Braille Monitor                                                    March 2008

(back) (contents)

 

Monitor Miniatures


News from the Federation Family

Ground-Breaking Program for Elementary Students from NFB Jernigan Institute:
The Jernigan Institute is pleased to announce the latest addition to its Science Academy—the 2008 NFB Junior Science Academy. This program, the first NFB Science Academy for elementary students and their parents, will be held July 23 to 27, 2008, in Baltimore, Maryland, at the National Center. The program will accept thirty participants in grades three through six, or ages eight to twelve, and one parent or guardian for each.

Modeled after the NFB’s previous successful Science Academies for teens, this four-day session will expose blind and low-vision children to the excitement of science in real-life applications. The students will learn that science can be fun through hands-on instruction, field trips, and interactive activities as they learn about how different aspects of the environment work together to create the world around them. In addition to sparking their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, the program aims to teach students how alternative techniques can help make STEM subjects accessible and more engaging. Workshops for parents of blind children will take place in conjunction with the children’s activities for the adults accompanying their children. The Education Department is also looking for blind adults over eighteen who are interested in serving as mentors to help facilitate the children’s activities.

Interested families or blind adults who would like to serve as mentors can learn more about the program and submit an application online at <www.blindscience.org>. Applications are due by March 31, 2008. For more information, contact Mary Jo Thorpe, education programs specialist at the Jernigan Institute at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or at <mthorpe@nfb.org>.

The Braille Book Flea Market Is Coming:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2008 Braille Book Flea Market sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks, Twin-Vision® books and books suitable for children are badly needed. Last year, even though we had many generous donations of books, we were almost out of books after the first hour of the flea market. Blind children hunger for books to have by their beds at home like their siblings.

In a few months we will have an address in Dallas where you can send the Braille books you wish to donate. Begin searching through the boxes in your basement and spare room and get your books ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288, or email her at <peggychong@earthlink.net>. Look for a Braille Book Flea Market update in the Braille Monitor very soon.

Elected:
The Inland Empire Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington recently held elections for 2008. The results are as follows: Maria Bradford, president; Paul Whipple, first vice president; Dolorous Keyser, second vice president; Judy Croy, treasurer; John Croy secretary; Susan Lincoln, card secretary; Gloria Whipple, corresponding secretary; and board members Jeanne Whipple and Cody Christianson.

Wayne Rivera, January 21, 1963, to January 15, 2008In Memoriam:
With profound sadness Carl Jacobsen, president of the NFB of New York, wrote to report the death of Wayne Rivera, a personal friend and a Federationist, which he comments is, of course, a fine combination. He passed along a warm recollection of Wayne by Christine Faltz Grassman:

Wayne joined the Federation in 1994. He contributed to the construction of our Jernigan Institute and has given significant resources to our organization as well as to agencies and schools for the blind in the Dominican Republic, the birthplace of his wife Mary. Wayne was a very successful vendor in the Randolph-Sheppard program in New York for more than a dozen years. He was an active member of the state Vendors Committee.

Wayne will be remembered by family, friends, and acquaintances as a man who did not mince words. While this was not always appreciated, it was definitely respected and often admired. Wayne also had a delightful sense of humor. My two children, who met Wayne only once, delight in the telling and retelling of Wayne Rivera tales, particularly those regarding would-be shoplifters at Wayne’s facilities. Wayne Rivera is deeply mourned and will be sorely missed.

Elected:
At its January meeting the Seattle Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington held elections. Results are as follows: Kris Lawrence, president; Rita Szantay, first vice president; Kay Burrows, second vice president; Andrea Travis, secretary; Doug Johnson, treasurer; and Mike Mello and Bo Donahoe, board members.

Elected:
The Omaha Chapter of the NFB of Nebraska just held elections, and the following officers were elected: president, Darrell Walla; first vice president, Bob Burns; second vice president, Hank Vetter; treasurer, Amy Sweigard; secretary, Sandra Boone; and board members, Sandy Alvarado, Al Boone, Lonnie Merritt, and Atty Svendsen.

John Parker, June 22, 1939, to January 27, 2008In Memoriam:
We are deeply sorry to report the death on January 27, 2008, of John Parker, a longtime leader of the NFB of New Hampshire. John frequently served as president of the Lakes Region Chapter and for six years as president of the New Hampshire affiliate. When his health permitted, he was also a frequent participant in the Washington Seminar. He served on the New Hampshire Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Commission on Disability. John was engaged, energetic, and dogged in doing what he knew to be right for blind people.

He was recovering from surgery for cancer when he suffered a fatal heart attack. During a hospital visit from NFB of New Hampshire President Marie Johnson shortly before his death, he complained that his surgery would prevent him from taking part in the Washington Seminar this year. Otherwise he was in good spirits. John Parker and his kind are the bedrock of the Federation, and he will be deeply missed.

New Chapter:
The NFB of Iowa got off to a great start in 2008 with the formation of its newest chapter, in Burlington, Iowa, a medium-sized town in the southeastern part of the state. At its first meeting the group adopted a constitution and elected officers. The new chapter president is Miranda Brown, who is very ambitious. Jerry Jackson, her vice president, is also eager to get the chapter moving. Eight members joined the chapter in January.

In just two weeks the chapter has accomplished a lot. They have set times and places for their meetings, they continue to contact potential new members, but their biggest effort has been the public education they have conducted before and after the organizational meeting. In late January both Miranda and Jerry were interviewed by the local paper, and the story ran on February 2. Jerry and Miranda are working hard to spread the NFB message. Congratulations to this new chapter.


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.


Attention Alumni of the New York State School for the Blind:
The Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind will hold its annual reunion at the Holiday Inn in Batavia, New York, from June 6 through June 8, 2008. Rooms will be available on Thursday, June 5, and an extra excursion on Sunday afternoon may be run, if there is sufficient interest. Room rates are $70 per night for regular rooms and $90 per night for suites. Reservations made before May 1 will not include room tax.

There is a grant of $200 available to one person who has never attended the reunion or who has not attended in many years and who has economic need. This grant must be applied for by April 1, 2008. To get a reading of the entire weekend schedule, including detailed costs, contact information for people in charge of various activities, the $200 grant, or more information about activities and meals, phone Tim Hendel at (256) 650-5212. To pay your dues or make other payments, phone Sukosh Fearon at (315) 363-4460.

Anthology Available:
Behind Our Eyes: Stories, Poems and Essays by Writers with Disabilities is an anthology showcasing work by twenty-seven disabled authors, many of whom are blind. This hopeful, funny, and educational book bridges the gap between the way society sees people with disabilities and the way disabled people really live. It also explores longings, struggles, and triumphs we all have in common. The book’s eight sections range from advice to medical professionals to travel dos and don'ts, to writing tips, to nature haiku, to a talking snake and a world where blindness is the norm. Reviews and portions of the book are available online. Google the Behind Our Eyes disabilities book for more information. Behind Our Eyes is available from Amazon; iUniverse; major bookstores; and, for the print-impaired, Bookshare in text or DAISY format. A recorded version of Behind Our Eyes is also planned.

New Tactile Astronomy Book Available:
At a January 14, 2008, ceremony at the National Federation of the Blind, NASA unveiled a new book that brings majestic images taken by its great observatories to the fingertips of the blind. Touch the Invisible Sky is a sixty-page book with color images of nebulae, stars, galaxies, and some of the telescopes that captured the original pictures. Each image is embossed with lines, dots, and other textures. These raised patterns translate colors, shapes, and other intricate details of the cosmic objects, allowing visually impaired people to experience them. Braille and large-print descriptions accompany each of the book's twenty-eight photographs, making the book's design accessible to readers of all visual abilities.

The book contains spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, and powerful ground-based telescopes. The celestial objects are presented as they appear through visible-light telescopes and different spectral regions invisible to the naked eye, from radio to infrared, visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light.

The book introduces the concept of light and the spectrum and explains the way the different observatories complement each others' findings. Readers take a cosmic journey beginning with images of the sun, and travel out into the galaxy to visit relics of exploding and dying stars, as well as the Whirlpool galaxy and colliding Antennae galaxies.

Touch the Invisible Sky was written by astronomy educator and accessibility specialist Noreen Grice of You Can Do Astronomy LLC and the Museum of Science, Boston, with authors Simon Steel, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Doris Daou, an astronomer at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "About 10 million visually impaired people live in the United States," Grice said. "I hope this book will be a unique resource for people who are sighted or blind to understand better the part of the universe that is invisible to all of us."

The book will be available to the public through a wide variety of sources, including NASA libraries, the National Federation of the Blind, Library of Congress repositories, schools for the blind, libraries, museums, science centers, and Ozone Publishing. "We wanted to show that the beauty and complexity of the universe go far beyond what we can see with our eyes!" Daou said.

"The study of the universe is a detective story, a cosmic 'CSI,' where clues to the inner workings of the universe are revealed by the amazing technology of modern telescopes," Steel said. "This book invites everyone to join in the quest to unlock the secrets of the cosmos."

"One of the greatest challenges faced by blind students who are interested in scientific study is that certain kinds of information are not available to them in a nonvisual form," said Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "Books like this one are an invaluable resource because they allow the blind access to information that is normally presented through visual observation and media. Given access to this information, blind students can study and compete in scientific fields as well as their sighted peers."

The prototype for this book was funded by an education grant from the Chandra mission, and production was a collaborative effort by the NASA space science missions, which provided the images, and other agency sources.

New Service Available:
Access News is a service provided by the Sacramento Society for the Blind in conjunction with the California Braille and Talking Book Library. Find information and resources by dialing one easy number: (800) 665-4667. Browse national weekly and monthly publications, enjoy our growing entertainment sections, and hold important business meetings with colleagues across the country using our teleconferencing center. Signing up is free and easy. For more information about Access News or to sign up for this free service, contact Joseph Hamilton, (916) 732-4010.

Humanware Reorganizes Its Operations:
We recently received the following press release:

HumanWare, the leading provider of information-access products for blind, visually impaired, and learning-disabled customers, announced today that it would be reorganizing its activities. HumanWare is integrating its research and development, marketing, and production operations under a single line of responsibility for each department. Sales activities are also integrated under three new geographical regions: the Americas, Europe (including the Middle East and Africa), and Australasia.

Three new vice presidents for marketing, research and development, and operations have been appointed and will be responsible for both New Zealand and Canadian activities. The business managers for the United States, Europe, and Australia business divisions will see their responsibilities extended into new geographical markets. This reorganization results from the appointment of Mr. Gilles Pepin as the new CEO of the HumanWare Group in November 2007. His objective is to build a strong management structure to support HumanWare's growth in its activities in the visually impaired segment and across new markets.

"We are creating a stronger, more efficient and more dynamic operational structure to better support our existing customers and products, but also to introduce new initiatives such as enhanced customer focus, superior product quality, and a wider range of product solutions," Pepin said. "To achieve this, we need to streamline our operations and better integrate our activities, some of which are overextended across the globe."

HumanWare expects to reap major benefits for its customers as a result of this reorganization, such as reduced product development cycle, lower product costs, and higher product quality. HumanWare will keep introducing new exciting products in 2008 following several major product introductions in 2007, including Victor Reader Stream, ClassMate Reader, myReader 2, and a math tutorial for the BrailleNote, mPower.

Brailler Repair:
Knick Johnson, owner of Brailler Depot, says the following:

The Brailler Depot is the country’s premier facility for the repair of Perkins Braillers. We have over a decade of experience in repairing Braillers. In-house stock parts allow for a quick turnaround time. Phone (973) 272-7667, email <info@braillerdepot.com>, Website <www.braillerdepot.com>.

Blind Children in Need of Adoptive Homes:
Family Finders is a nonprofit adoption agency that helps blind and visually impaired orphans find families. We also have significant financial aid available. Without any obligation, people can ask for more information about these children by contacting <Familyfinders@wacap.org>.

W. Five-and-a-half-year-old girl from Asia. She is at a boarding school for the blind. This happy, responsive little girl enjoys special attention from a nanny on nights and weekends. She is blind and follows sounds, conversations, and directions attentively. She is described as very clever; she attends classes for blind children and receives speech therapy. We would love to share her information with interested families. Reference number 2275. No adoption fees. Her country wants couples to have been married for at least two years and to be between twenty-five and forty-five years of age. There's a strong preference for families with no more than three children already in their home.

R. Five-and-a-half-year-old boy from Asia. The affectionate nickname for this boy translates as “elephant.” He has been in orphanage care all his life. His caregivers say he focuses well on tasks and conversations and can feed and dress himself. A family with good resources for educating a blind child will bring out the best in this attentive little gentleman. Reference number 2272. No adoption fees. His country is looking for couples to have been married for at least two years and to be between twenty-five and forty-five years of age. There's a strong preference for families with no more than three children already in their home.

R. One-and-a-half-year-old girl from Asia is a doll-like beauty born without sight. She also has some deafness, but we do not know the extent. This attractive baby girl is ready to be scooped up and cherished today. Call the Family Finders team to learn the story of this dear infant. Reference number 2330. Her country is looking for adoptive couples who have been married at least three years. Single applicants, families with many children, and couples up to age fifty can also apply.

T. Four-and-a-half-year-old boy. T from Asia is happy to play on his own, although he has many playmates at his orphanage. He has been blind since birth. Cosmetic surgery is planned for one of his eyes to help this little guy feel better and look even more handsome. Ask us for a copy of T’s complete file to read. Adoption fees have already been paid by a donor. Reference number 2264. To adopt from this child’s country, couples must have been married at least three years. Single applicants, families with many children, and couples up to age fifty can also apply.

If you don’t fit these countries’ requirements, ask us about other countries you are eligible for. For faster service, include your full name and regular mailing address to fulfill eligibility rules. Adoption fees, application fees, and post-placement fees have already been paid by a generous donor. A no-interest loan of $4,500 is available for expenses, and you may be eligible for $10,000 adoption federal tax credit.

Educational Essentials for the Blind?a High School Diploma:
Chuck Young is president of the well-known Hadley School for the Blind, which offers a number of educational programs including many correspondence courses for blind learners. Here Chuck provides information about a program that will be of interest to many:

Obtaining an education in our society is key to success as an adult?for the blind and the sighted alike, yet our nation’s dropout rate is approximately 27 percent. Unfortunately, due to the often low expectations of educators and inaccessible curricula, many blind students are among those dropping out without the basic high school diploma.

Do you know a blind person who wants a second chance to graduate from high school? Do you know someone who would like to complete a high school education using a self-paced program and earn a high school diploma while studying from home? The Hadley School for the Blind provides such an accredited program. Hadley will help students identify a free, customized program leading to graduation and will support each student individually with an accessible curriculum. Our teachers are available through toll-free numbers, mail, and email. Students who receive such personalized instruction are more likely to succeed, resulting in a great boost in self-esteem.

Hadley rewards successful graduates with a trip to the Chicago area to participate in our high school graduation ceremony, or students can consider transferring Hadley credits to their local high school for graduation. This flexibility holds opportunity for those choosing home schooling to receive support from Hadley, as well. Each year I witness the pride of our graduates as they receive their well-deserved diplomas and note the growth in self-worth that results. Hadley has many successful former students, such as Dr. James Nyman of Nebraska, who used Hadley courses to graduate from high school before continuing to excel at several universities. Joe Cordova, director of the Hawaii Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind, took our accessible course in science to ensure that he graduated with his high school class. These are only two of thousands of Hadley high school success stories.

Contact the Hadley School for the Blind for more details and learn how someone you know can get a second chance to earn a high school diploma. Visit <www.hadley.edu> or call (800) 323-4238.

BlindSight Opens in U.S.:
BlindSight is the movie about Erik Weihenmayer and Sabiye Tenberken's climb with six blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,500 feet on a peak on the north face of Mt. Everest. Once vilified, spat on, and considered possessed by evil spirits, these young people stood higher than any other group of the blind in history. They returned to their villages as heroes, able to make a difference in the lives of their people. The teens were all students at the school Tenberken founded, Braille without Borders. As a result of her dedicated teaching and her tireless advocacy for her students, they have learned to read, write, and speak three or more languages, and they are mastering trades. The 104 minutes of this unforgettable video-described film trace the challenge these young people faced and the transformation they have experienced as a result.

BlindSight has been the audience choice at the two largest film festivals in the world, Los Angeles and Berlin, and was shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination. It is being released to U.S. theaters in March with premiere events organized around the country. It was released in Japan with the participation of the Imperial Family at the Tokyo premiere and recently in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium. The Australian opening was in February in conjunction with Erik's mini-BlindSight climb down under with blind and sighted teenagers. The U.K. premiere will be later this year with the likely participation of the royal family.

The U.S. premieres take place in New York on March 4; Washington, D.C., on March 5; Boston on March 10; Denver on March 13; and Phoenix on March 19. <www.blindsightthemovie.com> has much more information about the movie.

Jobs Available:
Envision has immediate openings in manufacturing, retail sales, printing, and administration in Kansas and throughout the United States. If you haven't worked in a while, we can help you with job skills training. And through education assistance you can create new opportunities and realize greater independence.

At Envision we focus on ability, not disability. We know that people who are blind or low vision can make a positive contribution. At our facilities they do it every day. And our business has grown with this talented workforce. Today we're the largest employer of blind and low-vision workers in Kansas.

Envision employees enjoy some of the best benefits in the industry. You'll earn competitive pay plus health and dental benefits, paid vacation, personal time off, a retirement plan, and even life insurance. If you're moving in order to accept a job at Envision, you may qualify for relocation assistance. We can help you get settled in your new life with personal assistance to secure suitable housing, transportation, necessary social services, and independent living needs. Employees can also take advantage of our vision rehabilitation services, including assistive technology, resource referrals, and other services.

Envision is a Kansas-based private, not-for-profit agency. Revenue from the sale of our manufactured products and our base service stores helps fund vision rehabilitation services for people who are blind or low vision. It's a good feeling knowing that your work helps others become more independent. To learn more, visit our Website at <www.envisionus.com> or email Mark Benson at <goodjobs@envisionus.com>. You can also call toll-free (888) 425-7072 or fax (316) 267-4312.

WGBH DVDs Available:
WGBH Boston Video helps aspiring athletes through the training process for the world famous Boston Marathon with a new DVD entitled Marathon Challenge. Audiences will learn that, with enough preparation, inner strength, and unyielding dedication, the average person can build up the stamina and physical conditioning to conquer twenty-six miles. The video-described DVD of Marathon Challenge became available for $19.95 on February 12, 2008.

Every year thousands of athletes from across the globe flock to Boston to run the city’s marathon, known worldwide as the ultimate test of stamina and endurance. But how do you run twenty-six miles if you have trouble making it around the block? With good coaching, discipline, and lots of group support, as NOVA shows when it follows thirteen sedentary people through a nine-month regimen designed to prepare them for the grueling Boston Marathon.

Filled with personal drama and featuring the inspirational Uta Pippig, the first woman to win three consecutive Boston Marathons, Marathon Challenge also takes viewers on a scientific adventure inside the human body. What happens to our muscles and hearts when couch potatoes become endurance runners? And what are the hidden risks? NOVA’s behind-the-scenes portrait of the trials, tribulations, and joys of marathon training reaches a climax at the 2007 Boston Marathon. Here our thirteen rookie athletes put all their hopes and hard work to the final test, experiencing hidden rewards and floods of emotion at the finish line.

To order any DVD or VHS release from WGBH Boston Video, including Marathon Challenge, call (800) 949-8670 or visit <shop.wgbh.org>.

Since its launch WGBH Boston Video has released many critically acclaimed public television programs on DVD and video, including Yoga for the Rest of Us, Walking the Bible, Emmy Award-winning The Miracle of Life, as well as bestsellers, including The Elegant Universe (NOVA), Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre), The French Chef with Julia Child, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, Evolution, and Africans in America. Recent releases include the Rx for Survival series, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (Mystery!), Origins (NOVA), Degrassi Junior High, Peep and the Big Wide World, Between the Lions, and Postcards from Buster.

Tactile Diagrams Available:
VIEW International Foundation (VIEW) is pleased to make available a large number of tactile diagrams developed for use by college students. Initially this collection will be available on CDs only. Schools may purchase all or part of the collection, depending on their needs. To use the files in this collection, a school must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader® and a means for printing on and processing capsule paper. Schools and individuals can download Adobe Reader® with the following link: <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>.

The complete collection includes 11,280 files on ten CDs and sells for $259. Each individual CD sells for $59. These prices include shipping and handling.

The CDs are designed to run as a CD-based product, and no installation is needed. To use these diagrams, they must be printed on capsule paper, which is then processed with a machine that activates the paper, producing a raised image. The list below shows the CDs available and the number of images on each CD.
CD 1 Aeronautics and Astronautics—Fluid Sciences, 1,056 files
CD 2 Aeronautics and Astronautics—Fluid and Thermal Sciences, 749 files
CD 3 Aeronautics and Astronautics Control Systems, Flow Charts, Graphs, and Unix Systems, 1,443 files
CD 4 Aeronautics and Astronautics—Structures, 1,308 files
CD 5 Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth, and Atmospheric Science, 977 files
CD 6 Graphs and Shapes—Part One, 945 files
CD 7 Graphs and Shapes—Part Two, 718 files
CD 8 Mathematics and Statistics, 1,428 files
CD 9 Physics, 1,222 files
CD 10 Economics, Languages, Life Sciences, Physical Education, and Psychology, 1,465 files

For more information visit <http://www.viewinternational.org/diagrams.htm>. If you have questions or comments, contact VIEW International Foundation, 230 Peach Tree Drive, West Monroe, Louisiana 71291-8653; phone (318) 396-1853; email <ttsinfo@earthlink.net>. Please start the subject line with the words "tactile diagrams.” The Web page is <http://www.viewinternational.org>.


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:
Victor Player, Model 800CP. Plays MP3 CDs as well as DAISY and traditional audio CD's. Asking $100 plus shipping. Contact Hal by phone at (727) 735-0797 or email <w1lob@tampabay.rr.com>.

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.

(back) (contents)