The Braille Monitor                                                                                       March 2003

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News from the Federation Family

Convention Scholarships Available:

Allen Harris, chairman of the Jernigan Fund, writes to say that the committee has established criteria for the Dr. Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarships for 2003. These factors will be considered when awarding Jernigan Convention Scholarships

* attendance at previous national conventions

* activity at the local, state, or national level

* recommendation from the state president (formal letter not required; we will contact him or her)

* amount of assistance requested

* other sources of funding sought

When applying for a convention scholarship, please write a brief paragraph on why you wish to attend the convention. Submit your application letter and statement to Allen Harris, 524 4th Street, Apt. 502-B, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, phone (515) 274-2256. Every effort will be made to notify Jernigan Fund applicants by May 15.


The Syracuse Chapter of the NFB of New York elected new officers at its recent chapter meeting. Elected are Lucy Cox, president; Robert Miller, vice president; Linda Webb, treasurer; and Judy Warner, secretary.


At the November 16, 2002, meeting, the East Valley Chapter of the NFB of Arizona elected new officers. They are Mark Feliz, president; Connie Ryan, first vice president; Mary Hartle-Smith, second vice president; Tony Sohl, secretary; Tom O'Brien, treasurer; and Mark Hamblin and Nolan Baker Jones, board members.


The NFB of Arizona Phoenix chapter elected new officers at its November 7, 2002, meeting. They are Vicki Hodges, president; Fred Rockwell, first vice president; Art Dinges, second vice president; Tom Johnson, secretary; Donna-Lee Silba, treasurer; and Dan Duffy and Marc Schmitt, board members.


At the twenty-sixth convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey, held last fall, where over 275 conventioneers gathered, the following officers and board members were elected: Joe Ruffalo, president; Ever Lee Hairston, first vice president; Jerilyn Higgins, second vice president; Gerald Moreno, secretary; Gloria Lewis, treasurer; and David Mostello, Rick Fox, and Linda Halm, board members.

The NFB of New Jersey Parents of Blind Children Division also elected new officers at its September meeting. They are Carol Castellano, president; Linda Halm, first vice president; Donna Panaro, second vice president; Kathy Gabry, secretary; and Tom Ferry, Mary Ellen Pecora, Carla Richardson, Robbie Schuler, Linda Thomas, and Patty Tuminello, board members.

Fred Leader, August 11, 1949 to February 1, 2003
Fred Leader, August 11, 1949 to February 1, 2003

In Memoriam:

Chris Boone, longtime Federationist and director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services of the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, sent the following sad notice to members of the NFB of Pennsylvania and others around the country

It is with a very sad heart that I share this news with you. On Saturday morning, February 1, 2003, Fred Leader died, apparently of an aortic aneurysm. Fred has served for the past several years as president of the Capitol Chapter of the NFB of Pennsylvania and was also second vice president of the affiliate. In addition, he served on the board of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and was about to begin serving on a committee established by the Department of State to examine voting accessibility throughout the Commonwealth. Fred, together with his wife Anne, worked tirelessly to build a brighter future for blind Pennsylvanians. He walked the halls of the generalassembly, visited congressional offices in the nation's capital, encouraged ordinary blind folks to pursue proper training, and modeled the way to independence in his own life.

Fred had been planning to attend the Washington Seminar before he was taken ill on Friday evening. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Jim Omvig
Jim Omvig


President Maurer recently sent the following announcement to state presidents: President George Bush has announced the appointment of longtime Federation leader James Omvig to serve as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. This committee deals with arrangements involving sheltered workshops. It sets policy and supervises the administration of such shops and the federal contracts they fulfill.

Mr. Omvig has extensive experience in matters dealing with blindness; he will make an extraordinary addition to this committee. The president has chosen an excellent representative.



New Seniors Division:

The Senior Issues Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland was formed on November 16, 2002, during the Maryland state convention in Ocean City, Maryland. The elected officers are Roger Walker, president; Lee Griffith, vice president; Ray Sewell, secretary; Clarence Hennigan, treasurer; and Ron Metenyi and Bill Cater board members.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Attention Blind Abacus Users:

Dr. Rona Shaw is the coordinator of a teacher training program in New York. She hopes to research the use of the abacus among adults who have been blind from birth or from preschool or early school age and who had been taught the abacus for mathematics calculations. She would like these people to answer a brief questionnaire (anonymously) regarding their training on this device and how or if they currently use it and to what extent.

She plans to distribute this questionnaire either electronically or by traditional mail during the spring of 2003. People interested in participating can send an e-mail or note to her providing their contact information and indicating preference for electronic, print, or Braille copies.

Contact Rona Shaw, Ed.D., Coordinator, Graduate Programs in Education, Dominican College, 470 Western Highway, Orangeburg, New York 10962, phone (845) 359‑3577, fax (845) 359‑6701, e-mail <[email protected]>.

Chevy Chase Talking-ATM Listings:

An agreement between the NFB and Chevy Chase Bank provides that we make public the current list of talking ATM locations. To view the updated list, go to the technology link on the NFB's home page and choose "Chevy Chase Bank Audio ATM Locations" or go to <>.

Fund Raiser Ideas:

Looking for a way to make money for your chapter? Having a successful chapter is a team effort. Ken Johnson says he has a great way for everyone to get involved. For more information call Ken Johnson at (702) 453-7319 or (702) 234-8604.

Implantable Miniature Telescope for AMD and Stargardt's Disease:

In January VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., began patient enrollment in a pivotal trial for advanced AMD. It is a multicenter trial being conducted in thirty centers in the U.S., including Bascom Palmer, Wills Eye Hospital, MEEI, Retina Associates of Cleveland, Dohney Eye Institute, and others. The clinical trial is intended to assess the effectiveness of the implantable miniature telescope (IMT) to improve vision safely in patients fifty-five years of age or older who have advanced AMD or Stargardt's macular dystrophy.

Patients who have dry or disciform (scarred macula after wet AMD) macular degeneration in both eyes may be eligible for this study. Patients with wet AMD are not eligible. Candidate patients must be able to attend all follow-up visits for this two-year study, including scheduled vision training appointments after the implantation procedure to help adapt to the IMT and magnified image.

The IMT is a micro-sized precision telescope, about the size of a pea, designed to magnify images onto the retina. By magnifying images, we hope to reduce the size of the blind spot caused by macular degeneration, allowing better central vision and associated function in daily activities. The IMT is implanted in one eye by an ophthalmologist in an outpatient procedure. The implanted eye provides magnified central vision. The nonimplanted eye provides peripheral or side vision for mobility and navigation.

Since the IMT is implanted inside the eye, natural eye movements are used to scan the environment and reading materials. For specific enrollment information, visit VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies' Web site at <>, or call the Clinical Trial Info Line at (408) 872-0526.

Reader Views Requested for BANA Formats:

The BANA Formats Technical Committee is writing rules for the production of interpoint Braille (Braille on both sides of the page) and would like your views on the following questions

1. Is it important to have print page numbers on every page, or only on odd‑numbered (right-hand) pages?

2. Is it important to have Braille page numbers on every page, or only on odd‑numbered pages?

3. Is it important to have reference information such as guidewords in a dictionary on every page or only at each opening of the book--top of the left-hand page?

4. Is readability improved considerably if large sections of a book that may be more than one Braille volume in length (e.g., units in a textbook) begin on an odd‑numbered page rather than beginning on an even‑numbered page?

5. Is readability improved considerably if shorter sections of a book that may include several in one volume (e.g., chapters) begin on an odd‑numbered page rather than an even‑numbered page?

Please send responses to Deborah Brown at <[email protected]> or in print or Braille to 11923 Parklawn Drive, Apartment 104, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

Technology Grants Available:

The Beaumont Foundation will be awarding almost $400 million in computer equipment starting in 2003. Grant monies will be available to schools and community organizations, as well as individuals. People with disabilities and those who are homebound because of disability or illness are especially encouraged to apply for the individual grants. The focus of the program is to deliver computer equipment where it will directly benefit underserved people.

Further information and applications are available at <>.

Braille Menus Available:

P. F. Chang’s China Bistro and California Pizza Kitchens have now made Braille and large-print menus available at all of their restaurants in the United States. Remember that the more people who ask to use these menus, the better. Restaurant owners and chains will be more receptive to providing this service if the product is requested and actually used.

Hebrew Braille Translator Now Available:

The first comprehensive Hebrew Braille translation software is now available from Duxbury Systems, Inc. The translator works for both ancient and modern Hebrew and for Hebrew codes used in both Israel and the United States. It must be used in conjunction with the standard Duxbury Braille Translation Program and can accept files in Microsoft Word. The cost of this program is $395, and it may be ordered from Duxbury Systems, Inc., 270 Littleton Road, Unit 6, Westford, Massachusetts 01886, telephone (978) 692‑3000, fax (978) 692‑7912, e‑mail <[email protected]>, or Web site <>.

Community Service Grants Available:

Braille International, Inc., a not-for-profit organization serving blind and visually impaired people through the printing of Braille books and magazines, announces the establishment of a community service grant program.

Our goal is to award grants from $500 to $4,000 to programs that will make a permanent difference in the lives of blind and visually impaired people through education, rehabilitation, and/or employment. Those eligible for funding must serve blind and visually impaired people and be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Grant applications will be accepted up to 4:00 p.m. on May 1, 2003. To receive complete information and an application, please access our Web site at <> or write to James Redditt, President, Braille International, Inc., 3290 S.E. Slater St., Stuart, Florida 34997.

Conference for Young Women:

The Committee on the Status of Blind Women of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union is planning a conference of interest to women ages fifteen to twenty-five. Affiliates and chapters should consider sponsoring Federationists to attend this event. Several NFB leaders are taking part in conference presentations. Those interested in attending or in assisting others to do so should contact Barbara Pierce. Here is the information




                                                   FOR YOUNG BLIND WOMEN


Young women who are blind or visually impaired, ages 15-25


Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Half an hour from Niagara Falls, 45 minutes from Buffalo, 1-1/2 hours from Toronto

When:                                                           Cost:

August 15-16,2003                                         $220 U.S., $300 CA

                                                                     (transportation not included)

If you are a young woman wanting to learn more about

·        Self-advocacy

·        Strategies to promote independence

·        Networking with other young blind women

·        Blind and visually impaired role models and mentors

·        Challenging adventures and activities

·        New skills in activities of daily living, personal development, and independent travel

·        Career choices and exploration

Save the date, more information to follow

Contact Barbara Pierce for more information

[email protected]

(440) 775-2216

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

For Sale:

Power Braille 80 Braille display, less than two years since purchased and must sell, so will take best offer, no matter what, after a couple of weeks of being up for sale. Hope to find someone in need who cannot afford high price. The display is in great condition without much use and has never been damaged or refurbished. My guess about price is around $2,840 and completely negotiable. E-mail Sam Serl at <[email protected]>.

For Sale:

We have for sale two Braille displays: a Power Braille display 40-character, '93, for which we are asking $3,000 or best offer, and a Power Braille display, 80-character, '98, for which we are asking $6,000 or best offer. You can reach us at (302) 994‑7984.


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


The Bridge to Braille

Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child

                                    Carol Castellano                                      Dawn Kosman

Illustrated by Lynne Cucco

The Bridge to Braille is a practical, step-by-step guide that shows parents and teachers how to help blind children progress from early literacy experiences all the way to full participation in the classroom.  This book demystifies the education of blind children and enables parents and teachers to give ordinary help with spelling, homework, reports, and projects to children who happen to be blind.  Topics included in the book:

Adapting Materials                           Beginning Braille Reading                 Doing Math in Braille
A Quick Braille Lesson                    Braille Writing in the Classroom        Resources   
Using Technology                            Independence in the Classroom        About Braille Books

“Now I understand what to do to get my son off to a good start in school.  Parents need this information right from the beginning, when their blind child is a baby.”-
- Amy Kaiser,
Parent of a blind child

“A much-needed adjunct to the information shared by a busy Braille teacher...The Bridge to Braille should be in the hands of every teacher who is going to have a blind student in class!”|
- Debbie DeHaven, First Grade Teacher

The Bridge to Braille is available from:
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children

Order Form

Name ______________________ Phone (     ) ______________________

Address ______________________________________________________

City  __________________ State ________________  ZIP ______________

The Bridge to Braille

Quantity ________ @12.00 +$5.00 (S&H) =  __________ (Total Due)

Make check or money order payable to NFB and mail with this form to:
Materials Center, National Center for the Blind
1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD  21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314

E-mail:  [email protected]                                                                   Web site:

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