Braille Monitor                                                 May 2011

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News from the Federation Family

This year’s Braille Book Fair/Flea Market will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Consult the April issue for the address to which you should send your gently used Braille books in need of a new home.

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB resolutions committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2011 national convention the resolutions committee meeting will be held on Monday, July 4. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. If passed by the Convention, these resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Maurer or to me by June 18, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you miss this deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, <[email protected]>; fax, (410) 715-9597; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045.

Airport Shuttle Information for Convention:
The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, our 2011 convention hotel, doesn't provide shuttle service to and from the Orlando airport. However, Mears Transportation does. Rates are $19 one way and $30 round trip. Compare this with the metered taxi ride that starts at about $45 and goes up in busy traffic. To make a reservation for shuttle transportation, call (800) 759-5219. The Mears Transportation desk is located on level one of the Orlando airport. It is not necessary to make a reservation ahead for the trip to the hotel. You can purchase a one-way or round-trip ticket at the desk. (Gratuity for the driver is not included in the ticket price.) The day before your return flight you must confirm the time of your hotel pick-up with Mears. You can, of course, buy a one-way ticket to the airport the day before your flight home.

The 2011-2012 board of the Honolulu Chapter was elected at the March 8, 2011, meeting. They are president, Kyle Laconsay; vice president, Jacob Kamanu; secretary, Finia Kachita; treasurer, Tammy Rober; and board members, Brenda Lucas and Kasmir Anthonyo.

In Memoriam
Andy VirdenThe following tribute is an abbreviated version of an article written by Joyce Scanlan for the Minnesota Bulletin, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. Here is Joyce’s tribute to a fine Federationist and friend:              

Andy Virden, a longtime, very active member of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, was on his way home from a Friday night fish fry shortly after 8:00 on March 11, 2011, when he was struck by a car and killed instantly. The accident is still under investigation.

Andy was a member of the Federation after 1951 and was instrumental in organizing the Central Minnesota Chapter in 1971. He served as chapter president for most of the time since; however, throughout the years he was always looking for others to take the office, and many young students from surrounding colleges and others who demonstrated interest received his encouragement and support in serving as president or in other leadership roles.

Andy loved attending national conventions. He was an active member of the National Association of Blind Merchants and served for several years on the resolutions committee. He loved seeing his Federation family each year. Wherever you went throughout convention sessions, in restaurants, at the merchants’ meetings, anywhere at all, you could hear Andy voicing his opinions on something important to him, greeting members, telling a joke, or laughing at someone else’s joke.

We all have countless memories of times spent with Andy. Everyone will miss him. He is irreplaceable. To say, “Rest in peace,” is pointless, because Andy will always be educating, advocating, changing attitudes, promoting progress, making new friends, and continuing in Heaven among the saints the work he always did when he was with us. And, Andy, keep on singing!

Guide Dog Association Launches Innovative Hotline:
The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), the leader in service animal advocacy, has launched an innovative new service. The NAGDU Education & Advocacy Hotline not only offers information about the legal rights of individuals who use service animals, it offers the option to speak with an advocate who is trained to resolve access denials. According to the new federal guidelines that took effect on March 15, 2011, a service animal is “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability” (28 CFR Part 35.104 & 28 CFR Part 36.104). The new regulations specifically state, “Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.” In an effort to further clarify its intent, the Department of Justice specifically states, “The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

“We find that most access problems are the result of a lack of information,” says Michael Hingson, the Association’s vice president, who serves as project manager for the hotline. “This hotline is an excellent resource for accurate information.”

The NAGDU Education & Advocacy Hotline currently offers general information about service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as specific guidance concerning restaurants, taxicabs, and health care facilities. Callers needing immediate assistance can connect directly to a live trained advocate. Future plans for the hotline include summaries of each of the state laws concerning service animals, more industry-specific information, and guidance in a variety of languages, such as Mandarin and Arabic. The hotline is available anytime by calling, toll-free, (866) 972-3647.

The NAGDU Education & Advocacy Hotline was created by a grant from the National Federation of the Blind’s Imagination Fund, as well as with contributions from the California and Florida Associations of Guide Dog Users. The National Association of Guide Dog Users is a strong and proud division of the NFB. NAGDU conducts public awareness campaigns on issues of guide dog use, provides advocacy support for guide dog handlers who face discrimination, supports effective legislation to protect the rights of service animal users, offers educational programs to school and civic organizations, and functions as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind. For more information about the National Association of Guide Dog Users, visit its Website at <>, or send an email message to <[email protected]>.

The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) announces a new partnership with the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute that will blast beyond the confines of the Randolph Sheppard Program. In collaboration with Tennessee Services for the Blind, NABM’s BLAST + will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, from Wednesday, September 21, through Saturday morning, September 24, 2011. Over the past decade Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST), has become the most authoritative and innovative conference for blind entrepreneurs.  BLAST + will be the most significant conference ever held to encourage, inform, and inspire the blind and vision-impaired embarking on or currently engaged in building profitable small businesses. BLAST has always had training elements easy to apply to any business venture. BLAST + expands that curriculum to include even more education and networking targeted to blind people seeking employment through entrepreneurship outside of or in addition to the traditional Randolph Sheppard Vending Program model.

Nicky Gacos, NABM president, said, “As successful as BLAST has been over the past decade, it is time to reach out to everyone interested in creating quality job opportunities through entrepreneurship. A partnership with the NFB Jernigan Institute just made sense for this expansion. If the backbone of our economy is small business, the blind must be a part of it.”

Announcing this collaboration with the nation’s leading association of blind business owner advocates, Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, said, “The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute leads the quest to understand the real problems of blindness and to develop innovative education to help the world’s blind achieve independence. A central concern of the Institute is increasing employment opportunities for the blind.  This collaboration with NABM and other partners will improve the prospects for many blind people who want to be self-employed.”

In addition to the program items BLAST participants have come to expect, BLAST + will add a number of training sessions, symposia, and a luncheon which will focus on government contracting, business ethics, team building, network marketing opportunities, the access technology industry, free or low-cost resources, franchises, business loans, and business and financial planning. For years BLAST has had a robust trade show, featuring access technology, vending, and food service suppliers. Now it will be adding agencies, companies, and organizations which cater to different segments of small business operations.

Rooms can be booked now. Simply write or call the Nashville Airport Marriott, 600 Marriott Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214; (615) 889-9300. Tell them that you are booking for the National Association of Blind Merchants BLAST +. Rooms are available at the unbelievably low rate of $113 per night plus applicable taxes. These rates are effective from Monday, September 19, through Saturday, September 24, 2011. Music City is beautiful in the fall, and as always, space is at a premium. Act quickly to enjoy the party and promise of BLAST +.  The entire conference will be an event from which everyone involved in blind entrepreneurship will benefit. BLAST + registration, which includes all activities and training materials, will cost $200 with a $50 discount for registrations made before August 15, 2011. The registration fee may exclude some tours and events held outside the hotel conference center. Please register at <> or by calling (866) 543-6808, ext. 10.

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.

Appointment Setters Needed:
Seeking appointment setters to telephone people and invite them to an online live webinar. Names and phone numbers will be provided along with a script of the invitation. Each phone call should be under five minutes. Applicants must possess excellent verbal skills. You as the appointment setter are compensated for each actual webinar attendee plus substantial bonuses. Experience in appointment-setting, telemarketing, or phone sales is preferred. Telephone calls are to be made from your home or other location. To apply, call (206) 426-0316. Leave your name and phone number and spell your email address. Take thirty seconds to tell something about yourself. This employer was once a student at the Louisiana School for the Blind.

Jumbo Versatile Backpack Available:
This 18-by-15-by-8.5-inch waterproof, sturdy black backpack has red highlights, which set it apart from all the rest for identification. The padding against your back as well as on the handle and adjustable straps make it very comfortable. The huge, double-zipper main compartment has an extra padded pocket to fit up to a 17-inch laptop. The front has two zippered compartments with places for pens, phones, slates, ID, and more. Two mesh side pockets hold water bottles.

The price is $29.95 plus $9 shipping by postal service. Please make checks payable to:

Your Eternal Essence, LLC
c/o Ann Bliss
1307 Lakeside Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23455

You can email me to arrange a PayPal invoice, quantity discounts, or overseas shipping. My email address is <[email protected]>; my phone is (845) 282-0643.

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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