Monitor Miniatures

News from the Technology World:

We received the following press release shortly before the National Convention. It is self-explanatory:

Blazie Engineering to Acquire
Telesensory's Computer Access Products Group

Forest Hill, MD and Sunnyvale, CA—June 18, 1998--Blazie Engineering and Telesensory Corporation jointly announced the planned acquisition by Blazie Engineering of Telesensory Corporation's Computer Access Products (CAP) group. This product group includes the PowerBraille family of refreshable Braille displays and distribution of related hardware and software products. The transaction is scheduled to close in July, 1998.

Both companies are major developers, manufacturers, and distributors of assistive and adaptive devices for people who are visually impaired around the world. This transaction will provide a win-win situation for the companies and their customers. Deane Blazie, President and founder of Blazie Engineering stated that this "represents an outstanding opportunity for our company to rapidly expand its very successful line of Braille equipment by adding the PowerBraille family of Braille displays." Blazie Engineering will continue its focus on providing state-of-the-art Braille equipment to the worldwide blind community, in addition to improving tactile access to the Graphical User Interface of the twenty-first century.

This transaction will also allow Telesensory to centralize its efforts on its core business. Larry Israel, Telesensory's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, stated that this will allow the company to penetrate other under-served markets with their Video Magnifier and OCR Reading Machines. These are especially popular among the older population still eager to preserve an independent and active life style.

Photo of Denise Mackenstadt
Denise Mackenstadt


We recently learned that Denise Mackenstadt, one of the leaders of the parents division and the Washington State affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, was elected to Chair the Board of Trustees of the Washington State School for the Blind. Nine trustees are appointed by the Governor. Denise represents the First Congressional District, north and east of Seattle. She has been a member of the board for some time, and we are certain she will do an excellent job as its leader.

In the Spirit of the Season:

The following tidbit was published in the October, 1997, issue of SB News, an internal industry publication of SmithKline Beecham. The feature column was titled, "As I See It," and the subheading read, "What was your best Halloween costume?"

Patrick Barrett, a Year 2000 compliance specialist with Diversified Pharmaceutical Services and an active member of the NFB of Minnesota, said:

"My best costume was a talking book for the blind. My wife and I are blind and listen to talking books on cassette tapes. I cut holes in a long, rectangular box for my arms and legs, as well as for the cogs of the tape. I affixed print and Braille labels and played the tape that matched the label on a battery-powered tape player, which I held inside the box. I won first prize at a local eatery."

New Chapter:

On Tuesday, March 24, 1998, the fifty-eighth chapter of the NFB of South Carolina was organized in Calhoun County, the last county without an NFB chapter. Now there is no blind South Carolinian anywhere in the state who is more than a few miles from a Federation chapter. The new officers are Irene Taylor, President; Kimberly King, Vice President; and Ann McCabe, Secretary/Treasurer. Congratulations to this new chapter and to the NFB of South Carolina.

Photo of Arthur Segal

Arthur Segal, December 10, 1927, to August 25, 1998]

In Memoriam:

Sharon Maneki, President of the NFB of Maryland, recently notified us of the death of our longtime brother and colleague, Arthur Segal. This is what she wrote:

I am sorry to report the death of Arthur Segal on Tuesday, August 25, 1998. Arthur was a member of the NFB for fifty-two years, a most unusual record. Arthur was not just a member; he was an activist. He was the president of the Merchants Division for many years and held numerous offices, including president in the NFB of Pennsylvania.

Throughout his life Arthur had numerous careers. He spread Federation philosophy in all of them. As a rehabilitation counselor he introduced many Pennsylvanians to the Federation. As a businessman in the Vending Program he not only encouraged other vendors to join the Federation but also initiated a work study program for the students at his alma mater, the Overbrook School for the Blind. In Maryland Arthur worked for Baltimore City as the Mayor's ADA coordinator and served on many task forces to promote better access for the blind.

Arthur understood that the Federation meant friendship and fellowship. He used his art of gourmet cooking not only to entertain but to spread confidence and hope to other blind people. He loved children and for many years delighted in playing Santa Claus at the Baltimore Chapter Christmas parties. One of Arthur's jobs at NFB of Maryland conventions was to organize the auction to raise money for the tenBroek Memorial Fund. He made sure that we always managed to meet the pledge that we had made at our National Convention. Arthur's spirit will remain with us, especially when we listen to the recording of his singing "The Blind Workshop Blues."

It was most appropriate for Arthur's memorial service to take place at the National Center for the Blind. We will miss Arthur. His dedication, loyalty, and love of our movement will continue to be an inspiration to all who knew him.

Correspondence Wanted:

Edgar Sammons would like to correspond in Braille with anybody from anywhere in the country. He would prefer to correspond with people who are forty years old or more, but if younger people want to write to him, he will appreciate it. Monitor readers may remember that one of his letters was quoted in a banquet speech some years ago. Contact him at 2365 Cold Springs Road, Mountain City, Tennessee 37683.


At its April 8, 1998, chapter meeting, the Potomac Chapter of the NFB of Virginia elected the following officers: Larry Povinelli, President; Seville Allen, First Vice President; Robert McDonald, Second Vice President; Bob Hartt, Treasurer; Cathy Schroeder, Recording Secretary; Carol Cooper, Corresponding Secretary; and Melissa Resnick, Nancy Yeager, and Louise Ruhf, Board Members.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Completely reconditioned Perkins Braille writer, $350. Trade-in accepted. Payment plan is negotiable. Call Nino Pacini evenings or weekends at (313) 885-7330.


Jiffy Slate for 3-by-5-inch index cards. Call Nino Pacini evenings or weekends at (313) 885-7330.

Alive and Well in Rochester, New York:

The July issue of the Braille Monitor carried a miniature on page 509, which inquired about the whereabouts of the National Braille Association. The writer thought perhaps the NBA had either moved or closed. Almost immediately we received two responses—one saying that the agency had closed; the other assuring us that it had not and that the Brailler jewelry was still available. Since the second letter was from the NBA executive director, we pass along its contact information. The National Braille Association is located at 3 Townline Circle, Rochester, New York 14623-2513, (716) 427-8260, fax (716) 427-0263, e-mail <[email protected]>, Web site <>.

The prices of Perkins Brailler jewelry are pins, $49, and charms, $45. Checks, money orders, Visa, and MasterCard are accepted.

Fortune Cookies for Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Lucky Touch Fortune Cookie Company is a student-operated business at the California School for the Blind that sells giant fortune cookies (about six inches by five inches by four inches) with combined large print and Braille fortunes. The standard cookies sell for 40 cents each and the large ones for $6 each. Students can also put in customized fortunes. Chocolate-dipped fortune cookies are also available. For more information please contact Judith Lesner, Advisor, (510) 794-3800, extension 300, or e-mail to <[email protected]>.

Braille Transcription of the Koran Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The Arizona Instructional Resource Center at the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix announces the completion of a Braille transcription of the English Translation of the Holy Koran. The Braille copy is available for sale in seven volumes. For more information or to purchase, please call the AIRC at (602) 331-1470.

Jett Enterprises Catalog Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Jett Enterprises announces that its 1998 "No Frills, Just

Priced Right" catalog is available as of September. It is packed

with all-occasion gifts, talking products, and specialty items

for guide dogs and for everyday living. Call (760) 778-8280 for a

free cassette or a 3.5-inch disk. If you have previously received

a catalog on disk, return it and have the new catalog copied to

it. Jett Enterprises will return it at no charge. They do not

ship outside the United States. Send your request to Jett

Enterprises, 3140 Cambridge Court, Palm Springs, California

92264. Visit the Web site at <>


The Jackson Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi elected the following officers for 1998: Sam Gleese, President; Alfred Hudson, First Vice President; Sarah White, Second Vice President; Deloris Watkins, Secretary; James Prince, Treasurer; and Lorraine Williams and John Hawkins, members of the Board of Directors.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Jumbo Brailler, $450, includes shipping. Brailler just came from Howe Press, so it should be in tip-top shape.

Braille 'n Speak 640 with 1996 update. No flash memory, asking $850, including shipping, cable, carrying case, and adapter.

DECtalk Express (external), brand new, in box, never opened.

Asking $950, including shipping.

Talking adding machine from Science Products for the Blind. Works fine. Instruction tape with it. Asking $240, including shipping.

One CD called, "AM Gold 1970," $13 plus $3 shipping. If interested in any of the above, call Isaac at (617) 247-0026.


The Hazelhurst Chapter of the NFB of Mississippi elected the following officers for this year: Wade Branum, President; Frank McGowan, First Vice President; Prentice Horton, Second Vice President; James Lockett, Secretary; Tina Branum, Treasurer; and Directors, Richard Zinzel and Dale Landry.

Picture of Paul and Bernadette Dressell
Paul and Bernadette Dressell

Braillewriter Cleaning and Repair Service:

Paul Dressell, a longtime NFB leader in Ohio, asked us to carry the following announcement:

Bernadette Dressell, who has been cleaning and repairing Perkins Braillers since January, 1998, has been trained and certified by Howe Press, where Perkins Braillewriters are manufactured. She now has all parts in stock, and she can normally guarantee a two-week turnaround. Please call or write for price quotes to Bernadette Dressell, 2714 Ruberg Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-8118, (513) 481-7662.

Dolphin Computer Access Now in U.S.:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Dolphin Computer Access is pleased to announce the opening of its U.S. office in San Mateo, California. From this office customers will be able to purchase and receive support directly on Dolphin's full range of Windows 95, 98, and NT assistive-technology products. Contact Dolphin Computer Access, LLC, 100 South Ellsworth Avenue, 4th Floor, San Mateo, California 94401, sales (650) 348-7401, support (650) 348-7402, fax (650) 348-7403, Web site: <>.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Reading Edge book, newspaper, magazine, and letter, portable reading machine, never used, in shipping container with latest upgrade and documentation manual, audio instruction cassette manual with Braille labels. Asking $2,935. Contact Lyndon at (561) 585-7952 or <[email protected]>.


In a recent issue we printed a notice announcing the availability of the new catalog from Access USA, but the fax number was listed instead of the voice line. To receive a catalog, call (800) 263-2750, e-mail <[email protected]>.

Wisconsin Fund-Raiser:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The NFB of Wisconsin is currently raising funds by selling bean bag key rings. As single items they will sell for $3 each. There are two types, zoo animals or puppies. If you buy one of each, your total cost for the two is $5. (Add $1 for postage to all orders for one or two.) Contact Julie Vogt, (715) 395-0049 or cell phone (218) 343-8950. Make checks payable to NFB of Wisconsin and send with your order to Julie Vogt, 2620 Tower Avenue, Apartment 6, Superior, Wisconsin 54880.

Position Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The Clovernook Center for the Blind seeks to fill the position of rehabilitation teacher. The successful candidate, who will report to the supervisor of programming, will provide assessment, instruction, and evaluation of personal management, home management, communication, and education skills to people who are visually impaired. The job requirements include graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in rehabilitation teaching, certified by AER in rehabilitation teaching (or AER certifiable); preferred experience with population who are blind and multi-disabled; ability to work cooperatively with others toward the promotion of the optimal independence of all persons regardless of disability; work flexible hours as needed; pre-employment drug screening and background check as required by Clovernook Center; a post-offer, pre-employment doctor's statement indicating the applicant is free of communicable disease and able to perform the job duties; and successful completion and maintenance of OD/MRDD approved CPR and first aid training.

For more information contact Michael Walsh, VP Human Resources, Clovernook Center, 7000 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231-5240, (513) 522-3860, Internet address, <>.

New Product Release:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Full Life Products introduces the only truly affordable Talking Caller ID. CIDney Model 500 costs $39.99 (plus shipping and handling). This unit will speak the incoming caller's 10-digit phone number between the first and second ring. If the incoming caller's number is blocked or unidentifiable, it will announce "number blocked" or "number unknown." CIDney 500 stores the last ten calls and speaks them back to you upon command (including the day and date of the call). The unit's voice has a mute and three volume settings. About the size of a deck of cards, the Model 500 is easy to use and takes seconds to plug in. Contact Full Life Products, P.O. Box 490 Mirror Lake, New Hampshire 03853, or call toll free (800) 400-1540, Web site:


For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

AST 486DX 266 computer and keyboard, SVGA monochrome monitor, Artic Transport speech synthesizer, and HP Arkenstone scanner. Entire system fully compatible, ready to run. Asking $1,600 (negotiable). Call Marion Lanham, (410) 256-4843 (home) or (410) 879-8920, extension 262 (office).

Picture of Ted Henter
Ted Henter

Ted Henter Honored:

Henter-Joyce, Inc., was named the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in category II (25 to 100 employees) during a ceremony at the St. Petersburg Coliseum June 4, 1998.

The award was accepted by Henter-Joyce President Ted Henter and CEO Mel Henter. Henter-Joyce will now be entered in the state of Florida small business competition.

Here is the text of the award:

Evan Kemp Entrepreneurship Award

President's Committee on Employment

Of People with Disabilities


Theodore C. Henter

For displaying exemplary skills, energy,

Leadership, initiative, and courage necessary

To establish and create a successful

Business venture in the private sector

June 1, 1998

Washington, D.C.

Picture of Richard Umsted
Dr. Richard Umsted

Picture of Dr. Tutt

Dr. Louis Tutt

Honored or Something:

Occasionally one reads a piece of information which at first glance is shocking but after a bit of reflection seems dismally appropriate. The following announcement appeared in the Spring issue of the quarterly newsletter of the Division on Visual Impairments (DVI) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Bear in mind that Richard Umsted was the superintendent of the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired who left under a cloud after a number of students were physically and sexually attacked by other students and, according to several parents, by staff members, and efforts were made to cover up the problems. Lou Tutt, who presented the award, is well known for his adherence to the National Accreditation Council and his dislike of the National Federation of the Blind. Despite what the following text says, to the best of our knowledge, Dr. Tutt continues to be the superintendent of the Maryland School for the Blind. It is clear from what follows that we don't all understand the concept of advocacy the same way. Here is the notice:

Richard Umsted was the recipient of the Exemplary Advocate Award. The award was presented by Lou Tutt, past school for the blind superintendent, principal, O&M instructor, teacher, DVI president twenty-two years ago, and past president of AEVH. Lou suggested that the "U" in Umsted is for Umsted, "M" is for man, "S" is for sensitivity, "T" is for together, "E" is for excellence, and "D" is for drive. A resolution of Dick's credits was read. Dick accepted and thanked all for recognizing his advocacy and especially thanked his family, who have supported him. He stated that faith, family, and friends have made it all possible.

A Different Kind of Book Depository:

Peter Donahue recently sent us the following announcement:

The International Braille Research Center (IBRC), an organization supported by the National Federation of the Blind over the years, announces plans to construct a new Internet Resource for Braille users. During the coming year the IBRC plans to build an online Braille Book Depository, which will contain material in Grade II Braille. These materials can be read online, downloaded and produced in hard-copy Braille, or read with a Braille-aware device such as a paperless Braille display or Braille notetaker. Titles may also be read using speech. This resource will supplement other collections of online Braille materials such as that being established by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). The NLS beta tested this concept earlier this year and plans to expand its offerings. During the first year many of our selections will be literary titles, but we also plan to add specialty materials as time and resources permit. To assist in the development of this resource, we need the following types of assistance.

* Translators:

Books, magazines, and other types of information will be gathered from Internet sites such as Project Gutenberg. These will be translated into electronic Grade II Braille. Those wishing to help with translation will be sent titles by snail mail or e-mail and will be expected to return the translations the same way. These titles will then be placed in the depository. To volunteer to translate materials, contact Peter Donahue, Project Coordinator and Webmaster for the Braille Book Depository at 100 Lorenz Road, Apartment 1205, San Antonio, Texas 78209, Phone: (210) 826-9579,e-mail: <[email protected]>. Let us know what types of material you like to read so we can send you books that will be of interest to you. This will also help us develop a cross-section of materials of interest to blind readers the world over. Please indicate whether you prefer to receive material for translation by e-mail or snail mail.

* Sources of material in Grade II format:

We believe that some material already exists in Grade II format, which we would like to include in the depository. If you know of such material, please let us know where it can be found so we can download it for placement in the depository, or send us the URL's where it can be found so we can link to them. Otherwise, if you have any materials in electronic Grade II format and would like us to consider adding them to our depository, please send them to us at the addresses above. Electronic Grade II Braille files can usually be identified by their extensions. The most commonly used Braille file extensions are .brf and .brl. Materials of interest to us include literary titles, appliance manuals, computer and software manuals, crafts books, how-to titles, cookbooks, maps, Braille graphics, textbooks, music scores—just about anything you can imagine and would like to contribute to this resource. We will accept contributions from anywhere in the world. We will also place NFB chapter, division, or affiliate newsletters in the depository if they are provided in Grade II format. Again you can send these to us by e-mail or by snail mail. We ask all Division and State Presidents to supply us with electronic Grade II copies of their newsletters.

* Financial assistance:

Since many types of materials can be included in a resource like this, we would like to pay for material translation and for general maintenance of the Braille Book Depository. All financial contributions to this project are welcome and should be sent to Dr. T.V. Cranmer, President, International Braille Research Center, 4424 Brookhaven Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40220.

* When will the depository be online?

We plan to launch the site and make it available to the blind community as soon as we have at least 100 titles in Grade II Braille, but an enthusiastic response and contributions of materials already in Grade II format will boost this number significantly. You can learn more about the activities of the International Braille Research Center by visiting <>. This new and exciting resource promises to revolutionize the availability of Braille to the worldwide blind community in the next millennium and represents a cutting-edge solution to the problem of access to Braille materials.

Seedlings 1999 Catalogue:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Seedlings Braille Books for Children announces that its new 1999 catalog is now available. It contains over 330 low-cost Braille books for children. Thirty-seven new books have been added this year, including:

For pre-schoolers: print-Braille-and-picture books like Clifford's Furry Friends ($9) and Frosty the Snowman, a musical board book ($6).

For beginning readers: print-and-Braille easy-readers like Arthur's Pet Business ($8).

For older children: Newberry Award winners in Braille such as Julie of the Wolves ($17) and A Wrinkle in Time ($20).

Other new Braille books include selections from popular series like The Dear America Series and The American Girls Collection.

For more information, check Seedlings' Web page at its new address: <>. To receive a free catalog, call (800) 777-8552, or write to Seedlings, P.O. Box 51924, Livonia, Michigan 48151-5924, or e-mail <[email protected]>.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Perkins large cell Braille Writer for sale, one year new. Paid $850, asking $500 firm. If interested, send cassette with name and address to Melissa Zeoli, 211 Scituate Vista Drive, Cranston, Rhode Island 02921. No personal checks will be accepted, only money orders.

Picture of the Gabias family enjoying Texas barbecue.
Mary Ellen and Paul Gabias enjoy the Texas barbecue at Bear Creek with children Joanne, Geoffrey, and Philip, who is in the backpack.

New Baby:

With great joy Mary Ellen and Paul Gabias, longtime Federation leaders, report the birth of Elliott Pierre (pronounced Peer like the capital of South Dakota) at 3:07 p.m. on September 3, 1998. Elliott was born at home and weighed in at seven pounds and three ounces and measured twenty inches. Big brother Philip was taking a nap at the time, but Geoffrey and Joanne were present to greet their new brother's entrance into the family. All the Gabiases are doing well.


I pledge to participate actively in the effort of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.