Braille Monitor                                                    August/September 2008

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Convention Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Imagine Fund Medallion Recipients:

The following Federationists each raised at least $1,000 by the close of the 2008 Imagination Fund campaign on Thursday, July 31. Congratulations to them all.

Lindsay Adair
Kimberly Aguillard
Sheri Albers
Charlie Allen
Jennifer Applegate
Trevor Attenberg
Al Bickell
Allen Bornstein
Kristi Bowman
Denice Brown
Bridgid Burke
Dan Burke
Larry Campbell
Don Capps
Judith Chwalow
Lorelei Clark
Anthony Cobb
Katie and Kristie Colton
Chelsea Cook
Joe Cordova
Harlon Cowsar
Kathy Davis
Parnell Diggs
Cheryl Echevarria
April Enderton
Paul Ficarro
Nick Gacos
Nelly Gamino
Laura Garrity
Allen Harris
Rick Holley
Justin Hughes
Cathy Jackson
Janice Jeang
Mary Ellen Jernigan
Harvey Johnson
Kayleigh Joiner
Joanne Jordan
Darrel Kirby
Scott LaBarre
Ann-Marie Laney
Jerry Lazarus
Tom and Eileen Ley
Herbert Magin
Lorraine Magnussen
Ray Marshall
Marc Maurer
Patricia Maurer
James McCarthy
Emma McCready
Richard McGaffin
Maryanne Melley
Patricia Miller
Ed Morman
Jack and Pat Munson
Beatrice Oliveti
Sharon Omvig
Jim Omvig
Ronza Othman
Tom Page
Megan and Adam Palmer
Cindy Paré
John Paré
Amy Phelps
Barbara Pierce
Gary Ray
Dolores Reisinger
Mark Riccobono
Jordan Richardson
Kayde Rieken
Beth Rival
Charles Rival
Alpidio Rolón
Joe Ruffalo
Judy Sanders
Dwight Sayer
Arthur Schreiber
Cathy Schroeder
Fredric Schroeder
J. Webster Smith
David Stayer
Art Stevenson
Virgil Stinnett
Robert Strassburger
Jacob Struiksma
Joie Stuart
Tom Supers
Connie Taylor
Anne Taylor
Janet Urban
Evelyn Valdez
Charles Vaughan
Benjamin Vercellone
Ramona Walhof
Kim Williams
Thomas Winholtz
Kevan Worley
Karen Zakhnini


Each year at convention a number of divisions elect officers. Here are the results we have received:

Performing Arts:

Elected to two-year terms were president, Dennis Holston (New York); vice president, Brooke Fox (New York); secretary, Beth Allred (Colorado); and board members, Anthony Evans (Maryland), Gary Kammerer (Maryland), and Laurie Hunter (Arkansas).

The Diabetes Action Network:

The DAN conducted elections on July 1, 2008. The following officers were elected: president, Mike Freeman (Washington); first vice president, Bernadette Jacobs (Maryland); second vice president, Minnie Walker (Alabama); secretary, Diane Filipe (Colorado); treasurer, Joy Stigile (California); and board members, LeAnne Mayne, (Illinois), Maria Bradford (Washington), and Ed Bryant (Missouri).

National Association of Blind Veterans:

The NABV held elections to replace people who could not continue in the positions to which they were elected in the division-formation meeting in 2007. The results were as follows: second vice president, Tom Stevens (Missouri); treasurer, Allen Bornstein (Florida); secretary, Sidonia Stames (Minnesota); and board members, Twila Lai (Hawaii) and Jim Whorley (Arkansas).

National Association of Blind Office Professionals:

Lisa Hall reports the NABOP election results for the 2008-2010 term as follows: president, Lisa Hall (Ohio); vice president, Mary Donahue (Texas); secretary, Kevin Ledford (Utah); and treasurer, Debbie Brown (Maryland).

National Organization of Blind Educators:

Sheila Koenig, NOBE president, writes to report that David Ticchi (Massachusetts) and Cayte Mendez (New York) were elected to the NOBE board of directors.

NFB Assistive Technology Trainers Division:

Michael Barber reports election results as follows: president, Michael D. Barber (Iowa); vice president, Jim Portillo (Washington); secretary, Richard Ring (Iowa); treasurer, Joshua Boudreau (Louisiana); and board members, Nancy Coffman (Nebraska), Joe Steincamp (Texas), and Deb Kelly (Iowa).

National Association of Blind Merchants:

This year at the NABM’s annual meeting, members elected the following: Kevan Worley (Colorado), president; Nicky Gacos (New Jersey), first vice president; Pam Schnurr (Indiana), second vice president; Kim Williams (Tennessee), secretary; John Jones (Virginia), treasurer; and board members, Harold Wilson (Virginia), Don Hudson (Colorado), Sharon Paris (Tennessee), and Deb Smith (Iowa).

National Association of Guide Dog Users:

NAGDU board members (left to right) Liz Campbell, Michael Hingson, Toni Whaley, Sherrill O'Brien, and Marion GwizdalaMarion Gwizdala reports the results of the NAGDU division elections for 2008: president, Marion Gwizdala (Florida); vice president, Michael Hingson (California); secretary, Sherrill O'Brien (Florida); treasurer, Antoinette Whaley (Pennsylvania); and board members, Elizabeth Campbell (Texas), Marsha Lindsey (Texas); and Meghan Whalen (Wisconsin).

NFB Krafters Division:

On July 1, 2008, the following people were elected to office in the newly formed NFB Krafters Division: president, Joyce Kane (Connecticut); first vice president, Cindy Sheets (Indiana); second vice president, Laurie Porter (Wisconsin); treasurer, Diane Filipe (Colorado); secretary, Audrey Wellner (Connecticut); and board members Kris Lewis (Virginia) and Ramona Walhof (Idaho).

Deaf-Blind Division:

The Deaf-Blind Division conducted elections on Tuesday, July 1, with the following results: president, Burnell Brown (Washington, D.C.); first vice president, Bob Deaton (Nebraska); second vice president, Bob Eschbach (Arizona); secretary, Pat Tuck (Florida); treasurer, Bruce Woodward (Connecticut); and board members, Joe Naulty (Florida) and Claudette Tedrick (New Mexico).

National Organization of Parents of Blind Children:

The NOPBC conducted elections on Tuesday, July 1. The following officers were elected: president, Carrie Gilmer (Minnesota); president emeritus, Barbara Cheadle (Maryland); first vice president, Carol Castellano (New Jersey); second vice president, Brad Weatherd (Wyoming);  secretary, Laura Weber (Texas); treasurer, Sandy Taboada (Louisiana); and board members--Jim Beyer (Montana), Rose Marie Bowman (Michigan), Merry-Noel Chamberlain (Virginia), Denise Colton (Utah), Cindy Conley (Ohio), Dave Hammel (Iowa), Stephanie Kieszak-Holloway (Georgia), Barbara Mathews (California), Pat Renfranz (Utah), and Carlton Anne Cook Walker (Pennsylvania).

Division Report of the National Association of Blind Veterans:

Dwight Sayer reports that the NABV conducted its first full annual meeting on Tuesday, July 1, 2008. Envision America made presentations on the ID Mate and ScriptTalk Plus, equipment that the Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing through its VIST program. We also had a special report on the Middle East from Captain Jason Ballard, United States Army Active. He has been deployed to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once, with another deployment coming in the next sixty days. He is a true soldier and deserves our respect and prayers as do all our men , women, and families serving all over the world. We then issued the special commemorative NABV pins that Diane Filipe of Colorado made for our first annual meeting. We sold the hundred pins for $2 each. They sold out the next day. We presented pins to President and Mrs. Maurer on July 4 at our Independence Day and Veterans Celebration kicking off the Friday session. Visit our Website at <> to see pictures of that great celebration. We will soon begin production of a newsletter for veterans called the Vets Gazette. This will be sent to our members and other interested parties and will be posted on our Website. We have a great group of people working on behalf of all blind veterans, and we will continue to insist on blind veterans’ having enough information to make informed choices about their rehabilitation. The NFB training centers offer the best rehabilitation training for blind adults in the world. We want veterans who need and want the best training to have the opportunity to attend these centers: BLIND, Incorporated; the Colorado Center for the Blind; and the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Much more detailed information about these facilities will soon be posted on our Website.

On the Fourth of July we kicked off the convention session with a wonderful celebration that included Ms. Michelle Gittens, a graduate of BLIND, Inc. and a 2008 NFB scholarship winner, singing “God Bless America.” The veterans in attendance who wanted to join us on the platform introduced themselves and identified their service. The National Association of Blind Veterans is alive, well, and looking for blind veterans to join us in building a progressive and dynamic organization. Visit our Website for more information. See you in Detroit at the Marriott Renaissance Center in 2009.

Possible New NFB Groups:

Cheryl Echevarria, treasurer of the Greater Long Island Chapter, is interested in organizing a culinary arts interest group in the NFB. She also would like to start a Suffolk County, New York, Chapter. Anyone interested in either group please contact Cheryl at (631) 236-5138 or by email at <[email protected]>.

Merchants Make it a Great Convention:

As the Randolph-Sheppard Program faces threats to its very existence, the National Association of Blind Merchants took advantage of our NFB convention in Dallas to gear up for the fight to protect the priority, transforming the program to bring a set of even greater, more diverse business opportunities to the blind of America. The National Federation of the Blind passed two resolutions indicating the solidarity of the organized blind to defend and expand the Randolph-Sheppard Program.

Our proud and strong division is excited that John Fritz of Wisconsin, who manages his state’s vending service, was elected to the national board of directors. Ron Brown, who operates a vending business and owns other enterprises in Indianapolis, was elected to the position of second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind. We honored these two new board members at our Randolph-Sheppard reception on Thursday evening.

Again this year our fellow Federationists were kind and generous in their support of our snack pack and drawing fundraising efforts. Thanks to everyone.

Oldies Interest Group:

Do you like the music from the fifties and early sixties? Doo Wop or a capella groups with their tight harmony? If you like those oldies but goodies as much as I do, let’s get together and form an interest group. And what better venue to hold our first meeting than the Motor City next summer! Let’s share our music and memories in Detroit. For more information contact Jerry Moreno at (704) 814-7303 or email <[email protected]>.

2008 Braille Book Flea Market a Success:

Megan Palmer (UT) and Kristy Colton (UT) smile as they flip through Braille books.Peggy Chong reports that the 2008 Braille Book Flea Market took place Tuesday, July 1, and was again a big success. UPS volunteers brought in the eight loads of Braille books that people and organizations had been sending for months. We added these to the thirty cases brought directly to convention by NFB members themselves. Volunteers began to unbox, sort, and stack books on tables across the room. After four-and-a-half hours of work, we and several thousand Braille titles were ready to go.

The doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and within ninety minutes hundreds of people had selected their books and brought most of them to the mailing station, where volunteers boxed, addressed, and stacked the hundreds of boxes that went home to be enjoyed by our blind children. Again this year we received a few thousand print/Braille books, many of them handmade. As usual, in a short time none were left on the tables. It is gratifying to know that many young readers are getting their own books to keep and read over and over again, just as their sighted siblings do. We know that this will instill a love of reading in them and help make them successful blind people when they grow up.

Thank you to all those who helped make this event a big success, especially those from local churches and the UPS and AT&T volunteers who helped.

Krafters Division Gets off the Ground:

The division chat line meets every Monday night (unless otherwise stated) at 7:00 p.m. Central Time, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. The phone number to dial is (712) 580-7700. Follow the prompts and enter the access code 27238. Say "Hello" after the chime, and you can then speak to whoever has dialed in that evening. If you don't have unlimited long-distance phone service, you will be billed for the call, but any other caller with three-way calling can conference you in. Laurie Porter, our chat line moderator, can help with any problems. She also knows when the next online class will be given and what the subject will be. Joyce Kane can be reached at <[email protected]>.

Congratulations to Diane Filipe for her marvelous job and Gold Star Design Award for our first-ever Krafters Korner handmade lapel pins. They were a very hot item at convention and caught the eye of President Maurer. Way to go, Diane! How about a contest for next year's design? What do you think?

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.

En-Vision America’s Snack Pack Challenge:

At this year’s convention, title sponsor En-Vision America’s products were front and center in the exhibit hall, right next to the information table and the talking ATM machine. Dave Raistrick, Anna McClure, Dave Bode, and Chad Allen challenged visitors to test their scanning skills with the I. D. Mate Omni. All game players had a chance to go home with an I. D. Mate Omni of their own. It was like a carnival game at a county fair: prizes, cheers, and a whole lot of fun. Only lemonade and cotton candy were missing; maybe next year.

The game was the Snack Pack Challenge. Each participant played against the clock. In front of the player was a table with an I. D. Mate Omni, three small empty buckets, and one large bucket filled with grocery store items. The empty buckets were labeled “health and beauty,” “grocery,” and “pet products.” The object was to empty the large bucket into the smaller ones in less than two minutes by sorting the items correctly. The player picked up each item from the large bucket and scanned it with the I. D. Mate Omni. Once the Omni spoke the product name aloud, the player disposed of it in the correct bin and moved on to the next item until either the large bucket was empty or the clock ran out. Players with vision wore sleep shades or blindfolds.

Everyone who played went home with a prize. If you beat the clock, you won a merchants division snack pack. Everyone, win or lose, also drew a card from an En-Vision America deck, bar-coded so that each card could be read and identified by the I. D. Mate Omni. Those who drew black cards won a water bottle. Those who drew red cards won a T-shirt that said, “I survived the Snack-Pack Challenge.” Those who drew a joker won an I. D. Mate Omni.

All players also got the opportunity to learn how the I. D. Mate Omni works and how it identifies any bar-code-labeled item in a grocery or department store. I. D. Mate Omni can currently identify two million items with ease. The En-Vision America employees had a great time hosting the Snack-Pack Challenge and can’t wait to play with you again next convention.

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