Braille Monitor                                                           April 2007

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Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

The Braille Book Flea Market Needs Books:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2007 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, Twin Vision® books, and books suitable for children are badly needed. Last year we boxed up over 550 Twin Vision books for children in just a half an hour.

In a few weeks we will have a local address in Atlanta where you can send the Braille Books you wish to donate. Begin your search through the boxes in your basement and spare room, and get them ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or email her at <[email protected]>. Look for a Braille Book Flea Market update in the Braille Monitor very soon.

The Memphis Chapter of the NFB of Tennessee conducted an election on Saturday, January 20, 2007. The results were Lessie Hall, president; James Broadnax, first vice president; Geraldine Parker, second vice president; Helene Ballard, secretary; Evelyn Hogue, treasurer; and Lev Williams and June Mangum, board members.

The Wisconsin Association of Blind Merchants conducted elections on Saturday, November 11, 2006, at the state convention in Milwaukee. Elected officers are Roger Behm, president; Tom Jeray, vice president; John Fritz, treasurer and secretary; and Larry Sebranek and Brian Brown, board members.

On January 20, 2007, the Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas conducted an election. Here are the results: Angela Wolf, president; Mark Noble, first vice president; Norma Baker, second vice president; Cokie Craig, treasurer; Richie Flores, secretary; and Malcolm Graham and Pam Buttner-Brooks, board members.

Available Now:
“Dress for success!” “Maximize your message!” “Put your best foot forward!” These are more than tired old clichés; they are time-proven truths. The appropriate attire can boost your confidence and show the world that you are part of an important team. Imagine the impact your chapter or affiliate can make at educational events, public meetings, and fundraisers if all your members and supporters are attired in new, sharp, high-quality garments.

We can help you obtain shirts that will assist you in making that positive impression. Each short-sleeved golf shirt is stitched on the upper left chest with the National Federation of the Blind logo, including Whozit depicted in full color. These shirts can be customized to include the name of your state affiliate at no extra charge. Select a color unique for your affiliate or chapter and really stand out in the crowd at state and national conventions.

What an immediate and graphic reminder of the exciting opportunity we have to be proud members of the largest and most dynamic consumer organization of the blind in the world. Ordering is easy. Each chapter submits a prepaid order for shirts for its membership. Shirts will be shipped to the ordering chapter in about three weeks. They are available in adult sizes small to 3XL. We can process orders for twelve or more shirts, and your cost is an amazingly low $15 per shirt plus shipping. Available shirt colors are white, black, ash, California teal, heather gray, ivy, kelly, maroon, natural, navy, red, and royal. Order right away to ensure that you have the shirts before our 2007 national convention in Atlanta, June 30 through July 6. Interested in button-up shirts, caps, or tote bags? Ask for a quote on those too.

Those interested in more information should contact East Hillsborough Chapter member DJ Hackney at <[email protected]> or (863) 853-7776. Orders may also be placed and paid for online at <>.

The San Francisco Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California held an election on February 17, 2007 with the following results: president, Jason Holloway; vice president, David Chan; secretary, Lisa Gordon; treasurer, Lauren Manierre; and board members Paul Wich and Ryhonda Cruz.

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.

Small Donations Needed to Help Blind Women in Africa:
Greetings from Wendy Olson in Ghana.
You may remember from a past Monitor Miniature that I am an American teacher of the blind and visually impaired living and working in Ghana, West Africa. In the past three months I have started several disability-related projects, including one with the Blind Women’s Association (BWA) in the town of Wenchi, which has an unusually high population of blind people because many years ago the local high school created a resource room for the visually impaired. Several of the women who graduated from the high school met to form the BWA. Its main goal is to obtain employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed women.

About two months ago I was invited to attend a BWA meeting. The women had drawn up an impressive proposal for developing business opportunities for the neediest seven women of the group. The BWA selected these seven women because the government does not provide welfare; they have no jobs and no working husbands or family members to support them. Most have resorted to begging on the street. However, most of these women are more educated than their sighted peers.

BWA’s plan is to procure enough money to purchase kiosks or metal containers so that each woman can start a small business selling items such as soap, powder, lotions, or snacks. The group is currently researching options for micro-loans in order to purchase the goods to fill the stores. However, in order to qualify for a micro-loan, borrowers must already own land, some equipment, a small structure, or other asset. I am writing to members of the blindness community to ask for your assistance by donating a small amount of money to the BWA so that they can purchase a kiosk for each of the seven women (the cost of one kiosk is about $600). One hundred percent of your donation will go directly to the seven women in need.

If you are interested in making a donation, send your contribution to Sherry Ruth, 6922 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, Ohio 44035. Make your check payable to the NFB of Ohio. For more information you can contact me at <[email protected]>. You can also go to <> to see a photo of the seven women and an example of a kiosk which will be used for the businesses that they are hoping to start. Thank you. A dollar goes a long way in Africa.

Wendy Olson, TBVI

Unverified, but Probably True:
President Maurer writes that it has recently been reported that Ralph Sanders, who has allegedly been employed by the Sagebrush Organization [currently denominated National Training Conference for Blind Vendors], a creation of the American Council of the Blind, was fired. Sanders, it may be remembered, was at one time a member of the National Federation of the Blind and served briefly as president of the organization in the 1970s. He ceased his membership in the Federation in the 1980s. He is now a member of the American Council of the Blind, some say a leader of the organization.

The facts reported to me are that Ralph was supposed to plan the meeting of the Sagebrush Organization but that he failed to appear when the delegates gathered for the meeting. The Sagebrush firing is not the first that Ralph has known. He has been fired before. However, it is also reported that he hired a lawyer to speak to Sagebrush and to persuade the members of the group to maintain his employment. The persuasion apparently worked to Ralph's satisfaction, although the reports I have indicate that it was heavy-handed. People without guts deserve the employees they get.

It is also reported that a crony of Ralph Sanders, Mitch Pomerantz, who was himself at one time a member of the National Federation of the Blind but who joined the American Council of the Blind decades ago, has attempted to write cogent, pungent, insightful prose expressing dissatisfaction with the National Federation of the Blind. Apparently Mitch doesn't like our policy regarding currency. Mitch calls part of his diatribe a "modest proposal." However, he does not possess the wit or the trenchancy of Jonathan Swift, who composed the “Modest Proposal” that we studied in school.

That Ralph Sanders and Mitch Pomerantz are part of the same organization and that they are apparently friendly with one another is ironic. Mitch Pomerantz ceased to be a part of the National Federation of the Blind because of the actions of Ralph Sanders. Both Ralph and Mitch at one time declared that they supported the principles of the National Federation of the Blind. Now both of them try from time to time to tear down what at one point they were attempting to build. All of this would be largely irrelevant if it were not that a number of people say the National Federation of the Blind should join forces with the American Council of the Blind. If we must abandon our principles to join forces with the American Council of the Blind, the sacrifice is too great. The alteration would cause irreparable damage.

Attention Governor Morehead School Alumni:
If you ever attended the Governor Morehead School (either campus), you are part of the alumni. You did not have to graduate from GMS. Your former classmates and dorm mates want to hear from you. We want to place you on the alumni mailing list. Please send your student name and your current name, address, and phone number to Joyce H. Kemp, 3009 Whiting Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28205.

Congratulations for 100 Years of Service:
We recently received the following press release:
The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, the general-interest monthly that Helen Keller called a godsend, begins its second century of publication in March with a special anniversary issue.

She made that declaration in a letter published in the magazine's March 1907 inaugural issue, in which she also called the Ziegler, as it is known, "one of the most wonderful boons in the history of mankind." This most famous deaf and blind woman gave such high praise to the magazine because she knew how difficult it was for blind people to obtain reading matter one hundred years ago.

The early twentieth century was a time when neither the government nor private organizations were able to provide much support for the disabled. With limited prospects for entertainment and employment, intelligent blind men and women had little to do in the early 1900s. One thing they could do was read, and the fortunate ones had books in either the Braille or New York Point systems of embossed print. But one big obstacle stood between the blind and the books they so enjoyed: money. A book in raised type cost ten times the price of the same book in print or more.

As the mother of a blind son, Matilda Ziegler was aware of this group’s great need for reading material, and as heiress to a baking-powder fortune she was in a position to help. In one of history's great acts of charity, Mrs. Ziegler decided to use her inheritance to publish a free monthly magazine for every interested blind person.

Upon hearing about plans for the magazine, thousands of blind people wrote for subscriptions. Finally, in March 1907, the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind came into the hands of its eager subscribers, instantly attracting attention from the news media and praise from luminaries. Dozens of newspaper articles were written about the magazine, which Mark Twain described as "one of the noblest benefactions" of his lifetime. Many others agreed with his description, including presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt, who both wrote congratulatory letters that appeared in the inaugural issue.

These former presidents' letters will appear once again in the 2007 centennial issue, along with a selection of 1907 newspaper articles written about the founding of the publication. The one hundredth anniversary edition will also contain some items of interest reprinted from volume one, number one, of the Ziegler Magazine. In addition to a letter from the eloquent Ms. Keller, there will be current events from 1907 and a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "This, Too, Shall Pass."

Every issue of the Ziegler features a Readers Forum, which usually covers a variety of topics. But the March 2007 Readers Forum letters are about just one thing: appreciation for the magazine from its subscribers throughout the world. (Today the Ziegler goes to ninety-one countries.)

In the years since its founding, the Ziegler Magazine has become an institution in the blindness field, having touched the lives of tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired people. Thanks to the foresight and kindness of Mrs. William Ziegler, who established and endowed a foundation before her death in 1932, any legally blind person can receive--at no charge--the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, published in contracted Braille, on four-track/half-speed cassette, by email, and online at <>.

Conference Announcement:
Candle in the Window, a small national nonprofit organization with the aim of building both individual skills and a sense of community among people with visual impairments, welcomes blind people with varied experiences to join them at their twentieth annual conference entitled "Can You Relate: Navigating Relationships as Blind People." We aim to address such questions as:

In addition to provocative presentations and stimulating discussions, we will have plenty of time for hiking, eating, singing, quiet reflection, and just plain hanging out.

The conference will take place from Wednesday, August 8, through the morning of Sunday, August 12, at Wooded Glen, a lovely retreat center located in Henryville, Indiana, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. The cost is $360 ($15 discount if we receive a $35 nonrefundable deposit by July 1); limited scholarships and payment plans are available.

For additional information please contact Peter Altschul at (573) 445-5564, email <[email protected]>, or Kathy Szinnyey at (502) 895-0866, email <[email protected]>, or Jonathan Ice at (319) 298-2919, email <[email protected]>.

Attention Alumni of the Oregon State School for the Blind:
The Oregon State School for the Blind announces a reunion of alumni, staff, and friends to be held June 8 to 10, 2007, at the school in Salem, Oregon. Many stimulating and relaxing activities are planned including a sack lunch social, bowling, a banquet, and a dance with karaoke music. Limited lodging is available on a first-requested, first-served basis. Don't miss this exciting, fun-filled opportunity to visit with old and new friends. Registration packets have been sent to people whose names are on file. To ensure receipt of yours or for more details, contact Claude and Anne Garvin without delay: telephone (503) 232-1344, 3730 SE Alder Street, Portland, Oregon 97214-3208; email <[email protected]>.

A New Braille Song:
Rebecca Muzquiz is a sighted vocational rehabilitation teacher at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) in Austin, Texas. Although she is capable of reading Braille visually, she both learned and teaches it tactilely. She is a passionate supporter of Braille reading and an enthusiastic teacher.

The students in her Braille class got together and wrote a song, which was performed for the first time at the CCRC Louis Braille celebration. It’s easy to sing to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Try it.

Take me out to my Braille class;
Let's go learn some Braille.
Give me my slate and stylus,
Reading and writing mean independence.
So it's root, root, root for the Braille code.
If you don't know it, it's a shame.
With dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
It's a job you'll gain.

Let's go learn some Braille!

Looking for Campers:
If you know a blind or visually impaired youth who likes hiking, canoeing, swimming, sports, arts and crafts, campfires, and making music, we need your help. These are just a few of the activities at Camp T in Michigan. We're looking for campers.

If you know a kid who enjoys having fun while strengthening blindness skills, check out <>. Here are some upcoming events:

Family Camp--Includes networking and support for parents, siblings, and grandparents.
Adventure Sailing Trip on Lake Michigan, GPS/Technology Weekend--Experience high-tech travel from wilderness to city. For more information contact <[email protected]>, or call (866) 789-9065.

Monitor Mart

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

Sony Laptop Model F520 for Sale or Trade:
Asking $400 or will trade for a Franklin Language Master. Laptop is about five years old and in excellent condition.
Also selling a reconditioned Perkins Brailler. Asking $350.

Payment plan can be negotiated for either item. If interested, contact Nino Pacini at (313) 885-7330 or email <[email protected]>.

For Sale:
Freedom Scientific SARA (a stand-alone Scanning And Reading Appliance), still in shipping box. Never been opened. Comes with software upgrade to 7.8. Easy to use. Original price $2,795. Asking $2,000 or best offer.

Also Optelec Easy Link with PDA. Two years old. Hardly used. Comes with cable adapters, software, and cases. Asking $1,200 or best offer. Last, Victor Reader Vibe Portable CD Player with adapter. Hardly used. Original price $199. Asking $100 or best offer. Contact Lisamaria Martinez at (510) 289-2577 or by email at <[email protected]>.

For Sale:
I have the following items for sale:

1. Olympia portable color CCTV—one year old, like new condition. Comes with carrying case, battery, and charger. Asking $750 or best offer.

2. Flipper portable CCTV with twelve-inch LCD screen. Comes with charger and carrying case, features 3x to 12x magnification and also allows for longer distance viewing. This unit is only six months old and was used only a few times. Asking $1,500 or best offer.

3. VoiceNote notetaker with thirty-two-cell Braille display and qwerty keyboard. Comes with case and charger. Asking $500 or best offer.

If you are interested in any of these items, contact Lisa Smith, email <[email protected]>; phone (540) 280-7040.

For Sale:
I have an almost never used Braille ’n Speak 2000 with flash memory, adapter, Braille manual, and carrying case. The only flaw is that the zipper on the case does not work. Asking $500 or best offer. Please call Stephanie at (660) 665-2404.

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

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