Braille Monitor                                                                    October 2006


Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

NFB March for Independence:

The March for Independence logo includes these words along with five Whozits in a line.

During the July 2007 national convention we will conduct the National Federation of the Blind March for Independence to educate the public about blindness and to raise money for the Imagination Fund. Interested and eligible Federationists will walk a designated five-kilometer route through downtown Atlanta. We plan to conclude this high-profile event with an inspiring procession into the opening general session of the convention. In addition to raising money for the programs of the Jernigan Institute and our state affiliates, the March for Independence will proclaim by example blind people's ability to be active and engaged in the community. Imagine the positive impression of blindness and the National Federation of the Blind that hundreds of members and friends will make as we march together--canes and dogs conspicuously in action--while streaming through the downtown streets of Atlanta, the heart and home of America's civil rights movement.

In order to march, potential participants must pledge to raise two hundred and fifty dollars or more in donations between now and Thursday, May 31, 2007. Marchers who have made their pledges and turned in their raised funds by May 31 will be able to participate in the march and will receive an official March for Independence T-shirt at convention. We have established a contest with incentives for early pledging. The names of March for Independence participants will be placed in a drawing for one thousand dollars at the Washington Seminar during the last week of January. The name of each marcher will go into the drawing once for every one hundred dollars pledged and received by the Jernigan Institute outreach department by January 1, 2007. We will announce additional incentives in coming weeks.

Online registration and the opportunity to sponsor marchers with an online donation are now available on the NFB Web site. Promotional materials and a marcher's tool kit are coming soon. For more information click on the "Learn about the Jernigan Institute" link from the NFB homepage. Pledge to participate in the March for Independence by registering online as a participant as soon as possible. In addition to downloading online information, you can learn further details and register for this first-ever public education and fundraising event by sending email inquiries about the march to <> or by directly contacting Kristi Bowman in the Jernigan Institute outreach office at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2406. Event logistics are still being ironed out, but we urge Federationists to sign up and begin raising funds immediately. Watch for additional information on the National Federation of the Blind March for Independence in upcoming issues of the Braille Monitor.

In Memoriam:

Gail Coppel, February 18, 1950, to June 6, 2006

We regret to report the death of Gail Coppel. Don Capps, president emeritus of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, writes as follows: Gail Aliene Coppel, fifty-six, was an exceptional member of the NFB of South Carolina, having been a member of the Columbia Chapter for more than thirty years. She was faithful, caring, and generous and a good wife and mother. She and her husband Frank raised two children, Matthew and Laura.

Both Gail and Frank were natives of Baltimore, Maryland. Gail graduated from the Maryland School for the Blind in 1969 and from Towson State University in 1973 with a BS in elementary education. She fought to become the first blind person to do her student teaching in the Baltimore public school system and then taught at the Maryland School for the Blind for two years. When Frank accepted a position with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, the family moved to Columbia, where they have resided ever since.

Gail served as secretary of her children's elementary school PTA, keeping the minutes in Braille. She was one of the first women trustees of the South Carolina Federation Center of the Blind, secretary and in the late 1980's president of the Columbia Chapter, a member of many affiliate committees, and a frequent children's counselor and director for about four years of children's camp at Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind. In recent years she was also active with the senior camp at Rocky Bottom. Her love for Rocky Bottom, in the mountains of northern Pickens County, was evident in the Coppels' contributions to building projects, their participation in annual Fun Day Festivals, and most recently in Gail's generous contributions to children's camp and senior blind camp. She attended every state and national convention and was a recipient of the Donald C. Capps Award, the highest honor presented by the NFB of South Carolina to a blind member.

Gail also helped organize several affiliate chapters and was instrumental in organizing the Beaufort Chapter. She was the first president of the South Carolina Parents of Blind Children Division and was once recognized by United Way of the Midlands as volunteer of the month.

Surviving Gail is her husband Frank, first vice president of the NFB of South Carolina, vice chairman of Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind, chairman of the Federation Center of the Blind, and president of the Columbia Chapter. He has retired from the Commission for the Blind. Also surviving are her son Matthew and daughter Laura. Gail will be deeply missed by us all.

Braille Readers Are Leaders Forms Available:

Forms for the 2007 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest are now available from the Independence Market, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. You can also call the Independence Market at (410) 659-9314, or email your order to <>.

In Memoriam:

In late June Ed McDonald, a past president of the NFB of West Virginia, wrote the following tribute reporting the death of Victor Gonzalez, a longtime affiliate leader: Victor Gonzalez died June 17, 2006, at the age of eighty-one. Victor was active in politics throughout his life. At the age of twenty-five he led an effort in his hometown--the small community of Anmoore, West Virginia--to incorporate the town and form a municipal government. He then served as mayor for eighteen years. He later received gubernatorial appointments to three three-year terms on the state's Human Rights Commission.

In the late 1950's Dr. tenBroek authorized a team of Federationists to conduct a study of the quality and delivery of services for the blind in West Virginia. As a result of the many negative findings made public by the study, the leaders of the state's rehabilitation agency agreed to meet regularly with a committee of Federationists to receive consumer input to improve services. Over the years the scope of these meetings has grown to include representatives of several additional agencies that provide services to the blind, including the Library Commission, Department of Education, School for the Blind, Human Rights Commission, Bureau of Senior Services, Department of Human Services, and West Virginia Assistive Technology System. Victor chaired the Agency Relations Committee from the time of its creation in 1960 until his death.

It is my recollection that Victor is the only West Virginia Federationist whose name is included anywhere in the pages of Walking Alone and Marching Together. Victor was a man of strong opinions and strong will. He and I have disagreed from time to time on a variety of Federation issues, and he never shrank from a spirited debate. Nevertheless, he also understood the principle of confining debate to the meeting room and not allowing personal disagreements to threaten the strength of friendship or the unity of organization.

Victor and his wife Joyce have attended several national conventions over the years, and I am sure many Federationists will remember him. He has certainly been a Federation pioneer in West Virginia, and those of us who have known him as colleague and friend for many years will truly miss him.

New Listserv:

The Science and Engineering Division invites you to join its new listserv in order to exchange emails with blind engineers, scientists, and students in technical fields. You can subscribe to the list, nfb-science, by going to the Web page <>.

In Memoriam:

Debbie Stein, secretary of the NFB of Illinois, reports: it is with great sadness that I report the passing of Bryan Turner, who died of diabetic complications at his home on July 21, 2006. Bryan attended his first state convention in 2003 and immediately became an active member of the Illinois affiliate. He revived the Kankakee Heartland Chapter and served as its president until his death. To show the public the abilities of blind people, Bryan undertook a thirty-nine-mile Walk for Vision in 2005, alternating between cane and dog guide. We will remember "The Elf" for his energy and determination and for his commitment to the Federation.


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.

Optacon Users Unite to Preserve Valuable Reading Device:

The Optacon user list would like to share the following information with all current and former Optacon users:
1. Optacons can still be repaired. Repairers are located in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia.
2. We are seeking all nonworking or unused Optacons. They can be repaired and put back into circulation.
3. We invite all current Optacon users to complete a brief survey describing their experiences both negative and positive.
4. If the survey data we collect show enough interest, the Optacon might be redeveloped with updated circuitry to read some types of modern displays, colors, and print formats that other devices cannot currently read.
5. Users can share experiences and make plans for the future of the Optacon on an active Optacon listserv.

Invented in the early 1970's, the Optacon uses a handheld camera to explore a print document and convert the picture of what it finds to a small tactile array composed of vibrating rods. The picture is very tiny--about the size of a standard print letter or number. The Optacon was manufactured until the early 1990's. If you would like information on any of the above or have any questions, please email <>.

Weekly Teleconferences for Writers:

Hour-long Written Word Workshop teleconferences are hosted by Sanford Rosenthal of the At-Large Chapter of the National Writers Union on Sunday evenings at 8:00 p.m. EST. You can register at no charge by calling Sanford at (954) 537-7557 or emailing him at <>. Once you leave him your contact information, you can get the dial-in phone number for the conferences. Those with disabilities are invited to participate and give support to each other as we learn from everyone about writing and publishing. Published authors are also featured on alternate Sunday evenings as guest speakers for the live question-and-comment segment that is part of the workshop.

Attention Woodworkers:

Woodworking for the Blind, Inc., now provides monthly CD recordings of woodworking publications exclusively for the use of blind and visually impaired woodworkers. Voice recordings of all of the articles and features in Fine Woodworking magazine, Woodwork magazine, Woodsmith magazine, Woodworking magazine, and American Woodworker magazine are available as CDs in MP3 file format shortly after each magazine's current issue becomes available. Recordings of full-length books on woodworking also will be available from time to time. So far this year we have issued nine CDs, totaling more than seventy-two hours of recordings of magazines and books.

If you are interested, please contact us at <>.

Episcopal Worship Materials Available:

The Large-Print Ministry offers two CDs to help blind and visually impaired people in their devotions and in participating fully in worship. Prayers and Psalms for Today is a large-print CD that can help in all kinds of situations. It includes selections from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the American Episcopal Church: "Prayers and Thanksgivings," "Prayers for the Sick," "Prayers for Use by a Sick Person," and the entire "Book of Psalms" (from the BCP). While the prayers are from an Episcopal book, they may be helpful to people of all faiths. This CD is in APhont™, a special font designed for people with low vision and is formatted in MS Word. Most of the material is in 20-point print.

The Large-Print Book of Common Prayer CD includes the entire 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Material on this CD is mainly in 18-point type. The materials on both CDs are laid out for 8.5 by 11-inch pages. They can be used to prepare worship materials and can be loaded into an electronic notetaker or computer. This lay ministry is a labor of love in thankfulness to God for His many blessings and in memory of my father, who was visually impaired.

To order a CD, send a self-addressed, stamped 6-by-9-inch envelope with three 39-cent stamps attached (four if it's a padded envelope) to Ann Dahlen, 1900 6th Avenue, Apt. 513, Rock Island, Illinois 61201. Be sure to indicate which CD you want. A donation to help cover supply and other costs would be appreciated since this program is not a part of any diocese, church, or organization. Please make checks payable to Ann Dahlen. For more information, email Ms. Dahlen at <>.

Elliot Zaretsky and Maxi-Aids Strike again:

Several years ago Maxi-Aids was found in contempt of court when the company began using the name of Independent Living Aids in conjunction with the name Maxi-Aids on its Web site, probably in order to pull in more business. Maxi-Aids also seems to have tracked the expiration dates of trademarked names of products that they had already done much to drive out of production so that they could take them over. Say When and Hi-Marks are examples that come to mind. But at this late date these rather sordid activities are merely unfortunate and unpleasant footnotes to history.

Now it seems that Maxi-Aids is at it again. If you go to <>, you will find a shiny new Web site selling products for blind and otherwise disabled people, many of them Maxi-Aids products. At the very bottom of the home page is the statement that Maxi Aids holds the copyright on the Web site.

The New York Lighthouse for the Blind (now Lighthouse International) bought the original company called Vis-Aids several years ago and immediately ceased using the Vis-Aids name, though we believe they still own it. One wonders what Maxi-Aids is up to this time--Elliot Zaretsky is always up to something. Perhaps word of Maxi-Aids's business ethics is spreading, and Mr. Zaretsky hopes to garner business from unsuspecting folk who are trying to avoid doing business with Maxi-Aids by placing orders with Vis-Aids. Or it may simply be that Mr. Zaretsky hopes that adding one more mail order house to the three currently in the field (LS&S, Independent Living Aids, and Maxi-Aids) will ultimately result in his getting half rather than a third of the disability mail order business. It's a free country, of course, but let would-be buyers beware: Vis-Aids is not a new player in the field, and we have learned the hard way the kinds of games that Elliot Zaretsky plays.

Low-Cost Computers Available:

Join your friends in using a refurbished 350-MHZ-or-faster Pentium-based computer for a gift of $100. Listen on your Talking Book playback machine to eight audio cassettes providing a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Windows and Window-Eyes from Brian Hartgen, including email and reading Web pages. The package includes a demo copy of Window-Eyes. Keep track of your tax and insurance files. Write letters and emails to your friends and family. Keep your own recipes and family genealogy records. Send and receive email. A sample copy of an email service, Juno, and a shareware screen-enlargement program are provided.

Also available are twenty refurbished laptop computers. Must be operated from wall outlet service. These units are suitable for a mobile home or small apartment. Each has a demo copy of Window-Eyes and an enlargement program. An external monitor may be had, if wanted. Your gift of $100 will give you this rare item.

If you have wanted to own your own computer, now is your chance. Call Bob Langford at (214) 340-6328 during business hours. CDT. This offer is good in the U.S. and Canada only. Mastering the computer is a lot of work, but it offers many new pleasures.

NLS Receives Two Blue Pencil Awards:

The following notice is taken from the June 30, 2006, Gazette, a weekly newsletter to the Library of Congress staff:
A library book about the life of Jacobus tenBroek, a revered blind activist, and a public service announcement, "A Good Book Is Worth Sharing," each won a Blue Pencil Award from the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) on May 26.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) issued both winners. The book, Blind Justice: Jacobus tenBroek and the Vision of Equality, received the Award of Excellence, and the announcement won a first place. The association recognizes the best publications and other communications products of local, state, and federal governments.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) was pleased to learn of the recognition. "Jacobus tenBroek was an extraordinary individual, and it is fitting that his life story received this national honor," said Marc Maurer, president of NFB. Blind Justice is the first full-length biography of tenBroek, a champion of equal opportunities for blind people and founder of the National Federation of the Blind.

Written by tenBroek's friend and collaborator, Floyd Matson, the book recounts how the crusader (1911-1968), who was blinded by an arrow at age seven, obtained a law degree, fought for and received a university teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley, and became a pioneer in organizing the blind community.

The book is available from the NLS collection in Braille and on audiocassette to blind and physically handicapped readers. Hardcover and paperback copies in regular print were offered for a fee to the general public through the Government Printing Office.

Pen Friend Wanted:

David Beaudoin, an inmate (nonviolent, nondrug offender) is looking for pen friends. He is forty-three years old and a former welder. He is learning Braille and reads the Monitor. Hobbies, poetry, writing to new people, sharing ideas, sports. Send letters in print or on tape. All letters will be answered. Send to David Beaudoin, 74500-L.C.C., P.O. Box 359, Lovelock, Nevada 89419.

Pop Up Magnifier for Cell Phones:

The Pop Up Magnifier for cell phones automatically pops up when you open your phone, magnifying your entire display screen. It instantly retracts when you close your phone. Its best feature is that one size fits all cell phones if the consumer trims excess lens. It magnifies two to three times. This magnifier offers cell phone users a visual aid for reading the small display screens of a typical cellular telephone. It also works with home phones and caller IDs. The cost is $7.95; free shipping in the USA. Contact Richards Vending and Supply, (614) 406-9793; email <>.


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:

BrailleNote Classic with Perkins-style Braille keyboard and a thirty-two-cell Braille display that runs Keysoft 4.01 and comes with carrying case, AC adapter, cables to connect to your computer, large-print and CD-ROM users guide, and external disk drive. Everything is in very good condition. Asking $2,500 plus shipping or best offer. If you're interested or know of someone who is, please contact Stacy Cervenka at <> or during the day at (202) 224-6521.

For Sale:

This BrailleLite is in good condition. Just refurbished. Accessories in original packaging. Owner's manual in Braille included. I am asking $1,000 plus shipping, but I am willing to negotiate price. Anyone interested may contact Bill Meinecke at (757) 474-9476 or by email at <>.

For Sale:

Enhanced Vision Merlin Video Magnifier for people with low vision magnifies an image of any paper or object placed on its base on a video monitor (not included). Platform supports up to a twenty-inch TV or similar monitor. Auto-focus. Only two years old and in excellent condition. All cables and documentation included. Asking $1,700 or best offer. Photo can be emailed upon request. Direct all inquiries to <> or phone (804) 769-9252.

For Sale:

Creative bold-line paper and colors. Do you have a sense of humor and enjoy loving touches? Send cassette or write to ask for free paper samples. Choose from polka dots, flowers, checkers, or fabric textures. Include phone number. Send to Cherokee Walker, 305 S. Telegraph Road, Studio 5, Pontiac, Michigan, 48341; (248) 874-0049.

For Sale:

Optelec Clearview 317XL CCTV with black-and-white seventeen-inch monitor, electronic controls, and line or Window marker option. Excellent condition. Two years old. Asking $975 or best offer. PayPal accepted. Payment plan available. Price includes UPS ground shipping and insurance within the continental United States. Contact Bill at (847) 342-7155 between 1:00 and 8:00 p.m., CST; or email <>.

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.