SEPTEMBER ISSUE 1965
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President: Russell Kletzing, 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento, California 95825
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY QUESTIONS ANSWERED
BLINDNESS BEHIND THE CURTAIN
By H. C. Seierup
PROMISING REHAB PROJECT FOR THE BLIND
By Perry Sundquist
TONY MOYA, STATE LEADER, KILLED BY AUTO
A SELF-GUIDING NATURE TRAIL FOR THE BLIND
By Robert B. Lewis
MONTANA ASSOCIATION HOLDS CONVENTION
By Lelia Proctor
BLIND MAN SUCCEEDS AS WRECKER
TONE INDEXING WITH THE TAPE RECORDER
By Melvin Ekberg
WASHINGTON STATE BLIND CONVENE
By Tom Gronning
ANOTHER BLIND TEACHER ON THE JOB
NEW PROJECT FOR DEAF-BLIND
FILIPINO BLIND NEED IFB'S HELP
By Rogerio Lagman
CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN DELEGATES TO WCWB
GEORGE MCLAIN IS DEAD
By Lawrence Marcelino
MORE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SHELTERED SHOP WORKERS
NAGLE TESTIFIES ON H.R. 8282
BLIND JUDGE NOMINATED BY LBJ
BLIND HIRED AS TASTE-AND-SMELL JUDGES
A NEW TRADITION IS LAUNCHED
By Lawrence Marcelino
BLIND WASHINGTONIAN BREEDS TINY HORSES
THE BLIND IN FRANCE
By Andre Nicolle
NEW ORLEANS HOUSING PROJECT LIFTS GUIDE DOG BAN
NEW CAREERS FOR THE POOR IN WELFARE
VEERING, ROTATING, AND DECLINING
MEDICAL GAINS BRING REHAB PROBLEMS
DEFENDANT FOUND GUILTY IN WHITE CANE CASE
FRENCH BLIND HOLD CONVENTION
SCHEDULE OF STATE CONVENTIONS
(Editor's note: The following is a release of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Social Security Administration.)
Robert M. Ball, Commissioner of Social Security, today emphasized a number of points that are important to millions of people under the new social security legislation signed by President Johnson at Independence, Missouri, last Friday.
The legislation establishes the new health insurance for the aged program and provides for increases in retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits.
Mr. Ball said some people will want to take action right away in order to protect their new benefit rights; others will need to take no action at all. Mr. Ball stressed the following:
--The 2O million people now receiving social security benefits do not need to take any action at all in order to get the increased cash benefit payments the law provides. The amount of the increase for the months of January through August 1965 will be paid to each beneficiary in a separate check the latter part of September. The first regular checks reflecting the 7-percent increase will be mailed early in October, covering the month of September.
--Social security and railroad retirement beneficiaries now 65 or over will not need to take any action to secure their basic hospital protection under the new health insurance program. All aged persons now on the rolls will receive by mail in September or October a full information kit describing this protection, which becomes effective July 1, 1966. Before this effective date a health insurance card certifying to their eligibility for the services will automatically be sent to beneficiaries 65 or over.
--Social security beneficiaries will not need to go to the social security offices about the voluntary supplementary plan covering physicians ' fees and other benefits. At the time they get the basic information kit, they will receive an enrollment postcard giving them an opportunity to sign up for the added medical insurance program, which also becomes effective July 1, 1966.
--People 65 and over who have never worked under social security, although not qualified for cash social security benefits, may qualify for the basic hospital insurance protection under the new "medicare" program. Those receiving public assistance from the States may be signed up for the basic hospital insurance by their welfare agencies.
--Enrollments in the voluntary medical insurance plan can be accepted beginning September 1, 1965. Therefore, persons over 65 who have not worked under social security should wait until September 1 before visiting their social security office. Then they can sign up for the basic hospital insurance and, also, enroll in the medical insurance program if they wish that additional important protection.
Certain other groups affected by the law do need to take action now. The major groups involved are:
--Persons now 65 or over who are insured under social security but have never applied for benefits. Even though they may still be working full time, it would be desirable for such persons to apply now to establish their benefit rights. This would qualify them for hospital insurance protection and will also assure that they get any cash benefits to which they may be entitled commencing in 1966 because of more liberal retirement test provisions. Under the amendments, any earnings that a person has after applying for social security will automatically be included at a later date in a recomputation of benefits, if it is advantageous to the individual. Therefore, no one can lose by filing for benefits as soon as possible.
--Persons 72 or older not now getting benefits because they (or their husbands) had not worked long enough under social security to qualify under the previous provision of the law. Such persons, if they have any social security credits at all, should get in touch with the nearest social security office right away, because the amount of time they need to have worked under social security has now been reduced. Some persons 72 or over will now qualify for benefits of $35 a month with as little as three quarters of coverage under social security. Benefits may also be payable to the wives or widows of such persons.
--Widows aged 60 or 61. Beginning September, widows can choose to have their cash benefits, at a reduced amount, start at age 60, instead of age 62. Application for this purpose may be filed immediately.
--Students 18 to 22 years of age whose social security benefits have been stopped, as well as others nearing age 18 who plan to continue in school . Benefits can be paid back to January 1965 to those who have already been dropped from the rolls, but only upon application at a social security district office. Those nearing age 18 and planning to stay in school or return to school also should visit a social security district office, in order to supply the information about their schooling which is necessary if benefits are to be paid after age 18.
--Severely disabled workers. A disabled worker may now collect disability insurance benefits if his condition has lasted or is expected to last for 12 full months -- even though he may recover. Until now, he could not collect disability insurance benefits unless his disability was expected to continue for a long and indefinite time, or cause his death. The Social Security Administration plans to search its records and get in touch with those who applied for but were denied disability insurance benefits during the past year. Others who think they may qualify under this change in the law should ask at the nearest social security office about getting benefits. There is no change in the amount of work required under social security for eligibility for disability insurance benefits.
--Other persons who will want to inquire about possible new social security benefits include widows past 60 who have remarried and women 62 or over who were divorced after at least 20 years of marriage.
Commissioner Ball emphasized that persons over 65 should not cancel any hospital or medical insurance they now have because of the new law. He said: "None of the health insurance provisions of the new law gives any protection whatsoever until July 1, 1966."
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By H. C. Seierup
(Editor's note: Following is an abridged version of a unique report on conditions and opportunities for the blind in four Iron Curtain countries of eastern Europe, as encountered on a two-week tour last January by Mr. H. C. Seierup, an official of Denmark's national organization for the blind, the Dansk Blindesamfund.)
In my capacity as chairman of the European Committee, I was invited by organizations for the blind in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia to visit these countries for purposes of study and information.
The journey, which was financed by my hosts, took place between the 8th and 22nd of January, 1965; and during these two weeks I managed to visit Berlin, Leipzig, Warsaw, Prague, Zagreb and Beograd. I saw the Spree, the Vistula, the Moldau, the Danube and the Sawa, and was given the opportunity to meet and talk with representatives for more than 60,000 organized blind, from whom I received much valuable information concerning their characteristics and activities.
In Leipzig, East Germany -- the town of Johann Sebastian Bach, of book publishing firms and of world-renowned fairs -- we visited the "Deutsche Zentralbucherei fur Blinde" (German Central Library for the Blind), which is said to be one of the largest of its kind in Europe. There are 102 employees, 10 percent of them blind. The institution was founded in 1894, and has its domicle in a building where two large new wings have made modernization possible; hence this old institution can meet present-day problems, which goes for books in braille as well as on tape.
The "Allgemeiner Deutscher Blindenverband" (the East German organization of the blind) counts about 20,000 members, organized into local divisions, districts and groups about the country. The membership subscription, fixed in proportion to members' income, is far from sufficient to cover the expenses of the organization, so the state has taken over the financial burden. Collections are not allowed.
The chairman of the organization is Mr. Helmut Pielasch, who lost his sight during the war and has since undergone a comprehensive education. He started with shorthand and typewriting, later was trained as a teacher, and is now taking part in graduate work which will shortly give him a doctor's degree.
There are two schools for the blind and seven for the partially sighted in East Germany, One can say that the idea of integration has not met with success as far as the schools are concerned, but the problem is under discussion. On the other hand a great number of the adult blind are employed in the open market along with their seeing colleagues; this is no doubt largely due to the quota system, which requires the larger establishments to reserve 10 percent of their jobs for the severely handicapped. However, even more important is the training provided for stenographers, telephone operators, masseurs, piano tuners and industrial workers. There are also sheltered workshops, where brushmaking and wicker work predominate.
In this country a disability pension is granted only on the basis of at least five year's employment. For those who are blind from birth and without the possibility of employment, even if they are met with understanding in the administration of the rule, circumstances are extremely difficult. The basic pension starts at 150 marks a month, with an additional supplement for the severely handicapped, ranging from 120 to 140 marks monthly. The pension is not reduced in the event that a blind person resumes working.
The Allgemeiner Deutscher Blindenverband has no dwelling place of its own, but blind members who are badly off can obtain a rent subsidy as can others in similar conditions. On the other hand there are three nursery homes, and six homes for senior citizens, plus a number of rooms available in private homes spread about the country. Furthermore, the organization has six holiday settlements or resorts, where the blind may obtain a three-week stay free of charge every second year. Some
60 cultural groups belonging to the organization make it possible for members to study music, singing, recitation, and the like.
The blind individual is likewise favored in such particulars as the purchase of radios, tape recorders, typewriters, and so on, and he also gets tax reductions and travel advantages. The organization has distributed 100 guide dogs, trained at two schools. For the time being there is a certain overproduction in this field, and those interested in foreign countries can buy guide dogs at a price of about 1200 marks each.
Mr. Pielasch suggested an interchange of study delegations and holiday guests between East Germany and the Scandinavian countries, a proposal which has been passed on to those interested. At the same time he once again asked our participation in the so-called "Baltic Week." One thing is clear, however: official Scandinavian participation will depend upon a guarantee that those arranging the Baltic Week avoid political themes, and that main importance is given to subjects concerning the blind.
The Polish organization for the welfare of the blind has a building of its own in Warsaw. This comprises about 100 rooms, so there is a great deal to take care of. The organization counts around 13,000 members, who pay subscriptions in proportion to their income. The remaining expenses are covered by governmental subsidies.
In connection with the Polish organization there is a printing office and a library, where around 40 persons are employed, some of them blind or partially sighted. The library has approximately a thousand braille books for some 1,300 readers, and the number of tape-recorded books totals about 100 titles. In Poland, as in other countries I visited, 9.5 cm speed is used for recorded books.
Moreover, the main building houses a rehabilitation institution, combining physical and occupational therapy. The work is done in clay, paper, metal and other materials. As far as employment is concerned, around a thousand blind persons are employed in the open market as lawyers, masseurs and industrial workers, but only a rather small extent as office clerks -- mainly because of the lack of a shorthand system in braille. For the time being there are about 100 gymnasium (high
school) and 40 university students.
The greater number of the Polish blind are at work in sheltered workshops, in the collective system, side by side with other handicapped persons. Their production includes what is called fancy metal goods -- that is, cables, sockets, plugs, switches, etc., items in which they often hold a monopoly -- and also brushes, for which prices are fixed in agreement with competitive firms under public ownership.
The disability pension in Poland is also granted only on the basis of at least five working years. The amount of the pension is 900 sloty per month. The average wage for an industrial worker was said to be 1,900 sloty per month. Wages in the sheltered workshops are somewhat less, but do not influence the size of the pension.
There are four blind schools in Poland, because only very few blind persons attend the regular schools. Moreover, there are four homes for senior citizens among the blind, who need nursing care and are unable to cope with circumstances outside an institution.
The organization for the blind attaches great importance to cultural matters. There are orchestras and clubs, where time is given to singing, recitation, dancing, playing chess and attending lectures. The organization also administers a vacation settlement, which during the summer season can receive more than 80 guests, and during the winter accommodates 60 persons. The organization seeks to secure a three-week holiday for each individual every third year; and during these vacations great importance is attached to activities in the form of swimming, rowing and other kinds of physical training -- which in winter includes skiing.
Other advantages to the blind which I might mention include travel facilities, obtaining of tape recorders, guide dogs and other technical aids.
The chairman of the Polish organization for blind welfare is Mr. Stanislaw Madej, 55 years old, who has been in politics almost all of his life. He knew the prisons from inside even before the war, and during the war was a prisoner in concentration camps. Today Mr. Madej is a man highly decorated for his many contributions.
In Czechoslovakia (CSSR), all disabled persons belong to one and the same organization comprising about 125,000 members, 9,000 of them blind. For the Czech blind there are three schools with nine years' schooling; two vocational schools, and one institute for music training. The partially seeing are likewise admitted to these schools; and the blind pupils also attend a middle school, which was designed primarily for the partially blind. A clear definition of blindness does not exist, but at the blind schools students with maximum sight of 2/50 are accepted.
According to unofficial statistics, the most common occupations for the Czech blind are: 250 brushmakers, 70 basketmakers, 40 industrial workers, 15 mat weavers, 10 cardboard workers, 15 weavers, five female knitters, 306 telephone operators, 146 teachers of music in regular music schools, 45 piano tuners, 23 handicraft- and school-teachers, 45 masseurs, 45 office clerks and 80 employed in the overall disabled organization.
On the first of January, 1965, a new disability law came into force in Czechoslovakia. All things considered it secures for those persons who lose their sight during their productive years 50 to 60 percent of what they earned previously, plus a special supplement in particular hardship cases. There are three main groupings, each with its maximum amount. According to the law, in the CSSR also the disability pension will not be granted unless the applicant has held a job; those born disabled naturally get help too, but on a smaller scale.
The organization has no special dwellings for blind people, they do receive a 10 percent rent reduction in ordinary buildings. Vacation homes and settlements are operated in common with other disabled groups, but there are a few nursery homes especially for the blind.
There are two libraries for the blind in Czechoslavakia, one with its books in the Czech language and the other with books in Slovakian. The Czech library contains 1,500 titles in braille, 11,000 works of music and 100 talking books. The Slovakian library has 160 titles in braille and 77 recordings. Furthermore, various magazines are issued, most in braille with a few on tape.
The blind obtain certain favors in terms of transportation on public carriers, and in the purchase of such materials as tape recorders, typewriters, guide dogs and the like.
Dr. Rudolf Tyl, chairman of the big disabled organization, is a jurist who lost his sight as an adult. The organization he heads consists of four groups -- deaf, blind, disabled, and those suffering from internal medical cases.
In Czechoslovakia experiments have been made on an indicator which might inform totally blind persons whether a room is illuminated or darkened, whether a page of paper is blank or has writing on it, and so on. There doubtless is need for mutual information on the question of technical aids for the blind.
In Yugoslavia we were welcomed by the chairman of the Yugoslav organization for the welfare of the blind, Mr. Stevan Mzlac, who is a vice president of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. He functions in a newly erected building which is the center for the organization's many activities for the benefit of the blind.
There you will find a library in both braille and tape. Up to now the tapes have been copied in Paris, but in the future the organization intends to carry on the work itself. There is also a center for aids to the blind, where not only geographic maps but animals, plants and other forms are produced in plastic. Here too one had a feeling that need for additional mutual information is greatly desired. The organization has large, well-lighted and well-designed accommodations for training and placement of blind persons in industrial work.
The Yugoslav organization counts 18,000 members, with the requirement for membership being visual acuity of no more than 6/60. The group gets state subsidies, partly received in the form of a share of a government lottery; but the organization is not allowed to raise funds by itself.
In this country, too, the disability pension depends upon the applicant's working period. For the time it is set at 5,360 dinars monthly. He who is not employed can obtain public assistance fixed according to his need. It may be, for example, 10,000 dinars monthly, but for this there are no fixed rules. Average wages are 30,000 to 35,000 dinars per month, and the government has held the prospect of an increase in wages.
The Yugoslav organization has no homes of its own, but secures housing facilities for its members where the kind of work makes that necessary. For the time being this totals about 700 dwellings. On the other hand there are some nursing homes for older blind persons in existence.
With respect to travel, a blind person is permitted to move about by train, boat or bus six times a year with a 25 percent fare reduction; and his attendant travels free. For air travel there is a 50 percent reduction to be used once a year. Other local arrangements also exist, such as free travel for blind persons and a 50 percent reduction for sighted companions.
The state organization buys and imports certain aids for the blind (including tape recorders and watches), which are sold cheaply or given without charge. Motor cars may also be bought by means of a considerable grant.
For the present the national system favors separate schools for blind children, but there is some consideration for higher school and college education where it is desired -- just as the job placement of those who have finished school takes place mainly on the ordinary labor market.
Statistics compiled for a total of 1,782 employed blind persons reveal the following breakdown: 569 industrial workers, 258 in sheltered workshops, 32 in other workshops, 665 telephone operators, 62 physiotherapists, 75 teachers, nine jurists, nine organization staff workers, four social advisors, 13 office clerks, 14 musicians and 68 in miscellaneous jobs. In Zagreb we visited a newly established school for training of blind clerks, with 56 pupils taking a two-year course (expected to be raised to four years).
In Zagreb I also visited a tremendously interesting museum, where materials bearing on historical understanding of the cause of the blind are collected. This exhibition is also displayed in other Yugoslavian cities, and around 250,000 persons are said to have seen it. A monthly publication is also issued for those interested in work for the blind.
I am grateful to nay hosts in these countries for the exceptionally gracious hospitality accorded to me. Through this visit we have become better acquainted with each other -- taking the first step towards a broader mutual understanding, without which no improvement and development of cooperation between the countries of Europe can be possible.
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By Perry Sundquist Chief, Division of the Blind, California Department of Social Welfare
On April 1, 1965, the Alameda County Welfare Department launched its project to secure employment for as many recipients of Aid to the Blind as possible. Funds for the operation of the project were provided through public welfare project funds administered by the State Department of Social Welfare. The Department of Rehabilitation is providing space to house the project at the Orientation Center and is furnishing case service funds.
The most recent statistics available indicate that some 1,500 recipients of Aid to the Blind, statewide, are between the ages of 20 and 49, of which 96.5 percent are unemployed. The project will determine as a pilot how many unemployed blind persons can be provided with prevocational and vocational training and job placement. Alameda County is an ideal locale for the initiation of the project because of the rich resources available to blind persons in that county -- some of which include the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Orientation Center for the Blind, California Industries for the Blind, Opportunity Work Center, Field Rehabilitation Services, and other community agencies.
The project will demonstrate whether or not a concentrated effort can result in helping an appreciable number of recipients of Aid to the Blind to become self-supporting. It will also demonstrate the value of a coordinated approach on the part of the several state and local services geared to decreasing dependency. Finally, the project will test the feasibility of a team approach by the Project Director, Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind, and the Vocational Counselor in actually placing blind persons in jobs.
The project is under the general direction of Harold Kehoe, Director of the Alameda County Welfare Department, whose enthusiastic support made initiation of the project possible. Services provided to clients will include continual social case work to the Aid to the Blind recipient and his family; vocational evaluation and counseling; physical restoration; prevocational and vocational training; job placement, and careful follow-up.
Kris Winter is Project Director for this promising effort. He comes from Michigan, where he has had many years of experience in the fields of counseling and placement in work for the blind. James Rowe is Vocational Placement Counselor and comes from Arizona with experience as an employment specialist for the Blind. Peter Joe, Rehabilitation Counselor, has had four years' experience in Alameda County's Bureau for the Blind as a Social Worker. The enthusiasm of the project personnel is apparent, and will go a long way toward assuring the success of this novel approach.
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"Tony Moya died Tuesday night of injuries suffered when he was struck by a car -- a car which he never did see. For Tony Moya was blind.
"He was hit by a car Monday morning while walking across the insersection of St. Francis Drive and Hickox, with his seeing-eye dog at his side."
So began an editorial in the Santa Fe NEW MEXICAN on August 4, 1965, commenting on the tragic death the day before of Tony Moya, past president of the La Luz Chapter of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind. Operator of a vending stand in the Federal building in Santa Fe, Moya had been employed in the vending business for 20 years. He is survived by his wife, Jennie, and one son and daughter-in-law, in addition to four brothers and two sisters.
"Carrying his white cane, Moya was guided by Duchess, his seeing-eye dog," according to an August 3 news report of the accident by the NEW MEXICAN. "After her master was struck, Duchess reportedly would not let anyone approach him until Moya's son arrived."
The driver of the vehicle was cited by police "for making a wide turn and failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian," the newspaper said. The driver reportedly told police his windows were fogged in the early morning atmosphere.
"Ironically, Monday was Moya's first day of vacation," the newspaper report continued. "He was on his way to his snack shop to deliver the keys to a friend who was taking over the shop's operation during his vacation, and to give her some last instructions. Moya crosses the intersection where the accident occurred twice a day.
"Seeing-eye dogs, according to Albert Gonzales, Santa Fe lawyer who also uses a guide-dog, are intensively trained for crossing intersections," the newspaper reported. Gonzales is the well-known past president of the New Mexico Federation and a perennial delegate to national conventions of the NFB.
"Sighted persons tend to run either forward or back when they see a car coming toward them, says Gonzales. Since blind people can't move quickly with a sighted person's agility, standing still is the best defense.
"The seeing-eye dogs are remarkably intelligent, and Gonzales is certain that Duchess, Moya's guide dog, performed flawlessly," according to the NEW MEXICAN.
The newspaper observed that "the accident understandably has Santa Fe's blind people, their families and friends shaken up. 'We don't want to inconvenience the public,' says Gonzales, owner of a seeing-eye dog for 26 years. 'We need mobility and independence. All we ask is that drivers be cautious.'
"In fact, state law commands drivers to yield right-of-way to blind pedestrians at all times, no matter what the circumstances are," the newspaper said.
In its editorial comment on the following day, under the heading "Everyday Hazard for Blind," the NEW MEXICAN asserted:
"Crossing a street is a simple task, but one filled with peril for a blind person. Can you imagine yourself in Moya's position? Being led over curbs you can't see, through traffic you can't avoid, by a dog whose trust you have learned to accept. Or feeling your way across an intersection with a cane, thinking of avoiding parked cars -- and all the time uncertain that you're even in the crosswalk.
"With these everyday hazards facing you, is it too much to expect drivers to stop and let you pass safely? After all, you can't see them; yet, if they are normal, attentive drivers they can see you quite clearly," the editorialist said.
"Blind persons, according to one sightless Santa Fean, don't want to be any more conspicious than necessary and don't want to "inconvenience" the public. The blind don't want "Beware." Blind People Crossing" signs erected at intersections which several of them cross daily.
"All they want is a break; alert drivers prepared to stop and let them pass. All have either white or white-and-red canes; some have guide dogs. State law commands that we yield always to blind pedestrains. But, common sense should also tell us this.
"We are not passing judgment on the driver who struck Moya," the newspaper editorial concluded. "Instead, we can only criticize ourselves and other sighted people for being careless enough to allow this, and other accidents involving the blind, to happen."
The New Mexico law reads as follows:
NEW MEXICO. Stat. Ann. 1953, Vol. 9. p. 529.
Sec. 64-18-65: Duty to stop for a blind pedestrian crossing highway or street. Whenever a pedestrian is crossing or attempting to cross a public street or highway, guided by a guide dog or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection, or place where such pedestrian is attempting to cross, shall bring his vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing, and before proceeding shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian.
[New Mexico Law, 1951, Ch. 114, Sec. 2.]
Sec. 40-21-14. It is unlawful for any person, unless totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated, while on any public street or highway, to carry in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red.
[Laws 1951, Ch. 114, Sec. 1.]
Sec. 40-21-15, Saving clause for visually handicapped. Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person, not carrying such a cane or walking stick or not being guided by a dog, of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing streets or highways, nor shall the failure of such totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person to carry a cane or walking stick, or to be guided by a guide dog upon the streets, highways or sidewalks of this commonwealth [state] be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.
[Laws 1951, Ch. 114, Sec. 3. 1941.]
Sec. 40-21-16. Any person who violates any provision of this Act shall upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and costs of prosecution, and in default of payment thereof, shall undergo imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days.
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By Robert B. Lewis
(Editor's note: The author, a field biologist with the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, Colorado, prepared the following article for publication under the auspices of the School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. In a prefatory note, the author writes:
"The ensuing account describes a self-guiding nature trail that is located in Aspen, Colorado. The trail is regarded as a prototype or experimental trail and it is hoped that the lessons learned here can be applied to other trails in other regions. If the trail proves successful, it may encourage others to build self-guiding trails for both sighted and blind persons in a variety of natural environments. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that there may some day be a network of such trails across the country in woodlands, along steams, in the mountains, and even deserts.")
The subtle impact of the natural environment upon the human mind was understood by the great California naturalist John Muir when he wrote, "The influence of pure nature permeates one's very flesh and bones . . . the mind is fertilized and stimulated and developed like sunfed plants. All that we have seen here enables us to see with super vision." But what about those who cannot see? Must they be denied those experiences that an unspoiled natural environment can yield to each of us who would seek them out? One of the answers to this question might lie in a self-guiding nature trail.
Those who have lost their sight prefer, quite naturally, to be as independent of others as possible. This is the best way because personal contact with nature on a one-to-one basis results in a personal discovery which is after all the most meaningful and best remembered. A nature trail for the blind, therefore, must be a self-guiding trail.
The tactile sense can be most useful to all of us when attempting to explore the mysteries of nature. The smoothness of a stream-washed granite boulder contrasted with the rough weathered texture of a granite outcrop tells us much about the forces that have been at work on these rocks. The plant kingdom yields many secrets to the touch: bark, leaves, flowers, ferns, mosses, lichens, and even the slippery algae to be found on streamside boulders, can teach us much about a world that some have never seen.
The sense of hearing for most of us is taken for granted. We hear, but we rarely learn how to truly listen to what we are hearing. The sound of the wind in the trees, a rippling brook, a falling pine cone, the snap of a twig under foot, contrasted with the chattering of squirrels and songs of birds, when carefully listened to can add a new dimension to a woodland adventure.
The sense of smell may serve us well in the out-of-doors. Even though we lead busy urban lives, which of us can forget the smell of grass after a rain, the scent of flowers and the pungent odor of pine needles? Many common plants can be identified by the average person with the help of his nose. We have all experienced the thrill of recalling some object or event, buried in the past, when our nostrils are assailed by an odor that we associate with that object or event. We can only guess
at the importance of the role that the sense of smell plays in learning and recall.
The self-guiding nature trail is located ten miles east of the town of Aspen, Colorado. The trail winds for nearly a quarter of a mile through a dense spruce and fir forest, over a lateral glacial moraine, down to the edge of a shallow rushing stream and across a small alpine meadow. The trail itself can be reached by crossing a foot bridge over the headwaters of the roaring Fork River. The Forest Ranger and his crew built the bridge and planted the posts that carry the guide lines that define the trail. Biology teachers and students supplied the labor for building the approaches to the bridge, leveled the trail, and cleared away fallen logs and limbs where necessary. Every effort was made to keep the trail as natural as possible hence only hazardous objects were removed. The terrain was chosen to provide variety underfoot -- stony ground, pine needled carpeted paths, inclines, and even a small portion of spaghnum bog were carefully worked into the circuit.
There are twenty-two stations along the trail at which a person may pause and read, in Braille, about the plant and animal life inhabiting that region. The text at these stations was written by Dr. Alfred Etter, a nationally known naturalist and conservationist. A sample of Dr. Etter's descriptions follows:
"Listen before you return to the roar of the Roaring Fork, for the sounds of the spruce and fir forest. What you hear will depend greatly upon the time of year, the time of day, and on whether it has rained or not. On rainy days, especially, you may hear the repeated calling of the Olive-backed Thrush. You may be aware of the chattering of the Red Squirrel. You may hear the distant calling of the Olive-sided Flycatcher from the pinnacle of some tall spruce or fir tree."
"Occasionally the whirring and whistling of the tiny Hummingbird intrudes on the quietness of the flowered places in the woods. Nature is constantly at work in many ways to carry on the continuity of living things that makes this earth unique and interesting. We have many woodland neighbors around us who were here long before we came. In our management of the earth, we must make room for them. In the scheme of things, there is little doubt that they are as important as we."
One will not always be fortunate to hear birds at a given time of day along the trail, since birds are most active at dawn and dusk. This fact has prompted the development of a tape with pre-recorded bird calls and brief descriptions of the birds and their habits. Complete tapes are to be developed describing each of the stations for those who cannot read Braille, The small battery-powered tape recorders will be supplied by the National Forest Service, and can be checked out from the Forest Ranger.
No one can estimate how much creativity is lost to society when a man loses contact with the inspirations of nature. It is fitting that if individuals, organizations and communities would like to make a contribution, they should consider the possibility of developing a self-guiding nature trail in their own areas.
It has been suggested that the nature trail be named for Louis Braille and that a hike down the "Braille Trail" will enable many to experience some of the wonders of nature and to become as inspired by nature as was Braille himself.
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By Lelia Proctor Secretary-Treasurer, Montana Association for the Blind
The Montana Association for the Blind held its 20th annual convention on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman July 16, 17 and 18, 1965. The convention is always held in conjunction with the Summer School for the Adult Blind, sponsored by the Association, and this year it was held at the conclusion of the session. It was a great pleasure to have NFB President Russell Kletzing with us as our banquet speaker on Saturday night; he was also on hand to answer questions and give us information during much of the convention.
Probably the most important resolution adopted by the convention provides for the introduction of legislation to repeal the lien and relatives' responsibility laws in the 1967 Montana Legislative Assembly. Another resolution will extend the Summer School for the Adult Blind for an additional week, making it a six-week session.
During the meeting it was announced that the newly appointed home teacher will be going to work on July 26 for the State Department of Public Welfare. It was disclosed a few days earlier that J. C. Carver, who has been Director of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind for the past few years, has been appointed Director of General Rehabilitation program for the state of Montana, so a vacancy now exists in this office.
The convention voted contributions in the amount of $15 to GOOD CHEER, Magazine for the Deaf- Blind, and $25 for the BRAILLE MONITOR. Delos Kelley and Tony Persha reported on their trip to Washington, where they attended the NFB convention; and there were a variety of other reports on Association activities. The Association now has official chapters in Billings, Great Falls, Lewistown and Kalispell, with an application pending from the Capital City Club of Helena.
The MAB conducts its election of officers through the mail prior to the opening of the annual convention. Elected this year were: President -- Tony Persha, Red Lodge; First Vice-President -- Keith Denton, Lakeside; Representative from District One -- Stanley Proctor, Kalispell; Representative from District Four -- Delos Kelley, Billings. Holdover officers are Second Vice-President -- Irving Jacobs, Butte; Representative from District Two -- Charles Martin, Livingston; and Representative from District Three -- Luella McVeda, Lewistown. At the Board meeting prior to the opening of the convention Lelia Proctor was reappointed Secretary-Treasurer for another year.
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Ray Walker is a professional building wrecker who climbs around on rooftops, walks on beams, and once edged along the top of a 175-foot-high smokestack, according to an Associated Press story published in the OAKLAND TRIBUNE August 12, 1965.
He also is blind.
"I surprise many people," Walker was quoted as saying. He reportedly looks like any other workman when he wields a hammer or crowbar on a wrecking job. In 18 years in the business, he was said to have demolished more than 2,000 buildings.
"Walker's only concession to his disability is a cane he carries on the job," the article said. He has been blind 31 years.
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By Melvin Ekberg
In a previous issue of the BRAILLE MONITOR, I stressed the need for demuting our tape recorders during fast-foreward and rewind, and for some convenient way of injecting a low-frequency tone to mark significant points along the tape during the recording process. Now I wish to present a practical solution that I have worked out with one of my recorders. It should be an easy matter to make this conversion, either by engaging an electronics man to do it for you, or by doing it yourself, if you have some knowledge of electronics and can handle a soldering iron. It is hoped that this procedure will suggest similar conversions for other machines.
The machine involved is the "Voice of Music Model 735," which is a quarter-track, three-speed machine. It is almost identical to the Model 730, which is a half-track, three-speed machine, so it may be expected that the same conversion would apply. Incidentally, the 730 is probably a better all-purpose machine for those who have only one machine. All too often we receive half-track recordings that do not play on quarter-track machines, because the recordings are too far in from the edge of the tape.
The conversion requires only three parts: One push-button with contacts normally closed; one push-button with contacts normally open; and one 1.7 megohm resistor.
It is necessary to remove only the rectangular cover which forms the control panel. Note that the muting switch is located behind the fast-foreward button and that it shorts the signal to ground when the play button is up. Also note that the signal, at this point, is not affected by the volume control, hence it is an ideal place in the circuit to insert 60-cycle hum as a marking signal. Disconnect the rear wire from this switch, and connect this wire to one end of the 1.7 megohm resistor and to one side of the skimming button. Bear in mind that the skimmer is the one with contacts normally closed and that it is to be mounted on the bracket which supports the monitor jack.
The other contact of this button connects to the point on the muting switch from which the wire has been removed. The other end of the resistor connects to one side of the marker button, with the other side of this button going to the hot side of the heater of the volume level indicater tube. The marker button is mounted on the bracket that supports the microphone jack. Obviously, holes must be made in the outer panel to clear the new buttons. Reassemble -- and that is all there is to it.
In using this equipment, 1 prefer to temporarily switch to 7 1/2 IPS while inserting the signal between chapters of a book; but it is not necessary to suspend reading at other times. I use signals extensively within chapters, so I do not like frequent and long interruptions while the signals are applied. It should be understood, of course, that signals must be stretched out; otherwise they become too extremely short while skimming.
If the operator is equipped with such a machine, he will most certainly find that it not only saves time, but that it is more fun as well.
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By Tom Gronning
The 30th annual convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Seattle, August 5-6-7, with all 12 local affiliates represented by one or more delegates. From the official welcome Thursday morning by the city and host affiliates to the election and installation of officers on Saturday, it was a rather tight schedule of events. The keynote address by president Wesley Osborne stressed unity and progress.
After lunch August 5, the delegates and members attending the convention boarded a chartered bus for a tour through the Northwest Regional Rehab Center for the Blind. At present there are about 40 trainees that will be available for employment with the help of the state program.
Next stop: Rio Vista on Raging River, 25 miles east of Seattle. This is a recreation area and is operated by the host affiliate. King County White Cane Association of the Blind. This has been the dream of "Kelly" Ridge, the chairman of the convention committee and in charge of the development. The evening meal was served here among the pine trees on a perfect summer evening, with convention hostess Ruth Ridge in charge.
The chairman of the committee on resolutions, Tom Gronning, presented 16 resolutions, all of them adopted with minor changes. Most of them dealt with building and strengthening the WSAB through the local affiliates, a subject on which Tom gave a short talk during a seminar on the topic.
R. C. Purse, Superintendent of the British Columbia Division, Institute for the Blind, was the main speaker at the banquet. Congressman Mead spoke briefly on his experiences in Washington, D.C.
Wesley M. Osborne, Tacoma, was reelected as president; and the convention city for 1966 will be Tacoma.
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The public schools of Visalia, California, will have a blind teacher for the first time this fall.
He is Gary E. Benjamin, 25, hired to teach "core" subjects -- reading, English, arithmetic, social studies -- to eighth graders in one of the city's two intermediate schools.
It will be the first paid teaching assignment for Benjamin, who now lives in San Francisco. Benjamin and his wife, also blind, have a sighted 18-month-old daughter.
Newell H. Herum, assistant superintendent of Visalia City Schools, said Benjamin comes so highly recommended that the district "considers itself mighty lucky to get him". He holds degrees from San Francisco and San Jose State Colleges.
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Ninety men and women who are both deaf and blind are learning to walk around, to care for themselves, to enjoy leisure hours, and often to earn their own living in a New York rehabilitation project described in the May-June issue of the Rehabilitation Record. The Record is the professional magazine of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The article tells about the Anne Sullivan Macy Service, supported by a VRA research and demonstration grant and named for the famed "miracle worker" who first broke through the sightless soundless world of Helen Keller.
The service is operated by the Industrial Home for the Blind in Brooklyn and includes an evaluation and job training center in Jamaica, 15 miles away. Although many of the 90 deaf-blind people were home- bound or institutionalized before they came to the center and many of them never had been communicated with, most have learned to make the 15-mile trip unattended, transferring from subway to bus and taking a short walk through busy Jamaica streets.
Authors of the article are L. J. Bettica and David Newton, both involved in the project which thus far has drawn deaf-blind persons from 15 States and the District of Columbia,
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By Rogerio Lagman
Today the blind in the Philippines number about 150,000. Most of them are victims of all kinds of diseases -- partly due to continued idleness, but mainly because of the lack of proper diet, adequate clothing and sanitary dwellings. Since they have not gone to school, they do not even know that fresh air, sunshine and physical exercise are essential for a strong body and a sound mind. Many of them sit down all day long in poorly ventilated dark corners without even stretching their limbs. Consequently they disintegrate physically and mentally.
Rehabilitation of our blind is so slow that most of the blind adults of this generation may die before any help can be extended to them. For the tens of thousands of blind adults in the Philippines there is but one government institution for their training. This is the Office of Rehabilitation for the Blind which turns out no more than one hundred graduates each year, or one thousand in ten years. At this rate it may take more than a hundred years to train all the blind adults.
Again, in spite of the fact that the Philippines is a Christian country, it is very far behind its non-Christian neighbors in the education of its less fortunate children. For instance, where Japan has 80 schools for the blind, the Philippines has only one. This is the School for the Deaf and Blind where there are only some 20 blind pupils out of about 300, the rest being deaf. This is why our adult blind are mostly illiterate.
The laws enacted two years ago for the construction of a residential school exclusively for the blind, and for the integration of blind children in public schools, have not yet been implemented. This goes to show how little our government cares for our unfortunates.
To improve the living condition of our adult blind and to speed up the education of our sightless children, help from the IFB is certainly needed. Conscious of this tremendous need, the members of the General Assembly of the Blind, Inc. have amended its constitution so as to qualify for membership in the IFB. Of course, we are likewise conscious of our duty to cooperate with this global organization in its task to bring about a better and a happier life for all the blind of the world, for it would be immoral for us to claim a share of the fruit of that task without having contributed to the planting of its seed.
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The six members of the American Delegation to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind -- representing one U.S. organization of the blind, the NFB and four agencies for the blind -- met to discuss the selection and composition of their delegation at the Denver Hilton Hotel on July 28, 1965.
Present at the meeting were Prof. Jacobus tenBroek, National Federation of the Blind; Dr. Norman Yoder and Margery Hooper, American Association of Workers for the Blind; Lee Iverson, American Association of Instructors of the Blind; Peter Salmon, American Foundation for Overseas Blind; and M. Robert Barnett, American Foundation for the Blind.
The principal result of the meeting was the indication that two delegate seats presently held by the AAWB and the AFOB, respectively, will be surrendered with the agreement of the two organizations. Although a proposal to this effect with respect to the AAWB had been under discussion by the American Delegation for some years, it had until recently met with resistance.
Earlier this year, however, the AAWB's executive committee expressed willingness to vacate one of its two seats conditional upon appointment of the Blinded Veterans Association to the position. This condition was disapproved by the delegates at the Denver meeting, despite unanimous expressions of good will toward the BVA, on the ground that the American delegation should not be bound in future by any such express commitment.
Peter Salmon, representing the AFOB, stated he would recommend to his organization that its seat on the American delegation be relinquished because the AFOB is an international rather than a national group, and also because its director, Eric Boulter, is currently the president of the WCWB. The delegates agreed unanimously to a suggestion by Prof. tenBroek that if the AFOB seat is vacated an amendment should be proposed to the WCWB's constitution providing a new class of membership for international organizations.
Another motion by Prof. tenBroek which was unanimously adopted proposed that if either of the two seats becomes vacated (1) the remaining delegates should prepare a constitution for the American Delegation containing a statement of principles and criteria for representation; (2) the American Delegation should then either fill the vacancies itself according to these standards or establish another method for doing so; and (3) the delegates should consider the creation of an American Committee for the WCWB empowered to nominate persons or organizations to fill the two seats.
Also under discussion at the Denver meeting was the new WCWB constitutional provision concerning "adequate representation of organizations of the blind as well as agencies for the blind." There seemed to be a tentative concensus among the delegates that organizations of the blind should have equal representation with agencies for the blind under this provision. The possibility of representation of the United States Government was also discussed.
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By Lawrence Marcellino
George McLain, who died in July 1965, was a nationally known figure in public welfare who has left his mark on the laws of California and the nation as well as in the memories of thousands of recipients of public assistance.
Famed among his supporters as "Mr. Senior Citizen" -- and among his detractors as a "pension promotor" -- George was the master builder of a nationwide organization who appeared often before congressional committees and himself once ran unsuccessfully for the Senate from California, piling up half a million votes.
Since 1941, George served as President of the Senior Citizen's League of California and as the organization's lobbyist in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Prior to formal organization of the now Senior Citizen's League, he led the fight for abolition of liens against the property of recipents of Old Age Security. Following this victory, the people of the State voted to abolish all liens against the property of old age assistance that were then outstanding.
Thereafter, he stepped up his efforts to secure legislation to improve the Old Age Security and Aid to the Blind Laws. He was successful in bringing about liberalizations in the real and personal property provisions of the Old Age Security Law as well as increases in the monthly grant of OAS.
Early in the 1940's, McLain sought to unite the California Council of the Blind with his organization. The nature of the proposal was such that the Council declined to go along with it.
In the late 1940's, McLain initiated an amendment to the State Constitution which was approved by the voters of the State, but which the California Council of the Blind found objectionable insofar as it affected the blind of the State. As a consequence, after careful deliberation, the Council launched an initiative petition among the voters of the State to repeal the measure which had placed the Aid laws in the Constitution, named the Director of the Department of Social Welfare in the State Constitution, and scrambled Aid to the Blind with aid to the aged.
Undaunted by this setback, McLain increased his efforts to secure liberalizations in the Old Age Security Law and more humane and enlightened administration. His organization has been giving help to recipients in their appeals from county action, has introduced numerous legislative bills into the State Legislature, and has opposed numerous adverse bills.
In the 1950's, George and the Council worked side by side in a long and hard-fought battle to defeat the so-called Weybret bills, a series of punitive and regressive measures which would have harmed all recipients of public assistance. Not only did the two organizations bring about the defeat of the Weybret Bills, but they were successful in bringing about improvements in the Aid programs. While McLain had been unable to bring about repeal of the Responsibility of Relatives provisions in the OAS Law, which the Council accomplished in the blind law, he was responsible for liberalizing the contributions scale so as to relieve roughly 97% of relatives previously held responsible. Many liberalizations in the old age assistance law were initiated and supported by him.
In order to meet the urgent need of aged persons for suitable housing, McLain sought Federal help for the establishment of privately owned and operated housing projects for the aged. He was successful in bringing about the enactment of such a measure by Congress, but no funds were appropriated for its implementation. In the face of annoying opposition, he finally obtained funds from the Federal Government and then had a large housing project constructed in Fresno County which contains some 500 dwelling units for the accomodation of aged and blind persons.
During the 1965 General Session of the California State Legislature and the Special Session which was called at the close of the General Session, McLain worked at peak performance, not only in support of his bills to help the aged and disabled, but in opposition to the so-called State medicare bill which would have deprived public assistance recipients of the forthcoming increase in aid payments by the Federal Government. We of the Council were unsuccessful in our efforts to kill the measure in the Assembly, where it originated. On the Senate side, McLain revised his presentation against the measure. It was an excellent statement, hard-hitting and forthright.
There were other adverse bills which McLain and the Council representatives opposed side by side. In the monthly publication of the Senior Citizen's League, McLain frequently credited the Council's representatives for their presentations on bills. He also paid personal and well-earned tribute to our Beverly Gladden for her brilliant presentations, her effectiveness with members of the Legislature, to the respect and confidence she commanded from them, and her excellent judgment.
George McLain knew that he was a "controversial figure", that other lobbyists were receiving more salary than he, and he often deplored the lack of letter-writing support from the members of his organization. But he never diminished his efforts on their behalf, he never failed to fight hard, and he allowed himself little rest.
Few of the thousands who are indebted to him realize the extent of the effort he expended for them.
George McLain earned all the satisfactions he derived from his hard work. The mark which he has left on California's Old Age Security Law is a tribute to him. Thousands are now living better because of him.
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"Unjust" and "discriminatory" was the way John Nagle, representing the NFB in public hearings before the House Ways and Means Committee, characterized a provision of the Administration's Unemployment Compensation Expansion bill, H.R. 8282 -- for the objectionable provision would exclude handicapped workers in sheltered workshops from the benefits and the protections of unemployment insurance.
In his message to Congress on May 18, President Johnson recommended expansion of the federal-state Unemployment Insurance Program, and H.R. 8282, containing specific proposals, provides for the inclusion of employees of non-profit organizations under the program.
Although instructors, foremen and other regular staff of sheltered workshops are specifically covered by the provisions of the bill -- and will be eligible for insurance benefit payments should they become unemployed -- handicapped workers in sheltered workshops are, by special provision, excluded from coverage under the bill and will not be eligible for insurance benefit payments in the event of unemployment.
Continuing the Federation's long-time battle of the organized blind to secure for handicapped shop workers the same rights and benefits provided by federal law for other workers, Nagle argued that the needs of handicapped men and women are the same as those of physically fit persons -- for food, clothing, and shelter -- and that their needs must be met when employment ceases just as the needs of physically fit workers. John's brief statement, presented to the Ways and Means Committee on August 13, appears in full below.
The Federation's president, Russell Kletzing, urges all Federationists to write to their congressmen and to the members of the Ways and Means Committee (House Office Building, Washington, D.C.) in opposition to the provision in H.R. 8282 which would deny handicapped workers in sheltered shops the benefits and the security of unemployment insurance compensation.
The members of the House Ways and Means Committee are:
Chairman Wilbur D. Mills, Arkansas
Dan Rostenkowski, Illinois
Hale Boggs, Louisiana
Phil Landrum, Georgia
Eugene J. Keogh, New York
Charles A. Vanik, Ohio
Frank Karsten, Missouri
Richard Fulton, Tennessee
A. S. Herlong, Jr. , Florida
John W. Byrnes, Wisconsin
John C. Watts, Kentucky
Al Ullman, Oregon
James A. Burke, Massachusetts
Clark W. Thompson, Texas
Martha W. Griffiths, Michigan
W. Pat Jennings, Virginia
George M. Rhodes, Pennsylvania
Thomas B. Curtis, Missouri
James B. Utt, California
Jackson E. Betts, Ohio
Herman T. Schneebeli, Pa.
Harold R. Collier, Illinois
Joel T. Broyhill, Virginia
James F. Battin, Montana
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(Editor's note: Following is the statement of John F. Nagle, Chief, Washington Office, National Federation of the Blind, presented in public hearings conducted by the House Ways and Means Committee on H.R. 8282, August 13, 1965.)
In his message of May 18, President Johnson made certain recommendations to Congress to strengthen the Unemployment Insurance Program -- to provide for wider coverage, for extended benefits periods, and for increased benefits amounts.
These recommendations are contained in H.R. 8282 now pending before you. Recognizing the disastrous consequences of unemployment upon a working man and his family, whether for a short length of time or for a protracted period, H.R. 8282 would provide the means of reducing these consequences.
Presumably, however, the loss of wages resulting from unemployment is only considered a disaster when it happens to a physically fit worker, for, by specific provision of H.R. 8282 -- Section 203 (a) (8)(B) -- handicapped workers employed in sheltered workshops are excluded from the benefits and the protections provided for in the bill.
H.R. 8282 would bring vast numbers of presently unprotected workers within the scope of the Unemployment Insurance Program. It would provide unemployment insurance protection to employees of nonprofit organizations, including instructors, foremen, and other regular staff of sheltered workshops, but H.R. 8282, by specific exclusion, would deny unemployment insurance protection to the handicapped workers in sheltered workshops.
We ask you and we urge you, Mr. Chairman, to delete this unjust and discriminatory provision from H.R. 8282.
Mr. Chairman, much progress has been achieved, in recent times, toward the democratic goal that all men be judged upon their merits, that they be considered and judged as individuals -- that they not be prejudged and condemned by false and derogatory generalizations, that they not be condemned to live differently because they are physically different.
We who are impaired by blindness share with our sighted fellows the dream of equal treatment and full and fair opportunity -- and we have not sat patiently and passively by to wait while others made our dream a reality.
Rather, we have joined together in our common cause, and we have worked and struggled together -- against the disparagements of ignorance and the exclusions and denials of cobweb thinking, against the despair of indifference and the despotism of misguided and excessive concern.
And Section 203 (a)(8)(B) of H.R. 8282, which would withhold the benefits and security of unemployment compensation insurance from handicapped workers in sheltered workshops -- this provision, Mr. Chairman, represents all of the adverse attitudes and embodies all of the adverse forces against which we, blind people, have contended in our strivings for equality in sighted- society living.
Mr. Chairman, are men less than men because they are physically or mentally impaired? Are the needs of individuals for food, clothing, and shelter different because they are physically or mentally different? Do the basic living requirements of handicapped workers in sheltered workshops end when their wages end? What of these people, Mr. Chairman -- what must they do, then, when they are unemployed? Must they turn to relatives for aid? Must they apply for admission to the relief rolls? Why is such recourse less shameful for the handicapped than for they physically fit worker? Should not the dignity of the disabled worker, his plight when employment stops, be of just as much concern to the Nation as the dignity and plight of the physically fit worker?
Unable to secure employment in the regular economic pursuits of the community, the handicapped person -- desiring to work, able to work -- obtains employment in a sheltered workshop.
Is it just or equitable to penalize this individual for society's failures? Is it fair or just to deny this individual the protection of unemployment compensation benefits, to exclude him from advantageous legislation intended as a help to laboring men, when he, too, is a laboring man though he performs his work in a sheltered workshop?
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee -- 1 would remind you that unemployment compensation legislation represents the recognition of a social concept and its translation into law.
It is a recognition that men who work have a right to and a need for governmentally-provided help when wages cease and new work can't be found.
It is a recognition that men who work have a right to dignity even though they are unemployed.
We ask you to extend this concept of dignity-in-unemployment to handicapped workers employed in sheltered workshops.
Again, I would remind you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee -- The nearly 40,000 handicapped men and women employed in sheltered workshops are not obliged to work for a living. No one would judge them harshly, no one would condemn them, if they were to accept dependence upon others as their normal way of life. But they have refused this easy and demeaning way, and are striving for self-sufficiency and dependence upon themselves.
These impaired workers could remain upon public welfare for all of their lives, and no one would criticize them for it, but they choose to earn their own living, to support themselves and their families from their own efforts. Handicapped workers in sheltered workshops deserve the right, for they have earned the right, to be treated as other workers when they are confronted by the catastrophe of unemployment.
We plead with this committee and the Congress to recognize that unemployment is a catastrophe, whether workers are physically fit or physically impaired, whether they work in competitive business and industry or in sheltered workshops.
The catastrophe has nothing to do with workers' physical condition, or with the nature of their employment. The catastrophe is loss of wages and rapidly multiplying unpaid bills.
We plead with this committee and the Congress to delete from H.R. 8282 Section 203 (a)(8)(B) which would deny unemployment compensation benefits to disabled men and women who work in sheltered workshops.
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Charles Reagan Simpson, a blind lawyer who has been serving as director of the Legislation and Regulations Division in the office of general counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, was nominated by President Johnson on August 10 as a judge of the Tax Court of the United States.
The 44-year-old government official was the subject of a NEW YORK TIMES feature article on the day of his appointment, which gave details of his life and accomplishments. Portions of the newspaper story follow,
"One day not long ago, the Internal Revenue Commissioner, Sheldon S. Cohen, was trying to unsnarl an obscure problem, with the 1,500 page Tax Code and Charles Reagan Simpson in front of him.' I'll have to look up what the code says about this,' Mr. Cohen said. Whereupon Mr. Simpson told him the page, paragraph and gist of the section, 'And, sure enough, he was right,' Mr. Cohen recalled. The commissioner was astonished, because Mr. Simpson is blind. The incident reflects both Mr. Simpson's memory and his almost total mastery of the bewildering subject of taxes. . .
"Despite his blindness, or, according to Mr. Simpson, because of it, he has been outstanding at school, as a legislator in the Illinois General Assembly, as a bureaucrat and as a lawyer. This spring, he received the Justice Tom C. Clark award as the Government Lawyer of the Year.
"You have to develop memory -- but you also have to develop a habit of sorting out the important from the unimportant and not clutter up your mind," he said today.
"Mr. Simpson moves with remarkable deftness about his office and his modern apartment in Arlington, Va., disdaining the help of a cane or a dog.
"His principal aide at home and at work is his wife, Ruth, a former Public Health Service nurse who is his secretary, reader, driver, bridge partner, traveling partner and companion movie-goer.
"He was partly sighted until the age of 12; then an ailment believed to be hereditary blinded him. His sister also is blind.
"Both in his present job and in the one to which he has been nominated, Mr. Simpson must absorb an enormous amount of information -- none of it available in braille. Documents are read to him by secretaries, including his wife. Only his bridge cards are marked in braille."
The newspaper said that the government division which Simpson has headed, containing some 50 lawyers and 35 clerical helpers, drafts all internal revenue legislation and rules, besides interpreting and explaining the nation's tax laws.
Born in Danville, Illinois, Simpson went to public schools and then on to college through scholarships, according to the TIMES. "At the University of Illinois he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. At the university's law school he achieved the highest academic average in 25 years.
"After serving two terms in the legislature, from 1947 to 1950, as a Democrat, Mr. Simpson turned down the chance to run for state Attorney General and went to Harvard. There he got his master's degree in law in 1950 and was a teaching fellow for another year. He entered the government as a lawyer with the Office of Price Stabilization in 1951; the next year he went to the revenue service."
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A new and distinctive vocational opportunity for blind persons has been developed by a chemical process company in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a report in PERFORMANCE. The Glidden Corporation's Organic Chemicals Division hired six blind persons a year ago on the premise that they would make good taste-and-odor judges of synthetic flavoring and perfume chemicals.
"These people have proved four times more effective in assuring product uniformity than have comparable panelists with unimpaired sight, Glidden officials were reported as saying.
The panelists were said to be "possibly the first employees hired by a major cooperation because of their blindness rather than in spite of it. The decision to test their skills resulted from the widespread belief that persons deprived of one sense develop others to an unusually high degree -- for instance, many piano tuners are blind," the magazine noted.
A simplified braille system helps the panelists identify samples. They record findings by punching holes in IBM cards, guided by a template, according to the article.
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By Lawrence Marcelino
By resolution unanimously adopted at its 1965 convention in Washington, D.C., the National Federation of the Blind has launched a new tradition which it hopes will be carried out by all its members and continued throughout the years.
The National Federation of the Blind asks that on October 15th of each year, every blind person forego one meal, contribute the monetary cost of that meal to the International Federation of the Blind, and renew his personal commitment to the cause of assisting the blind everywhere to enjoy a better life as first class citizens.
All State affiliates and their local chapters are asked to encourage the adoption of this practice by their members.
While the monetary contributions will aid the International Federation of the Blind to carry out its work, a very important part of the tradition is to experience the pangs of hunger and strengthen the personal commitment to our cause of helping blind persons throughout the world to help themselves through organizations such as our own.
Appropos of this new tradition and the organized blind movement, the words of a great teacher, Hillel, who lived during the generation when the Christian era began, are worthy of application by all of us. Hillel asks three rhetorical questions: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?"
Hillel was too kind, too humble, too generous, to mean by the first question ("If I am not for myself, who will be for me?") that one should be selfish, greedy, or cynical. The point of that first question is the importance of self-motivation, self-respect and self-confidence. To us as blind persons, it means, "If I don't apply myself to learn, to work, to earn, who will do it for me, and why should they?
The second question, "Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I?" requires no explanation to us who enjoy the fruits and advantages that others have made possible. What am I if I engage in my job, draw my pay, and live well, but do nothing to help the cause of brininging opportunity to other blind persons? What am 1 if 1 make no sacrifice or effort to help other blind persons to help themselves?
The third question is equally apt, "And if not now, when?" The time for building our organizations, for participating and working in their undertakings is NOW. The time for work and sacrifice for the cause of helping the blind to help themselves through the organized blind movement is NOW. The time for helping the International Federation of the Blind is NOW.
It is recommended that newspaper, television, and radio publicity be utilized to encourage participation by as many blind persons and their friends as possible. Some local chapters will hold foodless banquets on the evening of October 15th.
Monetary contributions may be sent to the International Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California, 94708.
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(From THE WHITE CANE Magazine, official publication of the Washington State Association of the Blind.)
Gilbert Carraher was a businessman before an accident left him blind, 15 years ago. He is a businessman now, breeding and raising tiny horses, the first in the United States. These were developed from a breed that existed 2000 years ago. They had disappeared because of inbreeding until 100 years ago when an Argentina family started "back-breeding." Carraher gets his mares and stallions from this family, the Falabellas.
The Lilliputians weigh only one pound at birth. When fully grown they weigh about 130 pounds and measure some 2 1/2 feet tall. They live twice as long as a normal horse. Carraher is raising them for sale and for showing at fairs.
"Gib" Carraher lives with his wife, Ingrid, and their three children at 8605 S. 218th St., Kent. This is just south of Renton, Washington, near the East Valley Highway.
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By Andre Nicolle
(Editor's note: The following article on the situation of the blind in France was written for THE BRAILLE MONITOR by Monsieur Nicolle, who is Executive Officer of the French Association of the Blind (Secretaire general de I'Amitie des Aveugles de France). Thanks are due to Gerald C. Neufeld for his translation. M. Nicolle was a member of the French delegation to the meeting of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind last year in New York City; subsequently he played an active role in the formation of the International Federation of the Blind and is presently a member of its Executive Committee. The MONITOR'S Acting Editor greatly enjoyed and appreciated M. Nicolle 's hospitality on a visit to Paris in September 1964.)
It is estimated that there are nearly forty thousand Frenchmen who are blind. The proportion of this number blind at birth is clearly decreasing, owing to progress in hygiene. On the other hand, the number of those losing their sight as adults has perceptibly increased as a result of the multitude of accidents endangering modern man.
The education of blind youth is carried out by means of thirty specialized schools. Only one of these institutions depends exclusively upon the Ministry of Public Health, while three others function under the authority of counties and municipalities. The majority of them are of a private nature. Most students reside at these schools, because of the distance to their families' homes. For those parents unable to meet expenses, public financial assistance is made available to provide for the care and education of their children. Since 1964 a monthly sum equivalent to thirty dollars designated "for specialized education," has been allocated to the parents of all blind children regularly attending an education institution recognized by the government.
In addition to receiving cultural education, young blind people prepare themselves in their schools for diverse vocations. To the traditional trades of brushmaker, chair caner, basketmaker and above all, piano tuner and musician, have been recently added kinestherapeutic masseur, switchboard operator and short-hand typist. Certain particularly gifted individuals, whose number is steadily increasing, attend educational establishments for sighted persons, where they enroll in secondary and often college courses. Frequently they attain such professions as attorney-at-law, high school teacher and university professor, teaching law, political economy, history, literature and even mathematics.
The greatest difficulty that victims of blindness encounter when seeking employment, hopeful of leading more normal and independent lives, is the insufficient number of openings in their fields. Although the blind have to overcome an appreciable handicap in comparison with their ablebodied colleagues, their success in the professions seems to depend in great part on their own qualities as individuals. French employers are generally reticent in calling on the services of sightless workers. Yet instead of being preoccupied with their competence, they are more concerned with added responsibilities which they might incur in the event of an accident. For this reason associations of and for the blind have undertaken a publicity campaign designed to instruct employers as to the adaptability.
Public attention, once focused on the matter, has resulted in the law of November 23, 1957 on the reclassification of handicapped labor. It provides that all employers must hire handicapped workers in a proportion equal to approximately ten per cent of the number employed. Still another text is in preparation which would impose the same conditions on governmental administration. Thus openings for blind people engaged in such occupations as kinestherapeutic masseur, switchboard operator, and short-hand typist, or for those in the teaching profession, should increase substantially. In addition, a law of 1949 granting to organizations of the blind priority for the production and distribution of articles made of cane, reed and straw to public and nationalized enterprises, will soon go into effect.
The future holds much promise, for if the blind in France can adequately equip themselves for the vocational opportunities available to them, they will most certainly be more useful and productive citizens to their country.
The implementation of laws designed to place handicapped workers is by no means the only function of governmental aid. Subsequent to 1945, those regularly engaged in an occupation and earning at least the equivalent of $220 a year have had access to financial compensation. Its purpose is twofold, first, to augment their income and second, to help defray expenses incurred in employing someone to assist them with their daily personal activities. The maximum amount of this allocation, at present $1,100, is granted only if a recipient's annual resources are not greater than $1,800. In the event that his income exceeds this figure, the grant is reduced by that amount.
There are those, however, who are not in a position to work, for reasons of health and, more often, of age. Various allocations up to $1,300 are available in these cases as long as total annual revenue is not in excess of $1,650. These conditions apply exclusively to those not receiving a form of indemnification for their loss of sight. Persons blinded either in war or when gainfully employed have at their disposal rather substantial pensions, regardless of their resources or of any positions which they might subsequently hold.
Individuals under social security are eligible for a disability pension which is calculated on the basis of their circumstances prior to becoming blind. To this sum is added an allowance up to $1, 200, effective April 1, 1965, to provide for a personal assistant. When reemployed, however, the disability pension is suspended, while as of 1964, the supplementary allowance for personal assistance remains in effect.
Although private initiative as well as the French government has made considerable progress in this area, especially in the latter half of the century, there remain points grossly in need of improvement.
Compensations allotted to blind civilians, who are by far the majority in France, are markedly inferior to what a first glimpse of the figures might suggest. In actual fact the statistics quoted above are but an indication of what blind persons may receive. A worker can only claim total compensation if his personal resources amount to less than $660 per year. Those unable to work are not, in fact, eligible for total compensation if their personal resources amount to more than $360 per year. Furthermore, the government's evaluation of personal resources is based not only upon those funds which an individual might have on hand, but on that family aid which may be available to him, either in the form of money or of lodging. Similarly, if room heating were donated, its cost would likewise be considered as a resource. Accordingly, the number of workers and non-workers actually getting the aid to which they are entitled is extremely small. The situation is further complicated by vexatious investigations on the part of administrative officers intent upon verifying to the penny the amount of a recipient's revenue. It should also be pointed out that the state reserves the right, upon the death of the party concerned, to reclaim from his estate any or all of the funds hitherto invested in him. This right may be exercised by mortgaging the household furniture if its value be greater than $2,000. This is a matter which creates many hardships and ill feelings, for not a few needy parents hesitate in applying for assistance in the fear that they will not be able to bequeath their small home to their children.
French organizations of and for the blind, notably 1'Amitie des Aveugles de France (French Association of the Blind) are making a concerted effort to impress upon the government the great need for new legislation. At present the Comite National pour la Protection Sociale des Aveugles (National Committee for Aid to the Blind) is studying a project which, in effect, would assure to all blind people a compensatory allocation for the hardships incurred by their infirmity. This grant would be distributed entirely independent of their personal income. The adoption of such a measure would substantially improve the situation of the blind in France and would at the same time encourage many to prepare themselves for future employment.
Other groups interested in the blind are appealing to the government to finance such projects as supervised workshops, rehabilitation centers and homes for the sightless. Their efforts have not gone unrewarded, for thanks to new programs of expansion sponsored by the government, positive progress has recently been made.
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Through the persistence of a blind Louisianan who refused to take no for an answer, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has dropped a three-month-old ban against the admission and continued occupancy of blind persons with guide dogs.
David King of New Orleans, who owns a guide dog, applied for admission to a public housing unit in the city last April -- only to be advised by an official bearing the title of "Tenant Selection Supervisor" that the Housing Authority "has had unfortunate experience with seeing-eye dogs in public housing projects. It has been clearly established that the welfare of other tenants is imperilled and for this reason it is the current policy not to admit applicants who may be obliged to have a seeing-eye dog."
Unconvinced by this explanation, King took his case to Louisiana Senators Russell Long and Allen J. Ellender, as well as other officials, resulting in a voluminous exchange of inquiries and rejoinders which included an investigation of the New Orleans policy by the regional office of the federal Public Housing Administration. In reply to that probe an official of the city authority wrote in part:
"The Authority has written several letters in the last 30 days to sponsors solicited by Mr. King, including Congressmen Hebert and Boggs, Governor McKeithen and Mayor Schire. . . .
"The tenor of Mr. King's letter indicates that the Authority is not according consideration to blind and other handicapped persons. This is, of course incorrect. There are hundreds of such individuals residing in the various projects and they are continually the subject of our special attention and consideration. . . .
"Our present policy concerns the bringing into housing projects of seeing-eye dogs. We permitted such dogs for a number of years and as the result had extremely unpleasant and on several occasions nearly tragic results. Complaints from other tenants continually were made concerning the nuisance caused by these dogs in the form of howling and barking during the night and unsanitary and obnoxious conditions brought about by the presence of the dogs in the yards and halls. . .
"We are most sympathetic with Mr. King and other handicapped persons but it is our duty to consider the welfare of all tenants and we have been convinced after years of experience that large animals such as seeing-eye dogs do not belong in the close community life of a public housing project."
Federal Housing Administrator Robert C. Weaver wrote to King in mid-May upholding the decision of the New Orleans Authority and adding: "I am glad to be able to report that legislation was enacted last year to facilitate the provision of specially designed housing for the handicapped and that we have made additional proposals to the Congress this year with respect to such housing."
On May 20 a New Orleans newspaper reported that "seeing-eye dogs have been leading the Housing Authority of New Orleans into a controversy," and disclosed that the harassed local authority had begun a reconsideration of its problem with the aid of various welfare bodies including The Seeing Eye, Inc., of Morristown, New Jersey.
The newspaper also noted King's contention that the housing prohibition "is discrimination against a handicapped person and violates a state law providing for accommodation of handicapped persons and their seeing-eye dogs in all public facilities."
One week later a press release announcing the complete reversal of the guide dog ban was issued by Willard E. Robertson, chairman of the city housing authority's Board of Commissioners. "After more than 20 years of allowing guide dogs in the projects," Robertson said in reviewing the policy, "it was decided to try discontinuing these admissions because of numerous tenant complaints."
"The complaints concerned alleged unsanitary conditions, nuisance caused by the howling and barking of the dogs at night, and the danger of attack by the dogs, particular concern for small children being expressed in this area. Shortly after the experimental policy of non-admission went into effect an applicant with a guide dog charged discrimination so the Board decided to make a thorough re-study of the issue with professional assistance."
Robertson stated that recommendations submitted by The Seeing Eye involving precautions and controls on the handling of dogs were acceptable to the agency, and added: "Any blind applicant with a guide dog who otherwise is eligible and qualifies will be admitted, and will be permitted to remain as a tenant under the policy for continued occupancy."
On June 3, 1965, a letter was sent to King by the city agency's tenant selection supervisor -- the same official who had turned him away two months before -- observing tersely that the Kings "will be given the first available St. Thomas project perimeter, two-bedroom, ground floor apartment, with private yard." The letter made no mention of King's dog, who will share the apartment with his master and family.
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In America's gathering war on poverty, few developments are more significant or more promising than the increasing employment of "indigenous nonprofessional personnel" -- persons drawn from the ranks of the client groups to be served -- as active participants in the administration of welfare. Under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, in particular, new programs of community action have been set in motion across the country designed to "take advantage of disadvantage" by making use of the special experience and characteristics of needy individuals who belong to the major recipient groups.
A recent assessment of "Problems and Promise in the Use of Indigenous Personnel" has been published in WELFARE IN REVIEW under the byline of Jack Otis, deputy director, Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Development, Welfare Administration. Summarizing the factors responsible for the trend toward utilizing the services of these new workers, the author writes:
"... the social work manpower shortage, the elimination of blue and white collar jobs by automation and cybernation, the great increase in new workers in a declining labor market for the unskilled and the semiskilled, the growth of Federal programs which in effect fund the establishment of new types of work in the social services, and a great new movement on behalf of and with the poor will lead, in the next few years, to the most significant expansion of auxiliary personnel in our history.
"Some of these developments will sustain and strengthen social work as we know it, but others will pose new strains and challenges for social work that may set it moving in new directions."
Although the employment of these new "auxiliary workers" in social work roles covers a variety of nonprofessional and subprofessional roles, the area of greatest usefulness is said to be that of a "new career" especially carved out to meet the unique credentials of these welfare recruits.
"The new career consists of functions which have not been performed or have been poorly performed by the professional staff because of their middle-class background, the established definition of the role and function of the profession, and the traditional functions of the agency, " according to Otis. "The new career centers on a new function which capitalizes on the lower-class status of the individual."
In nearly all respects this new career role for the welfare aide who is himself needy or deprived "is qualitatively different because the individual's lower-class status is in itself an important qualification and the basis of the contribution that he makes."
Quoting from a companion study of the new nonprofessional in welfare, Otis points to the unique qualifications and potential contribution of the low-income helper: "He is poor, is from the neighborhood, is often a member of a minority group. His family is poor. He is a peer of the client and shares a common background, language, ethnic origin, style and group of interests which it would be impossible and perhaps even undesirable for most professionals to maintain."
All this -- as we have noted before in these pages -- has a familiar ring to members of the organized blind movement. Both in professional and semi-professional roles, blind persons have been found to be uniquely effective working with blind clients in the fields of social work, rehabilitation and education. The reasons for this success are remarkably like those ascribed by Otis to the successes of indigenous nonprofessionals in the war on poverty:
"Efforts of indigenous aides directed at the client may have a genuine therapeutic effect because of the following possible factors:
"1. A peer with whom the client can readily identify is in the helping role.
"2. The helper's position in an official agency is a sign that the client can make the grade, too.
"3. Help oriented toward resolving concrete problems is better understood by the poor and serves to reduce tension.
"4. The helper's unabashed enthusiasm is contagious.
"5. The indigenous person's definition of the client's problem, which may well be different from the professional's, may make a helping relationship possible."
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"The direction an individual will veer is highly predictable; however, the amount of veer, based upon inter-trial correlations of angular rotation per 100 feet, is not." So states Bryant J. Cratty, of the UCLA.
Department of Physical Education, in a summary of research findings designated "The Perceptual Thresholds of Non-Visual Locomotion."
The research project found, among other things, that subjects attempting to walk a straight pathway without either visual or auditory cues "rotate, on the average, 36. 91 degrees per 100 feet." Another discovery of equal importance, or unimportance, was that blind (or blindfolded) subjects who normally veer to the left rotate significantly more per 100 feet than do those who veer to the right. A politically inclined observer might possibly infer from this that rightists travel in narrower circles than leftists.
In general, according to the statistical study, "subjects were more sensitive to incline than to decline." More specifically, "older subjects were slightly less sensitive to incline and to decline." In short, some are more inclined that way than others, particularly those in the declining years.
"Subjects who habitually hold their head straight to the front were more consistent in the amount they veered from trial to trial. Likewise, subjects with legs the same length were significantly less consistent in the amount of veer they evidenced from trial to trial." Unfortunately, the study does not specify the consistency of veer among those who hold their head to the back, or even among those with legs of different lengths.
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Life-saving advances in medical research and practice have increased the problem of disability, says James A. Shannon, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. Writing in the July-August 1965 Journal of Rehabilitation as guest editor. Dr. Shannon states:
"The advances in medical research and practice which in the past half century have led to great saving of lives and lengthening of life have left almost untouched the rehabilitation of those disabled by accidents and by physical and mental disease. Indeed, many of the life-saving advances have increased the problem as they have added to the numbers of the living but disabled who need rehabilitation."
This is not to say there has been no progress, the NIH head continues; the growing realization of the vital need to initiate appropriate rehabilitation procedures immediately after diagnosis of the acute condition or accident -- often during the medical treatment itself -- is one of the major advances that have been made.
The Journal's guest editor calls for further intelligent research to help overcome physical and mental disability, and declares: "Our immediate task is to bring current knowledge and skills to larger numbers, and to people in all regions."
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The driver whose car struck and fatally injured a blind Californian last February has been found guilty under the state's white cane statute -- and given a sentence of one hour's probation.
The decision was handed down August 5 by Judge Floyd Talbott of the Berkeley Municipal Court, who later remarked that this was the most difficult case he had ever decided. The verdict was handed down under a section of the California Penal Code regulating vehicular traffic when approaching a blind pedestrian carrying a white cane.
As reported at length in the July 1965 BRAILLE MONITOR, the incident began when Charles Bird, a 22-year-old Oakland City College student, was struck by an automobile while in the pedestrian walkway of a Berkeley street. He died three days after the accident. The driver of the car insisted that he had not seen the 64-inch fiberglass cane Bird was carrying, and also that after clearing the path of the car Bird had become alarmed or confused and pulled back in front of the moving car.
The California white cane law forbids any person other than those wholly or partially blind to "carry or use on any street, highway, or in any other public place a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red." A driver of any vehicle "who approaches or comes in contact with a person wholly or partially blind, carrying a cane or walking stick, white in color, or white tipped with red, or using a guide dog," is required to "immediately come to a full stop and take such precautions before proceeding as may be necessary to avoid accident or injury to the person wholly or partially blind."
In his prosecution brief, Deputy District Attorney Carl W. Anderson pointed out that "The facts are undisputed that the defendant drove a vehicle which approached and came in contact with Charles Bird, that Charles Bird was blind, that he was carrying a cane white in color tipped with red, and that [the driver] did not immediately come to a full stop and take such precautions before proceeding as were necessary to avoid injury to the blind person."
The deputy D. A. argued that "It is not an element of the offense that the defendant have seen the blind person or even that he should have seen him, although the latter may logically be inferred from the requirement the blind person be carrying a white cane." He also struck at the contention of the defense that "the doctrine of Reasonable Doubt must be employed to interpret [the law] to require the prosecutor to prove the defendant knew the victim to be blind."
Declaring that such a requirement would vitiate the intent and policy of the law, the prosecution brief continued: "That intent can be nothing other than to provide the blind person the assurance that if he carry his cane as prescribed he will have the "Right of Passage," as Professor Jacobus tenBroek of the University of California has termed it -- that he can walk the streets in confident safety.
"The statute is designed to protect a certain class of individuals -- the visually handicapped. It places no extraordinary burden on the sighted. To read this defense into the statute would render the statute meaningless, for then every defendant need claim only that he did not know his victim to be blind, and who then can prove him wrong?"
The sentence of one hour's probation imposed by Judge Talbott was later scored by Alameda County supervisor as illustrative of a trend toward making the courts "a haven for criminals," according to a report in the OAKLAND TRIBUNE (August 20, 1965).
Supervisor Kent D. Pursel reportedly "noted that a motorist struck and fatally injured a blind man, and was convicted of violating California's 'white cane' law, that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians displaying such canes.
"The judge imposed a sentence of one hour probation," Pursel said. "During that one hour the motorist had the usual admonition of probation to be of good conduct and obey all laws."
"The criminal today has more privilege than the decent members of society he attacks," Pursel declared. 'All the legislation in the world is worthless if it is not carried out. The judges are the only ones with the authority to punish, and if they don't, no one can.'"
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The French Association of the Blind (L'Amitie des Aveugles de France) held its annual autumn convention in the city of Nimes December 5 to 7, 1964. The event, which drew blind delegates from all regions of the country, featured addresses by representatives of the organized blind of Switzerland and Belgium as well as other dignitaries.
The convention passed resolutions calling for: compulsory free elementary education for blind children, including provision of special equipment; elimination of relatives' responsibility in the field of rehabilitation of the blind and the development of specialized professional staffs; standardization of rules and regulations regarding sheltered workshops; new laws protecting the priority of the blind production and sale of workshop-type goods such as brushes; reduction of income taxes for all blind persons and further reductions for those with special expenses owing to dependency; reduction of transportation fares, including free travel for guides accompanying blind persons in all classes of rail travel; extension to all employed blind persons of compensatory grants now given to certain categories of the disabled.
John Jarvis, Secretary-General of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, reported on the activities of the WCWB General Assembly held in New York the preceding August. He called attention to one of the Assembly's resolutions relating to organizations of the blind, which he described as "very important". That resolution "refers to the important contributions to their welfare made by the blind themselves, asks that development of blind organizations in all our countries be encouraged and supported, as much on a local plane as on the regional and national level but rejects the idea of extending this principle to an international level and to the encouragement of an organization of the blind at the international level, precisely because our World Council is already in a position to represent the organizations of the blind, as well as organizations for the blind," Jarvis said.
The honorary president of the Swiss Federation of the Blind, M. Jacot, in a major convention speech discussed the reform brought about by 1960 legislation including the blind under the Swiss federal disability insurance program. He also stressed the persistence of the traditional system of private charity and philanthropy on which the blind of Switzerland have depended for more than a century for the development of specialized schools, sheltered workshops, training and rehabilitation programs.
Other prominent speakers at the French Association's convention included Francois Gerber, Association president, and Andre Nicolle, a ranking official of the national group.
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Following is a partial list of NFB-affiliated state organizations of the blind which have scheduled conventions during the fall months. Others with forthcoming conventions are urged to send particulars to THE BRAILLE MONITOR as early as possible (preferably two months or more) before the date of convention.
The Empire State Association of the Blind: Hotel Utica, Utica, New York, September 3-6.
The Gem State Blind: Boise, Idaho, September 9-12.
Michigan Council of the Blind: Vincent Hotel, Benton Habor, Michigan, September 17-19.
Kentucky; Kentucky Hotel, Louisville, September 17-18.
Aurora Club of the Blind: South Carolina, September 25-26.
Nevada Federation of the Blind: Reno, Nevada, September 24-26.
California Council of the Blind: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, October 1-3.
Associated Blind of Massachusetts: Parker House Hotel, Boston, October 8-10.
Indiana Council of the Blind: Van Orman Hotel, Fort Wayne, October 8-10.
Alabama Federation of the Blind: Birmingham, October 8-10.
Ohio Council of the Blind: Sheraton-Dayton Hotel, Dayton, Ohio, October 15 thru 17.
Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind: Penn Harris Hotel, Harrisburg, October 9-10.
Arizona Federation of the Blind: Santa Rita Hotel, Tucson, October 16-17.
New Hampshire Federation of the Blind: Scandia Hall, Concord, October 16.
New Jersey Council of the Blind: Empress Motel, Asbury Park, October 23-24.
Colorado Federation of the Blind: American Legion Hall, Denver, Colorado, November 6.
Progressive Blind of Missouri: Aladdin Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri, November 20-21.
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From North Carolina comes a report that Wayne County's Welfare Board in Goldsboro has rescinded an order which would have made any welfare recipient having a television or telephone ineligible for public assistance benefits.
The board said it rescinded the order because "our stand on the television and telephone problem might have threatened federal assistance to all of North Carolina," according to the publication FROM THE STATE CAPITALS.
Mrs. Jack Barfield, board chairman, was reported as saying the order was "an honest and sincere effort to protect taxpayers' money." She maintained that "the desire of the board was to be assured that the money was used properly in meeting the basic necessities of life of public assistance recipients.
"Communications have been received from federal and state agencies in Washington and Raleigh to the effect that our action was contradictory to federal and state regulations," the economy-minded official stated.
The Cliff Jensens, the Harvey Coxes, and the Ray McGeorges organized a dinner party for Ken Jernigan and Professor tenBroek in Denver on July 28. Ken Jernigan was in town to attend the AAWB Convention then meeting at the Hilton Hotel, Professor tenBroek to attend a meeting of the American Delegation to the WCWB.
The indefatigable Dr. Isabelle Grant was the recent subject of a feature story in the Los Angeles Examiner discussing the thousands of books and other items she is sending to the blind throughout the world.
Mahmoud Ayoub, blind graduate student of the University of Pennsylvania, was pictured in the Sacramento Bee doing his part for peace as part of a Quaker-sponsored, 4-member peace caravan seeking to build increased support for the United Nations.
Braille Christmas cards, birthday cards, and get-well cards constitute the livelihood of Harry A. Fribush, 27 Colonial Avenue, Albany, New York 12203. Braille only cards are 18 for $1.00, including envelopes. Braille and ink print cards are 14 for $1.00. For an additional 25 your name can be imprinted in ink on the cards. Mr. Fribush also sells plastic canned goods labels. A price list can be obtained on request.
The first 10 large print books, in an experimental series, are available from Franklin Watts, Inc., 575 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022. Titles now available are as follows: Profiles in Courage, Kennedy; Travels with Charley, Steinbeck; The Mature Mind, Overstreet; Mozart, Davenport; The Arizona Clan, Grey; Strong Poison, Sayers; Huckleberry Finn, Twain; Ethan Frome, Wharton; A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare; The Red Badge of Courage, Crane.
The new President of the Blinded Veterans Association is James F.C. Hyde, Jr. of Washington, D.C. Hyde is Assistant Chief of the Office of Legislative Reference in the Bureau of the Budget. At its late July convention, the EVA also adopted a resolution calling on the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration to make a study of the vending stand program as established by the Randolph-Sheppard Act.
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Dowdy, of Kansas City, undertook a three-week trip to Europe last July -- part of it sightseeing. Both are deaf and blind. They attended conferences for the blind in England and in Denmark, and visited Paris simply as tourists, according to the KANSAS CITY STAR. . . Pauline Gomez, well-known New Mexico federationist who has owned and operated a Santa Fe kindergarten for the past 18 years, recently was pictured by THE NEW MEXICAN conducting a session for parents of youngsters participating in the government's Project Headstart. . .
The 1965 White cane drive of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind ended in mid- June with a record $4,000 received or pledged, the highest return in over eight years, according to Association President William E. Normand Tiny plastic "windows" have restored
sight in the eyes of 61 blind persons in New York according to a recent Associated Press dispatch which reported Columbia University's substitution of the plastic pieces for part of the cornea -- the natural window of the eye -- that had been scarred by accidents or damaged by disease. . . . . Allocation of more than $3.4 million to the 50 states for training teachers or supervisors of teachers of handicapped children during the next year was announced recently by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare ... A new group known as the U.S. International Committee on Vocational Rehabilitation, has been set up within the International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, according to a report in PERFORMANCE.
The Elbee Audio Players, an amateur repertory troupe of blind performers, is seeking additional blind or partially seeing persons in the Greater New York area who can read braille and are interested in drama. Write or call: David Sverdlow, Director, 621 West End Ave., N.Y.C. 10024; TRAFALGAR 4-5704. . . . A University of Maryland cartographer has developed a unique system of relief maps for use in aiding mobility of the blind by enabling them to identify locations and objects. He is Joseph Wiedel, whose project is sponsored by the Library of Congress's Division for the Blind. . . .
To keep blind visitors to the New York World's Fair up to date, a braille supplement has been added to the guidebook published by the New York Lighthouse Braille Press, with funds provided by General Foods .... The Eighth Annual Pan American Congress of Ophthalmology met in Rio de Janeiro August 15 to 21 . . . . The forty-fifth training course for blind telephonists is now in progress in Vienna, and already more than 100 have reportedly been placed in employment throughout Austria .... Blind persons anywhere in the world with an interest in chess may subscribe to a tape-recorded magazine, En Passant, published at: Trees, 325 Chickerell Road, Weymouth, Dorset, England ....
Athletics for the Blind, Inc., of 152 West 42nd Street, New York City, sends along a copy of its bi-monthly Newsletter containing this statement of purpose: "Our ultimate aim and purpose is to develop methods and techniques of teaching athletics, hobbies, and recreation to the blind and handicapped, disseminating printed and braille material and athletic equipment to blind organizations and handicapped individuals throughout the free world, and setting up standards for every conceivable sport, culminating in a blind Olympiad." . . . .
One of the highlights of the NFB's Washington convention for the South Carolina delegation was the opportunity of lunching with S.C. Senator Strum Thurmond on July 4 in a private dining room of the Senate Office Building. . . . Don Capps reports that the South Carolina Aurora Club enjoyed its most successful White Cane Week to date during the 1965 campaign. . . . "The life or death fate of every capital case defendant tried in Spartanburg General Sessions Court first passes through the sensitive fingers of a kindly man who dwells in total darkness," began a recent story in the Spartanburg (South Carolina) JOURNAL. The article dealt with Melvin B. Jenkins, whose task is to select from a cigar box the vital slips of paper bearing the names of potential jurors.
Wiesbaden, Germany, was the site of the Tenth World Congress of the International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, held September 11-17, 1965
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