Braille Monitor                                                 June 2010

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News from the Federation Family

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.

New Baby:

Oriana Kay Riccobono sleeps contentedly.On Saturday, May 15, 2010, Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, circulated the following message throughout Maryland and across the nation: the newest member of the NFB of Maryland is Oriana Kay Riccobono, born May 15, 2010, at 6:05 a.m. She weighed in at seven pounds three ounces and measured twenty-inches long. Oriana is a girl of swift decision, because she came fast, and, true to her name, which means “dawning,” she came with the rising of the sun.

We can report that mother, Melissa, president of the NFB of Maryland; Oriana; dad; and big brother Austin are all doing well. The newest Riccobono will be pleased to meet friends and admirers at convention in Dallas.

Braille Coin Reminder:

As you know, the United States Mint is no longer producing and selling the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, but you still have an opportunity to purchase one. We will be selling Louis Braille proof coins at the convention. The coins will be available in the Independence Market and in the convention hall. The National Center has a limited number of proof coins available for $60 plus shipping. At the convention, however, you can buy a Louis Braille proof coin at the discounted price of $50 while the supply lasts. Please stop by the Louis Braille coin table or the Independence Market to buy one of the few remaining silver coins while you still can. When they are gone, they are gone.

Sam Gleese Honored:

The following article appeared in the Jackson Free Press in Mississippi on April 5, 2010:

JFP Person of the Day: Sam Gleese
by Ashley Hill

Sam GleeseThe Reverend Sam Gleese is determined to educate people with disabilities. A soft-spoken and humble man, he is the president of the National Federation of the Blind in Mississippi and coordinator for the Americans with Disabilities Act. “When I took over the Federation in '86, there were only two chapters. As of right now we have eight chapters across the state,” Gleese says. A Vicksburg native, Gleese, sixty-three, was born with congenital cataracts, a hereditary defect that caused him to have limited disability. Despite his vision Gleese graduated from Jackson State University in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. In 1979 Gleese's retinas detached, and a few weeks later he completely lost all of his vision. To cope with his disability, he enrolled in an adult training program at the Hattie McBryde Center, where he learned Braille, how to use a cane, and other daily life skills. Soon after he and his wife Vanessa started their own tax preparation business.

In 1982 Gleese became a member of the National Federation of the Blind in Mississippi. “I found out about it through a mutual friend of another blind person whom I had met while I was in training at the Hattie McBryde center. They got me involved in the state affiliate and eventually nominated me to be state president,” he says. In addition to his work with the NFB, Gleese became an ordained minister in 1992. He now serves as senior associate minister at the College Hill Baptist Church in Jackson.

Gleese says that it was the Federation of the Blind that gave him a purpose to help others. “It gave me the philosophy that taught me I can do whatever I want to do as long as I make up my mind and get the proper training,” he says. “The philosophy…encourages you to live a normal life, and doing so puts you where you need to be. The greatest difficulty of the blind is the lack of information and understanding. People have the concept that blindness totally incapacitates a person.”

Gleese has also worked as an independent living specialist with Living Independence for Everyone of Central Mississippi, where he assisted adolescents with special care needs. He says he stays motivated by the encouragement from his wife and the support of his former pastor, church family, and friends.

The National Federation of the Blind is a nonprofit organization that works to integrate the blind into society and end disability discrimination through education and advocacy. For more information visit the NFB's Website, <>.


The Dallas Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas elected officers at its recent meeting. Chapter officers include Deneice Hopper, president; Samuel Jackson, first vice president; Rahmda Halsey, second vice president; Gloria Lewis Jackson, secretary; Glenda Goodwin, treasurer; and board members Adrian Buard and Ron Hix.

UVM Coming to Dallas:

At last year's convention in Detroit faculty and students from the School of Engineering, University of Vermont (UVM), reported on research sponsored by the NFB concerning tactile drawing. They demonstrated the first prototype of a pen capable of producing raised lines on the Sewell drawing kit with the ability to erase unwanted lines. This year, with additional NFB funding, work has continued at UVM. Last year's crude pen has been replaced by a slimmed-down product that is much easier to use. New work has been centered on connecting tactile drawings to a tablet computer, allowing tactile images to be stored digitally for transmission to others and enabling the exchange of tactile drawings between collaborators or students and teachers.

At our convention in Dallas this year UVM will be demonstrating its latest developments in the field of erasable tactile drawings. The UVM team will be available for hands-on demonstrations and question-and-answer sessions during or outside of meetings and workshops concerning education and technical developments. If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, you may have the opportunity to meet the UVM team to check out the latest developments. To do so, call Al Maneki’s cell phone, (443) 745-9274. You can do this even before the start of the convention.

UVM's efforts were well received at last year's convention. What the team has to show us this year is even more exciting. The engineering faculty and students at UVM are changing what it means for blind people to draw creative diagrams. This effort deserves the widest possible attention. See you in Dallas.


On March 6, 2010, the Kankakee Heartland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois elected the following officers: Bill Isaacs, president; Frank Einfeld, vice president; Carol Kwaak, secretary; Ruth Isaacs, treasurer; and Ray Kwaak, board member.

Clarence Parks Honored:

The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado congratulates Dr. Clarence Parks, a 2010 Adams State College Presidential Teaching Award recipient. Parks, who is blind, has been a teacher for more than forty years--twenty-seven of them at Adams State College as a professor of sociology.

This award recognizes outstanding undergraduate teaching, advising, and mentoring. Each year a student committee selects the winners. Award recipients receive $1,500 to support their professional development and the opportunity to teach a special presidential teacher course during the next academic year.

Parks, a longtime leader of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, believes strongly in education and its power to make one a better and happier person and the world a better place. He also believes that blind people should be encouraged to become teachers at all levels of instruction. National Federation of the Blind of Colorado President Scott LaBarre says "The NFB of Colorado is pleased to call Dr. Parks one of our own. His work and achievement affirm the fundamental truth that we have come to know: blindness need not limit a person's ability to succeed at all levels of society. We hope that receipt of this award and the dedication that Dr. Parks has shown to teaching will inspire blind men and women to become the educators of tomorrow."

New Chapter:

The South Iredell Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, based in Mooresville, was organized in February and elected officers in March 2010. The new chapter leaders include Sharon Weddington, president; Joy Scott, vice president; Valerie Westmoreland, secretary; Staci Clark, treasurer; and Mary Ann Jordan, board member. Congratulations to this new Federation chapter.

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.

Good News from Bank of America:

Bank of America is pleased to announce that every one of its ATMs in the country now talks. Talking ATMs provide audible instructions in English or Spanish to those who cannot view information on an ATM screen. In addition all of the bank’s 13,800 deposit-accepting ATMs have been equipped with deposit imaging functionality which allows customers to feed checks and cash directly into the ATM slot, eliminating the need to fill out deposit slips and stuff envelopes.

As part of a long-standing commitment to customers with vision impairments, Bank of America is pleased that these customers can now access more than 18,000 Bank of America ATMs. The enhanced ATMs have the following features:

For more information contact Jade Faugno or Don Vecchiarello at (980) 387-4899 or at <[email protected]>. To locate a Bank of America ATM, visit <>.

Music Instruction by Ear:

Learn to play your favorite musical instrument without having to read printed or Braille music. Bill Brown's Music for the Blind offers beginner courses for a dozen instruments, including piano, guitar, bass, violin, banjo, and flute. These courses are taught by ear in all-audio formats, so no reading of music is required. Each course contains at least four cassettes or CDs and costs as little as $39.

In addition to these beginner courses, over eight hundred individual song lessons are taught in the same all-audio format. Prices start at $11.95. For further information visit the Website at <>; call (888) 778-1828; or address correspondence to Bill Brown's Music for the Blind, Valdosta Music and Publishing, 704 Habersham Road, Valdosta, Georgia 31602.

New Digital Talking Book Player Is Here:

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) patrons are eligible to receive digital players and digital books. The new NLS player is easy to use. An audio guide is built in. Users can press any button on the player to learn about its function. The sound quality is excellent, and most books fit on one cartridge. One need only insert the cartridge, and the book will begin playing.

To receive a new NLS digital player (on loan and free of charge) contact your local NLS library at (888) NLS-READ (888-657-7323). Contact information for local NLS libraries is also available in “Find a Library” at <>.

Handmade Items for Sale:

Henry Osborne sells handmade items, including holiday hats and scarves, plain hats and scarves of any color, plastic canvas tissue-box covers, and much more. For further information contact him at (203) 909-2778.

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 Trade or Sale:

I have a Braillino for trade or sale. I'd like to get a Braille Connect 32/40 or a sale of my Braillino for approximately $2,000. My unit has Bluetooth, serial connection, and rechargeable batteries that are user changeable. The unit has word processing capacity, a fifteen-digit calculator, clock, calendar, and a few more features. An embosser can be connected to the Braillino. Further questions may be directed to Isaac at <[email protected]>.

For Sale:

I am selling one PacMate Omni QX400 with a twenty-cell Braille display. The unit comes with a fabric case, one socket p 500 wi-fi card, and a couple of memory cards. It also includes a power cable, a computer cable, and a USB thumb drive adapter. I am asking $950 or best offer. This price includes shipping. Contact Maureen at (727) 735-0797.

For Sale:

I am offering for sale some analog-style studio recording equipment that has never been used. The nature of this equipment is such that no visual displays need to be used in its operation. The equipment includes a multi-channel studio mixer and a multi-track recording deck with DBX and stereo mastering recording deck and studio referenced amplified speakers. The system’s characteristics are too many to detail in this brief announcement. I am asking $1,200, including shipping. For further information contact Steve at (517) 347-7046. When leaving a message, please speak clearly and slowly to accommodate my hearing deficit.

For Sale:

I have a Zen ez 300 MP3 player for sale. It is new and is under a three-year warranty. I paid $116, which includes the warranty, but am asking $60. Buyer must purchase an AC adaptor to charge the Zen's battery or use the cable provided and charge the unit by computer. I will accept payment by money order only, no checks please. If you are interested, contact Debbie Roberts by email at <[email protected]>, phone (203) 315-0230, or Braille correspondence to 3 Block Island Road, Apartment C 32, Branford, CT 06405-5244.

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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