Braille Monitor                                                    October 2009

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News from the Federation Family

Attention Braille, Large Print, and Cassette Monitor Readers:
In January 2010 we intend to clean up the Monitor database. If you wish to continue to receive the Braille Monitor in large print or Braille or on cassette, you must notify Marsha Dyer by email ([email protected]), phone (410-659-9314, ext. 2204), or mail (1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230). Be sure to tell her which format you wish to receive.

Remember that you can receive each issue by email at the beginning of the month by signing up at <>. Select Publications and then Braille Monitor. There you will see instructions for receiving the email edition. From that page you can also download individual articles or the entire Monitor in text or MP3 format.

Mildred Rivera-RauThe following profile of NFB of Maryland leader Mildred Rivera-Rau is currently posted on the American Bar Association Website.

Lawyer Spotlight, September 2009: Mildred A. Rivera-Rau, Esq.
Blind Latina Employment Lawyer Helps Promote Diversity in the Federal Workforce
With the recent rise of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court, Mildred A. Rivera-Rau, Esq. has a great deal of which to be proud. Just like Justice Sotomayor, Millie is a Puerto Rican woman with a disability who works for the federal government. There are important differences, however, as Millie makes her impact via the federal government as an award-winning attorney advisor for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C.

Millie was born legally blind with 20/200 vision in both eyes. After spending some of her high school years in Puerto Rico, she attended Cornell University and then the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Shortly after taking the bar exam in 1990, she was diagnosed with a brain disorder that severely impacts her mood without medication. For the first two years of her career she worked in a large San Francisco law firm, practicing labor and employment law. She was then recruited by the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and worked as a trial attorney in Baltimore for twelve years before being asked to serve as a special assistant to former EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez.

During her career she received awards from the EEOC for work on a class action sexual harassment lawsuit, EEOC disability initiatives, and the Commission's Spanish-language Website, as well as an award from the Maryland affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind for her outstanding volunteer activities with blind youth. Millie recently served a three-year term as a commissioner for the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law.

Currently Millie leads a team of EEO analysts that review federal agencies' equal employment opportunity programs for compliance and provide technical assistance. She also analyzes statistics regarding workforce composition in gender, race, national origin, and disability status. Basically she and her team make sure that federal entities have the programs and policies in place to ensure a barrier-free workforce. At work she accommodates her disability with a reader and ZoomText, a software program that enlarges text and serves as an audible screen reader. She also is permitted to work from home when necessary.

Becoming an employment lawyer was not a certainty. Before her first encounter with lawyers in a courtroom during college, Millie did not think she could be an attorney. "After watching them litigate, I discovered that lawyers are just regular people doing regular things. I honestly thought, ‘Hey, I can do that!'" she noted, "And the same thing applies to individuals with disabilities: we are just regular people who are capable of doing regular things. Sometimes people have to simply get past personal, preconceived notions to appreciate the opportunities that are out there."

When comparing her two roles at the EEOC, litigation and agency oversight, Millie finds they each have their own unique benefits, whether for her or the diversity movement. "Litigation was more fulfilling for me because I was able to see the result after the proceedings," she stated, "but on the other hand, agency oversight has the ability to affect more people across a broader spectrum." Either way, Millie says she has her dream job.

Betty and Don CappsThe Senate of the State of South Carolina issued a certificate honoring Betty and Don Capps on the occasion of their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Here is the text:

On motion of Senator Joel Lourie, Senate District 22, this certificate is presented to Betty and Don Capps in honor and recognition of your 60th wedding anniversary. Your love and commitment to one another is a great example of the beauty and strength of the institution of marriage.

The South Carolina Senate does hereby congratulate you on this momentous celebration and wishes you many more years of happiness together. Given this 21st day of June in the year two thousand nine, Jeffrey Garrett, clerk of the senate.

The NFB of Washington’s Inland Empire Chapter in Spokane reports the following election results: president, Maria Bradford; first vice president, John Croy; second vice president, Dolores Keyzer; recording secretary, Susan Lincoln; corresponding secretary, Gloria Whipple; treasurer, Judy Croy; and board members, Kyle Woodard and Lark Braun.

Donation of a Braille Embosser with Software Needed:
A year-old training center for blind children in Istanbul, Turkey, needs to create Braille materials for its students. Robert Leslie Newman is making this request. Recall my Monitor article in May 2007 titled “Structured Discovery Learning Goes to Turkey,” in which as a member of Blind Corps I participated on a team of Federationists who presented a demonstration project to show how we in the NFB training centers effectively teach blindness skills. We did go back again in 2008 to train the trainers and will be going again in 2010. This request is one outcome of our work in Turkey. That is to say, Parilta, the largest provider of services to blind children in Istanbul, has established a training center for blind children. Several of the staff have been our students. They do not have the funding to purchase their own embosser and embossing software, and we in Blind Corps hope and believe that somewhere in our NFB family someone has a working embosser and software that needs a new home. If you are that person, we would like to talk about making this match with blind kids in Istanbul. Please call the president of Blind Corps, Michael Floyd, (402) 474-9222. Thank you. <>

Free to a Good Home:
Rhonda will give several items, sent Free Matter for the Blind. I am prepared to part with the following Braille books: Parables for Today (one volume), Pronouncing Biblical Names (two volumes), and Daily Walk with God (four volumes). Available as a set. If you are interested, contact <[email protected]>.

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.

Cookbook for Sale:
The Kitchen Korner is a wonderful, accessible cookbook by a Newsreel magazine subscriber, Maggie Nettles, who has passed away. In the foreword she says, “This book is done, not just as a Newsreel fundraiser, but as a labor of love.” Special NFB pricing of $20 for all formats: Braille, large print, regular print, four-track cassette, or MP3 or audio CD (two CDs). Payment must be in U.S. funds. We accept checks, money orders, VISA, or MasterCard. To order, call (614) 469-0700 or (888) 723-8737.

Library Materials Needed:
Jyoti Sroat School is an inclusive school under an NGO, Bethany Society, located in Meghalaya State, India. We have about eighty students from first to tenth grade with visual impairments and eighty students with other disabilities or no disabilities. We are currently seeking donations of the following items to enhance our library:

If you are willing to contribute any of these items, please send us a list of the titles of the available books by email to <[email protected]>, or call us from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. IST at (+91) 364-2210-631 (office) or (+91) 9436-119-808.

Braille Chocolate Bars and More:
Sweet Tooth is gearing up for the upcoming season by offering many new items to choose from. Besides Braille chocolate bars, we have added chocolate guide dogs with the Braille saying “Best Friend” or customized with a dog's name; chocolate watches with Braille; and other items that can be customized with Braille. Besides Christmas items, Valentine's Day, Easter, and birthday items can be customized with Braille sayings. Sweet Tooth also has a complete line of chocolate products, including suckers and clusters of various kinds. Over two-hundred-fifty candy molds are available to choose from. Price lists are available in print (regular and large), in Braille, and online.

The Braille chocolate bars come with a choice of sayings, including Happy Birthday, Love You, Have a Nice Day, Thank You, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays. They weigh 4.5 ounces and can be made in milk, dark, or white chocolate. The bars can be made plain at a price of $2.75 each or with nuts, krispi, or crushed peppermint at $3 each. For sugar-free bars add $1 additional per bar. All candy is bagged in cellophane and tied with ribbons.

Shipping and handling is extra, the amount based on each order, and orders are shipped two-day priority U. S. Postal Service with delivery confirmation. To order, contact Sweet Tooth by calling Judy Davis (owner) 32 Vinton Road, Rochester, New York, 14622; phone (585) 544-1853, or by email at <[email protected]>. Payment is by check or money order only, made payable to Judy Davis.

Attention Braille Users:
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is looking for Braille readers, teachers, and transcribers to assist with an evaluation of the Nemeth Uniform Braille System (NUBS), an experimental Braille code designed to represent literary, math, and scientific information--combining all three codes into one unified system. Participants will be asked to read a sampler written in NUBS and to respond to questions about their reading experience. (The sampler will be available in both embossed Braille and sim-Braille.) Anyone who reads or writes Braille, no matter what age or amount of experience reading or writing Braille, is welcome to take part in this project. If you are interested in participating, you may request a sampler in one of three ways:

Whichever method you use to request your sampler, please include your name and mailing address and whether you want the sampler in embossed Braille or in sim-Braille. We anticipate that sampler packages will be mailed out for comment in November 2009. Participants will have approximately four weeks to read the sampler and complete the questionnaire. All participants who complete the questionnaire will be informed how to get access to the evaluation report when it is complete. If you are interested in helping with this project or if you have questions, please contact Judy Dixon, BANA chair, at <[email protected]> or (202) 707-0722.

Attention Parents, Teachers, and Braille-Reading Kids:
This autumn we begin large-scale field testing of a new reading media assessment tool that paves the way for the achievement of literacy for blind and visually impaired students. Children, parents, and teachers in schools across the country can try this new assessment and make a positive impact on the educational futures of countless others in this generation and in generations to come.

We are seeking teachers, schools, and school districts that could take part in this next phase of testing. If you have prereaders, children in grades K-12, children with cognitive disabilities, or sighted children with no visual impairment who can participate and would like to help in the development of this national assessment, please contact Jessica Bachicha at the National Center at <[email protected]>, or call her at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2529.

Additional Information on the Treatment of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy:
Paul Gabias, a former president of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada and a certified independent international wellness home consultant with Nikken, read "Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy" in the June 2009 edition of the Braille Monitor. He is concerned by the article's statement that an uncertain scientific basis exists for the electronic/electromagnetic treatment for the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy developed by Nikken researchers (a Japanese company that provides solutions to wellness in body, mind, family, society, and finances). Paul provides details of promising research results using static and dynamic magnetic stimulation available from Nikken technologies.

He says that Dr. Michael Weintraub, a clinical professor of neurology at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, reports tests of the efficacy of Nikken's magnetic technologies used to treat diabetic neuropathy in "Static Magnetic Field Therapy for Symptomatic Diabetic Neuropathy: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial" published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, volume 84, issue 5, pages 736-746. According to Paul, Dr. Weintraub has shown significant effects from use of static and dynamic magnetic fields.

Finally he notes that our article refers people to Nikken's world headquarters, but as a direct-sales company Nikken cannot do business directly with potential customers. He invites people interested in additional information about Nikken technologies, products, or business opportunities to contact him directly at (250) 491-7256, [email protected], or <>.

Country Christmas CDs Available, Featuring Ray Starr:
It's time to begin planning for Christmas again. Each CD is $12  or two CDs for $20. Make checks payable to Raymond Rokita, 3816 Schlee Street, Lansing, Michigan 48910-4435.

Blind and VI Students Explore the Globe:
Team of blind and sighted students on the 2009 Leading the Way expedition to the Grand Canyon.“I got to see stars for the first time in my life,” said Kelly, a visually impaired teenager. “Sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon was the first time in my life where it was dark enough for me to actually see the contrast of the stars. It was magical.”

Kelly was one of ten teenagers, half of them blind or visually impaired, who spent their July on an adventure many wait a lifetime to experience: rafting the Grand Canyon. With the Colorado-based nonprofit Global Explorers (, this unlikely team spent sixteen days shattering expectations and using adversity to their advantage as they explored science, culture, leadership, and service on the rim and deep within the walls of the magnificent canyon. Global Explorers partnered with the nonprofit Grand Canyon Youth ( and the National Parks Service to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Another team of blind, visually impaired, and sighted teenagers embarked on an equally extraordinary journey of leadership and self-discovery in the Maya Yucatan. “I can’t remember the last time I got to run as fast as I could,” said Eric, a blind participant, as he completed an impromptu race on a long stretch of white sandy beach. The team also encountered science, culture, leadership, and service as they explored ancient Maya ruins, snorkeled in the world’s second-largest great barrier reef, and camped in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Elizabeth, a sighted teammate, said “This experience aided in the discovery of my passions and dreams… I am now on my own path of figuring out what makes me truly alive.”

Developed in partnership with world-renowned blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, Global Explorers’ nationally-recognized Leading the Way program takes high school and college-age people of all physical abilities on life-changing adventures around the world. Far more than a fun trip, each expedition involves preparatory curriculum prior to travel and a service leadership project post travel.

In the summer of 2010 Global Explorers is returning to the Grand Canyon and Yucatan Peninsula and is accepting applications through November 15, 2009. To apply, to nominate a student, or to learn more, visit and click Leading the Way, or call (877) 627-1425. Braille and large-print materials are available upon request. Scholarship funds are also available. Leading the Way has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, the Travel Channel, ABC Nightline, and World News Tonight.

When Eric returned home, his father said, “You all have given him something very special: a vision that he can do anything as long as he puts his heart, mind, body, and hard effort into it. `Never will I quit,’ he says now more than ever.”

Brailler Repair:
The Selective Doctor, Inc., is a repair service for all IBM typewriters and Perkins Braillewriters. Located in Baltimore, the service has done work for the Maryland School for the Blind and a number of other organizations in Maryland. They accept Perkins Braillers sent to them from around the country.
The cost to repair a manual Perkins Brailler is $55 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. Because of technical complexity the cost to repair an electric Perkins Brailler is $60 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. The Brailler will be shipped back to you by U.S. mail, Free Matter for the Blind and insured for $400. The cost of this insurance ($5.70) will be added to your invoice. This listed insurance charge may fluctuate due to rate changes by the postal service.
To mail Braillers using the U.S. Postal Service, send your Brailler(s) to the Selective Doctor, P.O. Box 571, Manchester, Maryland 21102. With your Brailler(s) please include your name and organization (if applicable), shipping and billing addresses, telephone number, and a brief description of your Brailler's needs. Should you require additional information, please call (410) 668-1143, or email <[email protected]> or visit our Website at <>.

Monitor Mart

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

For Sale:
I have a PAC Mate QX400 with accessories for sale. Comes with a fabric case, one socket P 500 Wi-Fi card, and a couple of memory cards. Includes power cable, computer cable, and USB thumb drive adapter. Asking $1,100 or best offer. You ship. Contact Maureen at (727) 735-0797.

For Sale:
I have a DoubleTalk LT serial speech synthesizer in good condition for sale. Asking $100 or best offer. Call Justin Ekis at (909) 648-8551 or email <[email protected]>.

For Sale:
BookPort reader with executive products leather case, USB cable, flash card, and documentation. Accepts all major file types including BRF, BRL, Daisy 2.X, Daisy 3.X, and DOC Microsoft Word 97 or later. In excellent condition. Asking $200 plus shipping. Contact Hal at (727) 735-0797 or by email at <[email protected]>.

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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