Braille Monitor                                                 December 2011

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Monitor Miniatures

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 key 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 <> 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.

In Memoriam:
We recently received the following moving tribute to a dedicated sighted Federationist from Maria Morais, who now lives with her husband Eddie Bell and their two daughters in Ruston, Louisiana. When Maria was a very young woman, Shirley Baillif befriended her. When Maria heard of Shirley’s death, she wrote this tribute:

Shirley Baillif died on October 17, 2011, at the age of eighty-five. She was not blind, but she was an extraordinary champion of blind people and of our belief that a normal life is possible if we are given reasonable opportunity.

For years Shirley quietly did whatever needed doing in the Federation. She was treasurer of the NFB of California’s North County Chapter in the San Diego area, president of the parents division in California, and a member of the board of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. It is impossible to calculate the number of miles she drove to get blind people to meetings, conventions, and social events. Many of us will fondly remember the '66 Falcon station wagon she drove, with all of its quirks. Her goal and that of her husband Al was always to get that car to five hundred thousand miles, and they did it.

Shirley's greatest passion was blind kids. She and her husband had raised a blind son, Michael Baillif, and they recognized the positive influence the Federation had on his life. She felt an obligation to do what she could to make sure that other blind young people also had inspiring role models and the proper training to live successful lives. She was never intimidating, or intimidated for that matter, at IEP meetings when she participated as an advocate. She quietly insisted that school officials do the right thing, and families were always appreciative of her encouragement and efforts.

Late last year I wrote to Shirley and her husband to thank them for all they had meant to me personally and to countless other people. Here is some of what I said in my letter: “How many times did you open your home to those of us who needed one, or provide a ride for someone who couldn't drive, or visit someone who was sick, or play another hand of cards just so someone could have a chance to win? These were all little things you did every day that have added up to what has to be an incredibly fulfilling life.”

A true Federationist is someone who genuinely cares enough to reach out to others. Shirley Baillif was such a person and very much more.

Attention Wounded Warriors:
The National Association of Blind Veterans, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, has announced a free lottery for wounded warriors who have lost their sight during Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. The winner will receive a free trip to Dallas, Texas, to attend the national convention of the NFB, which will take place from June 30 to July 5, 2012.
Dwight Sayer, president of the NABV, explained that the contest was designed to help introduce more people to the National Association of Blind Veterans and the NFB. He said: “All too often blind veterans and wounded warriors who have remained on active duty receive some physical assistance when they return, but they also have a great need for basic mobility training, experiential and vocational advice, and the recognition that they are not alone. At the NFB convention they can meet nearly three-thousand people, most of them blind or with low vision and many with tremendous success stories, to help encourage someone who is coming to grips with his or her blindness. We also have a group of blind veterans who understand, in a special way, both where the vet is coming from and what he or she is going through.”

The first prize includes airfare to the convention for the winner and a companion, hotel accommodations, the convention registration fee and a banquet ticket, and the opportunity to meet and spend time with a whole organization of blind veterans. Entry to the contest is available on the National Association of Blind Veterans website. There is no charge to enter. Only one entry per person is permitted. For more information about the contest or the National Association of Blind Veterans, visit <> or call Dwight Sayer at (407) 877-8668.

Wedding Bells:
On October 1, 2011, Federationists Jason Ewell and Jessica Bachicha were married at the Church of the Incarnation in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The groom, who is originally from Ohio, works full time in the NFB Department of Affiliate Action. The bride, a native New Mexican who currently works part time in Affiliate Action, earned her doctorate in vocal performance from the Catholic University of America in May 2011. Both bride and groom have won NFB scholarships, and Jessica was a tenBroek Fellow. A number of Federationists attended the wedding mass and the reception that followed.

Jessica and Jason express their sincere appreciation for all the good wishes they received from members of the Federation family during their engagement. They write to say: "One of our many blessings during the wedding festivities was seeing how much our families and our friends from other areas of our lives enjoyed getting to know members of our Federation family. Through this interaction many of them really came to understand our cause and the goals we have for all blind people."

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.

Join a Free Voice Chat Community on the Web:
Would you like to have lots of fun and meet other blind or visually impaired people from across the country and around the world? Do you like challenging games, old-time radio, adaptive cooking techniques, chess, book clubs, product presentations, real-time technical assistance with your computer, and more? If this is what you are looking for, join us at Out-of-Sight. We offer over forty different chat rooms with something for everyone! This site is made up of the friendliest and most courteous folks you are likely to meet on the Net. The Out-of-Sight community is made up of a set of free user-friendly voice chat rooms, and all you need is a microphone to get started. To become a member and join our Out-of-Sight free chat community, go to the website <>. If you have any questions or need assistance logging in, contact <>. We hope to talk with you soon. “Catch the vision--it’s Out-of-Sight!”

New England's Blind/VI Alpine Ski Festival Week:
Enjoy an extraordinary big mountain skiing experience at the largest ski area east of the Rockies. From February 12 to 16, 2012, Maine Handicapped Skiing (MHS) will welcome visually impaired (VI) and blind skiers, their guides, and families from throughout the U.S. to a resort on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

This festival creates a unique social, recreational, and educational experience for skiers of all levels. They will have the opportunity to develop their skiing abilities on all kinds of terrain with their own guides or qualified festival volunteers. Skills enhancement will also be available for guides from Certified PSIA Adaptive and experienced clinicians. For complete details visit <>. Ski and Stay packages start at $325. All lessons and guide training are offered free of charge by Maine Handicapped Skiing. Shuttle transportation from the Portland, Maine, Airport is also available to and from the Festival.

MHS is the largest year-round adaptive recreation program in the state of Maine for adults and children with physical disabilities. Over 390 volunteers assist athletes to appreciate the joys and challenges of sports participation. For more information write to Maine Handicapped Skiing, 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, ME 04261. Call (800) 639-7770 or email <>.

Book Makes Great Holiday Gift
Consider ordering a copy of Two Plus Four Equals One: Celebrating the Partnership of People with Disabilities and Their Assistance Dogs. This anthology of writings by and about people with disabilities of all types offers over 100 stories and poems that give an accurate and insightful portrayal of the partnership between human and canine. Writer/editor Kathy Nimmer is a blind high school English teacher from Indiana. Many of the stories featured in the book are from NFB members. The book can be ordered in print, audio CD, PDF, or Word for fifteen dollars at <> or in print from <>.

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:
I have for sale an Alva Satellite Traveler 44 and Braille Lite 40. Both are in excellent condition. The Braille Lite comes with leather carrying case, neck strap, AC adapter, Braille manual, and serial cable. The Alva Braille display comes with AC adapter and USB cable. Asking $450 for the Braille Lite, and $1,400 for the Braille display. Prices are negotiable. Call Dave Van der Molehn at (519) 669-1456 or send email to <>.

For Sale:
We have two Braille displays to sell: Brailliant 24 wireless and USB that can be used with an iPhone or any computer or an iPad. It is the perfect size to fit in a pocket but still have enough cells (twenty-four), to be very usable. It has hardly been used. Asking $800. I also have a PowerBraille 40 from Freedom Scientific. Uses serial or USB when using an XP computer. This unit has been used for about a year and is in good condition. Asking $300. Finally I have a PAC Mate BX400 from Freedom Scientific. This item has not been used and so is in great condition. Asking $400. Contact CJ Sampson at (321) 282-6376 or email <>.

For Sale:
I have a Focus 80 for sale. I am asking $3,500. That is less than the cost of a 40-cell display. The unit is in perfect working condition, and I have been the only user of this machine. I am selling because I need a more portable solution that I can use with my iPhone. I can be contacted at <> or by phone at (602) 561-1331.


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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