Vol. 47, No. 4    April, 2004

Barbara Pierce, Editor

Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by



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ISSN 0006-8829

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Atlanta Marriott Marquis Ambassador Albert (Smitty) Smith]

Atlanta 2004 NFB Convention Site

The 2004 NFB convention will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, June 29 through July 5 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. The overflow hotel is the Hilton Atlanta and Towers, just across Courtland from the Marriott Marquis. Room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $59 and triples and quads $65 a night, plus tax of 14 percent at present. The hotels are accepting reservations now. A $60-per-room deposit is required to make a reservation. Fifty percent will be refunded if notice of cancellation is given before June 1, 2004. The other 50 percent is not refundable. For reservations call the Marriott Marquis at (404) 521-0000 and the Hilton Atlanta and Towers at (404) 659-2000.

Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made before June 1, assuming that rooms are still available. After that the hotels will not hold their room blocks. So make your reservation now.

Both hotels are twelve miles north of the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport and are conveniently located off Interstate 85. Take Exit 96, International Boulevard, turn left onto International Boulevard, go to Peachtree Center Avenue, and turn right. The Marriott Marquis is on the right in the second block. To get to the Hilton, turn left onto International Boulevard, go to Piedmont Avenue, and turn right. The Hilton is on the left. Guest-room amenities in both hotels include cable television, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and dataport.

The schedule for the 2004 convention is as follows:

Tuesday, June 29    Seminar Day

Wednesday, June 30     Registration Day

Thursday, July 1     Board Meeting and Division Day

Friday, July 2    Opening Session

Saturday, July 3     Tour Day

Sunday, July 4     Banquet Day

Monday, July 5    Business Session

Vol. 47, No. 4 April, 2004


Imagine Tomorrow: Grand Opening,

NFB Jernigan Institute

by Barbara Pierce

Speaking of Gratitude:

Givers of Freedom and Creators of Opportunity

by Tonia Valletta Trapp

Structured Discovery of Atlanta

by Anil Lewis


by Terri Uttermohlen

Clarification of Tiger Braille Embosser Review

Profile of the Newest National Board Member

Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation

Available at National Convention:

Spanish Translators Needed

by D. Curtis Willoughby

2004 Convention Attractions

As the Twig Is Bent

by Barbara Cheadle

Dialysis at National Convention

by Ed Bryant

Announcement for National Convention Exhibitors

by Jerry Lazarus


Monitor Miniatures

Copyright© 2004 National Federation of the Blind

[LEAD PHOTO/CAPTION: Near the close of the grand opening program, representatives of the organizations making million-dollar gifts to the capital campaign joined dignitaries and Federation representatives on stage for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Here President Maurer uses oversized scissors to cut the broad, textured red ribbon. Pictured left to right are Jason Polanski, a seven-year-old from Maryland representing the next generation of blind people; Barbara Walker Loos, president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults; Wally O’Dell, chairman and CEO of Diebold, Inc.; Mary Ellen Jernigan, NFB executive director of operations; (almost entirely hidden) Steve Marriott, senior vice president of culture and special events for Marriott International, Inc.; Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind; and Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., governor of the state of Maryland.]

Imagine Tomorrow:

Grand Opening, NFB Jernigan Institute

by Barbara Pierce

Dear Friends,

Today we open the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the tangible representation of the faith that we have in the future for the blind. In this Institute we are absolutely certain that the dreams we have for a bright tomorrow will be fulfilled. We who are blind, along with our friends and colleagues, will explore unknown territory and develop new forms of communication. We will create opportunity for the blind of this generation and for the children that come after us. We have built on the dreams of our predecessors, and we know that they are proud of what we accomplish this day. We thank all who have participated in this tremendous effort, and we promise that what we begin today with such anticipation is but the first step in bringing true independence to the blind of the nation and the world. With unfaltering faith, with unquenchable determination, we look to tomorrow with joy!

These are the words that appear at the beginning of the program for the grand opening of the Institute we have been striving to build for more than four years. Its working title at the start was the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind. Gradually it became clear that, because the organized blind were responsible for bringing it into existence and imagining what it could become, the words "National Federation of the Blind" should appear in the title of the Institute, so we began calling it the National Federation of the Blind Research and Training Institute. Recently, however, we began to recognize that Dr. Jernigan's seminal role in conceiving this dream and challenging us to fulfill it should be reflected in the Institute's title. Therefore on the afternoon of January 30 the NFB board of directors met to establish the official names of the Institute and two of its most important components. The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute (Jernigan Institute for short) became the third and permanent title of the Institute. The third floor facility will be known officially as the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Library and Resource Center (tenBroek Library for short). And the large, flexible space on the fourth floor that can be divided into smaller rooms for meetings has been officially named NFB Members Hall, or Members Hall for short.

The grand opening celebration took place then in the tenBroek Library and Members Hall. Some construction was still going on in the building, but guests from Greater Baltimore arrived on the evening of January 30 at the Wells Street entrance, where they could check their coats and use the three glass elevators to reach the third floor for the first part of the gala event.

Federationists had been arriving all day from across the country. They entered our complex using the Johnson Street entrance and spent their free time in the fourth-floor dining room, where food and friends were waiting.

[PHOTO/DESCRIPTION: This picture shows the six doors that open from the third-floor atrium into the tenBroek Library. The word "IMAGINE" is spelled out in three-dimensional gold letters above the doors. Whozit can just be seen standing under the G. On either side of the atrium are tall towers that look as if small balloons in all the Whozit colors cover an inflated tower. In fact the balloon-like protrusions are all just part of the tower. Through the doors the viewer can see the library waiting for the celebration to begin.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The tenBroek Library as seen from the third-floor atrium just before the celebration began.]

As 5:30 approached, marshals took their places to direct Federation guests from the National Center into the Institute and down the stairs to the third floor, where they could enter the library from the atrium. As each guest entered, he or she received a souvenir program and a wine glass. At least, the first 1,300 guests received wine glasses; well over a hundred guests found that the glasses were gone by the time we reached the table.

Throughout this first part of the celebration and upstairs before the program began, guests were entertained by a number of diverse and extremely talented musicians, including bagpiper and NFB member Craig Hedgecock, the Baltimore School for the Arts flute ensemble, Peabody Institute artists, choirs from the Gilman and Bryn Mawr Schools, pianist and NFB student division member Jermaine Gardner, and the Gangplank Ragtime Band.

A number of people took pictures during this memorable evening, but most of the ones chosen for this report were provided by professional photographer Marc Summerfield of Guill Photo on Reisterstown Road in Baltimore, who volunteered his services. To enjoy them in color, read the April issue online. Go to <> and click on the April issue.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: One of the stations where guests could sample Baltimore's most memorable dishes]

Inside the library, twenty-eight restaurants and other food emporia of various sorts had set up beautifully and imaginatively decorated stations, where guests could sample everything from sushi and tiny quiches to beef tenderloin and ice cream.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Left to right, Steve Marriott, Allen Harris, and Fred Schroeder chat at one of the many tables in the tenBroek Library]

Scores of tables (covered with cloths in the Whozit colors of red, purple, blue, gold, and white) provided places for the lucky to sit down while they enjoyed food, drink, and conversation. Others stood, juggling their plates and cups as they talked.

[PHOTO/CAPTION:Getting anywhere was a challenge, and finding a particular person was nearly impossible. Luckily people seemed to enjoy chatting with those they found themselves standing near.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jim Fruchterman, Deane Blazie, and Jim Halliday chat together in the tenBroek Library.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Nijat Ashrafzada, son of NFB merchants division president Kevan Worley and his wife Bridgit, enjoys meeting Edgar, one of the Ravens football team's three mascots. Allen and Poe were not able to join us.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Orioles mascot, the Bird, leans down to talk to Katrina Beasley of Colorado, who is not quite sure what to think of the attention.]

Among the stations people could visit were a number where they could read about thirty silent auction packages and bid on them. These packages fulfilled all sorts of recreational and shopping fantasies and together raised about $14,000 for the Jernigan Institute. In addition several exciting displays illustrated important Federation programs and projects being rolled out by our new Institute.

[PHOTO/DESCRIPTION: The left front quadrant of a futuristic-looking car is visible from the open side. Visitors could sit in the driver's seat and examine the control panel. Three podia holding explanatory information in both print and Braille are visible in the display.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: To highlight the Celebration theme, Imagine a Future Full of Opportunity, guests were encouraged to try out a concept car for the future.  The car envisioned would provide access to navigation information nonvisually, allowing a blind driver to pilot the vehicle.]

One of the most popular project displays was the car for the blind. Many blind people would enjoy driving again or for the first time. The NFB Jernigan Institute will explore the possibility of creating a car that does not require a sighted driver.

Guests enjoyed examining the display of Kurzweil reading machines through the years. A video of television interviews and demonstrations of the huge original machine played at this display. The prototype of the pocket-sized reading machine that Ray Kurzweil's organization and the NFB will release in the relatively near future was not actually on view, but it will be about the size of a digital camera and will work almost anywhere. We have certainly come a long way in thirty years.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Brian Buhrow examines a three-dimensional model of the crater where the Spirit Rover has landed on Mars.]

One of the most popular displays was the one created and staffed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A twelve-foot rocket, like the one blind students will launch this summer in Virginia, was on display. Replicas of some of the parts of the Mars rovers were available for exploration as were other rocket replicas.

Two other displays represented additional Institute programs. One illustrated the various interest centers available to seniors attending the senior fair in May. Developing new ways to assist seniors who are losing vision is one of the program goals of the Jernigan Institute.

The grand opening provided the launch date for our series of distance learning courses on the Web. Learning House, Inc., was present with a CD describing and demonstrating the technology that will make these courses possible. The first course, aimed at classroom teachers and neighborhood school staff members, was actually launched that evening. It provides information and techniques for including a blind student in a regular classroom. Interested professionals can learn more about the course on the NFB Web site.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Macy McClain of Ohio explores the Everest Expedition display with the help of artist Ann Cunningham while Crystal McClain, Macy's mother, looks on.]

One of the NFB's most successful efforts to change public attitudes about blindness and the abilities of blind people in recent years was the NFB 2001 Everest Expedition, in which Erik Weihenmayer and his team successfully climbed Mt. Everest using the South Col route. We recently commissioned a renowned tactile artist, Ann Cunningham, to commemorate that event with a work to be placed on permanent display in the tenBroek Library. The exhibit was unveiled for the first time publicly at the grand opening. The flag flown at the top of the world and brought back to us by our team and the permit from the Nepal government that was signed by the entire team were framed and incorporated as part of the display. The rest are five panels, each three feet wide and ranging in height from two to three feet. The subjects of the five studies are the main basecamp, the NFB basecamp, a man crossing an ice crevasse on a horizonal ladder, Mt. Everest itself with the NFB expedition route to the summit marked, and Erik Weihenmayer's profile facing the mountain. The sky, clouds, and sun are made of black slate. The sometimes smooth- and sometimes grainy-textured mountains and ground are fashioned from white marble. The people, animals, structures, and small objects are made of cast bronze. The route up Everest, ropes, and camp and summit markers are made of gold, brass, silver, and steel. Viewers are encouraged to touch the art works, albeit gently.

[PHOTO/DESCRIPTION: Flanking the doors into the hall are two huge gold swans. The silky folds of Whozit-colored material and bouquets of flowers on their backs are hardly visible, but columns of balloons in Whozit colors reaching to the ceiling can be seen on the two sides of the picture. Large blue balloons are suspended from the ceiling with blue streamers attaching them to the walls.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The entrance to NFB Members Hall before the grand opening, as seen from the fourth-floor atrium. Jerry Lazarus of the national staff is coming out of the hall.]

[PHOTO/DESCRIPTION: This picture shows the length of Members Hall with the stage at the far end flanked by very large video screens. Long parallel rows of tables covered with red cloths and surrounded by white chairs stretch the length of the picture.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: NFB Members Hall before the program began]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: A smiling Donna Hamilton at the podium]

Shortly after seven, guests began moving to the fourth floor in preparation for the evening's program and entertainment. As they found seats or places to lean, the Bryn Mawr School: Dayseye sang. Then Donna Hamilton, a newswoman with WBAL-TV, Channel 11, in Baltimore, stepped to the microphone and took charge as master of ceremonies. She did a wonderful job of keeping things moving while at the same time introducing those deserving recognition and welcoming each speaker with warmth, grace, and brevity.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: United States Senator Paul Sarbanes]

The first speaker introduced by Donna Hamilton was Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland. Senator Sarbanes called attention to the way the NFB had mobilized city, state, and federal resources to augment the more than 18,000 individual, corporate, and foundation contributors to bring the Jernigan Institute into being. In closing he said:

I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of knowing one of the National Federation of the Blind's great leaders, a forceful advocate for causes benefitting the blind: Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. Dr. Jernigan and his wife Mary Ellen, who is of course with us here tonight, worked tirelessly to empower blind people in a world that was focused almost entirely on the needs of the sighted. Dr. Jernigan had a vision. He encouraged and enabled the blind to be active members of society by improving their access to information, to education, to jobs, and to public facilities.

Since 1978, when Dr. Jernigan brought the national headquarters of the NFB here to Baltimore, our state has been a world focus for efforts to improve the status of the blind. Dr. Jernigan and his enormously able successor, Dr. Marc Maurer, have brought this vision to fruition here tonight. I am delighted to come tonight to thank all of those who made this possible, to wish the Institute the very best as it moves forward, and to say how proud we are in Baltimore and the state of Maryland to be the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind. God bless you and your endeavor.

Senator Barbara Mikulski was unable to attend the grand opening, but she sent an aide to read her letter of greeting and congratulations. Here are its concluding sentences:

I am so proud of you and your commitment to self-help, self-respect, productive employment, and an independent spirit. I applaud your work to provide improved tools for literacy instruction and the development of modern technology for people who cannot see. I commend your continuing and tireless efforts to make your dreams an outstanding reality. Enjoy the fruits of your labors, and use this success to continue to push the envelope of what is possible. I envy you the pleasure of this evening.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Congressman Benjamin Cardin]

The next speaker was Congressman Ben Cardin, who represents the district which includes the south Federal Hill area, where the National Center is located. He pointed with pride to the governmental/private partnership that brought the Institute into being. He also pledged the continued support of the entire Maryland congressional delegation, particularly the two senators and the three members of the house of representatives who represent Baltimore, to support our efforts on behalf of blind Americans.


Speaking immediately after Congressman Cardin was Sean O'Keefe, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Here are his remarks:

Good evening to all of you, ladies and gentlemen. I'm delighted to be here tonight to help celebrate the National Federation of the Blind's new Research and Training Institute. On behalf of the men and women of NASA, I salute NFB's president, Dr. Marc Maurer, and the Institute's executive director, Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, for this truly remarkable accomplishment.

I join them in thanking Governor Ehrlich, Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski, Congressman Cardin, and Mayor O'Malley (O'Malley--yes, that's a good name. I like that Irish tone [laughter])--for their strong support for the organization which is truly, truly a national treasure.

Joining me tonight is a public servant who is helping energize our partnership with the Federation and expand our opportunities at NASA for people of all abilities, our assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs, Dr. Dorothy Hayden Watkins.[applause] Through the NASA Defense Department Computer Electronic Accommodations program, Dorothy is helping to promote NASA in a lot of ways in making a full range of electronic information technology available to NASA employees with visual, hearing, dexterity, and cognitive disabilities. We are quite proud of this program, which we instituted about a year ago throughout the agency. Now this past month I've been involved in some terrific events, including the landing of our twin exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. [applause]

Tonight this is truly a special, icing-on-the-cake event. The evening is, I think, filled with special pride because NASA and the National Federation of the Blind are partners in an unprecedented exploration mission. Through our partnership we are attempting to do nothing less than change forever how this community has access to science so that young blind boys and girls will be at the head of the pack for the next generation of explorers. This is truly an uplifting goal for our storied agency, to achieve that mark.

I want to illustrate what we're doing in this regard. I'd like to mention that with us in the audience is Dr. Robert Shelton from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. [applause] Dr. Shelton is using his math and computer expertise to help develop easy-to-use, cutting-edge technology tools that make math and science accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. Dr. Shelton is conducting this work through NASA's Space Enterprise, which is led by Dr. Adena Loston from Houston. Both of you, please stand up and be recognized. You've done some great, great work.[applause]

This summer NASA will support the Research and Training Institute's summer science camp for blind students. We're excited that students in grades seven through nine will have hands-on experience at our Goddard Space Flight Center in a number of earth science experiments that range from an exploration of soil moisture content to bird migration patterns and temperature variations. Our Goddard director, Dr. Al Diaz, is here with us tonight, and he deserves a great deal of credit, singularly, I think, among all in the agency.[applause] Al, you have really championed all of our efforts and activities to help in so many ways that are important to all of us throughout the NASA community and certainly within the broader community at large. We are all grateful to you for that tremendous expertise.

If you think summer camp sounds like a lot of fun, you might be among the high-school-level students who will learn and help develop rocket payloads at the Institute and then launch them at our Wallops flight facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. That's a class that I'm not sure many of them will mind being scheduled for. Of course, through the Research and Training Institute we will work with the Federation to adapt NASA's educational materials for blind students in classrooms throughout the country. One of our great projects in this regard, one that many of you are familiar with, is the beautiful book entitled Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy.

For the first time, thanks to the wonderful work of Noreen Grice and Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, this book uses stunning images obtained from the Hubble to open up the far reaches of the universe to blind students through its imaginative use of illustrations of stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies. For those of you who don't know her, Noreen helps present planetarium programs at the Boston Museum of Science. Several years ago she noticed a number of blind students at the planetarium and asked them afterwards what they thought of the experience. She was told in no uncertain terms that the show wasn't very fun or meaningful to sit through. (I can't imagine that.) But like a good scientist Noreen decided to do some further investigation into the matter.

At the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, she discovered that, while there were Braille books on astronomy, none had pictures to help the reader make sense of what was being described. She realized the planetarium goers had no context in which to fully appreciate the astronomy program. The librarian told her that making the Braille books with pictures was a very expensive proposition. Recognizing that she had a tremendous opportunity to do some extraordinary work, Noreen created a forty-four-page illustrated astronomy book called Touch the Stars. And NASA's Bernhard Beck-Winchatz saw the book at the Alder Planetarium in Chicago and suggested that Noreen do a Braille book on the incredible results of the Hubble space telescope. "And the rest," as they say, "is history."

A most telling endorsement of that is on the back cover of Touch the Universe, one of the best book endorsements I've ever read. It's from Dr. Kent Cullers, the director of research and development at the SETI Institute. This is the private group that is conducting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Dr. Cullers writes, "As a radio astronomer and the world's only blind one at that, I feel a powerful intuitive connection with the astonishing exotic objects in the distant universe. When I touch the tactile images of the Hubble northern deep field of galaxies in Touch the Universe, I'm overwhelmed by the same astonishment, a sense of connection with a distant cosmos. It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, for the first time in my career, I get the picture."

At NASA we also get the picture, and I can assure each and every one in this audience, working with the National Federation of the Blind, we will do our utmost to make certain the next generation of explorers will have hundreds and thousands of blind astronomers and engineers and scientists helping to advance our exploration horizons to heights unimagined and frontiers unknown.

We have great work ahead, and we're determined that this community will be a vital contributor in this work. I thank you so much for the opportunity to be with you again, and my hearty congratulations on this extraordinary kick-off of the NFB's Research and Training Institute.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Melanie Sabelhaus]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Bill Struever]

Melanie Sabelhaus, community leader and philanthropist, and Bill Struever, CEO of Struever Brothers Eccles and Rouse, Inc., cochaired this remarkable celebration, and each spoke briefly. Melanie Sabelhaus recognized a number of those who partnered with the NFB to make the celebration possible. Bill Struever paid tribute to those in his construction company who have worked to build this very special structure where people will gather to dream new dreams and bring them to fruition for the benefit of blind people everywhere.

[PHOTO/DESCRIPTION: Two people are seated in the audience. The young girl listens smiling to what a very relaxed and engaged man is saying to her.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Seated together in the audience, Courtney Despeaux listens to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.]

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley recognized the members of the Maryland legislature in the audience and then reminisced about touring the Institute site before ground was broken. He assured the crowd that all of Baltimore is proud of the Jernigan Institute and what is being planned.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Courtney Despeaux]

Representing the future generation of blind adults was twelve-year-old Courtney Despeaux. She articulated what this Institute means for today's blind youth and brought the crowd to its feet. This is what she said:

Governor Ehrlich, Dr. Maurer, other guests and friends, I am proud to have the opportunity tonight to speak for today's generation of blind youth. Dumbledore, the wise schoolmaster from the Harry Potter books, said, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." I am happy that the National Federation of the Blind not only dreams, but turns those dreams into action. This Research and Training Institute, a dream turned into reality, now allows blind youth like me to have even bigger dreams.

As a girl who happens to be blind, I look forward to doing many things in my life. I'd like to help the poor and the elderly and travel to other countries. I would especially love to see Rome one day, and I am determined to meet the Pope. The important thing is that I know that I can do anything. Now my future is that much brighter because blind people who have come before me dared to dream and worked to live out their dreams.

Speaking for all blind youth across the country, thank you.Thanks to our blind leaders, and thanks to all of you who have supported our dreams and helped build them. Thanks to all of you who have come to understand that blind youth are really just kids like anyone else. We like to run, dance, play, learn, grow, and pull a good practical joke now and then.

Many people ask me what I want to do when I grow up. When I think about all the blind people just in this room here today and the possibilities that they represent, I just can't decide. Maybe I'll join the folks at NASA in exploring new horizons; maybe I'll be the first blind TV meteorologist; maybe I'll write the next great series of books; or maybe I'll take Dr. Zaborowski's job when she's old. [applause]

In the words of the Beatles' John Lennon, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." For blind youth across America, thank you for giving us greater opportunities and making our horizons bigger and brighter. Imagine the opportunities. If you'll excuse me now, we need to be getting on with celebrating the dreams of blind youth everywhere.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Euclid Herie]

Dr. Euclid Herie, immediate past president of the World Blind Union, spoke briefly, bringing greetings and congratulations from Canada. He pointed out that three of the six WBU regional presidents (Colin Low from Europe, Kua Cheng Hok from Asia, and himself representing Jim Sanders of this region) were present, marking the importance of this new facility to blind people around the world. He closed his remarks with the hope that the final legacy of the NFB's effort to create this institute would be the pronouncement from those in generations to come that "They built better than they knew."

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dr. Raymond Kurzweil]

The next speaker was our friend and colleague Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the world's first reading machine. This is what he said:

In 1974 I approached the National Federation of the Blind to be a partner in creating the first reading machine. This was the start of a thirty-year relationship.

You know, I don't have very many thirty-year relationships. I've been married only twenty-nine years, and I don't have any relationships more successful and more gratifying than my relationship with the National Federation of the Blind, except for my marriage of course.

It was a deeply meaningful experience to work with Dr. Jernigan, Jim Gashel, and a team of blind scientists and engineers from the National Federation of the Blind. It was only because of this unique partnership that the project achieved the progress that it did.

The public's understanding that blind people can do any job and contribute on terms of equality has come a very long way in the past thirty years. And that's thanks to the courageous and tireless efforts of Dr. Jernigan, Dr. Maurer, and all of the devoted people of the National Federation of the Blind, many of whom are here tonight at this wonderful celebration. So I'm working with all of you once again to create the next generation-–a pocket-sized reading machine. And we'll be working very closely to accomplish this.

I'm grateful to have worked with this great organization from the early days. All I can say is that I'm with you all the way. And thanks to the National Federation of the Blind Research and Training Institute, the next thirty years will be even more liberating, illuminating, and profound.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Betsy Zaborowski]

When Dr. Zaborowski, the newly appointed executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, came to the microphone, she had people to thank and an exciting announcement to make. This is what she said:

Good evening, fellow Federationists; good evening, guests and partners; thank you all. This is a wonderful night. We the blind of America, together with our partners and friends, launch this new Research and Training Institute built on the hopes and dreams of all of the blind. This is a momentous occasion for all of us, and we have lots of people to thank. We want to thank all of our members and all of our tireless staff, who have worked so long on this project.

A very special thanks to Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Paul Sarbanes, Congressman Ben Cardin, and all of our friends in the United States Congress who led the way towards federal funds of one million dollars for this research institute. And a very special thanks goes to the citizens of Maryland for its 4.5 million grant to this institute, which we believe, because of the support of our wonderful Governor Ehrlich, will be 6 million dollars at the end of this legislative session.

There are many, many other people to thank: Jack Busher and the Institute's policy advisory board, for their long hours of advice and skills in helping us get this institute off the ground. I also want to thank some very important million-dollar campaign donors: of course the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, thank you very much for that support. Thank you to our wonderful friend, Mr. Wally O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold, Incorporated, for that wonderful gift. And of course our friend Stephen Marriott and the Marriott family for being one of our one-million-dollar contributors to this campaign.

Tonight we launch three inaugural projects of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute. We are very proud to announce the first National Federation of the Blind science camp in collaboration with NASA this summer. Imagine a group of talented young blind people working with rocket scientists and blind engineers and teachers and launching a rocket and then studying the data with nonvisual technology.

We are also pleased to announce that we are launching the first in a series of online courses for teachers of the blind and parents of blind children. Imagine online courses that improve the lives of blind people, that use our empowering philosophy of blindness.

And of course tonight we are very proud to say that we are working on the development and commercialization of the first handheld reading machine. Imagine! Imagine accessing print with a small device the size of a digital camera in a matter of seconds. Soon we will have the Kurzweil National Federation of the Blind Reader.

We have worked hard. We have planned our destiny. We have dreamed big dreams, and we are doing big things. Now, let's hear what the blind of America and our friends say about where we go from here.

What followed was a video specially created for this evening. It alternated discussion by groups of blind people about their hopes and dreams for what the new Jernigan Institute will accomplish with statements by inventor Ray Kurzweil, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Al Diaz, Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner Joanne Wilson, and retired radio executive and NFB of New Mexico President Art Schreiber. The segments were divided by Whozit tapping his cane. The animated NFB logo provided stunningly effective transitions and continuity. [Cassette only, Here is the sound track of the video.]

Betsy Zaborowski: Ladies and gentlemen, we hope that you are inspired tonight and excited about the future that we are going to build in this new institute. We also want to talk to you about an opportunity to help us with that goal. In your program you will find a card and envelope. We are launching the inaugural fund for this new institute. In the next few months our goal is to raise one million dollars toward the launching and operation of Institute programs. Over 1,300 guests are here this evening. If a thousand of you would pledge $1,000 in 2004, we will have $1,000,000. Please think about it. After this program some of our staff and greeters will be pleased to collect your envelopes, or you can sent them to us. This would be a wonderful way to launch this new Jernigan Institute inaugural Imagination Fund.

Dr. Zaborowski then introduced President Maurer who said the following words:

[PHOTO/CAPTION: NFB President Marc Maurer]

The number of people who have sacrificed to build the National Federation of the Blind Research and Training Institute is outstanding, and I appreciate all of the sacrifices. Why have we asked all of us to give so much? It is because we believe that there are things worth knowing that we have not yet learned and plans worth making we have not yet found the resources to create. What does the future hold for us, and how do we believe it will be put into concrete form? In specific details we are still exploring what it will be, but in the overall approach this question is easy to answer.

Consider for example the history of technology and specifically the history of the recording of sound. Today we are in the digital age, and unless we think of something better, it is here to stay. Can we think of something better? Perhaps we can; only time will tell. What is the essence of digital technology? With respect to sound, before digital recording we took a wave that represented sound and preserved it. We pressed it into wax, rubber, or vinyl for reproduction. For the best sound we needed to reproduce the best waveform.

Incidentally, in the 1930's the blind encouraged the fledgling recording industry to create recordings with more time in them than recording artists had previously known. Extra-long recordings were needed for the reproduction of talking books. The result was the long-play record, which the blind used for the study of literature and the sighted used for recording concerts. Both the blind and the sighted were happy with the outcome, and Thomas Edison's hope that his recording device might be used to produce books for the blind came true. His application for a patent had included as one of its uses recording literature for the blind.

Digital recordings do not capture the entire range of the wave created by sound. They take bits and pieces of the original and reproduce sound based on an estimate of what it originally was. Only part of the whole is used, yet with digital recording space is saved, transmission of files is enhanced, and manipulation of material is faster and easier than had been true with high-fidelity recording. Hence we are left with the paradoxical digital reality that less is more.

Blind people have been using digital methods of comprehension by necessity from the beginning of time, although we would not have called it by that name. For example, when I travel with a cane, I do not have the same range of information available that my sighted companions have. I use my cane to explore the world in a digital fashion, taking a small bit of information here and another one there. Nevertheless, I string these bits of information together, interpolating an image sufficient for me to find my way from place to place. I do not get all of the information available, but I get enough of it to do what needs to be done.

Already we have begun the process of exploring what does not exist--one prototype of the handheld reading machine, the Kurzweil National Federation of the Blind Reader, is here tonight; the first in a series of courses on blindness offered over the Internet has been created and is ready for use; the initial planning with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and others for the science camp for blind students is underway; and partnerships for the creation of access technology in thousands of other devices are being formed.

It is fair to predict that some of the dreams we have for independence for blind people will be achieved within a reasonably short time. The overall objective of full integration for the blind within society on the basis of equality with all of the training, all of the public understanding, and all of the resources needed to accomplish this goal will demand much more effort and much more time.

As we explore new methods of understanding, the individual experiences of blind people must be a part of the pattern. We as a society must use the talents each of us possesses. If we do, it will be good for the individuals involved, but it will also serve society as a whole. Our effort today is to expand knowledge into realms that have been previously unexplored. We will use the tools that are available--those that we have built and those that we can gather from the efforts of others. But of most importance in our quest for knowledge is the spirit that we bring to the task--a spirit that longs for independence, that seeks to be a part of the community in which we live, that yearns for our talents to be employed in building that community.

We know that none of us can be completely free until all of us have achieved liberty, and we will not rest until we have found a way to give independence to us all. Training, research, and faith: these are the elements of the National Federation of the Blind Research and Training Institute dedicated to the blind men and women who have helped us to know that the people who are here can create an edifice of thought and understanding that could not exist without us.

Our Institute is dedicated to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, who, along with others, founded the National Federation of the Blind in 1940 and believed in it until the day he died in 1968. It is dedicated to Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who worked to expand the programs of the Federation for almost half a century and who formed the plans for the building in which we are assembled. It is also dedicated to the next generation, who will carry the work into the future. On this day and in this place come together the elements that make us what we are. We remember the people of yesterday, and we are grateful for their faith in themselves and their belief in us; but we think of the people of tomorrow, and we pledge our lives, our efforts, and our imagination to build for ourselves and those who come after us a method of understanding and an approach to achievement that will alter forever the shape of possibility for us all. With this commitment the blind will be free, and nothing on earth can keep us from it.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: President Maurer and Betty Woodward, president of the NFB of Connecticut, hold up the giant check from the Connecticut affiliate that completed the NFB's five-year capital campaign.]

Betty Woodward, president of the NFB of Connecticut, then presented what her husband Bruce characterized as "a check from us to us" in the amount of $107,960.72, and she assured Dr. Maurer that he could "take it to the bank." President Maurer accepted the check with gratitude, including the seventy-two cents, and announced the completion of the capital campaign. He agreed with Dr. Zaborowski on the importance of setting about to raise the funds necessary to operate the Institute, but assured the crowd with joy filling his voice that it was "great to finish the capital campaign tonight!"

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., grand opening honorary chairman]

President Maurer then introduced the honorary chairman of the grand opening, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., by saying that sometimes, when politicians move from one elective office to another, their support for particular causes evaporates. That has not been the case with Governor Ehrlich. This is what the governor said when the applause finally ceased.

Thank you very much. I'm the last thing between you and the ribbon-cutting. By the way, when one capital campaign ends, another one begins. We all know that. Trust me, I'm in politics; I do know that. We do have a long history; you're right, Marc. I have no idea when this relationship began--well, I have a fairly good idea, I guess. It was when I was in the Maryland general assembly. I got to know these folks, and I got to know their issues. We worked on issues together.

Then it was in the Congress, where my activism grew, and our relationship grew even stronger. Issues from Braille, to NEWSLINE, to tax issues, to capital construction, to the workplace, to technology: our relationship grew over the years. I have benefitted in many ways, including Kris Cox, our new secretary, who I believe was here earlier. Kris is terrific. I got to know Kris in Congress, working on blindness-related issues, and now Kris is a member of my cabinet. That is neat. [applause]

I just mentioned the word "opportunity." That's what this building and this organization are all about--the intersection of opportunity and technology. They are interchangeable today, which is why I am so excited about the mission of this historic organization and this wonderful new place. I am also proud of the state's investment of six million dollars. I'll take complete credit for all those dollars. I'll share it with Governor Glendening, actually.

I will close with this. I want to thank you all for being here tonight. This is an incredibly impressive night, and I wanted to be here. But I wanted to thank the business community. As we know, it is somewhat popular in our culture today to beat up on business. We have lived through some of the issues on Wall Street and some greed-related issues, and it becomes rather easy to beat up on corporate America. Yet I attended a lunch not too long ago where corporate leaders around Baltimore and the state of Maryland were asked to help this organization. As is the case in this area, the corporate community always comes through. The corporate community is always there because we have a very strong community and a very strong history of giving from that community. So I want to thank everybody who came through when we asked for help in our not so subtle way.

Thank you all for being here tonight; this is a wonderful night, and Godspeed.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony here are (left to right) Wally O’Dell, chairman and CEO of Diebold, Inc.; Jason Polanski, a seven-year-old from Maryland; Barbara Walker Loos, president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults; Mary Ellen Jernigan, NFB executive director of operations; Steve Marriott, senior vice president for culture and special events, Marriott International, Inc.; Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind; and Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., governor of the state of Maryland.]

Just before cutting the ribbon, surrounded by representatives of the million-dollar contributors; honorary grand opening chairman, Governor Ehrlich; Mrs. Jernigan; and an energetic and curious blind child representing the blind of tomorrow, President Maurer announced the board of directors' decision to name the institute the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute. He then cut the ribbon, and with that momentous act the program ended, and the entertainment began.

The evening concluded with an unforgettable rhythm and blues review featuring Ali Ollie Woodson of the Temptations, the Winstons Orchestra, the Drifters, the Platters, and Major Harris, formerly of the Delfonics, with Pat Palmer and Johnney Smalls. These performers were not only talented musicians but truly remarkable entertainers. They invited the audience to sing along with favorites like "Under the Boardwalk" and "My Girl." They even got volunteers up onto the stage to sing with them. The room was too full of chairs and tables for anyone to have room to dance, but that was all that was missing from the show.

It was a memorable close to a wonderful evening and a stirring beginning to the work of the NFB Jernigan Institute. As the evening ended, we recognized that the real challenge was just beginning. As Dr. Zaborowski wrote in the program: "We have dreamed. We have planned. We have built. Now we devote ourselves to a future full of Imagination."

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Drifters performing in Members Hall]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: A view of the Jernigan Institute from the Byrd Street side. The fourth-floor balcony outside Members Hall can be seen.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The glass elevator shafts, the railings of each floor, the metallic ceiling, and the glass front of the Institute can all be seen in this view taken from the first floor, looking up.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Tonia Trapp]

Speaking of Gratitude:

Givers of Freedom and Creators of Opportunity

by Tonia Valletta Trapp

From the Editor: The following speech was delivered at the New Mexico state conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) on February 26, 2004. Tonia Trapp is president of the Albuquerque chapter of the NFB of New Mexico. Her husband is Greg Trapp, the director of the adult rehabilitation training center of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. Here is Tonia's story:

One of the most difficult tasks we face as human beings is the challenge of developing an honest and realistic view of who we are: our strengths, our weaknesses, our talents, our shortfalls, our achievements. Growing up as a totally blind person has made that challenge a little more difficult for me than it would have been otherwise. Back in Virginia my mother has a drawer full of newspaper clippings in which various journalists wrote that I was amazing or outstanding because of my achievements as a blind person. Of course such notions are ridiculous, but they do offer a useful way to introduce the question I hope to answer for you tonight: How did I get to be who I am today?

As I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I have come to the realization that who I have become has a little to do with me but has much more to do with the influences that other people have had in my life and the many opportunities that others have helped me to reach for. I feel an increasing wish to tell those people how much I appreciate all that they did for me. So tonight I will indulge in telling you about some of those people in my life. I know that each of you is influential in the lives of blind people, so I want you to know how essential you are and how much your influence matters.

I will start by telling you about the people who have naturally had the most influence on me, my parents. I became totally blind by the age of two because of bilateral retinoblastoma. So all of a sudden my parents were plunged into a new and frightening situation. They had to decide what to do with their blind child. At that point my parents made the decision that has had the greatest impact on my future, the most important decision they ever made for me. They decided that they wanted me to live a normal life, to do and experience all the things that children without disabilities experience. They let me explore my surroundings. They taught me how to swim, how to run, how to ride a bicycle, and how to dance. They let me play with neighborhood children at their houses, in the woods, and in our swimming pool. They let me go sledding and ice skating and roller skating and canoeing and horseback riding. They signed me up for Girl Scouts, choral society, and summer camp.

Were my parents taking a risk by giving me such freedom? Of course. And I did have my share of mishaps. I remember when my parents were teaching me how to ride a bicycle, and they took my brother and me to the empty parking lot at my elementary school to practice. My bike did not have handbrakes; to use the brakes, you had to pedal backwards. I remember one time I was riding my bike straight ahead, and my dad yelled, "Brake! Brake!" but I did not respond fast enough, so I rode straight into a chainlink fence and cut the bridge of my nose. No big deal. Then there was the time I went to a friend's party at a roller-skating rink. I was skating along when I lost my balance and fell. I put my right hand down to catch myself, and I fractured my wrist.

The most serious injury I sustained happened on the first day of practice after I joined my school gymnastics team in the sixth grade. I was doing a move on the uneven bars, and we had a miscommunication about the location of the crashpad, a soft, squishy mat about eight inches thick, used to cushion landings. When I came flying off the low-bar and landed on a much thinner mat, I had too much momentum going, so I fell forward and put down my left hand to catch myself, breaking my arm.

You're probably thinking, weren't my parents afraid to let me do all those things? Of course they were. But did they allow their fears to hold me back? Not at all. My parents had the courage to let me live. I can never thank them enough for that. I have many memories of happiness and fun from my childhood because of them.

One of the things that my mother has always done extremely well is to inspire my curiosity about the world by encouraging me to examine things tactilely. She would show me sculptures that were reachable in museums and as decorations outdoors. Even today, when we go shopping, she picks up objects she thinks I would find interesting and hands them to me. When the architecture of a building is tactile, she points that out to me so I can enjoy it. When she came to visit me here a few years ago, she showed me the nifty carved wood on the front door of the Gardunos restaurant we took my family to.

In college I had a friend who worked at a science museum, and he took me there once for an insider's view. I particularly remember two things he showed me. When we got to the museum, he told me to hold out my hands like a cup because he was going to put something into them. So I did what he asked, and he poured a bunch of fleshy things into my hands. I had no idea what they were. Then the objects in my hands all began to wriggle and squirm like mad, and I exclaimed to my friend, "What in the world is this?" He laughed and said that he had just given me a handful of worms.

The other thing I remember him showing me was a baby alligator. For some reason I especially like alligators. My friend had to remove the baby alligator very carefully from his domicile, using one hand to clamp the animal's mouth shut so it could not bite. I had a fast feel over the alligator's body because my friend had to put him back quickly. How nifty that was! I was excited to be able to touch that alligator, even briefly.

One of the most fabulous adventures I had in curiosity came about because of an administrator at one of the museums in Washington, D.C., who invited me on a personal, hands-on tour of a part of the museum not open to the public, but reserved for older students doing scientific research. In this area nothing was behind glass. Everything could be touched and carefully handled. I got to see all kinds of biological things like bones, preserved animals, fossils, insects, and lots of other cool stuff. I am sure that having my curiosity piqued in this way had something to do with my desire to learn and to know more about the world.

Several teachers played key roles in my development as well. One of these was my teacher Ms. Schlosberg at Camp Adventure, the private preschool I attended in Tucson, Arizona. Ms. Schlosberg took a special interest in me. Shortly before my family left Arizona to move to Virginia, she gave me a doll that she had sewn together herself. Other staff at my preschool took interest in me too. I remember them introducing me to the trapeze and showing me how to sit and swing on one.

When we moved to Virginia, my parents had to convince our local public school to admit me as a kindergarten student. They did not know a lot about the Education of All Handicapped Children Act that had been passed a few years before, so they decided to approach the problem practically. They suggested to the principal of my neighborhood school that I spend a day in one of their kindergarten classes so that the teacher could observe me. That was done. My parents had taught me my ABCs and numbers and so on, so I was able to convince the school that I was a child with some intelligence. I was admitted as a kindergarten student, and I attended public school from that point forward. I still remember my very first VI teacher, Ms. Wildberger, who taught me Braille. Of all my VI teachers, I remember her most fondly.

I have always been a rather ambitious person. My mother remembers that, when I was in kindergarten, I was walking along with some friends, and I turned to them and said, "So where do you want to go to college?" Then I told them that I was planning to go to Harvard. For a long time I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. My VI teachers spurred me on by introducing me to blind adults who had jobs and were supporting themselves as lawyers, radio announcers, engineers, and so on. I was also given chances to meet with adult blind women and ask them questions about how they did things like cooking, matching their clothes, and shopping. Actually I seem to recall that my mother asked most of the questions because I got bored quickly and wanted to do something else. But one way or another, the invaluable wisdom of those blind women was passed on to me.

When I was about ten, my VI teacher taught me how to type. I despised having to practice typing; it was awful! But it sure came in handy later. This same teacher introduced me to my first computer, the Apple 2-E, with a speech synthesizer called the Echo. I even got to take a computer home one summer and play games on it. Computers were just beginning to be popular back then, so I am very glad that my VI teachers had the wisdom to teach me how to use them.

Some of my classroom teachers went out of their way to nurture and encourage me too, like my third-grade teacher Mrs. Burgess, who encouraged me to write. She also took me to the circus for the first time. I remember my eighth-grade teacher, Mrs. Swaim, who made sure I knew that I had great value in her eyes, and my high school AP biology teacher Mr. Sane, who gave me individual attention to ensure that I could participate in labs and learn as much as possible. Then there was Dr. Aday, who taught me criminology when I took two summer classes at my college before starting my freshman year. Dr. Aday called me a few years later to suggest that I apply for a Truman Scholarship, which I had never heard of before.

Because of the support I received from all of my teachers and because of the strong work ethic I inherited from my parents, I earned mostly A's in school, had the privilege of attending a high school for gifted students, and eventually won scholarships from the College of William and Mary, the Truman Foundation, the NFB, and several other groups. Together with support from the Virginia rehabilitation agency for the blind, those scholarships paid my way through my three-and-a-half years of college and two years of graduate school so that, when I completed my master's degree in social work in 1998, I had no debts to pay back. I know that I was very blessed to be supported so generously.

I would not want you to think that I have forgotten about my mobility teachers. I remember my first O and M teacher, Mrs. Woolsten. She taught me how to use my cane to travel around my elementary school and other places. Other instructors like her taught me how to navigate busy streets, stores, and college campuses. They taught me how to use taxis, buses, and the subway system. Thanks to them I was never afraid to go where I wanted to by myself, whether that was Washington, D.C., for summer internships and volunteering or Williamsburg for college or Chapel Hill for graduate school or Europe for swimming competitions.

Speaking of swimming, let me tell you about the people who helped me become an athlete. My first and most favorite sport is gymnastics. My mom likes to tell how she knew early on that I would be athletic. When she was pregnant with me, she sometimes felt my little fingers grasping her ribs as though I were trying to climb them like a ladder. She tells this other story about how, when I was about three, I was standing on a stool in the kitchen. Mom looked away for a second, and when she looked back, she was just in time to see me leap from the stool and do a flip, landing upright on the floor. So my parents put me into gymnastics lessons in my preschool years in Arizona.

Then we moved to Virginia, and I began elementary school. Sometime during my first two or three years there, my PE teacher Mrs. Hurst, noticed that I greatly enjoyed swinging around on the playground equipment. She wanted to encourage my athletic ability, and she wanted me to be safe, so she suggested to my parents that I stay after school sometimes so that she could teach me more gymnastics. When she had taught me all she could, my parents took me to a private gymnastics club run by Mr. and Mrs. Roltsch, who had never worked with a blind child before. They decided to give me a test run to see what I could do and to see if I would be fearful or timid as an athlete. They soon learned that the answer was "no," so they took me on as a pupil.

My gymnastics teachers came up with some creative and useful ways of teaching me. To show me how to do a cartwheel, they used a doll to demonstrate what the movement should look like, which worked very well. It would have been difficult to grasp the concept without such a tactile model. Then when I needed to learn how to do cartwheels in a straight line, my coaches showed me a crack where two mats joined, and they told me to practice doing the cartwheels along that crack in the mats.

My favorite gymnastics event was the uneven bars. To show me how to do certain moves on the bars, my coach would call over one of the more experienced gymnasts and ask her to do that move. He would stop her at strategic points during the move and ask me to feel the position of her body so I could see what I needed to be doing.

The last creative teaching method I will tell you about had to do with my floor-exercise routine. I needed to follow a particular geometric pattern as I did the routine. In one of my routines part of the pattern involved making ninety-degree turns and moving along the square area of the spring-floor, which was no problem. But at one point I needed to move on the diagonal. To facilitate that, my coaches put the tape recorder that played the music for my routine at a particular corner of the spring floor so that I could move toward the music and thereby cross the floor diagonally. This method, like all the others, worked quite well.

I competed in gymnastics with my sighted peers, where I did especially well on the uneven bars. In the spring of 1985 I went to my first United States Association for Blind Athletes (USABA) national competition for blind gymnasts in Trenton, New Jersey, where I won four gold medals and one silver.

But when I broke my arm in the sixth grade just after joining the school gymnastics team, I faced a new challenge. Of course I had to give up gymnastics long enough for my arm to heal. Then I resumed my private gymnastics lessons. My coach took me to the uneven bars and asked me to do a move very similar to the one I had been doing at school when I broke my arm. The move was called a soul circle. It involved swinging around the low bar and letting go of the bar to land on the mat. I was afraid to do what my coach asked. I would perch on the low bar, do a preparatory movement that would set me up for the soul circle, then stop. I repeated that sequence over and over, too afraid to follow through. My coach waited patiently, lesson after lesson. He knew I was afraid, but he kept asking me to do the soul circle. He understood that it was crucial that I conquer my fear. And eventually I did. And I continued to compete as a gymnast.

In the spring of 1987, when I came here to Albuquerque to compete again as a blind gymnast in the USABA games, the coach of the national blind swim team happened to see me perform. He approached my parents and explained that, if I were interested in becoming a competitive swimmer, I could compete, not just nationally, but internationally as a blind athlete. So I decided in the seventh grade to take swimming lessons. Then, when I was in the eighth grade, my swim coach decided it was time for more serious training to bring me up to the level where I could join a sighted swim team and compete at that level. During that year I had three swim coaches, who worked with me to get me into shape.

I joined a sighted swim team, and in the spring of 1988 I swam in the USABA games in Indianapolis, where I set six national swimming records and was picked to be on the national blind swimming team going to Seoul, Korea, that fall for the Paralympic Games. For those of you who may not know, the Paralympics is the Olympics for the physically disabled, including people with vision impairments and various kinds of paralysis. At age fourteen I was the youngest American athlete to go to Seoul that year, which was a bit daunting. I was fortunate to be a member of two relay teams that set world records and won gold medals for two swimming events in Korea. Over the next two years I got to go to Holland, England, and France to compete in other competitions for blind swimmers. I also competed as a part of several sighted swim teams, including my high school team.

Now I have told you about some of the people who have been critical to my accomplishments. But I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I could not have come this far without God in my life. God has always sent me encouragers when I needed them most, people who poured their kindness and strength into me so that I could keep up a good fight and keep pressing forward. It would take me a long time to list all of the encouragers who have helped me along the way.

I have much to be grateful for: a wonderful husband and a very happy marriage, good friends; a job I enjoy; a comfortable, cozy house that I like to come home to; and groups and activities that I enjoy participating in. In a nutshell, I am living the kind of life that my parents envisioned for me long ago. But that does not make me amazing. All my accomplishments do not make me amazing. I am a person with some intelligence, some athletic ability, some tenacity, and some courage. But my abilities would have lain dormant and untapped if my parents, teachers, friends, and other people had not actively created opportunities for me to excel.

You too can be a creator of opportunity for a blind child or a blind adult. You can see the boundless potential that blind people have, and you have the power to harness that potential and channel it into great and small accomplishments. I could not have achieved all that I have without the help of many people just like you. You can help shape the lives of blind people into the exquisite works of art they were meant to become. I challenge you to use every such opportunity that you can find.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: World of Coca-Cola]

Structured Discovery of Atlanta

by Anil Lewis

From the Editor: This issue has lots of information about the upcoming convention. If you have any time left over while you are in Atlanta, you will want to keep the information in the following article in mind:

In last month's Braille Monitor we listed the tours that will be coordinated by the Georgia affiliate to allow conventioneers to take proper advantage of their limited free time while here in Atlanta. We will provide point-to-point assistance and make every effort to ensure that you enjoy yourself. The tours have been designed to allow for the comfort of those wishing to be exposed to key sites of the city. However, I realize some people will want to capitalize on their travel skills and self-confidence to explore our city on their own terms. The rest of this article gives some suggestions to conventioneers who wish to explore our wonderful city using the structured-discovery method. I will provide the name, a brief description, and a contact number for you to get information to plan your trip. Here are a few of the must-see places:

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chastain Park Amphitheatre

The Classic Chastain series features musicians and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing at Chastain Park Amphitheatre while guests dine by moonlight. The Symphony, led by music director Robert Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, also presents a series of concerts at parks and churches, in addition to the regular season at Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center (404) 733-5000.

Atlanta University Center and the Herndon Home

The Vine City area of Atlanta holds the country's largest concentration of African-American colleges, dating back to the post-Civil War era: Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Morris Brown and Spelman Colleges. The 1910 Herndon Home, built by Atlanta Life Insurance founder Alonzo Herndon, is nearby and is a National Historic Landmark (404) 581-9813.

Atlanta Walking Tours

A multitude of tours is available for visitors, from historic neighborhoods to prominent buildings. The Atlanta Preservation Center offers guided walking tours of neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, a 230-acre residential district developed in 1904; Druid Hills, where you will find the home used in Driving Miss Daisy; Grant Park, with the antebellum Grant Mansion and beautiful park; Inman Park, one of Atlanta's first garden suburbs; and historic downtown (404) 688-3350.

Centennial Olympic Park

This twenty-one-acre site was one of the most popular spots in the city during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Today year-round programming featuring concerts, family activities, and artists' markets make the park a gathering place for Atlantans and visitors alike. The park features the world's largest Olympic Ring fountain (404) 222-PARK.

Center for Puppetry Arts

This is the largest organization in North America dedicated to the art of puppetry. The center offers performances from the Family Series for everyone and New Directions for adults. An interactive museum, Puppets: The Power of Wonder, is the largest puppetry museum in the United States (404) 873-3391.

Chateau Elan Winery and Resort

This sixteenth-century-styled French retreat about thirty minutes north of Atlanta has a festive atmosphere that encourages guests to tour the vineyards, visit the winery, lunch at a sidewalk café, and play a round of golf. Visitors to this 3,100-acre facility can also enjoy treatments at the spa. Resort (770) 932-0900, spa (770) 271-6064.

CNN Studio Tours

Even if you're not a top news anchor, you can still get in on all of the action of TV newsmaking at the headquarters of CNN and Headline News. The tour includes the Control Room Theater, a look at CNN Español, the workings of the special effects studio, and the main newsroom (404) 827-2300, (877) CNN-TOUR.

Find Theater at Its Best

Atlanta has one of the most active theater communities in the United States, with more than sixty-five active performing groups. The Alliance Theatre Company, (404) 733-5000, and the Horizon Theatre Company, (404) 523-1477, are known for presenting contemporary plays. Other local theaters present a variety of new and old works, musicals, and other favorites like Theater Emory, (404) 727-0524; Theatrical Outfit at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, (404) 651-4727; 7 Stages, (404) 523-7647; Neighborhood Playhouse, (404) 523-3141; and Theater Gael, dedicated to the Celtic cultural traditions of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, (404) 876-1138.

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum

Visitors to the facility dedicated to the work of former U.S. President and Georgia native Jimmy Carter can enjoy a walk through the natural surroundings in the Japanese garden or learn from the memorabilia in the library and a variety of traveling exhibitions (404) 331-3942.

SciTrek: Georgia's Technology Adventure

Since 1988 this museum has helped people of all ages explore, understand, and appreciate the wonders of science, mathematics, and technology. SciTrek allows visitors to explore the principles of science and math through traveling exhibits like "BRAIN, The World Inside Your Head," and interactive displays that allow guests to lift a car engine with one hand or hear someone whisper from eighty feet away (404) 522-5500.

Shop till You Drop

A visit to Atlanta is not complete without at least one day of shopping. Products from around the world can be found at Atlanta's many shopping venues, including the elegant Phipps Plaza or lavish Lenox Square. Travel a short distance out of the city to find gigantic malls such as the Mall of Georgia and Discover Mills (404) 222-6688.

Underground Atlanta

Six city blocks in the heart of downtown Atlanta have been transformed into a spirited urban marketplace featuring twelve spectacular restaurants, over a hundred specialty stores, and entertainment emporiums, as well as street-cart merchants (404) 523-2311.

The Varsity

As the world's largest drive-in, this fast-food eatery near Georgia Tech has been a longtime hangout for college students and Atlantans from all sectors of society. Founded in 1928, it has become famous over the years for its red-shirted servers who use their own special language to belt out orders (404) 881-1706.

William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

Through its exhibitions, publications, and resources, this museum of the Atlanta Jewish Federation explores Jewish heritage in general and relates to other cultures and religions. It contains two permanent galleries and hosts special rotating exhibits year-round (404) 873-1661.

The Woodruff Arts Center

This midtown showpiece is the heartbeat of Atlanta's thriving arts community, housing the Alliance Theater Company, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art (404) 221-1270.

World of Coca-Cola

More than one million people visit this attraction annually to learn about the world's most popular soft drink through memorabilia, video presentations, and displays. Included is a recreation of a 1930's soda fountain and the "Everything Coca-Cola" retail store (404) 676-5151.

Zoo Atlanta

Located just minutes from downtown Atlanta in historic Grant Park, the zoo features 250 species of animals from all over the world living in naturalistic habitats. Some unusual creatures to seek include a pair of giant pandas from China, the Sumatran orangutans, western lowland gorillas, and black rhinos (404) 624-5600.

The information provided here was taken from the Web site of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, listing fifty fun things to do in Atlanta. For the complete list and descriptions visit <>. We will have copies of the entire brochure at the Georgia information table during convention. I must admit, in putting this article together, I found some sites I have yet to visit. I can hardly wait until you all arrive. Maybe we can enjoy a few of them together.

Remember, you can still take advantage of one of our planned tours. The tours are $25 for adults and $15 for children under thirteen (except for Agatha's Dinner Theater, which is $45 for adults only). Remember checks or money orders for the tours should be made payable to the NFB of Georgia and mailed to the Georgia Affiliate at NFB of Georgia, P.O. Box 56859, Atlanta, Georgia 30343. Payment should include a note explaining which tours are being ordered and the number of adult and children's tickets requested.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Terri Uttermohlen]


by Terri Uttermohlen

From the Editor: This charming story will make you yearn for Caribbean islands and tropical breezes. It appeared in To Reach for the Stars, the twenty-fifth in the Kernel Book series of paperbacks we publish to educate the public about blindness. It begins with President Maurer's introduction:

When Terri Uttermohlen considered the possibility of fulfilling her long-held dream of diving in the sea, her blindness was not what she feared. What she worried about was whether she would find an instructor willing to work with her. Here is the delightful story of her adventure:

Jacques Cousteau, the French oceanographer and inventor of the Aqua-Lung, has always been a hero of mine. When I was a kid, I used to dive vicariously by watching him on television. The fish and other sea life brought to me by his camera fascinated me.

I also admired the younger French divers as they fell backwards into the sea--clad in wetsuits, masks, fins, and tanks. It seemed like magic to me to be able to enter another world so close, and yet so different, from the one inhabited by those of us dependent on air for our survival.

It may not surprise you then to find that I wanted to try diving on a recent trip to a small island in the Caribbean on my belated honeymoon. My husband Jim and I planned the trip for months. Though we had both traveled out of the country several times before, it would be our first trip alone together. Jim and I are blind, a circumstance that led us to some unusual speculation about how we would be received and what techniques we would use to maximize the freedom and pleasure we would have on our trip.

After much Internet research, planning, shopping, and contemplation, we still had many questions as we took off from the Madison, Wisconsin, airport. Would our inadequate French be enough to help us get around? Should we carry our canes in the water the first time we went in? Did we have enough money for all of the shopping and fine dining we were hoping to do? Would dive shops freak out at the idea of a blind person wanting to dive in the sea?

We had been on the island for two days when I ran into Sebastian, a small man from Paris who ran the activities desk at our hotel. "Is there any way I can help you with water sports?" he asked us after pointing out a bench for us to rest on while waiting for our tour guide.

"I would like to scuba dive," I said boldly, anticipating an argument.

Instead he responded, surprised but willing, "I can help you arrange that."

Reassured that this dream might be realized, I told him that I would call the dive shop later to set something up.

On Tuesday I stood nervously in front of the activities desk wearing a sarong, my swimsuit, a hat, and enough sunscreen to grease a car. My transportation to the dive shop arrived, and we were introduced. Mark, my instructor, drove us across the island, over a steep, poorly graded road to the hotel that housed the dive shop. We conversed a little on the way. His English was fairly good, and he seemed only a little nervous about my blindness.

When we arrived at the pool, Mark showed me the fins, mask, regulator, and tank. He was a good instructor and explained step by step what he wanted me to do. He held my hand and said I should squeeze his hand twice if I was having a problem and once if I was okay. He taught me how to inflate my tank vest using a valve to control buoyancy.

The first time into the pool he had me simply place my face in the water and breathe through the regulator. Since I made it around the pool a couple of times successfully doing that, he guided me deeper and deeper until we touched the bottom of the pool.

Finally he asked me to sit on the bottom. My only challenge was, being well blessed by Mother Nature and an abundance of fine Wisconsin cheese in my diet, I had trouble swimming below the surface. Some weights solved that problem, and I soon sat cross-legged on the bottom until Mark signaled me to rise. Lesson over, Mark said that we could dive the next afternoon in the sea. I was pleased to have passed the test and even more pleased that he had relaxed considerably with me.

The next afternoon I stood on the warm boards of the marina, trying to squeeze my ample Midwestern flesh into a wetsuit. I succeeded in stuffing myself into my new skin and handed Mark all of my land clothes for safekeeping. I reached for my cane and discovered it had taken a walk with the curious eight-year-old son of the dive shop owner while I was occupied with the wetsuit. It was quickly retrieved. Finally equipped for my adventure, I clambered into the boat.

The tropical sun beat upon me as I rested on the bench at the back of the boat. I was the only American on board. As the dive boat moved into the harbor, its roundly inflated sides pulsing with the impact of the waves, I sat and listened to the French-speaking voices around me. Was I really there? I felt as if I had been transported into the Jacques Cousteau films I used to watch on TV. I sat hoping that I would enter the water before the commercial break.

The ride to the dive spot was brief. Mark and I waited on the boat while the other divers and their instructor made their splashes into and under the waves. While I waited my turn, I let the French conversation between Mark and the mother of a particularly young diver pour over me like sun-warmed wine. I could understand only a bit and instead focused my drowsy mind on imagining the scene around me.

Eventually the others returned, and I donned the fins, re-zipped the sausage wrapping, put the mask on, and jumped off the side of the boat into the warm Caribbean. Mark swam to me and helped me put on the tank and the weights.

Because of the wetsuit, the weights had to be very tight on me before they would stay where they were intended. The first attempt had them sliding almost immediately to encircle my thighs. Since I had no aspiration to emulate the swimming style of a mermaid, I suggested that we try again. After much giggling on my part, we finally successfully put them around my waist.

Being cautious, Mark repeated the exercise of the pool. First we swam around the boat with my face in the water, making sure I was comfortable breathing through the regulator. I reassured Mark several times by squeezing his hand once in response to his questioning squeeze that I was okay. I was far better than okay, but we hadn't worked out a signal for "wow!" Eventually we began to descend in the water.

My first impression of the dive was Mark's reassuring hand in mine, the bubble of my breath rising from around my face, and the sun-warmed water surrounding me. We slowly descended to the bottom. As we swam, I ran my hands along the surface of the coarse sand of shell fragments. I hoped that Mark would warn me if I were about to grab one of the Caribbean's less friendly residents.

As we swam, Mark would tap my right arm when he wanted to guide my hand to show me things. I touched rocks bearded with algae, a tiny closed clam, and a conch shell that I believe still encased the conch. I saw sea plants that looked like firmly planted garden weeds and beautiful slime-oozing strands of tall sponges shaped like kielbasa. Mark placed my hands on coral, stubby sponges, and sea fans. One type of sea fan made of fuzzy finger-wide tendrils seemed to pull itself away from my touch. Another type had wide, rigid leaves that didn't move at all.

I was amazed when I touched coral. This variety was a hard globe with a pattern of lines and swirls incised into the surface. After touching the coral, my arm began to burn. I pointed to it, but of course Mark was unable to explain at the time that it was fire coral. Instead, he squeezed my hand to ask, "Are you all right?" Since the burning was minor, I squeezed back reassurance, and we swam on.

Finally I noticed that my tank was emptying of air. My throat was dry from the regulator, and I knew my time under the sea was almost over. Mark gave the signal, and we arose. On the surface of the water Mark told me that he had been surprised a moment before by a three-foot-long Great Barracuda. The fish barely noticed us and swam peaceably around ten meters from us. Mark had forgotten that I wouldn't see it and was momentarily afraid that I would panic. Had I sensed fear from him, I might have been afraid, but my trust by then was absolute.

We swam back the short distance to the boat. Mark removed my tank and handed it and my weights to the other instructor. I handed up my goggles and asked if I should remove the fins. Mark responded, "As you like."

Next came the least graceful moment of the excursion. As I said earlier, I was stuffed into the wetsuit. The boat was round, rubber, wet, and about four feet above the water. There was no ladder or rope to hold onto. In my younger days it would have been relatively easy to pull myself up onto the boat. These are not my younger days, however, and years of heavy computer use have left my hands and arms weak.

I stretched my arms up to grasp the upper side of the boat. Helpful hands pulled on me like a Thanksgiving wishbone. Mark pushed from below. I was laughing and out of breath, so I could not explain that the men pulling on my arms were making it impossible for me to help myself get into the boat. After much pulling, pushing, squealing, and laughter on the part of the slim Europeans who surrounded me, I was finally able to say, "Let me try." Thus I finally flopped aboard, relieved and a little embarrassed.

As we made the short bouncy trip back to the marina, Mark handed me a small, beautiful snail shell. Of all of the shells I had examined when diving, this was the most perfectly formed. He presented it to me as a keepsake. I inquired to make sure that no one was occupying the shell. I didn't like the idea of evicting a small creature from the water. Nor did I relish the possibility of that same creature emerging into my hand to register its complaint at the rude treatment.

I could not express my thanks to Mark for understanding and respecting my desire to experience the sea. He said that he had really enjoyed the experience. After we arrived at the dock, Mark helped me peel off the wetsuit. (Without his aid I would have needed a shoehorn and about a quart of WD-40.) I threw my clothes on over my swim gear, and we drove back to my hotel. When I returned, I found Jim contentedly sunning himself on the beach.

The rest of our honeymoon trip was wonderful--romantic and sun-filled. We arrived home after an endless day of cancelled flights and plane malfunctions. As soon as we arrived, we unpacked to ensure that everything had traveled safely. In the bottom of one of the suitcases I found the perfectly formed, delicate, gray-and-white shell. I marveled at the beauty of the shell and the fact that I had finally lived that long-held dream of being under the sea.

Thank you, Jacques. Now you are even more my hero.

Clarification of Tiger Braille Embosser Review

In the February 2004 issue of the Braille Monitor, we published an article about Tiger Braille embossers manufactured by Viewplus Technology. The review included extended verbatim excerpts from the manufacturer's advertising material. Because of this, a casual reading of the article could have led to the impression that we endorse categorically the statements contained in the advertising material.

Technology reviews performed at the International Braille and Technology Center of the National Federation of the Blind will contain our findings of the performance of products under review. In most circumstances we will not incorporate into our reviews extended quotations of advertising materials.

The National Federation of the Blind International Braille and Technology Center exists to help consumers learn about equipment available to provide access to information. It is also used to provide training in the operation of access technology and to stimulate the development of additional equipment that is needed. In performing technology reviews, we seek the objective of an unbiased evaluation of hardware and software based upon the performance of these products.


Profile of the Newest National Board Member

From the Editor: In April of 2003 we published the then current version of "Who Are the Blind Who Lead the Blind." Two months later, at the national convention Anil Lewis was elected to the board of directors. The following is a profile of this newest member of the national board. It also appears on our Web site as part of "Who Are the Blind," which you can consult or download at any time.

Anil Lewis

Counselor, Advocate, and Father

Anil Lewis was born in 1964 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the third of four children. Both his older brother and older sister became legally blind at an early age from retinitis pigmentosa. Lewis was originally labeled educably mentally retarded but eventually became the first member of his family to attend a four-year college. He has excelled academically, received many awards, participated as a leader in many extracurricular activities, and received several college scholarships. Although he was finally diagnosed at age nine with retinitis pigmentosa, his vision was fairly unaffected until age twenty-five.

As a sighted man he fairly easily found respectable employment with wages high above the minimum wage. Then, in 1989, while pursuing his bachelor's of business administration in computer information systems at Georgia State University, he became blind from retinitis pigmentosa. "All of a sudden doors that had been open to me slammed shut." At that point, although he had always considered himself socially aware, he became personally acquainted with actual social injustice and discrimination. "I am ashamed that only personal experience brought this awakening and decision to take action. But I am proud that I did take action and remain committed today to making a difference in the lives of others."

Lewis received blindness skills training while completing his course requirements for his BBA at GSU. He quickly learned the alternative skills of blindness, including Braille, activities of daily living, assistive technology, and use of the white cane, and capitalized on them to graduate from Georgia State with his BBA in 1993. "It was a struggle to regain the life that blindness had appeared to take from me. Almost everyone who had once respected me now pitied me, but I was determined not to be redefined by my blindness." Armed with these new skills and this new determination, he quickly became committed to ensuring that others in similar situations could get appropriate training and unlimited opportunities.

Lewis got a job as a Braille and assistive technology instructor. Within a year he was given the greater responsibility of job development/placement specialist, helping clients develop employment skills and get jobs. "I had no experience helping anyone other than myself get a job. I certainly did not have expertise in job placement for blind people." It was during this time that he first became aware of the National Federation of the Blind. A friend referred him to the NFB when he had questions about Social Security work incentives and needed information about tools and strategies to help blind people obtain employment. As a result he attended his first NFB convention in Chicago, Illinois, in 1992 and became aware of the empowering philosophy and tremendous resource of the National Federation of the Blind. The technical assistance materials produced by the NFB's Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) program and the NFB's Social Security technical assistance information provided resources enabling him to motivate, educate, and encourage other blind people to achieve successful gainful employment. "My success as a job placement specialist was a direct result of my ability to infuse NFB philosophy into the clients I worked with." Lewis went on to develop and manage a job placement program for people with disabilities as the manager of the Disability Employment Initiative with Randstad Staffing, one of the largest employment staffing companies in the world, during the Atlanta Olympic and Paralympic Games in 1996. He is currently employed by the law offices of Martin and Jones as the Georgia Client Assistance Program (CAP) counselor/advocate, advocating for people with disabilities every day.

He became president of the Atlanta Metropolitan Chapter of the NFB of Georgia in 2000 and was elected president of the NFB of Georgia in 2002. In that year he also received the Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship, the NFB's most prestigious award presented to a blind student, which he used to obtain his master's degree in public administration with emphasis in policy analysis and program evaluation from GSU in 2003. In that year he was also elected as a member of the National Federation of the Blind board of directors. He received an Outstanding Alumnus award from GSU and was also a 2003 GSU Torch Bearer of Peace Award recipient.

Lewis has dedicated his leadership skills to the development and growth of disability rights organizations that promote independence and improved quality of life. He was appointed by the governor as a board member and is the current president of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) of Georgia, an organization promoting independent living for those with severe disabilities. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Disability Law and Policy Center (DLPC) of Georgia, which uses a variety of methods to influence and enforce disability policy. All of these organizations recognize that people with disabilities are integral, necessary members of society and reflect the world's normal diversity. Further, each works to ensure that the policies and programs developed for people with disabilities are created and implemented by people with disabilities. By helping to develop and strengthen such institutions to serve as a cornerstone in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, he hopes to secure the commitment and support of others. He also hopes to reduce the barriers disabled people face by encouraging the implementation of public policy securing the rights and promoting the responsible participation of people with disabilities as productive citizens.

Lewis volunteers as a teacher and mentor for blind kids, working with promising blind students who, because of limited resources and lack of trained professionals to teach them, are inappropriately encouraged to pursue special education diplomas. He wants blind students to set higher goals for themselves and to receive the training and tools they need to acquire the skills to reach their full potential.

Speaking of his personal life, Anil Lewis says that his proudest accomplishment is his bright, ambitious son Amari, born in 1997. Balancing his many civic responsibilities with his personal life as a father is undoubtedly his greatest challenge. His greatest success, he thinks, has been overcoming the temptation to subside into becoming an unmotivated, self-pitying person with a disability. He thinks his greatest contribution so far has been to encourage other people with disabilities to believe in themselves and to understand that they can make a difference.

Lewis says that lack of awareness of individuals with traits outside society's accepted norms promotes extreme ignorance, which in turn results in unjustified fear, negative stereotypes, and discrimination. In an effort to combat that ignorance, he aggressively recruits, refers, and supports other like-minded people to become active in the National Federation of the Blind and other organizations in the disability rights movement. He hopes to promote social change by fostering the active participation of more people with disabilities in every facet of society, thereby replacing ignorance with understanding, fear with awareness, and negative stereotypes with mutual understanding. In the process he believes that we will eliminate discrimination.

"With a working knowledge of most disability law and policy and extended experience in advocating for the rights of others, I am committed to improving the quality of life for all people with disabilities by working to remove the barriers of ignorance while creating equal opportunities for all. My personal mission is simple: I want to make a difference in the lives of others."

Have you considered leaving a gift to the National Federation of the Blind in your will? By preparing a will now, you can assure that those administering your estate will avoid unnecessary delays, legal complications, and substantial tax costs. A will is a common device used to leave a substantial gift to charity. A gift in your will to the NFB can be of any size and will be used to help blind people. Here are some useful hints in preparing your will:

• Make a list of everything you want to leave (your estate).

• Decide how and to whom you want to leave these assets.

• Consult an attorney (one you know or one we can help you find).

• Make certain you thoroughly understand your will before you sign it.

For more information contact the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ana Rodriguez (far left) and Curtis Willoughby (far right) at the FM receiver table with two unidentified men.]

Hearing Enhancement and Spanish Translation

Available at National Convention:

Spanish Translators Needed

by D. Curtis Willoughby

From the Editor: Curtis Willoughby is a member of the NFB's Research and Development Committee and head of our Ham Radio Interest Group. Here is his announcement:

Again this year at national convention we will offer special arrangements for severely hearing

impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. This will consist of transmission of the public address system signal over a special short-range radio transmitter for the severely hearing impaired. Also Spanish-language translation of convention proceedings will be provided using a similar arrangement. The special receivers required for these services will also be provided.

In cooperation with several state affiliates (notably Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide receivers for these special transmissions to those needing them. The receiver-lending will be managed by the Ham Radio Group and will be operated from a table just outside the meeting room. A deposit of $25, cash only, will be required of anyone wishing to check out one of the Federation's receivers. The deposit will be returned if the receiver is checked in at the check-out table in good condition by adjournment or within thirty minutes following adjournment of the last convention session.

Batteries for the receiver will be provided. Anyone checking out a Federation receiver will be given, upon request, a miniature earbud-type earphone to use with the receiver.

Along with explaining what will be available, it is important that we explain what will not be available. The miniature earbud loudspeaker-type earphone will be the only kind of earphone offered. The receiver requires a 1/8-inch earphone plug, in case you want to use your own earphone(s), neck loop, adapter cable, etc. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of arriving at the convention. Other than the earphone jack on the receiver, no means of connection to a hearing aid will be available from the check-out table. The receiver does not have a built-in loudspeaker. While earphones, and even neck loops, are sometimes available in the exhibit room, you cannot be certain of getting one there.

Many severely hearing-impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking, to a receiver in the hearing aid. Many such hearing aid systems can be tuned to receive the Federation's special transmitters. In this case the hearing-impaired person may simply tune his or her own receiver to receive the Federation's transmitter and will not need to check out a Federation receiver.

Some audiologists and rehabilitation agencies are now buying digital and other FM hearing aids that cannot be tuned to the Federation's frequency. If you have one of these or if you have any other type of hearing aid, you should obtain from your audiologist an adapter cable to connect from your hearing aid to a monaural 1/8-inch earphone jack. This will allow you to plug the cable from your hearing aid directly into a receiver you check out from our table. This will allow you to hear as well as anyone else using one of our receivers.

The transmitter for the hearing impaired will be connected to the public address system so that the signals from the head table and the aisle microphones will be transmitted on channel 36 (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). (People must not operate their personal transmitters on channel 36 or on channel 38, because that would interfere with the reception by others.) This means that folks wishing to use their own receivers (rather than checking out one of the Federation's receivers) need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel 36. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers. Warn your audiologist that there is more than one channel 36, so he or she must also verify that the frequency selected matches our frequency.

This announcement is printed now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention. It contains this amount of detail so that any audiologist who works with this type of equipment should be able to know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person's FM hearing system must have to work with the Federation's system at convention.

Even if you do not use an FM hearing aid, you may be able to purchase a neck loop or an adapter cable to couple the signal from a Federation receiver directly to your hearing aid. Your audiologist should also be able to help you with this.

The service for Spanish speakers will be similar, except that a live Spanish translator will speak over a separate transmitter on channel 38 (75.275 MHz narrow band FM). We do not expect that people will bring their own receivers for the Spanish translation service, unless they are also hearing-impaired and use an FM hearing aid system.

Norm Gardner from Utah will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and he would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call him prior to convention at (801) 224-6969, or send him email at <[email protected]>.

Finally, if other state affiliates or chapters are interested in purchasing this type of equipment for use in state and local meetings, they are encouraged to purchase equipment compatible with that which we are using and to allow it to be used in the pool of equipment that the Ham Radio Group administers at national convention. I, Curtis Willoughby, would like to help you choose equipment compatible with that which the NFB is using. I may also be able to help you get the good prices the NFB has been getting. You may contact me at (303) 424-7373 or <[email protected]>.

The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing-impaired and Spanish-speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.

2004 Convention Attractions

From the Editor: Every year's national convention is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance. Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category are the meetings of the Resolutions Committee and the board of directors, the annual banquet, and the many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a partial list of activities being planned by a number of Federation groups during the 2004 Convention, June 29 through July 5. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The preconvention agenda will list the locations of all events taking place before convention registration on Wednesday, June 30. The convention agenda will contain listings of all events taking place beginning that day.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: President Maurer talks with staff and volunteers as they prepare to unload the trucks and set up the NFB store in the exhibit hall.]

The Agriculture and Equestrian Division

by Fred Chambers

The meeting of the Agriculture and Equestrian Division will take place Thursday, July 1. Check-in starts at 5:30 p.m. We will hear from Bill Gibson, a Utah vocational rehabilitation counselor and cattle rancher. We are growing by leaps and bounds. Come snack on bioregional produce, network, share stories, and meet some locals. Georgia is home to a diverse agriculture industry. Learn about resources you can tap into to start or expand a career in agriculture's myriad fields.

Our membership has a wide array of interests and a wide geographic distribution. From agroforestry, apiculture, and aquaculture to composting, gardening, and landscaping; from firearms and hunting to dairies and milk products; from ranching and riding to tack and tractors and vermiculture and zymurgy--we cover the map. Blind people are working, studying, and hobbying in every field, while feeding and clothing the world. Put your boots on, roll up your sleeves, and join us!


Tuesday, June 29, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 3, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

We are going back to our two-tour format, one on set-up day and the other on tour day. These tours are always a highlight and a bargain. Details of our Atlanta Agriculture and Equestrian Division tours will be in the May Braille Monitor. Our past tours have included horseback riding and touring historic homes, stables, carriage barns, thoroughbred ranches, urban organic farms, microbreweries, and much more. Stay tuned or contact the tour coordinator.

President, Rancher, and Riding Instructor, Diane Starin, (530) 223-9084, 1042 Hawthorne Avenue, Redding, California 96002, email <[email protected]>. Tour Coordinator and Aquaculturist, Fred Chambers, (760) 505-8500, email <[email protected]>.

BLIND, Incorporated, Karaoke Night

by Shawn Mayo

Come hear Dr. Maurer sing at BLIND, Incorporated's Karaoke night. Whether you form a group, sing solo, or cheer on your fellow Federationists, you will want to be part of this fun-filled night on Tuesday, June 29, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. And, if that's not enough, come find out what song the BLIND, Incorporated, staff and students will sing this year. Meet current students and alumni as they share their experiences from training. There will be a cash bar and many door prizes. Admission is only $5. Song lists will be available in Braille that night, or you can check our Web page at <>, where the song list will be posted when we get closer to convention.

The Colorado Center for the Blind Night

by Julie Deden

Have you wondered what it would be like to be a student at the Colorado Center for the Blind? Are you interested in job training? Join the students and staff Saturday, July 3, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to discover what your future could hold. Meet our employment specialist and find out what career might be right for you. Try hands-on demonstrations from cane travel to Braille. See what it's like to rock climb and create sculpture. Consider blindness training; it can change your life.

Braille Carnival Buddies

Help Wanted

by Melissa Riccobono

Are you going to the national convention in Atlanta this summer? If so and if you are at least eighteen, please consider helping as a buddy at the annual Braille carnival on Tuesday, June 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to work with both blind and sighted children while their parents attend meetings. The Braille carnival features many unique and fun Braille reading and writing experiences for novice to advanced Braille readers. Carnival buddies are responsible for guiding children through the maze of Braille activities. There is plenty of help even if you are still working on your own Braille reading skills.

If you can help or have questions, please contact Melissa Riccobono at <[email protected]>, or call (410) 837-0707. Your help is greatly appreciated. More details will follow for those who are interested in helping at the Braille carnival, and an orientation meeting will be held on the morning of the carnival.

Editors Workshop

Sponsored by the Correspondence Committee

by Jerry Whittle

The Correspondence Committee, the oldest NFB committee, presents an annual workshop for newsletter editors and discusses issues concerned in editing NFB affiliate and division newsletters. In an effort to allow more editors to attend this workshop, we will hold it this year from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29. Consult your preconvention agenda for the room. Barbara Pierce, editor of the Braille Monitor, will be on hand to lead many of the discussions and exercises. Other speakers will lend their expertise in areas such as layout and using photographs. All NFB newsletter editors are encouraged to attend.

Deaf-Blind Division

by Richard Edlund

The National Federation of the Blind Deaf-Blind Division will conduct its annual meetings July 2 and 3 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Registration will begin at 6:15 p.m. on July 2 and at 6:30 p.m. on July 3. The meetings begin promptly at 7:00. Check the convention agenda for the location.

The meeting on July 2 will cover topics concerning deaf-blindness such as Braille, computers, independent travel as a deaf-blind person, and techniques for effective job searches and appropriate job placements. The business meeting will take place on July 3. The first hour will focus on division business, including elections. The second hour will be an open-ended discussion by the audience on any issues associated with deaf-blindness.

Interpreter services will be provided on request to those who submit their requests by May 15, 2004, to Maurice A. Mines. Send email to him at <[email protected]>, or write him at 3805 West 26th Avenue, Apartment 105, Denver, Colorado 80211, or phone (720) 855-0309.

For more information about deaf-blindness and the activities of the NFB's Deaf-Blind Division, contact President Dick Edlund, 6734 Montana Court, Kansas City, Kansas 66111, call (913) 299-3201, or send email to <[email protected]>.

Division dues are $5 a year and can be sent to Treasurer Kimberley Johnson, Colorado Center for the Blind, 2233 West Shepperd Avenue, Littleton, Colorado 80120, call (303) 778-1130, (ext. 212), fax (303) 778-1598, or send email to <[email protected]>.

Come one and all, and learn what we are doing to change what it means to be deaf-blind. See you in Atlanta from June 29 to July 5.

Diabetes Action Network

by Paul Price

The Diabetes Action Network will hold its annual seminar on Thursday, July 1, 2004, in Atlanta from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. We have two keynote speakers; Dr. Frank Vinicor, the director of diabetes translation at the Centers for Disease Control, and Jinan Saaddine, an ophthalmologist at the CDC. He is probably the most knowledgeable person in the world about diabetes statistics and research. We will also have door prizes.

Educators of Blind Children

by Gail Wagner

Attention educators of blind children. Often we are the only teachers in our area and don't have others nearby to share with. Let's get together and chat at the convention. When you get into Atlanta, call Gail Wagner's room for day, time, and place. Please email her privately if you will be attending the convention: <[email protected]>. Hope to see you in Atlanta.

Ham Radio Group Emergency Preparedness Seminar

by Curtis Willoughby

In accord with long-standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2004 convention will be the Emergency Preparedness Seminar conducted by the NFB Ham Radio Group.

The seminar will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29. We will discuss frequencies to be used during the convention, especially those to be used in the event of an emergency call-out during the convention. We will also discuss those architectural features of the convention hotels and other information that NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary. Any Atlanta hams who would be willing to do a little frequency scouting before the convention are asked to contact Curtis, KA0VBA (303) 424-7373, <[email protected]>.

The Ham Radio Group has a Federation service project of handling the distribution of the special FM receivers to allow hearing-impaired conventioneers to hear a signal directly from the public address system, which is much easier to understand than the sound that normal hearing aids pick up in a meeting. These same receivers are used to allow Spanish speakers (those who do not understand English fluently) to hear a Spanish translation of the convention and the banquet.

We will take some time at the Emergency Preparedness Seminar to prepare for this project as well. It is important that all group members willing to help come to the seminar.

The annual business meeting of the NFB Ham Radio Group will be held at noon on Sunday, July 4.

Health Professionals Division

by Abio Sokari

Attention all Federationists in health professions or interested in careers in the health professions. The Health Professional Division will meet from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, at our national convention. We will conduct a division program and a business meeting, including elections, at this time. For more information contact Abio Sokari, M.D., Ph.D., at <[email protected]>

The Human Services Division

by Melissa Riccobono

The Human Services Division will meet July 1, 2004, for our annual seminar and business meeting. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m., and the seminar/business meeting will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The Human Services Division was formed in order to allow blind psychologists, social workers, counselors, other human service workers, and those interested in human service fields to network, ask questions, and share techniques with one another. This year our seminar will address many topics involved in finding employment, including job interviews and internships. We will also discuss techniques blind human service workers use in order to get the job done.

Please join us for this informative seminar. Dues are $5. If you have any questions, contact Melissa Riccobono, president, National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division, by phone at (410) 837-0707 or by email at <[email protected]>.

2004 IBTC-Sponsored Technology Seminars

by Brad Hodges

Last year at the convention in Louisville the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind sponsored a series of technology-related seminars. These presentations covered a spectrum of technology topics at different user-experience levels.

We are pleased to announce that we will have a similar offering this year in Atlanta. The seminars will be held on Tuesday, June 29. Anyone is welcome to attend any of the eight ninety-minute presentations.

Each seminar will be conducted in one of two rooms. For room locations and to confirm topic details, consult your preconvention agenda, which you will be able to obtain upon check-in at the Marriott Marquis.

Session 1: 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

A: Microsoft Word XP for Beginners (beginning and intermediate users)

B: Braille from the Ether (intermediate and advanced Duxbury users interested in learning tips and tricks for formatting materials from the Net and beyond)

Session 2: 10:30 a.m. to noon

C: Microsoft Word XP: The Rest of the Story (intermediate and advanced users of Word XP and those moving from Word 2000 to XP)

D: EBooks: Are Cassettes a Thing of the Past (for all interested in the latest developments in playback equipment, sources, and the future of eBooks)

Session 3: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

E: Tactile Graphics: A Touching Experience (cosponsored by the IBTC and NOPBC for parents, teachers, and all who are interested in learning about specialized graphics technology intended for the blind)

F: Excel for Beginners (beginning and intermediate users)

Session 4: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

G: Tactile Graphics: More Touching Experiences (for parents, teachers, and all who are interested in using models, construction toys, and other techniques to create hands-on experiences)

H: Notetakers and your Desktop (beginner to intermediate users of Braille notetakers who want to learn about connecting them to a desktop computer)

The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players Present:

The Long and Winding Trail

by Jerry Whittle

This original drama depicts a young blind man who must run away from home to find trust and loyalty on the streets of New Orleans. Tickets are $5. All proceeds are used to help fund the summer training programs for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind. You can see the play at either 7:00 or 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 1.

Mining Local Foundations for Your Affiliate

by Mary Brady

On Tuesday, June 29, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Mary Brady, M.S., program officer, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, will offer a seminar on grant writing. Participants will receive current sources of information on private foundations that want to fund projects in their states. Ms. Brady will also circulate model applications for Radio Shack Foundation, Wal-Mart Foundation, and Starbucks Foundation. We will discuss information on application guidelines and the seven secret characteristics of a winning proposal.

National Association of the Blind

in Communities of Faith

by Tom Anderson

The National Association of the Blind in Communities of Faith will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, July 1, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration for this meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. This year's theme for the meeting will be "Resources for Empowerment." We plan to have representatives from various faith-based libraries and publishing houses describe what their organizations do. There will be time for questions. We will then have speakers who will discuss how they use their spiritual resources to succeed in their endeavors.

We may also have a discussion about problems members may be having with full participation in their places of worship. A brief business meeting will follow these discussions. In this business meeting we will work to set goals for the next year.

Please feel free to contact me with matters of concern regarding this division. My address is 5628 South Fox Circle, Apartment A, Littleton, Colorado 80120. My phone number is (303) 794-5006. My work number is (303) 778-1130, extension 220. My email address is <[email protected]>.

As in recent years, the division will coordinate early morning devotionals at the 2004 convention. These are intended to encompass all faiths and are open to everyone. We will conduct these devotional services from Friday through Monday, July 2 to 5. Consult the convention agenda for the time and place. If you wish to take part in leading these devotionals, please contact me at the above address. We are looking for people who wish to sing or preach. You can also contact me at the 2004 convention in Atlanta.

National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs

by James R. Bonerbo

The division's annual seminar will be held on June 29 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will discuss the formation and operation of small business organizations, the business plan, financing, accounting, tax matters, etc. Don Capps, who chairs the NFB's small business loans committee, will address the seminar. We hope that you can join us.

National Association of Blind Lawyers

by Scott LaBarre

Each year the National Association of Blind Lawyers (NABL) conducts its annual meeting at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and this year is no different. We will meet on Thursday, July 1, at the Marriott Marquis from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., exact room to be announced. The purpose of our annual meeting and seminar is multifaceted.

We will examine emerging trends in the law that affect blind people and others with disabilities. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or visually impaired legal professional. We will have an update on the way legal research companies are making their products accessible with screen readers and other assistive technology used by blind lawyers. Undoubtedly we will hear from local law schools and bar associations about their outreach efforts to blind and visually impaired students and legal professionals. Because our agenda covers substantive areas of the law and addresses the practice of law itself, many of our members have applied for and received continuing legal education credits for our seminar.

At the conclusion of the seminar we will hold a reception for NABL members and seminar participants to promote networking and fellowship within our membership. If you are a lawyer, legal professional, or law student or are interested in law, the NABL meeting in Atlanta on July 1 is the place to be.

Mock Trial

by Scott LaBarre

The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its Seventh Annual Mock Trial at the 2004 NFB convention. This trial will reenact an old Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other arguing the merits of the two positions.

Although the matter has not been firmly decided, we will very likely revisit an employment discrimination case in which a blind factory worker was fired because of his blindness. See your favorite Federation lawyers strut their legal stuff.

You, the audience, will serve as the jury. This year's trial promises to be just as entertaining and thought provoking as the past trials. A nominal charge of $5 per person will benefit the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The trial will take place on Wednesday afternoon, June 30, at 4:30 p.m. somewhere in the Marriott Marquis. Consult the convention agenda for the exact place.

National Association of Blind Merchants

by Kevan Worley

The National Association of Blind Merchants would like to thank our loyal snack pack customers over the past seven years. Snack Pack has not only been a lot of fun and a great fundraiser for our division; it has also helped many conventioneers on a tight budget to snack pretty well. This year we regret to say that we will be unable to provide snack packs, but we are working on an exciting alternative. So come to our table in the exhibit hall, enjoy a small cool drink, buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win $1,000, and prepare to be surprised and delighted by our latest entrepreneurial venture.

The annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants will take place Thursday afternoon, July 1, at 1:00 p.m. Check the convention agenda for location. This year registration for our division meeting will begin approximately thirty minutes after adjournment of the board of directors meeting. If you are involved in the Randolph-Sheppard Program or operate a similar business, you won't want to miss this merchants' meeting. On Saturday, July 3, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m., we invite you to our fourth annual Randolph-Sheppard reception. Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph-Sheppard opportunities. Check the convention agenda for location.

National Association of Blind Musicians

by Linda Mentink

The National Association of Blind Musicians (NABM) will hold its annual seminar on Tuesday, June 29, from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Bill McCann will give an overview of the products available from Dancing Dots. Then he will do a mini training session with those who want to learn to use GoodFeel, his Braille Music Translation software program. If you'd like to be trained, please contact me immediately so that we know how many computers to have available.

Our annual business meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening, June 30. Registration will begin at 6:30, and the meeting will begin at 7:00. This is an election year.

NABM will hold its annual showcase of talent on Friday evening, July 2. This is our fundraiser and very well attended. Admission is $5 at the door. If you wish to participate, please follow these guidelines:

1. Sign up by 12 noon on the day of the showcase.

2. Perform one number, no longer than four minutes.

3. If you are using a taped accompaniment, please have it cued up. Do not sing with the artist; you will be cut off while performing.

4. If you need an accompanist, please make arrangements before the showcase.

If you wish to register for the showcase before the convention, contact Linda Mentink, 1740 Tamarack Lane, Janesville, Wisconsin 53545-0952; telephone (608) 752-8749; email <[email protected]>.

Membership dues are $5 per year. If you wish to renew your membership or become a member before the convention, please make your check payable to NABM and send it to Bee Hodgkiss, 1117 Marquette, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403.

National Association of Blind Office Professionals

by Lisa Hall

The National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will conduct its annual meeting on Tuesday, June 29. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. Plans are underway to discuss interesting topics such as an update on Braille-transcription training programs, an informative presentation on the Microsoft Office User Specialist Certification Program, and a host of other topics. This is an election year, so come one and all and give feedback on what you would like to see change in NABOP. Consult your convention agenda for the meeting location.

Membership dues are $5 a year, and dues can be sent to Carol Clark, treasurer, 10 Summitcrest Drive, Kansas City, Kansas 66101; home phone (913) 621-3551; work phone (913) 281-3308. Her email address is <[email protected]>.

Anyone wanting more information about the National Association of Blind Office Professionals can contact Lisa Hall, president, 9110 Broadway, Apartment j-102, San Antonio, Texas 78217, (210) 829-4571, or send email to <[email protected]>.

See everyone in Atlanta during the week of June 29 to July 5.

National Association of Blind Piano Technicians

by Don Mitchell

The National Association of Blind Piano Technicians will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, July 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Please consult your convention agenda for room location. Come learn about the new Veratuner electronic piano-tuning machine, which has been developed by the piano technicians division, Smith Kettlewell, and Veratuner, Inc. This is an exciting new device developed for blind piano technicians. Join us at our meeting and help us change what it means to be a blind piano technician.

Also stop by the blind piano technicians' booth in the exhibit hall and talk about piano technology. You can sign up to win a Type 'n Speak notetaker. Hope to see you there.

The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals

by Shawn Mayo

The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals will hold our annual meeting Friday, July 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. As always, this year's program will include practical ways to bring our Federation philosophy into our work in the blindness field. We will also examine ways of working with youth, find out what's new at RSA, look into how the workforce centers are affecting rehabilitation, and discuss other critical issues. Whether you are a rehabilitation teacher, counselor, agency director, or advocate wanting to inform others back in your state, this seminar is for you. Membership dues are $5.

National Association of Blind Students

by Angela Wolf

The National Association of Blind Students will conduct its annual student division meeting on Wednesday, June 30, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the NFB national convention. Registration will begin at 6:00 p.m. We will also be hosting Monte Carlo Night on Saturday, July 3, from 8:00 p.m. until midnight. Monte Carlo Night is a fundraiser for the student division, and this year it will be bigger and better than ever. Come support the students and have fun at the same time.

For more information contact Angela Wolf, president, (512) 417-8190, <[email protected]>.

National Association of Guide Dog Users

by Suzanne Whalen

The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) invites all interested convention attendees to its two meetings to be held at our national convention in Atlanta. As always we will host two sessions this year. The first will be held Tuesday, June 29. This meeting is our convention business meeting. Although not all arrangements for our meeting have been completed yet, one of our activities will be our biennial election of division officers. Registration will be conducted from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., and the meeting is scheduled to begin promptly at 7:00 and end at 10:00 p.m.

As has been the case for several years, our second meeting is entitled "A Guide Dog in Your Life." It will be held on Saturday, July 3, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. During the first two hours we will focus on questions of primary interest to cane users contemplating becoming guide dog users, although everyone is invited to participate. Experienced guide dog users can answer questions posed by cane users, and potential guide dog users can hear real-life stories from us in the division who use guide dogs every day. We also expect that guide dog instructors will be available from several schools to give Juno walks for those who want them. This is the preliminary walk given to all new guide dog students before matching is done with a guide dog.

As many of you know from reading Harness Up, our newsletter, the Canine Concerns Committee has undergone major changes. We are asking for volunteers to help organize and supervise the relief areas. Anyone in the Atlanta area who can make telephone calls for us would be especially welcome. If you are interested in helping, please contact Suzanne Whalen, president, at (214) 357-2829.

We look forward to seeing all of you at this year's convention. We know that, as always, we will all come away inspired.

National Association to Promote the Use of Braille

by Nadine Jacobson

It's hard to believe that our national convention is just around the corner. While you are considering which meetings to attend, we hope you will choose NAPUB, the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. The time for the meeting is 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 1.

We have an exciting agenda planned. If you want to know what's going on with Braille, we hope you can come to our meeting. Before the meeting begins, we will again this year conduct a Braille book flea market. It will begin at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and we are sure that everyone will have as much fun as we did last year. If you have any books you would like to contribute to the flea market, consult the first Monitor Miniature in this issue for the exact address to which books should be shipped. Remember, all of the proceeds from the Braille book flea market will go to fund the Braille mentoring program. If you wish to learn more about any NAPUB activities, I can be reached by telephone at (952) 927-7694. My email address is <[email protected]>. We look forward to seeing all of you in Atlanta.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Children and NFB Camp staff members play on the floor.]

NFB Camp: It's More Than Child's Play

by Carla McQuillan

Programs and Activities

During convention week children six weeks through ten years of age are invited to join in the fun and festivities of NFB Camp. NFB Camp offers more than just childcare; it is an opportunity for our blind and sighted children to meet and develop lifelong friendships. Our activity schedule is filled with games, crafts, and special performances designed to entertain, educate, and delight. If you are interested in this year's program, please complete and return the registration form provided at the end of this notice. Preregistration with payment on or before June 15, 2004, is mandatory for participation in NFB Camp. Space is limited, and each year some families have to be turned away.

About the Staff: NFB Camp is organized and supervised by Carla McQuillan, the executive director of Main Street Montessori Association, operating two schools, parent education courses, and a teacher-training program. Carla is the mother of two children, the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, and a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind.

Michelle Ros, NFB Camp's activities director since 1999, will not be available this year because of the birth of her second child, due mid-June. Michelle regrets her absence and promises to be with us next year, babe in arms. Instead Alison McQuillan--camp worker and teacher since 1998--will be our activities director this year. Over the years we have recruited professional childcare workers from the local community to staff NFB Camp. Recently we have determined that recruiting from our Federation families results in workers with proper philosophy and attitudes about our blind children. Carla and Alison will be supervising camp workers and all related activities.

Activities and Special Events: The children are divided into groups according to age: infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Each camp room is equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games, and books, and we will have daily art projects. In addition school-aged children will have the opportunity to sign up for half-day trips to local area attractions.

The planned events include trips to underground Atlanta for ice cream, a tour of the Coca Cola museum, a visit to the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts, and more. Our field trip supervisor this year will be 2002 scholarship winner Nicolas Crisosto. Dates, times, additional fees, and sign-up sheets for field trips will be available at NFB Camp. Space for special events is limited to enrolled NFB Campers only, on a first-come, first-served basis. On the final day of NFB Camp we will conduct a big toy sale--brand new toys at bargain prices.

Banquet Night: NFB Camp will provide dinner and activities during the banquet. The cost for banquet activities is $15 per child in addition to other camp fees.

NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Plenty of teens are always available to baby-sit during evening and lunchtime meetings.

Please use the NFB Camp registration form.

NFB Camp Schedule

NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Times listed are the opening and closing times of NFB Camp. Children are not accepted earlier than the times listed, and a late fee of $10 will be assessed for all late pick-ups. NFB Camp provides morning and afternoon snacks. You are responsible to provide lunch for your child(ren) every day except Tuesday.

Date                       NFB Camp Hours

Tuesday, June 29       8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 30       Camp is closed.

Thursday, July 1       8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 2       9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

                     and 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 3       8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 4       8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

                     and 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

                     Banquet: 6:30 p.m.

Monday, July 5       8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

                     and 1:30-5:30 p.m.

You are required to provide lunch for your child(ren) each day except Tuesday.

These times may vary, depending on the timing of the actual convention sessions. NFB Camp will open thirty minutes before the beginning gavel and close thirty minutes after session recess.


NFB Camp Registration Form

Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15, 2004

Parent’s Name_________________________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________

City _______________________ State _____ Zip ________ Phone ______________

Child(ren)’s Name(s)

 _________________________________________Date of Birth _________ Age ____

_________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ Age ____

_________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ Age ____

Include description of any disabilities/allergies we should know about:


Who, other than parents, is allowed to pick up your child? _____________________________________________________________________

Per Week: $80 first child; $60 siblings          # of children _____    $ ________

        (Does not include banquet)

Per Day:        $20 per child per day          # days  ____ x $20/child    $ ________

            (Does not include banquet)

Banquet:        $15 per child                    # of children _____ x $15    $ ________

                                       Total Due   $ ________

We understand that NFB Camp is being provided as a service by the NFB to make our convention more enjoyable for both parents and children. We understand the rules we were given and agree to abide by them. We will pick up children immediately following sessions. We understand that if our child(ren) does not follow the rules or if for any reason staff are unable to care for our child(ren), further access to childcare will be denied.

Parent’s Signature __________________________________ Date _______________

Make checks payable to NFB Camp.

Return form to National Federation of the Blind of Oregon

5005 Main Street, Springfield, OR 97478, (541) 726-6924.

National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science

by Curtis Chong

This year's meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will be held on Thursday, July 1, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This being an even-numbered year, members of the division will have an opportunity to elect officers and board members.

Of late we have received disturbing information about difficulties blind people have experienced with reasonable accommodations when trying to take various computerized certification tests. In one instance a blind test-taker was denied the opportunity to bring a Braillewriter and blank paper into the testing area, and in another questions arose about whether or not it was reasonable for screen-magnification software to be installed on the testing computer to be used by a person with low vision. Another issue that we are wrestling with in this area has to do with the compatibility of testing software with screen-access technology and the willingness of developers of testing software to ensure that the programs they create work with the programs that the blind use to operate the computer. Accordingly, at this year's meeting we will be speaking with representatives from some of the larger testing companies such as Prometric and Certiport.

Other program items being considered include an update from Microsoft and other companies about their continuing efforts to maintain or improve accessibility to their products; a discussion with some of the more egregious purveyors of the graphical text-verification technology, which shuts out many blind people from important services; Java (as used with Windows screen readers); and a technical roundtable for PC and mainframe computer programmers.

For more information about the meeting contact Curtis Chong, president, National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, 3000 Grand Avenue, Apartment 916, Des Moines, Iowa 50312, phone (515) 277-1288, email <[email protected]>.

The National Federation of the Blind in Judaism

by Harold Snider

The NFB in Judaism will meet on Friday, July 2, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This is a half-hour after the close of the general convention session. During the business meeting we will discuss the situation of blind Jews in their communities and the ongoing problems with JBI International. After the meeting those members who wish to do so may join in an Oneg Shabbat celebration and meal which will be kosher. The approximate cost of the catered meal will be $30 a person, including tax and gratuity. Those wishing to attend the Oneg Shabbat must make advance reservations by June 25, 2004, in order to guarantee a meal. Please contact Harold Snider, chairman, NFB in Judaism, at 4921 Bel Pre Road, Rockville, Maryland 20853, phone (301) 460-4142, or email <[email protected]>.

National Organization of Blind Educators

by Sheila Koenig

On July 1 the National Organization of Blind Educators (NOBE) will conduct its annual meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 1:00 p.m. NOBE is a network of blind teachers and those interested in careers in education. Our meeting will offer an opportunity to meet blind people teaching in various grade levels and content areas.

Many questions arise as people contemplate and realize their dreams of teaching: how will potential employers react to a blind applicant? How does a blind person manage students in a classroom? How does one accomplish the daily duties as well as the "other duties as assigned" for which teachers are contracted? During our seminar at the 2004 convention in Atlanta, successful blind teachers will discuss such questions. Seminar participants will also meet in small groups specific to grade level and content areas of interest. In this way we can create a network of mentors extending beyond our meeting.

Education is a profession rich in possibility. As we continue to take on additional roles both inside and outside the classroom, we must continue to develop the alternative techniques essential to our success. Whether you are currently teaching or are interested in the profession of education, we invite you to our seminar on July 1 in Atlanta.

National Organization of the Senior Blind

by Judy Sanders

Medicare defines a senior as someone who is over sixty-five, or is it sixty-seven? RSA (the Rehabilitation Services Administration) says that people are seniors when they are over fifty-five. AARP wants folks when they reach fifty. The National Organization of the Senior Blind (NOSB) wants you at any age.

We will open the doors at 6:00 p.m. on June 30 to begin registration and our ever popular somewhat silent auction. To make the auction work, we are once again counting on generous contributions by Federationists both in items for the auction and in emptying of wallets and checkbooks. Please make sure your items arrive in time for consideration by eager bidders.

Our meeting will be packed full of information from and for blind seniors. Here's an example: Dr. Abio Sokario is employed as a medical consultant to the Topeka Center for the Blind in Kansas. As an enthusiastic Federationist he wants to share his knowledge. He will present an item called "Memory Boosters or Busters." If you are wondering what this will entail, you are not alone. I'm wondering too. We'll all have to show up to find out.

The meeting will adjourn no later than 10:00 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for the agenda, call Judy Sanders at (612) 375-1625. Email: <[email protected]>. One final thing: leave your ID in your hotel room; you won't need it to get in.

Public Employees Division

by Ivan Weich

The Public Employees Division will meet Wednesday, June 30, at 7:00 p.m. If you have questions about the division or the program, you should contact Ivan Weich, division president, at (360) 782-9575.

Roman Catholic Mass

Fr. Gregory Paul, C.P., plans to be with us again at this year's convention and will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning, July 4, at 6:45 a.m. The room assignment will be listed in the agenda.


Shaping the Programs

Of the Jernigan Institute:

A Topical Conversation Among NFB Members

Now that the Jernigan Institute is a reality, we want to be sure that member ideas, concerns, and needs play a part in our planning. To this end we will conduct a series of topical discussions on Tuesday, June 29. Moderators will be Executive Director Betsy Zaborowski and Director of Programs Ruth Martin, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute. Consult the preconvention agenda for locations.

1:00 to 2:00 p.m., Session I Topic: Seniors

2:15 to 3:15 p.m., Session II Topic: Rehabilitation and Employment

3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Session III Topic: Education

4:45 to 5:45 p.m., Session IV Topic: Technology

Where do your interests lie? What issues are important for us to consider? Join us for the discussion.

Social Security Seminar

by James McCarthy and Teresa Uttermohlen

An outreach seminar, "Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know," will take place Saturday afternoon, July 3. Conducted by the National Federation of the Blind with the assistance of the Social Security Administration, the seminar will provide information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind. Seminar presenters will be James McCarthy, director of governmental affairs for the National Federation of the Blind, and his wife Teresa Uttermohlen, an NFB member and a training and technical assistance liaison employed by Virginia Commonwealth University. Social Security representatives will make helpful publications available to those who attend and share useful information about communicating with the Social Security Administration.

Teen Hospitality Room

by Gail Wagner

Attention all teens! If you are between the ages of twelve and seventeen, we have the place for you. Come to the Teen Hospitality Room to hang out, eat snacks, play games, and visit with old and new friends. This room will be open during most of the NOPBC meetings, plus other times throughout the week. Check for fliers on information tables and at NOPBC activities. Or call Gail Wagner's room at the hotel for last-minute information with dates and times.

Parents: this room will be discreetly chaperoned by NFB members.

Travel and Tourism Division

by Stephanie Scott

You are cordially invited to convene with the Travel and Tourism Division on Thursday, July 1, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. The order of business will be as follows:

1. Elections: all seats are vacant

2. Reception

3. Travel seminar

Light refreshments will be served during the Travel and Tourism Seminar. The seminar will feature a travel information table and a host of distinguished speakers from governmental entities, Delta Airlines, Greyhound, Amtrak, and Carnival Cruise Line.

Seating is limited to Travel and Tourism members only, so become a member today. Membership dues are only $10 a person and should be forwarded to the attention of Travel and Tourism Division President Douglas M. Johnson, P.O. Box 597, Manchester, Washington 98353, home phone (360) 871-3731, email <[email protected]>.

For more information about the festivities at convention, call Stephanie Scott at (800) 449-6324 or email <[email protected]>.

Webmasters Workshop

by Chris Danielson

On February 1, 2004, just prior to the NFB's annual Washington seminar, members from several states gathered to discuss how each NFB affiliate could enhance its presence on the World Wide Web. The topics ranged from registering domain names and shopping for a good Web host to the particulars of exciting Web-development software, which Macromedia, Inc., a leading manufacturer of such products, has generously donated to the NFB for the use of its affiliates and divisions. The discussion was so lively and productive that the group has planned a similar meeting for the national convention.

Our tentative agenda includes a discussion of how to use Macromedia's powerful Contribute software to allow affiliate leaders to post material to Web sites without having to become fluent in HTML; the kinds of content members and guests may find useful on an affiliate Web site; and the way NFB Web sites can achieve a uniform look and feel, while still insuring that each affiliate's site reflects its own unique voice.

If some of the terminology used here has left you scratching your head, don't worry; you don't have to be a veteran Web jockey to attend. Join the NFB Webmasters at convention and learn how this great movement of ours can harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make our movement even stronger. Check the preconvention agenda for the details of time and location.

Writers Division

by Tom Stephens

The Writers Division will conduct a workshop on communications and media at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29. The objective will be to give participants ideas about media coverage. The workshop will last until 3:00 p.m. The division will also hold a come-one-come-all poetry reading from 3:15 till 4:30 p.m.


[PHOTO/CAPTION: NFB Camp kids on their way touring]

As the Twig Is Bent

by Barbara Cheadle

From the Editor: Barbara Cheadle is the president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Each year she and her board plan and organize activities and programs for families and educators of blind children and of course the youth themselves. Here pulled together in one place are the plans for the 2004 NOPBC programs taking place at the NFB convention in Atlanta:

This year's NOPBC seminar theme is taken from the title of one of the early Kernel Books: As The Twig Is Bent. In the preface of that book, Dr. Jernigan begins by saying, "There is a well-known saying that, as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. What is true of plants is also true of people." He goes on to say, "Every day all of us are, at least to some degree, bending the twig that will determine the final shape of their [blind children's] lives." We hope that parents who attend the NOPBC activities and participate in the many other 2004 NFB convention programs will leave with greater confidence in their ability to shape their children's lives so that they will grow into active, productive, independent, and valued members of their communities. Social skills will be the primary focus of the seminar and workshops on Tuesday, June 29. Barbara Pierce, who over the years has become one of NOPBC's most sought-after workshop leaders, will give a major presentation on that topic during the morning general session. Also on the morning agenda will be guest speaker Joel Snyder from National Captioning Institute, Described Media Department. Joel, a trained actor with many years of experience in audio-description, will talk about the value of accessing the popular media for knowledge about social skills critical to functioning in our culture.

As in recent years the first part of the program will be kid friendly with a kid talk between Dr. Maurer and the children in the audience, and a youth panel. We will take a brief break before 10:00 a.m. to allow parents time to take the kids to the annual Kenneth Jernigan Braille Carnival, coordinated this year by the three M's: Melody Lindsey, director of a rehabilitation program in Michigan; Maria Morias, a blind mother and educator; and school counselor Melissa Riccobono. The carnival will end at 12:30 p.m., giving parents just enough time to pick kids up from the Carnival or NFB Camp and get lunch before hitting the afternoon workshops.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Leonida Besson in her stroller and her parents Nalida and Michael Besson at the craft table in the Braille Carnival room]

In the afternoon, parents and children ages eight and up will have several delightful workshop choices. These workshops and the rest of the line-up of NOPBC sponsored activities throughout the convention week are described in the agenda below:

Tuesday, June 29

* 8:00 a.m. Registration.

Note: preregistration materials and information about NOPBC seminar and activity fees are available through June 10 from the NOPBC Web page at <> or by contacting Barbara Cheadle at (410) 737-2224. If you leave a voice mail message requesting a packet, please spell your name and give your mailing address and phone number.

* 9:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. As the Twig Is Bent--NOPBC Parents Seminar

* General Session

*10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Kenneth Jernigan Braille Carnival

Children, blind and sighted, ages six and up, are invited to attend this popular program filled with two hours of games, crafts, and other fun Braille-related activities. The carnival booths are sponsored by NFB affiliates and other organizations that come to participate in the convention. Volunteer carnival buddies are recruited from within the NFB membership. All children must be accompanied by a Braille Carnival buddy or other adult.

* 1:30–5:00 p.m. NOPBC Parent Workshops

1. Beginning Braille for Parents

Two sessions: 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00

2. Movement, Music, and Play: The Connection to Early Socialization Skills, 0-7

Two sessions: 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00

3. Body Language, Gestures, and Facial Expressions: How Much Do Blind Kids Really Need to Know? How Much Do Visually Impaired Kids Miss?

Two sessions: 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00

4. Friendships In and Beyond the Classroom

Two sessions: 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00

5. Socialization, Blindness, and Additional Disabilities: There Is Hope

Two sessions: 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00

* Lunch

Order a box lunch when you preregister, or pick up your lunch at the nearby fast food restaurants in the attached mall, and join other parents in hotel rooms or other informal small family-group settings to talk about mutual interests and expand your networks. A list of locations, rooms, and group leaders' names will be available at NOPBC seminar registration before and after the morning session.

* 1:30–5:00 p.m. Youth Programs Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal

Cosponsored by the NOPBC and the National Captioning Institute, Described Media Department. Sighted high-school-age students will learn the principles of audio description. They will view segments of videotaped programs, learn how to analyze them to determine what text to add, and break up into teams to write a description for a segment, practice it, and be prepared to give the description live later that evening. From 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., blind middle and high school students will be invited to review the described segments, critique them, and cast their votes for best audio-described script, best voice, best use of language, and other superlatives. All students (describers and reviewers alike) will receive certificates from the National Captioning Institute, Described Media Department.

* 1:30–5:00 p.m. Exploring the Solar System: Youth Scavenger Hunt

Imagine that you could squeeze the solar system into the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Travel to the moon, pick up artifacts from Mars, explore the rings of Saturn-–all within the confines of the hotel. Young people, blind and sighted, ages eight and up, will learn about the earth's solar system as they explore the Marriott Marquis through a scavenger hunt. Sighted youth will also have the opportunity to travel this universe-in-a-hotel with a white cane under blindfold as part of this educational and fun afternoon. Federation volunteers and astronomers Noreen Grice of the Hayden Planetarium in Boston, and Dr. Dennis Dawson, chairman of the Astronomy Department at Western Connecticut University, will conduct this lively, educational program.

* 7:00–8:00 p.m. Audio Describers Review and Judging

Blind and visually impaired middle school and high school teens are invited to sign up to review the afternoon work of the amateur teen audio-describers. Teens may sign up in advance or at the door. For fairness and impartiality all reviewers will be required to wear sleepshades (blindfolds).

* 8:00–9:00 p.m. Teen Discussion Groups

As in previous years, experienced, sensitive blind leaders will conduct two talk sessions, one for young men and one for young women, ages fourteen to eighteen, on the all-important teen topics of dating, relationships with parents, social interactions with peers, and more.

* 7:00–10:00 p.m. NOPBC Family Hospitality

Relax and chat in an informal atmosphere with other parents, teachers, and blind adults while your kids roam and play around the tables. There will be some door prizes and a few mixer games, but mostly this will be an unstructured evening in which you can network with others. While parents will be responsible for supervision of their children at hospitality, again thanks to Heather Field, a Discovery Toys® display with a play area for children will be in the room.

Wednesday, June 30

* 8:30-1:00 p.m. Cane Walk

Session 1: 8:30–10:30 a.m.

Session 2: 11:00–1:00 p.m.

This workshop will begin with a brief discussion of why the NFB promotes the use of the long cane with the metal tip, early use of the cane, and the value of blind instructors. It will conclude with an overview of the difference between the discovery method and traditional O and M instruction. After the introduction parents, teachers, and kids will be issued canes and sleepshades (blindfolds) and then teamed with a volunteer instructor for a cane walk through the hotel and, for those who have not yet registered, to the NFB registration area. Volunteer instructors are recruited from current and former students of the Louisiana Tech/Louisiana Center for the Blind O and M program as well as other experienced volunteers at the convention. Coordinated by Christine Brown and Joe Cutter.

* 1:00-5:00 p.m. Teen Get-Acquainted Party

Sponsored jointly by NOPBC and Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM). All teens are invited to drop in anytime for games and music or just to hang out with other teens. This room is supervised at all times by BISM counselors.

Thursday, July 1

* 1:00-3:00 p.m. NOPBC Parent Power--Annual Meeting

Keynote address by the 2004 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, roll call of POBC affiliates, updates on educational issues, committee reports, and elections.

* 3:30–5:00 p.m. Braille: It's More Than Dots

A workshop for parents and older youth. Internationally known Braille expert Dr. Sally Mangold will discuss the versatility of Braille in a variety of life settings for a diverse population of students, including those with partial vision or additional disabilities. The workshop will include a break-out session to provide children and parents a hands-on demonstration of the Braille educational learning tool, SAL (Speech Assisted Learning).

* 5:30–7:30 p.m. Braille Readers Are Leaders Annual Reunion and Braille Book Flea Market

Cosponsored by NOPBC and NAPUB, and made possible through a grant from the UPS Foundation and the efforts of UPS volunteers from the Atlanta office.

Come and help celebrate Braille and the accomplishments of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest and Literacy Program. You will find lots of free food, great fellowship, Braille mentors for the kids, and, best of all, a chance to browse and pick up some great Braille books at the flea market. Donations from the Braille book flea market will go into the newly established Braille Readers Are Leaders Reunion and Mentorship Fund. Bring the whole family. Stay for the NAPUB meeting at 7:00 p.m. All Braille enthusiasts are invited, but former contestants and winners are extended a special invitation.

Friday, July 2

* 7:00 a.m. NOPBC Board Meeting

Evening--NOPBC Parent and Youth Workshops

* 7:00–9:00 p.m. Astronomy Is for Everyone

Drop in anytime; everyone is welcome. Children must be accompanied by adults. Look at hands-on models and tactile maps. Astronomers Noreen Grice and Dr. Dennis Dawson will answer your questions, describe the materials, and demonstrate that everyone can access astronomy.

* 7:00–8:00 p.m. The Benefits of Sleepshade (Blindfold) Training for Partially Sighted Children and Youth

Does it really help? Why do the NFB training centers use sleepshades? Are sleepshades effective for young children in school settings? Can parents use them effectively? Should parents learn techniques under sleepshades? Come with your questions and an open mind, and we will honestly explore a topic frequently shunned or dismissed by traditionally trained O and M instructors.

* 8:00–9:30 p.m. Standards, Accountability, IDEA, and No Child Left Behind: What Do They Mean for Blind Students?

An update on the status of significant education legislation and trends in education policy and practice with an emphasis on their impact on the education of blind students. Moderated by NOPBC second vice president Marty Grieser. Legislative update from NFB Director of Governmental Affairs James McCarthy and other informative guest speakers.

Childcare for the above NOPBC workshops will be available for a reasonable donation, courtesy of NOPBC.

Saturday, July 3

* Tour Afternoon

The NOPBC encourages parents and children to take the afternoon off and enjoy Atlanta. We especially recommend the Fernbank Science Center and Planetarium Touch the Universe tour. NOPBC has collaborated with the NFB of Georgia to bring astronomers Noreen Grice and Dr. Dennis Dawson to Atlanta to assist with this special activity.

* 7:00 p.m. Audio-Described Family Night at the Movies

Movie title to be announced. Presented by NOPBC and the National Captioning Institute, Described Media Department.

Dialysis at National Convention

by Ed Bryant

During this year's annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, June 29, through Monday, July 5, dialysis will be available. Those requiring dialysis must have a transient patient packet and physician's statement filled out prior to treatment. Conventioneers must have their unit contact the desired location in the Atlanta area for instructions well in advance. Note: The convention will take place at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, in downtown Atlanta.

Individuals will be responsible for and must pay out of pocket prior to each treatment the approximately $30 not covered by Medicare, plus any additional physicians' fees and any charges for other medications.

Dialysis centers should set up transient dialysis locations at least two months in advance. This helps assure a location for anyone wanting to dialyze. Atlanta has many centers, but that area is quite large, so early reservation is strongly recommended to avoid long taxi rides. Remember, this is a major holiday weekend, and folks will be busy.

Here are some dialysis locations:

Atlanta Dialysis, 448 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, local telephone (404) 872-5311; to schedule, call Geneva, (404) 761-0819. Approximately five minutes by taxi from hotel.

Dialysis Clinic, Inc., 820 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30308, telephone (404) 888-4520.

Midtown Dialysis Center, 121 Linden Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, local telephone (404) 817-9700; to schedule, (800) 400-8331.

Gambro Healthcare, 699 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Suite 19, Atlanta, GA 30308; telephone (404) 872-7211. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday only.

Please remember to schedule dialysis treatments early to ensure space. If scheduling assistance is needed, have your dialysis unit's social worker contact me: Diabetes Action Network Board Member Ed Bryant, telephone (573) 875-8911. See you in Atlanta.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The general session dais with sponsor logos displayed across the front side]

Announcement for National Convention Exhibitors

by Jerry Lazarus

By now most of our previous exhibitors have received the national convention exhibitor packet, which includes the invitation letter, application, fact sheet, guidelines, and sponsorship opportunities available this year for the 2004 convention in Atlanta, Georgia. We would like to call your attention to the levels of sponsorship opportunities available for the first time. This year we are breaking new ground in the amount of visibility and recognition an exhibitor can receive by becoming a sponsor at the NFB convention. The following are some highlights and associated benefits of participating as a sponsor.

The top level this year will be known as the Title Sponsor. The sponsors at this level will have an unparalleled opportunity to address the entire National Federation of the Blind assembly during the opening day of the General Session. What better way to get your message across than to have the attention of all of our attendees? In addition, the Title Sponsor(s) will also select the featured speaker to address the Community Partnership Breakfast. A featured picture ad will be displayed on the National Federation of the Blind home page for thirty days, in addition to links direct to your Web site from our NFB Web site. The first Title Sponsor to sign up will receive the entire back cover of our national convention program agenda for advertising. The second title sponsor to sign up will receive the inside back cover.

New benefits are also available this year for all sponsors. Beginning this year for the first time, we will open the Exhibit Hall for a special evening dedicated only to Sponsor-Level Exhibitors. This includes all the categories: Title, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Exhibit Hall. On Friday evening, July 2, the Exhibit Hall will reopen from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. for these exhibitors only. (Exhibitors that have only purchased a table will not be allowed to open during these special hours.) We encourage you to invite guests into the hall for special offers and demonstrations. During these hours the amplification system will be available for the sponsors that would like to make announcements about their products or to offer special deals to those in attendance. An article can be submitted to appear in our online publication, due to premiere by the time of the 2004 convention.

The following breakdown provides specific details on each of the levels of sponsorship. Please read through the merits associated with each of these levels and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Title Sponsorship, $25,000

* Twenty complimentary convention registrations

* Opportunity to address General Session on Friday, July 2

* Twenty places at the Community Partnership Breakfast Friday, July 2, and opportunity to choose a featured speaker

* Twenty places and special recognition at the NFB Banquet, Sunday evening, July 4

* Two tables in the Exhibit Hall

* Signage on four walls in Exhibit Hall

* Name and logo featured on stage banners

* Use of Exhibit Hall on Friday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

* Special listing in convention agenda mentioning the sponsors and their use of the hall on Friday evening

* Premium placement of full-page ad in the convention agenda

* Picture ad on the National Federation of the Blind Web site home page for thirty days

* Listing on NFB Web site under Exhibitors at National Convention, with a direct link to your Web site

* Opportunity to write an article for the NFB online publication with appropriate direct links

Platinum Sponsorship, $15,000

* Fifteen complimentary convention registrations

* Opportunity to address General Session on Friday, July 2

* Fifteen places at the Community Partnership Breakfast Friday, July 2

* Fifteen places and special recognition at the NFB Banquet, Sunday evening, July 4

* Two tables in the Exhibit Hall

* Signage on two walls in Exhibit Hall

* Use of Exhibit Hall on Friday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

* Special listing in convention agenda mentioning the sponsors and their use of the hall on Friday evening

* Name and logo featured on stage banners

* One full-page ad in the convention agenda

* Listing on NFB Web site under Exhibitors at National Convention, with a direct link to your Web site

* Opportunity to write an article for the NFB online publication with appropriate direct links

Gold Sponsorship, $10,000

* Ten complimentary convention registrations

* Ten places at the Community Partnership Breakfast Friday, July 2

* Ten places and recognition at the NFB Banquet, Sunday evening, July 4

* Table in the Exhibit Hall

* Use of Exhibit Hall on Friday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

* Special listing in convention agenda mentioning the sponsors and their use of the hall on Friday evening

* Name and logo featured on stage banners

* One full-page ad in the convention agenda

* Listing on NFB Web site under Exhibitors at National Convention, with a direct link to your Web site

* Opportunity to write an article for the NFB online publication with appropriate direct links

Silver Sponsorship, $5,000

* Five complimentary convention registrations

* Ten places at the Community Partnership Breakfast Friday, July 2

* Ten places and recognition at the NFB Banquet, Sunday evening, July 4

* Use of Exhibit Hall on Friday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

* Special listing in convention agenda mentioning the sponsors and their use of the hall on Friday evening

* One half-page ad in the convention program

* Listing on NFB Web site under Exhibitors at National Convention * Opportunity to write an article for the NFB online publication

Exhibit Hall, $2,500

* Five complimentary convention registrations

* Five places at the Community Partnership Breakfast Friday, July 2

* Five places at the NFB Banquet, Sunday evening, July 4

* Use of Exhibit Hall on Friday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

* Special listing in convention agenda mentioning the sponsors and their use of the hall on Friday evening

* One quarter-page ad in the convention program

* Listing on NFB Web site under Exhibitors at National Convention

* Opportunity to write an article for the NFB online publication

For more information about signing up as a sponsor for the convention, please review the information that came in your convention packet or contact: Mr. Jerry L. Lazarus, Director of Special Projects, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (410) 659-9314, extension 2297, email <[email protected]>, Web site,


This month's recipes come from members of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Karen Mayry]

Dad's Hot Dish

by Karen Mayry

Karen Mayry is president of the NFB of South Dakota. She and her husband Marsh continue to enjoy Karen's dad's favorite dish.


1 pound ground meat, browned

1 large potato, sliced

4 carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 to 2 cups bouillon

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Layer all ingredients in baking dish. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. You can prepare this dish in a crock pot if desired.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Clayton Hyde]

Corn Pudding

by Clayton Hyde

Clayton Hyde is vice president of the Ponderosa Chapter.


2 cups cream style corn

2 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 tablespoon tapioca

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Buttered bread crumbs

Method: Mix all ingredients except crumbs, adding corn and beaten eggs last. Pour into casserole and cover with buttered bread crumbs. Bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes at 350 degrees or until set.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Mike Klimisch]

Mike's Magic Malt

by Mike Klimisch

Mike Klimisch is the secretary of the NFB of South Dakota and president of the Falls Chapter.


3 cups skim milk

1 package frozen strawberries

1 banana (peeled)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

1 tablespoon uncooked oatmeal

1 teaspoon ground flax seed

1/2 teaspoon flax seed oil

Method: Place all ingredients in blender and blend. Add more milk as needed for desired consistency. This would be a great drink for breakfast as well.

Eggless, Butterless, and Milkless Cake

by Erma Rogers

Erma Rogers is a member of the Falls Chapter. She is ninety-two.


2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

2 cups water

2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups raisins

1 cup applesauce

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Chopped nuts, optional

Additional chopped fruit (apple, oranges, etc.), optional

Method: Combine sugar, shortening, water, spices, and salt in a kettle and boil covered for three minutes. Add raisins and allow mixture to cool until shortening begins to solidify. Stir in applesauce. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and stir into sugar mixture. At this point you can add chopped nuts and fruit to taste. Pour into greased and floured pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Hamburger Pie

by Deb Nefler

Deb Nefler is secretary of the Falls Chapter of the NFB of South Dakota.


1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound ground beef

1 can tomato soup

1 can corn or green beans

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

Method: Cook potatoes in salted water till tender. While potatoes are cooking, brown onion and ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. While they are browning, heat tomato soup and add corn and or beans. Add tomato and vegetable mixture to the hamburger. Pour this mixture into greased casserole. Mash potatoes with the milk and egg and cover the meat mixture with mashed potatoes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for thirty minutes or until mixture is bubbly and potatoes are lightly browned. Serves four. Note: I double the recipe and cook it in a 13-by-9-inch dish. My family eats it all; there are no leftovers.

Chicken Chow Mein

by Deb Nefler


Vegetable cooking spray

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

2-to-3 cups frozen Chinese vegetables

1 14-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chicken-flavored bouillon granules

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 cups water

Method: Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat till hot. Add onion, celery, and green pepper and cook, stirring constantly, three minutes or till vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in chicken, Chinese vegetables, mushrooms, and cumin and cook over medium heat for one minute. Dissolve bouillon granules and cornstarch in cold water. Add to mixture in pan and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly till thickened and bubbly. Note: Chicken chow mein may be served over chow mein noodles or hot cooked rice. Serves seven with one-cup servings.

Strawberry Mousse

by Deb Nefler


1 (0.3-ounce) package sugar-free strawberry-flavored gelatin

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk

6 ice cubes

Method: Combine gelatin and water in small saucepan, stirring well. Let stand one minute. Cook over low heat one minute or till gelatin dissolves, stirring constantly. Combine gelatin mixture, strawberries, and dry milk in container of an electric blender. Cover and process till smooth. Uncover and add ice cubes, one at a time, processing till blended. Spoon mixture into 6 parfait glasses. Cover and refrigerate till thoroughly chilled. If you prefer, you can use regular gelatin.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Glenn Crosby]

South Dakota Grilled Steak

by Glenn Crosby

Glenn Crosby is first vice president of the NFB of South Dakota.


1/3 cup black or mixed peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons coffee beans

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

4 buffalo steaks (Use beef when buffalo is not available.)

1 1/2 cups red wine

1/4 cup steak sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons paprika

Method: In a spice grinder or pepper mill, grind pepper, coriander seeds, and coffee beans. Add salt and cilantro. Press spice mixture onto both sides of steaks and place in large plastic food bags or a glass baking dish. Combine wine, steak sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and paprika; pour over meat. Close bags or cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Turn steaks once or twice as they marinate. (Reserve about a half cup of the marinade for grilling.) Remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat grill to medium. Cook steaks over medium coals to desired doneness, allowing ten to fifteen minutes per side for medium. Brush steaks with marinade as they cook. Let steaks stand a few minutes before slicing.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Norma Crosby]

South Dakota Walleye

by Norma Crosby

Norma Crosby is married to Glenn Crosby, and she is a leader in the NFB in her own right.


2 or more walleyed pike

1/2 cup corn meal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup shortening

Method: Cut walleye into serving-size pieces. Combine dry ingredients in bowl; combine egg and milk in a separate bowl. Melt shortening in a skillet over medium heat. Dip fish pieces into egg mixture, then flour, and fry in hot shortening until golden brown and inside of fish is opaque and flakes when pierced with fork.

Buffalo Pie

by Norma Crosby


1 1/2 cup cooked and shredded buffalo

1/8 cup corn oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5 poblano chiles, seeded and chopped

5 tomatillos, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

salt to taste

12 corn tortillas

1 1/2 cups mild Gouda cheese

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)

1/2 cup sour cream (for garnish)

Method: Remember that you must cook the buffalo before preparing the rest of the casserole. Heat two tablespoons of the corn oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the onions until soft. Add the garlic, poblano, and tomatillos and let them cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until the poblano is soft. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook for another ten minutes. Add cream and cook for five minutes more.

Purée the poblano sauce in a blender until smooth, strain, and return to the pan. Season with salt and reduce some more if necessary. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon.

Heat a few tablespoons of corn oil over medium-high heat and cook the tortillas in it for no more than ten seconds. Drain on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place six tortillas on the bottom of a shallow baking or casserole dish (about 9-by-11 inches or 10-by-10 inches; shape does not matter). Cover the tortillas with half of the shredded buffalo, ladle on half the sauce, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat with a second layer. Cover and cook for thirty-five minutes, then uncover to brown lightly on top.

Cut into serving-size pieces and garnish with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Serves nine to ten.

Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Donations Needed for 2004 Braille Book Flea Market:

Donate your gently used but no longer wanted Braille books to the 2004 annual Braille Book Flea Market, sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks and books suitable for children and young adults are preferred. Books may be shipped Free Matter for the Blind between April 1 and June 1, 2004, to:

UPS HR Department General Office

215 Marvin Miller Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30336

Att: Christy Davis

Re: NFB Conference Materials

Do not mark the packages or boxes in any other way, and use the address exactly as given here. Donations from the flea market will be used to support the Braille Readers Are Leaders expanded literacy program.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dan Burke holds a bouquet of roses made of $5 bills that he won as a door prize at the banquet.]

Convention Notes and Reminders:

The March issue contained a misprint in the address for ordering tour packages for convention. The address should have read: NFB of Georgia, P.O. Box 56859, Atlanta, Georgia 30343. The initial 5 was omitted from the post office box number. We regret the error.

Remember that, if you wish to send door prizes for convention ahead of time, you can ship them to Thelma Godwin, 1705 Paradise Drive, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30307. Please label all prizes with the donor's name and the value of the item, and remember to indicate what the prize is.

At its fall meeting the board of directors regretfully voted to decline door prizes containing alcohol in future. We therefore request affiliates, chapters, and individuals to refrain from soliciting such prizes.


Lynn Heitz reports that in November of 2003 the NFB of Pennsylvania conducted elections at its annual convention. Those elected were James Antonacci, president; Judy Jobes, first vice president; Lynn Heitz, second vice president; Connie Johnson, secretary; Charles Morgenstern, treasurer; and Denice Brown, Lisa Mattioli, Rodney Powell, Mark Stracks, Cary Supalo, and Mike Wolk, members of the board of directors.

In January of 2004 the Keystone Chapter of the NFB of Pennsylvania held its elections. The following officers were elected: Lynn Heitz, president; Mary Brucker, first vice president; Harriet Go, second vice president; Georgia Nowaxzyk, secretary; and Patricia Grebloski, treasurer.


The Capital District Chapter of the NFB of New York held its election on February 27, 2004, and the following officers were elected: Craig Hedgecock, president; Jackie Batista, vice president; Rick Nestler, treasurer; Rey Torres, secretary; and Beverly Parker, board member.

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.

Volunteers Needed to Complete New Braille Music Survey:

Most people who use Braille music--as well as those who teach it, produce it, or distribute it--would probably agree that locating and obtaining the Braille music scores they need or want is often difficult or impossible. Serious musicians who use Braille music regard this shortage as a critical problem in need of an aggressive solution.

Last year, in response to these concerns, the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union created a special task force whose purpose was "to examine the status of Braille music transcription in North America and to determine if there is a need to increase the capacity to produce it."

The taskforce was chaired by Dr. Tuck Tinsley, president of the American Printing House for the Blind, and it included representatives from each of the various agencies and organizations that make up the North America/Caribbean Region. Karen McDonald, second vice president of the National Association of Blind Musicians (the NFB's music division) represented the National Federation of the Blind on the taskforce.

McDonald reports that the working group has now developed a comprehensive survey aimed at gathering important information about Braille music such as who purchases it; where it is produced; the types of music (classical, popular, vocal, instrumental) that are most widely used; the quality of the product; the timeliness of delivery; and any difficulties that people have experienced in obtaining the Braille music they need.

The next step is to reach as many people as possible who are interested in responding to the survey. The greater the number of respondents, the more accurate and complete the survey findings will be.

The NFB national office is helping to disseminate the survey to members and others interested in completing it. Requests for the survey form in Braille or large print should be sent to Mrs. Patricia Maurer, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. An electronic version is available by sending an email request to <[email protected]>.

Anyone wishing to complete the survey online can go to the Web site of the American Printing House for the Blind at <>. The deadline for submitting completed surveys is June 1, 2004. Blind musicians, parents and teachers of blind children, transcribers, and others with a particular knowledge of and interest in the subject are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the future of Braille music in North America.

Optelec Sets Sights on Blindness Market:

On February 16, 2004, we received the following press release:

Optelec, Inc., a subsidiary of the Tieman Group (NL) and the leading supplier of video and hand magnifiers for those with low vision, announced today that it will enter the blindness market with a complete line of adaptive products designed to increase the mobility and connectivity of blind children and adults. Product launch is set for the second half of 2004.

Heading the project is Larry Lewis, the newly appointed vice president of blindness sales

. Larry joins Optelec from Pulse Data International, a New Zealand-based company. While at Pulse Data Larry led the development of the BrailleNote"℠family of personal data assistants, serving as both product manager and head of U.S. sales. Under Larry's gui摡湣攠瑨

idance the product became the premiere portable information management system to date. Most important, this technology has changed the lives of thousands of blind users within educational, vocational, and residential settings.

Lewis said: "I'm enthused by the opportunity to work with the Tieman Group and to develop a blindness division for Optelec. For years Optelec has set the standard for providing the most innovative solutions to North America's low-vision market, and I welcome the challenge of mirroring this stellar effort by introducing and driving the most innovative product line designed to serve blind people."

Congenitally blind, Lewis was mainstreamed into the public school system. He is a fluent Braille reader and writer and a strong advocate of Braille literacy. His Braille reading and writing skills allowed him to attain a comprehensive formal education, holding both an MA in English and an MS in special education (blind rehabilitation). Lewis has an extensive background in assessing, training, and recommending systems for those who require adaptive speech or Braille solutions.

Annette Fasnacht, president of Optelec U.S., Inc., said: "I am delighted to have Larry on our team; his broad experience and personal success bring excellent leadership to this project. Larry has a true passion for technologies that allow the blind to be mainstreamed into schools and compete in the workplace. Larry's presence coupled with the extensive product development efforts underway at Tieman in the Netherlands will allow Optelec to develop products and services that will change the lives of blind people."

[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Audio-Read handheld navigator]


Tony Blackwood is a director of an Australian company called Audio-Read. After attending the grand opening of the NFB Jernigan Institute, he made a presentation of his company's portable audio player to the NFB research and development committee. I was impressed enough with this product to ask him to tell Monitor readers about it. He suggests that we think of the Audio-Read as a portable NFB-NEWSLINE® player to listen to your favorite newspaper or magazine anywhere, anytime. This is what he says:

The Audio-Read System is also a suite of hardware, software, and audio content designed to provide print-disabled readers access to newspapers, magazines, and books. Fast delivery of content, ease of use, and simple content navigation are key features. Audio-Read came about because the mother of one of our directors lost most of her vision through age-related macular degeneration. Trudy was an avid reader and was devastated by the sudden onset of this disease. We looked at the alternatives available to give her the print access she was used to, but no single option fitted the bill. So we formed Audio-Read and set about designing a purpose-built player to give Trudy the freedom to read again.

Because Trudy was in her late seventies and had no previous computer experience, we designed the system to hide the underlying technology. We designed a custom-built, handheld Audio Navigator and set-top box. These two pieces of hardware would automatically gather her news and audio books from the Internet and put them into a format she could easily use. Here is a brief description of some of the portable Audio-Navigator's features:

1. Solid state, with no moving parts

2. Battery life of over thirty hours for continuous audio playback

3. Capacity of twenty-four hours of audio material

4. Simple, three-level navigation controls

5. Simple, intuitive operation suitable for older users and typical leisure readers

6. Automatic bookmarks within each book

7. Lightweight and robust

8. Ergonomic design

9. Easy to use--operation learning time of two to three minutes

10. Both built-in speaker and standard earphone jack

11. All button operations audibly acknowledged

12. Remotely upgradable new software downloadable from the Internet

13. Secure, making publishers happy

14. Zero media costs--all memory is internal

15. User-customized messages and commands

Of course having a portable player and seamless way to get content is of no use without the content. So we contacted major Australian news publishers and now offer daily newspapers and a selection of magazines. We approached audio book publishers, hoping to make their content available economically. We now have agreements with major publishers including the BBC (who owns Chivers), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and many other smaller niche producers.

Audio-Read uses digital technology to deliver its content, so users can be anywhere in the world and still receive their local newspapers or selected audio books.

Here are some of the projects we are working on:

* We have successfully trialed our system in South Australia, and we are about to embark on a full rollout in conjunction with the public library of South Australia.

* We are working with the Royal National Institute of the Blind UK to provide daily delivery of DAISY-based TV guides, newspapers, timetables, and magazines.

* We are working on several projects providing accessible text-based information for local government authorities.

* We are working closely with public libraries to evaluate the use of Audio-Read for delivery and playback of digital audio books.

* We have a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline and will be releasing details in our newsletter in the coming months. We hope to present the Audio-Read system at the NFB's annual convention in Atlanta in July. I am looking forward to being back in the U.S.A., and I have been assured that the weather in Atlanta in July will be nothing like the weather in Baltimore in January.

For more information about the Audio-Read service, you can register your interest by dropping us a short email at <[email protected]>. or learn more about us at <>.

Braille NASCAR Racing Schedules Now Available:

For a free NASCAR Racing Schedule in Braille contact Linda at Braille International, Inc. The schedule includes the NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck Series races. To order phone (888) 336-3142 or email <[email protected]>.

New Rates for InternetSpeech's netECHO:

InternetSpeech's netECHO® is the only voice Internet service to give you access to the entire Web without a computer. You can surf and browse any Web site, listen to and respond to your email, search any word, and much more--pretty much anything you can do using a computer and visual browser, you can now do by phone.

The rates are very affordable. Program A: $12 a month, unlimited use. You call a toll number in the 408 area code. Program B: $21 a month. You call a toll-free number. Includes five hours of use, five cents per minute for additional minutes for the U.S. and Canada. There is a one-time set up fee of $20 for both programs.

Just call (877) 312-4638 or (408) 360-7730 to learn more and sign up. You can also visit our Web site at <>.

Independent Living Aids, Inc., Acquires Ann Morris Enterprises:

We recently received the following press release:

Independent Living Aids, Inc., the country's oldest privately held mail-order business specializing in products for the blind and visually impaired, acquired Ann Morris Enterprises on February 1, 2004. Ann Morris has been in business for eighteen years and is one of the most respected and established mail-order companies in the industry. ILA is in its twenty-seventh year of continuous operation.

ILA intends to maintain the Ann Morris identification by continuing to publish its catalog of unique products for the visually impaired and by maintaining its Web site <>. Ann Morris, regarded as the Lillian Vernon of the blind mail-order industry, will assist with the transition and will share her expertise on an on-going basis. The acquisition enhances both companies' product lines, which ultimately benefits all customers. ILA can now offer a more comprehensive range of CAN-DO( Products through its catalogs and on its Web site <>

Exploring Independence:

Candle in the Window will hold its eighteenth conference from Wednesday, August 11, through Sunday, August 15, 2004, at the Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center, outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Participants will explore many aspects of independence within and outside the blindness community. For instance, if independence is so desirable, why do so many people resist it so mightily, and why do others value it above all else?

Cost for the conference will be $240, which covers lodging, meals, conference materials, and transportation to and from Louisville International Airport. Participants sending a $35 deposit postmarked no later than July 15 will qualify for a $15 discount on conference fees. Payment plans and scholarships will be available.

For more information contact Jonathan Ice, (319) 298-2919, <[email protected]>, or Kathy Szinnyey, (502) 895-0866, <[email protected]>.

Monitor Mart

The notice in this section has 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 product for sale.

For Sale:

I am selling a simple-to-use color identifier with two buttons. It will tell you color, brightness, saturation, and hue. I am asking $450 or best offer. Those interested can call or email me at daytime phone (202) 345-3609, email <[email protected]>.



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.