The Braille Monitor                                                                                               April 1997



Getting in Touch With Literacy:

David Andrews of Minnesota writes to pass along the following announcement:

Mark your calendar for the Third Biennial Conference of Getting in Touch with Literacy, a national conference focusing on the needs of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. It will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 25, 26, and 27, 1997. It is organized by Minnesota Teachers of the Blind & Visually Impaired; Minnesota State Services for the Blind; National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota; Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning; Minnesota Deaf/Blind Technical Assistance Project; Minnesota State Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired; AER of Minnesota; and the Wisconsin Bureau of Exceptional Children.

Help us make The third Biennial Conference exceptionally exciting, a conference of innovative as well as practical applications to literacy in all stages of life. For further information contact Jean Martin, Minnesota Resource Center for the Blind/Visually Impaired, Box 308, Faribault, Minnesota 55021-0308 (507)332-5510, e-mail

Changing What it Means to be Blind--One School Assembly at a Time:

We recently received the following little piece from Carol Castellano. It is a useful reminder to us all of the importance of taking the time to talk with school children. It also nicely summarizes the goals of such programs. This is what she says:

Last week three members of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey--Joe Ruffalo, affiliate President; Ed Lewinson, President of the Northern Chapter of the NFB of New Jersey; and I, President of New Jersey Parents of Blind Children--visited an elementary school to make a presentation about blindness. We were to speak at two assemblies, one for the older students and one for the younger.

The school principal introduced us to each group. In her first introduction she said, "Boys and girls, as you know, today is the kickoff of Helping Hands Week at Washington School, and this assembly is the first of many activities. Our guests today are members of the National Federation of the Blind, and for Helping Hands Week they are going to tell us how we can help the blind." We then went on to give our presentation.

After the second group of students took their places in the school's auditorium, the principal once again introduced us. But this time, after having heard what we had to say in the first assembly, she said with great enthusiasm, "Boys and girls, we are lucky to have with us today members of the National Federation of the Blind. They are going to tell us all about how blind people do just what everyone else does, simply by using different tools and methods!"

Incidentally, here are the objectives we kept in mind as we spoke to the students:

* For students to understand that blind people live full, normal, productive lives, complete with jobs, families, friends, and fun

* For students to understand that blind people learn and use simple, effective methods for doing tasks that sighted people do with eyesight

* For students to gain familiarity with the basic skills of blindness

* For students to understand how a blind child gets an education

* For students to conclude that blind people are not helpless and do not need to be watched over.

Hoping to Buy:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I would like to buy a used Kurzweil Reading Edge in good condition and English and Spanish recognition cards, which would allow the Kurzweil to read in either language. Contact Gerardo Corripio in Braille or print at 9226 Wellsworth Drive, Houston, Texas 77083, or call (281) 530- 5640 weekdays after 2:30 p.m. or all day on weekends.

New Reading Service Available:

Ben Bazo, President of the Northwest Florida Radio Reading Service, Inc., has asked us to carry the following announcement:

"The Voice of Print" of the Northwest Florida Radio Reading Service, Inc., announces that we now have a toll- free phone number at your service. It is available twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week. An answering machine will take your call. Tell us your reading request, leave your name and number, and your call will be returned as soon as possible. We will record any personal material on tape: manuals, religious books, recipes, address books, etc. This is a free service for the blind and physically handicapped. We also have hurricane preparedness tapes available. Call 941-2888 (local) or (888) 941-2888 (toll free).

Recipe Tapes Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Recipe collections on 90-minute cassettes, including diabetic, microwave meals, one-dish meals, crock pot recipes, low-fat/low-cholesterol, vegetarian, and cookies. Tapes are $12 each. Send check, money order, or cash to Janet Murphy, 24A Coddington St., Newport, Rhode Island 02840. All tapes will be sent out the day your order is received.

Technical Brailling Service Planned:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

If you are a blind engineer, mathematician, or scientist, you may be interested in the Technical Braille Center being established by a nonprofit organization. This center will produce highly technical material in Braille or in a special file format. Mathematics will be done in the Nemeth Code. Tactile graphics will be included where practical. Books will be available to anyone at prices that will depend on the cost of production. To secure funding to get the service started, information is needed on how many people might use it and the kinds of technical materials that are most needed. Please contact John J. Boyer at Computers to Help People, Inc., 825 East Johnson Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, (608) 257-5917, e-mail


Norma Gonzales Baker, Secretary of the Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas, reports the chapter's recent election of officers. They are Wanda Hamm, President; Mary Ward, First Vice President; Zena Pearcy, Second Vice President; Norma Gonzales Baker, Secretary; Margaret "Cokie" Craig, Treasurer; and Jim Shaffer and Mike Waddles, Board Members.

Braille Atlas of the Middle East Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

This collection of tactile maps of the Middle East covers seventeen countries from Egypt in the west to Iran in the east, from Turkey in the north to Yemen in the south, and all countries, large and small, in between. The countries are arranged alphabetically; each country is introduced by a page of facts in Braille, followed by key information and a full-page map showing major cities, physical features, and points of interest. In a few cases two maps are needed to show this information. The scale of the maps varies from twelve miles per inch for Lebanon, one of the smallest countries, to 120 miles per inch for Saudi Arabia. Both the maps and the factual information are adapted from The World Today Series: The Middle East and South Asia, 1996, by Malcolm B. Russell, Stryker-Post Publications, West Virginia.

Five introductory maps provide an overall view of the Middle East. These maps show the location of the Middle East in the Eastern Hemisphere, the boundaries of the seventeen countries, the elevation, the climate, and the location of the oil fields.

Some experience with tactile graphics is recommended. The complete Atlas consists of sixty-nine Brailon pages, including twenty-five pages of maps, bound with cardboard covers and a multi-ring binder. Cost, $20 including shipping. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. Order from Princeton Braillists, 28-B Portsmouth Street, Whiting, New Jersey 08759 or call (908) 350-3708.

Technical Summer Internships Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

AAAS and IBM announce a program to provide outstanding summer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who are pursuing technical fields. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to strengthening the role of disabled professionals in the advancement of technology for all industries. In that spirit we are participating in a precedent-setting partnership with IBM. Continually seeking the brightest minds anywhere, we hope to place qualified students with disabilities in internships throughout the country. We want to offer opportunities to work with people who are transforming the world using technologies that won't reach the classroom for years.

Take Matt King, for example. When he's not working hard designing database software for a mobile workstation, using computer screen-reading equipment and a Braille printer, he is training for paralympic gold. Backed by IBM, there's little that stands in Matt's way.

Think about it. An internship at IBM can get you where you really want to be--up close with the hottest industry- advancing projects on the planet. You'll be amazed at how quickly we'll start applying your skills. In one summer you can get more real-world experience than most students get in four years.

The 1997 summer program lasts from ten to twelve weeks. There may be opportunities for successive summer internships and potential placement upon graduation. To be eligible you must be majoring in a technical field, e.g., computer science, engineering, mathematics, or physical science. Provide a copy of your resume, current GPA, and contact information.

IBM is committed to creating a diverse environment and proud to be an equal opportunity employer. This program is open to U.S. citizens or nationals; permanent residents, refugees, asylees, or those authorized to work under the amnesty provision of U.S. immigration law. Contact Laureen Summers, AAAS, (202) 326-6649 (phone/TDD) (202) 371-9849 or e-mail,

New Baby:

Many Federationists know Joe and Patricia Miller. Mr. Miller is largely responsible for seeing that the National Office computer network behaves properly and does what it's requested to do. Mrs. Miller served as President Maurer's Secretary for a number of years before she took over direction of the Records Center. On Wednesday, March 12, at 1:00 a.m., the Millers' daughter Alexandra Juliet made her first appearance in the world. She measured 18 1/2 inches in length and weighed 6 pounds, eleven ounces. All three members of the Miller family are doing well, and the proud parents report that Alexandra is extraordinarily beautiful. Congratulations to the Millers.

Extended Technical Support Hours at Blazie Engineering:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Blazie Engineering has increased its weekly hours of available telephone technical support by 33 percent. Effective immediately, customers with questions about Blazie products can call Blazie any time between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, at (410) 893- 9333.

This extra telephone availability arrives in conjunction with the recent release of the Braille 'n Speak 2000 personal data assistant. New, feature-laden Braille 'n Speak 2000 is a stand-alone word processor with voice output, a fully adjustable speech synthesizer, a Braille-to- print translator, and much more. The 2000-Series upgrade also comes standard on Type 'n Speak and Braille Lite 18 personal data assistants from Blazie.

Blazie Engineering's customers with Internet access can also find help there. Visit on the World Wide Web to download files, link to other blindness-related sites, catalog-browse, or access product demos and manuals. Also available are e-mail discussion groups known as list- servers. These are forums of dialogue between users of Blazie products and Blazie Engineering tech support personnel.

For more information on Blazie Engineering's extended telephone support hours, Braille 'n Speak 2000, or Blazie's e-mail discussion groups, contact Blazie Engineering, 105 East Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050, or call (410) 893-9333. On the World Wide Web visit

Laminating Service Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I will laminate address cards for mailing cassettes. The lamination process provides much longer use without the cards' being worn out or ruined by weather. The size of the lamination can range from a business card up to a 4-by-6- inch card. The cost of this service varies. Business cards and wallet-sized pictures cost fifty cents each. Anything bigger than this costs $1 each. If the customer would like me to type out all of the information on the card, the cost is $1.25 per card. I must receive all of the information, including correct spellings, for the address cards in Braille or on cassette. I will only accept money orders and cashier's checks as payment. If there are any questions about this service, please contact Claudia Del Real, 2346 Birch Ave., Whiting, Indiana 46393-2135, (219) 688-0716.

Guitar-by-Ear Course Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

A new guitar course just for the visually impaired has been released. The all-cassette course (nothing to see or read) was created by Bill Brown, who has been teaching guitar for over twenty-five years. The cost of the course is $34.95, which includes shipping and access to a tuning hot- line in case the student needs help tuning the guitar. After completing the course, the student will know the basic chords in first position, the most commonly used rhythm patterns for these chords, several songs using these cords and patterns, the names of the notes on the strings, and several songs using these notes. The student will also be able to access the entire Guitar-by-Ear library of guitar songs. To order the course, send a check for $34.95 to Bill Brown, 704 Habersham Road, Valdosta, Georgia 31602. If you have further questions, you may call Bill Brown at (912) 249-0628.

Braille Magazines Wanted:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I would appreciate receiving pass-along copies of the following Braille magazines: Reader's Digest; National Geographic; Fortune; the Isaac Asimov Science Fiction magazine; the New York Times, Braille edition; or any other Braille magazines with fiction features. I am deaf and blind. Any letters must be in Braille. Contact Gordon Janz, 101-2425 Brunswick St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 3ML.

Omni 1000 Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The vision of Ray Kurzweil is helping to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by allowing them greater independence and improved productivity. His new PC- based reading system, Omni 1000, converts the printed word into speech. This leading edge technology offers the most accurate optical character recognition (OCR) and the clearest synthetic speech available. Omni 1000 features a 40,000-word dictionary and the ability to operate the system using your voice, among its useful features.

Omni 1000 is available for as low as $995 for software only or for just under $4000 as a complete system (pentium PC, scanner, and software). Upgrade your Arkenstone, Oscar, Xerox, etc., reading machine and receive an Omni 1000 plus for just $595. For more information, please contact Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc., 411 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham, Massachusetts 02154, (800) 894-5374, e-mail: or visit our website at


At its January, 1997, meeting the North Central Chapter of the NFB of Louisiana elected the following new officers: Josh Boudreaux, President; Brenda Walburn, First Vice President; Constance Connolly, Second Vice President; Pam Dubel, Secretary; Harold Wilson, Treasurer; and Arlene Hill and Eddie Culp, Board members.

Hoping to Buy:

I am looking for a Sharp Talking Time One talking alarm clock. If you have one for sale or if you know where I can purchase one, please call Tony Lewis at (510) 865-3171 or write 1211 Paru, Apt. E, Alameda, California 94501.

Letter from a Very Young Federationist:

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is James Randall Ostergaard, son of Jim and Olivia Ostergaard of the Fresno, California, Chapter. I arrived on January 15, 1997, at 12:33 a.m. I weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was nineteen and three-fourths inches long.

I am looking forward to attending NFB meetings. I am especially interested in the Parents of Blind Children Division. Maybe they can help my mommy and daddy learn how to take care of me. Maybe I'll have my mommy tell you about some of the things we've been experiencing that first-time blind parents need to know.

I am excited about life and look forward to being a Federationist. I know the California affiliate has been waiting a long time for me to get here. So tell Willows and the gang that I'm rarin' to go after I grow up a little.

Thanks for reading my letter. Here's to a better Federation!


James Randall Ostergaard

Position Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Research Director. Full-time, professional position. Qualifications: earned doctorate in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field from an accredited college or university. CRC preferred. Five years experience in conducting applied rehabilitation research and/or in grants management activities with a minimum of two years experience in applied rehabilitation research. Demonstrated success in securing research grants. Expertise in computerized statistical packages, spreadsheet packages, and other research techniques required. Applicants must be able to coordinate and direct research activities of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University. Salary: negotiable, depending upon training and experience. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Send letter of application, resume, three letters of reference, and transcripts to John Maxson, Chair, Screening Committee, RRTC on Blindness and Low Vision, P.O. Drawer 6189, Mississippi State University, Mississippi 39762. Questions regarding the position can also be sent to or call (601) 325-2001. MSU is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.

NAC Takes a Hit in the Journal of Rehabilitation:

The January/February/March, 1997, issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation, perhaps the most prestigious publication in the general rehabilitation field, published an article titled, "Why Accreditation Failed Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired." The author was C. Edwin Vaughan, Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri at Columbia. The article's abstract tells the sorry NAC tale. The handful of agencies still clinging to NAC accreditation would do well to read this history and consider their actions in the light of the field's decision to move on, leaving NAC behind. This is what the abstract says:

Four major organizations provide national accrediting services for rehabilitation agencies. National accreditation becomes increasingly important when both consumers of services and those who provide economic support for these agencies expect increased accountability. The most specialized of these national agencies is the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC). NAC grew out of a two-year planning process which culminated in the establishment of the new accrediting organization in 1967. Its founders envisioned accrediting more than five hundred agencies that provided education and rehabilitation services to people who are blind. Throughout its history NAC has been opposed by well-organized consumers of services and has not attracted the support of most agencies. It has never reached its envisioned goals and is now declining. This article reviews the history of this accrediting organization and discusses the reasons for continuous and intense consumer and professional resistance. It analyzes why different occupational groups within this field failed to unite in support of NAC and provides data documenting its rapid decline during the past decade. The article concludes by exploring available alternatives for agencies in the blindness field when accreditation fails.

Elected to Serve:

On December 11, 1996, David Stayer, one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of New York, was elected to chair the Rehabilitation Advisory Council of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Congratulations to David Stayer and to the Commission's Advisory Council.

Scholarships for Part-time Students Available:

The George Washington University is pleased to invite applicants for the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for Blind Part-time Students. The scholarship fund was established by Barbara Jackman Zuckert in 1985 to assist visually impaired or blind students seeking higher education at The George Washington University. It is the goal of this scholarship to encourage enrollment of visually impaired or blind students by extending financial assistance when other sources of support are not available.

The purpose of the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for Blind Part-Time Students is now amended to include learning- disabled students who have a significant deficit in the area of reading. These may be students, primarily those with dyslexia, who qualify for and use books on tape, such as those designed primarily for sight-impaired persons.

Applicants for the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship must submit a complete application (including a financial aid statement), a letter of application, certification of disability, and a high school or college transcript to the selection committee. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 30, 1997. Applications can be obtained from the George Washington University, Disability Support Services, Marvin Center 436, 800 21st Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20052. Please feel free to call Christy Willis, Director, Disability Support Services, (202) 994- 8250, if you have any further questions.

Ninetieth Anniversary Celebration:

We recently received this picture and press release:

With its March issue, the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind completed ninety years of uninterrupted publication--a record most print publications cannot match. The Ziegler came into existence in 1907 following the serendipitous meeting of Mrs. William Ziegler, who had a blind son, and a Tennessee newspaper man, Walter G. Holmes, who had a blind brother. He knew how difficult and expensive it was for blind people to find materials they could read with their fingers. For example, the then-popular book, Ben Hur, which cost one dollar in print, cost $10.50 in an embossed form.

After meeting Mr. Holmes in 1905, Mrs. Ziegler agreed to pay all the costs of an embossed magazine if he would edit it. To this arrangement he readily agreed, and the first issue was mailed to subscribers in March, 1907. It required two horse-drawn wagons to haul the dozens of mail bags stuffed with the bulky raised-dot publication from the magazine's Manhattan plant to the post office.

At that time Braille was not the most widely-used embossed reading system. The first run of the Ziegler Magazine, therefore, had only 2,000 copies in Braille, but had 5,000 in the popular New York Point.

The Ziegler was a pioneering publication in other ways. It was the first publication to solve the problem of embossing both sides of a sheet of paper without crushing the dots on the first side. What is now called "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" was also pioneered by the magazine. As early as 1904 books lent out by libraries for the blind could be mailed free of postage. In 1910 editor Walter G. Holmes instigated legislation that would allow magazines for the blind also to be mailed postage-free. This legislation was designed specifically to spare the Ziegler from second-class postage but has since benefited every comparable periodical for the blind and physically handicapped.

A free subscription may be had by anyone who can read Braille or has a four-track, half-speed cassette player. For details contact Ziegler Magazine, 80 8th Ave., Room 1304, New York, New York 10011, (212) 242-0263. Fax (212) 633- 1601, e-mail: Home page:

A history of the magazine, The Ziegler Magazine Story, is available free of charge in Braille, standard speed cassette, or large print from the above address.