News from the Federation Family
It is with deep sadness and profound respect that we report the death on January 22, 2013, of a longtime Federation leader, the Rev. Robert Eschbach. Here is a tribute written by his friend and colleague, Barbara Pierce:
Bob Eschbach was a musician, social worker, ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, blindness agency administrator in two states, NFB affiliate president, member of the NFB board of directors, and president at one time or another of both the National Association of Guide Dog Users and the Deaf-Blind Division. Wherever he went, Bob was a voice for calm reason and Christian love. Bob’s parents were missionaries in the Philippines when he was born. Because of his blindness and hearing loss, he was sent home to Ohio to attend the Ohio State School for the Blind. After graduating from Otterbein College, he earned an MDiv from the United Theological Seminary, and a master’s of social work from the University of Kansas. He worked in community mental health and pastored five United Methodist churches in Ohio before going into work with the blind. During these years he discovered the National Federation of the Blind and quickly rose to the presidency of a then troubled affiliate. Under his leadership the NFB of Ohio became a strong and committed part of the NFB.
In 1974 Dr. Jernigan called Bob to tell him that an energetic young woman in Oberlin had written to him with plans to organize an NFB chapter in Lorain County, Ohio. Bob called me and offered both friendship and wise advice about writing a constitution. He asked to come visit, arriving in time for dinner. After a meal that he continued to rave about throughout our long friendship, we discussed Federation philosophy and the Ohio affiliate. By the time he left the next morning, I was committed to his vision of the work to be done in the state to improve the lives of blind Ohioans, and I was eager to get started as a member of his team.
Bob served as president of the NFB of Ohio from 1973 to 1984, when he became assistant director of the Ohio Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired. For sixteen years during the late seventies and eighties he was also a member of the NFB board of directors. In recent years Bob and his wife Pat lived in Arizona, where he generously made his years of experience available to the Arizona affiliate. The Eschbachs were planning to return to the Otterbein Retirement Community in Ohio early this year. A week before his death, doctors discovered cancer throughout his body. He died quietly at home with his family around him. Bob is survived by his devoted wife Pat, his children Mary and Fred, and Mary’s two sons Jason and Ian. Also surviving him are a legion of his friends and colleagues, who will miss his wisdom and humor.
The Central Idaho Chapter is pleased to announce the results of its most recent elections, held November 26, 2012: president, Chris Jones; vice president, Glade Whiting; secretary, Judy Jones; and treasurer, Jacque Whiting.
At its January 2013 meeting the Clark County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington elected the following: president, Betty Watson; vice president, Don Mitchell; secretary, Maurice Mines; and treasurer, Doug Trimble. Congratulations to the new officers. Les Fitzpatrick, who has served as the chapter president for several terms, and the other outgoing officers are to be commended for their outstanding service to the chapter, to the state affiliate, and to the National Federation of the Blind.
At its monthly meeting on Saturday, January 12, 2013, the Des Moines Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa held its annual elections for officers and board members with the following results: president, Cindy Ray; vice president, April Enderton; secretary, Curtis Chong; treasurer, Mary McGee; and board members, Sharon Omvig, Jill Clausen, and Kasey Walker.
The newly reorganized Greater Ouachita Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana has held elections, and the following officers were elected: president, Jerry Whittle; first vice president, Gary Kammerer; second vice president, Don Russ; treasurer, Kristen Sims; secretary, Paula Williams; and board members, Laronica Coleman and Afia Kammerer.
During its meeting on January 19, 2013, the Greater Seattle Chapter of the NFB of Washington conducted elections with the following results: president, Marci Carpenter; first vice president, Mike Mello; second vice president, Noel Nightingale; secretary, Mary Helen Scheiber; treasurer, Cindy Bennett; and board members, James Janney and Jacob Struiksma. Congratulations to the new officers and board of directors, and a hearty thanks to the outgoing officers and board members for a job well done.
On October 21, 2012, the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan elected its current board of directors: president, Larry Posont; first vice president, Mike Powell; second vice president, Joe Sontag; secretary, Terri Wilcox; treasurer, Mark Eagle; and board member, Mary Wurtzel.
The Ann Arbor Chapter also had elections and called upon the following members to serve and lead: president, Terri Wilcox; vice president, Nick Wilcox; secretary, Gloria Kolb; and treasurer, Larry Keeler.
Deaf-Blind Division Officer Candidates Needed:
The Deaf-Blind Division will be holding elections of all officers in Orlando, Florida, in 2013. If anyone is interested in running for president, first vice president, second vice president, treasurer, secretary, or the two board positions, contact either Scott Davert or Cathy Miller of the nominating committee at <[email protected]> or <[email protected]>. The Division will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets for $2.00 a ticket and the Braille alphabet T-shirts at the Orlando Convention in 2013.
NFB Travel and Tourism Division 2013 Las Vegas and National Parks Tour:
We are offering a great rate on a fabulous tour package for Las Vegas and nearby national parks. The tour runs October 9 to 13, and the package covers the tour bus, tour guide, hotels, all meals, entrance fees to the parks, and taxes. Not covered in the package are expenses to and from Las Vegas and the tip for the tour guide at the end of the trip.
If you are totally blind and worried that the tour will be too visual to be worth it, don’t be! We are working with both the owner and the manager of Scenic Tours to make sure that this doesn’t happen. We want everyone to enjoy the trip and will ensure it stimulates all of your senses.
You must pay 20 percent of the cost of the trip at booking. Payment plans are available. The amount of the full deposit is due by 8/1/13, and the final payment is due by 9/1/13. Rates per person are as follows: single occupancy, $860, $172 due at booking; double occupancy, $721, $145 due at booking; triple occupancy, $625, $120 due at booking.
Day 1: Las Vegas, NV: Fly into Las Vegas. You will be met at the airport and shuttled to your hotel downtown. You will have the evening to explore and catch some sleep before our big trip. Lodging will be at Bally’s Resort.
Day 2: After an early breakfast we will depart at 7:00 a.m. to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. We will cross over the new bridge in front of Hoover Dam and catch the famous Route 66 in Kingman, AZ. After a short break we will continue down Route 66 to Williams, AZ. From there we will enter into the national park. We will make three stops along the rim and view this natural wonder of the world. We will also enjoy lunch inside the park before we move on. After leaving we will cross the Navajo Indian Reservation on our way to Page, AZ, where we will stay the night at the Quality Inn.
Day 3: We will depart Page for Zion National Park. Once we arrive, we will enjoy lunch at the Zion Canyon Lodge. After lunch we will enjoy the Zion Canyon and the picturesque oasis within, as well as seeing the east bench of Zion. It is a unique area that offers a different view of the sandstone cliffs that make up this park. We will then depart and go to Bryce Canyon National Park. In Bryce Canyon we will visit Fairyland, Sunset, and Bryce Points. Afterward we will check into Ruby’s Inn for the evening.
Day 4: After a delicious breakfast, we will depart Bryce Canyon and travel down one of the most beautiful highways in America, Highway 12. This road provides you with a view of the sandstone canyons and the wonders of mountain vistas. We will then travel to Capital Reef National Park. In the park we will visit some petroglyphs, the old school house, and the capitol dome. Once we have finished our tour of Capital Reef and a delicious boxed lunch, we will depart for our return journey to Las Vegas. We will travel through the Aquarius Plateau and then get back to the I-15 corridor. We will stop in St. George, UT, for a final dinner and a pleasant walk in town. After dinner we will travel to Las Vegas where we will spend the night.
Day 5: Breakfast and returning to the airport.
For more information and to book your trip, please contact Cheryl Echevarria, president of the NFB Travel and Tourism Division at (631) 456-5394 or email <[email protected]>
Writers’ Division Critique, Now an Ongoing Service:
Have you just written a masterpiece? Would you like a seasoned writer to evaluate your material? The Writers’ Division of the National Federation of the Blind has established an ongoing editorial service to critique your writing. For $10 you will receive a written evaluation of your short story (max of 3,000 words), first chapter (or first twenty pages) of your novel, up to three poems (thirty-six lines max per poem), children’s story (max of 3,000 words), memoir (first twenty pages max), or nonfiction article (first twenty pages max).
The critique will contain feedback on the format, mechanics, and overall quality of your work. Those interested should submit their work by email as an attachment in MS Word format and double spaced. Send it to Robert Leslie Newman, president, NFB Writers’ Division, <[email protected]>. Material may be submitted at any time. Critiques will be emailed back within thirty days from when the reviewer receives the material; our pool of qualified editors is small, and sometimes a submission will need to wait for a short time until an editor is free.
Make your $10 check out to NFB Writers’ Division, and send it to Robert Leslie Newman, 504 S. 57th St., Omaha, NE 68106; or use PayPal™ on the Writers’ Division website, <http://www.nfb-writers-division.net>.
A Group in the Planning:
My name is Alexander Scott Kaiser. I'm a young blind adult with cerebral palsy. I am forming a group for blind and visually impaired individuals who have cerebral palsy. This group’s purpose is to provide support, mentoring, and legal advocacy. From problem-solving rehabilitation issues to civil rights challenges unique to those with both CP and visual impairment, this group will provide support from others who understand.
Meetings will be held by conference call on the first Sunday of the month, starting April 7, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. To access the conference, dial (567) 314-1708 and use access code 999999#. If you are interested in joining the group, contact me by postal mail at 3928 Northwest 89th Avenue, Coral Springs, Florida 33065; send me email at <[email protected]>; or call me at (954) 594-2710.
Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.
Help Needed with Software and Accessibility:
I am interested in learning about scoping software. If anyone has learned either Eclipse or Case CATylist with JAWS and would be willing to answer some questions to help me, please email David Faucheux at <[email protected]>.
Asking for Magazines:
I live in Macedonia and am asking readers to help me get several magazines regularly. I find Readers Digest, Ladies’ Home Journal, Newsweek and the New York Times particularly interesting and informative. I would appreciate your help. These magazines would also help my students to practice their Braille skills and would help them with English. If you can send them to me regularly in any format except four-track tape or large print, please email me at <[email protected]>.
Monster.com Now Accessible:
Here is a press release distributed on January 31, 2013, reporting an important accessibility breakthrough:
Monster.com First in Industry to Make Website Accessible for Blind Users
Effort a Result of Agreement between Monster Worldwide, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and National Federation of the Blind; First Job Search Website to Be Fully Accessible
The popular job search website Monster.com will be the first job search and recruitment website in the industry to provide blind job seekers with full and equal access to all of its products and services, including mobile applications, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Monster Worldwide, Inc., and the National Federation of the Blind announced today.
The announcement is the result of an agreement with the AG’s Office and the NFB and provides meaningful benefit to blind or visually impaired people nationwide, including more than 35,000 residents in Massachusetts. As part of the agreement Monster will contribute $50,000 to the Commonwealth that will be used to fund the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s job internship program. Monster will also make a $50,000 contribution to the NFB and serve as the title sponsor of the NFB’s annual convention in 2013.
“Unemployment and underemployment in the blind community are significant problems, and, given the extent to which computers and the Internet have become integral to our daily lives, it is essential that websites be accessible to everyone,” AG Coakley said. “We are pleased to have worked with the NFB and Monster to make the company’s valuable products and services accessible and to provide better employment opportunities to job seekers who are blind, are visually impaired, or have other print disabilities such as dyslexia. We are hopeful that with the ability to access written information in an audible text-to-speech format, these users will now have access to jobs, and better jobs, than ever before. We want technology to improve people’s lives, not create obstacles or barriers.”
“Over the past year a team at Monster has been working closely with teams from the National Federation of the Blind and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to enhance our Monster.com website in a way that will provide more opportunities for blind job seekers to find jobs,” said Mark Conway, chief information officer, Monster Worldwide. “Although portions of our site were already accessible, we all agreed we could do more. Based on the work of these teams, the Monster.com site will be enhanced to make its website and mobile applications accessible to blind job seekers. This has been an enormous undertaking and is an exciting accomplishment for which we can all be proud.”
“The National Federation of the Blind works for full and equal access by blind Americans to all forms of digital information,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “Access to digital information and applications is critical to success in the twenty-first century in all areas of life, including searching and applying for career opportunities. We are therefore pleased that Monster is making this commitment to full and equal access to its website and mobile applications. We also thank the attorney general of Massachusetts for being such a strong partner and advocate for accessibility.”
“We are excited to partner with Monster and the National Federation of the Blind to provide access to job opportunities available to individuals who are blind,” said Commissioner Janet LaBreck of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. “The MCB internship program gives individuals the opportunity to access early work experience. Using accessible technology available on Monster’s website to conduct a job search ensures that individuals who are blind can independently and successfully perform the same tasks as other job-seeking candidates.”
To make its website and mobile applications accessible to blind job seekers, Monster is making them compatible with innovative technology called screen-access software that renders on-screen information into Braille or speech so that blind people can use keyboard commands to access the same information as sighted users.
In accordance with the agreement Monster is in the process of making its desktop and mobile websites fully and equally accessible and will have its mobile applications accessible within two years. Monster has also ensured that the templates employers use to post job advertisements on its site will be fully and equally accessible within six months.
Monster will also train its customer service representatives to assist blind users and will establish a standing committee to oversee implementation of the agreement and other issues related to accessibility in the future. In addition, Monster has agreed to work with the NFB to encourage higher education programs to incorporate accessible design and assistive technology in their core curricula.
The agreement is the most recent result of collaboration between AG Coakley’s Office and the NFB. Past collaborations have included making Apple’s iTunes services and Cardtronics ATMs fully and equally accessible to the blind. State and federal laws not only prohibit disparate treatment of individuals with disabilities in employment and housing, but also require that all businesses operating places of public accommodation provide people with disabilities with full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, and facilities.
Monster.com is the worldwide leader in connecting people to jobs and provides a full array of job-seeking, career-management, recruitment, and talent-management products and services in more than forty countries.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Genevieve C. Nadeau and Paralegal Bethany Brown of Attorney General Coakley’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant Attorney General Maura Healey, Chief of Attorney General Coakley’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau.
The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.
I have in mint condition an HP netbook with Microsoft Windows 7. The unit has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and has three USB connections, an SD card slot, and a connection for a VBA monitor. Software includes Window-Eyes 7.2, including the Window-Eyes instruction manual, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 10. The unit also includes a Logitek wireless headphone/microphone headset, an external USB powered HP CD/DVD reader, and a carrying case. This computer was used for about fifteen hours.
The asking price of $1,200 includes insured shipping by UPS. For more information call Steve at (517) 347-7046.
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.