.

South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind is proud to announce James Skelton as its 2006 nominee for this award. A nearly severed optic nerve at birth left Skelton legally blind, but it did not affect his outlook on the future. Throughout his life he has possessed a can-do attitude that is an inspiration to us all. Mr. Skelton is a highly motivated individual who constantly challenges himself to live up to his full potential. His desire to become computer literate prompted him to enroll in computer classes at Houston Community College, and after graduation he began teaching others with disabilities the skills that he had acquired. He also taught himself how to use the adaptive technology available to those who are visually impaired. Skelton recently participated in orientation and mobility training--an educational process that prepares an individual with a visual impairment to travel safely and independently in his or her environment. He took advantage of the O&M training offered by the Lighthouse, not only for his own benefit, but because he also wanted to practice what he preached. “I could not tell everyone else how important learning how to travel under sleep shades was until I actually did it,” Skelton said.

Although he came to work at the Lighthouse most recently in August 2003 as an assembler, Skelton is not new to the organization. In 1964, when the Lighthouse first opened its doors, he took a job repairing old wooden crates, a product previously manufactured by the Lighthouse. In February 2005 he was promoted from manufacturing assembler to base store associate at the Lighthouse’s Corpus Christi Naval Air Station Base Supply Store.

James Skelton will soon be making another move within the organization as a result of accepting a job at our newest base store at NAS--Meridian and will be transferring to Mississippi on February 2. He is very excited about the move and looks forward to a new adventure and opportunity.

Skelton’s work ethic and dedication are evident even when he is not at work. “I volunteer every chance I get at my church--in the kitchen, cleaning up or just doing whatever needs to be done,” Skelton said enthusiastically. He is also very involved in Out of Sight, a local support group for people who are blind, and serves as president of the Corpus Christi Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas, an organization that deals with issues related to blindness on the national, state, and local level.

Announcing Quick Braille™:

Quick Braille is a new way to learn the Braille code. It is fast and easy to use along with a Braille slate. It is shaped like a Braille cell. Six dowel pegs are provided to form any Braille letter. Then just turn the Quick Braille cover and push down to form the slated letter. No more trying to reverse in your mind to slate a letter. You have it at your fingertips, compact enough to carry along with your Braille slate and stylus. The Quick Braille is 2.5 inches by 1.5 inches.

To place an order, make check payable to Robin King in the amount of $15. This price includes the cost of shipping and handling. The mailing address is Robin King, 34 Carter Avenue, Wilmington, North Carolina 28405. Government or private organizations interested in ordering larger quantities may contact the above address.

Volunteers Needed to Dictate Taped Magazines:

I am compiling a new taped monthly magazine, a message of faith, hope, and joy. It is free to the blind, hearing impaired, mildly to moderately mentally ill, and sighted. The tape features a Bible message and will have music in future issues. Volunteers are needed to dictate literature for transcription into Braille. Contact Reverend Adelaide E. Wink, 59 S. Lee Street, Beverly Hills, Florida 34465, or call (352) 746-3087.

Attention Those Who Work from Their Homes:

Since I enjoy knitting and plastic-canvas grid weaving, I would love to hear from others who do yarn crafts. I would also like to hear from those who are working in their homes using their hands in manufacturing, packaging, light assembly work, etc. Please write to Adelaide E. Wink, 59 S. Lee Street, Beverly Hills, Florida 34465, or call (352) 746-3087.

New Book for Parents and Teachers of Blind or Visually Impaired Students:

Here is a press release that will interest everyone who cares about the education of blind students:

Making It Work by Carol Castellano is a complete how-to guide for the successful inclusion of a blind or visually impaired student in the regular classroom. Written in a clear, straightforward style, the book provides both the guiding principles and the nuts-and-bolts advice that will enable classroom teachers, teacher’s aides, school administrators, IEP teams, teachers of the visually impaired, and parents to create a learning atmosphere in which both the teacher and the blind or visually impaired student can thrive.

The effective teaching strategies and practical information presented will empower school staff not only to meet the challenges but also to enjoy the experience of having a blind or visually impaired student in class and will enable the blind or visually impaired student to be a full, independent participant throughout the school day. Information for blind or visually impaired students with multiple disabilities is included. Comments and advice from experienced classroom teachers who have successfully taught a blind or visually impaired student are a unique and helpful aspect of the book. The extensive resources chapter provides access to a wealth of information. 227 pages; $25 plus shipping and handling.

Topics include: Why the Regular School?; Raising Expectations; A Skills Definition of Blindness; The Skills and Tools of Blindness; Setting the Stage for Success; Essentials That Must Be in Place; Writing IEP Goals; Specifics for Classroom Teachers; Accessing the Curriculum; Classroom Techniques and Subject Guide; The Role of the Teacher’s Aide; Adapting Materials; Technology; Report from the Classroom: Inspiration and Advice from Those Who Have Been There; and Resources.

Making It Work is destined to be the definitive guide for years to come on how to make the regular school education a successful experience for blind and visually impaired children. With chapters flowing logically and full of detailed, useful information, it will be an essential handbook for school staff, specialized service providers, and parents of blind or visually impaired children,” says Joe Cutter, early childhood O&M specialist.

The book is available from Information Age Publishing, (203) 661-7602, <>; National Center for the Blind, (410) 659-9314, opt. 4, <>; Parents of Blind Children-NJ, (973) 377-0976, <>. To order from POBC-NJ, please make check payable to POBC-NJ and mail to 23 Alexander Ave., Madison, NJ 07940. Provide your name, address, and phone. The cost of the book is $25 plus $2.50 shipping and handling on the first book. Shipping and handling for each additional book is $1.

Summer Braille Music Institute:

The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is accepting applications for its seminar for blind college-bound musicians, which will be held July 16 to 22 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Designed for serious Braille-reading music students preparing for or already in college (ages average seventeen to twenty-one), the program tailors instruction to each person's need to develop Braille music and theory skills and to learn to use technology to submit written assignments. Applicants must already have studied some music theory and have the ability to present a polished and pleasing performance. They must be willing to put effort into Braille music study and demonstrate a commitment to use the Braille music and computer skills they will learn at the Institute when they return to school. Applicants must also show that they have the independence skills, social readiness, and maturity to be a contributing part of a close-knit group.

Contact the Resource Center about tuition, scholarship criteria, and the application and audition procedure. Deadline for requesting applications is April 15; all application materials must be in the Resource Center office by May 10. Contact David Goldstein, National Resource Center for Blind Musicians, Music and Arts Center for Humanity, 510 Barnum Avenue, Third Floor, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06608, phone (203) 366-3300, extension 229, fax (203) 368-2847, email <[email protected]>.

Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary Available:

SCALARS Publishing announces the availability of the Braille edition of The Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary, compiled and edited by Alan J. Koenig, Ed.D., and M. Cay Holbrook, Ph.D. The Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary contains the Braille transcriptions of almost 30,000 common and not-so-common words in the English language.

The Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary, Braille Edition, is available from the National Braille Association, 3 Townline Circle, Rochester, New York 14623, phone (585) 427-8260. The cost to individuals who pay with their own funds is $424; for all others, the cost is $1,045. The ten volumes are bound. Shipping is by Free Matter for the Blind.

The print edition of The Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary is available for $70 plus $4.75 shipping and handling from SCALARS Publishing, phone (901) 737-0001.

Handcrafts for Sale:

I have handmade tissue box covers and many more items for sale including handmade NFB logos. These make great fundraisers. Free catalog available, contact Henry and Cindy Osborne, 127 Platt Street, Apt. D, Milford, Connecticut 06460-7542; phone, (203) 876-1696 (home) or (203) 809-4781 (cell).

Opportunities for Dual Training:

Missouri State University is pleased to announce training opportunities for qualified individuals wishing to become dually trained as teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility specialists. Courses are offered through a combination of distance education and regional facilitation methods. Qualified candidates will receive generous scholarship assistance to cover a total of thirty-three credit hours of coursework.

For further information contact Dr. Chris Craig, associate dean, Missouri State University, Hill Hall 300, 901 S. National Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65897; phone (417) 836-8775; or email <[email protected]>.

Lions Beacon Lodge Camp 2006 Program Announced:

Pennsylvania Lions Beacon Lodge Camp is planning its 2006 camping season; the fifty-eighth consecutive year of camping. Beacon Lodge, supported by the Lions of Pennsylvania, is a summer camp providing a program of recreation and rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired, physically challenged, and mentally challenged. Programs are carried out for children and adults simultaneously, but each group enjoys its own activities. Children are accommodated in cabins, while adults are housed in dormitories.

The 2006 camping season opens June 10 and closes August 16. Camp sessions are six or eleven days long, based on eligibility criteria. Activities include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, bowling, hiking, archery, air riflery, nature studies, arts and crafts, backpacking, ropes course, talent and music programs, fishing in a private pond, and off-camp trips to a water park for children and an amusement park for adults.

Beacon Lodge is located in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, along the Juniata River. For more information, write to Pennsylvania Lions Beacon Lodge Camp, 114 SR 103, South, Mount Union, Pennsylvania 17066-9601, or in Pennsylvania contact your local Lions Club. You can also visit the Web site, <> or email <[email protected]>.

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:

Optelec Clearview 317XL CCTV with black-and-white seventeen-inch monitor, electronic controls, and line or window markers. Excellent condition. Still under warranty, asking $1,500 or best offer. Contact Bill Porter at (847) 342-7155 between 1 and 8 p.m. CST; or email Bill at <[email protected]>.

Games for Sale:

Never-used Chinese checker game, $25 (includes shipping and handling) for low vision or blind, different wooden shaped and colored pegs for each player, excellent condition.

Never-used Scrabble game for low vision or blind, has raised plastic panel insert over lettered board and Braille labeled letters, regular price $75, asking $40 (includes shipping and handling), excellent condition.

Contact Wendy at (218) 723-8269 or Karen at (218) 729-9299 for questions.

For Sale:

I wish to sell an XM satellite radio in excellent condition; price is negotiable. Contact Lucia Marett, 170 West 23 Street, Apartment 3H, New York, New York 10011-2430.

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.