Vol. 42, No. 2 March, 1999

Barbara Pierce, Editor

Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by

National Office
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
NFB Net BBS: (651) 696-1975
Web Page address:

Letters to the President, address changes,
subscription requests, orders for NFB literature,
articles for the Monitor, and letters to the Editor
should be sent to the National Office.

Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation about twenty-five dollars per year. Members are invited, and non-members are requested, to cover the subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to National Federation of the Blind and sent to:

National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230


ISSN 0006-8829


Special Announcement

Great Things to See and Do in Atlanta:

1999 Convention Tours
by Al Falligan

Convention Transit Information:

MARTA to the Marriott Marquis

The Sheila Johnson Case: University Prevented
from Pulling a Fast One
by Mary Willows

Forever Clinbing:  An Extraordinary
Federationist Still Rises

by John W. Smith, Ph. D.

Why Should I Use a Cane?
by Jeff Altman

A Federationist Works Wonders

101 Ways to Use Braille
by Ellen Waechtler

The Vitality of Braille
by Jerry Whittle

The Value of Greeting Cards
by Donald C. Capps

Blind Girl Fills Life with Art, Song, and Books
by Russell Dean Newman

Inhaled Insulin
by Peter J. Nebergall, Ph.D.

Self-Employed and Loving It
by Konnie Hoffman-Ellis

You've Got Mail
by David Andrews

A Special Memorial
by Doris N.Willoughby

NFB Honored at Technology Showcase

A New Service for Hearing-Impaired Conventioneers
by Curtis Willoughby

Dialysis at National Convention
by Ed Bryant


Monitor Miniatures

[LEAD PHOTO/CAPTION: Holly Mooney has been a National Center staff member for nine years. Anyone who called the NFB switchboard during the past five and a half years has undoubtedly heard her cheerful voice answering the phone. On January 3, 1999, she gave birth to her third daughter, Rebekah Noelle. Pictured here, Mrs. Mooney stands beside President Maurer, who smiles at Rebekah in his arms. Mrs. Mooney has decided that, with three little girls to take care of, it's time for her to stay home. We will miss her efficiency and pleasant voice, and we wish her and her family all the best.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dr. Raymond Kurzweil]

Special Announcement

The National Federation of the Blind is delighted to announce an enhancement of its already-extensive scholarship program. Although the occasion is joyful, we must acknowledge sadness as well because the enhancement honors our long-time leader, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who recently died. Those who knew Dr. Jernigan know he would have been the first to rejoice in this gift from generous donor Dr. Ray Kurzweil, who says:

"Dr. Jernigan was many things to many people, but perhaps most of all he was a teacher. One thing we can do to follow his inspiring lead is to help provide for the education of our talented young people. I know that Dr. Jernigan was personally very proud of the NFB's scholarship program. I am very happy that we are able to participate in the NFB's own scholarship program by providing these additional scholarships."

The Kurzweil Foundation, headed by Dr. Kurzweil, will add a cash scholarship of $1,000 to each of the twenty-six NFB scholarships in both 1999 and 2000. Kurzweil Education Group of Lernout & Hauspie (formerly Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc.) will also give a Kurzweil 1000 Reading System with scanner (valued at $1,500) to each of the twenty-six winners in both 1999 and 2000.

The National Federation of the Blind thanks the Kurzweil Foundation, Kurzweil Educational Group, and Dr. Ray Kurzweil personally for their generosity and for their quick action in fashioning this living monument to Dr. Jernigan's well-known commitment to excellence and education. NFB scholarship winners are always unusual and special—among the best we have. Winners for 1999 and 2000 will have the added distinction of being recipients of scholarships in Dr. Jernigan's memory.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The figures of Confederate leaders carved into Stone Mountain]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Plantation House at Stone Mountain]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: A night view of the Coca-Cola Museum]

Great Things to See and Do in Atlanta:
1999 Convention Tours

by Al Falligan

From the Editor: The clock is running on preparations for the 1999 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind Wednesday, June 30, through Tuesday, July 6. If you have not yet made your hotel reservation, you had better get to it immediately. We will meet at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta, a truly beautiful and spacious world-class hotel. Rooms have been reserved for us at both the Marquis and the Atlanta Hilton and Towers, a short walk away. Our hotel rates at the Marquis are excellent. For the 1999 convention they are singles, $57; doubles and twins, $59; triples, $61; and quads, $63. A tax of 14 percent will be charged, but there will be no charge for children rooming with parents as long as no extra bed is requested.

For room reservations write directly to Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, or call (404) 521-0000. Marriott has a national toll-free number, but do not (we emphasize not) use it. Reservations made through this national number will not be valid. They must be made directly with the hotel. The hotel will want a deposit of $60 or a credit card number. If a credit card is used, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $60 check. If a reservation is canceled prior to June 4, 1999, $30 of the $60 deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

But before you pick up the phone to make your travel and hotel reservations, read the following article and make sure that your arrival and departure times will allow you to take advantage of the wonderful tours the Georgia affiliate has arranged for our enjoyment. Here is what Al Falligan has to say:

On behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia, thank you for coming to explore Atlanta, host city of the National Convention in 1999 and 2000. With its southern charm and warm weather, Atlanta has always been a great place to visit.

Visitors to Atlanta can enjoy world-class museums; great restaurants; memorable shopping; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Center; Zoo Atlanta; the World of Coca-Cola; and Stone Mountain.

We are offering nine tour packages and one Atlanta Braves baseball game for your enjoyment. Sign up early. Please note that the deadline for reservations and cancellations is June 18, 1999. Also keep in mind that the prices quoted are dependent on guaranteed minimum sign-ups, so decide now to take a tour or two and invite your friends to join you. See y'all!

The prices for tours listed below include buses, experienced guides, and sales tax and admissions where applicable. Tours leave from the Courtland Street entrance of the Marriott Marquis, which is just across the street from the Hilton.

Tour 1: Wednesday, June 30, 1999, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

City Tour: a tour of Atlanta landmarks, with a visit to the Martin Luther King Center, driving past Turner Field, the state capitol, underground Atlanta, to CNN Center, and a walk through the brand new Olympic Centennial Park. You will find plenty of places for a snack and souvenir shopping. Price: $18, adult; $14, children (3 to 12).

Tour 2: Wednesday, June 30, 1999, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Atlanta, Yesterday and Today: Also a drive through downtown Atlanta with a stop at the Martin Luther King Center (visiting Ebenezer Church, the Visitors' Center, Dr. King's grave, and the gift shop). This tour includes time for lunch on your own at Atlanta's beautiful shopping complex, Underground Atlanta; a drive through Buckhead, a northside residential neighborhood of beautiful homes; and a visit to the Atlanta History Center Museum. Price: $30, adult; $26, children.

Tour 3: Wednesday, June 30, 1999, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Stone Mountain Park: Georgia's number one attraction, 3,200 acres of greenery surrounding the gigantic granite mountain is the setting for our third tour. Time to visit Memorial Hall with its many exhibits and tapes of the history of the mountain and a choice of one of the following attractions: tour of the famous nineteen-building plantation, ride on the skylift to the top of the mountain, or a riverboat cruise.

Enjoy lunch on your own and browsing in the many shops

located throughout the park. Price: $28, adult; $23,


Tour 4: Sunday, July 4, 1999, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Black Heritage: Spend two hours browsing in the Martin

Luther King Center, Ebenezer Church, Visitors Center, and

the Crypt. Reboard the bus for a drive through downtown

Atlanta with your knowledgeable guide pointing out historic

landmarks. Tour the Atlanta University Centers (six

campuses), disembarking at one of the schools before driving

past the Shrine of the Black Madonna on the trip back to

your hotel. Price: $20, adult; $15, children.

Tour 5: Sunday, July 4, 1999, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Coca-Cola Museum, Underground Atlanta: The Coca-Cola Museum

has many exhibits, entertaining as well as informative. This

self-guided tour, with time to browse in the gift shop, is

followed by a stroll through Underground Atlanta, adjacent

to the Coke Museum. There will be lots of entertainment on

the 4th and many choices for food and shopping. Price: $25,

adult; $23, children.

Tour 6: Sunday July 4, 1999, 6:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.

Ray's on the River Dinner: A beautiful contemporary restaurant, popular with Atlantans, nestled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, provides the perfect setting for a Fourth of July celebration. After a stroll along the garden paths beside the river, enjoy a delicious dinner (choice of chicken, prime rib, or fish entrees; salad; rice; green vegetable; Ray's trademark key lime pie; and coffee or tea.) Entertainment will be provided during dinner. The restaurant is usually closed Sunday evenings, but is being opened especially for our enjoyment. Price: $56, per person (no children's rates).

Tour 7: Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

City Tour and Atlanta History Center: Drive through downtown Atlanta, stopping at Olympic Centennial Park and CNN Center with lunch on your own before driving north on Peachtree Street for a tour of the Atlanta History Center Complex. First tour the many exhibits in the museum dating from pre-Civil War times to the present, followed by a walk through the gardens to the Tulle Smith Farm, a small, charming farm dating from the 1840's. The final stop is the famous Swan House Mansion, built in 1929 by the Inman Family, a prominent Atlanta family who made their money in the cotton industry. Price: $35, adult; $30, children.

Tour 8: Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Underground Atlanta, and Coca-Cola Museum: The Botanical Gardens, located in Piedmont Park, a short drive from our hotel, has a wonderful collection of plants (roses, herbs, summer bulbs, and a delightful fragrance garden). Tour the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory with its collections of exotic tropical plants such as palms, cycads, ferns, orchids, and epiphyses. Reboard the bus and drive to Underground Atlanta for lunch on your own and shopping, topping off the day with a self-guided tour of the fabulous Coca-Cola Museum. Price: $33, adult; $29, children.

Tour 9: Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Martin Luther King Center and Stone Mountain Park: First enjoy a leisurely visit to the Martin Luther King Center, visiting Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Crypt, the Visitors' Center, and gift shop. Next drive to Stone Mountain Park for lunch on your own and your choice of a tour of the nineteen-building Plantation, Riverboat Ride, or skylift to the top of the mountain. And finish with more browsing in the gift shops. Price: $25, adult; $21, children.

Consult later issues of the Braille Monitor for details of the July 6 Atlanta Braves—Florida Marlins baseball game. The Georgia affiliate has arranged for tickets and will work out details for reserving them. Transportation to the game will be by MARTA train and Braves shuttle bus.

To place your tour reservations, designate the tour number and title (listed above), indicate the number of adult and children's tickets you are requesting, give your name, address, phone, and send with a check for the total amount made payable to Fran O'Reilly & Associates. Mail your order to Post Office Box 720336, Atlanta, Georgia 30358-2336. For more information call (404) 255-3682.

Convention Transit Information:
MARTA to the Marriott Marquis

If you are planning to fly to Atlanta to attend the 1999 Convention and you have a manageable amount of baggage, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) offers convenient door-to-door service between Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport and the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Enter MARTA'S Airport Rail Station on its North-South rail line, which is located immediately outside airport baggage claim, purchase a fare card, go up one level to the platform, and take any northbound train to Peachtree Center. If you need further directions or help purchasing a fare card, the station attendant will be glad to assist you.

The Airport and Peachtree Center stations both have escalators, elevators, and stairs. Both stations have center platforms between the northbound and southbound tracks. The ride from the Airport to Peachtree Center takes seventeen minutes.

Peachtree Center is the first station north of Five Points, the downtown subway station at which the north-south line crosses under the East-West line. When you get off at Peachtree Center, go up one level to the mezzanine and exit through the turnstile. Turn right (east), then right again (south). Go up the escalators one more level directly into the food court, then pass through it to the lobby of the Marriott Marquis.

Built within the last twenty years, MARTA with its accessible features also offers convenience to passengers traveling with baggage. All stations have escalators, elevators, and wide gates, as well as turnstiles. Cars have wide sliding doors, affording easy entry and exit.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Mary Willows]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Sheila Johnson]

The Sheila Johnson Case:
University Prevented from Pulling a Fast One

by Mary Willows

From the President: There are those who tell me that discrimination against the blind is a thing of the past. The laws are too strong, and public sentiment is too great to permit such unreasonable behavior, they say. Blindness may have been the basis for unjust actions in former times, but those who speak of the need for equal treatment today are making a mountain out of a molehill. Such notions I have sometimes heard, but the individuals who say these things are often seeking a salve for their consciences rather than speaking the truth.

There are literally hundreds (perhaps thousands) of blind teachers in the United States. These teachers work in elementary classrooms, in high schools, and in the halls of higher education. Nevertheless, discrimination sometimes still exists. Consider the following account by Mary Willows, President of the National Association of Blind Educators. Here is what she says:

I am sharing this information with all of you because it is still another example of "Why the NFB?" Sheila Johnson was a National Scholarship winner in Anaheim in 1996. She entered the bilingual Education Credential Program in the fall of 1997. This is supposed to be a two-semester program. She was scheduled to complete the requirements for her credential in May of 1998. The credential she sought would qualify her to teach in a bilingual classroom. Teachers with these qualifications are in great demand in the San Diego area.

I will leave out the gory details of the numerous unanswered e-mail messages Sheila endured before she finally turned to the NFB for help.

At the end of her first semester (December, 1997) Sheila was told in a conversation with her university supervisor that she had made satisfactory progress and would be getting credit for her first semester of student teaching. However, when she called the grade line the following week, she discovered that she had been given a grade of no credit for her student teaching experience. A series of phone calls and e-mail messages ensued. She never received a satisfactory answer as to why she did not get credit for class number 961.

In the meantime she was allowed to begin her second semester of student teaching, class number 962. She worked throughout February and March. San Diego State does not hold classes in April, so she resumed student teaching in May. At her final meeting with her master teacher and university supervisor in mid-May, she was informed that she would have to complete an additional eight weeks of teaching. So she continued student teaching with yet another unqualified mentor teacher. By the way, throughout her student teaching Sheila was placed in classrooms with teachers who had said that they would be willing to work with her. However, these teachers were not veterans and would not normally have been asked to mentor a student teacher. In fact, one of them was just a first-year teacher. Also one of the goals of student teaching is to expose the student to various grade levels. But for some reason Sheila was placed with third-grade teachers only.

She completed her assigned placement on July 21, 1998. In addition, she was told that she would have to register for the fall, 1998, semester course 961, even though she would not be attending any classes or doing any student teaching. Her university supervisor (the placement coordinator) had not instructed her to register for summer extension courses; therefore, she could not receive credit until the fall. At this point she called me to request my help in straightening out this mess.

In May she was told to submit her credential application and $75 fee to the credentials office, which she did. A credential application is normally held at the university credentials office until completion of course requirements can be verified. But in Sheila's case—she was informed—verification of completion could not be made until at least December, 1998, and probably January, 1999. A credential application is good for only six months, which meant, of course, that in October, 1998, (six months after her original payment) Sheila's credential application and fees would become null and void. She would have to start the application process all over again. The student is held responsible for any new laws, tests, or required courses which may be added to credential requirements during the six-month period. As it happens, a new Reading Instruction and Curriculum Assessment test requirement has in fact been added, beginning in October of 1998.

On Monday, August 3, 1998, I flew to San Diego to see what I could do to assist Sheila to clear up this mess and make her job-ready by September, which is when the teaching jobs open. I worked with Colonel David Staley of our North San Diego County Chapter as my reader. Sybil Irvin, also of North County, came to observe this advocacy process.

I would like to stop here and say that, although I had asked Sheila to go to the office and read through her file, it really does take a trained person to know what to look for. Thanks to the advice of Allen Harris prior to my trip to San Diego and my training in the NFB, I caught glaring paperwork errors and file omissions. There was evidence that white-out had been used on her first semester grade—the white-out credit grade had been replaced with the no-credit grade. Her first semester university supervisor documented that, in her opinion, Sheila had made satisfactory progress. However, if the placement coordinator would like her to edit, subtract, add, or change the report, he should let her know. All of Sheila's February and March observation evaluations had been removed from her file. Fortunately, Sheila had kept copies of these observation evaluations, complete with dates.

The May through July observation evaluations were numbered one through eight, with the mid-term evaluation at the beginning of June. The final evaluation was dated in July, which made it appear as though Sheila's second-semester student teaching had taken place from May through July, when actually it had taken place in February, March, and the beginning of May. There was a handwritten note dated July 22, which said that she had completed the work but must register for the fall, 1998, semester in order to get credit. This was the only way the university supervisor would get his $250 fee for supervising her.

In an appointment with the chairman of the department I laid out all the evidence I have presented here. Initially he did not want to take any action. I told him that on behalf of Sheila I was requesting that she be granted a grade change for the fall, 1997, student-teaching class, 961. This would give her credit for all the work she had done; free up her credential application to be sent to Sacramento for processing; and enable her to begin applying for jobs immediately.

Finally he agreed to a grade change. I told him that I wanted something in writing before we left. He squirmed again, so I kept bringing out more papers that he certainly would not want to have to explain in a grievance hearing. The problem was resolved before the grievance process was discussed. He agreed and went off to get the grade-change form. I offered to wait and deliver it. So we hand-carried the paper to the credentials office and picked up the paperwork from the university saying that Sheila's credential application was in process.

Blind students everywhere need to learn and remember how crucial it is to read every word on important documents. Do not assume anything without reading it. Keep copies of everything, and make sure that your records match those of the university. I hope Sheila's experience will teach others to minimize the chances of having an experience like hers. I am confident that she at least will be more assertive in future if she notices that policies are being altered to her detriment.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ever Lee Hairston]

Forever Climbing:
An Extraordinary Federationist Still Rises

by John W. Smith, Ph.D.

From the Editor: John Smith is First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, and Ever Lee Hairston is First Vice President of the NFB of New Jersey. John wrote the following profile because he decided that Ever Lee's story has much to inspire all of us. Here it is:

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise...

Maya Angelou

The first time I heard Ever Lee Hairston speak, I was immediately reminded of Maya Angelou's powerful words. Her voice had that same ability to convey strength and excitement, yet also revealed warmth and a true sense of commitment to self. I was fascinated by her assertiveness as a black woman. In Ms. Hairston's voice I heard a woman who was confident, sure of herself, poised, and independent.

I first met Ms. Hairston when we were both members of the National Federation of the Blind scholarship committee. Having previously known her only by name, I heard that full and captivating voice for the first time on the first evening of a scholarship committee meeting. Both of us having arrived late for the meeting, we shared the last of the supper and the first of many stories she would tell me over the next two years.

I was immediately impressed with her voice and her diction. I am a professor of speech communication, so these stood out to me. Upon further investigation I found that Ms. Hairston had a life story that should be told. We all have stories, of course, but during those two years I discovered that I wanted to be the one to tell hers.

Ever Lee grew up in a family of sharecroppers in North Carolina. Her grandfather had been a house slave. Among his responsibilities in the household he waited on tables and shined shoes. He and his wife Charmin brought fourteen children into the world of plantation life. Although all the brothers and sisters later migrated to the great promised land of the North, Ever Lee's father decided to stay on the plantation with his parents and become a sharecropper. He and his wife raised seven children. Ever Lee, the third oldest child, had what she learned to describe as "eye problems."

Many of her responsibilities at the house where the plantation owners lived included sweeping the porch and cleaning the silver. Among other domestic duties she became a key caretaker of many of the children on the plantation. One of her sisters who was diagnosed with a kidney disease also became her sole responsibility. Adding to her eye problems, Ever Lee grew up with a severe speech impediment. Paralleling the life of Maya Angelou, who was also affected by a speech impediment, she clung to her burning desire to learn.

Ever Lee began school in a two-room school house, but eventually she was bused ten miles to school. In retrospect she recognizes that she was the teacher's pet and recalls that at an early age she learned she was attractive because her tall, light-skinned frame was complemented by her long hair. Not only was she attractive by traditional feminine standards, but in the black community there is a saying, "If you are black stay back; if you are brown stick around; but if you are light, you're all right." However, despite her zest for education, she still had a secret. Her so-called eye problems were persistent, but she did not want anybody to know because she might be treated the same way her sister Rosie was.

Rosie was blind, and, to make matters worse, she wore a patch over one eye. This stigmatic symbol represented pity, inferiority, and ridicule for her and her family. Ever Lee frequently did Rosie's chores because almost everyone felt sorry for her. Because of this Ever Lee often felt resentment for her sister. Those who did not feel sorry for Rosie still did not think highly of her or her place in the social order. The result was that Ever Lee hid her eye problems because to her at this time admitting her blindness would have meant the end of the world as she knew it.

Although burdened with overwhelming responsibilities, Ever Lee graduated from high school with honors. Unfortunately there wasn't enough money for college because care of her terminally ill sister absorbed much of the family's resources. As one might expect, this inquisitive and vivacious young woman wanted to attend college, but another driving force drove her as well. Unlike her father before her, who remained on the plantation, she had a burning desire to get away.

She never liked being taken out of school to work, but it was on one of these occasions that she had an encounter that made her resolve to do whatever was necessary to get away. She was picking cotton along with several members of her family and some hired hands when she encountered a big, black snake. She was petrified. She screamed for one of her brothers. When he came to see what was wrong, they discovered many more snakes. If you picture workers running in one direction and snakes slithering everywhere, the scene may appear comic, but it was extremely frightening and left a lasting impression on Ever Lee. As she sat on a pile of cotton bags crying uncontrollably, she reflected: "I hate being taken out of school for two weeks at a time; it's so hard to catch up when I return; I am tired of running from the black cows and bulls just to get to the outhouse!" Ever Lee vowed, "Oh God, Oh God, there must be a better way of life for me."

That better way came one day when she saw an advertisement in a magazine for live-in maids in New York City. Somehow she gathered enough money to purchase a Greyhound bus ticket to New York, and with her three pieces of luggage she arrived at the agency. This was an agency serving wealthy Jewish families who came to interview and select Negro girls to be live-in maids. Ever Lee noticed that the lighter-skinned girls were going first and fast. Immediately Ever Lee herself was chosen. The man of the family picked her from the group of applicants and talked with her briefly. He decided that he would take her to his home to meet the rest of his family. They decided she would do, so he drove her back to the agency to pick up her luggage and complete the paperwork.

As they drove, it became clear to Ever Lee that the man was interested in more than her domestic capabilities. He eased his hand onto her leg and began to tell her just how wonderful he would make her life if she was willing to satisfy him in other ways. Each time he put his hand on her leg she managed to move or push his hand away, but she soon recognized that she was not in a position to control the situation. When she told him she wanted to attend college, his response was, "You don't want to do that." She quickly concluded that it was not in her best interests to argue with him, so she began concentrating all her efforts on getting back to the agency.

When they finally did arrive at the agency, she excused herself to go find a bathroom. This man had promised her a better life, but it was one she could see only as sexual enslavement. To a young, black, naive, southern woman who had come to New York with high expectations, this opportunity might have seemed as realistic as the limited number of other options facing her. With integrity and an unwillingness to compromise herself for anyone, she hid in a bathroom stall for hours. But something else was going on. In what would become an overriding theme in her life, she was also hiding from herself, her eye problems, and even her very existence.

When she was certain the man had gone home, Ever Lee emerged from the bathroom to join the women at the agency who had not been chosen. The agency took them to another location, and, as fate would have it, she was hired by a wonderful family with a terminally ill four-year-old. This was a suitable situation for Ever Lee because of her caretaking experience with her terminally ill sister.

...Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise...

And rise she did. Ever Lee was hired for the summer by this family, but down deep inside she yearned to be free, to attend college. The child passed away the following summer, and she told her benefactors of her dreams. Grateful for her service to their family, they provided her first year's tuition to North Carolina's Central College.

Immediately fitting in at college, Ever Lee was voted Miss Freshman. Although exhilarated, she was fearful that people might find out she could not see very well. As Miss Freshman she would be expected to do many things: speak in assembly, march in the homecoming parade, and meet and greet students around the college campus. She did not want their image of her as a confident, attractive young lady to become tarnished. She could not see at night, and she still had her speech problem. God forbid, she might trip on the stage or stumble over her words. So for four-and-a-half years she lived in denial and in fear.

In many ways she felt as if she were living a lie. She had escaped the plantation and a possible life of misery as a domestic in the home of a lecherous man, but still she was not free. She was afraid to set high expectations for herself because her experience had taught her that no one who was blind could live a full, rich, and productive life. The memory of blind Rosie's experience prevailed.

After graduation Ever Lee moved to New Jersey, where she began to look for a career. She thought that, since she was bright, young, and attractive and since she had heard about all the wonderful job opportunities in the North, she could find a job with very little effort. She was devastated at her first job interview when the interviewer said, "I like the way you speak and dress, but we just haven't begun to hire Negroes here." As she left the interview, she thought to herself, "I marched with Dr. King; I've gone to college; I'm attractive; yet in many people's eyes I am still just a Negro."

After the interview she found herself walking down the street in a depressed state with tears rolling down her cheeks. A car pulled up beside her, and a man introducing himself as a detective asked her if he could be of any assistance. Immediately the advice from home—"Don't get in the car with a stranger"— flooded her mind, but for some reason, perhaps her need to confide in someone, she decided to talk to the detective. She needed to pour out her soul to someone, and with this man she felt she could. She told him about her fears. She even told him about her eye problems, and it was this honesty that prompted him to help her get the eye exam she needed. It led to a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa.

Ultimately Ever Lee married the detective, and they had a son, but their marriage fell apart in the year that followed. Ever Lee believes that her husband wanted to save her. Perhaps he saw her as beautiful and helpless. He wanted to help her, but he was interested only in having a trophy—a nice arm piece. When it became clear that she was going to lose the rest of her sight, it also became painfully obvious that he could never accept a blind trophy, no matter how beautiful and poised she was.

...Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?...

Ever Lee acquired a teaching position at a high school, a dream come true! A short four years later, her teaching career ended due to the progression of her eye disease. Ever Lee says, "Perhaps it would have been easier to sit home and collect Social Security checks and feel as if I had no self-worth, but instead I continued to seek other employment." After being turned down several times by employers as a result of her blindness, finally she was hired in an entry-level counselor's position with the Health and Human Services Department. She continued her education and later became a supervising alcoholism counselor in the State of New Jersey.

It became obvious to Ever Lee that she needed some blindness skills in order to meet the demands of this challenging position. She also knew the importance of competing with her sighted colleagues who were fighting for Civil Service status.

The National Federation of the Blind is not for everyone. Some people are never ready to accept the independence and challenge offered by the NFB, but many people who have come to this movement have had the experience of meeting it at the exact time when they were ready to take full advantage of it. As a direct result of recruiting efforts organized by the organization, Ever Lee met the NFB head-on in 1987. She attended her first National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, where she slept on a cot, carried a short cane, and even felt isolated from her own affiliate. Regardless of that experience, in 1988 she decided to attend the convention in Chicago.

There Ever Lee discovered how illiterate she was. She couldn't read Braille or print, and she was still trying to find her way around in a new environment. It took her about three years to find out that the Federation was where she needed to be. There is an old Nigerian proverb that says, "It takes about three years to see the earth move." During this period Ever Lee admitted to herself that she needed to develop her blindness skills in order to compete with her sighted colleagues at work.

Therefore she decided to attend one of the National Federation of the Blind's adult training centers. It was a decision that would change her life. At the Louisiana Center for the Blind, where she enrolled, she learned for the first time that it was respectable to be blind. Despite her loss of vision she was the same vivacious, attractive, and eloquent woman. She recalls, "It was the most exhilarating, unique, unusual, bizarre, and profound experience of my life."

In 1991 Ever Lee attended a leadership seminar, after which she began to ask questions. According to Ever Lee, "I didn't hear a lot of black people at the meetings—certainly not black women. And this bothered me. I began to investigate how I could get more black people involved in this wonderful organization. Although there was some talk about organizing a black caucus, I did not want that. I wanted to make the opportunities I had found in this organization available to other people, especially black women. I know and believe that it is important that we reach out for ourselves and that we fight our own battles, but I think that, because of the attitude and the thinking ingrained in some of us as black people that we are inferior, second-class citizens, we have to unlearn old patterns and relearn what is reality."

One way to do this, Ever Lee believes, is to have effective leaders and positive black role models to assist this process. "I don't want this point to be a big part of this story," Ever Lee says, "but I do want to do whatever it takes to encourage blind, black females to join the National Federation of the Blind and to become leaders in this organization."

It should now be obvious why I had to tell this extraordinary Federationist's story. Despite this little peek into her life, there are still more stories just as exhilarating, just as profound that have yet to be explored. She is not extraordinary because she is a black woman or because she rose from plantation poverty to become successful and confident. She is extraordinary because she fought every step of the way and allowed herself to be vulnerable and humble enough to look inside herself to face her blindness and to maintain her integrity in the face of overwhelming odds.

...Out of the huts of history's sham I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide Leaving behind the nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

In many ways the black community has been chauvinistic, and black women have not been allowed to be assertive—certainly not publicly—or to assume leadership roles in our community. In Ever Lee I see a woman who is confident, sure of herself, poised, and independent. A blind black woman, carrying thereby triple minority status: she has decided to make these three characteristics strengths rather than weaknesses.

We all have our stories, and this is Ever Lee's. It seems only fitting that she have the final word. "I worked my way through college. I earned that degree because hard work always pays off, as do dedication, commitment, honesty, and spirituality. These are the keys to success and the ones that have unlocked my life for me."

Why Should I Use a Cane?

by Jeff Altman

From the Editor: Jeff Altman is a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. In his job he teaches cane travel. This is what he says about the importance of learning to use a cane confidently.

"Why should I use a cane?" is a rather common question among people new to blindness and, for that matter, to some folks who have been living with blindness for many years. One is tempted to respond with a matter-of-fact answer such as "Because you are blind, and the white cane is an appropriate tool for a blind person to use when traveling." However, upon reflection, one must recognize that in reality this is not a simple question to answer since the white cane does not have the same social significance to the blind person as say the hammer does to a carpenter or the stethoscope does to a doctor. Occupational tools are socially acceptable, and some, such as a judge's gavel, even become symbols of high social status.

Some frequently used tools have little to do with occupations but are widely accepted because they improve the quality of our lives or are more convenient than other methods of getting things done. I will state with some certainty that most Americans prefer to cook their meals using the kitchen stove rather than building a fire in the back yard each evening. Certainly most people choose to drive or use some other form of mechanized transportation rather than walking when embarking upon a long trip.

These everyday devices seem so ordinary that we hardly think of them as alternatives to more basic methods of cooking or traveling. Yet these very devices were nearly unheard of only a few generations ago. In fact, in the beginning neither the modern stove nor the automobile was immediately accepted; people distrusted the new technology, and only when they began to understand how the stove and car worked and discovered that they were in fact safe and dependable devices did they stop chopping stove wood or retire their horses.

The long white cane is an alternative device and involves mastering some alternative techniques for efficient travel. It need not be any less effective than the more commonplace method of travel using vision. Somehow, though, our society has not come to terms with this device. Often it is perceived as inferior. More important, society remains somewhat uncomfortable with the people who use the white cane. Unlike many new devices which are resisted by society because the technology or operation is poorly understood or perceived as unsafe, the long cane and its use are quite simple to understand: the cane tip moves in a body-width arc, checking for obstacles and changes in terrain. The white cane has been in common use for many years and certainly does not represent a serious safety threat to the user or to others exposed to it. Isn't it odd that a device in common use for more than fifty years and absolutely straightforward in function continues to be resisted both by society in general and by the people who could benefit most from using it?

We must understand that, in spite of our society's apparent fascination with logical thinking, the majority of the decisions people make are based on emotion. Those who make important life decisions without carefully considering the facts and possible consequences are labeled impulsive and irresponsible. But in reality we often make choices based upon our emotional reactions and then assemble logical reasons and confirming opinions to justify our actions. This behavior is a significant part of what makes us human. Still it is careful gathering and examination of available information and thorough consideration of the results of our actions that serve as a gauge of our maturity and wisdom.

All this said, I believe that society finds the long white cane unacceptable because blindness is surrounded by myths, misconceptions, and fear. Unfortunately, as members of society we who are blind inevitably share the negative responses to blindness that permeate society. A very fine line separates social, scientific, or universal truth, on one hand, and unsubstantiated opinion on the other. It is troubling that even the people who hold themselves up as experts in the blindness field and in the use of the white cane often express by word and action the opinion that the white cane should be used only as a last-ditch method of travel. Blind travel students are often instructed to use a human guide in unfamiliar or noisy areas, to keep the long cane as short as possible in crowds to avoid tripping others, and when possible to hold the cane vertical and depend on residual vision in familiar areas. These recommendations represent and reinforce a damagingly negative view of blindness and blind people. After all, if all your experience indicates that a particular set of concepts and practices is obviously true—especially when this misinformation is presented by supposed experts—it becomes difficult to consider any other possibility, even when you hold the key to true independence in your hand.

The best person to answer the question posed at the beginning of this article is the person who asks it. It can be argued (and I would do so) that only an expert in the use of the white cane can answer the question wisely, but I also stand by my previous statement that only the blind individual can and should make the decision whether to use a cane. Therefore making a wise decision involved becoming an expert in the use of the cane. With all non-visual techniques, one cannot fully appreciate the benefits without first having learned to use them efficiently, to trust them fully, and to believe in their effectiveness. For the individual with some functional vision, this goal can be achieved only by using sleepshades since people have such a strong tendency to use vision when possible rather than depending upon the feedback available through other senses.

I can respect the decision of any blind person who has made a sincere effort to learn to use the white cane and then chooses to travel without it. Those who refuse to learn the techniques for good cane travel are also entitled to make that choice, but I hope that they will also accept the responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. It may be a fine choice for them, or it may prove to be a very poor one. Unfortunately many blind people who have refused to learn to use the long white cane have clearly made the wrong choice, and sadly many of them do not recognize that it is this error that seriously limits the quality of their lives.

If you choose not to master cane travel, please be careful, and please do not then blame your blindness for what does not go well in your life. Those of us who choose to use the long white cane would prefer that society hear and learn the truth about cane travel and not self-serving excuses from people with little or no actual firsthand experience.

[PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A man wearing a shop apron uses a circular saw in a workshop. CAPTION: George Wurtzel.]

A Federationist Works Wonders

From the Editor: George Wurtzel, brother of NFB of Michigan President Fred Wurtzel, has always had a genius for working with his hands. Blindness has determined some of his methods, but his gifts and skill have always been apparent to him and to those around him. On June 15, 1998, the Lansing State Journal carried a story by Teri Banas about Mr. Wurtzel and his partners in a new business venture. People frequently assume that blindness prevents a person from working with power equipment or sharp tools of any kind. Those who are tempted to write off their own dreams of craftsmanship or those of their blind acquaintances had better take the time to meet George Wurtzel. Here he is:

Old Town, New Work

Crafter, Friends Refurbishing Estes Store

by Teri Banas

With hands large and steady, craftsman George Wurtzel looks like an old-time lumberjack as he works to transform one of Old Town's most historic commercial buildings. An imposing man of six foot four inches, he measures wall studs with precision, saws boards, and drives nails, meanwhile creating new spaces from old. His mission is to put life in the former Estes furniture store and convert it into a custom kitchen and bath cabinetry shop.

Did we mention George Wurtzel is blind?

It really is an inspiration to see him at work," says partner Kathy Weldon, fifty-one, interior designer. "Once you see what he can do, no one has an excuse not to achieve a goal. He's remarkable."

With partner Mary Fauty, the business administrator, they plan to open their Kitchen Encounter shop in July.

"There's only two things we don't let him do," Weldon says repeating an oft-told joke among them. "We don't let him pick out colors, and we don't let him drive."

Wurtzel, forty-four, a Traverse City native who was educated at the Michigan School for the Blind, a short distance from Old Town, has spent his adult life plying trades that require handiwork artistry.

"I consider what I do to be a highly honed skill," Wurtzel says. "I'm not a very syrupy person. I don't consider it remarkable.

"The skills and abilities, the talents I have, I've acquired over a lifetime."

Weldon, who met Wurtzel only recently, said he's made a strong impression on her. "I went from shock to curiosity to admiration," she said. "These days I completely forget sometimes that he's blind. I'll hand over a wallpaper sample and say, `George, take a look at this.'"

As a youngster, Wurtzel says, he wasn't inspired by any particular role model. But his grandfather, who died when he was a young boy, was a cabinetmaker, and his mother was so handy she once built some children's stools from a magazine picture.

"I took every shop course available when I went to school," Wurtzel said. "I've always been a tinkering person, always wanted to know how things worked." As a kid he "played with lawn mowers and cars" and even worked as a Volkswagen mechanic.

Wurtzel's natural talents are aided by an innate sense of spacial reasoning and creativity, he said. His ability to picture in his mind's eye how he will build something is no different from any "engineer-type" thinking person, he says. Sometimes he builds scale models to test his plans.

What is different is one essential tool. An eighteen-inch ruler designed with a threaded rod and ball-bearing drop allows him to measure within 1/16th of an inch accuracy. He uses a Braille 'n Speak to store data and for word processing.

For nine years Wurtzel ran a woodworking shop in Traverse City, taking part in redevelopment projects including the Cherryland Mall. But when the ailing economy brought construction work to a near standstill in 1982, he went back to school. He eventually earned a degree in furniture production management and spent fifteen years working in North Carolina, the nation's furniture-making capital.

Wurtzel, who developed retinitis pigmentosa as a child, said, "I've never had any significant vision at all during my life." At ages ten to twelve he could still read newspaper headlines, but later his vision worsened so that he eventually boarded at the Michigan School for the Blind.

Recently he attended a seminar in Minnesota for creating specialty designs in solid surfaces in the myriad of Corian-style counter tops that make new-kitchen-lusting homeowners go gaga. Because Wurtzel is, well, casual about his blindness, he registered for the seminar without mentioning he can't see. He turned a few heads when he arrived with walking stick in hand.

Then last summer Wurtzel returned to Michigan and joined his brother Fred, who is also blind, and his family in Lansing. He spent the summer working at a camp for blind children in Greenville, Michigan, that has become the brothers' personal cause.

And he looked up Fauty—an old friend who taught at the school when he was a teenager—because he needed a technical reader. By January they were good friends with Weldon, an independent design consultant, at a CAD (Computer Aided Design) kitchen class at Lansing Community College.

Weldon had run her own retail business, a frame shop in Mason, for eight years.

"I was ready to do something again," said Weldon. "We were all three coming to the same point, deciding what we were going to do next."

Fauty, a twenty-eight-year teacher at the school, followed along when it moved to Flint. But she was eager to retire from the commute to help her ailing mother, who lives in Lansing.

"We all just happened to come together at the right time. We were all looking for something to put our time and energies into," said Fauty. Besides running the office, she will help handle retail sales with Weldon.

Weldon said the three easily assumed clear roles in the partnership. "George is in charge of wood. Mary is in charge of paper. And I'm in charge of pretty. That's it."

All, coincidentally, have ties to the redeveloping Old Town. Weldon because she grew up nearby. Wurtzel because he attended the residential school for the blind as a teen and "ran all over town" in off hours. And Fauty, who still lives nearby.

"It's a wonderful, friendly community," Fauty says. "It's fun to be back in Old Town. The atmosphere here. . . . The people out on the street talk to each other. There's a feeling there's something special here."

The partners say their specialty business will serve as a destination store for the area and a business for the future. Industry trends suggest a robust market for kitchen renovations as interest rates remain low and as baby boomers spend their discretionary dollars on nesting pursuits.

Fauty adds that today's kitchens are getting larger and more lavish, reverting to an era when homeowners spent more time in them, entertaining and preparing meals. The bursting selection of materials in solid counter-top surfaces that are so nonporous they don't stain or burn makes this an exciting time.

The business will carry three distinct lines of kitchen cabinets from high-end-custom to a builder-quality selection. Brands include Shiloh, Crystal, and Welborn Forest.

"We're going to be very custom-oriented, very design-conscious," Wurtzel says.

Remodeling, Like Charity, Begins at Home

by Teri Banas

Over four months George Wurtzel, Kathy Weldon, and Mary Fauty have developed a love-hate relationship with the Old Town storefront that will house their Kitchen Creation shop.

When they walked into the early-1900's storefront at Washington and Grand River Avenues, they fell in love with the space—its hardwood floors, original Mission-style mezzanine banisters. They knew it had features they wanted for their retail showroom of kitchen and bath cabinetry.

So they dropped plans to move elsewhere and accepted the fact it was three times the size they wanted. "We've started to treat this building like another entity. We appreciate its style, attention to detail," said Weldon.

But it's been a lot of work, coupled with patience for a long-haul renovation. "We're trying to make improvements for a Year 2000 business in a 1915 building," Fauty said.

The partners are doing much of the interior work themselves, to the tune of $150,000. Building owner Tom Arnold is stripping and refinishing the original hardwood floors. The partners said doing the work themselves has contained costs that could have soared.

Craftsman Wurtzel has begun installing a handicap-access bathroom on the main floor and has built wall partitions and done repairs. Arnold is slowly replacing wornout windows. Wurtzel is converting a furniture clearance center out back for his workshop and for storage.

Already there are payoffs for the hard work. Pulling up carpeting, they discovered a mosaic ceramic tile entryway spelling out the names of the original occupant, the Jarvis-Estes Furniture Company. A solid wood Mission-style banister will remain in their showroom when the shop opens.

Fauty, an Old Town history buff, said the interior will house small alcoves with designer kitchens, though the partners will customize homeowners' particular wants. One of the hottest trends will be there—a mission-style kitchen. Prices will range from $5,000 for some complete remodels (appliances extra), to the tens of thousands.

Someday they would like to convert a room in the center into a test kitchen for education. That's a few years off, Fauty said. Kitchen Encounter will be the first new use for the building since it shut down three years ago as a furniture store just before Estes filed for bankruptcy.

"Here at the Mainstreet Project we're always thrilled that people can take the time and energy to renovate storefronts and interiors," said Lisa Carey, its director. "We're very excited to have them move into the corner spot there."


Did you know that you can make a gift to the National Federation of the Blind and save taxes three ways? Well, you can! With a gift of appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. For more information, contact the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, phone (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.


[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ellen Waechtler reading Braille]

101 Ways to Use Braille

by Ellen Waechtler

From the Editor: The following article first appeared in the Summer, 1998, issue of the Braille Spectator, a publication of the NFB of Maryland. Ellen Waechtler is the Braille instructor in the rehabilitation program at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland. Here is her thoughtful article on the many practical uses of Braille, even for the novice.

Have you ever opened a can, hoping to add tomatoes to your spaghetti sauce, and then been faced with the dilemma of figuring out how to incorporate green beans into the menu? Have you spent hours searching for a particular CD or tape, becoming increasingly frustrated with each incorrect CD you briefly sampled? Or have you ever been worried about losing your phone service because you mislaid the bill and are unable to find it in your mile-high stack of mysterious print papers? In all these cases Braille could simplify your life.

It is surprising how many blind people who know some Braille do not take full advantage of what this powerful tool can offer. Louis Braille's invention was revolutionary because for the first time blind people had the ability not only to read but also to write. Herein lies Braille's power: it enables you to communicate with yourself. Braille serves the same function for the blind as print does for the sighted, and with a little creative thinking it can be just as versatile. The use of Braille extends beyond reading books and magazines from the library for the blind; it can also be employed to take notes, keep records, and label everything under the sun. Once you start thinking creatively about how your Braille skills can serve you better, you will be amazed at how versatile Louis Braille's little invention actually can be. Here are some tips for getting started. Soon you will wonder how you ever functioned without Braille. Your only boundaries will be imposed by the limits of your imagination.

A Few Simple Tools

Using Braille as an organizational tool most often requires labeling or writing down a few simple directions. Either a slate and stylus (a metal guide and a punching device equivalent to the pencil or pen) or a Braille writer (comparable to a typewriter) can be used. Labels are perhaps most commonly made with Dymo Transparent Labeling Tape, made by 3M. This vinyl tape, with a self-adhesive back protected with an easily removable strip, comes in a twelve-foot roll. The half-inch width accommodates both standard and jumbo Braille. The Braille labeling gun, as well as the Dymo tape attachment for the Perkins Braille writer, are designed for this width. Moreover, many slates on the market today now have a half-inch Dymo-tape slot. However, the experienced Braillist can easily center the narrower 3/8th inch width in this slot and produce labels in standard sized Braille. For cosmetic reasons and for the convenience of any sighted members of your household, you may prefer the almost transparent tape, which does not obscure what is underneath the Braille label. Since transparent Dymo tape is often not readily available commercially, you may have to purchase it from a supplier specializing in products for the blind.

These labels can be directly affixed to the desired object after the backing is peeled off, or they can be attached with a rubber band threaded through a hold punched with a one-hole punch. The latter type has the advantage of being reusable. You can take them with you to the grocery store and immediately mark the can of green beans or chocolate pudding mix you are purchasing. Labels can also be written on index cards or other pieces of Braille paper (usually three to five times heavier than typing paper) and attached with Scotch or masking tape or even a rubber band. Paper clips and a stapler also come in handy when labeling print documents. If you have most of the above basic tools, then you are ready to put Braille to work for you.

In the Kitchen

Braille labels are especially useful in the kitchen. Attaching paper or Dymo tape labels to canned goods, jars, and other packaged foods helps to take some of the uncertainty out of cooking. You no longer have to shake a can to try to guess at its contents; your label will positively identify the green beans. Sticking a Dymo tape label directly on small spice containers is most effective since you can read it more easily this way. Since you will be using your cinnamon or coriander jar over a period of time, you won't feel that you are wasting expensive Dymo tape.

In preparing foods it is crucial not only to identify the correct ingredients but also to follow the indicated procedure. For storage keep them in a three-ring binder; you can Braille your own recipes on regular Braille paper or on plastic sheets (which can be wiped off should you spill flour, tomato sauce, or baby food on them). You can also make note of directions for preparing such packaged foods as Stove Top stuffing or chocolate pound cake and either keep them in your folder or attach them directly to the package itself.

Other Household Uses

The same techniques which proved valuable in the kitchen are just as useful in other household areas. Labeling your cleaning supplies with Dymo tape, for example, eliminates the possibility of confusing your oven cleaner with your furniture polish. You can also label such items as shampoo and conditioner bottles, which often feel the same, so that you can differentiate between them before you pour the contents into your hand or onto your hair. Dymo tape also works for labeling different colored spools of thread. Place the tape on the flat side of the spool. Now you can choose the appropriate color thread for mending or sewing on buttons.

You can also identify different colored yarns for knitting and crocheting by storing them in separate Ziploc bags with index cards noting their colors. This method also works for keeping various shades of pantyhose separated. Other clothes can be marked by sewing in Braille labels. Again several options are available. These include Brailling on garment labeling tape, which is similar to Dymo tape but without the adhesive backing, and making use of prefabricated metal labels.


Labeling the controls on some household appliances may also prove helpful. Many modern microwaves have no tactilely detectable buttons. Here Braille labels can serve a dual purpose: not only do they help to locate the function keys, they also identify them. Even if appliances have tactile controls, it may still prove useful to label some of them, especially if you do not want to make the effort to remember many different settings. Thus you may wish to attach Dymo tape labels to your dishwasher, your washing machine, and your dryer. These labels are especially helpful with the type of washing machines which use a dial to select different wash cycles. You can use little triangle-shaped Dymo tape arrows to point to the beginnings of various stages and place some identifying letters or words nearby.

You will probably not need or want to label every single appliance in your home, especially those that you are already familiar with or others which are simple to use. But, on the other hand, do not be shy about labeling anything; after all, the manufacturers always include print labels for sighted consumers.

Some complex appliances such as video cassette recorders may require a different approach. In addition to labeling some buttons, you may wish to make note of the layout of the control panel since there may not be enough room to label all keys. You may also want to write down the sequence of steps for operating your machine. As you are programming the VCR, you can then refer to your notes on the procedure. If you have a remote control device with a complicated layout, you may again wish to take notes on the function of each key. After all you will want to take full advantage of the power of your remote control when you are lounging in your recliner, zapping through TV channels.

Enhancing Recreation

Perhaps the most frequently labeled items are compact discs, audio and video cassettes, and records. In this information age you will also need to label your computer disks. Again you will probably want to choose Dymo tape for your labeling medium. While you can record the artist's name and album title and perhaps some other limited information of your choice on the compact disk box, you should not place a label on the compact disk itself. With audio and video cassettes you can label both the cassette and its container. The record cover can also be easily labeled, as can the record itself, as long as you confine yourself to the center, which also holds the print label. You may wish to follow a consistent format in labeling the covers of the above items, e.g., placing the artist's name on the spine of the audio tape so that you can arrange the tapes alphabetically and easily retrieve a specific tape later. Your favorite Mozart sonata or Beatles album will then be at your fingertips in moments.

In all the above instances Braille is employed to adapt materials so that blind people can make more effective use of them. Sometimes already labeled materials are available for purchase. Popular choices include Monopoly and Scrabble. Although you can also buy already labeled playing cards, it is easy to make your own with a slate. Special slates have been designed for this purpose; however, any slate will do.

Organizing Print Materials

Braille is a very effective organizing tool for identifying and managing print materials. You can label your bills using a slate or a Braille writer for easy reference, noting on the envelope to whom the check must be issued, the amount due, and the payment deadline—no more worries about that missing phone bill. After writing out your checks, you can also label them in Braille with the check number, the date, the amount, the name of the recipient, and any additional information you need. When the checks are returned in your bank statement, you can determine which ones have cleared, even if you do not receive a Braille statement. If you are using carbon checks, you can use the Braille information on your carbon to draw up your Braille check register.

It is also helpful to label other important print documents to which you may need to refer later. These Braille labels, which can be written directly on the print item or noted on a separate piece of paper and either paper-clipped or stapled to the item, help to locate the document as well as to identify such important information as the account number on an insurance policy. Of course Braille is also invaluable in filing these documents. You can either write directly on a file folder or attach a Dymo tape label. The latter is easier to read and stands up to more wear and tear.

You can also create a Braille index card file using commercially available materials for any names, addresses, and telephone numbers. You can employ the same methods to label the alphabetic dividers as you used to label file folders.

But perhaps the most innovative labeling technique is the use of Dymo tape to mark your credit, ATM, insurance, and airline frequent flyer cards, etc. As long as you do not cover up the magnetic strip and your signature on the card, you should not experience any problems, even using an ATM machine. Never again will you have to resort to asking a stranger to paw through your wallet to select the card you need.

Of course Braille is not the only method for keeping track of information and for identifying and labeling items. You can use tape recorders, electronic note-taking devices, and computers to store and retrieve information, and other tactile identifiers such as rubber bands, strips of tape, or raised symbols made with glue or Hi-Marks® to mark items. However, none of these is as flexible and versatile as Braille for managing personal and household tasks. Far from becoming obsolete, Braille continues to be a valuable self-management tool.

Whether you are a whiz at Grade II Braille, just know Grade I, or use jumbo Braille, you will discover that with a little imagination Braille can serve you in countless ways. If you follow some of these suggestions and are stimulated to implement your own ideas, you will soon wonder how you ever managed without Braille—no more spaghetti with green beans for dinner. You can listen to the music of your choice and rest assured that you can locate that phone bill to pay it on time. Perhaps even some of you neophytes have had your appetites whetted and will be inspired to take the plunge and start learning the alphabet.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jerry Whittle reads Braille]

The Vitality of Braille

by Jerry Whittle

From the Editor: Jerry Whittle is the Braille instructor at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, one of the NFB's adult rehabilitation centers. We are often told that, unless a person learns Braille as a young child, he or she will never find it a useful tool because impressive speed and accuracy are impossible to master. Certainly the speed one can achieve as an adult learner depends on many things: the time devoted to practice, the degree of sensation in one's fingers, and the determination one brings to the task, among others. But whether or not one reads quickly, Braille is an important skill to master. Here is Jerry Whittle's article about the importance of Braille at the Louisiana Center:

One afternoon Marilyn Whittle, an instructor at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, happened to glance out the window and saw Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan getting out of a van and approaching the front door of the center. She quickly called Center Director Joanne Wilson and excitedly told her that Dr. Jernigan was in the parking lot. At first Joanne thought Marilyn was teasing her but quickly realized that it was true. Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan were on their way to Dallas that year to make hotel arrangements for the forthcoming national convention and decided to stop in Ruston to visit our students and staff. Joanne informed the instructors what was happening, and much bustling took place—loose papers snatched up and hidden away and last-second cleaning done.

Dr. Jernigan toured the center that day and conducted a seminar with the students—one that none of us will ever forget. During the tour of the library and the Braille room, one of the staff members noticed that Dr. Jernigan had his hand behind him reading titles as the tour proceeded. Later he told us, "You are doing the right thing here at the center. You should surround your students with Braille books. That's what we did in Iowa, and I am glad to see that you are doing the same thing here. Every time a student turns around, he or she should find books in plentiful supply." Dr. Jernigan's belief in the importance of Braille literacy and his supreme efforts to build and establish libraries throughout the nation should be impetus enough for all of us to follow his example and promote Braille among our blind peers.

When we first opened the Louisiana Center for the Blind in 1985, we had no Braille library, and we had a single, rough-hewn bookshelf. We quickly acquired a Braille Bible and purchased a Braille copy of Shakespeare's King Lear, a fine start to a good library. We continued to add more books, particularly NFB literature.

We placed a wooden box in the Braille room, and many people contributed quarters and dollars to the box for the purchase of books, including a cash contribution by Dr. Jernigan on his visit to the room. Many books have been purchased or contributed by former students, and the library has steadily grown. Now we have over 1,500 titles in the library on just about every subject imaginable. These books have played a large role in the promotion of Braille and its instruction and mastery.

Our large collection of books helps the center in many ways. For example, many students who come to the center are encouraged to work harder to learn the Braille code so that they can begin to read the books surrounding them. On more than one occasion we have heard a student say, "When I finish the code I want to read this book," or "I cannot wait to finish the code so I can begin reading a book." Another important way the collection has helped is the Braille instructor's ready access to many books, enabling him to find interesting books for each student. Even though we love our state library, it would be difficult to rely on it since it takes a few days to receive a book. Moreover, suppose a student does not like the book he or she has selected to read. With a large, readily accessible Braille library at hand the instructor can substitute other titles until the appropriate book is found. As a result the student will read more because he or she likes the book. It is also good to have two copies of some titles so that an instructor can read along with a beginning student until the student develops the competency to read without assistance.

Our center library adds a strong feeling of the importance of Braille as a chief ingredient in the success of our students. By surrounding them with Braille books, we convey our conviction that Braille is an integral part of our teaching philosophy and that Braille literacy truly plays an essential role in the success of any blind student for future employment and for personal enrichment and independence. In other words, by the very presence of so many titles our library makes a statement and serves as an incentive to strive harder to acquire a vitally important skill.

Dr. Jernigan built huge Braille libraries wherever he went, and his love for books has been passed to all of us through his words and actions. His energy and passion for literacy among the nation's blind set in motion the individual Braille bills in more than half the states and promoted the strong language in the Braille amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Through his guidance all of us can look to the National Center for the Blind as a Mecca for Braille literacy and technology. By following his example in the promotion of Braille libraries and literacy among the nation's blind, we can help reach his dream of first-class citizenship for all blind people. Without the ability to read and write, this goal will be virtually impossible to attain.


The Value of Greeting Cards

by Donald C. Capps

From President Maurer: In the Federation we do a good deal of fund-raising. Part of our purpose is to collect the funds to carry out our programs. Another part is to inform others about the capacity of the blind. Here is an article by the senior member of the NFB Board of Directors, Donald Capps. It provides insight about the life and career of one of our leaders and also illustrates the many benefits of sending literature and other items to individuals through the mails. This is what Don says:

I grew up in rural northeastern South Carolina on a tobacco farm during the Depression. I was the eleventh of eleven children, and our wonderful Christian mother never passed up an opportunity to tell everyone that I was her baby. She continued to do so even four decades later. My siblings thought I was spoiled, and perhaps they were right. I grew up in a large antebellum house which did not have modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and electricity, but it nevertheless had charm. Put together with pegs, this old farm house featured high ceilings and both front and back porches with high back rockers, which we used a great deal during the summer.

Just about every room in the house had a large fireplace. Before the arrival of cold weather, the wood bin would be filled with cut wood from the farm. To this day I can still hear the crackling of the burning wood and an aroma different from any other. In the large dining room there was a homemade table, which was always covered by an oil cloth that could be easily cleaned. Long, homemade benches flanked both sides of the table. These accommodated my large family. Unlike today's hectic pace, with family members eating at different times, we were always together at meal time, which made it special. My mother, who was an excellent cook, served hot biscuits with each meal, and they always went fast.

My blindness was due to congenital glaucoma. I cannot recall ever having any sight in my left eye, and I had seriously impaired vision in my right eye.

Since my father died when I was six years old, I don't remember a great deal about him. However, I was extremely fortunate in having a wonderful mother, who wanted me to have the very best in life. Recognizing my limited vision, she took me to an optometrist who fitted me with eye glasses. In the mid-1930's, it was not considered cool for a six-year-old to wear eye glasses. No sooner had I entered the first grade than I began to be taunted by my classmates. It was necessary for me to sit close to the blackboard, which set me apart from the rest of the kids, so the taunts increased. For four-and-a-half years I continued to struggle in the public school system despite diminishing vision and terrific headaches. This situation forced my mother to remove me from public school in January, 1939. Traveling thirty miles from my country home to Florence, then considered a railroad center, I boarded the train for the South Carolina School for the Blind in Spartanburg, more than 200 miles away. As I boarded the train, my mother and I both cried. At age ten I had never been more than a few miles from my home. Although I was treated well at the School for the Blind, the adjustment was difficult, and I experienced a lot of homesickness. The school served wholesome food, but it was not much like the home-cooked food I had been accustomed to on the farm. At home we raised most of our own food, so it wasn't necessary to buy many items from the store. For example, we did not eat cereal. The school served a lot of cereal. To me the worst of these was All-Bran, which seemed to be the meal planner's favorite. At times I rebelled, refusing to eat the All-Bran, but I eventually had to give in since I was not permitted to leave the table until my bowl was empty. I must confess that, since leaving the school more than fifty years ago, I've eaten very little cereal and no All-Bran at all.

During the five-and-a-half years I attended the School for the Blind, I profited immensely from the education, learning all of the basics including English, algebra, Latin, history, and a little music. Unquestionably, however, in later life I would come to understand that the Braille instruction I received was particularly important. In the 1940's blind students had no option but to learn Braille, even though in my case it was necessary to blindfold me to be sure that I used my fingers rather than my limited vision.

During my sophomore year I told my classmates and others that I was not coming back the next year but would enter public school in my hometown of Mullins for my junior and senior years. No one believed me. During the five-and-a-half years I attended the School for the Blind, I was always made to feel that with my bit of sight I was superior to those who were totally blind. Undoubtedly this false notion affected my thinking and decision to leave the school for my final two years of high school. Because of the excellent training and education I had received at the School for the Blind, I did well during my junior and senior years at Mullins High School, graduating in the top ten percent of the class. I was able to take fewer courses because I had already had many of them at the School for the Blind.

Meanwhile, my older brothers had left the farm for greener pastures, making it necessary for my mother to give up farming and move to the town of Mullins. This occurred in 1940 when I was twelve years of age. I soon learned that just three houses up the street from my new home lived a beautiful ten-year-old blond-haired girl, who would eventually become my wife. Her name was Betty Rogers, and we got along fine. She would even let me ride her bicycle since I never owned one of my own.

In those days homes were not air conditioned. However, just about every home had a front porch and a swing for summer enjoyment. The house in which Betty lived was no different. That particular swing stands out in my mind. When I was fourteen-and-a-half and Betty was twelve, we were swinging together one summer evening, and I managed to steal a kiss. Was it puppy love?--I think not. Six years later Betty would become my beautiful eighteen-year-old bride. On June 25, 1999, we will celebrate our golden wedding anniversary with our two adult children, Craig and Beth, and three grandchildren.

In 1947 I was fortunate enough to acquire a junior claim examiner trainee position with Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company. From the beginning it was difficult for me to read the material that came across my desk. With my sight gradually but steadily diminishing, it soon became necessary for me to use the strongest magnification device available in those days to read claim forms, hospital records, death certificates, and other items including an occasional lawsuit. In early 1953 my ophthalmologist and I concurred that the time had come when I could no longer see well enough, even with magnification, to do the necessary reading for my job. I returned to the office and went straight to the rest room, where I wept.

Unfortunately, in 1953 I did not have knowledge of or the support of the National Federation of the Blind and its wholesome philosophy concerning the respectability of blindness and the capability of blind people. My only course of action seemed to be to go to the president and co-founder of the company, who had hired me, to explain that I could no longer read and therefore I was submitting my resignation. I was fortunate in having a boss who had observed my work for a half dozen years and believed in my overall ability. He quickly responded, "Donald, I have known for some time that you would not be able to read much longer. I want you to know that we're not paying you just to read. We are paying you for what you have learned during the past six years, including your ability to interpret policies, evaluate claims, dictate letters, and supervise others. We have invested six years in your training, and we do not want to lose the benefit of your knowledge and expertise. We'll get you a reader, and you will continue to have a full-time secretary. I see no reason why your blindness should in any way affect your continuing to do the things for which you have been trained."

In 1953 there was no Americans with Disabilities Act, but my boss was ahead of the times. Furthermore, my boss's attitude was far superior to any provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result of his understanding and faith in me, for more than thirty years I successfully functioned as a blind person in claims administration, enjoying a thirty-eight-year career and rising to middle management.

I joined a local organization of the blind in August of 1953, but it was another year before I heard about the National Federation of the Blind. That year my employer received a box of greeting cards and some literature in the mail from the NFB. I was immediately asked about this organization and given the information to review. I agreed with every word in the literature and suggested to my employer that he would do well to contribute to the NFB. Additionally, I promptly wrote to NFB headquarters and requested more information.

The following year Kenneth Jernigan, then a member of the NFB Board of Directors, made a trip to upstate South Carolina and met with Dr. Sam Lawton, founder of the Aurora Club of the Blind. Dr. Jernigan eased some concerns in the meeting with Dr. Lawton and facilitated the affiliation of the Aurora Club with the NFB one year later. In 1956 the three chapters of the Aurora Club became a state organization and subsequently affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind.

I attended my first National Convention in July, 1956, in San Francisco. There I met two giants in the National Federation of the Blind. They were Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the distinguished founder of the NFB, and Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who would serve the NFB as President from 1968, the year of Dr. tenBroek's death, until 1986 and as President Emeritus until his death in 1998. Dr. Jernigan had a profound impact on my life and served as my mentor from the earliest days of our friendship. The sound philosophy and policies of the National Federation of the Blind have improved the quality of my life. From the beginning I gave my best efforts to my employer, attending to my assigned responsibilities and then some. However, the wholesome philosophy of the NFB taught me to compete successfully with my sighted co-workers for recognition, promotions, and salary increases.

The Capps' home and family life were typical of those of any family of four during those years. Our two children recognized that I went to work each day and was a normal dad despite blindness. In fact my blindness was never an issue with them. Beth, about five at the time, was playing with a neighborhood friend one day who remarked, "Beth, your dad is blind."

Beth responded matter-of-factly, "Yes, and he's smart too."

Like other blind persons I've had a variety of experiences, some of which were humorous and others not so pleasant. Some years ago, in a small town about fifty miles south of Columbia, where I now live, an old train depot was converted into a seafood restaurant. It rapidly gained a reputation from Columbia to Charleston as the best seafood restaurant in the state. During our first visit the restaurant cashier observed my white cane and realized that I was blind. She also recognized that we were from out of town. Upon learning that we were from Columbia, she commended Betty for being nice enough to drive me there. During our next several visits the cashier thanked Betty each time for being so nice to me. Finally, one Saturday afternoon, when my favorite college football team had lost badly and I was therefore not in a good frame of mind, we decided to visit this seafood restaurant. As though she were programmed, the cashier once again thanked Betty for driving me down. At this point I lost my cool. I had had enough; I firmly told the cashier that I agreed with her that it was nice of my wife to drive me down from Columbia, but it was also nice of me to go to work everyday and make the payments on the car. From that day on the cashier never thanked Betty again.

While the cashier had meant well, it was clear that it had never crossed her mind that blind people could work, maintain a home, raise a family, or meet normal obligations. What I have learned through my years in the National Federation of the Blind enables me to deal courteously but firmly with this subtle form of discrimination. The National Federation of the Blind has also taught me to accept other responsibilities within both my church and my community. My fellow Rotarians elected me President of the club in 1974. Other than relying upon a Braille agenda and a Braille watch, I presided in the same way as any other Rotary president.

Always active in the church, I have served a number of terms on the Board of Deacons and as Chairman of the important Personnel Committee. One night after I had efficiently presided at a meeting of the Personnel Committee, one member—a man with complete confidence in my ability to do the church's business— said he would be glad to drop me by my house if I could tell him how to get there. I assured him that I could indeed give him accurate directions to my house, for otherwise I might wind up in trouble.

What is the value of greeting cards? The National Federation of the Blind greeting cards certainly changed my life for the better. They brought me a message of hope, and indirectly they taught me to love my fellow blind. Thus it is impossible for me to place a true value on the National Federation of the Blind greeting cards received by my employer some forty-five years ago. The National Federation of the Blind way of life not only has greatly enriched my life but has enabled me to work harmoniously with thousands of blind Americans to improve their lives. For this wonderful opportunity I am deeply grateful.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Amanda Jones reading Braille]

Blind Girl Fills Life with Art, Song, and Books

by Russell Dean Newman

From the Editor: Amanda Jones and her twin April have attended NFB conventions for half their lives. Their grandmother, Pat Jones, is active in the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, and the girls have clearly benefitted from their exposure to NFB philosophy and from their friendships with many competent blind adults. The following story appeared in the November 22, 1998, edition of the Chattanooga Free Press. Here it is:

She likes to rollerblade and ride her eighteen-speed bike— especially fast. She plays the clarinet. She sings in the Chattanooga Girls Choir. She has a boyfriend she doesn't like to talk about. Her favorite subject is reading. And she's been blind since birth.

Twelve-year-old Amanda Jones is in the seventh grade at Ooltewah Middle School. She and her twin sister April moved to Chattanooga to live with their grandparents six years ago. Amanda recently won an award for her essay and artwork on the subject of "My Family Is Great." She wrote the essay on her Braille writer and used colored and flexible thin wax sticks for her bas-relief artwork.

Amanda relies on her imagination to form an image of what she feels, hears, and creates, whether she's working with her wax sticks or her messy pottery wheel. "I know what a person looks like," she said, "but I don't try to imagine colors."

Although she was excited about winning the contest, Amanda thought it was just another language arts assignment.

"I didn't even know it was a contest until I got a letter," she said. "I did my family roasting marshmallows at a campfire and used the wax sticks because I could tell what I did." She speaks with lucid and precise words through smiles that fill her entire face. "[My family] roasts marshmallows up in Wisconsin," she said, "and I thought that would be a neat thing to [show]."

Amanda has straight blonde hair which touches her shoulders.

Her eyes roll involuntarily, revealing elusive blue irises. Her winning artwork, which hangs in the Family and Children's Services (FCS) building on Eighth Street, shows an alluring arrangement of color. The center of the artwork shows a red and yellow fire which roasts marshmallows stuck on bright blue sticks. A green stick figure in each corner of the relief holds a stick, and the two lower figures rest on blue chairs.

She'll tell you there is nothing she's prevented from doing because of her blindness. And it's not a special ability that allows her to do everything. "It's because I want to," she said.

She likes to read "any kind of book except biographies, because they're boring." Amanda began learning Braille in the first grade, and, like everything else, "it's easy when you get used to it."

A black and white Cocker Spaniel named Lady works her way into Amanda's lap. The seeing fingers feel their way down the dog's back. "I read R.L. Stine (Goosebumps) books and Grace Livingston Hill," she said as she manipulated Lady's metallic orange tag with the fingers of her right hand.

The first time you see a Braille book can be an eye-opener. The books are not books. They are extra-large three-ring binders thick with taupe bump-filled sheets. Amanda needs both hands to carry this version of an R.L. Stine book from the living room to the dining room. She walks toward the eight-inch vertical transition between the two rooms and steps up like she had the benefit of sight.

Ask her how she knows just when to step up, and she'll say:

"I'm not stupid."

She drops the binder on the table and opens the large cover.

"I just know where I am," she added. She turns several pages and skims the bumps with both hands; her fingers flow up and down softly like she's pressing piano keys without producing sound. She reads aloud with eloquence. The more time spent with Amanda, the less difference there seems between her and any other twelve-year-old.

"You have to order these or ask for them from a library in Nashville," she said, after finishing a sentence. "There're not enough books in Braille"—a dilemma when reading is your favorite school subject and hobby.

As for her future, Amanda looks forward to a London and Paris trip with the Girls Choir and has "some things in mind" for a career. She's considering teaching either home economics or art. Then again, she might just be a lawyer.

Amanda does have something to say about being blind. "There's no difference in [being blind] and being sighted," she said as she scratched the underside of the table, "except you have to make some adaptations. And everything is easy once you get used to it."

Her persistent optimism remained even after more than an hour of talking, and she offered some logical ideas about editing. "Try to put [this story] on the front page," she said, smiling, "unless the editors have something else important; then tell them don't worry about it."

The contest sponsored by FCS coincides with November's National Family Week. Contestants range from grades one to seven. At an awards ceremony held at the Read House recently, Amanda received the winner's certificate, which had been overtyped in Braille. Cornerstone Bank opened a savings account in her name and donated her first deposit of $75. Cassy Sebastian, Amanda's language arts teacher, received a $100 gift certificate donated by Chattanooga Office Supply to be used for classroom supplies.

Inhaled Insulin

by Peter J. Nebergall, Ph.D.

From the Editor: The following article is reprinted from the Fall, 1998, issue of the Voice of the Diabetic, a publication of the Diabetes Action Network, a division of the National Federation of the Blind. Everyone concerned about effective management of diabetes will be interested in what Dr. Nebergall has to say:

Ever since insulin was first isolated in 1921, folks have dreamed of a more attractive way to take it than by parenteral injection. Who likes needles? Many alternatives to the syringe have been tried, but the successful ones (the insulin pen, the insulin pump, needle-free air injection) still had to penetrate below the skin to inject the dosage. Oral insulin (insulin pills) was tried but found ineffective because the body's gastric juices destroyed the medication long before it could be absorbed into the blood. Early attempts to inhale dry, powdered insulin worked but proved impossible to moderate; administration produced quick absorption followed by rapid fall-off.

The problem was to moderate the response of the inhaled insulin, to make the dosage reproducible, so that adjustment of dose would be possible. This has been accomplished. Not unlike timed-release oral medications, inhaled insulins are encapsulated in soluble microcapsules to slow their rate of release. The nature of the human lung dictates rigid size requirements for such "microcapsules," and the problem has been to achieve these sizes reliably. Several firms have been working to perfect this microencapsulation technology. Both Andaris (from Nottingham, England) and Inhale Therapeutics (from California) have succeeded in microencapsulating insulin.

Andaris states: "Preclinical testing is currently underway." Inhale Therapeutics, working with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has just completed phase two clinicals. Seventy subjects with type 1 diabetes and fifty-one with type 2 were randomized into inhaled or conventional treatment regimes. A related study of the reproducibility of inhaled dosage (through an inhaler device developed by Inhale Therapeutics) was completely successful. "Inhaled insulin administration was consistent from dose to dose, even with inexperienced users...pulmonary dosing is as consistent as injection."The results of these two three-month trials were made public at the American Diabetes Association's fifty-eighth annual scientific sessions in Chicago, Illinois, June 16, 1998. Researchers reported that, when inhaled insulin was used as a replacement for quick-acting, mealtime-injected insulin (with longer-acting basal insulin still injected), the degree of control was approximately equal, with the added benefit of increased patient compliance.


* Is inhaled insulin available now? No. Phase 3 clinicals are scheduled to start in November. Estimates are that the new insulin may be on the market in three to five years.

* Is it a total substitute for injected insulin? No, current inhalable formulations are designed to cover mealtime needs; basal insulin would still be injected. This may well change.

* Is it tight control? Not yet. At this time researchers compare it favorably to one injection of long-acting insulin taken in the morning. Expect this to improve.

* Is this the wave of the future? Very possibly. Both Inhale Therapeutics and Andaris report progress on a dozen or more different inhalable medications. With luck we may not need the syringe too much longer.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Konnie Hoffman-Ellis]

Self-Employed and Loving It

by Konnie Hoffman-Ellis

From the Editor: Konnie Hoffman-Ellis was a 1989 NFB scholarship winner. Can blind mothers juggle home, children, and job? You bet they can. This is the way one woman has made it work:

I've always known I wanted to be a teacher. This was made even more clear to me, though, at the age of thirteen when my sister and I began teaching our two younger brothers, who, believe it or not, were fairly willing and receptive students, even at the tender ages of two and four. Little did I know then that twelve years later I would be doing something quite similar in my own home and not in front of a classroom full of children.

I decided to give tutoring a try after completing my student teaching about six years ago. I had earned a master's degree in learning disabilities in addition to my bachelor's in elementary education, and I was anxious to put my skills to work.

However, I had found my months of working in the public school system to be a little disappointing. Because of my major in special education I was placed in a classroom that served children with developmental delays, attention deficit disorder, and various other challenges to academic growth. I found it very difficult, if not impossible, to help all these students adequately when their needs were so varied and there were so many children in the room at the same time. Also our main task seemed to be to help them complete their daily assignments from their regular classroom teachers. Unfortunately, our time was so limited that this usually amounted to little more than giving them the answers without their really understanding the material--a practice that left everyone feeling frustrated because no long-term skills could be learned or applied.

Since my student teaching ended in December, I knew it would be hard to find a job for the remainder of the year. So I decided to try my hand at tutoring until the next fall, when I already had a pretty good job prospect arranged. As things turned out, though, I liked tutoring so much that I decided to stick with the tutoring business and now plan to do so for a long time to come.

I love my job for many reasons. For one, I'm putting my college degree in education to good use, and I'm doing what I love best—working with children. Although I'm doing this using somewhat unconventional methods, what I do is more rewarding for me than teaching in the regular public school classroom. This is true for several reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that I'm my own boss and get to stay home full-time with my baby daughter. I can set my own hours and take time off whenever I wish to. I also like selecting the textbooks and worksheets from which to teach and being able to work with the kids one on one and at the best pace for each child. Perhaps the most rewarding thing about my job is seeing my students come to the point where they no longer need my services. In fact, the only disadvantage I can see to being a tutor is that the income is somewhat unstable due to the constantly fluctuating number of students.

However, in my opinion this one drawback is far outweighed by the many positives. I am always exposed to a variety of people with a great many different interests and problem areas. At my busiest time (before I became a mom, which now takes first priority) I was teaching twenty students, most of whom came at least two hours a week. The age span ranged from four to sixty-six. In addition to teaching the basics such as reading, math, and grammar, I've also taught things like algebra, computer, and creative writing. I've done everything from helping a senior citizen get her GED to working with gifted children—and everything in between.

How do I do my job? It's really quite simple. First I get the word out by various means, such as advertising in local newspapers and on radio stations. I also have brochures which I pass out whenever I get the opportunity, and I've given some of these to each of the schools in our area so that teachers can pass them on to parents if they believe the children could benefit from having a private tutor. As I become increasingly well-known, word of mouth is now my best form of advertising as my former clients give my name to others. I have also put signs advertising my business at busy intersections and on bulletin boards in public places. This has usually yielded good results.

Obviously tutoring requires lots of effort beyond the direct work with students. However, this is true for any teacher. At first I was putting in two hours of preparation time for each hour of tutoring. This time has been significantly reduced, however, since I can use the materials over and over. To save money, I did all the initial Braille transcription myself. I had a reader come in once or twice a week to read the textbooks and worksheets onto tape, which I later put into Braille. I purchased a Xerox copier so that I could use the same materials for different students.

Most of the parents I have dealt with have been very supportive and encouraging, even though some were a bit surprised at first when they learned of my blindness. The topic usually doesn't come up until they bring the child for the first appointment, but I am very open about the subject and am more than willing to explain that, though I sometimes do things differently, I accomplish the same end results.

When a student comes to me for help, the first thing I do is test to determine the grade level at which he or she currently performs. Then I assess the problem areas and find the appropriate materials with which to begin teaching. Sometimes I use the Optacon to correct papers, but I usually just have students tell me what they're doing as they work, which helps them as well as me. This method often enables them to catch and correct their own mistakes, which greatly facilitates the learning process.

After the student leaves, I write up that day's performance in a log on my computer. Every few weeks I give a copy of this report to the parents so they can see exactly what we've been doing and evaluate the progress made. I also keep track on my computer of how much each family owes me and the dates of previous payments. This makes it easy to print out bills or receipts if requested. Since I constantly have cash and checks coming in, it is necessary to keep pretty thorough records.

My job is also made easier because I have my own office, where I do my Braille transcription, computer work, and copying. I have a separate room that I use just for teaching and storing my materials. Lately I've been tutoring part-time in the evenings when my husband Bob is home to take care of our daughter Karissa, but when Dad can't be home, she loves to sit and watch me teach. She is usually very good. We plan to home school her when she gets a little older, so she'll probably have a good start on her ABC's and 1, 2, 3's by then, just by observing me teach these skills to others.

In short, I love tutoring because my creativity is continually challenged: I'm always trying to think of new and interesting ways to make what I teach fun and motivating for my students. I would recommend this job to anyone who thinks it sounds appealing, and I would be happy to discuss it further with those who have questions. Feel free to contact me at (605) 393-9512.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: David Andrews]

You've Got Mail

by David Andrews

From the Editor: If you have dipped a toe into the ocean of Internet access, you have probably met or conscientiously avoided a listserv. Federationists frequently inquire about how to join the various NFB Internet discussion groups. I recently asked David Andrews, System Operator for the NFB's computer bulletin board, to compile in one place all the information about our various discussion lists. The following article is the result:

While the part of the Internet that gets the most attention is the World Wide Web (www), the Internet service that people use the most is electronic mail or e-mail. That is just as true for members of the National Federation of the Blind as it is for our sighted friends. One use of e-mail which has exploded over the past several years is mailing lists, also called listservs.

An Internet mailing list or listserv is a list of people who

use electronic mail to discuss a topic of mutual interest. In

general, when you decide to join a mailing list, you send an e-

mail message to a special address, with some specified words

either in the body of the message or in the To: line or the

Subject: line. Your name is then added to the list of subscribers

to that list, and you will automatically receive in your electronic mailbox, a copy of every message sent to that list.

This kind of communication has a number of advantages and a few disadvantages. First, when properly used, mailing lists allow for very focused topical and timely discussion. You can get answers to specific questions quickly. You can also read and answer mail at your convenience. Support and a real sense of community can develop—something we know a lot about in the NFB. On the downside, message threads sometimes wander, and lots of off-topic messages get posted. Also, because of the impersonal nature of the medium, people say things that they wouldn't say in face-to-face conversations—personal attacks, so-called flames. Nevertheless, inside and outside the NFB Internet mailing lists are an increasingly popular mode of communication. In fact, over one hundred lists cater to blind and visually impaired people, and tens of thousands of lists exist overall.

The NFB and many of its divisions now sponsor mailing lists. The majority, but not all of them, are hosted by our computer bulletin board service, NFB Net. In fact, NFB Net is the grandfather of all of our discussion lists, having started NFB Talk and Blind Talk back in 1991. NFB Net hosts eleven lists as of January, 1999.

To subscribe to a list on NFB Net, send a message to <>. Leave the subject line blank, and write the word "subscribe" followed by the name of the list to which you are subscribing in the body of the message.

Please note that "listserv" has eight letters: listserv; there is no e on the end. All the body of the message need contain is the word "subscribe" plus the list name, which is a word up to eight characters in length. While names here are shown preceded by the < and followed by >, these punctuation marks are the conventional indication of the beginning and end of an address and should not be included in what you type when subscribing. Also please note that some of the list names contain hyphens, which must be used. Finally, each list is available in two different formats, regular and digest. A regular list means that you get a copy of each message as it is sent to the list, and digest mode means that you get only one message every twenty-four hours. This message contains all the individual messages for the past 24-hour period. On NFB Net digests are composed and sent each evening at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

Below are information on each list and the list names needed to subscribe. These list descriptions were taken from the information automatically sent to you when you subscribe to the list. If you have any problems, please contact David Andrews by e-mail at either <> or <>.

The purpose of the NFB Talk list is to disseminate information about the NFB and its activities. It is also intended for the discussion of the NFB's philosophy of blindness and topics of specific interest to members of the National Federation of the Blind and our friends as they relate to the NFB, our policies, activities, and philosophy. The list name is <nfb-talk>, and the digest name is <nftalk-d>.

The Blind Kid list is sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Started in mid-January of 1999, this is our newest list. It shares information for people interested in the welfare and development of blind children. Second, it is a means of communication between the members and supporters of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children to promote and discuss the activities of the Division, such as the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest, Future Reflections, and the like. The list name is <blindkid>, and the digest name is <kids-d>.

The Blind Law mailing list is sponsored by the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The purpose of Blind Law is to discuss legal matters and topics directly related to blind people and their blindness. If you have a blindness-related legal question, post it to the list, and a member of the National Association of Blind Lawyers will help you. The list is also intended as a means for the members of the National Association of Blind Lawyers to stay in contact with each other. The name of the list is <blindlaw>, and the digest name is bllaw-d>.

The purpose of the GUI Talk list is to discuss the use of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) by blind and visually impaired persons. The GUI includes, but is not limited to, Microsoft Windows 3.X, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, X/Windows, and the Macintosh OS. The GUI can also include graphical interfaces used on consumer electronic devices, office equipment, bank machines, and the like. GUI Talk provides a forum in which we can ask questions and get answers to those inquiries. We can share tips and tricks, discuss software and hardware used to access the GUI, and more. GUI Talk also provides access to the resources and information provided by the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, the world's largest demonstration and evaluation center for computer technology used by blind people. The list name is <gui-talk>, and the digest name is <gtalk-d>.

Also in the computer arena is the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science mailing list. The list is for discussion of the business and operation of the NFB in Computer Science. It is a way for our members to keep in contact with each other, to discuss the business and operation of the division, and to share information about the worlds of computer science and technology with each other. The list often contains a variety of technology-related announcements from both the general and adaptive marketplaces. The list name is <nfbcs>, and the digest name is <nfbcs-d>.

The Human Services Division of the NFB started its own list in the fall of 1998. The National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division is an organization of professionals who are blind and working or aspiring to work in the fields of social work, psychology, rehabilitation, and counseling. We have established our own mailing list to trade tips about our professions and, more important, to trade information and maintain a forum for discussion about serving and advancing in our professions. Since our common ground is blindness and professional status in one of the human service professions, we will focus most closely on issues involving blindness. The list name is <humanser>, and the digest name is <human-d>.

The National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs also has its own list. If you are a blind person running your own business, this list is for you. This is the place to exchange ideas and questions on such matters as speech-friendly bookkeeping programs, where to get general information about the market and pricing, how to design visually appealing business materials, business transportation issues, etc. Let your experience teach others. The sum of our knowledge is greater than our individual experience. The list name is <nabentre>, and the digest name is <entre-d>.

The next mailing list is sponsored by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). The purpose of this list is twofold. First, it is a means of communication between the members and supporters of NAPUB, promoting and discussing the activities of the Division, such as the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest and other topics. Second, the list is intended to promote Braille, Braille literacy, and the use of Braille generally. The list is an opportunity to share information about sources of Braille materials, stories about learning Braille, methods of teaching Braille to children and adults, discussion of Braille-producing equipment and software, and anything else Braille-related. There will also be occasional posts concerning issues of major importance to the blind as well as announcements concerning activities of NAPUB and the NFB. The list name is <napub>, and the digest name is <napub-d>.

Guide dog users also have their own list. The list is sponsored by the National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), an NFB Division. The purpose of this list is to provide guide dog users and other interested people with an easy way to access information about guide dogs and to assist people to deal with issues related to working with a guide dog. Topics can include, but are not limited to, the benefits and disadvantages of using a guide dog, guide dog schools, training, care, equipment, puppy raising, public access, legislation affecting guide dog users, public attitudes about guide dogs and their use by blind people, and NAGDU activities. The list name is <nagdu>, and the digest name is <nagdu-d>.

The National Association of Blind Students (NABS) moved its list to NFB Net late in the summer of 1998. Here is what they have to say about themselves and their list: The National Association of Blind Students is an organization of students who are blind. We have created our own mailing list, NABS-L, to provide a forum for the discussion of issues relevant to blind students in every major and grade. On NABS-L we can ask questions, suggest solutions, and share experiences. Occasional posts will also concern issues of major importance to the blind as well as announcements concerning activities of NABS and the NFB. The list name is <nabs-l>, and the digest name is <nabs-d>.

The final list on NFB Net is called Blind Talk. The purpose of Blind Talk is to discuss general topics of interest to blind and visually impaired persons, our friends and relatives, and anyone else who is interested. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, computers and adaptive access technology, Braille and Braille literacy, cane travel, guide dogs, alternative techniques of blindness, and training centers. Blind Talk is intended to promote the positive philosophy of blindness developed and promoted by the National Federation of the Blind. If you wish to subscribe to Blind Talk, send your name and e-mail address to David Andrews at <> or <>, and I will subscribe you. The list is available in either regular or digest format. Please specify which list you wish to join.

All messages on listservs hosted on NFB Net are also stored on the system for reference or later perusal. You can telnet to NFB Net by pointing your telnet client to <>. You can also dial-in using a standard modem by calling (651) 696-1975. In addition files, but not messages stored on NFB Net, are also available via the World Wide Web and via FTP. You can go to <> or <> to retrieve files, including past issues of the Braille Monitor, Future Reflections, and more.

In addition to the lists on NFB Net, a few lists are hosted by the NFB of California site, which is run by Brian Buhrow, chairman of the NFB's Research and Development Committee.

The most popular of these lists, <brl-monitor>, provides the entire text of the month's Braille Monitor directly to your electronic mailbox. Well over 400 readers from around the world subscribe to this list. This is an efficient, timely, and inexpensive way to receive the Monitor.

To receive the Braille Monitor electronically, send a message to <>. Leave the subject line blank, and in the body of the message write "subscribe brl-monitor" followed by your full name. For example, if I wanted to subscribe, I would put the following in the body of the message: subscribe brl-monitor David Andrews. I would then send the message to <>.

The NFBCAL site also hosts the Blind Professional Journalists list. Here is part of the message sent to new subscribers:

"Welcome to the Blind Professional Journalists Listserv! This list is an informal gathering place for people who want to ask questions and exchange ideas on how blind people succeed in journalism. We welcome working journalists or those who intend to write for a living on deadline. We expect that our group will include writers employed at newspapers, magazines, TV stations, or public affairs departments. We also welcome students wanting to pursue journalism careers or former journalists who, after becoming blind, wish to acquire effective alternative techniques for working in our highly competitive arena.

"Among the topics we expect to discuss in the listserv are technology that lets you manipulate information quickly and on deadline; reportorial techniques specific to blindness, ranging from managing the interview to managing visual aspects of the story; nuts-and-bolts solutions concerning transportation; and techniques for working with reader/driver/assistants, employment issues specific to blind professionals—from how to get hired to how to fund adaptive equipment—and ways of cracking informational barriers in order to keep you informed so you can do your job exceptionally well. To subscribe to this list, send a message to <> and put "subscribe nfb-bpj" followed by your name in the body of the message."

The NFBCAL site also hosts lists for the NFB's Research and Development Committee and the Science and Engineering Division. The NFB-RD list discusses matters of interest to the committee as well as topics related to the development and use of technology by and for blind persons. To join the list, you must contact Brian Buhrow, chairman of the committee, at <>. Tell him a little about yourself, who you are, and what interests you about technology for the blind.

Finally, there is the NFB Science and Engineering Division List. It discusses topics of interest to division members as well as subjects of interest and use to blind scientists and engineers. To join the NFBSE list, contact the Division President, John Miller, at <>. Again, tell him a little about yourself, who you are, and what interests you about science and engineering. You need not be blind to be on these last two lists; you just need to be interested in blindness issues as they relate to these topics.

If your NFB division or group wishes to start its own list, please have the President or an authorized officer contact David Andrews by telephone at (651) 696-1679 or by e-mail at <> or <> to make the arrangements. See you online.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Doris Willoughby]

A Special Memorial

by Doris M. Willoughby

From the Editor: Doris Willoughby is one of the finest teachers of blind children in the country today. She is also a longtime member of the National Federation of the Blind whose teaching philosophy has been shaped by her experience as a Federationist. In the following little article she pays tribute to Dr. Jernigan and makes an announcement of interest to everyone committed to effective instruction for blind children. This is what she says:

Dr. Jernigan loved language. He taught grammar and made it interesting. He enjoyed puns and other wordplay. His hundreds of speeches and articles made him a truly great author and speaker.

I have been privileged to write a few articles and books (often together with Sharon Monthei), but we did not compose them alone. The National Federation of the Blind, with Dr. Jernigan's leadership, was always behind us. Dr. Jernigan arranged the publication of the Handbook for Itinerant and Resource Teachers of Blind and Visually Impaired Students. People constantly tell us how helpful this book has been in a particular child's education.

For several years Sharon and I have been working—under Dr.

Jernigan's guidance—on another book that will fill a great need. Modular Instruction for Independent Travel for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: Preschool Through High School is designed as a flexible, practical guide for teaching cane travel to students of preschool age through high school.

Why have we called it modular instruction? Curriculum guides for various subjects often return to topics again and again. These may be called cycles, threads, or strings. Each teacher selects activities for instruction, as appropriate for various circumstances. Modular Instruction is organized by topics such as "Compass Directions," "Back Yard Boundaries," and "Alternate Routes Within a Building." It offers specific suggestions for activities and assumes that the teacher or parent will select activities according to individual needs. Modular Instruction went to press in late 1998. We hope that, by the time you read this article, it will be available from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. It will have a dedication page at the front reading, "In loving memory of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who inspired this book and arranged its publication."

NFB Honored at Technology Showcase

From the Editor: The following article appeared in the December 10, 1998, edition of the Baltimore Sun.

Computers for Blind Open Eyes at Cyberfair

by Mark Ribbing Subtitle: A highlight of the opening of the state's Technology Showcase was the exhibit of the computer software and devices for the blind.

The hottest trends in high-technology are on display at the Maryland Technology Showcase, which began its two-day run yesterday at the Baltimore Convention Center. Children line up three deep to try Apple's new computer; TV monitors show off crisp digital pictures; booth after booth heralds a better, faster way of connecting to the Internet.

Gaining access to such wonders, of course, requires a certain amount of technical know-how and money, but it often demands something even more basic: sight.

For the blind and visually impaired the digital age poses new difficulties as well as new opportunities, and society's ever-increasing reliance on video and graphics for information is not an entirely welcome trend.

"The world is becoming seemingly more and more visual," said Tom Ley, a product manager at Blazie Engineering in Forest Hill, who develops computer technologies for the blind. "More things are based on sight rather than on touch in a lot of ways. A lot of things are given to you in pictures rather than in words nowadays.

"We as blind people have been striving for years to incorporate ourselves into society. It's crucial for us to have access to new technology."

Toward that end, the National Federation of the Blind became the featured nonprofit of the Technology Showcase. The Baltimore organization, founded in 1940, is trying to make high technology more accessible to the sightless.

Ley manages a line of portable computers that the visually impaired can use as a personal organizer, clock, word processor, and phone directory.

The computer, called "Braille 'n Speak," has a seven-button Braille keyboard that is used to record words and data. To read what is on the machine, the user listens to the device's computerized voice. Much like a Palm Pilot or other hand-held electronic organizer, Braille 'n Speak can transfer its information to a regular personal computer.

The Federation seeks to encourage computer makers, software companies, and World Wide Web site developers to consider the needs of the blind and visually impaired as they develop new products, a campaign that the organization says has met with mixed success.

Curtis Chong, the Federation's director of technology, said the difficulty in persuading companies to take the needs of the blind into account stems largely from a lack of understanding. "It's hard to understand a blind person's having trouble using your Web site when you can't even imagine a blind person's getting out of his house to go to work," he said.

Blind and visually impaired people can gather information from a personal computer in one of two main ways. The more common method uses software that enables the computer to generate a voice that reads onscreen text. One example of this software is JAWS, which allows the sightless to use the Windows operating system.

Spoken-word systems can be pricey. Chong said JAWS and similar programs can easily add $800 or more to the cost of a computer.

However, this is less expensive than the other method for making computer screens legible to the blind, known as "paperless Braille." This system, also known as "refreshable Braille," is a line of small bumps at the bottom of a computer keyboard.

As the computer scans a line of text, it commands some of the bumps to rise and others to sink, creating a line of Braille that conveys the text to the reader.

After reading a line, a person presses a button, telling the computer to set up the next line of Braille. Blazie Engineering offers Braille Lite, a version of Braille 'n Speak that uses paperless Braille.

Betsy A. Zaborowski, the Federation's director of special programs, said these methods have made it easier for the blind to use computers and check out Web sites, but obstacles remain. "We have made a lot of progress in that we have pretty good access to text-based systems, but systems that have more graphics present tremendous challenges to us."

That was the article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun. A plaque was presented to the NFB at an afternoon reception during the Technology Fair. Here is the text:

Maryland Technology Showcase

December 9-10, 1998

with sincere appreciation to

National Federation of the Blind

in recognition of your

outstanding contribution to

Maryland Technology Showcase

Parris N. Glendening


Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Lt. Governor

A New Service for Hearing-Impaired Conventioneers

by Curtis Willoughby

From the Editor: Curtis Willoughby is a member of the NFB's Research and Development Committee and head of our Ham Radio Interest Group. Here is his announcement:

This year at National Convention we will offer a new service to severely hearing-impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. Many of these folks already use hearing aids that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking to a receiver in the hearing aid. At state and local meetings hearing-impaired Federationists often place their transmitters at the head table to be used by the president and others addressing the group.

This year at convention the Federation will provide a transmitter for such systems. It will be connected to the PA system; the signals from the head table and the aisle mikes will be transmitted to all those who have their hearing aid receivers tuned to the Federation's channel.

To use this system, hearing-impaired delegates must tune their receivers to channel 36 (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). They must not have their own transmitters tuned to channel 36 since that would interfere with reception by others. This means that they need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel 36. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers.

This announcement is printed now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention.

The Federation is pleased to offer this new service to our severely hearing-impaired colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will significantly improve their convention experience.

Dialysis at National Convention

by Ed Bryant

From the Editor: Ed Bryant is President of the Diabetes Action Network, a division of the National Federation of the Blind. In the following little article he provides important information for anyone on dialysis who is planning to attend the 1999 convention in Atlanta. This is what Ed says:

During this year's convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Atlanta Wednesday, June 30, through Tuesday, July 6, dialysis will be available. The convention will take place at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center in downtown Atlanta. Those requiring dialysis must have a transient patient packet and physician's statement filled out prior to treatment. Conventioneers must have their unit contact the desired location in the Atlanta area for instructions well in advance.

Individuals will be responsible for, and prior to each treatment must pay out of pocket, the approximately $30 not covered by Medicare plus any additional physician's fees and any charges for other medications.

Dialysis centers should set up transient dialysis locations at least three months in advance. This helps assure a location for anyone wanting to dialyze. There are many centers in the Atlanta area, but the city is large, so early reservation is strongly recommended if you wish to avoid long taxi rides.

Here are some dialysis locations:

* Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Piedmont, 120 Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, telephone (404) 888-4510.

* Dialysis Clinic, Inc., West Peachtree, 820 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30308, telephone (404) 888-4520.

* Gambro Healthcare (on Ralph McGill), 448 Ralph McGill Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30312, telephone (404) 872-7211.

* Gambro Healthcare Atlanta, 400 Decatur Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30312, telephone (404) 577-9097.

* Gambro Healthcare Peachtree, 524 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30308, telephone (404) 249-1563.

Please remember to schedule dialysis treatments early, to ensure space. If scheduling assistance is needed, have your dialysis unit's social worker contact Diabetes Action Network President Ed Bryant at (573) 875-8911. See you in Atlanta.


From the Editor: This month's recipes are offered by members of the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB).


Spinach Balls

by Ruth Sager

Ruth Sager is the Secretary of the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille.


2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained

2 to 3 scallions, chopped fine

2 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix

6 eggs, beaten

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 teaspoons garlic powder

½ teaspoon crumbled thyme

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Method: Combine all ingredients and mix well. If necessary for handling, chill thirty minutes. Form into one-inch balls and place on baking sheets. Freeze until firm. Store in plastic bags until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place balls on baking sheets that have been lightly greased with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Makes about three dozen hors d'oeuvres.

Crab Cakes

by Ruth Sager


2 slices bread, crusts removed

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 pound crab meat or imitation crab meat

about ¼ cup milk

Method: Break bread into small pieces and moisten with milk. Add remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly. Shape into patties about two inches in diameter and either fry in hot oil or broil on lightly oiled broiler pan at 400 degrees for twelve minutes. Turn cakes halfway through cooking time.

Pasta With Pesto Sauce

by Ruth Sager

Ingredients for Pesto Sauce:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese

Method: Combine basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Add the cheeses and process about ten seconds more.

1 pound pasta (your choice)

2 tablespoons pine nuts

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium potato, boiled and sliced

salt and pepper to taste

fresh basil for garnish

Method: Prepare pasta as directed on package label. Rinse and thoroughly drain. Transfer pasta to a pre-heated serving bowl. Add the pesto sauce, pine nuts, olive oil, potato, and salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat the pasta thoroughly. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Dutch Apple Cobbler

by Ruth Sager

Ingredients for Filling:

5 cups cored, peeled, sliced tart apples

¾ cups sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla mixed with ¼ cup water

1 tablespoon margarine

Ingredients for Batter:

½ cup sifted all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons margarine, softened

1 egg, slightly beaten

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. Mix all filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and arrange evenly in prepared baking pan. Mix batter ingredients together in a separate bowl. Using a spoon, place batter on top of apples in nine mounds. Batter will spread during baking. Bake for thirty-five to forty minutes or until apples are fork-tender and crust is firm and golden brown. Cool. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Warren Figueiredo]

Bread Pudding by Warren Figueiredo Warren Figueiredo serves as NAPUB Treasurer.


½ stick butter or margarine

3 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

3 cups day-old bread, crumbled

2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

1 cup raisins

one half of a 20-ounce can crushed pineapple

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Method: Butter a 13-by-9 casserole or baking dish. Melt remaining margarine and add to beaten eggs, milk, bread, sugar, fruits, nutmeg, and vanilla. Place pudding in dish and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. Serve with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce

by Warren Figueiredo


½ cup butter

2 to 3 tablespoons brandy

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Method: Beat butter with electric mixer or rotary beater until soft and fluffy. Add sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until thick and glossy. Stir in brandy. Serve with warm bread pudding or apple pie.

Crabmeat Mornay

by Warren Figueiredo


1 stick butter

1 small bunch chopped green onions

½ cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons flour

1 pint half and half (breakfast cream)

½ pound grated Swiss cheese

1 tablespoon sherry

Cayenne pepper to taste

Salt to taste

1 pound white crabmeat

Method: Melt butter in heavy pan and saute onions and parsley. Blend in flour, cream, and cheese, stirring until mixture thickens and cheese is melted. Add remaining ingredients except crab meat and stir to blend flavors. Gently fold in crabmeat. Heat thoroughly. Wonderful served over Melba toast or Triscuits.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Nadine Jacobson]

Mandy's Marinated Fruit Bowl

by Nadine Jacobson

Nadine Jacobson is First Vice President of NAPUB and Vice President of the Minnesota Parents of Blind Children.

Ingredients for Dressing:

¼ cup amaretto

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lime juice


1 pint strawberries, quartered,

2 cups seedless grapes,

1 cup honeydew balls,

2 kiwis, sliced,

1 apple, cored, peeled, and sliced,

2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed

Method: In small bowl combine dressing ingredients and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine fruit. Pour dressing over fruit and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Before serving, garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Lemon Bars

by Nadine Jacobson

Ingredients for Crust:

1 cup flour

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 stick butter, softened

Ingredients for Filling:

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

grated zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons flour

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients for crust and press into 8- by 8-inch pan. Bake twenty minutes. Combine filling ingredients, pour over partially baked crust, and return to oven for another twenty minutes. Cool pan on rack. If desired, sprinkle powdered sugar over bars after they have completed baking.

Greek Salad

by Nadine Jacobson


3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

2 cucumbers, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons onion, chopped

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2/3 cup pitted black olives

1 cup mayonnaise

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup yogurt

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Method: Combine and mix all ingredients together. Serve over lettuce leaves and garnish with tomato wedges.

Monitor Miniatures


If you receive the print edition of the Braille Monitor, please look carefully at the page numbering of the January/February issue. We would appreciate your notifying the National Center, (410) 659-9314, if you find missing pages or duplicates. We will replace flawed issues to those who return their copies. We very much regret any inconvenience you may have experienced.



Al Maneki is a leader in the NFB of Maryland. We recently received the following information from the U.S. Department of Defense:

On October 19, 1998, during its eighteenth Annual Awards Ceremony, the Department of Defense presented Al Maneki with the Outstanding Employee with a Disability award.

The field in which Dr. Maneki works, cryptographic mathematics, requires a strong technical foundation in theoretical mathematics. Analysts spend much of their time reading, writing, and publishing. Due to his degenerative eye disease, Dr. Maneki relies on computer-assisted tools to stay current in his special area.

Dr. Maneki received his doctorate from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has been the first co-worker with a disability for many National Security Agency employees. His can-do attitude puts people at ease and helps make him a welcome team member. In his spare time he is active in the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.

Marching Together in White Cane Week:

On May 16, 1998, fifty Federationists and their friends gathered to take part in a Walk for Independence in Philadelphia. A representative from the city presented and read a proclamation declaring May 16 to 22 as White Cane Week. Then the enthusiastic walkers set off to educate the public and raise funds for the affiliate. Here is the letter Jim Antonacci wrote about the event to President Maurer:

July 27, 1998

Dear President Maurer:

On Saturday, May 16, 1998, The National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania held our first Walk For Independence. The Walk was sponsored jointly by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter and the Keystone Chapter. Our objectives were to increase the awareness of city officials and the general public about the NFB and to use the event as a vehicle through which both Philadelphia-based chapters and members of the Parents of Blind Children could work together cooperatively to raise funds for the state affiliate by soliciting sponsors who contributed based on the number of blocks walked.

I am pleased to report that these objectives were achieved. Participation in the planning and execution of the event went smoothly. The fifty people who participated represented equally the memberships of the chapters and division. We noted that walking the entire distance with their canes were our oldest Pennsylvania Federationist, who was eighty-eight years of age, and our youngest Federationist, who was six. The proclamation awarded by the City of Philadelphia is the first of its kind for some years. We hope that the funds raised this year will be only a start in our ability to fund the NFB of Pennsylvania.


Jim Antonacci, Secretary

NFB of Pennsylvania


A number of affiliates have conducted elections during recent months. Here are the results reported by several:

The NFB of Rhode Island elected officers at its October 24 convention. They are Barry Humphries, President; Richard Gaffney, Vice President; Mary Jane Fry, Recording Secretary; Kenneth Bryant, Treasurer; and Angelina Tiexeira, George Harrington, Adrina Baligian, and Catherine Gaffney, Board Members.

On Sunday, November 8, 1998, the NFB of Connecticut elected the following officers: Betty Woodward, President; Jeff Dittel, First Vice President; Mark Tardif, Second Vice President; Frank Holzli, Secretary; Bruce Woodward, Treasurer; and Carolyn Dodd, Tom Barretta, John Padilla, and Louis Pape, Members of the Board of Directors.

At the twenty-second annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey, the following officers and board members were elected: Joseph Ruffalo, President; Ever Lee Hairston, First Vice President; Tracey Hall, Second Vice President; Jerilynn Higgins, Secretary; Gloria Lewis, Treasurer; and Betty Hightower, Jerry Moreno, David Mostello, and Ryan Stevens, Board Members.

The NFB of California recently elected Jim Willows, President; Nancy Burns, First Vice President; Maria Morais, Second Vice President; Jana Littrell, Secretary; and Ellen Paxon, Treasurer. Elected to the Board of Directors were Bryan Bashin, Donovan Cooper, Geraldine Croom, and Paul Carver.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Henry Manuel "Hank" LaBonne, March 26, 1932, to December 27, 1998]

In Memoriam:

Harold Snider reports the following sad news.

Hank LaBonne was a Cajun born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was educated at the Louisiana School for the Blind in Baton Rouge and was active in its alumni association. After graduation Hank went into the music business, travelling the southeastern states with bands from New Orleans. He played piano and sang. During the early 1970's he entered the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Program in Louisiana, managing vending facilities in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He joined the National Federation of the Blind when its Louisiana affiliate was re-organized in 1975 and helped host our National Convention held in New Orleans in 1977. He moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the early 1980's after having served as president of the Louisiana affiliate for several years. In Chattanooga he became president of the Chattanooga Chapter and served on the Board of the state affiliate until his death. He received the distinguished Thomas Jefferson Award for Community Service in 1997, which was presented in Washington, D.C. He was quick to embrace the newest innovations to help blind people in his community by initiating one of the first local NEWSLINE® Centers through the service-delivery agency on whose board he served for many years.

Hank liked nothing better than to party with his friends. Many Federationists will remember gatherings in his room during Washington Seminars and National Conventions. Hank loved life and loved people. He was well-known in the Chattanooga area for teaching Braille and the alternative techniques of blindness to many blind children. He clearly understood the value of literacy for the blind. Hank's death was widely reported on radio and television and in the newspapers in both Chattanooga and New Orleans, where he is buried. We will deeply miss this wonderful man who was our friend.


At the time of this writing the Job Opportunities for the Blind Targeted Jobs Initiative program has hit the ground running. The JOB program is a little more than six months old. Ten people successfully completed the technology training program at the National Center for the Blind before year's end. Of those ten, three began new jobs in late December and early January.

Darlene Barker has taken a position with Blazie Engineering. Maurice Peret of West Virginia has taken an instructor position at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland. Joyce Porter from Washington, D.C., has taken a position with our affiliate in Texas to work on a JOB grant that the NFB of Texas has received to do job development.

Congratulations to all three!

Audio Darts Tournament:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Audio Darts of Pittsburgh will hold its second Harold Schlegel Darts Tournament during the weekend of March 26 to 28, 1999. This tournament will be held at the Best Western Motel, 3401 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For room registrations call (412) 683-6100. The first event will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and the tournament should conclude at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The cost of the entire tournament will be $65. Please make all checks payable to Audio Darts of Pittsburgh and mail to Louis Wassermann, 2503 Silver Oak Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15220. For more information call Lois Briggs (412) 366-2630, Harold Schlegel (412) 921-0172, or Joe Wassermann (412)


Braille Sterling Designs Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Kim Christiansen, the designer of the Braille jewelry many of us have grown to love, has announced he is now out of hibernation and ready to fill orders once again. The latest addition to his line is an adorable miniature book pin cast in pewter. Available in shiny pewter or 18K gold electroplate, it is one by one-and-one-eighth by one-eighth. "Read for Fun" is on the cover in Braille and on the spine in print. The pin sells for $20. The combination signing and Braille "I Love You," hand pin, and other pieces are available by calling Kim's new phone number, (603) 643-4096, or mail to P.O. Box 583, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755.

Correspondents Wanted:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I want to correspond with those who share an interest in old-time radio, playing Trivia, American pop culture, sitcoms and comedy, spectator sports and wrestling, most kinds of pop music from 1955 to the present, listening to BBC and American music shows, and trading songs on tape. I also enjoy Tom Leykis, bowling, fishing, miniature golfing, and playing sports like those. Contact Joe M., 20401 Soledad Cyn. Rd., Sp. 522, Canyon Country, California 91351-2556.


At its November 19, 1998, meeting, the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio elected the following officers: Ken Velkovich, President; Bill Innis, Vice President; Bernie Dressell, Secretary; Paul Dressell, Treasurer;

Judy Cook, three-year Trustee; Elias Coorey, two-year trustee; and Margaret Stinnett, one-year Trustee.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: From left to right are Mary Main, Bruce Woodward, and NFB of Connecticut President Betty Woodward. The picture was taken at the 1998 picnic of the Danbury Chapter.]

In Memoriam:

Bruce Woodward, Treasurer of the NFB of Connecticut, writes as follows in celebration of the life of a remarkable woman:

Mary Main was a very special person to me and to many others, both in Connecticut and across the country. She died early on the morning of November 8, 1998, at the age of ninety-five. She was surrounded by her loving family. Mary Main was a wonderful friend and comrade in the organized blind movement. She often chatted with Dr. Jernigan on the telephone, and these two enjoyed a special friendship. Her delightful sense of humor, her great instinct for what was right, her complete and intellectual grasp of the philosophy of the Federation, and her ability to get things done were her chief attributes. Business aside, she was a fascinating friend to listen to and share experiences with. Nothing could be finer than to share cocktails and stories with Mary before an NFB banquet. Her life's experiences and her keen observance of human nature were an inspiration.

She was the founder of the Stamford Area Chapter of the NFB of Connecticut. Joe Tolve, a longtime member of the Stamford Chapter, wrote the following testimonial to Mary:

"She taught us to respect ourselves and to contribute to society. With her wise counsel all of us are living greatly enhanced lives. She always recognized our strengths and weaknesses, quickly advising us how to correct whatever difficulty we might be facing. `Believe in yourself,' she told me once, `and you will get that occupation you desire.' She was instrumental in getting me to realize this truth. I got the job that I wanted; I became an active member in our community, a writer of short stories and books; and I learned about computer technology, which I now freely share with newly blind adults—all because of Mary Main's enriching philosophy."

I have not mentioned her early life or her career as a writer or the well-known books she wrote, including Evita. I have spoken only of her as a dear friend devoted to all of us in the National Federation of the Blind. We will miss her and cherish our memories of her.

Summer Music Institute for Young Musicians:

The Summer Music Institute, National Resource Center for Blind Musicians has asked us to carry the following announcement:

The Music and Arts Center for the Handicapped is accepting applications from motivated blind musicians throughout the United States, tenth grade and up, to participate in its fourth Summer Music Institute for blind college-bound musicians. The three-week program, to be held in July at the University of Bridgeport, will provide exposure to music Braille, music composition by computer, keyboard, theory, ensemble, and strategies for independence in a college setting. Enrollment is limited to ten students who will be accepted based on their applications and telephone interviews. Cost of the program (including tuition, room and board, and materials) is $2,000. Partial scholarships are available. Applications must be completed and returned by May 1. Students under the age of fifteen or in need of significant financial help should apply early.

The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians provides information to musicians, students, and teachers on music Braille and accessible music technology. The Center can provide advice about music systems or put people in touch with someone in its national network of blind musicians with experience in a particular aspect of the field.

For an application to the Summer Music Institute or to reach the National Resource Center, contact the Music and Arts Center for the Handicapped, 600 University Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06601, phone (203) 366-3300, e-mail <>.

Tactile Drawings and Maps Available (UPDATED ADDRESS):

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The following maps and supporting information are available from the Princeton Braillists:

Maps of individual U.S. states: each booklet contains introductory information and detailed maps showing cities, rivers and lakes, major highways, physical features, county boundaries, and agricultural and mineral resources. Included are Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Florida, and New Jersey. Price per booklet, $6 (shipping by free mail).

Basic Human Anatomy: cross sections of the head and brain, nose-mouth-throat, tooth, respiratory tract, heart, digestive system, villus, urinary tract, kidney, nephron, nerve cell, eye, ear, skin, male and female reproductive systems, and fetus in the womb. Eighteen drawings with keys, thirty-one pages total. Price, $15, including shipping.

Atlas of North and South America: three units in four volumes. Maps show boundaries, mountains, rivers and bodies of water, elevation, major cities only, climate, land use, and resources. Each unit is self-contained and can be used alone. Unit 1, Northern North America (Canada and United States); Unit 2, the United States (two volumes); and Unit 3, Middle and South America. Price of four-volume set, $56, including shipping. Individual volumes cost $15, packing and shipping is $4 for one or two volumes.

Atlas of the Middle East: covers seventeen countries, including a page of facts and a full page for each country, twenty-five maps with keys, sixty-nine pages total, $20 including shipping.

Maps of Russia and Its Former Republics: shows boundaries, rivers, and major cities as of 1997, six maps, sixteen pages total, $4, free mail.

Maps of Morocco: seven maps with keys, nineteen pages total, $5, free mail.

Each booklet is bound with cardboard covers and a multi-ring binder. Send check or purchase order to the Princeton Braillists, 28-B Portsmouth Street, Whiting, New Jersey 08759, (732) 350-3708 (UPDATED ADDRESS). Credit card and fax service are not available. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. For further information call (609) 924-5207.

Jumbo Brailler For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I purchased a Perkins large cell Braille writer last year. I thought that it would help me to read Braille more easily. Unfortunately, due to the loss of feeling in my fingers, it did not work. I paid $850 from Howe Press and am asking $500. The Braille writer comes with a dust cover and a wooden eraser. I will ship it free matter for the blind. I will accept only money orders, no checks please. I would appreciate all correspondence in large print or on cassette tape with name and address spelled out. Contact Melissa Zeoli, 211 Scituate Vista Drive, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920.

1999 Guide to Toys for Blind Children Now Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) have released the latest edition of Guide to Toys for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. The guide is a one-of-a-kind resource for parents, grandparents, and teachers that contains commercially available toys and games appropriate for children of all ages who are blind, have low vision, or have multiple impairments that include visual impairment. It features 100 new toys with an emphasis on multimedia and interactive toys in a wide price range. An introductory section makes it easier for adults choosing toys to understand the selection criteria used and shows readers how to apply these criteria beyond the products appearing in the guide.

Single copies and supplies of the Guide to Toys for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired are available in full-color print or on audio cassette free of charge by contacting American Foundation for the Blind, 11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300, New York, New York 10001, phone (800) 232-5463; or Toy Manufacturers of America, 200 Fifth Avenue, Room 740, New York, New York 10010, fax (212) 633-1429.

Correspondents Wanted:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Alexander Moskovskiy, a visually impaired Russian veterinarian, seeks pen friends. Please e-mail to <>.

Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The State of New York has recently published the Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights. It explains consumers' rights to better health care and recent developments in the managed care industry, including Medicare and Medicaid. It focuses on the regulation, quality, benefits, and choices that the average consumer has concerning managed care. The book is available on audio tapes for $25. Contact Richard Kirsch, (518) 465-4600, e-mail <>.

Celebrating Rehabilitation Teaching:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Division 11 (Rehabilitation Teaching Services) of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired will sponsor "Rehabilitation Teaching: The Next Century Conference 1999" July 23-27 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The conference is planned as a two-day work session and a two-day celebration of the 150th anniversary of rehabilitation teaching. Designed as an opportunity to bring together leaders in the field, the work groups will create documents addressing critical issues in the field of rehabilitation teaching. A poster session depicting the breadth of the profession and vendor exhibits will be featured during the sessions. For more information contact Lisa-Anne Soucy at (914) 831-7199 or <>.

Phone Card Plus With Talking Yellow Pages Now Available:

President Maurer reports that one long-distance telephone service offers a talking yellow pages service. You can dial in to the talking yellow pages service and specify the company you are looking for. Listings in your area will be offered which can be automatically dialed to ask for quotes or do other business. Dr. Maurer dialed in "hot tub" and received twelve listings for local services.

The National Federation of the Blind receives a contribution from Phone Card Plus for each person who signs up for service. The number to use for requesting this service is (800) 365-5737.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I have the following for sale: Alva 20-cell unit, $2,100. Braille 'n Speak 640 with carrying case, adapter, learning tapes, $850. DECtalk Express with external speech synthesizer, $325. Jumbo Brailler just refurbished at Howe Press, no case, $450. Office 97 on CD-Rom, $125. All items listed are in excellent condition, and the prices are negotiable. Contact Isaac Obie, 755 Tremont Street, Apartment 205, Boston, Massachusetts 02118; phone (617) 247-0026, or e-mail to <>.

New Chapter:

Brian Miller, Secretary of the Old Capitol Chapter of the NFB of Iowa, reports that in June of 1998 the Old Capitol Chapter conducted its inaugural meeting as a newly chartered chapter in the Greater Iowa City area. The following officers were elected:

Priscilla McKinley, President; Mickey Fixsen, Vice President;

Brian Miller, Secretary/Treasurer; Loren Schmitt and Paul Snow, Board Members.



On October 24, 1998, at a ceremony conducted in Columbus, Ohio, Toni Eames was inducted into the National Hall of Fame (NHF) for Persons with Disabilities. Founded in 1981 by John Clark, Jr., who serves as Executive Director, NHF's goal is to honor outstanding Americans with disabilities for their personal achievements and contributions to humanity. Toni joins previously inducted nationally renowned figures such as Judy Heumann, I. King Jordan, Nell Carney, Ed Roberts, Bree Walker, and Tom Sullivan. Posthumous inductees have been Helen Keller and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Toni Eames was selected because of her outstanding career as rehabilitation counselor, author, and lecturer. This career has been supplemented by her advocacy work on behalf of all disabled people, particularly those partnered with guide, hearing, and service dogs. Her role in the creation and development of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) was an important factor in receiving this honor. Currently she serves as vice president of the Fresno Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California and is a member of the Fresno ADA Council and transportation committee.

Along with husband Ed she has co-authored two books, A Guide to Guide Dog Schools and Partners in Independence: a Success Story of Dogs and the Disabled. She has published articles in Mainstream, Ragged Edge, Disability Studies Quarterly, Braille Monitor, Pawtracks, Harness Up, Dialogue, Cats, and Good Dog, as well as writing a regular column for Dog World magazine.

As a team Toni and Ed have lectured at twenty-three of the twenty-seven veterinary schools in this country and will visit the remaining four schools in 1999. Their goal is to educate veterinary students about the needs of disabled clients, particularly those partnered with guide, hearing, and service dogs.

Positions Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Clovernook Center in Cincinnati is recruiting for a variety of positions in its production facility. Openings include packers, material handlers, machine operators, and utility personnel. Contact Mike Walsh, Clovernook Center for the Blind, 7000 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231, (513) 522-3860, an equal opportunity employer.


The Blueridge Chapter of the NFB of Virginia recently held elections with the following results: Woodrow Berry, President;

Stewart Owen, First Vice President; Angela Matney, Second Vice President; Melvin Montgomery, Treasurer; Cathy Owen, Recording Secretary; Gwen Beavers, Corresponding Secretary; and Cleo Mauck, Andrea Montgomery, and Charlie Morris, Board Members.

Blazie Engineering Announces Improved Product Warranty and latest catalogue:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Blazie Engineering announces a new one-year warranty, effective November 1, 1998. Blazie's entire line of portable talking notetakers, including the Braille 'n Speak 2000, Type 'n Speak 2000, Braille Lite 2000, Braille Lite 40, and Type Lite, will be covered under the policy. Also warrantied for one full year are Blazie's disk drive accessory and the Braille Blazer embosser.

Owners of all devices sold after October 1, 1998, will benefit from the improved guarantee against manufacturing defects, which represents a more than 400 percent increase in coverage from previous company policy. Those customers after October 1, 1998, ordering an optional service agreement at the time of purchase will receive an additional year of coverage, for a total of two years.

Blazie Engineering also announces publication of its 1999 catalog featuring more than sixty items. Included are the entire family of Blazie's talking notetakers, notetaker software and accessories, Braille embossers, screen-reading software, speech synthesizers, Braille graphics software, Braille translation software, computer accessories, and more. In addition to Blazie Engineering's own products, manufacturers represented include Duxbury Systems, Raised Dot Computing, Henter-Joyce, MicroTalk, Syntha-Voice, Digital, and others.

Blazie's newest products, including the PowerBraille refreshable Braille displays, are this year's standout. An expanded selection of application software written especially for Blazie notetakers includes the new program Book `Em. Book `Em compresses files to nearly half their original size without encoding them, practically doubling available memory. Also new is a spreadsheet program for notetakers called Braille Calc.

Blazie Engineering's 1999 catalog is available free in large print, in Braille, on audiocassette, or online by accessing <>.

For more information about Blazie products or the new warranty, contact Blazie Engineering, 105 East Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050. Telephone (410) 893-9333, or visit its Web site at <>.

Focus Groups at National Convention on Barriers to Employment:

We have been asked to announce the following:

What rehabilitation techniques or reasonable accommodations have been successful for NFB members in getting jobs? What do exemplary service providers use to overcome barriers to employment of the blind? Two focus groups will offer NFB members attending the 1999 National Convention in Atlanta the opportunity to provide answers to these and related questions. Each group, to be conducted during the afternoon or evening of Thursday, July 1, will include eight to ten members. After an introductory explanation and summary of barriers to employment of the blind identified by previous research, group members will brainstorm to identify and develop new techniques for overcoming barriers to employment of the blind. Those interested in participating should contact Lynn W. McBroom, Ph.D., at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, P. O. Box 6189, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, or call Dr. McBroom at (601) 325-7828.

Vacancy Announcement:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The Michigan Family Independence Agency (FIA) is currently accepting applications for the Director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center (MCBTC), located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This position is classified as a State Division Administrator 17. The salary will be based on pay for performance. The minimum base rate will be $24.57 per hour and the maximum base rate will be $37.70. The position receives direction from the Michigan Commission for the Blind Director.

Selection Criteria:

* Thorough knowledge and understanding of blindness and of the issues facing blind persons in Michigan.

* Knowledge and experience administering a diversified service-delivery program for blind persons, including independent living, employment, and vocational rehabilitation.

* Knowledge and experience supervising administrative functions such as personnel, budget, facility maintenance, clinical services, or capital outlay projects.

* Demonstrated commitment to strategic planning and implementation, as well as the ability to work with all levels of management and lead and serve on management teams.

* Experience networking with community groups, statewide business or governmental organizations, or political leaders to develop mutually beneficial programs.

* Proven leadership qualities and excellent communication skills, including public speaking.

Bachelor's degree in Vocational Rehabilitation is required as well as two years of experience as a professional manager or equivalent experience. Closing date for resumes to be received is March 17, 1999. Interviews are tentatively scheduled for April 1 to 6, 1999.

Michigan FIA is an equal opportunity employer. Interested, eligible applicants should submit a resume to Personnel Services, Attention Leila Frangie, Grand Tower, 235 South Grand Avenue, Suite 710, P.O. Box 30037, Lansing, Michigan 48909.


The Clark County Chapter of the NFB of Washington recently elected new officers. They are Michael Freeman, President; Bob Sellers, Vice President; Don Mitchell, Secretary; and Nancy Martin, Treasurer.

Diabetes Action Network Drawing:

The Diabetes Action Network of the National Federation of the Blind provides support and information to thousands of people. Because operating this valuable network and publishing the Voice of the Diabetic cost money, we must generate funds to help cover these expenses. Our Diabetes Action Network will conduct a raffle, which will be coordinated by division treasurer Bruce Peters. The grand prize will be $500! The winning ticket will be drawn and the winner's name announced on July 5, 1999, at the NFB Convention banquet.

Raffle tickets cost $1 each, and a book of six may be purchased for $5. Buy your tickets from state representatives of our Diabetes Action Network or by contacting the Voice Editorial Office, 811 Cherry Street, Suite 309, Columbia, Missouri 65201, telephone (573) 875-8911. Anyone interested in selling tickets should also contact the Voice Editorial Office. Tickets are available now. Names of those who sell fifty tickets or more will be announced in the Voice.

Please make checks payable to the National Federation of the Blind. Money and sold ticket stubs must be mailed to the Voice office no later than June 10, 1999, or delivered personally to project chairman Bruce Peters at this year's NFB convention in Atlanta, Georgia. This raffle is open to anyone age eighteen or older, and the holder of the lucky raffle ticket need not be present to win. Each ticket sold is a donation, helping keep our Diabetes Action Network moving forward.

Snail Mail by E-Mail:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

NetGram Incorporated of San Diego, California, announces its patented e-mail to postal mail conversion system known as the E-mail Bridge. The system allows Internet users to send postal letters directly from their e-mail programs without purchasing and installing additional software. The system also includes a full-featured Address Book and Customer-Account pages accessible from the NetGram Web site. Preparing and sending postal mail is as easy as sending an e-mail message.

The E-mail Bridge allows users to create e-mail inboxes on the NetGram server, which represent actual hard-copy destinations. Once a message is sent to the system, NetGram validates the message and prepares it for printing at a NetGram Print Center. The letters are then delivered to the U.S. Postal Service. The cost of sending a single-page postal letter to any recipient in the United States is 89 cents. NetGram sells postage in amounts of $10, $20, and $30 and maintains the postage in the customer's account.

Privacy of the postal address information is guaranteed because NetGram does not release the postal addresses of either senders or recipients to third parties for any reason.

The system is currently in use by international users wishing to send letters to family and friends in the United States and businesses wishing to outsource their document production and delivery. The system is available to Internet users directly from the NetGram Web Site at<>.

Curtis Chong, Director of the NFB's Technology Department, reports that the NetGram Web site requires users to have a Web browser which supports secured sockets, something which Internet Explorer Version 3.02 does not. However, the most current versions of Explorer, Netscape, and Lynx for Unix do; so with relative ease a blind person can do all that is necessary to access the NetGram Web site.


The Northern Hills Chapter of the NFB of South Dakota elected the following new officers: Minni Erickson, President;

Louis Calesso, Vice President; Ariana Calesso, Secretary; and Jessie Nelson, Treasurer.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Joe Shankle]

In Memoriam:

Seville Allen, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia, writes with the following deeply distressing news:

Our Virginia affiliate has lost one of its principal leaders. Federationist Joe Shankle died on January 18, 1999. He was on his way to meet Federation friends for dinner three blocks from his home when he was hit by a pickup truck as he crossed a familiar street.

Joe was a cornerstone of our affiliate. A member of our Board of Directors, he generously opened his cafeteria and hosted NFB-V Board meetings, played a key role in building our positive relationship with the Virginia General Assembly, was mentor to many of our successful blind business people, and was a highly respected and familiar figure throughout the Richmond area.

He will be remembered for his dedication and persistence in his work with the Randolph-Sheppard program. He fought for the independence of the facility operators under the program. He was our chief watchdog over Randolph-Sheppard matters and authored related convention resolutions. Joe's persistence resulted in automating many business practices employed by facility operators. His automated spreadsheets for tracking inventory and making required reports are now well-known. Joe was a chief organizer of our Virginia Blind Merchants Association and served as its President throughout most of its fifteen-year history. At the time of his death Joe was a member of the NFB Merchants Division board of Directors. He was President of the Virginia Vendors' Council for more than fifteen years, and after he had completed his time on that Council, he was still sought out for advice on vendor issues.

When he wasn't doing direct Federation work, he was making new plans for his customers at the federal cafeteria in downtown Richmond. He was manager of one of the largest cafeterias in the Randolph-Sheppard program. Joe's Cafeteria, its official name, was designed by Joe. He served between twelve and thirteen hundred lunches a day. He had just completed plans for expanded hours to feed IRS employees as they worked into the evening.

While Joe's talent and skills were well-known within our Federation family, he also had an impact on the rest of his community. An article appearing in the January 20, 1999, Richmond Times Dispatch carried quotations from people whose lives he touched: "...Richmond Circuit Judge Robert W. Duling said Shankle "treated every one of his customers like they were the most important people in the world."

Roger Burgess, district director for the Virginia-West Virginia district of the Internal Revenue Service, said Shankle "positively touched the lives of all of us." "He was a leader for his own staff and an inspiration for them. He stood as a positive example of making the most of life's challenges," Burgess said...."

In addition to his dedication to the Federation and his successful career, Joe was the husband of Federationist Roberta Shankle (known to us as Bert) and father of three children:

Daughter Mitzi Shaw of Richmond and sons Army Specialist Jay Shankle of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Jeffrey B. Shankle of Lynchburg.

On January 21, while almost a thousand Federationists, family, and friends gathered at the Mount Vernon Baptist Church to say goodbye to Joe, the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates passed our Access Technology bill, for which Joe had worked tirelessly. The vote was ninety-seven to zero.

Joe won't be with us as we walk the halls of the General Assembly in the years to come; we will miss his hearty greetings as we gather to do our Federation work. However, we will take his memory along as we continue the work he loved.

Braille and Cassette Books Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I Can See Books is a Braille and cassette book store. With 1,000 books listed in our 1999 catalog, we can virtually guarantee that any popular book you wish to read is available in Braille or on audio cassette. Our books are high-quality, low-cost books, many of which have never been produced in alternate format before now.

In addition to providing the books listed in our catalog, we will perform very reasonable transcription services of any pocket book onto audio cassette. We will also produce any article from the World Book Encyclopedia in Braille or on tape, as well as offering over fifteen speech-friendly computer games and utilities, written by our expert computer programmer.

Our catalog is available at our Web site at <> or by e-mail at <>.

If you wish to receive a free cassette or computer disk catalog or wish to purchase a Braille or print price list for $10, please contact us through e-mail or by writing to I Can See Books, 88 Captain Morgans Boulevard, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 6R1 Canada, or call (250) 753-3096.

Full-Time Braille Proofreader Needed:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Braille International, one of the largest producers of Braille in the United States, is seeking a full-time Braille proofreader. He or she must re-locate to Stuart, Florida, for which re-location expenses are negotiable. NLS certification is desirable but not essential since on-the-job training is available.

The job offers good benefits (including medical), starting salary in the range of $7.35 to $8.90 an hour, depending upon certification and experience. Applications and resumes (in Braille) and inquiries should be addressed to Mr. Geoffrey Bull, Braille International, Inc., 3290 SE Slater Street, Stuart, Florida 34997, telephone (800) 336-3142, 7:30 to 4:00 (EST).

Tours Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The following tours planned and conducted to be enjoyable by blind people are now available:

(1) Washington, Mt. Vernon, and Monticello: Cherry Blossoms and Presidents (April 5-12); (2) Little Italy and Gourmet Dining in New York (May 20-25); (3) California, the Land of the Lotus Eaters: San Diego to Los Angeles (June 24-July 3); (4) The Gold Coast of Historic Long Island (early September); and (5) Treasures of Hawaii: Paradise Islands (Mid-October).

Contact Robert Wilhelm, The Campanian Society, Inc., Box 167, Oxford, Ohio 45056, phone (513) 524-4846, fax (513) 523-0276, e-mail to <>, Web site <>.


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.

ISSN 0006-8829
Copyright© 1999 National Federation of the Blind

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Posted March 12,1999