Back ] Next ] [Home]

Braille Monitor - August/September 2000 Edition


Convention Miniatures:
A Salute to Georgia's Hospitality Suite Volunteers:

The administration of the Georgia affiliate recently sent us the following letter:

Isabelle Cave
Mrs. Isabelle Cave

As everyone knows, the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind was hosted by the NFB of Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention was a huge success. One of the reasons for its success was the Georgia hospitality suite directed by Mrs. Isabelle Cave.

Mrs. Cave put her expertise in the catering business to work for the National Convention. In spite of many challenges Mrs. Cave persevered as a true Federationist. Because of her gracious southern hospitality, Federationists from all over the country felt right at home in the Georgia hospitality suite. Mrs. Cave serves as the hospitality coordinator for the NFB of Georgia State Board. Many thanks also go to the many NFB of Georgia members who helped in the suite. Mrs. Cave is also a Board Member of the NFB of Georgia, Decatur area chapter (Wayne High, President). Let's give a salute to a Federationist who always goes beyond the call of duty--Mrs. Isabelle Cave. Elected:

July 1 through 4, 2000, the various divisions of the National Federation of the Blind conducted their annual meetings. A number held elections. Here are the election results that we have been given:

The National Organization of the Senior Blind elected Christine Hall, President; Ray McGeorge, First Vice President; Cathy Randall, Second Vice President; Judy Sanders, Secretary; Paul Dressell, Treasurer; and Sybil Irvin and Walter Woitasek, Board Members. The Division printed its first edition of A Handbook for Seniors Losing Vision in eighteen-point type. It is also available on cassette. It contains useful information for seniors who are experiencing severe vision loss and are unaware of resources available and ways to continue to live independently by using nonvisual techniques.

The National Organization of Blind Educators (NOBE) officers for 2000 are Mary Willows, President; Priscilla McKinley, First Vice President; J. Webster Smith, Second Vice President; Sheila Koenig, Secretary; Suzanne Whalen, Treasurer; and Caroline Rounds and David Ticchi, Board Members.

A highlight of the NOBE meeting was the mock interviews held by the distinguished school principal, Fred Schroeder, for a teaching position. The person interviewed as a young teacher without a clue about accommodation was brilliantly played by tenBroek Fellow Brooke Sexton. She is quite an actress. Pat Munson played the old, experienced teacher. She did not even need to act; she just played herself.

The Science and Engineering Division election results were John Miller, President; Michael Gosse, Vice President; Brian Buhrow, Secretary; Robert Jacquiss, Treasurer; and Abraham Nemeth and Al Maneki, Board Members.

The National Association of Blind Merchants (having officially changed its name from the Merchants Division) elected new officers and board members. They are Kevan Worley, President; Charles Allen, Vice President; Bob Ray, Second Vice President; Pam Schnurr, Secretary; and Don Hudson, Treasurer. The new Board Members are Carl Jacobson, Don Morris, Joe Van Lent, and Gary Grassman. They join Kim Williams, Nick Geckos, Fred Wurtzel, and Billie Ruth Shlank on the Board.

The National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs elected the following officers at its annual division meeting: Marie Cobb, President; Ted Young, First Vice President; Sharon Gold, Second Vice President; Connie Leblond, Secretary; Paul Gabias, Treasurer; and Jim Skelton, John Blake, Robert Jacquiss, and Paul McIntyre, Board Members.

The Blind Industrial Workers of America held its election for the officers of 2000 to 2002. The results are as follows: Kenneth Staley, President; Robert Brown, First Vice President; Anthony Clay, Second Vice President; Diane Puffer, Secretary; Mary Helen Scheiber, Treasurer; and Robert Skilman, Remon Holmes, Jim Skelton, Cherlynn Skelton, Primo Foianini, and Marceile Foianini, Board Members.

The Deaf-Blind Division elected new officers for 2000 to 2002. They are Joseph B. Naulty, President; Burnell E. Brown, First Vice President; Richard J. Edlund, Second Vice President; Wendy L. Carter, Recording Secretary; Patricia L. Tuck, Corresponding Secretary; Kimberley Johnson, Treasurer; and Dana Ard, Robert A. Deaton, and Bruce Woodward, Board Members.

The National Association of Blind Secretaries and Transcribers (planning to change its name to the National Association of Blind Office Professionals) elected Lisa Hall, President; Janet Triplett, Vice President; Renee Zelickson, Secretary; and Carol Clark, Treasurer.

The National Association of Piano Tuners elected Don Mitchell, President; Richard Bennett, First Vice President; Leigh Winfield, Second Vice President; Albert Sanchez, Secretary; and Connie Ryan, Treasurer.

The National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) elected Nadine Jacobson, President; Robert Jacquiss, First Vice President; Linda Mentink, Second Vice President; Pamela Dubel, Secretary; and Warren Figueiredo, Treasurer.

The Public Employees Division's new officers are John Halverson, President; Ivan Weeks, Vice President; Annette Anderson, Secretary; and Alice Marshall, Treasurer.

The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children elected the following officers and Board members: Barbara Cheadle, President; Carol Castellano, First Vice President; Martin (Marty) Greiser, Second Vice President; Christine Faltz, Secretary; Brunhilda Merk-Adam, Treasurer; and Sally Miller, Tammy Hollingsworth, Mark McClain, Brad Weatherd, Samuel Baldwin, and Maria Jones, Board Members.

Sandy Halverson, who chairs the Shares Unlimited in NFB (SUN) Committee, requests state SUN chairpeople to notify Mrs. Maurer in the national office with their names and contact information. The committee plans to produce a brochure this year and wants to be sure to whom to send the information for each state. You can contact Mrs. Maurer at (410) 659-9314, ext. 272, or write to her at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Maurer Mutts:

The NFB of Maine brought nine enthusiastic members to the 2000 convention. At the roll call of states President Connie Leblond asked John Batron to present Dr. Maurer with a huggable, loveable Maurer Mutt. These stuffed puppies were made by hand by Mr. Batron's wife, and they were a big hit at convention. Mrs. Leblond said, "Dr. Maurer, we have brought with us what we call Maurer Mutts. Not that you have gone to the dogs, Sir, just that they are huggable and loveable, and we wanted you to have one." Dr. Maurer held the puppy up for all to see. The Maurer Mutts were adopted into numerous Federation homes. We continue to take orders. If you want a cuddly Maurer Mutt, call John Batron at (207) 657-2829. The cost is $15 and includes shipping. No home should be without one. New Division:

An enthusiastic group of Federationists gathered on Tuesday, July 4, 2000, to discuss establishing the Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind. They wrote a constitution and elected officers for the group. In the brief meeting of the Board of Directors following the convention, the division was approved and is now a part of the organized blind movement. Those elected to guide the new division are President, Angela Sasser (Texas); Vice President, Jane Elder (Nebraska); Secretary, Lisa Marie Martinez (California); and Treasurer, Stacey Servenka (Minnesota).

This is what Angela Sasser wrote about the group:

During convention a group of people met who were interested in the performing arts. We discovered that we have a talented group of individuals, some of whom have great contacts in the entertainment industry. The group took the necessary steps to become a division promoting the involvement of blind people in the performing arts as well as using performing opportunities to educate the public about the capabilities of blind performers. One issue that we all agreed on is that blind people must be portrayed more positively in movies, in television shows, and even on stage. Because society's ideologies and stereotypes are often instilled in people through the media, we hope to use our opportunity to talk and work together to change what it means to be a blind performing artist. Another Election:

At its annual meeting on July 6, 2000, the International Braille Research Center elected Dr. Michael Gosse, President; Darlene Bogart, Vice President; Dr. David Ticchi, Secretary; Deane Blazie, Treasurer; and Dr. Ralph Bartley, Dr. Hilda Caton, Dr. T. V. Cranmer, Rev. Robert Eschbach, Ronnie Milsap, and Dr. Michael Tobin, Board Members. Exciting New Braille Technology on the Horizon:

At the annual meeting of the International Braille Research Center during the NFB convention, renowned Braille-instruction expert Sally Mangold demonstrated an early model of a piece of technology designed to assist students learning Braille. Its principal virtue, as reported to the Braille Monitor, is its ability to tell the student upon request what a puzzling Braille character or combination of characters actually is. Everyone who remembers trying to distinguish between capital A and the st sign will applaud this breakthrough. Mrs. Mangold, who promises to write a more detailed description of her invention as soon as a few more problems are ironed out, says: "Speech-Assisted Learning (SAL) is the world's first stand-alone, interactive, multi-media Braille learning station. It combines state-of-the-art technology with spoken-word output and standard-paper Braille worksheets. It holds the potential to circumvent problems that have plagued educators and rehabilitation personnel for decades."

It sounds good to us; we will look forward to more details later.

David Stayer delivers the Saturday morning invocation.
David Stayer delivers the
Saturday morning invocation.


David Stayer, one of the leaders of the NFB of New York and a cantor who has given the invocation at a Convention general session each year for many years now, returned home July 9 to face surgery for a benign tumor on the outer surface of his brain. He had postponed the surgery in order to attend the convention, so it actually took place on July 13. David's wife Loraine reports that the surgery went very well and that there were no complications. David returned to work August 28 and seems to have made a complete recovery. New Talking Medicine Identifier:

Ed Bryant, President of the Diabetes Action Network, sent us the following report of a useful piece of new technology that many people had a look at during the convention. This is what he says:

Last September President Maurer asked me to attend a meeting at the National Center for the Blind. Representatives from the ASKO Corporation there discussed and demonstrated a prototype of a device called the ALOUD Model 100 Audio Labeling System.

We all have to take medications sometimes; many of us, especially diabetics, take them regularly. Blind or visually impaired people can have difficulty independently measuring medication because there are no tactile marks on the prescription container. The problem is greatly compounded if the consumer is a blind diabetic who uses insulin. All insulins are packaged in identically shaped, cylindrical vials. If the incorrect insulin is injected, the results can be serious.

But we have been left to our own ingenuity, for the most part, creating our own recognition systems by attaching home-made Braille labels, rubber bands, or tape; storing medications in specific locations; putting medications in differently shaped containers; etc. The effectiveness and reliability of these homemade solutions is limited.

Imagine being able to identify each one of your medications reliably and also being able to remember the directions for use of each medication--anytime, anywhere--without having to ask for help. A dream? No longer.

A new product, the ALOUD Audio Labeling System from ASKO, can best be described as a talking prescription container. This is how it works:

When a pharmacist dispenses your medication, an audio version of the printed prescription label (called an Audio Label) is also produced and attached to the medication container. When the Audio Label is placed in an ALOUD Replay unit, the Audio Label information recorded by your pharmacist is replayed.

Each of your medications has its own Audio Label, and you can play the message over and over as many times as you like. It cannot be accidentally erased or altered. The only person who can change the message is your pharmacist, who has a special recorder in the pharmacy. The Audio Label is reusable so that, when you need to have your prescription refilled or changed, the message can be changed also and attached to your new prescription.

The replay unit is portable. It is only four inches high, about two inches in diameter, and weighs less than eight ounces. It has a rechargeable battery, so you can use it anywhere. The audio fidelity is very good, and you can also use a small earphone for private listening. The construction is extremely durable, the product is manufactured in the USA, absolutely no maintenance is required, and the product comes with a one-year warranty.

The ALOUD system is scheduled to be available later this year, but those attending the NFB National Convention in Atlanta had a preview when ASKO presented the product at our Diabetes Action Network seminar and in general sessions.

I am extremely impressed with the ALOUD system, which I know will be beneficial for blind people. Although I have not heard a price, indications are that it will be reasonable and affordable. As soon as the product becomes available and a price is established, Braille Monitor readers will be apprised.

For further information about the ALOUD system, contact ASKO Corporation, 2 South Street, Stamford, New York 12167; telephone, toll-free: (877) 732-9227; Web site: .


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.

Back ] Next ] [Home]