Braille Monitor                                              June 2014

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News from the Federation Family

Lori Stayer Dies:
It is with sadness that we report the death of Lori Stayer on April 29, 2014. She was a longtime Federationist married to David Stayer of New York. She was an active part of the New York affiliate, missing only one convention since her entry into the Federation in the 1970s, and this due to the illness of a child.

Lori was best-known for her work as a founding member of the National Federation of the Blind’s Writers’ Division, and the editor of its magazine, Slate and Style, for twenty-seven years.

“Lori had a warmth about her that made people know just how much she cared,” said David, her husband of forty-one years. “You always knew she had your best interest in mind. If she came up and told you that you had a stain on your shirt, you didn’t take that as a put-down but were grateful that someone cared enough about how you wanted to present yourself that she’d tell you the uncomfortable things.”

Lori had battled ovarian cancer for more than three years and had joined a support group. When they suggested to her that her illness was too advanced for her to travel, she insisted on going to the 2014 Washington Seminar, telling David that this would be the last major NFB event she would ever be able to attend and that she wouldn’t miss it for the world. Her last instruction to David, just two days before her death, was that he was to attend the convention in Orlando and keep doing the good work that has been such a part of his life. David will be with us there, and so too will the spirit of Lori—a wife, a mother, and a proud Federationist.

Coming to Know the National Federation of the Blind: We Need Your Help:
As Federationists know, for almost seventy-five years we have demonstrated that we can live the life we want. However, as surprising as it may seem, there are thousands upon thousands of blind people and their families across the nation who have not yet heard the positive, uplifting message of our organization. Many blind people have heard of the National Federation of the Blind but have not been properly introduced to the real philosophy, accomplishments, and spirit of the movement.

We know that the strength of our movement comes from the grassroots. Dr. Maurer has appointed a committee to conduct a robust, targeted chapter development campaign this fall for seventy-five days leading up to our 75th birthday on November 16th. We will establish seventy-five new chapters and greatly strengthen seventy-five chapters that already exist. You will be hearing much more about this Seventy-five Days of Action Campaign at the national convention. We hope you will participate in one of the five informative chapter-building seminars in Orlando. In the meantime check your social media and emails to discover ways you can take part in the Seventy-five Days of Action. Affiliate presidents will be asked to identify areas within their affiliate which will need special attention. Affiliate presidents and leaders of the National Federation of the Blind will be asked for their help to develop the strategy and take the concerted action necessary to establish seventy-five new chapters and strengthen seventy-five existing chapters.

The committee appointed by President Maurer will be seeking seventy-five extremely committed members of our movement from across the nation to lead this effort. It will be a herculean endeavor, and we will need everyone’s strength, imagination, and determination to establish seventy-five chapters and significantly strengthen at least seventy-five more. Applications for service on this distinguished committee will be available soon. Applicants will be asked to complete a very brief survey indicating their willingness to give significant time and energy during this unprecedented campaign. Fellow Federationists, accept the challenge. Each of us can be a part of the Spirit of Seventy-five. For more information write to <> or call (866) 543-6808. The future is ours. Let’s go make history.

The Secret Weapon in the Media Wars:
In these days of social media and the pressure to keep the affiliate Facebook page filled with interesting photos, it is easy to forget the lowly newsletter. This is a brief plea to affiliates and divisions to maintain their newsletters. These documents trace the history of the organization month by month and year by year. They provide an ongoing vehicle for recording the history of the organization and allow members a voice for telling their own stories and articulating their perspectives on the organized blind movement.

We used to publish quarterly print documents that were faithfully circulated around the state or division. The escalating cost of publishing has pretty well done away with the hardcopy newsletter. But its email brother is a great tool for communication. It is still possible to print up copies of the newsletter to tuck into folders going to legislators at the Washington Seminar or the state capital during the annual visit to lawmakers.

The newsletter can be quickly dropped into the NEWSLINE® sponsor line and added to the affiliate website. These are both easy ways of keeping current the affiliate’s public information.

To learn more about how to create a lively, interesting, and accurate newsletter with general appeal, come to the meeting of the Communications Committee at convention this summer. Affiliate presidents with sporadic or nonexistent newsletters should be sure to assign someone to attend this important meeting. Social media will be discussed as well, but we want to be sure that the newsletter is not forgotten. The Communications Committee is chaired by Robert Lesley Newman. Its meeting takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Thursday, July 3. Everyone is welcome.

The 2014 National Association of Blind Students Mentoring Program:
Students, young professionals, successful blind adults, and ambitious young adults: listen up, this one is for you. For the second year the National Association of Blind Students (NABS) will be sponsoring a mentoring program which will kick off during the 2014 convention and will help to build relationships which will hopefully last a lifetime.

What: Blind students and professionals in the student's field of interest will be matched.

When: On July 2, we will hold our introduction meet-and-greet, which will be filled with fun games, and activities to kick off the mentoring relationship.

Who: Blind students and first-time convention attendees will be mentees; blind professionals, and seasoned convention attendees will serve as our mentors.

How: If you'd like to participate as a mentor or mentee, you simply have to fill out a form that will take you no more than five minutes to complete and which the committee will review. For mentors go to <>. For mentees go to <>. These links can be found on the <> website.

The only way we can have a successful program is by having mentors and mentees, so come one and come all, spread the word, see you in Orlando! Fast Facts Page:
When one website has as much information and resources as the National Federation of the Blind’s site, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or lost when looking for one specific link. To help speed up the search, check out the Fast Facts page <>. Basic information and links to more detailed information is gathered onto one page, allowing you to find what you need quickly and easily.

National Association of Blind Veterans (NABV) Fundraiser:
The NABV will be raffling off four one-day DISNEY PARK HOPPER TICKETS, valued at $516.00 and good for the next two years at Walt Disney World here in Orlando.

The drawing for these tickets will be held at the national convention on July 6, 2014. Use them this year or next year for our seventy-fifth anniversary convention of the NFB.

Tickets to win are $5 for one or $10 for three tickets. You could be the winner!

Send your money and request for tickets to:

Dwight Sayer, NABV president, PO Box 784957, Winter Garden, FL 34778. Cash, check or money order will be accepted. We can return mail your stubs or hold them for pickup at our table at the national convention.

Welcome Fellow Therapists and Other Human Service Workers:
We are the NFB Human Services Division, a place for advocacy and fellowship for all of us in, or contemplating being in, any of the many professions that can be grouped as human services. We have social workers, mental health counselors, and other mental health professionals, occupational, speech therapists, physical therapists, massage, music and recreational therapists, genetics counselors, dieticians, and many other specialties. We encompass a lot of territory!

Our membership and board of directors include students and employed professionals with decades of experience. We are currently advocating for issues related to full access to licensure testing and that troubling line in many job descriptions: Driver's License Required. Our Board Meetings are by phone and are open to all. Our email list offers a good place to help others with suggestions and encouragement or to ask for assistance.

It can be a struggle being blind in a sighted world, for instance with computer-based or electronic record keeping. The NFB is helping to make this easier, currently working to ensure that all electronic medical records are screen-reader friendly, an uphill battle that the Human Services Division is championing.

You are a special person, desiring to help others. Few things change what it means to be blind more than helping light-dependent persons to solve their human needs. Let's do it together.

Joining the Division is easy and cheap. It currently costs only $5.00 a year! We need your help to strengthen our call for the changes noted above.

To join today, just send a check to the Treasurer and Membership Committee Chair: JD Townsend, 1598 Riverside Drive, Holly Hill, FL 32117. Just add your name, email, and address in print or Braille, and you can be a part of a positively focused group of human service professionals. Let's all be a part of change.

Where is Your Voice?
Did you know that the Braille Monitor is your magazine, one created not only for your reading pleasure but for the sharing of what you think, what you know, what you feel, and your unique observations about it? What you write doesn’t have to be about a law that got passed in your state or a landmark court case that was decided. Those are important, and we want to hear about them, but that type of event isn’t all the Federation is about.

There are those ordinary yet extraordinary moments in life: the moment you became the first blind student to walk in your school’s graduation ceremony; the scout troop leader who asked your child’s mobility instructor to come to a troop meeting so that everyone in the troop could learn the proper way to walk sighted guide with your child; the first day you wore a sweater you’d knit yourself after struggling to learn how; the time your uncle wouldn’t let you join your cousins on a fishing trip because he was afraid to have you around all the sharp hooks and tools; your freshman year of college when you got turned around and attended the wrong class for most of the period and then spent the rest of it figuring out how you could walk out without making a scene; any of the small triumphs and failures that shape us as we travel through life. If it’s a story you enjoy telling or that others ask you to tell new members, think about writing it up and sending it in. Within most of us there is a Monitor story waiting to be told, a life-changing experience which, once shared, has the possibility to change more than one life.

Not everything that happens to us is serious and weighty. What about the time in the laundromat when you were approached by a man who had had too much to drink and he began complimenting you on how smart you were to put a handle on your dog so he wouldn’t get away from you? What about the time you called and asked to talk with Tommy because your screen reader pronounced T-A-M-I like the man’s name?

If you don’t think you have enough to say to write a full article, that’s okay. Do you have photos from an event your chapter put on? Email high-quality photos and as much information about who is in them as you can—they may become the lead photo in next month’s issue.

The National Federation of the Blind is an organization of the blind, for the blind. And the Braille Monitor is a magazine by the Federation, for the Federation. But we can’t share your stories if you don’t send them in. Can we use everything we get? We can’t, but we can’t run them if you don’t dare to write them. Let’s see your byline in an upcoming issue.

Airport Transportation Discount To/From Orlando International Airport (MCO):
All convention attendees receive a $4 discount on transportation services courtesy of SuperShuttle Orlando. Use the discount code NFB14 when booking. Discounted rates are $16 one way and $28 roundtrip per person to the Rosen Centre, but vary based on hotel location if you are not staying at the convention hotel. Exclusive sedans, SUVs, and vans are also available. The rate for an exclusive van (eight passengers) is $100 or $12.50 per person one way. Book your transportation on the website. To make reservations for large groups, call (407) 513-0225.

This year at our annual state convention the NFB of South Dakota elected the following: president, Kenneth Rollman; second vice president, Kathleen Nelson; treasurer, Jo Mundenhaul; board members, Jackie Campbell, Wayne Erickson, and Lonnie Schaeffer.

We have it set up so that we elect positions alternating every year. We elect first vice president, secretary, a one-year and a two-year board position next year.

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.

Lone Star BLAST 2014:
The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM), a division of the National Federation of the Blind, announces the opening of registration and hotel reservations for Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST), November 2014. Lone Star BLAST 2014 will be held at the Austin Renaissance Hotel from November 18 to 20.

Nicky Gacos, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, said: “In coordination with Business Enterprises of Texas and the elected committee, we have begun to plan the biggest, boldest, most far-reaching training for blind entrepreneurs and state agency personnel. It will be a BLAST as big as Texas.”

NABM and the National Federation of the Blind Entrepreneur Initiative will jointly plan the conference. The group has already begun planning the biggest trade show in its history, working in conjunction with the RSA Buying Group and the Committee of Blind Operators of Texas. NABM is also pleased to announce that, in coordination with the National Counsel for State Agencies for the Blind, BLAST will again this year feature a day-long training event exclusively for state licensing agency staff. The association is also working with the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind to offer continuing education for attorneys working with state VR agencies and Business Enterprise programs. Those sessions will take place on Tuesday, November 18.

BLAST seminars will begin the morning of Tuesday, November 18, with business development training on the morning of Wednesday, November 19. The trade show will take place Wednesday afternoon. There will be a full day of targeted education related to personal and professional growth on Thursday, November 20. BLAST will conclude with an all-star Lone Star BLAST banquet and celebration on Thursday evening.

Room reservations at the luxurious Austin Renaissance, 9721 Arboretum Blvd., Austin, Texas 78759, are available now at the unbelievable rate of $129 per night plus applicable taxes. A limited number of executive suites are available on a first come first serve basis at $149 per night. Rooms are available from Sunday, November 16 through Saturday, November 22, 2014. Reservations should be made online at <>. You may also phone the hotel at (800) 468-3571. Be sure to explain to the agent that you are registering for BLAST under the National Association of Blind Merchants group.

Act now to take advantage of early bird registration rates. Again this year, BLAST registration will be $200. If you register prior to September 2, 2014, you will be charged only $160. Remember that the BLAST registration fee covers BLAST activities, excluding out of hotel tours or events which may be offered. Your registration fee covers the training, the training materials, the welcoming reception, the leadership breakfast, the trade show and trade show reception, and the banquet which will be held on Thursday evening, November 20.

For questions or assistance with hotel reservations or Lone Star BLAST registrations, please call (866) 543-6808.

Austin is the home of the most diverse and lively music scene in the world. NABM invites you to come for the high-caliber training, networking, and Texas hospitality. In an email to constituents, President Gacos said: “If you plan to attend any national training conference in 2014, make it the Lone Star BLAST!”

To offer your ideas for the kind of training you’d like to have at the Lone Star BLAST, contact Kevan Worley, program chair, at (866) 543-6808 or <>.

Don’t Let the GED Fall Through the Cracks
We in the Federation are working on many problems involving access to computerized tests. In many, if not most, instances there are laws or regulations which apply from elementary to high school to college.

The GED is important, giving a second chance to many people. But the laws and regulations covering it vary from state to state. Furthermore, in January of 2014, the test itself was totally revised. It now is offered only on computer and is provided by a private entity.

I don’t want the GED to fall through the cracks and not be made accessible to blind applicants. I hope to find a way to collect and communicate information about the GED or its equivalent and explore ways to solve problems with its administration to the blind. I’m retired now, but I still get inquiries because of my previous writing. My goal is to determine who has experience now and might help others.

Please contact me at <> or write to me at Doris M. Willoughby, 279 W. Ridge Road, Littleton, CO 80120.

National Blindness Professional Certification Board Announces New Certification:
The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) would like to announce a new certification being offered beginning January 2015: the National Certification in Unified English Braille (NCUEB). Although this certification is intended primarily for professionals in the blindness field, anyone is welcome to take the test, and there are no prerequisites other than knowledge of the UEB code.

Since the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), the governing authority of the Braille code in the United States, has set January 4, 2016 as the official conversion date to Unified English Braille (UEB), the National Certification in Literary Braille (NCLB) will no longer be offered as of January 1, 2015. Obviously, there will still be a great deal of material in circulation for many years to come that has been transcribed in Literary Braille, and we recognize that many professionals may be interested in becoming certified in both UEB and Literary Braille, so we have scheduled a number of testing opportunities for the NCLB certification in 2014. All registration information is located at: <>.

2014 Test Dates for National Certification in Literary Braille (NCLB)

May 17 Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, Tucson, AZ
May 31 Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Richmond, VA
June 11 Iowa Department for the Blind, Des Moines, IA
Sept. 13 San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind, San Francisco, CA
Sept. 27 BLIND Inc., Minneapolis, MN
Oct. 10 Embassy Suites LAX South, Los Angeles, CA

Anyone holding NCLB certification at the end of 2014 will continue to maintain their status until the expiration date on their most recent certificate. If your agency or organization would be interested in scheduling an exam in your area, please contact us.

The NBPCB, along with many other organizations whose work involves all aspects of the learning, teaching, and production of Braille, are committed to ensuring that the transition from Literary Braille to UEB will be a smooth one. To this end, many workshops will be held throughout the country to offer an opportunity for both professionals and consumers to become familiar with UEB. Please consult our website often for information regarding scheduled workshops sponsored by the NBPCB.

For questions regarding any aspects of NCUEB or becoming dually certified in both the Unified English Braille and Literary Braille, please contact us at <>.

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.

A Web Developer for the Blind:
Is your state organization in need of a website? Do you need someone to keep your website up to date? I can build accessible, clean, customizable sites, connect a calendar of events to a database, and keep it up to date at an affordable price. Please email Kelli Jo Isaak at <> for more information. For samples of my work, check out <>, where I have links to other sites I’ve done, including the one I recently completed for the NFB of South Dakota.

Braille Sense for Sale:
I have a 32-cell Braille Sense Plus manufactured and sold by HIMS. It is in very good condition, and I am asking $2,000 for it. My telephone number is (616) 212-8639.

Dictionary Wanted:
The Colorado Center for the Blind is seeking to acquire a donated copy of the Pocket Dictionary in seven volumes. Contact Tom Anderson, CCB Braille instructor, for further information. Email him at <> or call at (800) 401-4632, Ext. 220.

Recorders Wanted:
I am looking for an APH 5198A desk model recorder, an APH-modified Sony Cassette recorder, an CFM-165TW recorder, and a CFM-30TW recorder. These must be in excellent condition, with all functions working well. Contact J. Larry Railey at <> or by calling (281) 444-0907.

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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