News from the Federation Family
Attention Cassette Edition Subscribers:
At the convention and in the August/September Braille Monitor we announced that the December issue 2011 will be the last one produced on cassette. There are, of course, optional ways for cassette readers to continue to get the Monitor. If you have access to the Internet, the Monitor can be read or downloaded in Microsoft Word, as an audio MP3 file, or as a Daisy recording, meaning that it can be easily navigated by article. If you want to read the magazine in print or Braille, we continue to provide it in these formats.
Starting with the January issue, however, the Monitor will also be available on NFB-NEWSLINE®. Just access NEWSLINE using any of the options available, and the Monitor will appear in the magazines section.
If you prefer reading by listening to high-quality human narration, we can still ship the Monitor to you by mail, but instead of a cassette tape, you will receive a USB drive. These are sometimes called thumb drives or memory sticks. The digital player provided by the National Library Service has two slots for playing recorded material. The most familiar one is on the front of the unit. It accepts the special cartridge used by the Library. The second slot is found on the right side of the unit near the headphone jack, and, unless you have removed it or it has become dislodged, the slot is covered by a protective rubber pad. Removing this pad reveals an indentation in the unit where the USB drive is inserted. It will go into the unit in only one direction, so, if you encounter resistance, flip the drive over and try inserting it again. The main cartridge slot used to play books from the Library must be empty before you insert the memory stick in the right side of the player. If the main slot has a cartridge in it, the digital player will ignore the USB drive.
Once the USB drive has been inserted, the player should function just as it does when you are reading a book. Pressing the rewind or advance keys moves back or ahead by five seconds. Pressing the previous element or next element keys moves from article to article or, in some cases, moves to the next section in an article in which divisions are present. If you remove the USB drive to use the player for other material, when you again insert it, reading should resume from the place you stopped reading.
The USB drive will be every bit as functional as the cassettes we have been providing. The audio quality should be improved, along with the navigation, and the drive should last many years. If you think you will want to refer to an issue again, you are welcome to keep the drive, but, because they cost more than cassettes and can be used hundreds of times, readers willing to return the USB drives are requested to use the return address label that will be sent along with your drive. This will save money that we can use for other programs.
Current cassette readers who wish to continue receiving the Monitor after December must contact Marsha Dyer. She can handle subscription requests for print, Braille, email, or USB drive. Call her at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2344. If you do not reach her directly, please leave your information on the Publications line voicemail. Please be assured that all voicemail messages will be received, and your information will be updated prior to each month's issue being mailed out. She can also receive your request by email when you write her at <[email protected]> or by postal mail at 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230. Be sure Marsha has your first and last name (if leaving her a voicemail, please spell both), your address, and the format in which you want to receive the Monitor. If you currently receive the Monitor in another format, you need do nothing; your subscription will continue. But please understand that, if you are currently a cassette reader, doing nothing will mean you will stop receiving the Monitor, so please think about the new options and let us know how to keep you informed.
Washington Seminar Hotel Reservations:
The following information comes from Diane McGeorge, who organizes much of the logistics for Washington Seminar, this year beginning Monday, February 6, 2012, and ending Thursday, February 9.
Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. We must have all reservations no later than January 2, 2012. Here is the information you must include when making your hotel reservation:
1. Your dates of arrival and departure.
2. First and last names of roommates sharing the room with you. Please correctly spell first and last names of each person in the room, and please include arrival and departure dates for each person.
3. Specify smoking or non-smoking room and the number of beds you want--two double beds or one king bed.
4. Indicate any special accommodations needed, such as an accessible room.
5. If you request a rollaway bed, expect a $15 charge per night. You need not request refrigerators since they are now standard in each guest room.
6. According to the hotel contract, individual cancellations must be made seventy-two hours before the date of arrival to avoid one night’s room plus tax cancellation charge. You must get in touch with Lisa Bonderson or me to make changes to your reservation as soon as possible to avoid such a charge.
7. If any divisions wish to have space for meetings, e.g., students, parents, merchants, lawyers, I must have your requirements for meeting space no later than December 1, 2011. We want to accommodate everyone, and, in order to do so, we must have plenty of advance notice to work with the hotel.
The room rates are $174 for single, double, triple, or quad rooms, and the tax is 14.5 percent a night. The address of the Holiday Inn Capitol is 550 C Street, SW. Please do not contact the hotel to make your reservations. I will submit all reservations for the Washington Seminar. Call (303) 778-1130, ext. 219, to make your reservation, or email reservations to Lisa Bonderson at <[email protected]>. We will confirm receipt of your reservation either by return email or by telephone, so be sure to give us your telephone number and your email address.
Make your Bid for Excellence:
This year the National Federation of the Blind is conducting our first national online auction, called “Bid for Excellence.” The auction, hosted on eBay, began on November 1 and will be open through December 5, 2011. This is an exciting opportunity to raise funds to support the work of the NFB, which provides programs, encouragement, and opportunities that help blind people all over the nation achieve excellence in their education, employment, and all aspects of their lives.
The auction has many exciting items including luxury accommodations in Cancun, Mexico; an opportunity to watch MSNBC TV’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, with a behind-the-scenes tour; and plenty of gift items just in time for the holidays.
You can help us make Bid for Excellence a success by telling your friends, family, and acquaintances. Please tell everyone in your phone book and email address book and everyone else you come in contact with about Bid for Excellence and encourage them to participate. Another easy way to get the word out is through social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. The more people who know about the auction, the better. For more information on Bid for Excellence, visit <www.nfb.org/Bid>.
New NFB Scholarship Available:
A new National Federation of the Blind scholarship for blind students majoring in secondary education is being established in the memory of a beloved friend and longtime NFB member, Larry Streeter. The scholarship is being established by his wife Sandy and their daughters, Erin and Jennifer. Larry and Sandy were instrumental in furthering NFB principles wherever they lived and served in many leadership positions. Larry earned his doctorate in education administration and worked tirelessly to ensure quality education for blind and disabled children inside and outside the classroom.
Sandy and her daughters hope to offer a scholarship to deserving college-bound blind students in the amount of $3,000 or more if funding allows. She invites family members, friends, and colleagues to contribute to a special fund to make this annual memorial scholarship happen. The Streeter Family values education, and Sandy and her daughters want to carry on Larry's legacy of promoting higher education that will assist blind students to elevate their quality of life, equipping them to be active, productive participants in their families, communities, and workplaces.
Please consider becoming a part of this wonderful opportunity to invest in the future of blind recipients by granting them assistance in reaching their educational goals through the Larry Streeter Memorial Scholarship. Contributions should be sent to Chase Bank, Attn. Jennifer Sydlk, Personal Banker, 1711 South 25th Rd., E., Idaho Falls, ID 83406-5708. Please make it clear that the contribution is sent in Memory of Larry Streeter, and let the bank know if you will need a receipt. The first Streeter scholarship will be presented with the other NFB scholarships at its 2012 convention in Dallas.
Roselle won the overall title of the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog for 2011 at a gala event in Beverly Hills on Saturday evening. There will be more to follow. You will be able to watch the ceremony on November 11 on the Hallmark Channel. I do not have any information about the time. Watch your local listings. Thanks to all who voted for Roselle. This award helps us show again the power of the human-guide dog team. For more information, go to <www.HeroDogAwards.org>.
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.
Hadley Offers New Business Courses:
As of September 19 the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship opened for enrollment. The goal of this new business, entrepreneurship, and technology program is to provide individuals who are visually impaired with the knowledge, resources, and networking opportunities enabling them to advance in their careers or to launch and grow their own businesses successfully.
Ten courses are open for enrollment: Self-Employment with a Minimal Investment, Business Fundamentals, Business Communications, Business Law 1, Business Law 2, Business Writing, Using Excel, Screen Readers: Listening Skills, Screen Readers: Web Browsing, and Screen Readers: Formatting Word Documents.
Six new modules are also open for enrollment: Market Research, the Financial Plan, the Marketing Plan, the Business Plan, Business Insurance, and Forms of Ownership.
Hadley is embarking upon this program, in part, to address the deplorable employment rate among people who are visually impaired. Although statistics vary somewhat, the most reliable data sources suggest that the under- or unemployment rate of people who are blind or visually impaired is 70 to 80 percent. The program is designed to be practical, relevant, and interactive. Courses are open to anyone who is blind or visually impaired, over age fourteen, and serious about starting or growing a business. Coursework is offered free of charge and is mostly online.
To learn more or enroll, visit <http://www.hadley.edu/fce.asp>. If you missed the seminar about the center, you can access it through Past Seminars. Please contact Tom Babinszki at <[email protected]> with questions. You can also reach Hadley at 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, IL 60093, or at (800) 323-4238.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children Offers Holiday Shopping Opportunities:
Shop Seedlings Braille Books for Children this holiday season for Braille books, educational items, and one-of-a-kind gifts. Choose from over 1,100 high-quality, low-cost books in our catalog for your Braille reader, age infant to teen. We have a wonderful selection of baby board books, print and Braille books, and Braille-only books. These books are great for introducing Braille to a visually impaired child and wonderful for blind adults to read with sighted children.
We also offer a unique collection of Braille jewelry, T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and other wonderful gift items. For a preview of these items and more, visit us at <www.seedlings.org>, write to us at 14151 Farmington Road, Livonia, MI 48154, or call (800) 777-8552.
Good News in the Penn State Complaint:
On October 11, 2011, the NFB circulated the following press release:
National Federation of the Blind and Penn State
Resolve Accessibility Complaint
The National Federation of the Blind and the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) announced today that they have reached an agreement that will resolve a complaint filed against Penn State by the NFB with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. There was no admission of any wrongdoing.
Penn State has agreed to continue implementing a strategy to make all electronic and information technology systems used on its campuses fully accessible to blind students, faculty, and staff. The information technology systems covered include course management systems, websites, classroom technology, library resources, banking services, and more. University spokesman Lisa Powers said that Penn State strives to maintain strong academic leadership and has a long record of providing equal access to educational information and services for all students, faculty, and staff.
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Universities must commit to making sure all of the technology that they use is accessible to blind students, or else the blind will be left behind in education and denied opportunity. We are pleased that Penn State, one of the largest and most recognized public universities in the country, has agreed to take additional steps to create an environment of equality in which blind students can pursue their educational and career aspirations without unnecessary barriers. The National Federation of the Blind hopes and believes that the steps that Penn State is taking will set an example for colleges and universities throughout the nation.”
"For more than twenty years Penn State has provided assistive technologies to students, faculty, and staff," Powers said. "We will work with the National Federation of the Blind and the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, to put in place the additional technologies, procedures, and ongoing policies that will help us continue meeting our strong commitment to access.”
The university has had a number of policies and programs in place to help individuals with disabilities, such as a classroom note-taking service, textbooks and course materials in electronic format, technology assistance, and adjustments in testing procedures, to name just a few. The university has a longstanding policy of providing reasonable accommodations to anyone requesting assistance.
"We can always do more," Powers said. "In addition to any continued adjustments to our policies, we also are working with our outside vendors to see if their products and procedures can be adjusted to meet the needs of our students."
Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, with the U.S. Department of Education, said: “Colleges and universities have specific legal obligations to provide students, faculty, and staff with disabilities the same benefits, programs, and services. This office is committed to working with complainants and institutions to ensure that the important nondiscrimination provisions of this nation’s laws are enforced and implemented.”
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The twenty-eighth Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity (formerly called the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities) 2012, Living to our Complete Potential, will be held March 26 and 27 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. PacRim is a top-rated international educational conference for and by persons with disabilities, family members, researchers, service providers, policymakers, community leaders, advocates, and internationally recognized professionals. Become a part of a historic change. For more information contact <[email protected]> (808) 956-7539 <www.pacrim.hawaii.edu>.
Sports Podcast Available:
Are you a sports fan? Do you want the latest news and sports scores weekly? Check out the sports talk podcast. Sports Talk is a weekly sports podcast that gives you the latest sports news, scores, and opinions about what's going on in the world of sports. The podcast is hosted by Hunter Parker and Matt Overstreet, who host shows on HitMeRadio, an Internet radio station. Listeners can also interact with the podcast by email or phone.
For more information or to check out the podcast, visit their website, <www.sportstalkshow.co.cc>.
Elegant Insights Braille Jewelry and Accessories Available:
Elegant Insights is a line of jewelry and accessories for people who are blind or visually impaired. The product line is made in the USA from contemporary metals such as brass, copper, stainless steel, and sterling silver. Each product features one or more charms embellished with Braille.
Elegant Insights also offers purse charms, dog tags, mobility cane charms, and cell phone charms. The products are all handcrafted. Custom Braille embossing is available on many items. Can you imagine how special and meaningful a gift personalized with Braille would be for a visually impaired loved one?
Charms are available in a variety of shapes including hearts, stars, guitar picks, critters, and geometric shapes. Items can be used as identifiers for luggage or laptop bags, stemware charms, and even tags for your four-legged traveling companion.
Laura Legendary, owner of Elegant Insights, is a speaker, author, and educator specializing in accessibility, advocacy, and assistive technology. For more information about Elegant Insights Braille creations, visit her website at <http://www.elegantinsightsjewelry.com/>. You can follow on Twitter @ElegantInsights or find her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Elegant.Insights. To place a custom order, call Laura at (509) 264-2588.
Workplace Accommodations Study Participants Needed:
The focus of Georgia Tech’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Workplace Accommodations (WorkRERC) is to further the understanding of employment barriers faced by people with disabilities. Our goal is to enable equitable access to employment, enhance employment outcomes, and increase participation in the workplace for people with disabilities.
In a recently completed study we identified a potential barrier for individuals with vision impairments, but we need more information. We invite you to take a fifteen- to twenty-minute survey that asks about how you access printed or digital information. The survey has been approved by Georgia Tech’s Institutional Review Board.
You are eligible to take this survey if you have a vision impairment and are currently employed. For more information visit <http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/641131/Vision-Accommodations>. If you have any questions or would like to arrange to take the survey by telephone, contact Maureen Linden at <[email protected]> or (404) 894-0561.
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.
I am selling a variety of adaptive products that can enhance independent living, especially for those who live alone. They include an ID Mate by En-Vision America for $600 that identifies and speaks barcodes for household products, CDs, etc; Voice It All by Reizen that identifies colors for $250; Franklin Bill Reader for $250; Olympus digital recorder for $150; and an RCA digital recorder for $100. These recorders can hold hundreds of hours of lectures and personal recordings, which makes them perfect for college students and those employed in occupations that require a lot of recording. Items are in great condition. Contact Allan Golabek if interested—serious inquiries only please. Checks are the required form of payment, and the buyer must cover the cost of shipping. Email me at <[email protected]>, or call my office (203) 743-9238, or cell (203) 770-5211.
I have several professional woodworking machines for sale: one six-inch Reliant jointer, asking $300; one sixteen-inch Reliant band saw, asking $300; one variable speed Delta lathe, asking $350; and one Sears Craftsman electric router, asking $75. These items are like new, used only a few times by a blind woodworking craftsman who can no longer use them. These items have additional blades, chisels, and bits. They would be great for a retired person or future craftsman. Check or cash as form of payment. Contact Allan Golabek, cell (203) 770-5211 or email at <[email protected]>.
Smart View Magnifier, gently used and like new. Read any book or newspaper with ease. Adjustable magnification with twenty-one-inch monitor, includes corded remote. Asking $2,000. New, these cost $2,700. Buyer must pay all shipping costs. We still have the original boxes. Cash or money order only, no checks, please. Call (913) 631-3520.
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.