THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Vol. 42, No. 8 October, 1999

Barbara Pierce, Editor

 

Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

MARC MAURER, PRESIDENT

 

National Office
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
NFB Net BBS: http://www.nfbnet.org
Web Page address: http://www.nfb.org

 

 

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

 

 

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS  NOT AN ORGANIZATION SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES

 

 

ISSN 0006-8829

Vol. 42, No.8 October, 1999

Contents

Victory in South Dakota

Message from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc.
by Debra Barnes

Role Models in Reverse?
by Mary Ellen Gabias

With Strength, Knowledge, and Passion: The Future Is Ours
by Alan Tu

The 2000 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program

The Road Runner(R), A Review
by Richard Ring

A Teacher's Perspective
by Sheila Koenig

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest Form

Please Don't Be Offended If I Refuse Your Offer of Help
by Donna Blake

Expanding the View: a Technology Access Conference
by Betsy Zaborowski

Technology Replacing Braille

Seminar at Sea
by Donald J. Morris

Nebraska Orientation Center for the Blind Celebrates Its Twenty-fifth Anniversary
by Fatos Floyd

In Memory and Celebration of Donald Drapinski
by Allen Harris

Recipes

Monitor Miniatures

Copyright (C) 1999 National Federation of the Blind

 

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Patti Schonlau, Braille teacher at the Missouri School for the Blind, stands with Barbara Cheadle, NOPBC President. The Missouri School was the 1999 winner of the Outstanding Participation Award, presented by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: John Miller and Arthur Given, both of Missouri, read Braille while Betty Walker stands behind them.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Macy McClain of Ohio sits on the floor reading Braille.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Alex Kaiser of New Jersey reads Braille at a table.]

[LEAD PHOTO/CAPTION: Each year the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille sponsor the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest for Braille-reading students. This year's contest form is a tear-out found at the center of the print edition. You can receive additional copies of the form by contacting Barbara Cheadle at the National Center for the Blind, (410) 659-9314.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Karen Mayry]

Victory in South Dakota

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From the Editor: In states across the country in recent months blind consumers have repeatedly found themselves fighting legislative or executive branch plans to combine the separate state rehabilitation agency serving blind citizens with the general rehabilitation agency. North Carolina's blind consumers have won two rounds in this war, but it seems likely that more battles will follow. Despite hard work by blind people in Texas, their commission lost a good bit of its autonomy last spring. Kentucky's blind citizens have won for now, but the Pennsylvania agency has just been swallowed whole. And so it goes.

One of the most recent struggles has taken place in South Dakota, where one might have hoped for some appreciation of the importance of a separate agency. After all, the director of the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DSBVI) regularly attends NFB state conventions and has enabled members of his staff to attend National Conventions. Karen Mayry, President of the NFB of South Dakota, and other Federationists are active in agency programs and governance. Both the NFB and the ACB affiliates have clearly articulated their opposition to the combined agency concept.

According to Karen Mayry, in December of 1998 the advisory board for South Dakota's general rehabilitation agency expressed its willingness for the umbrella agency, the Department for Human Services, to investigate the idea of combining the two agencies as a cost-saving measure. But at its April 16 meeting the SBVI Board learned that a combined state plan had been developed and would be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) after a series of public meetings across the state to allow consumers and other interested people to express their views. In other words, having received the go-ahead to investigate the concept, Human Services Secretary John Jones had his staff develop a combined plan, which was described in April as preliminary, but which was introduced around the state as the one they intended to submit to RSA and implement in October.

The NFB of South Dakota conducted its 1999 convention the weekend after the combined-agency bombshell was dropped. Predictably the NFB passed a resolution condemning the single state plan for a combined agency. Federationists then began letting public officials know what they thought. On May 3 Karen Mayry sent a letter and the resolution to every member of the state legislature. Pay particular attention to the postscript in Karen's letter. Here it is:

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Dear South Dakota Legislator:

Blind South Dakotans need your help. The South Dakota Department of Human Resources wants to eliminate the Division of Services for the Blind and create a new Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which would "serve all disabled persons." Blind persons know that this type of system does not work for them. We, the smallest minority of disabled persons, thus have the least clout when it comes to obtaining dollars and services when there is no special budget or separate division.

The Department of Human Services was created in 1988, and at that time SBVI (Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired) came into being. Blind people in South Dakota banded together to achieve this goal. Since its creation blind citizens have received better service, and more blind individuals have been employed. Why would we be happy about changing a good program? We aren't.

Enclosed is a resolution passed during the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota. It states very well our negative feelings toward this new proposal put forth by Secretary John Jones. History taught us that blind citizens do not fare well when there is no separate agency of the blind.

Please attend one of the upcoming town meetings being held near you. The purpose of the town meeting is to discuss the current state plan and receive comments from the public. The meetings are scheduled for Rapid City, May 10; Pierre, May 11; Aberdeen, May 12; and Sioux Falls, May 13. All meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at 9:00 p.m. Join to help us work to maintain a system we know is right and working to better the lives of blind South Dakota citizens.

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Sincerely,

Karen S. Mayry, President

NFB of South Dakota

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P.S. In addition, you should be aware that consolidation of the agencies as of October 1, 1999, appears to be a violation of the South Dakota Constitution since such a consolidation may not become effective until ninety days after the Governor has submitted an executive order so providing to the South Dakota legislature and neither House of that body has overruled the executive order.

Should you have any further questions regarding the State's compliance with the public participation requirement, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

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cc: Dr. Fred Schroeder, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration

Dr. Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind

Loerance Deaver, Regional Commissioner, RSA Region VIII

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In addition to this letter to the members of the South Dakota Legislature, Mrs. Mayry wrote to Governor William Janklow and to a dozen newspapers across the state. She also wrote to the chairmen of the DSBVI and general rehabilitation agency boards. In every case she argued the consumer case for a separate agency to serve blind South Dakotans based on the improved statistics for blind people served and returned to work and community life since establishment of the separate agency in 1988. Through the efforts of Dawn Flewwellin, President of the ACB affiliate in South Dakota, the consumer organizations met with Governor William Janklow on May 24. They had earlier discussed the crisis with Human Services Secretary Jones without making any discernible impact. The governor listened and actually engaged in debate with NFB Second Vice President Peggy Elliott, who took part in the meeting.

The same day Joe Cordova, Director of the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, wrote to Governor Janklow laying out the RSA position on separate agencies. Here is that letter:

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Washington, D.C.

May 24, 1999

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Honorable William Janklow

Governor

Pierre, South Dakota

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Dear Governor Janklow:

We have recently received an inquiry from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of South Dakota concerning the planned reorganization of the South Dakota Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which is responsible for administering vocational rehabilitation services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired in the state of South Dakota. We have been informed that plans are currently underway to consolidate the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired with the general agency providing vocational rehabilitation services to persons with other disabilities, the South Dakota Division of Rehabilitation Services. The NFB of South Dakota has raised concerns as to how this planned reorganization will affect the quality of services to blind and visually impaired consumers in the state and what impact it will have on current federal law regarding the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) Section 101 (a)(2) (State Plan Requirements), states have the option of designating a separate agency or unit for the administration of vocational rehabilitation services for blind persons in that state. In the submission of the state plan for vocational rehabilitation services, the state must identify the particular organizational structure it has designated for the administration of its state plan in accordance with all applicable requirements under this section. Any planned changes to the current state plan regarding the designated state agency or unit must be submitted as part of a state plan amendment for final approval by the Rehabilitation Services Administration and must identify the designated state agency organizational structure in accordance with the state plan requirements under the Rehabilitation Act.

Currently, nearly half (twenty-five) of all states in the country have chosen the separate-agency structure as the model for providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind. According to data compiled by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, those states that have separate agencies for the blind have consistently reported higher employment outcomes than agencies which have a combined-agency structure. These findings have also been consistently supported and extensively documented by numerous other independent professional studies for nearly two decades now. These studies suggest that a separate-agency organizational structure is, by its very nature, better able to respond to and meet the special rehabilitation needs of individuals who are blind more effectively and efficiently, and this accounts for the higher performance in achieving employment outcomes by separate agencies for the blind.

In light of this record of performance by separate agencies for the blind and given the critically high unemployment rate among the blind (approaching nearly 80 percent nationally), the NFB of South Dakota has expressed serious concerns over the potential decline in the quality of services and responsiveness to the needs of blind consumers in the state if this reorganization is to take effect. For this reason we wish to bring these concerns to your attention, and we hope this information will be useful to you as you further consider this important matter.

If we can be of any further assistance in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

**********

Respectfully,

Joe D. Cordova, Director

Division for the Blind and

Visually Impaired

**********

By June all four town meetings had taken place, and at each one consumers rose to protest the abolition of DSBVI, and of course the governor had had the opportunity to read and reflect on Joe Cordova's letter. None of this made any difference. John Jones apparently met with him and wrote a memo assuring him without proof that $450,000 could be saved by combining the rehabilitation agencies and pointing out that the blind were a small minority of the disability community, so it wouldn't do to provide specialized services to this tiny fraction of the disabled. That was apparently enough to persuade the governor to back the combined agency. The governor's rationale for dismissing Cordova's argument that specialized agencies across the board produce better results is amusing in a wry way. He says that South Dakota does not look at results beyond its borders. The justification is reminiscent of the old saw, "I know what I think; don't confuse me with the facts." Here is the letter Governor Janklow wrote to Karen Mayry and copied to Dawn Flewwellin:

**********

Pierre, South Dakota

July 23, 1999

**********

Karen S. Mayry, President

NFB of South Dakota

**********

Dear Karen:

It was my pleasure to meet with you and Dawn Flewwellin and listen to your concerns about the Department of Human Services's (DDS) plans to combine divisions. Since then I've met with Secretary Jones, and we've talked about the issues you have and what government can do to ensure the blind consumers that our intentions are honorable and specialized services for the blind will continue.

John has given me a brief since our meeting, and you will find that attached. I ask that you treat some of the personnel issues in confidence until public announcements are made.

Karen, I've studied your points A to F closely. DDS has agreed that counselors and teachers providing specialized skills of blindness will continue; these are people who recognize the trauma of blindness and the requirements for learning the skills of Braille and cane travel.

Our commitment to ensure positive outcomes for blind consumers is not driven by history or studies done in other states; it is driven by the desire of my administration to provide top quality services to all citizens with any type of disability. I don't want to sound defensive, but the number of South Dakota citizens with all other types of disabilities far outnumbers the blind, and I really want to avoid looking like we favor one disability over another. I have a responsibility to all citizens of South Dakota.

My comment about the money being a drop in the bucket was comparing it to the total state budget of over two billion dollars. It may be a drop in the bucket in that context, but it is a big splash in the division budget.

I have to respectfully disagree that you have lost any clout if one division is created. You have access, not only to the division director, but also to the staff person who is responsible for directing specialized blind services. Most citizens don't care about whose name is in a box on an organizational chart; what they care about is the quality of the services provided.

I've taken the liberty of copying Dawn with this so that both organizations for the blind in South Dakota receive the same information. I strongly encourage you to work with John and his division staff as plans are developed for the continuation of specialized blind services.

**********

Sincerely,

William J. Janklow

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cc: Dawn Flewwellin, South Dakota Association of the Blind

**********

The governor's response and the comments by Secretary Jones and other department and division officials clearly demonstrated that the combined agency was, as far as the bureaucrats were concerned, a done deal, regardless of consumer views, statistical evidence, or existing state law. Karen Mayry decided to see if RSA could help slow the juggernaut bearing down on the blind of South Dakota. She wrote to the RSA Regional Commissioner for Region VIII and the woman immediately responsible for South Dakota and neighboring states. This is what she said:

**********

Rapid City, South Dakota

August 13, 1999

**********

Loerance Deaver

Regional Commissioner, Region VIII

Denver, Colorado

**********

Mary Ann Fuller

Rehabilitation Services Administration

Denver, Colorado

**********

Dear Mr. Deaver and Ms. Fuller:

This letter is written to protest the State Plan submitted by South Dakota for State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program. The basis for the protest is that the State of South Dakota's compliance with the public participation requirements imposed by the Rehabilitation Act constituted a sham.

The purpose of the public participation requirements is to ensure that there is input from the public in the plan to be submitted. The purpose of the statutory requirement, obviously, is not to create a charade of consultation where none exists. In this instance the plan offered for comment to the public in April of this year and the plan that has been submitted to your office are in all substantial respects identical. It is apparent, therefore, that the agency did not take into account on matters of general policy the views of individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of these services, even though the dissent expressed was substantial. It is apparent that there was never any intention by the State of South Dakota to consider the views of the public that were opposed to the consolidation of agencies. We believe that it would be inappropriate for the Rehabilitation Services Administration to approve the State Plan until and unless it has investigated whether the State's compliance with the public participation requirement was a good- faith and real effort to take public input into account and concluded that it has.

In addition, you should be aware that consolidation of the agencies as of October 1, 1999, appears to be a violation of the South Dakota Constitution since such a consolidation may not become effective until ninety days after the Governor has submitted an executive order so providing to the South Dakota legislature and neither house of that body has overruled the executive order.

Should you have any further questions regarding the State's compliance with the public participation requirements, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

**********

Very truly yours,

Karen Mayry, President

National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota

**********

cc: Dr. Fred Schroeder

Dr. Marc Maurer

**********

RSA has the power to withhold all federal rehabilitation funds from a state agency that does not comply with its requirements, and that is certainly a convincing weapon. But it is rather like having a neutron bomb as the chief weapon in a country's arsenal; it is too overwhelming in its repercussions to be employed except in the direst circumstances. There is some evidence to indicate that RSA officials were not happy with the South Dakota decision and methods, but it was also obvious that we had to apply additional pressure if we were going to stop the consolidation plan. After lengthy discussions the NFB's attorney, Dan Goldstein, wrote the following letter to the South Dakota Attorney General:

**********

August 18, 1999

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The Honorable Mark Barnett

Pierre, South Dakota

**********

Dear General Barnett:

Together with James Robbennolt, Esq., I represent the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota, whose members include consumers of services provided by the South Dakota Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI).

Governor Janklow has submitted a State Plan to the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the United States Department of Education for the provision of rehabilitative services pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act. That plan proposes to abolish SBVI and to create a single Department of Rehabilitative Services. According to a letter from the Division Director of SBVI and the Interim Division Director of DRS, dated July 30, 1999, implementation of the plan would begin October 1, 1999.

The Governor's plan completely ignores the requirements of Article IV, Section 8 of the South Dakota Constitution, which would permit such a consolidation to be effective, at the earliest, ninety days after a proposed executive order has been submitted to the Legislature. By ignoring the constitutional imperative, the Governor confronts the Legislature with a done deal and the concomitant expense and impracticality of unscrambling the eggs. This is clearly the converse of what Section 8 requires.

All that my clients desire is the opportunity to petition the Legislature to disapprove the plan, an opportunity that should be vouchsafed by the South Dakota Constitution. I have been authorized to file suit to enjoin consolidation of the agencies until the Legislature has considered an executive order to that effect but would be amenable to discussing a resolution, without the necessity of suit, that involved amending the plan submitted to the Department of Education to provide for the consolidation to occur after consideration by the Legislature.

Clearly time is of the essence, and I would appreciate a prompt response.

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Very truly yours,

Daniel F. Goldstein

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cc: Hon. William J. Janklow

James Robbennolt, Esquire

Marc Maurer, President, NFB

Karen Mayry, President, NFB of South Dakota

Hon. Fred Schroeder, RSA Commissioner

Joe D. Cordova, RSA Director

Loerance Deaver, RSA Regional Office

**********

Clearly this letter grabbed the Attorney General's attention. It seems obvious that he concluded that South Dakota had little to gain from a lawsuit brought against it by the state's blind citizens in which they were arguing for a chance to exercise their constitutional right to try to persuade the legislature to protect their services. We don't know what recommendations the Attorney General made, but under date of August 26--just eight days after Goldstein's letter was written--Secretary John Jones sent the following memorandum of surrender to everybody in his department who had taken part in the struggle:

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Memo

Pierre, South Dakota

August 26, 1999

**********

TO: DRS Board Members

SBVI Board Members

SILC Members

DRS Staff

SBVI Staff

Director, South Dakota Advocacy Services

**********

FROM: John Jones

**********

SUBJECT: Organizational Status

**********

The Department of Human Services (DDS) as the designated state agency for the delivery of the public vocational rehabilitation program in the State of South Dakota, has selected the option to deliver the state program through two designated state units. Separate state plans will be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration by the Division of Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired for federal fiscal year 2000.

This decision to pursue the current course resulted from a combination of factors which included a lack of affirmative public support from the disability community, hard-line opposition from the blind constituency, and their refusal to meet or discuss how the Department could address their concern regarding a combined division.

The Department wishes to thank all of those who provided positive input the past several months regarding this important matter. DDS is committed to providing the best possible vocational rehabilitation services to all South Dakotans with disabilities.

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cc: Marian Fuller, RSA Regional Representative

**********

There you have what the Secretary of Human Services said in all its ill-tempered and churlish detail. One wonders why he was surprised that the NFB refused to take part in discussions intended to smooth the transition to a consolidated agency it knew would diminish the prospects of blind consumers. The lessons we have learned in South Dakota will be useful in the struggles ahead to resist consolidation. The bureaucratic term for what we have learned is stay on task and on message. Consolidated agencies result in less service to the blind and poorer outcomes. We must use every method available to remind officials and the general public of this truth every chance we get.

We won in South Dakota because the consumer groups worked together, and we never lost sight of the central principle: separate agencies provide more effective service to blind people. In one more state and for the time being, we have prevailed. Mr. Jones told the DSBVI Board that the subject of consolidation would not be revisited in South Dakota during his lifetime. That probably means his political lifetime, which may be as little as eighteen months, but we will take every victory we can get. Each one protects the future prospects of who knows how many blind people. The sweetness of the South Dakota victory will strengthen us for all the battles ahead.

**********

**********

Message from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc.

by Debra Barnes

**********

From the Editor: Debra Barnes is the Director of Development for Guide Dogs for the Blind. In the July issue we reprinted an article from the San Francisco Chronicle raising questions about the amount of money above budget raised each year by Guide Dogs for the Blind. The Chronicle is a reputable paper, and the article seemed to be well researched. Because this school is one of the most distinguished facilities training dogs today, we thought Braille Monitor readers would wish to know what had been said and what issues had been raised, so, as I say, we reprinted the article without comment.

Recently someone from Guide Dogs for the Blind called to ask if we would reprint the school's response. Here it is exactly as it was sent except for some punctuation changes to conform to Monitor style and the rules of grammar. Here it is:

**********

The July issue of the Braille Monitor included a reprint of an article that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. We feel the article was unfair as it tried to mislead the reader into thinking that there was something wrong with the way Guide Dogs conducts its finances. I can assure you that this is not and has never been the case.

I would also like to thank the many graduates of our school, guide dog users from other schools, contributors, and even strangers who sent us copies of their letters to the editor of the newspaper. Your efforts on our behalf were much appreciated by our staff. We were disappointed those letters were never printed in the Chronicle.

I would like to give you some facts and another view of finances at Guide Dogs. In the 1940's Guide Dogs' Board of Directors set aside some funds to create an endowment. Just as you might save money in a pension plan, the organization wanted to ensure that our mission would continue in the future despite fluctuations in the economy. This savings plan is vital to an organization which does not receive any government funding--and it is especially vital to a mission that is as complex and multi-faceted as ours. We receive annual, voluntary contributions from donors who can see the real value and importance of our mission. These donations are combined with funds from our endowment to cover our operating expenses. In the past five years Guide Dogs has substantially increased its endowment, due to an unusually strong investment market coupled with our prudent management.

In those same five years we've established an entirely new campus, thereby effectively eliminating the waiting list for those accepted to our training program. We increased our staff and services and graduated 45 percent more teams. Some examples of our new services include providing training to people with custom needs, specializing training for those with low vision, and providing continued assessment classes to give more consideration to those applicants with extenuating circumstances. We've added counseling services to assist students in class, help people with the loss or retirement of their dogs, and assist with the transition from class to the home environment. We've added escalator access and other improvements in our training. We've greatly expanded our Graduate Agency Representative program as well as other outreach efforts. We are working with the media as well as the restaurant and travel industries to promote education about access. The guidance and suggestions from our Graduate Advisory Council contribute invaluably and provide direction for changes and improvements to our program. Guide Dogs has established a strategic plan to the year 2002.

Most well-managed nonprofits who have been in existence for many years have seen fit to create endowments. The current trend in nonprofit fund-raising is to establish endowments since government and other funding sources have proven unreliable year-to-year. We currently spend on average 14 percent of our endowment's value each year. If we were to use up our endowment, we would soon need to raise another five million dollars each year or cut services.

Our endowment fully supports our three promises:

To provide quality dogs and training.

To offer quality follow-up services for the life of the dog.

To ensure that we'll be here when you come for a successor dog.

Our mission is clear and indeed relevant. It is estimated that around 1.1 million people are severely visually impaired. Approximately 10,000 people with vision loss in America currently use dogs as guides. Our main challenge is to find ways to inform people about our free services and about the benefits of using dogs as guides. Technological advances such as global positioning and talking signs will work in tandem with the use of guide dogs, not replace them, as was inferred in the article. People who are blind or visually impaired deserve choice in determining which mobility aid works best for them.

Please contact Guide Dogs for the Blind if you have any questions about the article or our program. We feel our improvements and successes should be a cause for celebration, as they will ultimately benefit the blind community.

**********

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Mary Ellen Gabias]

Role Models in Reverse?

by Mary Ellen Gabias

**********

From the Editor: The following article is reprinted from the Canadian Monitor, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality. Before her marriage to Dr. Paul Gabias, Mary Ellen Reihing Gabias was a leader in several state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind. She grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and was my roommate at my very first NFB of Ohio convention.

She is obviously and understandably proud of her father's adjustment to blindness, but part of the explanation is undoubtedly the grounding he has had through the years working with and observing Mary Ellen. Nonetheless, with the increasing incidence of blindness among today's senior citizens, we must all do what we can to help those losing sight in their later years come to healthy terms with their new disabilities and their continuing abilities. Ken Reihing is an example and an inspiration for all seniors. This is what his daughter says about him:

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I'm proud of my dad. I've wanted him to write his story for a long time, but he's never thought what he does is anything to brag about. I think it is. When I was born blind, Mom and Dad were quite naturally upset. They wondered what kind of life I could have. Fortunately for me, Dad worked with a blinded veteran. The man was very capable; he did the dispatching for the military base in our city. He later went on to get a university degree. After facing much discrimination in his search for employment, he finally found work as a rehabilitation counselor.

From his example Dad knew that blind people could be productive. Dad and Mom were determined that I would be. Our extended family wasn't so sure. For the first several months of my life my maternal grandparents cried whenever they saw me. Grandpa used to ask, "What is she going to do--stand on a street corner and sell pencils?" After six months of this Dad had had enough! He told my grandparents in no uncertain terms that they would not see our family again until they stopped their negativity. (By the time he died, Grandpa was asking me where I planned to go to college. I am convinced that my Dad's firmness was the beginning of Grandpa's change in attitude.)

Dad didn't have many answers about how to raise a blind child, but he had a few general principles to guide him. He knew he wouldn't always be there to take care of me, so he expected me to learn to take care of myself. Above all he hated pity. He would challenge anyone who felt sorry for me. Strangers often glared at him when he stood by while I struggled to learn something new on the playground. He often had to intervene to keep them, in their pitying zeal to help, from depriving me of the opportunity to gain new skills. Dad was quick to give praise when he felt it was deserved. I always knew he was proud of my genuine accomplishments. But he had no patience with people who praised me to the skies for poor work.

In high school I entered a contest which required me to make a sales presentation in front of a panel of judges. They graded my presentation and wrote comments to help improve my technique. Dad earned his living selling auto parts, so he took a keen interest in my progress. All but one of the judges gave me the mediocre scores I deserved. Their comments were both critical and helpful. One judge gave me a nearly perfect score and commented on how kind I was. Dad said, "That judge graded you out of pity, but he would never hire you to sell anything."

The local agency for the blind oozed pity and low expectations. Dad, along with other parents of blind children, took the chairman of the agency's board to task when his company newsletter contained a tear-jerking article about the agency and blind children. "Blind people need understanding, not pity," Dad said to anyone who would listen and to quite a few people who wouldn't.

Dad managed a warehouse and sales outlet for a company which rebuilt auto water pumps. A large part of his job involved selling and delivering pumps to garages and auto parts stores. At least half of his time was spent behind the wheel of the company truck. When Dad was about fifty-five, he learned during a routine eye exam that he had glaucoma. A few years after that a botched lens implant during cataract surgery left him legally blind in one eye. He was grateful that he could still drive and noted the development of a second cataract with deep anxiety.

After the second surgery things looked pretty good. His corrected vision was 20/40. But his field of vision was narrowing, and he found it difficult to adjust to changes in lighting. One evening at dusk he was driving home when he nearly collided with a boy on a bicycle. He walked into the house, hung his keys on their hook, and never drove again. Mom helped with the driving on the job when she could. But it was clear that there were no alternative techniques which could replace Dad's presence when it came to making sales.

He was still trying to find an efficient way to get his work done when the factory that rebuilt the pumps Dad sold went out of business. Dad was in his early sixties and out of a job. It didn't take long for my dad to turn a predicament into an opportunity. He had a friend who was one of the chief investors in a new business warehouse complex and wanted to be sure the place was well managed. Dad's reputation for hard work and honesty made him a logical candidate for the job. Though he had never been a building manager before, he didn't let his age stop him. He oversaw the final construction details, rented the units in the complex, and made sure the necessary maintenance was done. His boss didn't think Dad's continually diminishing eyesight was anything to worry about. He told Dad, "I hired you for who you are and what you know, not for what you can see."

Dad was glad to be employed, but he was getting bored. Unlike the auto parts business, where it was often difficult to find a free moment to wolf down lunch, the life of a business complex manager could be downright leisurely. If there were no units available to be rented and if the maintenance work was all done, Dad had time on his hands. He did a lot of reading using recorded books. He struck up friendships with complex tenants. But his honesty and his work ethic kept gnawing at him. He was expected to put in full time at a job which could easily be done in a few hours a week. The boss was more than happy with his work, but Dad resigned. He told me, "I want to work if I'm going to have a job. If I'm going to be sitting around, I might as well do that at home, where I'm comfortable." Dad was sixty-two and legally blind. He applied for early Social Security retirement. This meant he would get reduced benefits for the rest of his life.

By this time I was an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. I had learned enough about the Social Security law through my work in the Federation to know that Dad had made an error. I talked him into going back to Social Security with his medical records and reapplying for disability insurance benefits based on blindness. The national office of the Federation helped with information and advice. Dad's reapplication resulted in the payment of back benefits and in a monthly increase which will last for the rest of his life.

It also resulted in a referral to vocational rehabilitation. When the counselor came to visit, Dad was not in the house. He was in a shed in our back yard doing woodworking. Before too long he had convinced the counselor to help him establish a home business making novelty and gift items out of wood. Dad would design the items, cut out the pieces, assemble them, and sand and stain the finished product. Occasionally, if the item called for artistic detail work, Mom would pick up her paint brush and help. (Even when he could see, Dad painted the walls and Mom painted the pictures.) The business didn't make much money, but it gave Dad an outlet for his creativity, and it kept his confidence up. He needed all the confidence he could get. Every month he lost more and more vision. He could no longer see a regular deck of playing cards. Bright sunshine blinded him completely. Small tasks, like plugging in an electrical cord, were impossible to do efficiently using vision.

One day Dad decided his vision was not good enough for travelling safely when the sun was very bright. He asked me to show him how to use a white cane. After a five-minute introduction to cane travel, he was on his own. Though his technique in those early days could best be called "poke and hope," it made getting around safer and more comfortable. Later he attended a veteran's rehabilitation center where his technique was refined. But the positive spirit which made him willing to get out and travel was there from the beginning. He never sat around helplessly waiting for formal lessons.

Dad's responsibilities increased when my mother's health began to fail. He took over the cooking and much of the housework and discovered that he had a talent for cooking--especially cooking for large groups. He was frequently asked to cook for dinners at his war veterans' post. Often this meant preparing meals for two hundred people. Mom's illness became critical in 1992. The doctors diagnosed congestive heart failure, lung disease, and cancer. After three months in a convalescent care centre, she came home, and Dad cared for her until she died. The family helped a lot; hospice did wonderful work; but the main responsibility was Dad's. At sixty-eight he was the single, widowed occupant of a four-bedroom home located more than a mile from the nearest grocery store.

For more than a year Dad depended on family and friends to drive him to church, to the store, and to most other events. Then he sold the family home and moved into an apartment within walking distance of a store, a veterans' post and a good bus line. He explained the reason for his move to me: "I hate being dependent on other people all the time!" Sometimes Dad gets frustrated with his blindness, but self-pity has never been his style. Besides, he's been preaching about the abilities of blind people for so long that he has no choice but to act independently. If he starts to say, "I can't do that because I'm blind," one of my brothers tells him, "You never let Sis get away with that." Sometimes, when he's faced with a particularly difficult challenge, Dad calls me and says, "It's all your fault! You got me into this."

Dad was fortunate to have a second love in his life. He began seeing a woman who had been a close friend of the family for years. They were inseparable until last fall when she became ill and died. Once again Dad had to adjust to being on his own. This summer Dad achieved a lifelong dream. He travelled the Alaska Highway from Fairbanks to White Horse. It's true that he had to change his technique. Instead of driving the highway himself, he took a bus tour. Because of Barbara's death, he travelled alone to Alaska and met the tour in Fairbanks. When he needed help, he asked for it. When others needed help, he gave it. He returned with great memories and stories to tell.

Dad is seventy-five now, and his health is far from perfect. I phoned last week to see how he was doing. The social calendar he recited left me dizzy. I told Dad I wanted to write about him because so many people think becoming blind as a senior means being doomed to a bleak life. I thought his story might encourage someone else. He told me to go ahead, and he'd correct me if I got it wrong. "You forgot to say that I'm not doing woodworking any more now that your brother's moved and I don't have a convenient place to keep my tools. Other than that, you've got the details right. You've always been the one who likes to write. Maybe I'll write a little bit of the family history when I get back from the rehabilitation center. Oh, by the way, did I tell you I'm going there to learn the computer?"

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Editor's note: Mary Ellen Gabias recently mentioned in a telephone conversation that her father has returned to woodworking because he again has a place to do it. More power to him and to all retired blind people.

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Charitable Remainder Trusts

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A trust is a plan established to accomplish goals for the individual making the trust and the beneficiary. The donor creates the trust, appoints a trustee (the donor, a family member, a bank trust officer, etc.), and designates a beneficiary. In the case of a charitable remainder trust, money or property is transferred by the donor to a charitable trust. This trust pays income for life. After the donor's death the funds remaining in the trust go to the National Federation of the Blind.

There are two kinds of charitable trusts. The first, a charitable remainder annuity trust, is set up to pay income to the donor based on a fixed percentage of the original gift. The second is a charitable remainder unitrust. The income from this trust is based on the annual assessed value of the gift. Both types of charitable remainder trust are common and relatively easy to set up. Appreciable tax deductions are available, depending on which type of trust is selected.

The following examples demonstrate how trusts work, but the figures are illustrative, not exact:

Michael Brown, age sixty-five, decides to set up a charitable remainder annuity trust with $100,000. He asks his brother John to manage the trust for him. During Michael's lifetime John will see to it that Michael is paid $5,000 each year (5% of $100,000). In addition, Michael can claim a tax deduction of $59,207 in the year the trust is established.

Mary Ellen Davis, age sixty-five, sets up a charitable remainder unitrust with $100,000. She asks her attorney to act as trustee. During Mary Ellen's life her attorney will pay her an amount, 5%, equal to the annual assessed value of her gift. If the $100,000 unitrust grows to $110,000, Mary Ellen will be paid $5,500. If it grows again to $120,000, she will be paid $6,000 in that year, and so on. Also Mary Ellen can claim a tax deduction of $48,935 in the year she establishes the unitrust.

For more information on charitable remainder trusts, contact the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, phone (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Alan Tu]

With Strength, Knowledge, and Passion: The Future is Ours

by Alan Tu

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From the Editor: One of the 1999 scholarship winners was Alan Tu, a high school graduate from Naperville, Illinois. He is now a freshman at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The convention was Alan's first experience of the NFB. When I sat down beside him at the Board of Directors meeting on Friday morning, though, it was clear from his questions and conversation that he had made a good start at reading Walking Alone and Marching Together.

Alan is obviously very bright. His parents decided to attend the convention with him, but he was far more interested in getting to know the folks he was meeting than in spending time with his family.

On July 9, just three days after the close of the convention, Alan sent me the following little essay about his impressions of the convention. Anyone who questions the value of our scholarship program should read this article and contemplate what impact the NFB has already had on the life of a young man who is obviously going places and who intends to do what he can to see that he and other blind people acquire freedom and independence on the way. This is what Alan says about what he learned at the NFB convention in Atlanta:

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The 1999 National Convention of the NFB was my first convention. It was certainly an unforgettable experience, and I hope to be back next year. I wish to share some of the insights I gained in hope of providing some inspiration and food for thought to others.

If it were not for the Scholarship Committee, I would not have had the opportunity to attend the convention. I will forever be grateful to the members of this committee, not just because of the scholarship they awarded me, but just as much because of the invitation they extended me to come to Convention. For the first time in my life I interacted with a large and diverse group of blind people. The first lesson I learned was that blind people could do anything--well maybe except driving--with appropriate but reasonable accommodations. The people I spent time with included a lawyer, two computer programmers, and a person who worked in a national security position.

Two of the things I tasted at the convention--besides the great food--were freedom and independence. I knew in advance that I would have more freedom of mobility at this convention than at home, where I usually stay with my family.

A part of Dr. Jernigan's speech, "The Nature of Independence," comes to mind. He said that, in the process of gaining independence, one first feels fear and insecurity. I certainly experienced those feelings. But, beginning on the second day, I had gained enough knowledge and daring to explore the hotel. Then, as Dr. Jernigan so insightfully predicted, I went through the stage of rebellious independence, wanting to do as many things as possible without my family's shadow. Towards the end of the convention I think I became more independent in a normal way.

But another lesson I learned was that we as blind people must recognize when to ask for and accept help from our sighted family and friends in the interest of efficiency, even if we know we can do it ourselves. This, I would humbly suggest, is a step beyond normal independence towards the ultimate goal of interdependence, in which blind and sighted people are integrated and help each other. Along these lines I learned to appreciate the power of asking.

This convention was dedicated, of course, to the memory of Dr. Jernigan. I regret not knowing him because he was such a mentor and teacher to so many people. He blazed a trail for all blind people, and in many respects being blind is easier today than it was a couple of decades ago, thanks to Dr. Jernigan and the Federation. One final personal lesson I learned at the convention: Don't be ashamed to say, "I am blind." From now on I will not say, "I am visually impaired," but I will say that I am blind. Not totally blind, mind you, but blind nonetheless. This is who I was, who I am, and until or unless a cure is found, who I will be; and I am proud of it.

As we in the Federation march on beyond where Dr. Jernigan left off, there are many battles left to be won. The first one, in my opinion, deals with orientation and mobility instruction. Route training, as I learned from personal experience at the convention, just doesn't cut it. I learned more during convention week listening to how people get around than I had learned from my formal O&M instructor in the past year. It must be impressed upon all instructors that specific route training does not make sense since, every time one wants to go to a new place, the theory says we need to call our instructor to teach us how to get there, which of course is not feasible. Instructors should teach what I call self-orientation skills (the skill of orienting oneself to a new environment) and basic mobility (how to travel safely in a wide variety of environments) be it a street, a staircase, or a maze of winding corridors.

Another battle the blind must continue to wage is the battle for respect. To illustrate this, let me share a brief story. About a year ago I met with my rehabilitation counselor for the first time. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I might want to do computer programming. He asked if I would be interested in a supervisory position, to which I responded affirmatively. He discouraged me by saying that it would be difficult for me to supervise subordinates because they would not respect me. As far as I know, my intellect is at least average, so I assume he thought subordinates would not respect me because of my disability. What makes this tale more interesting is that this counselor is blind. As one can see from this story, the battle for respect will be ongoing and hard-fought. We must continue to earn and demand the respect of all people, regardless of whether they are sighted or blind.

On the other hand, while we demand respect from others, we must also demand competence and self-confidence from ourselves. We must foster healthy self-esteem and interdependence. Rehabilitation agencies, the government, and even our families may give us support of every kind, but it is we, the blind, who must take charge of our lives. Rehab may train us and give us equipment; the government might give us a check; and our families will give us unconditional love; but ultimately it is the strength, knowledge, and passion within us that will make us succeed.

Strength means our personal toughness and unity within the Federation. Knowledge means our skills and intellect. And passion means our courage and determination. Individually these characteristics are insufficient. But with these three attributes working for us, no force on earth can stop us from taking our rightful place in society alongside our sighted friends and colleagues.

Self-respect and personal attitudes are somewhat less tangible than the next two issues I will discuss. The first is literacy. I was shocked when I learned at Convention that only 10 percent of blind children read Braille. Children with any useable sight at all--even though they are significantly impaired compared to their peers--are made to struggle with print. This causes two problems. First, in the higher grades, college, and professional jobs, the amount and difficulty of reading will increase; and the time provided for reading will decrease. Eventually the blind person may realize that Braille is necessary, but by then learning Braille will be much harder.

The second problem is that struggling with poorly seen print is often so slow and laborious that the reader never reads in fluent streams of words. The actual skill of reading--regardless of the medium--will be degraded. We must work to convince parents, teachers, and the other powers-that-be to teach Braille to the low-vision children who need it.

Many people said thirty years ago that the tape recorder would replace Braille. Similarly, many people now say that computers will replace Braille. Therefore, these people say, learning Braille is unnecessary. The truth is that many mathematics, science, and foreign-language texts are difficult or impossible to record and even harder to store on a computer for use with speech-access. This is just one use of Braille I don't see going away anytime soon. Failing to teach Braille to every blind student is an injustice.

Despite my comments on the longevity of Braille in the foreseeable future, Dr. Kurzweil's presentation at Convention reminds us that technology is continuously progressing by leaps and bounds. He predicts that in my lifetime implants will be available which will allow people to interface mentally with information networks. I am concerned that, as technology moves forward, it will leave the blind behind. We as blind people must always think creatively to adapt technology. We do not want to stand in the way of progress, but we must also make ourselves heard to the manufacturers that products should be made user-friendly to all people, sighted people as well as blind people. We have economic power. We have a voice, and we must make ourselves heard.

The blind have made incredible gains since the Federation was founded in 1940. But as we look back upon the barriers we have taken down, new barriers and issues emerge. Still the future holds great promise. First, the average person is more aware of the rights and responsibilities of blind people than before. And, second, the blind have united. Strength is in numbers, and the essence of our strength as blind people is the Federation. Together we will assert our rights and take our responsibilities. And no force--be it an ignorant individual, an inconsiderate bureaucrat, an unyielding entity, or even an irrational system--will stand in our way.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Peggy Elliott]

The 2000 National Federation of the

Blind Scholarship Program

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This year's scholarship program will be the seventeenth since the organization determined to expand the number, variety, and value of the scholarships presented each year at our annual convention in July. Assisting the nation's most talented post-secondary students to fulfill their academic and professional dreams is one of the most effective ways for us to demonstrate our conviction that blind people deserve the chance to enter whatever field they demonstrate themselves equipped to succeed in.

Scholarships will be presented this year to thirty college, vocational-school, and graduate students. You will note that this is an increase of four scholarships available through the National Federation of the Blind. The decision to increase the scope and value of the scholarships awarded by the NFB reflects the Board of Directors' recognition of the importance and impact of the scholarship program. In celebration of the arrival of the twenty-first century, the NFB awards this year will range in value from $3,000 to $21,000. This top scholarship has been named the Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship and is presented by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. We will, of course, also bring the winners as our guests to the 2000 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to experience firsthand the excitement and stimulation of a gathering of the largest and most dynamic organization of blind people in the country today.

Also in honor of the life and work of our beloved leader, Kenneth Jernigan, Dr. Raymond Kurzweil will again this year present scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to each winner, along with the software and scanner to use the Kurzweil 1000, the superb scanning and reading system created by the Kurzweil Educational Group. This generous gift increases the value of each of the 2000 scholarships by an additional $2,500.

Again this year we plan to present up to three of the scholarships to students who won scholarship awards in a previous competition. The purpose of these special awards is to nurture in today's students an ongoing commitment to the philosophy and objectives of the Federation. The students so designated will be recognized and honored as the 2000 tenBroek Fellows. All current students who were scholarship winners in previous years should take particular note of this program and consider applying for the 2000 National Federation of the Blind scholarships.

Full-time employees interested in pursuing post-secondary degrees should take a close look at the scholarship form. Now one award may be given to a part-time student holding down a full-time job.

Every state affiliate and local chapter can help in spreading the word of this extraordinary opportunity for America's blind students. The scholarship application is now available for downloading from the NFB Web site, and forms have been or soon will be mailed to financial aid offices in educational institutions around the country. Many of these will be filed away and forgotten by the time students come to ask about financial assistance. It is very helpful to have local representatives deliver or mail forms to the actual college administrator who works with blind students. Being identified with such a valuable national scholarship program gives the local chapter and state affiliate prestige and respect, and the local touch insures that more blind students will actually have an opportunity to apply for these scholarships.

Anyone can order scholarship forms from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. State Presidents and members of the 2000 Scholarship Committee will also be sent scholarship forms. These may be copied as long as both sides of the form are reproduced.

Here is the text of the 2000 National Federation of the Blind scholarship application form:

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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

2000 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

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Each year at its National Convention in July, the National Federation of the Blind gives a broad array of scholarships to recognize achievement by blind scholars. All applicants for these scholarships must be (1) legally blind and (2) pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time post-secondary course of study in the fall semester of 2000, in the United States, except that one scholarship may be given to a full-time employee also attending school part-time. In addition to these restrictions, some scholarships have been further restricted by the donor. Scholarships to be given at the National Convention in 2000 are listed here with any special restrictions noted:

1 SCHOLARSHIP FOR $21,000

Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship--Given by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization which works to assist blind persons, in memory of the man who changed perceptions regarding the capabilities of the blind in this country and throughout the world. Kenneth Jernigan is seen as the most important figure in the twentieth century in the lives of blind persons, and the Action Fund wishes to open the twenty-first century with a $21,000 scholarship dedicated to his memory and to the continuation of the work he began. No additional restrictions.

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3 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $7,000

Two National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions.

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Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship--Given in memory of Melva T. Owen, who was widely known and loved among the blind. She and her husband Charles Owen became acquainted with increasing numbers of blind people through their work in the "Voicepondence" Club. Charles Owen says: "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed towards attaining financial independence and shall exclude religion and those seeking only to further general or cultural education."

4 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $5,000

Four National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions.

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22 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $3,000

Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship--Dr. Isabelle Grant endowed this scholarship in memory of her daughter. Winner must be a woman.

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Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial Scholarship--Endowed by the energetic and effective former president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Sharon Gold, in loving memory of her mother and father, both of whom were dedicated to creating opportunity for their daughter and for all blind persons through Braille literacy and dedication to service. No additional restrictions.

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Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship--Given by Catherine Horn Randall in loving memory of her father, Frank Walton Horn. No additional restrictions, but preference will be given to those studying architecture or engineering.

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Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship--Given in loving memory of her parents, Charles Albert Kuchler and Alice Helen Kuchler, by Junerose Killian, dedicated member of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. No additional restrictions.

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E. U. Parker Scholarship--Endowed by his wife who joined him in a lifetime of Federationism, this scholarship honors a long-time leader of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation in the organization stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation's work. No additional restrictions.

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Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship--Winner must be studying or planning to study in the fields of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences.

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National Federation of the Blind Computer Science Scholarship--Winner must be studying in the computer science field.

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National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award-- Winner must be planning a career in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary teaching.

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National Federation of the Blind Humanities Scholarship-- Winner must be studying in the traditional humanities such as art, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, or religion.

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Thirteen National Federation of the Blind Scholarships--No additional restrictions, except that one will be given to a person working full-time who is attending or planning to attend a part-time course of study which will result in a new degree and broader opportunities in present or future work if a suitable candidate applies.

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CRITERIA: All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, service to the community, and financial need.

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MEMBERSHIP: The National Federation of the Blind is an organization dedicated to creating opportunity for all blind persons. Recipients of Federation scholarships need not be members of the National Federation of the Blind.

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MAKING APPLICATION: To apply for National Federation of the Blind scholarships, complete and return the application on the reverse side of this sheet, attaching to the application all of the additional documents there requested. Multiple applications are unnecessary. Each applicant will be considered for all scholarships for which he or she qualifies. Send completed applications to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 2000.

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REAPPLICATION: Those who have previously applied are encouraged to apply again. It is the intention of the National Federation of the Blind to award not less than three scholarships to men and women who have already received one Federation scholarship in the past if enough strong and worthy candidates apply.

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WINNERS: The Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and selects the scholarship winners. These winners, the same number as there are scholarships to award, will be notified of the selection by telephone by June 1 and will be brought to the National Federation of the Blind convention in July at Federation expense. This is in addition to the scholarship grant. Winners will participate in the entire convention and in the scheduled scholarship program activities, beginning with functions on Sunday, July 2, 2000. All decisions by the Scholarship Committee are final.

The National Federation of the Blind convention is the largest gathering of blind persons (more than 2,500) to occur anywhere in the nation each year. You will be able to meet other blind students and exchange information and ideas. You will also be able to meet and talk with blind people who are successfully functioning in your chosen profession or occupation. Federal officials, members of Congress, and the makers and distributors of new technology attend Federation conventions. Above all, a broad cross section of the most active segment of the blind population of the United States will be present to discuss common problems and plan for concerted action. It is an interesting and exciting week.

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AWARDS: The day before the convention banquet the Scholarship Committee will meet to determine which winners will receive which scholarships. The scholarship awards will be made during the banquet.

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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM

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Read reverse side of form for instructions and explanation. Form may be photocopied but only if reverse side is also included.

To apply for a scholarship, complete this application form and mail completed application and attachments to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 2000.

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Name (please include any maiden or other names by which you have been known):

Date of birth:

School address:

School phone number:

Home address:

Home phone number:

Institution being attended in spring semester, 2000, with class standing (freshman, senior, etc.):

Cumulative grade point at this institution:

Institution to be attended in the fall of 2000, with class standing. Send by separate letter if admitted to school after submitting completed application:

List all post-secondary institutions attended with highest class standing attained and cumulative grade point average:

 

High school attended and cumulative grade point:

Vocational goal:

State your major:

Awards and honors (attach list if necessary):

Community service (attach list if necessary):

Attach the following documents to completed application:

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1. Personal Letter from Applicant. NFB scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic excellence, financial need, and service to the community. In preparing your personal letter, please keep in mind that the committee members and decision-makers are all successful blind college graduates. Take some time to think how you personally can convey your best qualities in your own words. This is an advocacy job; the committee members will note how you choose to do it. Please also keep in mind that the awards are restricted to blind persons, so the committee will be interested in what techniques and approaches you personally practice concerning your blindness. And please note that almost all blind students have financial need. Committee members will assume basic need, so you may choose merely to refer to this topic unless your need is unusual and extreme.

2. Send two letters of recommendation.

3. Provide current transcript from institution now attending and transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions attended. If you have not yet attended such an institution or have not completed one year of study, send high school transcript.

4. Send a letter from a state officer of the National Federation of the Blind evidencing the fact that you have discussed your scholarship application with that officer. We prefer that you discuss your application with the Federation state president, but a letter from any Federation state officer will suffice. President's address provided upon request.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Richard Ring]

The Road Runner(R), A Review

by Richard Ring

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From the Editor: One of the door prizes at this summer's convention was a Road Runner(R). Close readers of the Monitor Miniatures column and those who stay abreast of access technology began drooling the minute the prize was announced. After reading the following review, those who were under the impression that the prize was a little cartoon character who runs along the road saying "Beep beep," can begin being envious of the winner after the fact. Richard Ring is the supervisor of the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind at the National Center for the Blind. This is what he says about the Road Runner:

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The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind is constantly receiving and evaluating new products. One of the more interesting devices we have acquired in the past several months is the Road Runner from Ostrich Software in Danville, California.

Why is the Road Runner interesting? Computers, electronic documents, and the Internet have opened up undreamed-of vistas of information to the blind. With computers at our desktops, laptops with speech or refreshable Braille displays, or electronic note takers like the Braille 'n Speak, we can read anything that can be turned into electronic ASCII text. The Road Runner allows us to read the same kind of information without a computer. However, in two respects it represents a new dimension of reading. First, the Road Runner is the smallest and most compact text-reading device for the blind available today. Second, since the Road Runner serves only one function, reading and speaking electronic text, its price is significantly less than the cheapest electronic note taker, about $349. Compare this to the price of the Braille 'n Speak (approximately $1,300) or a laptop with speech (more than $2,000).

The Road Runner is a hand-held device about the size of an audio cassette. It comes with a built-in speech synthesizer and firmware that allows it to read any ASCII (plain text) file. The unit operates using a twelve-key telephone-style keypad on the front. On the top of the unit are a headphone jack and another plug for a nine-pin serial cable that connects to a computer. On the back of the unit are a belt clip and the battery compartment cover. The unit is powered by two AA batteries, which are included.

When you receive your Road Runner, you also get computer software on diskette (required to transfer files from your computer), headphones, and a custom serial cable. You will also find that the unit is "locked," meaning that none of the keys will function. Although it is a simple matter to unlock the Road Runner (press the one and three keys down simultaneously), the procedure for doing so can be found only in the printed documentation accompanying the unit or on the software diskette. Fortunately, once the Road Runner has been unlocked, you can read the Audio User's Guide (press the two key), which is pre-loaded into memory at the factory.

Other than the Audio User's Guide, any files you wish to read must be downloaded or transferred to the unit from a personal computer, using the software (called Downlink), shipped with Road Runner. If it hasn't become obvious already, in order to use the Road Runner you must be comfortable with a PC running either the MS-DOS or Windows operating system and screen-access technology for either of these environments.

The Downlink software is available in a Windows 95/98/NT version or an MS-DOS version. When using the Microsoft Windows version of the software, the Road Runner can store up to three megabytes of text. Because the MS-DOS version of the software doesn't process files in the same manner as the Windows version, when using the DOS software, only 1.5 megabytes of text can be stored.

What kinds of files might you read using the Road Runner?--Scanned books, electronic mail, software documentation, and text files you might obtain from the Internet.

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Operating the Road Runner

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The Road Runner is controlled using a twelve-key keypad on the front of the unit. The keys are laid out exactly like a touch-tone telephone. The five key is marked with a raised dot to facilitate easy location.

The Road Runner has the ability to move through a text file in a number of ways. While text is being read, you can move through a file one sentence, paragraph, or page at a time. A power-search capability also allows you to move large distances in a text file (more on this later). When the Road Runner is not playing, you can move back and forth a word at a time, and you can also spell the current word. These movement units are referred to as "navigation steps."

Most of the keys on the Road Runner have multiple functions. These functions are executed by holding the keys down for different lengths of time. You can determine what function is being started by listening to the number of beeps. For example, holding the forward (3) key down for a brief time will move you forward in the file one navigation step; holding the same key down until you hear one beep will move you to the next bookmark set in the file; and holding the key down until you hear two beeps will move you to the furthest read position in the file. If you hold any key down until you hear three beeps, you will hear a brief help message pertaining to the use of that key.

The amount of movement achieved within a file when pressing the forward (3) key or the back (1) key is determined by the current navigation step setting. The default is "sentence." Even if you have changed the navigation step to paragraph, page, or power search, when you stop the playing of a file, the navigation step will automatically revert to sentence. This is annoying. It would be better if the user could preserve the navigation step setting permanently rather than having to reset it every time the unit is stopped.

In the Road Runner you can set as many bookmarks in a file as you wish. Do this by pressing the mark key. When this key is depressed, you will hear a beep advising you that a mark has been set at your current position in a file. Deleting a bookmark is simply a matter of navigating to the location of the mark and pressing the mark key. A beep with a different tone from the one heard when placing a bookmark will sound, advising you that the bookmark has now been deleted. Although it is quite easy to set and delete bookmarks, they may often prove unnecessary because the Road Runner automatically remembers your last position in all of the files you are reading.

Finding your place in a given file is one of the more interesting problems to consider when using a device such as the Road Runner. The unit does not feature a traditional typewriter-style keyboard. Accordingly, searching for strings of text within a file is obviously a problem. The power-search feature is one way to get around this problem. Power search allows you to move through a file in large increments. If power search is the selected navigation step, pressing the forward (three) key will move you halfway between your current position and the end of the file. If you press the back (one) key, the Road Runner will move halfway between the current position and the beginning of the file. Subsequent presses of the forward or back key will result in the Road Runner's moving half the distance it moved previously.

For example, if you were positioned at the beginning of the file, and the navigation step was set to "power search," the first press of the forward key would result in a move to a point halfway between the beginning and end of the file. The Road Runner would announce, "50 per cent." The next time you pressed the forward key, you would move approximately 25 per cent further into the file, and the next press of the forward key would move you about 13 per cent. Each press of either the forward key or the back key would result in a file move of half the previous distance. Finally there would be no movement at all, and you would have to begin a new power search. We have found this feature extremely useful for finding a spot in a large file.

Another useful feature of the Road Runner is the ability to obtain status information. Status information consists of the name of the file being read, your current position in that file, the currently active navigation step, and the number of bookmarks that have been set, if any. You can have status information spoken at any time, whether or not you are reading a file. If a file is playing, it will be interrupted long enough for Road Runner to speak the status information.

The Road Runner produces speech using the DoubleTalk synthesizer, which is built into the unit. This is one of the least expensive speech synthesizers that can be connected to a computer. You can change the rate, pitch, and volume of the speech generated. You can also select from one of five voices. Each voice has a name. You get to choose Perfect Paul; Big Bob; Precise Pete; Bif, and, believe it or not, Vader. The bottom row of keys on the keypad (star, zero, and pound) are used to change all voice and system settings. You can change the speed or volume of the voice at any time--whether the unit is playing a file or stopped. Pitch or voice selections must be made when the unit is stopped.

There are other systems settings that are noteworthy. These can be changed only while the unit is stopped. Two levels of punctuation can be set by the user: "Some" and "All." It is not clear from the documentation what symbols will be spoken when the unit is set to some punctuation. You can adjust the sensitivity of Road Runner's keys. This will determine how long a key needs to be held down before its alternative function takes effect. The Road Runner comes with a sleep timer, which can be set in increments from ten to sixty minutes. When the sleep timer is enabled, the unit will automatically shut down if no keys are pressed during the prescribed period of time. This is a useful feature because it prevents the Road Runner from playing indefinitely, thus needlessly draining the batteries and losing your place in the file being read.

The final two system settings are "File Advancement" and "Search Feedback." The file advancement setting has two settings: "Manual" and "Automatic." Assume multiple files are loaded in memory. With the Manual setting in force, the Road Runner will stop upon reaching the end of a file being read. With the Automatic setting in effect, Road Runner proceeds automatically to the next file and continues reading. Finally there is the Search-Feedback setting. This setting determines the kind of feedback you receive when you press the status key. The Road Runner can announce your current position in a file as either a percentage or a page number or can provide no feedback at all.

The Road Runner can keep track of the current time and date. However, until you set the clock--which requires that the Road Runner be connected to your personal computer while running the Downlink software--you will receive the message "Clock not set."

By default the Road Runner has several system folders to assist it in keeping track of files and their current status. The home folder is much like the root directory of a PC. Within the home folder is the read folder, where files that have been read are stored; the marked folder, where files that contain bookmarks are stored; the unread folder, where files you haven't yet read are stored; and the trash folder, where deleted files are stored. You cannot actually delete a file from the Road Runner. When you choose to delete a file, it is simply placed in the trash folder, from which it can be restored. In fact, using the folder and file navigation keys, you can go to the trash folder and read any files that were marked as deleted. Regardless of other folders you choose to create in the Road Runner, any file can always be found in the read, unread, marked, or trash folders.

When you think of what the Road Runner does--that is, read ASCII text files--it is easy to understand why the Downlink software is absolutely essential to its operation. For without that software, it would not be possible to transfer data from the computer to the Road Runner's memory. As we said earlier, Downlink is available in either a Windows or an MS-DOS version. Whichever version you select, you will be happy to know that the software is compatible with screen-access technology for the blind. We found Downlink fairly simple to install and use.

Before running Downlink for the first time, you must connect the Road Runner to your computer with the supplied connector cable. You need to tell Downlink which serial port is connected to the Road Runner. Once the Road Runner is found by the Downlink software, you can set its clock and transfer files.

Whenever you download a new set of files to your Road Runner, all of the previously downloaded data is lost. Therefore the only way to download new files into the Road Runner while keeping your old ones is to transfer both the old and the new files from your computer.

In conclusion, the Road Runner is a device aimed at a specific group, people who use computers, read lots of text files, and want the ability to read them anytime and anywhere. The Road Runner is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse. It provides excellent battery life. We have gotten approximately forty hours of use on one set of AA batteries, which can be found almost anywhere in the world.

As we said earlier, the price is approximately $349. This is by far the least expensive ASCII-text-reading device on the market today. We emphasize, however, that you must have access to a computer in order to put data into the Road Runner's memory.

During the short history of the Road Runner we reported some problems to Ostrich Software and suggested improvements that could be made. All of the problems that we reported have been successfully addressed, and the firmware is constantly being improved. Ostrich Software listens to its customers, and we believe the company is sincerely interested in creating a better product.

If you have access to a computer, read a lot of text files, and want to do so while traveling, the Road Runner can be an excellent tool.

For further information about the Road Runner contact Ostrich Software, 287 Cameo Drive, Danville, California 94526, Phone: (925) 552-0750, E-mail: <sales@ostrichsoftware.com>, World Wide Web: <http://www.ostrichsoftware.com>.

You may also call the International Braille and Technology Center from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, at (410) 659-9314.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Sheila Koenig]

A Teacher's Perspective

by Sheila Koenig

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From the Editor: Sheila Koenig was a 1995 NFB Scholarship winner. Now she is a middle-school English teacher with a deep commitment to her calling. The following is the text of the speech she delivered to the 1999 meeting of the National Association of Blind Educators in Atlanta:

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Many times during this past year we have heard the sounds of gunfire and sobbing issuing from schools as people's lives are forever changed. Though I am saddened and disturbed by the rise in school violence, I think that as educators we must stay focused on the positive sounds. We are all here because we value the profession of teaching, and there would be no profession if it weren't for the kids. So we need to remember shouts of joy as a winning point is scored, applause rising after a solo in a musical assembly, and discussion building as students listen to and talk with one another. I want to make a difference. I want students to explore the power of their imaginations and discover the beauty of language. This is why I teach.

Those first days before students came to class were hectic. As a new teacher I received mountains of new information and met dozens of people. While trying to learn policies and names, I also worked feverishly on organizing my classroom. Using a reader, I learned which lockers would be assigned to my homeroom. I decided which posters to take from the walls and which to leave hanging.

I also adapted the TV so that I could adjust channels and volume easily. Students in our middle school watch a ten-minute program daily called "Channel 1." It is a way of keeping students informed about current issues. Since the buttons on the TV were separated by only a fingernail's width, I used dymo tape as a labeling tool. I could easily feel the first button on the right. That was the power. Then came channel up and channel down. I placed a Braille "c" beneath the channel up. I used the same procedure for volume up and volume down, placing a Braille "v" beneath the volume up. This way, if the volume was too low, I knew immediately that the button above the "v" would raise it. Conversely, if the volume was too high, I knew that the button immediately to the left of the "v" would lower it. By using a reader in this way, I quickly completed these small tasks, which allowed me to focus more intently on the larger ones.

Those larger tasks always come together on the first day of school. Seating charts, attendance, learning names, presenting the syllabus, and discussing blindness are the main items on my first-day agenda. The first year I found that the way I had designed my seating chart automatically flowed into a discussion of my blindness. In front of my room is a large table. Before each class I place index cards on the table. On one side students find their names in print and Braille. On the other are grid coordinates, such as A1, C5, and E6. The letter represents the row in which the student is to sit, and the number represents the seat.

In this way students walk into my classroom. I greet them at the door, and they find their note cards then quickly their seats. After the standard, "Hi, I'm Ms. Koenig, and it's great to meet all of you." I easily move into, "You probably noticed that there are some raised bumps on the note card you just picked up. Those bumps are your names written in Braille, and I put them there to show you how I read." I proceed to talk about other techniques they would see me using. I explain that I walk with a cane, which serves as a tool to help me find objects that might be in my path. The most important idea I want to convey in this first-day discussion about blindness is that I am totally comfortable with my blindness. It is a characteristic, like having brown hair or blue eyes.

To enforce this idea further, I ask them to ask me questions. Most often someone wants to know how I get to school every morning. I explain that I carpool with other teachers and pay them gas money. I could also take a taxi or a bus. Sometimes students are not comfortable asking questions, but I know their discomfort will disappear quickly. After I tell them about my blindness, I tell them other characteristics about myself. I enjoy reading, writing, exercising, shopping, going to movies, visiting with friends. . . . This is my way of letting them know who I am, and we can establish a community atmosphere from the beginning.

Remember the note cards the students picked up as they entered my room? Braille note cards are an excellent way to take attendance. Call out names and make two piles: those present and those absent. Attendance can then be easily marked on an attendance chart. Hand-raising is something most students are curious about. I tell them that since I can't see their hands in the air, in this class they will say their names as they raise their hands. Because this is a very different procedure, I give them a practice run by saying, "On the count of three we'll all raise our hands and say our names. One, two, three." I say my name along with them. We all laugh at the mumbled sound of so many names being spoken at once; then we move on.

Most of all I want my students to see me as any other teacher. Last year I took my turn at after-school detention, breakfast duty, and before-school supervision. Students who were in sixth grade would come up to me and ask, "What do you teach?" So they get to know me as they would any other teacher before even setting foot into my classroom. But I think it's important to step beyond these required duties. As I climbed the bleachers at a volleyball tournament, I heard shouts of "Hi, Ms. Koenig!" from the team. As I smiled and waved back at them, I marveled at the energy my arrival seemed to infuse in them. At school dances I sold refreshments and monitored the floor. My students and I joked about couples needing to be a cane length apart while dancing. I made it a priority to attend spelling bees and music ceremonies as well.

In addition to students' seeing you as a vital part of the school community, colleagues and administration must see you in the same way. In January volunteers were needed to judge at a citywide speech and debate tournament. I thought it sounded interesting and volunteered my time. The typical process was that a contestant entered the room and wrote his or her number and speech title on the board. I simply asked them to read aloud anything they printed. In this way I received the same information as the other judges in the room. I told my reader what to mark on the score cards, and I returned the envelope to the counters. As the end of this year approached, an advisor was needed for National Junior Honors Society. I volunteered instantly, even though no stipend was given. I wanted to give something back to the school that had just hired me.

One reason I chose to become active in the school community, besides wanting to support the kids, was to demonstrate to my colleagues that I stood on equal footing with them. On one of the first days of orientation, an eighth-grade teacher said to me, "So, do they have an aide for you?" A look of surprise and worry crossed her face when I said that no, I didn't need an aide in my classroom. Sighted people rely so much on their vision that they absolutely cannot comprehend how they would function without it. I believe it is my job to educate these people, to show them how to be successful using alternative techniques.

I don't know what this teacher thought would happen in my classroom, but by the end of the year I felt comfortable joking with her, and she had become much friendlier toward me. Even people who had gradually come to know me through the year at times had doubts. As our team planned the field trip to the nature center, where we would walk some of the trails with the students, I had the distinct feeling that the science teacher was worried about me. She hadn't said anything, but discomfort emanated from her when we talked about the trip. Finally one day she said to me, "Sheila, you'd speak up if there was a problem with the trip, right?" I assured her that there was nothing to worry about.

There was a time in my life when I might have worried continuously about this trip. But before I began my student teaching, I attended BLIND, Inc., an NFB training center. At the center I traveled under sleep shades in many unfamiliar areas. I knew that I had the skills to lead the students successfully on these trails. I took the opportunity to walk the trails with a friend before going with the students, and I would recommend that, if you have the opportunity to check out something in advance, take advantage of it. But most fundamental is having the skills to begin with.

So my first year of teaching is over. I have learned much more than I ever thought possible. I have certainly been touched over and over by the simple joys of teaching, and I have been confronted with both positive and negative attitudes toward blindness. One thing is particularly clear, and it resounds over and over in my mind and heart. I could not have done it without the National Federation of the Blind. If I had not met competent, confident blind people, I would never have been able to see myself in that same way. If I had not taken the time to learn Braille and cane travel, I would lack the skills essential to being a successful teacher. If it weren't for the National Federation of the Blind, I would not now be speaking to you about the wonderful sounds of shouts of joy as a winning point is scored, applause rising after a solo in a musical assembly, and discussion building as students listen to and talk with one another.

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Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

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Purpose of Contest

The purpose of the annual Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is to encourage blind children to read more Braille. It is just as important for blind children to be literate as it is for other children. Good readers can have confidence in themselves and in their abilities to learn and to adapt to new situations throughout their lifetimes. Braille is a viable alternative to print, yet many blind children are graduating from our schools with poor Braille skills and low expectations for themselves as readers. They do not know that Braille readers can be competitive with print readers. This contest helps blind children realize that reading Braille is fun and rewarding.

Who Can Enter the Contest

Blind school-age children from kindergarten through the twelfth grade are eligible to enter. The student competes in one of five categories.

The first category is the print-to-Braille beginning reader. This category is for former or current print readers who began to learn and use Braille within the past two years. This includes:

(1) formerly sighted children who became blind after they mastered print.

(2) partially sighted print readers who are learning Braille. (Kindergartners and first-graders are not eligible for the print-to-Braille category.)

The other categories are grades K-1, 2-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Students in ungraded programs should select the category which most closely matches the grade level of their peers.

Prizes for the Contest

First-, second-, and third-place winners are selected from each of the five categories. All winners receive a cash prize, a special certificate, and a distinctive NFB Braille Readers Are Leaders T-shirt. In each category first-place winners receive $75, second-place winners $50, and third-place winners $25. Students who place fourth and fifth in each category will receive Honorable Mention recognition and a special T-shirt. All contestants receive a Braille certificate and a ribbon for participating in the contest.

Awards are also given to the ten contestants, regardless of category, who demonstrate the most improvement over their performance in the previous year's contest. To be considered for the Most Improved Braille Reader award, the contestant must enter the contest for two consecutive years and cannot be a winner in the current Braille Readers Are Leaders contest or any previous one. Winners of the Most Improved Braille Reader award receive $15 and a T-shirt.

Schools are encouraged to schedule public presentations of the certificates. Alternatively, presentations may be made in the classroom, at the local National Federation of the Blind Chapter meeting, or in some other appropriate setting. Members of the National Federation of the Blind will award the certificates and other prizes whenever possible.

Schools for the Blind

In addition to the individual prizes, one or more specialized schools for the blind will receive a cash prize of up to $200 for outstanding participation in the contest. All of the schools for the blind with students participating in the contest will receive recognition in Future Reflections, the National Federation of the Blind magazine for parents and educators of blind children.

Teacher Recognition

Special recognition and a certificate will also be given to a teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the promotion of Braille literacy through support of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.

Rules for the Contest

Winners will be chosen based on the number of Braille pages read. The one who reads the largest number of Braille pages will be the first-place winner; the second largest the second-place winner; and so forth. The completed contest entry form should be received by the judges no later than February 15, 2000. Contestants must submit with the entry forms a print list of the materials read (see back of entry form). Entry forms without this list will be returned to the sender.

Certifying Authority

The certifying authority is responsible for (1) verifying that the student read the Braille material listed and that the material was read between November 1, 1999, and February 1, 2000; (2) filling out and sending in the contest entry form in an accurate, complete, and timely fashion; and (3) assisting the student in finding Braille materials to read for the contest.

Teachers, librarians, and parents may serve as certifying authorities. The certifying authority must be prepared to cooperate if the contest judges have questions or need additional information about an entry. All decisions of the judges are final.

For more information contact:

Mrs. Barbara Cheadle

National Organization of Parents

of Blind Children

1800 Johnson Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21230

(410) 659-9314

<nfb@iamdigex.net> or <barcheadle@erols.com>

Contest Entry Form

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

November 1, 1999, to February 1, 2000

Mail entry form after February 1, 2000, to

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Student's Name

Birth date

Age

Grade

Address

City, State, ZIP

Parent's Name, Phone (home and/or work)

School Name

Phone

Address, City, State, and ZIP

Certifying Authority Name

Position: Parent, Teacher, Librarian

Address, City, State, and ZIP

Phone (home and/or work)

Please send certificate and ribbon to:

(circle one) student, school, or certifying authority

Did you enter last year's contest (1998-1999)? yes or no

Category: (Check one)

Beginning Print-to-Braille (This category is for former or current print readers who began to learn and use Braille within the past two years. Children who began Braille instruction in kindergarten or first grade are not eligible for this category.)

Kindergarten and First Grade

Second through Fourth Grades

Fifth through Eighth Grades

Ninth through Twelfth Grades

If you should be a winner, what size T-shirt would you require?

(circle one) Children's: S (6-8), M (10-12), L (14-16)

Adult: S (34-36), M (38-40), L (42-44), XL (46-48)

[The following page contains a chart for listing the name of each book and magazine read and the number of pages in each.]

Total number of pages

To the best of my knowledge this student did read these Braille pages between the dates of November 1, 1999, and February 1, 2000.

Signature of Certifying Authority

Date

Common Questions

1. When do I mail in the contest form? Mail the completed form in between February 1 and February 15, 2000.

2. What if I didn't know about the contest until after it began? Can I still enter? Yes.

3. If I enter late, can I still count the Braille pages I have read since November 1? Yes, if your certifying authority will verify that you read those pages.

4. Can I count my Braille textbooks? No.

5. Can I count textbooks if they are not the textbooks I am now using for my regular class work? Yes.

6. What if I don't finish reading a book? Can I count the pages that I did read? Yes.

7. Can supplemental reading books to beginning reading series be counted for the contest? Yes.

8. What constitutes a Braille page? Each side of an embossed piece of paper is considered one page. If you read both sides, then you have read two pages. This is true even if there are only two Braille lines on one side.

9. Can I count title pages, tables of contents, Brailled descriptions of illustrations, etc.? Yes.

10. I have to transcribe books for my beginning reader. Most of these books have only a few words on a page. If the print book has more pages than my Braille transcription, how do I count pages for the contest? For the purposes of this contest, the number of Braille pages counted per book should never be less than the number of print pages in that book. This is so even if the teacher has transcribed the entire book onto one Braille page. To avoid confusion we suggest that the books be transcribed page-for-page, one Braille page for each print page, whenever possible.

11. I have trouble finding enough Braille material for my older students. Do you have any suggestions? Yes. The National Federation of the Blind has free Braille materials suitable for blind youth. To request the NFB Selected Literature for Blind Youth order form, call or write National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

Can I read the same book more than once? Yes, but up to three times only.

Schools for the Blind

2000 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

Residential or specialized schools for the blind which promote the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest among their students are eligible to compete for a cash prize of up to $200 and national recognition for outstanding participation in the contest. No one criterion is used to determine which school or schools receive the cash award(s) and/or recognition. Factors that the judges consider in making this decision include:

The percentage of the student body (total and academic) participating in the contest.

Quality of material read by participating students.

Total number of pages read by participating students.

Improvement in quality and quantity of participation over a previous year's performance.

Number of national winners.

Creative ways in which the contest is used to promote Braille literacy and a love of reading among the participating students.

You can help your school get full consideration for the cash award and/or recognition by returning this form to Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. This form is not required, but the prompt provision of this information to the judges would be appreciated.

Name of School

Address

City, State, ZIP

Total number of students enrolled:

Number of students enrolled in an academic program:

(Students who are learning to read and write in any medium.)

Number of students participating in this year's contest:

School telephone number and other information you wish to provide:

Signature and title

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Please Don't Be Offended

If I Refuse Your Offer of Help

by Donna Blake

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From the Editor: The following article first appeared in the Sunday, February 21, 1999, edition of the Hartford Courant. Donna Blake is the pen name of Federationist Donna Balaski. She may not have been blind long, but Donna demonstrates a healthy understanding of how to educate the public about blindness. This is what she said:

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Recently I was very excited to return to New England. I had been away at a school for the blind [the Louisiana Center for the Blind] for more than a year. I had lost my vision and needed to learn how to approach everyday tasks that I had previously taken for granted for thirty years. When I lost my sight, I was in the last year of a surgical residency program, training to become a trauma surgeon. These days blind people can enter just about any occupation they desire, but surgery is not one of them.

When I landed at Bradley International Airport, I was feeling as if I had just received my driver's license and was driving by myself for the first time.

I received many offers of help at the airport. I wasn't lost, so I politely declined the offers from several people. I did appreciate the woman who directed me toward the baggage claim area and the gentleman who helped me identify my luggage. The person I did not appreciate was the one who helped himself or herself to my wallet and its contents. I felt as if my parents had taken away my driver's license.

Who were you? Were you the gentleman who sat next to me on the plane? The elderly couple who felt the need to grab and hold onto my arm constantly? The woman in the bathroom who thought it was a miracle that I could use the rest room without assistance? Or were you the person who bumped into me in the crowd of people? Whoever you were, thank you for leaving me $20 to get home; at least you were considerate.

Before I lost my vision, I would not have understood some courtesy rules that one should follow when dealing with a blind person. The National Federation of the Blind made me aware of some of the common courtesies one should extend to fellow citizens. In reality most of the suggestions are common social graces.

A common misconception is that, if my eyesight is gone, so is my hearing. It's not true, nor is my hearing any more acute than yours is. I recently taught a college course and ran into an old acquaintance in the bookstore. I am sure that people in the gymnasium next door could hear his side of our conversation because his voice was so loud. In fact, it's still ringing in my ears.

Society can be extremely sensitive about political correctness. But it is perfectly fine to use words such as "blind," "see," or "vision" and their synonyms. For example, "Hear you later" just doesn't flow as smoothly as "See you later."

I am perfectly capable of speaking for myself, so please don't address my companion instead of me. Recently a waitress kept asking my companion if I needed anything. My date handled the situation with grace. He asked the waitress for another waitress. When the other came, he asked her to relay to the first waitress the fact that we would like to end our meal with coffee. I requested decaf.

I am still wondering about the woman I met in the airport rest room. I don't recall her fawning on other women for using the facilities. I was a bit embarrassed. God forbid that she lose her vision, but I assured her anyway that she would have no difficulty using the rest room if she did. Whatever events you experience in life, you go on. The rest of the world doesn't stop.

Please do not compliment me for performing everyday tasks. I am just trying to lead a normal life like the next person; I just have to use alternative techniques. The goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act and mainstreaming children in school is integration into society. The next time you see me in a public place, please don't come up to me and continually touch or clutch my arm. I might think that you are trying to obtain my wallet. And don't try to help me cross a street I don't want to cross.

If I need some guided help, I will take your arm at the elbow and walk behind you; it is dangerous for me if you grasp my arm and push me to our destination.

I don't mind your asking if I would like assistance, but please allow me to decline politely without hurting your feelings.

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[Photo/Caption: Curtis Chong demonstrates nonvisual Web access while conference participants look on.]

Expanding the View: a Technology Access Conference

by Betsy Zaborowski

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From the Editor: As more states pass model technology laws and as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act begins to have an impact, state and federal procurement officials and producers and vendors of access technology will find seminars like the one conducted last May at the National Center for the Blind to be of great benefit. Maryland was one of the first states to mandate that state officials purchase only technology that can be adapted for use by disabled people. In the following article Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, Director of Special Programs for the National Federation of the Blind, describes a seminar conducted in Baltimore to provide information about nonvisual access and other technology matters. This is what she says:

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On May 19, 1999, over 135 people attended a conference held at the National Center for the Blind to learn about nonvisual and other technology-access issues. This all-day conference was sponsored by the Information Technology Board of the State of Maryland, of which I am a member; the Governor's Office for People with Disabilities; the Maryland Technology Assistance Program; and the National Federation of the Blind. Attendees included information technology professionals from around the state of Maryland, technology vendors who do business with the state of Maryland, representatives from federal agencies, adaptive technology companies, and others.

The principal reason for this conference was to provide procurement officials from state agencies and representatives of companies marketing technology to the state the opportunity to learn about nonvisual access issues and solutions. The law on access to information technology which was passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by the governor in 1998 has had the immediate effect of creating much more awareness of the need to provide for nonvisual access in technology being purchased by the state. Therefore, while it would be nice to think that state procurement officials and technology vendors would be interested enough to come to such a meeting on their own, the fact that "it's the law" undoubtedly helped to capture their interest.

The program began with opening remarks from Dr. Marc Maurer, who emphasized the need for partnerships between the technology community and consumer organizations like the National Federation of the Blind. Following that, a panel of experts discussed access technology issues from a variety of perspectives. Jim Thatcher, who coordinates IBM's adaptive technology development, spoke of current projects at IBM and trends that affect the private sector. Mike Pascillo, a technology access consultant who recently published a book on Web-site design that ensures access, spoke on the need for a coordinated effort to ensure that access issues are at the forefront of new technology regulations and advancements in the field.

James Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs for the NFB, outlined legislative trends such as nonvisual access requirements in a growing number of state technology procurement procedures and the implications of regulations proposed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Jennifer Simpson, technology director for the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, outlined what the committee is doing to improve job opportunities that are dependent on technology access. Others also discussed special adaptations for the physically disabled and the efforts of the Veterans Administration to address access needs.

Following the panel discussion and using overhead transparencies, Curtis Chong, Director of Technology for the NFB, gave a well-received demonstration of the principles of sound Web-site design which make it possible for the end user to implement nonvisual access means. The audience was impressed with Mr. Chong's agile use of keyboard commands to activate the speech program being used. Many commented afterwards that Mr. Chong's presentation was the highlight of the day.

During the luncheon held in the National Center's dining room, Major F. Riddick, the Governor's Chief of Staff and chair of the Maryland Information Technology Board, introduced Mr. Bill Opet, President of PSINet's Network Services Group, who gave the keynote address. Mr. Opet discussed the efforts of PSINet to expand networking capabilities throughout the country as well as its recent acquisition of the naming rights to the new Ravens football stadium in Baltimore. He also made a commitment to assist the NFB to provide expanded offerings on our Web site and promised an ongoing partnership with our organization.

Afternoon activities included a workshop on Maryland's nonvisual access law and its implementation, which was conducted by Lesley Hern, Maryland's Chief of Information Technology. The workshop also included a discussion on employment issues associated with nonvisual access conducted by Jennifer Simpson of the President's Committee and Anthony Cobb, Director of the NFB's Job Opportunities for the Blind program. Participants were also able to view a number of technology demonstrations held in the International Braille and Technology Center.

Evaluations filled out by those who attended clearly indicated high satisfaction, and a significant number requested additional training and consultation opportunities. This was the first comprehensive conference like this in the state of Maryland, but it certainly won't be the last. The National Center for the Blind is becoming the site of an ever-increasing number of training seminars and conferences. Our facility and staff together with a national network of experts are the best ingredients for success.

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Technology Replacing Braille

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From the Editor: The following article is reprinted from the July 28, 1999, edition of the Los Angeles Times. It's refreshing to see reporters get the story right.

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Jeffrey Senge remembers exactly when Braille went out and the audiotapes came in. It happened at the end of fourth grade at a Santa Rosa elementary school, nearly forty years ago. During the summer, for reasons he never learned, his teacher was replaced, and so was the Braille-based program he was using to improve his reading skills.

Fifth grade, Senge now believes, marked the end of his own literacy. "I really missed out. I've struggled," said Senge, fifty, who used tapes and letter magnifiers to earn a master's degree in special education from Cal State Fullerton. "Everybody was sincerely trying to do a good job, but they did not think about it clearly, as far as the effect on literacy is concerned."

To Braille advocates, Senge's experience represents the early stages of educational changes that are now coming home to roost: a ballooning population of intelligent, blind adults who are functionally illiterate. The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that out of about one million legally blind people in the country, only 85,000 use Braille. The reason, they say, is increasing reliance on tape recorders, letter magnifiers, and computer voice translators leaves the visually impaired with a shaky grasp of the underlying structure of language. In fact, last month Wells Fargo agreed to provide talking ATM's instead of its current machines with Braille instructions because so few blind people can read Braille. And the numbers are increasing. The percentage of legally blind students learning Braille--a reading method that breaks language into a code of raised dots--has dropped precipitously from 53 percent in 1963 to 10 percent in 1997, according to statistics compiled by the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, a not-for-profit company that conducts an annual national census of blind students.

Statewide about 21 percent of the visually impaired school age children capable of learning to read use Braille as their primary method, according to statistics compiled last year by state education officials. In Los Angeles County, the number is 35 percent; in Orange County, 20 percent.

Yet Braille can be the key to quality of life for the blind. Nine of ten blind adults who have jobs read and write Braille, making Braille literacy critical for a segment of the population suffering from 70% unemployment, said Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore.

Harder to measure is the intellectual and artistic void that illiteracy leaves. Unable to read, large numbers of blind Americans find themselves sealed off from the kind of sustenance that can come from losing oneself in a good book. "It's difficult to say actually how many people use Braille," said Frances Mary D'Andrea of the Foundation. "Some use it for labeling or just know the alphabet for home use. They may not be people who sit down and read a Braille book. It's really hard to get numbers for that."

Reading Braille can be laborious. The system designed by Louis Braille in Paris in 1824 uses a series of six raised dots, in a pattern like the number 6 on a game die, to represent the alphabet. It is read by running the fingertips over the dots. Although it is time-consuming, advocates say it is still faster than using magnifiers.

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Benefits of Early Training

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Literacy rates among the blind could be improved, according to a 1996 doctoral study by a graduate student at the University of Washington, by teaching Braille to the visually impaired while they are young, at the same time seeing students are taught to read. The study found that legally blind students who learned Braille at the same time sighted students learned to read achieved, at the high school level, literacy rates similar to their sighted classmates'. But students who learned Braille later or were taught to read using their limited vision and magnification devices suffered high rates of illiteracy.

The study's author, Ruby Ryles, now an adjunct faculty member at the Louisiana Center for the Blind and Louisiana Tech University, said the work affirmed the importance of Braille in helping young blind students understand the basic structure of language.

Jan Wadsworth, program specialist for the Azusa Unified School District's program for visually impaired students, discounted the link between Braille literacy and employability, arguing that social skills play a more significant role for blind job-seekers. The reason: they need to win over potential employers who are uncomfortable with directing blind staffers. "[Employers] react personally to the fact that they can't make eye contact," said Wadsworth, whose program provides services for blind children in eleven nearby school districts.

Kim Lindley, director of staff development and former coordinator of special education for Capistrano Unified School District, argued that visual impairments vary too much to apply general approaches. Some children have enough vision to read traditional textbooks using enlarged print or magnifiers. And some children with vision problems might also have motor skills problems that make reading Braille especially difficult. "Many things come into literacy and effective comprehension," she said. "It's not a black-and-white issue."

Theresa vanEttinger falls into that gray area. Born blind, vanEttinger's school in her native Montana initially insisted she be taught her ABCs using her extremely limited sight and enlarged print, despite her family's request that she be taught Braille as a hedge against the future. "They said she didn't need [Braille] because she could still read print," said her mother, Ruth vanEttinger. "So we went through the back door. I wasn't a teacher of the blind, and I knew nothing, but I decided I'd better learn it and teach it to her."

The family sued the state and won access to Braille instruction. The mother eventually became certified to teach Braille and, after the family moved to California, became a teacher of the visually impaired in Azusa. Theresa vanEttinger, now a twenty-two-year-old music student at Citrus College, says: "My literacy is as good as any sighted person's."

California regulations require schools to assess individual students' problems and devise an Individual Education Plan and to make Braille instruction available. However, the laws do not require schools to teach Braille to blind and visually impaired students.

Pro-Braille activists say a tide of educational and technological changes have worked against Braille literacy. Key among them is the twenty-year-old practice of integrating blind students into regular public school classes, diffusing the population of blind students and making it more difficult for teachers to specialize and keep up with Braille.

As it is, few teachers even accept the calling. Only ten students trained as Braille specialists graduated this spring from Cal State L.A. and San Francisco State--the only colleges in the state that prepare teachers of blind and visually impaired students, said Jamie Dote-Kwan, coordinator of Cal State L.A.'s teacher training programs in visual impairment and blindness.

"We have had shortages of teachers in this field for twenty years," Dote-Kwan said. "There are positions all over the state that we can't fill."

Jack Hazekamp, a consultant in the state Department of Education's Special Education Division, acknowledged that mainstreaming programs, while well-intentioned, have hindered the teaching of Braille. "It really takes intense teaching, particularly at the primary level," he said. At the same time the number of people with visual impairments has risen, according to the American Printing House for the Blind. The total number of blind students eligible for specialized reading materials more than tripled from 1963 to 1997 from 17,300 to 56,690, the organization found. At the same time the number of Braille readers dropped from 9,123 to 5,439--a 40 percent decrease. Some of those statistics can be attributed to such factors as increased numbers of critically ill and premature babies who survive, often with multiple disabilities that would make it difficult for them to read under any circumstances. Also the growing population of elderly people means that more are going blind late in life, when it is more difficult to learn a new method of reading.

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Technology Has Limits

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Advocates for the blind say the trend away from Braille has not turned around despite several years of lobbying for better state and federal laws. "The infrastructure isn't there," said Maurer of the National Federation of the Blind. "In order to have people who are literate who are blind, you have to have folks who believe in blind people, who believe in Braille, and somebody prepared to produce it." Technology can be seductive, he said, but the machines have their own limits. For example, early vocalization software, which converted text to sound, worked well. But later innovations--particularly on the Internet--have reduced their effectiveness. The flashy images that make Web sites appealing for the sighted wreak havoc on the vocalization programs, rendering them ineffective about 70 percent of the time, he said.

Rachel Heuser, who teaches visually impaired students at Castille Elementary School in Mission Viejo, said she believes Braille is critical for blind students to become literate. But sometimes, she said, the difficulty of Braille precludes students from learning it. Readers of enlarged print take 50 percent longer to read the same material as a sighted reader. Braille readers take twice as long as a sighted reader to absorb the same material.

Kelli Kay of Rancho Santa Margarita never had a choice of instruction for her son, Derek Czajka, who was born totally blind. When her son was 3, she said, he was exposed to Braille through programs at the Braille Institute and has continued with Braille instruction under Heuser at Castille Elementary. Last year, as an 8-year-old second-grader, he excelled on a literacy test that measures reading ability for Braille readers from third grade into adulthood, Kay said.

Paradoxically, publishers of Braille material say they are producing more books now than before, as Braille readers continue seeking out material to read. The Los Angeles-based Braille Institute has its own Braille Press--the largest Braille publisher on the West Coast. Over a twenty-year span the Braille Press has more than tripled its output, from 1.9 million pages in 1977 to 5.8 million pages in 1997.

For Senge, though, the increased amount of Braille reading material represents lost opportunity. With his limited literacy, there are books he will probably never read. "Think about the challenges people have in life who don't have a sufficient mastery of the written language," said Senge, director of a Cal State Fullerton program that transcribes reading assignments into Braille for California college students. "It puts you in the category of being illiterate." The limits of technology, from tape players to computerized readers, quickly become evident, he said. "It's seductive at the beginning," he said. "When you're a little kid, you think this is easy; you don't have to struggle with [learning to read]. You become attracted to it. But at some point, it comes back to bite you."

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: the Costa Romantica]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Seminar participants aboard ship]

Seminar at Sea

by Donald J. Morris

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From the Editor: Don Morris is President of the NFB's Blind Merchants Association, familiarly known to us all as the merchants division. Our merchants have a knack amounting to genius for combining business with pleasure. The following little article and the pictures that go with it provide a clear illustration of this fact. Here is what Don says about the division's hard-working seminar at sea last April:

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April 18, 1999, the call was "Welcome Aboard!" This announced the start of the Blind Merchants Division spring conference cruise aboard the Costa Romantica. The ship, which is more than two football fields long, carries a crew of 600. Among the 1700 passengers were fifty-five members of the NFB Merchants Division. By happenstance, also on board were Dr. Atkins (the diet doctor) and a group of 500 conferees. We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sunday evening.

Conference meetings started Monday morning with a presentation by Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, for ten years a practicing clinical psychologist and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and now Director of Special Programs for the National Federation of the Blind. Her subject was "Elimination of Stress for Improved Performance on the Job." This was a great start for our group.

Monday afternoon we arranged a private galley tour in which conferees were permitted a hands-on examination of the ship's galley. We observed the preparation of the evening's appetizers and desserts. The galley was immaculate. Stainless steel glistened on every surface. Of the very large kitchen crew, twelve members are dedicated to keeping dishes and cookware clean and ready for use. Although every meal tasted and looked as though it was made to order, the galley tour showed us that these delicious meals were really mass-produced. Souffle batter was pumped through a nozzle into individual cups. Several hours later the result was 1,400 perfect souffles. The preparation and presentation of the meals were a great example for cafeteria managers, who all agreed to tempt their customers with new offerings. The chefs and sous-chefs oversaw each aspect of the galley operation, and they managed their part, focusing in order on cleanliness, quality, and productivity.

Study of the Randolph-Sheppard Act and Regulations provided the meat of the conference. We were privileged to have with us Jim Gashel, NFB Director of Governmental Affairs. In the early days of Jim's career, he was instrumental in crafting the language of the 1974 Amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act. His seminar title was "The Randolph-Sheppard Act: What Does It Say; What Does It Mean?" Jim introduced the subject by reading and discussing line by line 20 USC 107 et seq. Because of Jim's extensive knowledge of the Act and his experience in numerous federal arbitrations, the audience was able to gain special insight into the Act and its requirements.

The Tuesday afternoon session was conducted by John Martin, President of the National Buyers Group, discussing "Modern Buying Practices, Inventory Management, and the Benefits of Volume Purchasing." John explained how the National Buyers Group lets blind vendors use their current suppliers while still realizing new discounts and special rebates available only to National Buyers Group participants. John explained that blind vendors can participate without any fee or obligation other than a requirement to notify the NBG Office that the vendor wants to participate. John announced that, by using the Internet and going to <www.nbgmag.com>, anyone can download an application for participation or can complete it on line.

Tuesday evening Sue Kable of Glyndon Square Travel hosted a private reception for our conferees. We appreciate and thank Sue for the reception and the professional way in which she handled the arrangements for the cruise.

At 8:00 p.m. the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where many revelers enjoyed late-night shopping, disco dancing, and simply seeing the sights. Others stayed on board to enjoy the nightly entertainment. The Argentine Gauchos beat drums, swung sabers, clacked bolos, and danced and stomped and ran all over the stage. They recruited Jim "Gaucho Man" Gashel to participate. While none of us thought Jim should give up his day job, he did a credible job of beating the daylights out of the stage.

Wednesday morning we arrived in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. After a day of shopping, snorkeling, eating, and simply being awestruck by the island's beauty, we sailed just before sunset.

On Thursday we visited the island of Serena Cay for a beach picnic or snorkeling. It was not all play, however, since the picnic was prepared on the beach by the ship's staff. Once again blind vendors were able to observe firsthand how large quantities of lunchtime fare can be produced in volume with high quality. During the day aboard ship, demonstrations of fruit and vegetable carving were presented, and many blind vendors learned innovative techniques for decorating and garnishing lunchtime platters.

Friday we were at sea all day, and the conference returned to the subject of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. During the morning and afternoon sessions we completed the reading and discussion of the Act itself and began discussing 34 CFR 395, the Code of Federal Regulations, which implements the Randolph Sheppard Act. As before, Jim's in-depth knowledge helped all participants understand more about the Act and how it applies to them. In the case of many conferees who are members of their committees of blind vendors, this understanding will help prepare them to serve their constituents better.

Saturday morning we all attended lectures by the Customs and Immigration Officers, learning our responsibilities for reentry into the USA. Saturday afternoon we docked at Nassau in the Bahamas and did our best to empty the Straw Market, but mostly we emptied our wallets.

Many readers will remember the conflict blind people had with Carnival Cruise Lines several years ago over the cruise line's treatment of blind passengers and their guide dogs. Thanks to the lesson Carnival learned at the hands of the NFB, we had absolutely no such problem with COSTA, even though it is now owned by Carnival. Members of our group were treated with courtesy but were in no way singled out for those annoying services that are neither required nor desired. Neither our white canes nor the one guide dog with us created any problem or any particular concern.

Sunday morning saw us back in the USA, and, though the trip was great, there's no place like home. Arrivederci!

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Fatos Floyd]

Nebraska Orientation Center for the Blind

Celebrates Its Twenty-fifth Anniversary

by Fatos Floyd

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From the Editor: Rehabilitation of blind Americans is profoundly different today from that practiced at mid-century. The development of Richard Hoover's long-cane technique for travel has certainly had a significant impact, and the evolution of computer technology has certainly altered the content of the skills training offered today. With the exception of high quality Braille instruction, which is all too often missing today, almost all modern rehabilitation is far superior to that our blind parents and grandparents received. But the single most profound change in rehabilitation has come about as a direct result of the emergence of the organized blind movement.

The impact the NFB and its philosophy have had is much greater in some programs than in others, but even in the poorest ones the influence can be seen. Virtually every agency doing blindness rehabilitation today gives lip service, at least, to the notions that blindness alone need not stop a person from living a full life, that self-confidence is a key to success, that poor public attitudes about blindness cause massive complications in our lives, and that nothing about blindness is shameful. Even in their most watered-down formulations, these are concepts that have flowed directly from NFB philosophy into every cranny of the blindness field.

Some centers and programs, of course, embraced these ideas and the programs that inevitably arise from them sooner than others. The Nebraska Orientation Center is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this month. Fatos Floyd, wife of NFB of Nebraska President Mike Floyd, now directs the center, and she recently sent us this brief history of the program and what it celebrates. This is what she says.

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For more than thirty years October 15 has been proclaimed White Cane Safety Day in the United States. It is an occasion for Governors to call attention to the capabilities and contributions of blind persons. In 1999 the blind of Nebraska will have special reason to celebrate the day. Twenty-five years ago Federationism came to the State service system for the blind with the establishment of a genuine orientation center for the blind.

In 1973 Dr. Jack Anderson, director of the Nebraska state agency that included Services for the Visually Impaired, was persuaded by Richard Parker, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska, to visit the Iowa Commission for the Blind in Des Moines and its director, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. Dr. Anderson was so impressed with the philosophy that guided the Orientation Center in Iowa and the dynamic leadership of Dr. Jernigan that he agreed to take steps to change the direction and the philosophy of services for the blind in Nebraska. He challenged Mr. Parker to find a qualified candidate to direct the state agency for the blind who shared the same philosophy.

With the assistance of Dr. Jernigan, Dr. James Nyman was contacted and accepted the challenge, starting in May, 1974. Dr. Nyman, who served for nearly twenty-five years as director of Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired, established and maintained the highest standards for quality in rehabilitation of the blind. Under his leadership the Orientation Center, as it is now known, was developed and became recognized nationally as an example of excellence in the field. Today the tradition begun by Dr. Nyman is being vigorously continued by his successor, Dr. Pearl Van Zandt.

In 1974 a part-time center existed in Lincoln, but one that operated on the basis of skill training without any coherent philosophy to guide it. Several months after assuming the directorship of Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired, Dr. Nyman persuaded Sylvia Johnson (now Sylvia Speed) to come from Washington, D. C., to bring coherence and philosophy to the Orientation Center. Ms. Speed had been a travel instructor in the Orientation Center in Iowa and understood what excellence in a Center meant.

It was not long before staff members of the period like Barbara Beach (now Barbara Walker), John Cheadle, and Rosemary Lerdahl pulled together as the first cohesive Orientation Center team under Ms. Speed's philosophical leadership. Despite her short stay the foundations of a sound orientation program were laid. Michael Adams was chosen to succeed Ms. Speed. The Orientation Center continued to develop under his leadership and that of his successors, Barbara Walker, Sheila Byrd (now Sheila Wright), Deb Robinson, Rosemary Lerdahl, Susan Miles, Linda Chilcott, and its current director Fatos Floyd.

Perhaps nothing illustrated the new confidence in blind people more than the insistence that the critical skill of travel could be effectively and safely taught by a blind instructor. The orientation-and-mobility profession had institutionalized the belief that only the sighted could perform this vital service. Jim Walker from Michigan, possessing the philosophy and skill that commended him to the consideration of Services for the Visually Impaired, was recruited in 1975. He became the model of a blind person effectively teaching travel and embodying the Federation philosophy in his personal and professional life. Fred Schroeder, now Commissioner of the U.S. Rehabilitation Administration and blind himself, succeeded Mr. Walker as cane-travel instructor in the Orientation Center. Mr. Schroeder wanted to become certified as an orientation and mobility instructor by AER; however, even with his academic qualifications, the orientation-and-mobility establishment prevented him from obtaining certification, claiming his blindness as the reason. Another person well known to Federationists, Christine Roberts (now Christine Boone), followed Mr. Schroeder. Others who have served in this capacity are Michael Floyd; Larry Mackey; and Jeff Altman, the current cane-travel instructor.

The Federation and Federationism continue to play a vital role in the formulation and conduct of training at the Orientation Center in Nebraska. Without the support of the organization and the guidance of its philosophy, an orientation center becomes a hollow exercise in skill training. Those Centers that cultivate both skills and beliefs in the capabilities of blind persons can instill the motivation to pursue life goals in the mainstream of society. This is the truth and the proud history that will be celebrated on White Cane Safety Day, 1999, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Orientation Center in Nebraska.

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[Photo/Caption: Donald Drapinski, September 13, 1957 to August 26, 1999]

In Memory and Celebration of Donald Drapinski

by Allen Harris

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From the Editor: Monitor readers will remember the touching tribute to Don Drapinski from his ten-year-old niece that appeared in the July issue of the Braille Monitor. Don lost his gallant fight against muscular dystrophy on Thursday, August 26, 1999. Don was a member of the NFB of Michigan's Board of Directors for many years, and his wife Sue is the affiliate's Treasurer. Even more important, Don and Sue together were an inspiration to everyone who knew them. No one who met Don ever again doubted how much of a contribution could be made by a Federationist dogged by increasing poor health. Don's courage and commitment to the National Federation of the Blind and what it stands for will continue to inspire us all.

Allen Harris, Immediate Past President of the NFB of Michigan and Treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind, wrote a eulogy which was read at Don's funeral on August 30. Here it is:

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Donald, we will miss you, but you have made our lives so much richer! When I met Donald, he was a teen-ager and was just out of high school. In the summer of 1975 I was working at the Rehabilitation Institute as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Funny the things one remembers twenty-five years later--Donald was struggling with blindness and attempting to deal with his other physical problems. He made a warm and lasting impression on me. I did not know at that time that our lives would become so closely intertwined.

Donald, we will miss you, but you have made our lives so much richer! In the early '80's I became reacquainted with Donald as he began attending chapter meetings of the National Federation of the Blind. We were both in the Detroit Chapter and were having a difficult time holding things together. Before long Donald became President of the Chapter, and his leadership and strong work ethic became apparent. At that time we were struggling to maintain twenty members, but when Donald finally left the presidency in 1990, he had built the chapter to about one hundred members. He was proud and believed that the Federation could make a difference in everyone's life.

Donald did not ask others to do what he did not; he always led by example. He touched the lives of many people and inspired blind people to go for it. No matter how much Donald struggled in his own life, he never brought his difficulties to others. Truthfully, it was difficult to complain about the minor problems in our lives when Donald faced such monumental challenges. In 1990 he became First Vice President of the Detroit Chapter. His voice had become weaker, and he found it increasingly difficult to chair a meeting. However, even when Donald used Sue's voice, there was no doubt that he had prepared the ideas; he knew exactly what he wanted to say!

Donald, we will miss you, but you made our lives so much richer! Donald loved the NFB, and it became an important part of his life. He rarely missed a meeting, and if the NFB was having an activity, there you would find him. Many of you here today spent countless hours with Donald at Federation functions. In fact, if he was not present, it seemed that something was wrong. He believed that the next generation of blind children would have a better life because of the Federation.

We in the Federation are blessed to have had Donald as our friend and colleague. To know Donald was to love him. He was truly a person who gave more to others than he expected in return. Many times Sue, Joy, Donald, and I went to activities of one kind or another. We went everywhere with him! Sometimes we would decide that he should participate, and he went along with the idea. Other times he was too sick to go, but he would insist that Sue go, and he would stay alone for hours at a time. This was his way. If he could, he would participate; but if he could not, he insisted that we go without him.

Donald, we will miss you, but you made our lives so much richer! Donald, will you do one more thing for me? Will you forgive us for being less than sensitive and thoughtful about your needs? Sometimes we asked you to make significant sacrifices, and you never complained. Remember the time we took you to see Bruce Springsteen? You thought your hearing was gone. How many times did we drag you through the snow or bring you out into oppressive heat? Many times we crammed your six-foot frame onto the four-foot love seat. Remember when I served you a pint of Jim Beam as we rang in the new year? It was a good thing you had prepared by eating massive amounts of lobster and shrimp cocktail. Donald, please understand that we meant no harm!

Donald, we will miss you, but you made our lives so much richer! Donald, we cannot fully celebrate your life without acknowledging your wonderful wife, Sue. You would want a word said about Sue's dedication and commitment to your life. Many times you told me how much you loved Sue. We talked about the quality of your life, and you knew that it was because of her efforts. Sue would do anything she was capable of doing for you. You wanted everyone to know what a good life you had and that it would not have been possible without Sue.

Donald, we are deeply glad that you will not suffer any more. We are thankful that you touched our lives and that we were able to bring a little happiness to you. We have now gathered to say goodbye, but you will continue to be a part of our lives. We will remember you for the kind and gentle treatment you gave to others. We will remember you for the effort and strength you put into your life. We will remember you for having dignity in the face of pain and discomfort. We will remember you for the many wonderful qualities you possessed. But, Donald, I will remember you as a guy who loved me and let me love you in return. I am sad but not sorry that you had to go. You had done what you could on this earth, and heaven is waiting for you. Be well!

Donald, we will miss you, but you made our lives so much richer!

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[Photo/Caption: Harold and Linda Snider]

Recipes

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This month's recipes are contributed by members of the Masonic Square Club, a division of the National Federation of the Blind.

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Italian-Made Bean Casserole

by Linda Snider

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Linda Snider is the wife of Harold Snider and an active Federationist in her own right. She is also a spectacular cook.

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Ingredients:

2 cups dried Great Northern large white beans

6 cups cold water

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup celery, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed sweet basil

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1 cup fresh skinned or solid-pack canned tomatoes

2/3 cup bean liquid and tomato juice combined

grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

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Method: Soak beans in water overnight. Cook beans in water in which they were soaked. Place over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon butter to keep down the foam. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally. Add salt and simmer gently until tender. Drain, reserve liquid.

Heat oil over low flame and add onions, garlic, and celery. Cook until tender but not browned. Add parsley, thyme, sweet basil, pepper, tomatoes, and bean-tomato liquid. Bring mixture to boil, add to beans, and mix lightly. Turn into a 1-1/2 quart casserole. Cover and bake in 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, dust top of beans generously with grated cheese, and return to oven uncovered for ten minutes to brown cheese lightly. Serve piping hot with additional cheese to sprinkle over each serving. Excellent with roast leg of lamb.

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Boiled Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce

by Harold Snider

This delicious recipe serves four. Harold is a long-time leader in the NFB and a Past President of the D.C. affiliate. He waxes rhapsodic over this favorite in his personal culinary repertoire.

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Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh shrimp

2 tablespoons salt

2-4 tablespoons ground Cayenne

2-4 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

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Method:Fill 4-quart pot half full of water and seasonings. Bring water to a rolling boil. Add shrimp and cook for four to five minutes, no longer. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place shrimp on ice for twenty to thirty minutes. Serve with remoulade sauce

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Remoulade Sauce

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup ketchup

2 ounces horseradish (more or less to taste)

1 teaspoon tabasco sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

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Method: Mix all ingredients thoroughly and chill in refrigerator for twenty-four hours.

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Imperial Crab Maryland

by Linda Snider

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Ingredients:

1 pound large-lump crab meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon capers with some juice

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

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Method: Mix all ingredients except bread crumbs carefully and pack in greased crab shells or other small oven-proof containers. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of each. Dot with butter and bake in 350-degree oven about twenty-five minutes. Serve at once garnished with parsley and lemon.

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Spiced Beef

by Linda Snider

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Ingredients:

1 8- to 10-pound round of beef

1 gallon water

1 teaspoon saltpeter

1/2 box allspice

2 sticks cinnamon

1 dozen cloves

1 cup sugar

1 quart salt

Method: Bring all ingredients (except beef) to a boil and cook for ten minutes, then remove from heat. When cool, add round of beef and store for 2 weeks. Weight it down. Turn meat over after first week. No harm will result if it remains in the mixture longer. To cook, place beef in stout kettle with lid and cover with liquid consisting of half spice mixture and half water. Cook slowly fifteen to twenty minutes to the pound or until thoroughly tender. Serve cold, carving in very thin slices. I recommend serving with thin slices of home-made white bread, although biscuits or rolls may be used.

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Old English Date Pie

From Maryland's Eastern Shore

by Linda Snider

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Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup dates, cut fine

1 tablespoon fine cracker crumbs

1 cup sour cream

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

flaked or fresh coconut

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Method: Beat eggs. Add sugar, salt, spices, sour cream, and crumbs. Mix well. Place dates in pie shell and pour mixture over them. Sprinkle top with coconut. Place in hot oven for ten minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 and bake fifteen minutes longer, or until filling will not adhere to knife blade inserted in center.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jack Allord]

Baked Chicken Breasts Supreme

by Jack Allord

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Jack Allord is a former Masonic Grand Master of Wisconsin. He is the only blind man ever to have held this august office.

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Ingredients:

6 boned, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups dairy sour cream

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

4 teaspoons celery seed

2 teaspoons paprika

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups corn flake crumbs

1/2 cup butter

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Method: Cut chicken breasts in half; wipe well with wet paper towels. In large bowl combine sour cream with lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken to sour cream mixture, coating each piece well. Let stand covered in refrigerator overnight. Next day pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove chicken from sour cream mixture. Roll in crumbs, coating evenly. Arrange in single layer in large, shallow baking pan. Melt butter in small saucepan. Spoon butter over chicken. Bake chicken uncovered 55 to 60 minutes or until chicken is tender and nicely browned.

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Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

by Jack Allord

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup cocoa

1-1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup butter or margarine

3 cups packed light brown sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-3/4 cups unsifted cake flour or 2-2/3 cups sifted regular flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/3 cups dairy sour cream

Chocolate Frosting

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Method: In a saucepan add cocoa to boiling water. Stir or whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla at high speed until very light and fluffy, about five minutes. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add alternately with cocoa mixture and sour cream to creamed ingredients, beginning and ending with flour. Beat just until batter is smooth. Pour into three ungreased and floured round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty-five to forty minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool ten minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely, stack layers, and ice with your favorite frosting.

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Monitor Miniatures

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Victory in the Cheap Tickets, Inc., Skirmish:

In late summer an ad began appearing on CNN and other TV networks for a company called Cheap Tickets, Inc., which sells low-cost airline tickets. The ad opened with a blind beggar sitting on a bench with a jar containing some money. A well-dressed business woman comes along and drops a bill into the jar and then makes change for herself. The man sits looking perplexed about what is happening. The voice-over says that everyone is a little cheap.

As soon as the spot began to air, NFB listservs heated up with descriptions of this commercial and fury at its depiction of blind people. Nathanael Wales of California dug up the name and contact information for the company's CEO and an e-mail address for customers to use. Then the deluge began. In two days Paul Izanstark, Senior Vice President of the advertising agency that created the ad, called several Federation leaders who had contacted the company and wrote the following letter:

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August 27, 1999,

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As Senior Vice President of Colby, Effler and Partners, the advertising agency for Cheap Tickets, Inc., I'd like to respond to your concern regarding our television commercial entitled "Donation."

I'd like to apologize for the misunderstanding and make it clear your concern is understood. The commercial was never intended to exploit or humiliate the visually impaired. Our intent was to simply reinforce that there is a little cheapness in all of us by poking fun at the main principal within the commercial, the woman making the donation.

Cheap Tickets, Inc., is a highly reputable company with a strong interest in helping many organizations, including the Easter Seals Society, Association for the Mentally Handicapped, and the homeless.

With that said, we take your comments very seriously, apologize if our actions were misinterpreted, and will discontinue airing the commercial.

Sincerely,

Paul Izanstark

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Regardless of Mr. Izanstark's effort to suggest that the insult to blind people was only in our minds and not in the message of the ad, Cheap Tickets, Inc., had clearly gotten the message and directed the agency to cut their losses by pulling the spot immediately. It's been a long time since we had such a clear and speedy example of the value of coordinated action by numbers of Federationists.

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2000 Catalog Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc., announces its 2000 catalog with over 220 new items inside. Talking VCR, Windows games, lady's talking watch, and Potato Express are just a few. Call (800) 454-3175 if you are not already on the mailing list. Request your free copy in either large print, 4-track cassette, or computer disk. Braille is $10. E-mail <annmor@webspan.net> or visit the new shopping cart online at <www.annmorris.com>.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Carl and Charlotte Miller display their award and certificate.]

Honored:

Recently Carl and Charlotte Miller of the St. Lucie Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida were honored by the J. C. Penney Golden Rule organization as Volunteers of the Year. Carl is the President of the St. Lucie Chapter, and Charlotte is the Secretary. Carl has been blind for thirty years and was the founder and first president of the Prairie State Chapter of the Illinois affiliate. He is the immediate past president of the Ft. Pierce, Florida, Lions Club, and Charlotte is the current treasurer of the Ft. Pierce club. The Millers have been Federationists since 1974. Charlotte has driven thousands of miles taking Federationists to local, state, and national meetings and conventions. In addition to the trophy shown in the picture, the chapter received a $1,000 cash award. Congratulations to the Millers.

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Clarification:

In the June issue we published a notice that was misleading. Mary Ann Lareau is the Secretary of the NFB of Massachusetts. She says that this is the text that should have been sent to us:

For this year only we are making available to NFB members only the opportunity to have a Braillewriter cleaned for $25. Be advised that repairs must be charged according to the cost of the repaired part. These machines can be mailed free matter for the blind, but potential customers are reminded that insurance is available at the post office even for items shipped free matter. Send your machines or letters of inquiry to Mary Ann Lareau, 27 Gilbert Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02453, or call (781) 899-3745 during normal business hours.

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New Services Available from I Can See Books:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I Can See Books, the Braille and cassette book store, is proud to announce that we now accept orders paid by VISA. With one thousand books listed in our current 1999 catalog, we can virtually guarantee that any popular book that you wish to read is available in Braille or on audio cassette. Our books are high-quality and low-cost. Many of them 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 two dozen speech-friendly computer games and utilities written by our expert computer programmer. Programs include Talking Typing Teacher, Battleship, Monopoly, Dominoes, Electronic Tunes, and Address Keeper, as well as many programs for children.

Our catalog is available at our Web site at <www.ncf.ca/~dr100> or via e-mail by writing to <dr100@ncf.ca>. 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.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

14-inch Aladdin Telesensory CCTV under two years old, magnifies up to 25 times original print, has swivel XYZ table. Asking $1,200 plus shipping. Make offer. Call Kathryn Hawkins, (318) 621-1087.

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New Web Site:

The National Federation of the Blind's Deaf-Blind Division is pleased to announce a new Web site that will contain information on deaf-blindness issues and concerns. To look at what we have to offer go to the following site: <www.nfb-db.org>. There you will find a listing of all Board members and contact information, an essay on deaf-blindness, and a few links for additional resources. Keep in mind that this is for information and exchange purposes. No endorsement is being made on any links mentioned. We believe that this information will be helpful when meeting a deaf-blind person. We look forward to communicating with you soon.

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BANA Announcements:

We recently received the following press release. It seems to contain information of interest to many people, so here it is:

On May 2 and 3, 1999, the Board of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) met in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The meeting was hosted by the National Braille Association.

The General Assembly of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) will meet in Baltimore, Maryland, November 2 to 5, 1999. The United States delegates will be Betty Niceley (National Federation of the Blind), Kim Charlson (American Council of the Blind), Frances Mary D'Andrea (American Foundation for the Blind), and Phyllis Campana (American Printing House for the Blind). Observers are welcome in the meeting, but space is limited. For more information e-mail Betty Niceley at <bniceley@iglou.com>.

The brochure, "Guidelines for the Production of Braille Materials Through the Use of Braille Translation Software" was approved for publication.

Errata to the print edition of Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription 1997 have now been approved.

The Braille Code for Chemical Notation 1997 is now available from the American Printing House for the Blind for $16 in both print and Braille. Library of Congress certified Nemeth Code transcribers may order a free copy from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

The BANA Board will proceed with outreach and field testing of the Unified Braille Code, the UBC Research Project under the auspices of the ICEB. In the next several months articles transcribed in UBC will appear in Braille magazines produced by BANA member organizations.

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Asian Conference Announced:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The first joint Asian Conference of two leading world bodies, the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and Deafblind International, will be held in Ahmedabad in February, 2000. This is a unique opportunity for people all over Asia to learn about advancements in teaching the deaf-blind and new strategies in the education of the visually impaired. Experts will come to Ahmedabad to share their knowledge, experience, and expertise with approximately 300 participants expected from fifteen countries in Asia.

The Blind People's Association of Ahmedabad has been chosen to host these two conferences because of its track record in organizing international gatherings. A large number of participants from Asia will be sponsored and will be able to participate free in this conference. We are looking for help from donors and well-wishers for meeting our costs and helping us to find motivated sponsors. You may contact Blind People's Association, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad-380 015, Phone: 91-79-644 0082, 644 2070, Fax: 91-79-6560106, e-mail: <bpa@vsnl.com>.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I have a Pearlcorder transcription machine Model T2020 for sale. Like new (still in original box). Uses mini and micro tapes. Asking $275 plus shipping. Call Jody Ianuzzi at (603) 352-6790 or e-mail <jody@cheshire.net>.

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Valleyfair Settlement Still Working:

Longtime Monitor readers will recall the Valleyfair case, discussed in detail in the March, 1991, and May, 1994, issues of the Braille Monitor. Minnesota Federationists brought suit against an amusement park for refusing them access to rides that park officials thought dangerous for blind riders. They also insisted on sending blind people back to Customer Service for a lecture and on confiscating canes unnecessarily. When the park lost the case before the Minnesota Human Rights Commission, they eventually worked out a settlement with the National Federation of the Blind. Here is a brief report of how things are going five years later as reported by Tom Scanlan to Curtis Chong:

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You may be interested in knowing that your work with Valleyfair has stuck. On Friday, August 20, 1999, twenty-one staff and students from BLIND, Inc., [Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions, the adult rehabilitation center conducted by the NFB of Minnesota] went to Valleyfair. They had no hassles, and going to Customer Service was never suggested to them. Attendants asked if people wanted them to keep their canes for them but didn't fuss when told no.

The most surprising thing was that our folks even went on the bumper cars. They did give up their canes there, but it worked out OK. As I recall, the bumper cars were originally excluded in the settlement. Even Joyce [Scanlan] went on the bumper cars. Of course the BLIND students didn't see what all the fuss with Valleyfair had been about. After all, they didn't have any problems now.

At any rate, it's nice to know that Valleyfair is still straightened out. And there are still people who ask: "Why the National Federation of the Blind?"

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The 1999 NFB Television PSA's Now Available:

The Materials Center now has tapes containing three thirty-second NFB public service announcements for use in local markets. Contact TV stations in your city, and find out whether they will air our PSA's to assist people losing sight. Learn what format each station uses. We have Beta SP and 3/4- and 1-inch tape versions of the PSA's, so be sure to specify which ones you need. You can make a big difference in spreading word about the work of the National Federation of the Blind while alerting the media in your area to the presence of a local chapter. Contact the Materials Center between 12:30 and 5:00 p.m. Eastern time at (410) 659-9314.

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Recording Available:

Tom Stevens, President of the NFB Writers Division, reports that Dr. Steven Sheeley of Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, delivered a very useful talk at the meeting of the Writers Division during the recent convention. This speech is now available on cassette tape for $5 by contacting Tom at 1203 S. Fairview Road, Columbia, Missouri 65203-0809. Tom also reports that Toby LongFace of Arizona was elected to the division's Board of Directors.

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New Chapter:

NFB of Illinois President Steve Benson writes to say that on August 28, 1999, the NFB of Illinois added another chapter to the affiliate in the Rock Island/Moline area. It is called the Blackhawk Chapter. The new President and Board Members are committed to Federation growth and development in Western Illinois. The following were elected to office: President, Allen Schaefer; Vice President, Lois Montgomery; Secretary, Kath Kelley; Treasurer, Ruth Schaefer; and Board Member, Herb Sullivan. Congratulations. We look forward to working with you as we move into the twenty-first century.

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Cassette Albums for Sale:

Autumn in the Midwest brings cool, crisp nights, shortened days, bountiful harvests, and falling leaves. The leaves tumble and scatter very much like all those stacks of cassettes you have precariously heaped on shelves and in every nook and cranny. The least breeze or disturbance by hand, foot, or pet will send these cassettes tumbling all over the place. The NFB of Illinois has the perfect solution for you. For a mere $3 each you can have your very own attractive white vinyl albums that accommodate a dozen cassettes. Our cassette albums come complete with clear sleeves front and back for print labels and ample space on the spine for Braille labels.

Avoid the dreaded avalanche of cassettes by sending a check or money order, made payable to NFB of Illinois, in the amount of $3 for each cassette album, to Stephen O. Benson, NFB of Illinois, 7020 N. Tahoma, Chicago, Illinois 60646.

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In Memoriam:

We regret to report that on July 30, 1999, Dr. Florence Schroeder, the mother of our friend and colleague Dr. Fred Schroeder, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, died at the age of ninety in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Schroeder was a remarkable woman, earning a master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from New York University, New York. She studied at both the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and the University of London. She raised four children and is survived by them and seven grandchildren. Our sympathy goes to Fred, his brothers, and his sister.

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Elected:

Gintautas Burba reports that the Greater Brockton Chapter of the NFB of Massachusetts conducted elections June 1, 1999. Officers elected were James Daley, President; Linda Brown, Vice President; Sandi Cassidy, Secretary; Brandy Rose, Treasurer; David Keller, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Board Members Mary Szczerba and Richard Downes.

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New Web Site:

Connie Leblond, President of the National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs, reports that the NABE Web site is now online and past its initial growing pains. Visit it at <www.nabentre.org>.

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For Sale:

Bryan Gerritsen of Low Vision Services in Salt Lake City, Utah, asks us to list the following items for sale: Optelec Spectrum Jr. color 14-inch CCTV, eighteen months old, $2,795 or best offer; Humanware Clearview black and white, 17-inch CCTV, $1,995, or best offer; Aurora autofocus black and white headmount camera system, $2,195 or best offer.

The above listed items were used only as demonstrators at a low vision clinic. If interested, call (800) 284-1823, extension 373.

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Elected:

Cindy Hess, Secretary of the Greater Springfield Chapter of the NFB of Massachusetts, reports its June election results. The new officers are Walter Woitasek, President; Celida Zuniga, Vice President; Cindy Hess, Recording Secretary; Keith Barton, Treasurer; and Elwood Adkins and Wanda Stebbins, Members of the Board of Directors.

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New Computer Compilation:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Computer Bytes is a monthly compendium of items from other newsletters, computer brochures, and magazine articles put out by the Oregon Talking Book and Braille Services. It can be found at <http://www.osl.state.or.us/tbabs/compbytes.html>. You may contact Donna Bensen, Regional Librarian, Talking Book and Braille Services, Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon 97310-0645, (503) 378-4243, extension 269.

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As Others See Us:

Larry Kettner is a Federationist in Minnesota. He does his job with dignity and dedication. What, you may ask, is exceptional about that? We recently received a note written by one of the many people served in Mr. Kettner's food operation. This is what it said:

One of the people working in our cafeteria is Mr. Larry Kettner. Mr. Kettner is visually impaired; the white cane he uses is a tool as well as a signal to the rest of us regarding his condition. The cafeteria is a frantic, noisy place. Usually I am in a hurry and impatient with lines, anxious to get my lunch, eat, and go on to the many things I have left to do that afternoon. However, occasionally Mr. Kettner will be coming my way with a pile of plates or trays. I know he cannot see me, so I pause, wait for him to pass, then try to clear a broad path so as not to bump into him as he turns around. Whenever this happens, it is amazing but this never feels like a burden or an inconvenience: these few seconds seem like a gift. They remind me of my good fortune of having two good eyes and freedom to move where I wish; they remind me that the limitations that so frustrate me are often minor; and they inspire me as I see a human being going about work that few of us would aspire to with purpose and dignity. Pausing and stepping aside for Mr. Kettner is not an inconvenience; it is a privilege.

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Elected:

Patty Gwizduk, Secretary of the East San Diego County Chapter of the NFB of California, reports the chapter's August 7, 1999, election results: Sheila Johnson, President; Linda Gwizduk, Vice President; David House, Treasurer; Patty Gwizduk, Secretary; and Lisa Irving and Charles Tippie, Board Members.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Optacon II, excellent condition, barely used, extra battery pack, tracking aid, Braille manuals, A.C. charger/adaptor. Asking $2,500. Contact S. Oswal with a firm offer in Braille, print, or cassette, at P.O. Box 3927, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut 06117, or e-mail <soswal@hartford.edu>.

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New CD Label:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Easier Ways International, Inc., has developed a new Braillable label that fits snugly under the tabs on top of the booklet in a CD Jewel Case.

Sharp Braille; will stand up for years, clear perma-plastic. Using Brailler, takes ten lines, fifteen characters per line. Using slate, takes eleven lines, eighteen characters per line. Now ready for shipment. For further information contact Easier Ways International, Inc., 2954 Shady Lane, Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126, phone (303) 290-0987, or fax (303) 290-6446, e-mail <EasierWays@aol.com>.

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New Book Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Voices of Wolf Lake, the second children's book by Ron Schmidt is now available for $8 per copy, including postage. This 32-page book features the adventures of the author and his guide dog traveling in the wilderness of Michigan's upper peninsula and has excellent black and white illustrations. The National Federation of the Blind will receive 50 cents from the sale of each book. Only print copies of the book are available at this time. Send checks or money orders to Ron Schmidt, 2600 Trumbull Road, Maple City, Michigan 49664.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Kurzweil Xerox Reading Edge, model 7315-60, less than two years old with under one hour total use. Originally priced at $5,495, will take $3,500. It's in the box, ready to ship to you. Call Annette Krell at (214) 890-0596 or fax (214) 890-0453 any time soon.

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Elected:

The Kankakee Heartland Chapter of the NFB of Illinois elected new officers at its April 3, 1999 meeting. They are Bill Isaacs, President; Marcia Beck, Vice President; Marjorie Stouffer, Secretary; Ruth Isaacs, Treasurer; and Alice Jordan, Bernie Lulkowski, and David Richmond, Board Members.

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Book Available:

The new girl next door is your age, and she's blind. How will you climb trees, make cookies, play Old Maid with cards, walk to the store, write notes to each other, and enjoy the summer together? Jenny Lee, the girl next door, and Carey do enjoy the summer fun until Jenny is kidnapped. Soon Carey is searching for clues. The Seeing Summer by Jeannette Eyerly, illustrated by Make Ishiwata, is suitable for grades three and up. It is a 153-page paperback and sells for $10, plus $3 shipping and handling. Make checks payable to National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. You may call the NFB Materials Center at (410) 659-9314 and use Visa, Discover, or MasterCard. Purchase orders accepted from schools, libraries, and agencies.

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1999 List of Tactile Drawings and Maps (UPDATED ADDRESS):

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The following tactile maps and drawings are now available from the Princeton Braillists:

Maps of Individual U.S. States: Each booklet contains introductory information and detailed maps showing major cities, rivers, and lakes, major highways, physical features, county boundaries, agricultural and mineral resources. Each booklet costs $6 (shipping by free mail). The states included are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

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, $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, fifty-nine pages. Unit 2. The United States: (2 volumes) divides the country into six regions; maps are shown by region, 124 pages. Unit 3. Middle and South America: 51 pages.

Price of four-volume set is $56, including shipping. Individual volumes: $15, packing and shipping $4 for one or two volumes.

Atlas of the Middle East: covers seventeen countries arranged alphabetically, includes a page of facts and a full-page map for each country. Maps show major cities, physical features, and points of interest. Twenty-five maps with keys, 69 pages total, $20, including shipping.

Maps of Russia and Its Former Republics: shows boundaries, rivers, and major cities as of 1997. Six maps, 16 pages total, $4 (free mail).

Maps of Morocco: Seven maps with keys, 19 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. Further information can be obtained by calling the number given above or (609) 924-5207.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Reading Edge Xerox scanner, three years old with the most recent software. It is a stand-alone scanner in good condition. I'd like $1,000 for it, but will consider taking $800. Please e-mail me at <tinabir@concentric.net> or call (480) 884-0812.

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Spring Conference:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The Mississippi Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (RRTC) will be conducting its annual training conference entitled "Focus on Access Technology for Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired" on March 29 and 30, 2000, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hilton Minneapolis and Towers. For more information, contact John Maxson at (662) 325-7824.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: The graphic for the Peace on Earth card.]

Greeting Cards:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Kim Christiansen of Christiansen Designs, who makes the popular Braille jewelry, has recently announced their new line of Holiday Braille Greeting cards. The name of the line is "Dot Thots--Just for the Braille of it!"(TM) With a unique combination of full color printing and Braille integrated into the embossed graphic design, these 5- by 7-inch glossy cards are designed for everyone to enjoy. The eight-card boxed set includes two each of four designs of a Christmas tree with colored lights that are actually a Brailled poem, a wreath with Brailled berries saying "Peace on Earth," a colorful peace card that says, "Feel the Peace," and a fun-loving star of David with the message, "Shalom" in Hebrew, Braille, and print. The set is available for $22 and can be ordered from Christiansen Designs by phone, e-mail, or mail: (802) 649-2925 or <kim.christiansen@valley.net> or P.O. Box 583, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755.

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Braille College Spanish Textbook Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

A brand new Braille college-level eleven-volume Spanish textbook for intermediate Spanish is now available. The book includes a workbook and contains vocabulary and information about the culture. Asking $400 or best offer. If interested, contact Mr. or Mrs. Orlo Nichols, 1408 Kirkwood Road, Gwynn Oak, Maryland 21207, or call (410) 744-8307.

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Sensory Exploration at New York Hall of Science:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The New York Hall of Science is testing a new audio tour that may open up hands-on science museums to the visually impaired. Two exhibitions were selected for the pilot study. The initial results were encouraging with comments including "The audio tour gives us our independence, our freedom" and "Unlike a friend, the audio tour doesn't get tired of reading to me." The equipment is simple to operate and uses digital audio technology that delivers multiple levels of information to visitors in several languages. For more information, contact New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, New York 11368, (718) 699-0005, fax (718) 699-1341.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

New copy of WinVision 97 with DECtalk 32-bit access software-based speech synthesizer, $300 at

<http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=146381776>. It retails for $595 for WinVision 95 and $150 for DECtalk. No speech hardware is needed. It works with most Web browsers, generates speech without distorting the regular Windows 95 environment, and gives voice to mouse, tab cursor, and pop-up windows.

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Home Readers Fall Catalogues:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Home Readers is beginning its holiday season early with production of its new line of audio catalogues. We currently offer over thirty catalogues and fifteen different cookbooks. Included in our selection is a whole range of name brand catalogues including Lands End Clothes, Sharper Image, Spiegel's, and Tupperware. The cookbook collection is growing and includes 101 Diabetic Recipes, along with many others. For additional information, please contact Home Readers and receive our free audio cassette brochure. Call (913) 893-6939 or write Home Readers, 604 W. Hulett, Edgerton, Kansas 66021. Visit us on the Internet at <www.homereaders.com> or e-mail us at <orders@homereaders.com>.

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Broadcasting Newspapers and Magazines to the Blind:

In Touch Networks, Inc. (ITN) is a national satellite radio reading service for blind, visually impaired, and multi-handicapped people. It is on the air twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. ITN programs include hour-long readings from national newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Vogue, and Business Week. All programs are read by volunteers, many of whom are professional actors and voice-over artists. In Touch also broadcasts magazine-format shows and conducts interviews with specialists in the fields of medicine, vision care, rehabilitation, and other topics of particular interest to people with disabilities. ITN can be picked up anywhere in the country by satellite and relayed to your home by any of our ninety-nine affiliates.

If you would like to participate in an ITN survey we are currently conducting or would like information on how you can receive In Touch programming no matter where you live, please send a letter or postcard to ITN Survey, In Touch Networks, Inc., 15 West 65th Street, New York, New York 10023. Please remember to give us your name, address, and phone number.

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Donate Your Old Glasses:

Donate your old eye glasses to the Heritage for the Blind. These glasses will be given to the poor in underdeveloped countries. Mark your package, "Glass, handle with care," and mail to Heritage for the Blind, 4045 Sheridan Avenue, Suite 433, Miami Beach, Florida 33140-3665. Do not send broken frames or frames without lenses. If you want an acknowledgement that your package has been received, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. IRS regulations do not permit us to place a value on donated merchandise. Consult your tax professional.

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American Bible Society Catalogue:

"New Revised Standard Version of the New Testament and Psalms" available in Braille from the American Bible Society. The five-volume "New Testament" is $225. The two-volume "Psalms" is $44.95. Contact the American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, New York 10023, or call (800) 322-4253.

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Chocolate for the Holidays:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Judy Geve from the Chocolate Experience, the original manufacturer of Choco Braille, the thirteen assorted chocolate Brailled greeting cards and chocolate guide dogs, would like to remind you that we still manufacture our chocolates in regular and sugar-free forms. In addition, beginning this year we will sell supplies for you to make your own fund-raising chocolate cards with six assorted messages. Call us toll free at (888) 568-6665 or visit our Web pages: <www.chocobraille.com> (speech friendly) or <www.chocomlet.com>, or e-mail <chocomlet@aol.com>.

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For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

I have the following items for sale: Navigator 40-cell, eight-dot with Toshiba 200 and touch database program. Manuals on disk and in Braille and print. Carrying case. Asking $3,000 plus shipping, price negotiable.

Office97 (shrink-wrapped) $80 plus shipping.

TeleBraille II (Braille TTY for deaf-blind), $1,500 plus shipping, negotiable.

Talking adding machine from Science for the Blind, $50 plus shipping.

Contact Isaac Obie at 755 Tremont Street, Apartment 205, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, e-mail <Tobie@world.std.com> or call (617) 247-0026.

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NEWSLINE(R) Fresno Opens for Business:

Peggy Chong writes as follows:

One of the most recent NEWSLINE(R) sites to open is in Fresno, California. On Friday, September 10, the Fresno Public Library, which sponsored this NEWSLINE(R) site, and the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California hosted a kickoff event for the new site.

It was well attended by members of the community and the media. Federationists came from other parts of California to wish the Fresno Library well and to stress the importance of this service. The Mayor of Fresno was also on hand to lend his support and good wishes for NEWSLINE(R). Two television stations covered the event. The television news segments showed the Librarian's hands dialing the phone, and the sounds of NEWSLINE(R) could be heard.

At the time of this writing over sixty NEWSLINE(R) sites are in service across the country and Canada. More will be added to the system by the end of the year. By the time you read this, California will have five sites: Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Other sites coming soon will be in Ohio and South Carolina. Members of these affiliates have been working hard to bring NEWSLINE(R) to their states.

If you travel, as many of us do, or do not have a NEWSLINE(R) site in your community and don't mind calling long distance, you may want to use other NEWSLINE(R) sites around the country. Your NEWSLINE(R) ID number and security code will work with all NEWSLINE(R) sites. To find out where other NEWSLINE(R) sites are located or to learn of new sites on the system and the telephone numbers to access these sites, check out NEWSLINE(R) Network News on your local NEWSLINE(R) system by pressing the three key in the first menu selection. You can locate additional sites alphabetically or by state.

If you are not currently signed up for NEWSLINE(R) and would like an application, contact your state president or the national office at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (410) 659-9314.

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President, Washington State University, Job Notice:

The Board of Regents and Presidential Search Committee invite nominations for and expressions of interest in the position of President of Washington State University. Washington State University (WSU), founded in 1890, is the state's landgrant research university. It enrolls 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students. WSU offers nearly 100 major fields of study and employs over 2,000 faculty, including many with national and international reputations. A leading research institution, WSU also offers a nationally ranked Honors College and nationwide distance learning degrees.

The President will be WSU's chief executive officer with responsibility for all aspects of the University's operations. WSU's budget for fiscal year 1999 was $500 million; its endowment is $168 million. The university is also supported by its land-grant endowment, which is valued at $220 million.

The successful candidate will bring to WSU a strong commitment to academic excellence and the land-grant mission and a clear vision of WSU's future course. He or she should also demonstrate solid senior level management and leadership experience as well as an ability to advance the institution's interest at the state and national level. Ideally the candidate will possess a terminal degree. Superb communication skills and a collegial approach to reaching decisions are essential. An appreciation of the complex nature and needs of a land-grant university with an inclusive and creative mission will be highly valued.

While applications and nominations will be accepted until a selection is made, interested individuals should submit their materials as early as possible to assure optimal consideration. Nominations and expressions of personal interest should be submitted to Presidential Search, c/o WSU Board of Regents, Washington State University, French Administration Building 422, Pullman, Washington 99164-1048.

All applications will be kept in strict confidence. Washington State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action educator and employer. Members of ethnic minorities, women, Vietnam-era disabled veterans, persons of disability, and/or persons age forty and over are encouraged to apply.

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[PHOTO/CAPTION: Joaquin Rodrigo, 1901 to 1999]

In Memoriam:

Joaquin Rodrigo, one of Spain's best-known composers, died Tuesday, July 6, in Madrid at the age of ninety-seven. Mr. Rodrigo was blinded by diphtheria at the age of three and, using Braille, learned to play the piano and violin as a child. He became a noted composer, always working in Braille. Culture Minister Mariano Rajoy called Mr. Rodrigo "one of the most relevant figures in Spanish music," adding that next year's celebrations for the centennial of his birth are already being planned, the state-owned news agency Efe reported. Mr. Rodrigo received several awards during his career, including the Prince of Asturias prize for the arts in 1996.

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Correction:

In the "Convention Roundup," which appeared in the August/September issue, we incorrectly identified Mr. Kua Chen Hock's organization in Singapore. The title should have read the Independent Society of the Blind. The Braille Monitor regrets the error.

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NFB PLEDGE

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I pledge to participate actively in the effort 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.