Braille Monitor                                                           May 2007

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News from the Federation Family


In Memoriam:
Tom HartigMany of us across the country were shocked and distressed to learn of the sudden death on February 16, 2007, of our colleague and friend Tom Hartig, treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, chair of the NFB Planned Giving Committee, and a member of the NFB-NEWSLINE® steering committee. The outpouring of tributes was widespread and heartfelt. This one from NFB Second Vice President Peggy Elliott captures the essence of the man:

Tom Hartig was a triangle: equal parts gentleman, advocate, and friend. Like the percussion instrument, Tom could appear solo, but he could also function as part of a larger whole, though, like the instrument, his distinctive voice was always audible within the broader soundscape.

Tom the gentleman was unfailingly courteous to all and treated each fellow human with respect. He lived by the Golden Rule in that he treated others in the way he expected to be treated, and it worked. In his interactions with others Tom demonstrated the respect he had for all humankind, seamlessly, routinely, thoroughly--as a gentleman would.

Tom the advocate proved that a gentleman doesnít have to be a wimp. He had strong beliefs, not only on the way humans should interact but on what was right, valuable, and worth doing. These beliefs showed most strongly in his work for NFB-NEWSLINE® and for the National Federation of the Blind of which he was an active member, serving as treasurer of the state affiliate and chair of the national Planned Giving Committee. Tomís advocacy shone most brightly, however, in NEWSLINE, a program of the Federation he loved, fostered, fussed over, and flacked incessantly. If there is someone in Florida who has not heard of NFB-NEWSLINE or an eligible Floridian who has not been offered the service, itís not for lack of Tomís trying. With its large senior population Florida also has a large population of those losing vision, and Tom viewed these facts as an opportunity, his own personal vineyard to cultivate, nurture, and harvest by bringing the newspaper back to people who thought they had lost access to that source of information through declining vision. Tomís NEWSLINE advocacy was like a contagion, and he worked hard to infect fellow Florida Federationists with the same urge to spread NEWSLINE. With its large population and its devoted corps of workers, Florida consistently tops the list on all NEWSLINE measurements, a matter of pride for Tom but, more important, it is the result of his devoted work and advocacy in giving to others the richness of the Federation in which he so deeply believed.

Tom the friend was warm, interested, curious, supportive, encouraging, sometimes to the point of a quick, metaphorical kick in the shins if needed. The speed with which the news of Tomís death swept across the country was a measure of the distress of his many friends. Encountering Tom, one encountered all three: the gentleman, the advocate, and the friend. It was always a valuable experience and always left one anticipating the next encounter.

Tom, gentleman, advocate, and friend, has gone on to other vineyards. We know heís finding things to do, bolstering the hesitant and regaling his friends. No, triangle isnít the right metaphor for Tom. Instead, Tom was a prism, breaking apart our daily existence into brilliant colors and allowing us to enjoy the individual constituents of lifeís rich and varied experiences. Iíll always be grateful for this prism because of the joy it brought into my life and for the lessons he taught. And Tom the prism will live on through all those on whom he shed those brilliant colors of life.

Elected:
On March 10, 2007, the Kankakee Heartland Chapter of the NFB of Illinois elected the following officers: Bill Isaacs, president; Frank Einfeldt, vice president; Carol Kwaak, secretary; Ruth Isaacs, treasurer; and Raymond Kwaak, board member.

In Memoriam:
Michael Marucci receives the Distinguished Service Award plaque from Dr. Kenneth Jernigan.We have learned with great sadness that on March 10, 2007, Michael Marucci lost his long fight with cancer. His wife Marie worked at the National Center for the Blind for a number of years, and Michael generously volunteered his time to the organization to translate our literature into Spanish. In 1998 Michael received the NFBís Distinguished Service Award. For several years now one of the NFB scholarships at each convention has been presented by the Maruccis to a student studying foreign language or otherwise committed to international study. Marie Marucci has requested that memorial gifts be donated to this fund, which is now to be called the Michael Marucci Memorial Scholarship. Michael will be deeply missed by all who knew him. We extend deepest sympathy to Marie and the other members of Michaelís family.

First Ever NFB Rowing Competition:
Everyone can do it! Young, old, big, or small--rowing is a fantastic way to get exercise. Come to the first ever rowing competition sponsored by Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Sports and Recreation Division, and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Learn the basics of rowing and then compete in an indoor rowing competition with your peers. Prizes will be awarded for age groups and gender.

Rowing is on its way to being accessible for the blind of all ages and fitness levels. The Concept 2 rowing machine is unique equipment that requires no buttons to push or flat screens to mark. The company is developing software that will eventually be downloadable onto a BrailleNote or other pocket PC device with speech software that will provide feedback on elapsed time, stroke rate, and power produced while rowing. Erg Chatter software will be available to demo at the event, which will take place from two to five on Wednesday afternoon, July 4. Plan to join the fun.

In Memoriam:
Toni Koehler November 1, 1939, to March 12, 2007We are deeply sorry to report the sudden death on March 12, 2007, of Toni Koehler, the president of our North Dakota affiliate. Toni was a graduate of BLIND, Incorporated, and had brought energy, ability, and commitment to changing what it means to be blind to her work with the NFB of North Dakota. She will be sincerely missed by all who knew her.

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB Resolutions Committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2007 national convention the Resolutions Committee meeting will be held on Sunday, July 1. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. These resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Maurer or to me by June 15, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you miss this deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, <nfbmd@earthlink.net>; fax, (410) 715-9597; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045.

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.


Braille Candy Bars Available:
Sweet Tooth sells a unique item--Braille chocolate bars with a choice of sayings including Happy Birthday, Have a Nice Day, Love You, Thank You, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays. The bars weigh four and a half ounces and can be made in milk, dark, or white chocolate and plain or with nuts, Rice Krispies, or peppermint flavoring (usually at the holidays). The bars cost $2.50 each for plain and $2.75 for nuts, Krispie, or peppermint. They are bagged in cellophane and tied with ribbons. All orders are made fresh for each customer. Orders are sent two-day priority by U.S. Postal Service. Shipping is extra.

After the order is made up, the customer will be notified of the exact total cost. Because postage is based on the weight of the package and the distance shipped, the rates vary. Payment is by check or money order only. Make these payable to Judy Davis. As the owner and operator of Sweet Tooth, she oversees all orders. Please allow five to seven days for an order to be processed and mailed. Contact Sweet Tooth by calling or emailing Judy Davis, 32 Vinton Road, Rochester, New York 14622; (585) 544-1853; <judydavis12@rochester.rr.com>.

Looking for Campers:
If you know a blind or visually impaired youth who likes hiking, canoeing, swimming, sports, arts & crafts, campfires, and making music, we need your help. These are just a few of the activities at Camp T in Michigan. We're looking for campers.

If you know a kid who enjoys having fun while strengthening blindness skills, check out <www.campt.org>. Here are some upcoming events:

Family Camp--Includes networking/support for parents, siblings, and grandparents
Adventure Sailing Trip on Lake Michigan GPS/Technology Weekend--Experience high-tech travel from wilderness to city.
For more information contact <Jackie@campt.org> or call (866) 789-9065.

Job Opening:
The School District of Philadelphia has an opening for a Braille transcriptionist/alternative media specialist, beginning September 2007. This is a full-time, ten-month, school-year position.

Responsibilities: Transcribe Braille, order Braille and large-print materials for students throughout the school district. Order vision-related materials for staff and distribute them accordingly. Coordinate the return and repair of Braillewriters and cassette recorders as needed. Maintain supplies used daily by students with blindness and vision impairments.

Qualifications: Certified Braille transcriber with experience in Nemeth Code, textbook format, tactile drawing, thermoform, and binding. Organized individual who will prepare orders, maintain inventory, and keep accurate records.

Contact: Thomas Woodman, Overbrook Educational Center, 6722 Lansdowne Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19151; (215) 581-5890; <twoodman@phila.k12.pa.us>.

Research Participants Interested in Learning Music Theory Needed:
Lauren Morgan is seeking research participants for a case study in alternative music pedagogy using computer technology and accessible software for the blind or visually impaired musician. The purpose of the study is to develop methods of teaching blind and visually impaired students appropriate music fundamentals and proficient use of the Braille music notation system so as to encourage abstract individual composition upon conclusion of the study itself. Each case study candidate will be individually evaluated for participation.

Preliminary guidelines include the following:

1. A minimum age of twelve years; no maximum age limit will apply.
2. Male or female.
3. No music experience is necessary--any candidate with experience at any level is welcome.
4. Visually impaired candidates must be able to use a computer with proficiency.
5. Blind candidates must proficiently read uncontracted Braille and proficiently use JAWS or other text-to-speech software.
6. All candidates must be available for a private lesson each week in person, by Web conference, or by telephone conference--the first two options are preferred. If instruction must be by telephone, I will pay for the call. If instruction is in person and beyond reasonable traveling distance (to be determined later), I will work with the participant on travel arrangements.

What can a candidate expect to learn? The fundamentals of music theory, harmony and structural form; pitch recognition, rhythm, and intervals; a brief synopsis of Western music history and literature; beginning composition, and other topics as they present themselves. The process will take between twelve and fourteen weeks from start to completion. There is no option for failure in the study because each student's specific learning needs will be evaluated and addressed with instruction tailored to provide the tools necessary for success.
For more information contact Lauren Morgan, 1518 Ranch Road 12 #408, San Marcos, Texas 78666; home phone (512) 878-2956; cell (512) 618-0363; email <lf11522@txstate.edu>. Lauren Morgan is a professional vocalist who earned her bachelor's degree of fine arts in music from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and is currently pursuing a master's in music composition at Texas State University. She maintains an active private music studio.

Attention Affiliate and Division Newsletter Editors:
Diamond Tape Productions would like to be of service to you. How? One of our specialties is producing professional-quality newsletters. Since 1980 we have also produced computer tutorials, informational bulletins, and books for Talking Book libraries.

Your newsletter can be produced on regular or NLS-format cassettes, CDs, or MP3s from your master or narrated at Diamond Tape from your copy. Quick turnaround. Reasonable prices. For more information call (800) 845-6322.

Attention Arkansas School for the Blind Alumni:
The Arkansas School for the Blind alumni invite you to convene June 1 to 3, 2007, at the school. Activities include graduation ceremony; memorial service; silent auction of honor Friday and Saturday; banquet, dance, and singing; food, fun, and fellowship. Call Beal and Alice Pickett at (501) 912-8699.

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:
Ron Kolesar has a Juliet Classic Braille Embosser for sale that has just been refurbished, so itís in very good condition. Asking $1,500 plus shipping or best offer. He will accept money orders or personal checks, but if you are paying by check, it will have to clear his bank before shipping.

If you have questions about the embosser, email Ron at <kolesar16417@adelphia.net>, or call him at (814) 774-5709 between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EDT. He hopes you can do business.

For Sale:
Robin Hoerber has two Perkins Braillers in excellent condition for sale. She is asking $400 for each. Interested parties may contact <robinhoerber@comcast.net> or call (804) 744-0666.

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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