Braille Monitor                                              February 2014

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News from the Federation Family

NFB Bid for Equality:
Thank you to everyone who supported our Bid for Equality online auction. We are grateful for our members who helped with this effort, including those who spread the word about the auction. And we especially appreciate those who made a "bid for equality." The package with the highest leading bid was Texas’s two music badges to the South by Southwest Music Festival, including hotel accommodations, which was followed by Indiana’s pearl necklace and earring set and New York’s weekend getaway.

We are excited to report that we received more than $10,000 in bids to support our programs. We are already looking forward to next year’s auction.

The Blackhawk Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois held elections with the following results: president, Jay Blanchard; vice president, Patrick Olson; secretary, Jean Rauschenbach; treasurer, Lois Montgomery; and board members, Mark Clayburne Jr., Leah Slightom, and Donna Miles.

The National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island held its forty-third convention on October 26. The following individuals were elected: treasurer, Daniel Kendig; and board members, Angelina Stabile and Donna Elliott. Congratulations to Angelina, Donna, and Daniel.

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the NFB of Pennsylvania held its election on Saturday, October 26th. The following people were elected: president, Denice Brown; first vice president, Stanley Ingram; second vice president, Joyce McEntyre; treasurer, Eugenio D'Oliveira; and board members, Stacy Shomo, Sherry Gaskins, Michelle Owens, and Ruth Chambers.

At the business meeting of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, held during the 2013 convention in Everett, the following members of the NFBW board of directors were elected: treasurer, Cynthia Bennett; board members, Gary Mackenstadt and Betty Watson; delegate to the 2014 NFB national convention, Michael Freeman; first alternate delegate, Doug Johnson; second alternate delegate, Kaye Kipp. Congratulations to those elected, and a hearty "thank you" to those who have ably served before them.

TEACH Act Collaboration:
The National Association of Blind Students (NABS) is collaborating with the NFB's advocacy and policy department in their efforts to advocate for the Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act. They are collecting stories about blind students' experiences with higher education, with a goal of collecting stories from constituents living in every congressional district in the United States.

They need stories from current and recent students who are, and have been, affected by the lack of accessibility in the classroom, whether it was through inaccessible instructional materials or a lack of, late, or inadequate accessible materials. Instructional materials could be any form of curricular content from digital books to web content, to PDF, to online digital databases. If you have information to share, compose your paragraph-long story and send it to Cindy Bennett at <>. Be sure to include a sentence about how accessibility guidelines would have prevented or solved your problem. Please include the school you attend or attended and any congressional districts that you live in. For example, if your permanent address is in a different congressional district from the district in which you go to school, list both. If you do not know this information, you can use your ZIP code to look it up at <>.

The second way that you can help is by reinforcing the appointments the NFB has with Congress. If someone has an appointment with your congressperson, Cindy will contact you with the date of the appointment, and you can call your congressperson's office and tell your story. This will show your congressperson that one of his or her constituents is directly affected by inadequate accessibility and needs the TEACH Act. This part is very important since members of Congress work for their constituents.

If you have any questions, contact Cindy Bennett at <> or Lauren McLarney at <>. For more information about the TEACH Act, please read the fact sheet found at <>.

Blind Access Training:
At Blind Access Training we pride ourselves on our ability to provide customized, individualized training to fit the unique needs of our clients. Our trainers work with clients to establish reasonable, achievable technology goals. Our aim is to empower our clients to use the devices and software they have been trained on with proficiency and confidence to achieve greater independence. We provide training using the telephone, Skype, and our Talking Communities classroom to allow clients the freedom and flexibility to choose the venue that best fits their skills and comfort. We provide the following training options: Windows Operating Systems (XP and higher), Mac OSX, iDevices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini, iOS 4.0 and higher), Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Microsoft Office Suite (2007 and higher), JAWS (all versions), Window-Eyes (all versions), System Access, SAMNet, and DocuScan Plus, Nonvisual Desktop Access, VoiceOver, ZoomText (all versions), OpenBook (all versions), Kurzweil 1000 (11.0 and higher), various Braille displays and notetakers (ask for details), and web design (HTML, CSS, PHP, and JAVA Script).

For more information please contact us by phone at (877) 774-7670 and press 1, or by email at <>. You can also visit us on the web at <> to view our complete listing of services. You can also find helpful blogs, a sample tutorial, and a resource list there.

Second Annual Fundraiser Bus Trip for the NFB Travel and Tourism Division:
After the success of our first fundraiser for our division trip to Utah, we decided to offer another great trip. This time it is to Country Music USA, Nashville, TN, on October 6 through 10, 2014. This is during Meet the Blind Month, and, for those worried this might interfere with your state convention, the trip starts on Monday and ends on Friday, so you can either fly in from your state convention or fly to your state convention from this trip.

What’s included: four nights lodging, eight meals (four breakfasts and four dinners), two great shows (the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville Nightlife Theater), an exclusive dinner party with entertainment, guided tours of Nashville and Belle Meade Plantation, admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame, admission to the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour, transportation in Nashville to and from the airport on a video and restroom equipped motorcoach, tips for driver and tour guide, and much more!

The trip will cost $568 per person based on double occupancy. Deposits of $75 are due no later than May 15, 2014, and final payment is due by July 15. Payment plans can be arranged once deposits are made. Travel insurance will be offered.

For those wanting hotel rooms on October 5, prior to the start of the trip, please contact us so we know how many rooms to hold. These will be at an additional cost.

The itinerary can change, depending on weather and traffic, but this is what is offered:

Day 1: After you land at the Nashville International Airport, you’ll depart in the comfort of a luxury, video and restroom equipped motorcoach as you head for lots of excitement in Nashville. On this evening you’ll enjoy dinner and check into your Nashville area hotel for a four-night stay. (Not sure which hotel yet, but the tour operator uses hotels such as Holiday Inn or similar, you will be notified prior to the trip.)

Day 2: After enjoying a continental breakfast, you’ll take a guided tour of Nashville, including a stop at the Parthenon. The Parthenon is the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the famous Greek Temple. After this you will enjoy a ride on the Delta Flatboat inside the Opryland Hotel. This evening you will enjoy dinner before going to see a show at the famous Grand Ole Opry.

Day 3: After a continental breakfast, you’ll depart for a guided tour of beautiful Belle Meade Plantation. Marvel at its antebellum architecture, and learn about its unique Southern history. Belle Meade’s illustrious past has spanned from its prosperity as a thoroughbred breeding establishment, to its perilous location at the Civil War’s Battle of Nashville, to its current restoration as a historically accurate Victorian home. A visit to Belle Meade also provides an important insight into the struggles of African Americans before the Civil War. Next, you’ll have an opportunity to explore historic downtown Nashville. During the evening, enjoy dinner and a show at the fabulous Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theater.

Day 4: Enjoy a continental breakfast, before departing for the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour. There’s nothing like a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry House—it’s a must-see for everyone in Music City. Walk in the footsteps of country music’s superstars, and get an exclusive look at what happens behind the scenes of the show that made country music famous. On this afternoon, you’ll head to the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is a state-of-the-art cultural landmark and an architectural crown jewel of the Nashville skyline. Be amazed by its incredible array of rare costumes, instruments, and historical mementos. When evening arrives, enjoy an exclusive group dinner party with entertainment.

Day 5: After enjoying a continental breakfast, you will depart for home. It is a perfect time to chat with your friends about all the fun things you’ve done, the great sights you’ve seen, and where your next group trip will take you!

To book, contact Cheryl Echevarria, president of the Travel and Tourism Division. Echevarria Travel will be hosting this trip for the NFB Travel and Tourism Division. Call (631) 456-5394 or email <>.

A New Addition to NFB-NEWSLINE®:
We are pleased to announce the addition of The Verge to our Breaking News Online publications. The Verge was founded in 2011 in partnership with Vox Media and covers the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture. Its mission is to offer in-depth reporting and long-form feature stories, breaking news coverage, product information, and community content in a unified and cohesive manner. The Verge won five Webby Awards for the year 2012, including awards for Best Writing (Editorial), Best Podcast for The Vergecast, Best Visual Design, Best Consumer Electronics Site, and the Best Mobile News App.

This publication is now available using NFB-NEWSLINE on the telephone, on Web News On Demand, and on the iPhone app. For telephone users, The Verge is available as a Breaking News Publication. To access this you should select option number 5 from the main menu, labeled For Newspapers in a Different State. Then select the option for Breaking News Online, which is option number 1. From there select the option for The Verge.

For iPhone users, first navigate to the Publication Options. From there select Publication Groups. Finally, you can find The Verge as a newspaper under the Breaking News Online group.

For those using Web News on Demand, The Verge will be available either from an alphabetical listing or, if you prefer, you can access Publications Organized by State. Then select Breaking News Online.

We hope you enjoy this new addition to the service. Stay tuned for more additions over the next few weeks. Happy Reading from the NFB-NEWSLINE Team!

Community Service Group Seeks AmeriCorps Alum:
Fellow Federationists, are you an AmeriCorps alum? Would you be interested in sharing some of your AmeriCorps experiences with other service-minded Federationists? Then the Community Service Group is looking for you!

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, the Community Service Group is looking for AmeriCorps alumni to speak at our annual seminar at the 2014 national convention in Orlando, Florida. If you would be interested in speaking and sharing your experiences, please contact Chris Parsons at <>.

We look forward to hearing from you and hearing your stories! 

In Brief

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.

International consultant and state agency leader to head up services for the blind in Oklahoma:
Douglas C. Boone, a consultant and state agency leader from Kalamazoo, Michigan, with thirty years’ experience in serving people who are blind, will soon lead Visual Services staff for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

“I am excited about coming to Oklahoma, and I look forward to working with the staff at the Division for Visual Services and Oklahoma DRS,” Boone said. “I believe that we can most effectively fulfill our mission, which is really a joint venture between the federal Vocational Rehabilitation system and the state of Oklahoma, by developing a partnership between the hardworking professionals within the agency and the customers who are eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation and independent living services. Together we will work as a team that can implement the strategies needed to enable blind Oklahomans to reach their full potential," he said.

As president of D. Boone Consultants since 1993, he offered customized consultation to agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and organizations serving people who are blind. The company served more than one thousand staff in nineteen states and Europe with programs targeting vocational rehabilitation, independent living, program review and evaluation, strategic planning, reasonable accommodations, employer outreach, orientation and mobility, industrial education, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

As state director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Boone was responsible for vocational rehabilitation, employment, independent living, and specialized services for blind adults and children. He also administered a program that provided opportunities for people who are blind to own and operate food service businesses on government property under provisions of the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act.

His career included employment as director of human resources staff development for the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, rehabilitation counselor and rehabilitation teacher at the Oregon Commission for the Blind, and as an orientation and mobility instructor and industrial arts instructor for visually impaired adults and youth.

Boone, who has an orthopedic disability, benefited from rehabilitation services as a client of Nebraska Rehabilitation Services. Douglas Boone jokes about inheriting a strong desire to travel from his forefather Squire Boone Jr., an American pioneer and the brother of Daniel Boone. The brothers lived in many states. “The brothers were always looking for a better place and always trying to improve the places where they were,” he said. Boone earned a bachelor of education degree from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. He participated in three segments of the National Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. He is a member of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the National Federation of the Blind. Boone’s wife Christine is an attorney. Their son Edward is serving in the US Army in Afghanistan. Daughter Kate works as a groundwater geologist for the state of Nebraska.

DRS annually serves nearly 85,000 Oklahomans with disabilities through employment, vocational rehabilitation, education, and independent living programs, and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. For more information, phone (800) 845-8476 or visit <>.

2013 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest Winners:
The Onkyo Braille Literacy Essay Contest is administered in the US by the NFB on behalf of the North American/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union. The essay contest, which is sponsored by the Onkyo Corporation and the Braille Mainichi, was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and visually impaired persons.

The essays were required to be written in Braille and to pertain either to how the individual gains knowledge or independence through Braille or to an individual concept about world peace from the viewpoint of persons with disabilities. There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons over age twenty-six. Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation.

The seven winners from the North America/Caribbean Region were as follows: Ootsuki Prize, Jerry McKee, Alabama; Excellent Work Award, Senior, Lynn Spittle, South Carolina; Excellent Work Award, Junior, Anna Avramenko, Kansas; Fine Work Award, Senior, Jeremiah Rogers, North Carolina, Carolyn Fish, Virginia; Fine Work Award, Junior, Aspen Poole, New York, Tamer Zaid, Texas.

New Partnership Between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and American Printing House for the Blind:
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and the Dollywood Foundation began an exciting partnership in the summer of 2011 that expands Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) program to provide young blind and visually impaired children with accessible books in audio and print/Braille formats.

Thanks to the APH/Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Partnership and the support of Penguin Group USA, the Accessible Books website was established at APH. It offers a growing collection of audio files of Imagination Library books available as free downloads.

Now, selected Imagination Library Books are also available, free-of-charge, in print/Braille format. By enrolling in the Partners Print/Braille Book Program, a child may receive five free print/Braille books each year until reaching his/her sixth birthday. APH selects the titles from the current year’s DPIL booklist, those most appropriate for a child with a visual impairment. Print/Braille versions are mailed directly to the child’s family.

Is your child a potential Braille reader under six years of age? If yes, apply now for the Partners Print/Braille Book Program! Books are limited and enrollment is on a first come/first serve basis. Complete and submit our application form here, <>.

This free service is made possible by generous donors from across the country. APH welcomes contributions to help defray initial costs and expand the program so that all blind and visually impaired children will benefit from this wonderful service. Donate Now!

APH President Tuck Tinsley: "We're excited! What an honor it is to partner with someone like Dolly, who is as passionate about literacy as we are. This relationship between the Imagination Library and the American Printing House for the Blind means that blind and visually impaired preschoolers can now be more involved in the experience of reading with their parents."

Ms. Parton: "Any credit I get is really due to the hard work and fine reputation of all of those who partner with us to bring the love of reading to so many kids. I am just thrilled we can work together to bring this same joy to all children who may have trouble seeing but have no trouble in believing that all of their dreams can come true."

About Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a part of the Dollywood Foundation, partners with local sponsors in 1,300 communities in three countries to provide a quality, age-appropriate book each month to preschool children enrolled in the program. For more information, visit <> or the official Facebook page.

About the American Printing House for the Blind
American Printing House for the Blind (APH), founded in 1858, is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products for people who are blind and visually impaired. In addition, the Louis database currently contains approximately 398,796 titles in accessible formats <>.

GrabPak Offers Emergency Preparedness Kit for Blind:
When disaster strikes, community emergency services and government agencies may not be able to respond promptly to your needs. Their buildings, equipment, personnel, communications, and mobility may be severely hampered by the event. At a minimum they will be overwhelmed.

The US Department of Homeland Security and state emergency management agencies strongly recommend all Americans prepare to be on their own for a minimum of three days after a disaster. One of the most important elements of preparedness is the seventy-two-hour emergency kit for your home or office.

The GrabPak custom-built backpack kit for the blind and vision-impaired includes the necessary supplies to comfort and assist those with limited or no vision during an evacuation or times of emergency. Our blind and vision-impaired backpack comes equipped with a Braille identification tag and all items in the backpack are labeled in Braille and large print. Contents include: List of contents in Braille, extended-shelf-life high-calorie food bars, extended-shelf-life water pouches, crank-powered mobile phone charger with USB connection cord, crank-powered LED Flashlight, first aid kit, LED illuminated pocket magnifier, compact folding white cane, rescue whistle, Mylar solar blanket, hooded rain poncho, twelve-hour light stick, AM/FM radio with batteries, and hygiene kit. Note: Supplies for guide dogs, including extended-shelf-life dog food and water, collapsible bowl, and waste disposal bags, are also available.

For more information, please visit us at <> or call David Fisher at (800) 620-4199.

Developers of Tactile Graphics Guidelines and Standards Honored with BANA’s Braille Excellence Award:
The international committee that developed the landmark publication Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010 was recently honored with the Braille Excellence Award from the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). CBA-BANA Joint Tactile Graphics Committee, which was co-sponsored by the Canadian Braille Authority (CBA) and BANA, received the award on December 5 in Providence, Rhode Island, in a showcase session at the 2013 Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference.

The volunteer members of this collaborative CBA-BANA ad hoc committee donated their time and talents for nearly a decade, meeting by phone almost weekly year round. Together, they defined, refined, and established in writing a comprehensive, user-friendly set of research-based guidelines and standards for the design and production of tactile graphics for Braille users.

The members of the CBA-BANA Joint Committee on Tactile Graphics honored with BANA’s Braille Excellence Award are: Lucia Hasty, Colorado, USA; John McConnell, New Brunswick, Canada; Janet Milbury, Nova Scotia, Canada; Irene Miller, Alberta, Canada; Allison O’Day, Minnesota, USA; Aquinas Pather, Ontario, Canada; and Diane Spence, Texas, USA.

The publication of Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010, which includes a manual and an accompanying supplement that contains hardcopy examples, was approved by BANA in the fall of 2010. The manual is available free of charge on the BANA website at <>. Hardcopy editions of the manual and the supplement can be purchased from the American Printing House for the Blind <>.

The BANA Braille Excellence Award was established in 2009 to commemorate the bicentenary of Louis Braille's birth by recognizing individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to Braille. It was presented to Dr. Abraham Nemeth in 2009 and to Mr. Joseph Sullivan in 2011.

The extraordinary commitment and contribution of the CBA-BANA Joint Tactile Graphics Committee will have an immeasurable impact for Braille readers. Their work and dedication are truly representative of the accomplishments that BANA’s Braille Excellence Award was designed to recognize. For additional resource information, visit <>.

New Crossword App for iPhone and iPad:
Four Down is a crossword app for iPhone and iPad that uses VoiceOver to make it fully accessible to blind and visually impaired users. With VoiceOver enabled you can easily navigate around the crossword grid and the clues. As you do so, Four Down reads the clues aloud, telling you the clue itself, how many letters the answer has, and describing any letters in the answer that are already known. For example, it may say “Eight down. Male duck. 5 letters. D, three blanks, E.” When you’re ready to answer a clue, you simply double-tap and use the keyboard to enter the answer.

In addition to being able to enter the answers into the crossword grid, you can also use VoiceOver to find out how you’re getting on by checking individual letters, a whole answer, or the entire puzzle. Four Down will announce whether or not any mistakes were found and, if there were, it will describe their locations on the grid so that you can easily find and correct them. If you get stuck, Four Down can lend a helping hand by filling in an individual letter or a whole answer. If you get really desperate, you can even fill in the entire puzzle.

Four Down is a universal app, meaning the same app works on both iPhone and iPad and costs $0.99 in the App Store <>. If you try Four Down, the developers would love to hear from you. You can email them at <> or find them on Twitter <@deftmethods>.

New Electronic Magazine to Connect Pen Pals:
I am starting an electronic magazine for people who would like to become or find new pen pals. If you would like to receive it regularly or would like to submit a pen pal ad for yourself or someone else, feel free to do so at: <>. Suggestions for what to include in your ad are your name, age, location, and hobbies or interests.

Monitor Mart

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.

For Sale:
I have a six-year-old PAC Mate BX400, which was upgraded to a PAC Mate Omni. It is in excellent condition and comes with a forty-cell Braille display, flash memory card, network card, cables, related documentation, and a carrying case. The price is $1,500 plus shipping costs. Method of payment: Check or money transfer (I would prefer the latter). Please contact Maryse Glaude-Beaulieu at <>.

For Sale:
I have a Romeo Attaché Pro Braille embosser for sale and am asking $1,000 or best offer. Enabling Technologies replaced the main board six months ago. It is compatible with Windows XP and with Windows 7. Please contact Debra Baker at <>.


NFB Pledge
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.

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