Braille Monitor                                                   April 2010

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News from the Federation Family

At the Braille Book Flea Market, Anna Walker holds her cane in one hand and a stack of six Braille volumes with the other, balancing the books with her chin.Braille Book Flea Market:
Donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2010 Braille Book Flea Market, sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille, to be held at our national convention in Dallas, Texas. Books should be in good condition. Cookbooks, Twin-Vision books, and books suitable for children are particularly needed. Do not forget those Twin-Vision books. We always run short.

Box up the books so they do not get damaged during shipping, and tape the box closed. Books can be sent Free Matter for the Blind to the following address: Vanessa Peña, UPS Customer Counter, 10155 Monroe, Dallas, Texas 75229. Search through the boxes in your basement and spare room, and get your Braille book donations ready for shipping. If you have any questions, contact Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or email her at <[email protected]>.

Time to Register for the Race for Independence:
The Race for Independence is the expression of our desire to speed toward our goal of achieving first-class citizenship in society at an ever-increasing pace. This campaign anchors the National Federation of the Blind’s Imagination Fund, the annual campaign to raise proceeds for NFB programs at the national, state, and local levels. One of the primary initiatives of the NFB Jernigan Institute is improving access to technology for the blind. With the Race for Independence we focus our efforts this year on bringing public attention to the need for full and equal access for blind Americans to modern technology in everything from home appliances to automobiles.

If you want the important and innovative work of the National Federation of the Blind to continue, start your engines. Register for the Race for Independence, then find neighbors, friends, and family members who will invest in our work and send donations in. For any questions or help with registration and fundraising tools call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2371, or email <[email protected]>. You can also register or get more information at the Race for Independence Website at <>. We are not content with merely traveling by foot--our imagination is putting us in the driver’s seat. So come on, let’s race.

The NFB of Maine reports the following election results from its October 17, 2009, state convention: Steve Sawczyn, president; Pat Estes, vice president; Jennifer Sawczyn, secretary; Yohannes Millay, treasurer; and Joshua Canning and Lee Canning, board members.

Richard BennettIn Memoriam:
We regret to report that Richard Bennett, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware, died on Saturday, February 27, 2010. Educated at the Maryland School for the Blind and reared in southern Maryland, Richard entered the field of piano tuning and established a successful business in Delaware, Maryland, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. He is survived by his daughter Donna Meyers, four grandchildren, and his longtime companion Pat Sunderland. Richard devoted the majority of his adult life to improving program and service opportunities for blind people in Delaware. In addition to his intermittent service as Delaware affiliate president since 1994, Richard was a longtime member of the consumer advisory board of the Delaware regional library for the blind.

Catherine Newman, president of the NFB of Delaware student division, offered the following tribute to Richard on behalf of the state's youth, a segment of the blind community in which he took a particular interest.

The Delaware Federation family will deeply miss "Papa Richard." He was a kind, caring, and wise man. Respected by all who knew him, Richard was truly a champion for the cause of blind independence. Ever compassionate and always patient, he was willing to explain things in such a way that everyone could understand them. He was a lamp in the darkness and a living example of what we all hope to become--completely free and independent blind people, fully capable of fulfilling our dreams. His encouragement helped us to become stronger people. The Delaware student division is committed to keeping Richard's memory alive and passing on his legacy of reform for generations to come.

The Greater Seattle Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington reports the following election results from its Saturday, February 20, 2010, local chapter meeting: Mike Mello, president; Rita Szantay, first vice president; Noel Nightingale, second vice president; Doug Johnson, treasurer; Kaye Burrows, secretary; and Kris Colcock and Jim Jenney, board members.

NFB Braille Reading Pals Club:

The NFB Braille Reading Pals Club is an early literacy program that encourages parents to read daily with their blind children (ages infant to seven years). Registration for this program is now open for its new year, beginning April 1, 2010. Participating club members will receive:

1. A print-Braille book and a plush reading pal
2. A monthly parent e-newsletter promoting tips for early Braille literacy
3. Quarterly Braille activity sheets for young children
4. Braille birthday cards for child participants
5. Access to a network of resources devoted to serving parents of blind children

The program's mission is to introduce young families and their children to Braille; provide parents with literacy strategies to use with their children; direct parents to essential resources for promoting success for their young blind children; and help parents promote early literacy skills, a love of reading, and a positive attitude about Braille through daily reading with their blind children.

For further information or to register for this program, visit <> or call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2295, and speak with Treva Olivero in the Education Department of the NFB Jernigan Institute. The NFB Braille Reading Pals program is jointly sponsored by the Jernigan Institute Education Department and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, an NFB division.

The San Antonio chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas reports the following election results from its January 2010 local chapter meeting: A. Z. Martinez, president; Cindy Garcia, vice president; Mary Donahue, secretary; Bryan Baldwin, treasurer; and Sarah Litzler, board member.

Touch the Earth:
The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce the release of a new tactile book created with the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Touch the Earth: A Multimedia Book about the Earth's Biomes was written by Amy Hansen and conceptualized by Elissa Levine. It includes tactile graphics created by Noreen Grice.

This book aims to educate middle school students while also providing guidance for teachers on how to incorporate this book into classroom instruction. Each book contains contracted Braille and large print, along with tactile and visual graphics to illustrate important concepts in both tactually and visually friendly ways. Each book also comes with a colorful tactile map of the continents of the Earth.

Exclusively available through the NFB Independence Market, Touch the Earth (product# LSA91B) can be purchased for $20. To place an order, visit the NFB Website and navigate to the Independence Market retail page or call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2216.

We are pleased to announce that we are offering one free copy upon request to libraries and schools for the blind across the country. Contact Mary Jo T. Hartle, director of education for the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or by email at <[email protected]> to request a free copy for your institution.

Diabetes Resources from the NFB Independence Market:
The following diabetes-related products and resources can be ordered from the NFB Independence Market:

Bridging the Gap: Living with Blindness and Diabetes--This book focuses on nonvisual methods of managing diabetes. This volume has been prepared to answer common questions from blind diabetics. The book includes a collection of some of the best articles from the Voice of the Diabetic and a useful resource section. Print or MP3 audio CD; no charge.

Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes (2008)--Use this booklet, produced and distributed by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association, to learn about healthy eating, the first step in taking care of diabetes. The information about carbohydrates, proteins, and fat contained in various food groups will assist with meal planning. Braille or MP3 audio CD; $10.

Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit--This palm-sized device enables the user to measure blood glucose levels independently and track average readings over time. All commands are voiced, and the buttons can be differentiated tactilely. The meter even features a repeat button and an earphone jack. The test strips are coded automatically. The kit includes a carrying case, control solution, ten test strips, ten lancets, and a lancing device. The unit measures 2-by-2-1/2-by-3/4 inches and runs on two AAA batteries (included). Audio instructions on CD are also included. Cost, $75. Test strips for the Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Meter--fifty per package--$25.

Prodigy Count-A-Dose--This device assists diabetics in filling syringes with insulin. It holds one or two bottles of U-100 insulin (any brand), uses lo-dose (1/2 cc) disposable insulin syringes, fills in one-unit increments, and makes a distinctive click that can be heard and felt with each increment. The unit is small enough to fit in the palm of the hand. (Available by late April 2010). Cost, $40.

For more information contact the Independence Market staff by phone at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2216, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or by email at <[email protected]>.

Carmen DennisIn Memoriam:

NFB of Illinois President and National Board Member Patti Chang reports the following:

It is with deep sorrow that I report the death of Carmen Dennis, a longtime member of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois and its Chicago Chapter. She died on January 24, 2010, following a massive stroke. Carmen was born in 1946 in Joliet, Illinois, the sixth of eight children. When she was ten, she enrolled at the Illinois School for the Blind and Sight-Saving (now the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired) in Jacksonville. Carmen was devoted to the school throughout her life and worked tirelessly to insure its students the best possible education.

Carmen worked for more than thirty years in the vending program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. She attended her first NFB national convention in 1973 and became a dedicated Federationist overnight. Over the years she held a variety of offices in both the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois affiliate. She contributed in countless ways, from Brailling convention agendas to handing out Federation literature. Carmen is best remembered for her extraordinary generosity toward people in need. She always had time to listen. She was always ready to set another place at the table, and her home always had room for one more.

Carmen is survived by her husband, Charlie Dennis; her daughters, Penny Laney and Kristy Dennis; four grandchildren; and a host of loving friends. She will be greatly missed.

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.

Training Available:
D. Boone Consultants is pleased to announce that classes will be forming for people seeking to improve travel skills. The classes will be offered in a group format, but training will be adjusted to the needs of individual students. Two five-day classes are planned, with a limit of four people per class. For those who are clients of their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency, authorizations for payment may be available in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act. A pretraining survey will be requested in advance of the training, to group participants according to skill needs.

Is this training right for you? If you have always wanted to travel better in your personal or professional life, then you are a candidate. If you are getting itinerant teaching several times a month but want your skills sooner, you can benefit. If you want instruction based on the structured-discovery learning model, this training is for you.

Doug Boone has worked in the field of blindness rehabilitation since 1976 and has operated his own consulting firm since 1992. Nearly one thousand state agency staff from agencies across the country and internationally have participated in his intensive sleepshade O&M training with positive outcomes.

This training will not take the place of immersion training at a quality training center, but it will get you well on the way to the improved independence you seek. Applications for training slots will be on a first-come, first-served basis. For dates, location, costs, and other details, contact Doug Boone, president, D. Boone Consultants, LLC at (269) 372-6610 or by email at <[email protected]>.

The 2010 Touch of Genius Prize:
National Braille Press invites candidates to apply for a $20,000 award to honor those innovating in the field of tactile literacy. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation was developed to inspire innovators to continue the promotion of Braille literacy for blind and deafblind people worldwide. The $20,000 prize will be granted to a group or individual for a new educational method, a new tactile literacy product, or a new technological advance in tactile literacy. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation may be awarded for a completed project or anticipated concept that shows viability and will improve opportunities for blind people.

Applications must be received by May 24, 2010. For more information and to download the application, visit <>. The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is provided through support from National Braille Press and the Gibney Family Foundation.

Participants for an Academic Study Survey Needed:
Caitlin Singletary, a doctoral student at Louisiana Tech University, is completing her dissertation with the help of NFB training centers. Specifically she is looking at psychological characteristics and how they are related to blindness skill sets. She is working with six national training centers, including the three NFB centers, using current students as study subjects. She also needs participants who have not been to a residential training center as a control group. If you have not attended a residential training center and would like to participate or to receive more information, contact her at <[email protected]> or (337) 263-2812. The survey takes approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes to complete on the telephone. Please note that, if you have completed blindness training through public school or summer programs, you can still help.

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 am selling the following items:

Item 1: PacMate Omni BX420. The firmware is the latest version, 6.2. The unit is in excellent condition, including all cells on the Braille display.

Features include: access to the mobile version of Windows PowerPoint®; Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time synchronization of email, calendar, contacts, and tasks; smart filtering for rapid location of email messages; easy information searches using Windows Live Search; support for the Windows Live Messenger voice clip feature, providing users with push-to-talk functionality in instant messaging; and plug and play support for popular WiFi and Bluetooth® cards

The package will include the following items: PacMate Omni; twenty-cell PacMate portable display; AC adapter; Braille quick reference guide; USB cable; standard to mini USB adapter; 2 CF cards; CF modem adapter; CF Ethernet adapter; CF wireless adapter and drivers; executive products carrying case with shoulder strap and accessory pouch for the AC adapter; CD documentation and demos by Jonathan Mosan; FS Reader; and FSCommander; and Total Commander.

Alone this unit is worth $3,795. With accessories it is being sold for $1,000, including standard shipping. I will sell it to you for $1,150 if you prefer to work out a payment plan.

Item 2: Romeo RB25 original. The Romeo 25 is a tough, transportable single-sided embosser with a singular reputation for outstanding Braille quality, rugged durability, and unmatched value. Ideal for student, personal, or home office use. This Romeo embosser is in excellent condition.

Included are power cord, parallel printer cable, twenty-five pin serial cable, and two-way parallel port switch box with cable.

Features: A transportable single-sided embosser with the capabilities of embossing on multiple sizes of paper at twenty-five cps (cells per second); regular (12.5 dots per inch) and high-resolution (17 DPI) graphics; dynamic Braille scaling for different Braille sizes (even within a document); six- or eight-dot Braille; impact adjustment for heavier or lighter paper; and multi-copy up to ninety-nine copies of a document.

Romeo 25 Technical Specifications: print speed, twenty-five characters per second; line width, forty characters with Library of Congress spacing; paper, continuous tractor-feed paper; width, adjustable 1.5 to 13.25 inches (3.8 to 33.6 cm); paper length, selectable 3 to 14 inches (7.6 to 35.6 cm); paper weight, variable; physical description, width, 21.25 inches (53.9 cm); depth, 13.25 inches (33.6 cm); height, 8.25 inches (20.9 cm), 6.00 inches (15.2 cm) without lid; weight, thirty-two pounds (14.5 kg); sound level, seventy-two DBA, sound level may vary with ambient conditions; case style, plastic carrying case with handle; electrical, line voltage, 105-130 VAC or 210-260 VAC; interface, (Port 1) Centronics compatible parallel, (Port 2) serial, 25-pin, RS 232D, DTE.

This is the Romeo RB25 original model. It is no longer sold by Enabling Technologies Inc. This unit plus accessories is being sold at $700, including standard shipping. I will sell it to you for $1,000 if you prefer to work out a payment plan.

If seriously interested in either product, please email me at <[email protected]>. I prefer PayPal.

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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