The CALIFORNIA CONNECTION is a weekly news service provided in English or Spanish at 800-221-6359 Monday through Friday after 4 p.m. and all day on weekends and holidays. To receive an email subscription, please send a blank email to the CCB Moderator at: email@example.com. Instructions will be sent to you in a follow-up email.
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If you or a friend would like to remember the California Council of the Blind in your Will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto the California Council of the Blind, a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $____ (or ____) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."
If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Executive office for other suggested forms. Thank you.
In accepting material for THE BLIND CALIFORNIAN, priority will be given to articles concerning the activities and policies of the California Council of theBlind and to the experiences and concerns of blind persons. Recommended lengthis under three pages or 1800 words.
The deadline to submit material for the summer, 2009 issue of THE BLIND CALIFORNIAN is noon, September 1.
Please send all address changes to the Executive Office.
Someone stole my soapbox. I can't find it anywhere. Maybe a sighted person moved it--you know how that is. So let me wish you all a good summer while I continue to look for it in the various junk boxes around here.
You will notice that this issue of the BC is a bit smaller than the last one. We've decided to cut content about 20 percent in an effort to save production costs. I, for one, apologize for this; and I hope the BC will soon return to its usual size.
You might also have noticed that the ACB postal address, as printed on the spring BC's Editor's Page, was incorrect. The correct address is American Council of the Blind; 2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650; Arlington, Virginia 22201.
Well, I haven't found my soapbox, but I did find an old bowling rail, imagine that. Happy reading!Return to the Table of Contents
Among those commonly used definitions of the term "pedestrian" is the following: A person traveling on foot; a walker. To me, the term "walker" is a more inclusive term, as it brings into the definition those using wheelchairs or crutches, among others. Nonetheless, I think you get the drift.
This column, however, is intended to explore a different question, namely when is a pedestrian not a pedestrian? As you will see, I have not taken up Zen or some other philosophy that looks at the world from a far deeper perspective than we Westerners are accustomed to using. Read on and, as they say, the mystery shall become clear.
The California Council of the Blind has always been at the forefront of pedestrian rights. After all, decades ago, due to the hard work of CCB members, California's White Cane Law, which gave rights to pedestrians who are blind, became a model for the rest of the nation. In recent years, CCB has joined in state and national pedestrian rights efforts. Most notably, we became the only disability organization to join California Walks, a loosely knit group of pedestrian groups. Given the clout of the mighty automobile, there is no question that both bicyclists and pedestrians must maximize their organizational efforts if the needs of individuals in these groups are to be viewed as worthy of consideration by elected and appointed national, state, and local officials.
But here comes the proverbial fly in the ointment. I am sure that most of you are aware of our lobbying efforts against the Segway. If not, this motorized scooter-type device, usable under state law on the sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinance, is supposed to operate in a manner that will prevent it from crashing into anything. Nonetheless, even if operated within the law, and thus at a speed of not more than 12 mph, this device has been known to take out a healthy chunk of a marble wall. It can, of course, go much faster. As an aside, you should know that the only reason you haven't seen more of these on the sidewalks of your community is their rather steep purchase price.
In our state and local lobbying efforts against the Segway, some pedestrian groups, most notably those in San Francisco, were quite supportive; and it is important that we recognize that we did have allies. Nonetheless, many others in the pedestrian advocacy community either supported the Segway as a great example of green technology or took no position, believing that the issue was important to blind folks but not to pedestrians as a whole.
Even with respect to accessible pedestrian signals, an issue with which, for the most part, pedestrian activists agree, we sometimes clash. If new technologies come along that create problems in terms of adapting them to use with accessible signal technology, we tend to become the forgotten community. However, the major areas of dispute, and the reason for the almost bizarre title of this article, are just beginning to take center stage. Roundabouts and shared spaces are being embraced by many pedestrian activists, but they present major concerns for those of us with visual impairments.
First, let's take a look at roundabouts. This is not the first time this magazine has mentioned them, and it probably won't be the last. Without going into unnecessary detail, motor vehicles, pedestrians and bikes can all pass through these circular areas. Vehicles can enter from a variety of angles. Pedestrian activists have become incredibly enamored with roundabouts, viewing them as a way of slowing down traffic and, enabling pedestrians through eye contact with drivers and the reduced speeds of the vehicles, to cross safely. Of course, having a signal at these roundabouts does, in the eyes of many traffic engineers and pedestrian activists, negate the whole reason for the roundabout, that is to keep a steady movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The mere fact that a person with a visual impairment, and other pedestrians (some who can't react as quickly, and others like children who just may not pay as much attention and might not see a vehicle entering the roundabout), just doesn't seem to matter to those who consider roundabouts to be the best thing since sliced bread. When it comes to roundabouts, there are pedestrians, and then there are blind people who tend to get in the way of progress.
Shared spaces are another elephant just now lurking in our path. In its most technical usage, shared space is a term that means a path of travel that will be shared by vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and, I suppose, elephants. We are beginning to see proposals both in this country, including California, and in Europe, for this type of travel zone. The CCB has already gone on record expressing its grave concern over this concept. Again, pedestrian activists trumpet the use of shared spaces as a means of slowing traffic and making our country a greener and more pleasant place to live. I don't know how you feel, but I have my reservations about that van driving up behind me in our nice, green shared space.
In a slightly different context, many paths of travel are now being shared by both pedestrians and bicycles. This concept, although certainly not as bad as the total shared space proposals, does present serious issues for pedestrians. We all know how much of a problem bicyclists can be when they are whizzing along at a high rate of speed and not watching for pedestrians.
So what do we do? Are we to give up in the face of broader environmental harmony? After all, I, like many of you I am sure, support the greening of America. No, we obviously don't give up, but it does mean that we must recognize that we have a very difficult fight ahead to protect our safety and mobility concerns. Methods of demarcation between where a bike and a pedestrian can travel can make all the difference. Signalizing a roundabout, which then becomes what is known as a traffic circle, is a compromise that nobody may love, but everyone can live with. As for sharing space with a motor vehicle, maybe someday a solution may be found; but for now, at least, I certainly would strongly oppose any such proposal.
So, are you a pedestrian? Well, sometimes you are, and sometimes you are just a person with a visual impairment. But with or without other pedestrians at our side, we won't give up the fight.Return to the Table of Contents
Most of you who read the BC know that the Ellen Murphy Fund was established to help women who are blind or visually impaired and are over 50 years of age. The trustees of this fund, Pat Wolf, Abigail Vincent and I, are pleased to have been able to assist so many deserving ladies with special needs.
For more than a year we have been receiving applications which are given TO women by vendors and agencies. These are quite often from people who are under 50, and they are on applications that were printed while we were still in our Hayward office. If you know someone who is in need of assistance from our fund, please have them call our Sacramento office at 800-221-6359 and ask for an application. If you are part of an agency or a company that assists blind people, please advise clients to be sure to contact us so that the application they receive is current. Be sure that the person asking for assistance is at least 50 or we will be unable to help her.
The money for the Ellen Murphy Fund is located in a brokerage account in Southern California. We all know what has been happening with the market, but we have been able to meet our obligations and are still in a position to help people. Needless to say, we need to replenish this much needed fund. If you or your chapter care to contribute, please send a check, made out to the Ellen Murphy Fund, to our Sacramento Office. It will immediately be deposited in our account. We welcome any ideas on fundraising for our project which you might want to suggest. Please contact Pat, Abbie or myself.Return to the Table of Contents
I have always enjoyed the meetings and activities of my local CCB chapter, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, but attending the state convention as delegate helped me better appreciate how SVCB fits into the overall CCB and ACB structure and how much all blind Californians owe to CCB for its advocacy efforts on our behalf.
Two central strands of activity occur at the state convention: activity that focuses on CCB as a consumer advocacy organization and activity addressing the business of CCB itself and its ongoing existence. These activity strands occur in a variety of venues including four general sessions, open to the membership at large; special interest affiliate meetings; special committee meetings such as Publications, Resolutions and Nominating; a meeting on technology updates, open to all; a public meeting of the CCB board; a presidents' dinner; and a culminating banquet, again open to the entire membership. The general sessions tend to combine the two strands of activity, so I'll report on those first.
Recent national disasters such as hurricanes in Texas and Louisiana have made the blind community aware of our need for equal treatment during disasters by local, state and federal emergency agencies. This need for equal treatment is shared by all people with disabilities. Accordingly, the guest speaker who opened the first general session of the convention was Mr. Richard Devylder, who is Special Advisor to California's Office for Access and Functional Needs, California Emergency Management Agency or CALEMA. The office For Access and Functional Needs was established in January of 2008 and its current mission includes the following goals:
1. Development of a community network. 2. Integration of disabled and older adults into the state emergency functions. 3. Improvement of access by disabled people to Early Alert broadcast systems. 4. Increased planning for sheltering people with disabilities and older adults. 5. Increased efficiency of evacuation procedures.
Mr. Devylder and his office staff are immediately concerned about transportation, communications, fire and rescue, care and shelter, evacuation, public information, utilities, and long term recovery, in terms of how each of these affects people with disabilities. He stressed the point that the overriding goal of The Office for Access and Functional Needs is to make sure that all state shelters will adequately serve people with disabilities. California must not create separate shelters for people with disabilities, since doing so amounts to separate but equal treatment, or, he said, to call it by its true name: segregation. Nor, he said, should the state shuttle blind and disabled people off to nursing homes and hospitals during disasters. Blind Californians who want to participate in creating a truly equitable emergency safety system can begin by accessing the following web site: www.oes.ca.gov. Once on the site, click on the "Office for Access and Functional Needs" link.
During the convention's third general session, attendees heard some inspiring ideas regarding how to grow and sustain chapter memberships as well as how to strengthen the power of local chapters as advocates for blind people. These ideas were presented by three CCB members, Linda Porelle, Foster Brown and John Ross, who attended the Western Leadership Conference called Taking the Reins of Leadership, which convened in Vancouver, Washington last October. Each shared valuable information gleaned from the conference on the topics of fund-raising, publicity/outreach and mentorship.
With regard to fund-raising, conference attendees learned how to develop an annual fund-raising plan and to distinguish between fund-raising and fund-development. Here are a few ideas that stuck with this listener: First, fund-raising is for one-time events and occurrences while fund-development should be considered an ongoing process. Second, giving is an emotional act. People give money as a means of community service and for relationships. Third, information is everything. People will want to know what you and your organization are about before they give. It's important to make friends and advocates of those who donate to your organization. The number one reason why people don't give is that they aren't asked. Tips for successful asking: Do your homework. Know who your donors are. Relate your mission to your donors' interest.
In terms of outreach and public awareness, Porelle, Brown and Ross offered this advice: Reach out to those who are newly blind and those who are losing their sight. Let the public know who your chapter is and what specific services you provide to the community. Leave information about your chapter with eye doctors as they may refer patients to you. Speak about your chapter and CCB at local elementary and secondary schools as well as at colleges. Set up a technology show at a local university.
In terms of mentorship, the most important thing that I learned from the three Leadership Conference speakers was to attend to what gets chapter members excited, and then invite them to participate in activities that let them act on their excitement. It's also important to delegate, and when we give a fellow-member responsibility for a project, we need to let him/her handle that project in the way that's best for him or her, which might not necessarily be the way we would handle the project. In other words, we need to trust our fellow chapter-members to do a good job.
Anyone interested in adaptive technology advancements would have enjoyed the gathering that took place on Thursday afternoon before the convention actually got under way. It was sponsored by the Technology Committee, and featured John Glass speaking about "The New Book Share," its upgraded web site, new convenient access and new books being added to the collection. His presentation was warmly received. We also heard from Peter Cantissani of R and L Associates regarding a number of new and available cell phone technologies.
We learned about Eye-Pal Solo, a new stand-alone reading machine from AbiSee. The Eye-Pal Solo measures 8 and a half by 11 inches at its base and weighs about five pounds. It is a camera-based, as opposed to scanner-based reading technology. One simply places printed material on the round base of the machine directly below a camera which aims downward toward the print. The camera takes a picture of the printed image, and seconds later, a synthesized voice reads the print aloud. We tested the Eye-Pal Solo on books, multi-column brochures, candy wrappers and aspirin bottles. It read them all with scarcely a glitch. Since the Eye-Pal has no moving parts, it's less likely than a scanner-based reading machine to break down or have mechanical malfunction. The Eye-Pal can fit into a 15 inch laptop bag. It does cost a pretty penny, however, currently retailing at $1995.
The final technology presenter was James McCarthy from Freedom Vision. He shared a number of pocket magnifier products for those of us with enough vision to read print. The most interesting of these was Mano, so named because it's small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand. Manufactured in Germany, Mano has a 3.5 inch screen and weighs 4.8 ounces. It can freeze up to three images simultaneously, and it has the largest range of zoom capability of any pocket magnifier.
For the benefit of new CCB members, and for those of us who might appreciate the review, I would at this juncture like to remark on CCB affiliates, who they are and what they do. CCB has eight state-wide affiliates: The Association for Multicultural Concerns, Blind Students of California, The Braille Revival League of California, Council of Citizens with Low Vision, California Library Users, Guide Dog Users of California, Orientation Center for the Blind, and The Randolph Sheppard Vendors of California. Each of these special interest affiliates is allowed to vote when issues come before the CCB general membership. During the convention, each affiliate conducts its own business meeting and its own special program of events. It was impossible for me to attend every meeting, but I had fun trying. As a dog guide handler, I enjoyed attending the Guide Dog Users of California luncheon, during which representatives from several guide dog schools updated us on their programs. San Rafael's Guide Dogs for the Blind, for instance, now employs two Spanish-speaking instructors, which is wonderful given the growth of Latino populations within California. Additionally, GDB now uses career change dogs as "ambassadors" when visiting prospective clients for the first time. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is placing some of its career change dogs as companions for children with autism. Guide Dogs of the Desert recently graduated a class of seven veterans. This latter school specializes in working with special needs students.
In other affiliate news, I was especially moved by a project being sponsored by The Association for Multicultural Concerns. This affiliate is raising money to buy braille writers, which will then be sent to blind people in developing countries. I look forward to learning more about this affiliate's activities on the national level when I attend the ACT convention this July.
I'd like to close this article with a quick gloss of two of the resolutions that were voted on during the convention's fourth and final general session. One resolution concerned a push by some Department of Rehabilitation offices to begin meeting clients in cubicles instead of private offices. CCB passed a resolution urging that Rehab not take this step on the grounds that much information exchanged between clients and their Rehab counsellors is private and not something one would care to have overheard in adjacent cubicles. Another resolution that passed and will be forwarded to ACB urges national parks to continue doing everything possible to make museums, trails, exhibits, park videos, and park campsites accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. My hat is definitely off to the members of the Resolutions Committee, who work long into the night during conventions to see that the desires of the membership come to fruition.
The fall 2009 CCB convention will take place in Fresno, California, and the spring 2010 convention will happen in Burlingame and will be hosted by the San Mateo chapter. If you are interested in meeting new blind friends, sustaining ties with friends you've already made, learning about issues that affect you as a blind person, and participating in shaping the future of California's blind community, then by all means attend the next convention!Return to the Table of Contents
We are seeking feedback on several agreements that have been signed as a result of Structured Negotiations. Please read the post on my website for more information at lflegal.com/2009/05/feedback..
As described in more detail in the post, we are looking for feedback on technology in Rite Aid stores, the accessibility of www.riteaid.com, San Francisco Accessible Pedestrian Signals, accessible credit reports (braille, audio, large print, as well as on-line access), and POS devices in 7-Eleven stores.
All feedback is very appreciated and will help make each of these agreements stronger.
Thanks, Lainey and Linda
Lainey Feingold: Law Office of Lainey Feingold; lfLegal.com; 510-548-5062; firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Dardarian: Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian; www.gdblegal.com; 510-763-9800; email@example.comReturn to the Table of Contents
My article entitled "75 Years and Counting" was in the last issue of the BC. Here are four corrections to that piece.
1. Robert W. Campbell, the second President of CCB, was never Dr. Campbell. I'm not sure how his promotion got into my article after all these years. If Bob were still here he would probably say, "You do things like that sometimes, Cathie."
2. When some of us left the council to form the Associated Blind of California, later known as the American Council of the Blind of California, our magazine was first called "The ABC Digest," and when the name changed it became the "ACBC Digest." At no time did we ever call it the "American Council of the Blind of California" or anything else. It was always identified by the letters just described here.
3. Most of you who know Lon Sumner and were around when he was assistant editor of the Council Bulletin, know that his name was not Ron. I'm glad to tell you that he and his family are alive and well. This is particularly true since a month or so ago their mobile home burnt completely to the ground. Everything they had was destroyed, but thank God they were all able to get out safely. They have moved into a duplex, and Lon says that he believes this is probably where they will stay. He is very thankful for the assistance he has gotten from his family, the Red Cross and others. I know we all wish them well.
4. Our long-time member Melvin Kahn does not spell his name Cohn as it appeared in my article. I'm not sure how that one happened. I've known Mel for more than 50 years and knew how to spell his name since the first day, but then I suppose, after that length of time, things can happen. Mel is a member of the Alameda Lion's Club and, of course, a valued member of the BayView Chapter.
It's very hard to find exactly what to put in these articles that I'm trying to do about our history in each of our Blind Californian issues. I have said before that you would be reading the California Story, and I feel it's important for you to see some notes from an executive session that followed the election of the California Council in 1959. In discussing this with the chair of the Publications Committee and others on the History Committee, of which she happens to be a member, we will be asking the editor to make space available in the fall issue of the BC to include these two items. Both of them will come to about 16 braille pages. I think the value of this information is that it discusses what happened 50 years ago when many leaders of the Council left it. The California Story, of course, was an article written by me as editor of the Council Bulletin. It was widely circulated with some interesting results. The notes in the second article were taken by Ferne Pritchard who later became Mrs. Fitzpatrick. She was Allen Jenkins' secretary, and she took the notes of the special Executive Session for the Council. She is in our hall of fame today. At the time she took the minutes of the meeting, she didn't belong to an organization of the blind. In time she belonged to the Associated Blind of California and was one of its most highly respected and loved members. Many of you who attended the orientation center in Albany will probably remember her.
Some might wonder why these articles should be published. I believe the value will be to let us know how it was that such a dynamic organization as ours could have found itself in a position to have such an upheaval in 1959. The value of history is not only to tell us what happened; but if we pay attention to it, we can avoid having difficulties like this in the future. Unfortunately, looking at the condition of the world today, it seems that learning such valuable lessons presents problems. It would be helpful to me if you would let me know about any parts of our history that you would like to hear about. You can call me at 510-357-1986 or send me a communication through the CCB office.
I hope you are making plans to go to the convention in Fresno in October. Hopefully we can have the same wonderful publicity and welcome as we got in 1999.Return to the Table of Contents
At each spring convention, the Publications Committee presents two writing awards for articles which appeared during the previous year. While the rules allow for items that appeared in other publications to be considered, the focus has always been on the Blind Californian. Articles must be written by a blind or visually impaired person and are considered in the categories of Issue-Oriented and Lifestyle.
We had some high quality articles in 2008, and the competition was keen. Honorable mention went to "History in Progress" by Catherine Skivers and "Some Notes on Delegates" by Gerry Konsler in the Issue-oriented category. The winner was Deborah Norling Armstrong for "21st Century Cooking," which appeared in the Fall, 2008 Blind Californian.
In the Lifestyle category, honorable mention went to "Keeping Busy in the High Desert" by Doris Barnhouse and "San Gabriel Valley Chapter Sails in Marina Del Rey" by Donna Pomerantz. The award in this category went to Cecile Betts for her article "My Life-Saving Pain," which appeared in the Blind Californian for Winter, 2008.
I want to share with you the thank-you note from Cecile. I think you will agree that it is special.
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009; From: Cecile Betts; To: Mike Keithley; Subject: re: Blind Californian Award
Dear Mike, It was such a wonderful surprise to receive the award and such a beautiful plaque from the California Council of the Blind. I must confess I did not always have time to read through the Blind Californian in recent months inasmuch as the lung cancer, the subject of My Life-saving Pain, metastasized to the remaining portion of the right lung. This malignant lymph node appeared six months ago. This time surgery was not an option nor was chemotherapy or radiation. The doctors I consulted were emphatic in advising me that such treatment would immediately severely damage the quality of my life. Therefore, I decided to do nothing but to let nature take its course. My daughter and son fully support my decision.
There are some benefits to knowing your life expectancy is limited. For many years I ate only fat free, low cholesterol, sugar free, high fiber foods and forced myself to go to the gym to exercise three times a week. Now, I eat anything I want to eat and exercise less frequently, because in the long run it won't make a bit of difference.
Although my daughter canceled a cruise we planned to take with the Pulmonary Rehab Education Program (PREP) club in April, we had a wonderful two week cruise to Hawaii. I have a short story about all this if you are interested in seeing it.
I also just completed my second book, "Random Thoughts While Contemplating My Navel In a Hot Tub" and am proofing it and hope to be able to send it to the publisher at the end of this month.
Please thank the Board of Directors of CCB for me.
With every good wish,
By the way, Cecile told me in a phone conversation that she is 91 years of age.Return to the Table of Contents
Information concerning awards given by the Publication and Membership Committees will appear elsewhere in the BC.
Five awards were given by the History and Awards Committee during the banquet at the Spring Convention in Sacramento. It is unfortunate that time and space prevent us from sharing the great nomination letters we received for award candidates this year.
Peter Benavidez was given a well-deserved Community Service Award. He has been Executive Director of Blindness Support Services in Riverside County for 15 years, and his tireless efforts have brought many specialized services to Riverside County and the surrounding area. He has been successful in obtaining financial assistance from Riverside County, the Department of Rehabilitation and others. This has allowed Blindness Support Services to become an agency which not only has brought services not previously available in Riverside County, but has also been instrumental in establishing apartments which are available to blind and visually impaired people. He recently became Chairman of the Blind Advisory Committee with the Department of Rehabilitation. Peter deserves much credit for his many accomplishments that have brought many more opportunities for the blind in his community. He was unable to attend the convention, and Charles Nabarrete accepted the award for him and agreed to take it to him.
The Humanitarian Award was given to Jane Corcoran. She was a long-time transcriber of materials for students and others in the Bay Area. Students particularly appreciated the fine work she did in making it possible for them to understand graphics. She was unable to attend the convention; but Roger Petersen, awards committee member, presented the plaque to her at the April meeting of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind. She was able to be there in person and was very pleased with her award. Elmer Chapson was on hand at this meeting, and he and Jane talked about all the work they had done together through the years. They reminisced about something Jane has said quite often about transcribing graphics: "What may be eye-appealing to some can be finger-appalling to others." We are always so appreciative of people like Jane who give so much of their lives to helping people in our community.
A second Humanitarian Award was presented to Larry Swenson, who was on hand to receive it. He was a founding member of the Redwood Empire Chapter and instrumental in establishing the Earle Baum Center in Santa Rosa. The members of his chapter wanted him to have an award and gave us a lengthy description of his fine accomplishments. He has helped with many community projects including improvements in transportation, removing sidewalk barriers and getting audible signals installed in their area. He is especially good at finding young blind people who are in need of help, which he gives willingly. We were also reminded that he has a lovely home and picnic area, and that he is most generous in inviting chapter members and others to come there. Many of us have been to the fine barbeques he has held. The nomination information that was sent to us about Larry make it clear that he is a respected and loved member of his chapter.
A Distinguished Service Award was given to Joe Smith. He was not at the convention because he and his wife were out of state celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. His friend Joe Xavier accepted the award in his absence. Joe was nominated for this award because of his tireless efforts on behalf of blind people for at least 50 years. He was a vendor in the Business Enterprise Program in California and later was in charge of the program for the Department of Rehabilitation. He was supportive of new vendors and helped establish the Randolph Sheppard Vendors of California, which later became the Randolph Sheppard Vendors in ACB. Joe has been extremely helpful to the Blind Advisory Committee of the Department of Rehabilitation. In his private life outside of the department, he has helped countless people throughout the years, especially those who worked in the Business Enterprise Program. By the time you read this, Joe will have retired from the Department. He says he has worked long enough and now wants to do something else. He was very appreciative of his award.
Lonnie King, the husband of the late Rhonda King, was very surprised to receive the Merit Award. He received it because he has been most helpful to the members of this chapter and many others. He is an electrician by profession, and President Thom shared with us that he rewired our Sacramento Office at no cost to the Council. He's performed this kind of service for many of our members. His award, however, recognized him for something for which he is most well known. He has done an excellent job of being a bartender at our conventions, which is where many of you have met him. In accepting the award, he said: "Rhonda and I did everything together. This award is as much for her as it is for me." It was our pleasure to share with him how we all appreciate his efforts and his staunch support of CCB.
The Awards Committee has made a sixth award this year. This will be a surprise presented to someone at the 75th anniversary convention Banquet. For now, only the committee members know who the recipient will be.
Once again, on behalf of our committee I want to thank those of you who took the time to nominate our award winners and for writing such excellent recommendations for them. Time goes so fast that it won't be too long before it's time to nominate people for 2010. You can contact any one of the committee members to discuss award nominations you might want to make or you can send them directly to the CCB office. You will be advised on the California Connection and in this magazine when it is time to submit nominations you might care to make. Members of the Awards and History Committee are: Gussie Morgan, Don Queen, Roger Petersen, Bernice Kandarian, Chris Gray, Al Gil and Joe Smith. I am privileged to serve with this very fine committee. I want to thank them all for their work.Return to the Table of Contents
"Because we're blind, we can't see our limitations." (Caitlin Hernandez, two-time winner of the National Braille Challenge) Anyone happening to saunter into Oak Room West of Stanford University's Student Union Building on Saturday, March 7, 2009 could not help but feel the texture of excitement in the air that was as palpable as braille itself. The sound molecules bounced with high and low pitched voices, applause, laughter and even the barking of guide dog puppies in training. The occasion for such levity was the 2009 Northern California Regional Braille Challenge, established by the Braille Institute of America Inc. and locally hosted by the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Palo Alto, The Sacramento Society for the Blind and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco.
The Braille Challenge, a trademarked program developed by Braille Institute of America Inc. is a contest for school-aged youth who read and write braille. The contest occurs annually throughout the United States and Canadian provinces. Student participants compete in five categories: braille reading and comprehension; speed and accuracy in braille writing; proofreading; spelling; and reading/interpretation of braille graphs and charts. This year, some 1300 students participated in regional Braille Challenges, and of these participants, 60 finalists were chosen for the culminating competition that will occur in Los Angeles on June 20 of this year.
I attended the Northern California Braille Challenge along with several of my friends from the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, which is our CCB home chapter. Some of our members served as test proctors, while others (myself included) helped score tests, and still others hosted a booth that provided information about our chapter. Additionally, our own Michelle McGrew served as one of the day's two keynote speakers. I would like to share a few of those keynote remarks, since they so beautifully underscore concepts that are integral to the Braille Challenge: braille literacy as a source of personal independence, braille literacy as a means for pursuing higher education and braille literacy as a way of connecting oneself with one's blind friends and colleagues.
We heard first from Caitlin Hernandez, currently a freshman at the University of California Santa Cruz, as well as a two-time winner of the National Braille Challenge, once in 2006 and again in 2008. Caitlin enjoys singing, reading and writing and is hoping to major in Literature. Concerning the appropriate role of audio technology in a braille-reading life, Caitlin told her audience:
"When people tell you that you can listen to your textbooks on the computer, when they say, 'There's an audio version of this, and listening will be faster than reading,' remember that ONLY with braille will you learn to spell, punctuate and use proper grammar. Writing comes through reading, and if you only listen, putting together coherent and accurate essays and reports will be a tricky thing to do later. Listening to a book will never be the same as physically reading it. The comprehension, the sense of really absorbing the words and their meanings, the ability to literally reach back and see where you've been ... all of that only truly comes with braille."
Regarding how braille connects us with our blind friends and colleagues, Caitlin was adamant in her enthusiasm.
"Every Challenge is a reunion: a chance for all of us to come together, make new friends, embrace the old ones, and catch up on the year that has just elapsed. Ties between Braille Challengers are the ones that truly bind. So today, as you compete, talk to your fellow Challenge participants. Ask them what it's like at their school. Compare technology. Find out the things you have in common and the things you don't. Share experiences. These friendships are the ones that last. Take it from me: it's refreshing to know that there really are other blind people out there who understand what going through school, not only as a blind student, but as an individual person with individual needs, is like. Milk The Braille Challenge for all it's worth and make connections."
Blind students and their parents must surely have been inspired by the next keynote speaker, Michelle McGrew, who addressed the ways in which braille literacy is crucial to one's independence as a blind adult. Michelle is a long-term member and past president of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind and has read braille since the first grade. A graduate of Stanford University, her passions include braille literacy, gardening and community work.
"I use braille to read my cookbooks and to try new recipes," Michelle told our attentive audience. She said that she also uses braille to keep accounting records, surf the web and write email. She explained that her kitchen appliances all have braille markings thus enabling her to operate them independently. She uses braille to label medications, CDs and personal files, as well as keep track of appointments. She stressed the idea that even when a person has some residual vision, braille can still be an asset. Her words undoubtedly encouraged and inspired any parent with concerns about how his or her blind child would succeed in adult life.
An additional source of pride and delight for me personally was the presence of Girl Scout Troop 60923, for whom I serve as one of three leaders. The girls in our troop are 10-11 years old and are currently completing their Bronze Award, a year-long community service/education project. They chose to explore issues related to blindness as their Bronze Award focus, and one of their activities was to serve as human guides to blind students competing in our regional Braille Challenge. Upon arrival, each of our girls was paired up with a blind student and the two remained together for the better part of the day. Our girls accompanied their blind friends to and from testing rooms, as well as to the "Prevail With Braille" carnival, lunch, and the afternoon's culminating awards ceremony. It was heartening for me to see how some initial shyness and nervousness expressed by the blind students and our girls when they first met, was soon replaced by easy laughter, camaraderie and play. Here is what troop members temselves had to say about their experience.
"I realized that blind children aren't any different than you or me. They can just see the world with their eyes closed."--Lara Kerwin
"I hung out with Rio and took her to places where she wanted to go. It was interesting to see her play the carnival games and type on a braille writer. Rio is very smart and won second place in the tests for her level, Apprentice."--Natalie Narito
"I liked looking at sighted people get along with blind people."--Enya van Ham
"I was amazed at how fast they could type. I learned how to type my name in braille."--Danielle Bentson
"I think that visually impaired people are not that different from you and me. The only difference is that they can't see, but other than that, they can read, write, draw, play sports, and a lot of other things."--Julieanna Blotz
"My favorite part of the Braille Challenge was the awards ceremony. I liked to watch the kids who tried their hardest at the competition walk up and receive their awards. My friend Mia was 18 years old, and we had fun checking out the carnival. I got to walk her up to the front to receive her award. It was really exciting because she won second place in her Varsity group."--Breelyn Wilcox
So an additional, if perhaps unintended benefit of the Braille Challenge, then, is to build community between blind people and sighted people as we teach one another about our lives.
Of course, braille literacy would not exist without excellent teachers of braille. Each year the National Braille Challenge presents one Outstanding Teacher Award to an instructor of the blind and visually impaired. Award recipients are nominated by their students, the parents of their students, fellow teachers, and others who serve with them in their school districts. In the Braille Challenger Newsletter, you can read about these distinguished teachers as well as about some of the techniques that they use to encourage braille literacy.
Some VI teachers show the sighted classmates of their blind students how to read and write a little braille. Others teach braille to students' sighted family members. Still others encourage their blind students to forge pen-pal relationships with braille readers in other countries.
Judging from the students whom I had the honor of meeting on March 7, I'd say these teachers are all doing a fabulous job.
I've been reading braille myself since the first grade, and I'm now 53 years old. I am a full-time Community College English teacher; and reading and writing aren't just my livelihood, they are my joy. I would not have them, nor would I have the privileges of teaching mostly sighted college students, and working alongside gifted colleagues, if not for braille.
We had no Braille Challenge event when I was growing up, so I am thrilled that such a competition exists today. I have seen and participated in many kinds of organized competitions including science fairs, solo and ensemble music festivals and speech and debate forums. The Braille Challenge is as rigorous as any of these. I look forward to next year's challenge.Return to the Table of Contents
I'd like to express my thanks to the Awards Committee of the California Council of the Blind for honoring me with their humanitarian award. It was presented to me at the monthly meeting of the local chapter in Silicon Valley on April 18. I can't help feeling a little embarrassed about receiving it, because I feel I should not be rewarded for something that I have enjoyed so much. After transcribing since 1965, I often wonder what my life would have been like if not for braille.
Braille is such an amazing invention. And braille readers are amazing for being able to master all the rules and regulations that enable six dots to represent all the signs and symbols available to the print reader--punctuation, diacritics, scientific notation, etc.
Braille transcribers not working in schools get very little feedback from readers. I have been fortunate to have had excellent mentors from blind professional educators and scholars who have guided me in producing braille transcriptions that are likely to be effective. I'd like to mention, especially, Sally Mangold, John Miller, Chris Gray, and Martha Pamperin. Readers should make time to tell transcribers and/or transcribing groups when presentations are confusing or could be improved. Do not worry about hurt feelings, we'll get over it!
Again, many thanks! I feel very humble.Return to the Table of Contents
Below are some long overdue board minute summaries. I have included the last two pre-convention board meetings for which the Minutes have been approved by the board. These are the spring and fall, 2008 CCB Board of Directors meetings.
Jeff Thom called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. at the Arden West Hilton Hotel in Sacramento. Present were president Jeff Thom, 1st VP Gene Lozano, 2nd VP Rhonda King, treasurer Chris Gray, Secretary Gabe Griffith, immediate past president Cathie Skivers, Jerry Arakawa, Richard Rueda, Donna Pomerantz, David Jackson, Louis Preston, Ann Kysor, and Ken Metz. Absent were Peter Pardini and Barbara Rhodes.
There were several announcements including introductions of out of state visitors, marriages and birthdays, remaining meal tickets, meeting locations and times, and more.
Jeff Thom read the agenda, and it was moved and seconded to accept it. Gabe Griffith read the Minutes from the October, 2007 pre-convention board meeting. It was moved and seconded to accept the Minutes with corrections, and the motion passed. Cathie Skivers then read the Minutes from the January 17, 2008 conference call board meeting. It was moved and seconded to accept the Minutes with corrections, and the motion passed.
Linda Porelle then spoke about her experiences as CCB's representative to the Hawaii Association of the Blind convention.
Chris Gray then gave a treasurer's report. He did not have a bottom line number of CCB's accounts at that time but stated that he would get those numbers to anyone who asked for them after the convention. There was a discussion about accounting practices and how we can make sure CCB's books are balanced properly. It was moved and seconded to accept the treasurer's report, and the motion passed. There was then a motion to have the status of all audits and accounts presented to the board by June 1, 2008. It was seconded and the motion passed.
Mitch Pomerantz and Chris Gray then presented the proposed 2008 CCB budget. The board first accepted the income portion of the budget and then the expense portion. It was then moved and seconded to accept the entire budget as presented, and the motion passed. Next Jeff reported on the Friends of CCB Committee. There is now a brochure for this committee, which was included in all convention packets, and all attendees were encouraged to read it.
Bernice Kandarian gave a Publications Committee report. She reported on issues surrounding the Blind Californian, including expenses and things that are being done to keep costs down. She also reported on several other items the committee was working on, including a writers workshop, pre-convention registration packets, the Seniors with Vision Loss pamphlet, and several items concerning the CCB website. It was moved and seconded to accept the Publications Committee report. The motion passed.
Rhonda King then gave a fund-raising update. She reported on prizes for the spring sweepstakes tickets, the MMS program, convention corporate donors, and other fund raising opportunities that were in the works. It was moved and seconded to commit funds to stream the fall convention. The motion passed. It was then moved and seconded to accept the fund raising report, and the motion passed.
Next it was moved and seconded to pay for one student to attend the 2008 ACB national convention. The motion passed.
It was then moved and seconded to keep the meal subsidies for the fall, 2008 convention at the same level as they were for the spring convention, and the motion passed. It was moved and seconded to keep the fall room subsidies at $90, and that motion passed.
It was moved and seconded to have the spring 2009 convention in San Mateo. The motion failed. It was then moved and seconded to have the spring 2009 convention back at the Arden West and the motion passed.
Cathie reported on the Newel Perry and the Ellen Murphy trust funds. Each of these reports were moved and seconded to be accepted, and the motions passed.
It was moved and seconded to have the CCB caucus, at the 2008 ACB national convention, be a bag lunch or people could bring their own lunches. The motion passed.
It was next moved and seconded to have CCB sign on to a legal brief for a case in Arizona regarding descriptive video and how important it was. The motion passed.
Public comment included comments on Capitol Day, CCB taxes and the CCB Caucus meeting at the ACB convention.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:49 p.m.
President Jeff Thom called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. Present were President Jeff Thom, 1st VP Gene Lozano, 2nd VP Rhonda King, treasurer Chris Gray, Secretary Gabe Griffith, immediate past president Cathie Skivers, Jerry Arakawa, Ken Metz, Richard Rueda, David Jackson, Louis Preston, Peter Pardini, Ann Kysor, and Donna Pomerantz. Absent was Barbara Rhodes.
There were announcements including ticket announcements, meeting time and location information, live streaming of the convention, volunteers for the exhibit hall, awards, and introductions of out-of-state visitors.
It was moved and seconded to accept the agenda with modifications. The motion passed. Cathie read the April 10 pre-convention Board Minutes. It was moved and seconded to accept the Minutes, and the motion passed. Jeff read the Minutes for the July 19 conference call. It was moved and seconded to accept the Minutes with corrections. The motion passed. Gabe read the Minutes for the September 19 conference call. It was moved and seconded to accept the Minutes with corrections. The motion passed.
Jeff stated that Leslie Thom has been appointed to the board for CTEVH.
The public comment section included comments on a paid web designer, and encouragement for people to attend the PR breakfast.
In his treasurer's report, Chris told us that the 2005 and 2006 audits had been completed. The total CCB assets, including liabilities and equities, as of September 30, 2008 are $1,367,510.90. For details see the California Council of the Blind balance sheet, September 30, 2008. There was a discussion regarding FISN, a new money management program CCB is working with. There was also a request for the board to have financial updates on at least a quarterly basis. It was moved and seconded to accept the treasurer's report, and the motion passed.
The Yosemite Gateway chapter has fulfilled the necessary requirements for becoming a chapter of CCB. It was moved and seconded to allow them to present credentials at the fall, 2008 convention. The motion passed.
Rhonda then gave a fund-raising report. She reported on the fall sweepstakes, convention sponsors, the possibility of working with the Sonoma Cattle Company, the MMS program, and other activities. She said that if anyone had questions about fund-raising projects during the convention, Peter Pardini or Obie Shoeman could answer them. There were also updates on the E-Bay giving program and the friends of CCB. It was moved and seconded to accept the fund-raising report, and the motion passed.
Next was a publications report. Most of this report dealt with the CCB website and the information can be found in the October 23, 2008 Publications Committee report. Bernice thanked Joel Isaacs for all the work he has done on the website. She also gave an update on how many people are receiving the various versions of the Blind Californian. It was moved and seconded to accept the publications committee report and the motion passed.
Cathie gave an update on the Newel Perry trust fund. It was moved and seconded to accept this report, and the motion passed. She then gave an update on the Ellen Murphy Trust Fund. It was moved and seconded to accept this report as well, and this motion also passed. Cathie then mentioned that there are several openings on the Blind Advisory Committee and asked CCB to set aside $1,000 to help fund face to face meetings.
There were several bids for the fall 2009 convention site, and it was moved and passed to give the membership 10 minutes to express their views on which bid the board should accept. After much discussion, motions were made to accept the Fresno Radisson bid and to hold the convention over the Halloween weekend. Both motions passed. It was moved and seconded to charge $20 for lunches, $30 for the presidents' dinner, and $35 for the banquet. The motion passed.
It was then moved and seconded to have CCB pay to be represented at an upcoming family conference for families with children who are visually impaired. The motion passed.
There was then a motion made and seconded to send four members to the legislative seminar in 2009. An amendment was proposed to make this number six. The amendment was not accepted as friendly, so it was voted on and passed. The original motion was modified and then passed.
There was then a general discussion about funding, specifically to get funding to develop a strategic plan for CCB.
There is an initiative in Southern California called "I am PWD," which is campaigning to have stage and screen portrayals of disabled persons be more realistic and to increase the opportunities for actors with disabilities. It was moved and seconded to have CCB sign on to this campaign, and the motion passed.
Jeff stated that he will establish a subcommittee on gratitude certificates to fulfill a resolution that was passed at the spring, 2008 convention.
Richard described a Northern California Transition to Employment council he has put together, and said that it has been difficult to get someone from CCB to attend regularly. Ken Metz volunteered to attend via conference call on behalf of CCB.
Public comment included comments on the braille menu in the hotel's restaurant, a paid web designer, encouragement for people to attend the PR breakfast, and remaining with a specific financial advisor when one changes employers.
The meeting adjourned at 11:42 p.m.Return to the Table of Contents
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was held on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26, 2009 on the UCLA campus. This festival is held each year to promote reading and literacy through books and seminars. The seminars are held by a number of authors in attendance, and I would estimate the crowd at approximately two to three thousand people each day.
I was one of the eight CCB members attending. Our ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz, asked me to coordinate a group of CCB folks to work a booth with NFB representatives to encourage Amazon's keeping and improving its text-to-speech capability on their Kindle II machine, a handheld reader. In early March, Amazon had decided that book publishers could disable this feature, if they wished, to preserve copyrighted material. But disabling text-to-speech would make books on the Kindle inaccessible.
The Kindle II is a device that can hold hundreds of books, and has the capacity to read them out loud via text-to-speech. This is seen as a major step forward for persons who are blind or visually impaired to have access to over 200,000 books published annually. Through the NLS, Bookshare, and other sources, blind and visually impaired persons can access about five percent of books written annually, and many of those are not available for one to two years after being published.
The weather for both days was picture perfect, and our eight CCB members worked extremely well with our NFB counterparts in gathering three to four thousand signatures on our petition to demonstrate to Amazon the necessity of keeping the text-to-speech feature on their Kindle II, and proving to the Board of Authors and the Board of Publishers that blind folks would pay for these books, increasing their profit. We spoke to numerous individuals, from all walks of life, mentioning the fact that there are some fifteen million "print disabled" persons in the United States who would highly benefit from reading current books, and that the authors and publishers would benefit monetarily by allowing books available on the Kindle to be read through speech.
I would like to thank our CCB members for the hours they put into this book festival, and also our NFB comrades with whom we worked. Together, all of us worked hard and diligently to gather the signatures of those attending the book festival, and the little downtime that we had allowed us to enjoy some social time during this most important project in which we were so united.Return to the Table of Contents
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two types of disability benefit programs: Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To learn more about the criteria and differences between these programs, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.socialsecurity.gov. If you are an SSDI and/or SSI recipient and have an interest in working, below is information about continuing to receive earnings and medical benefits from SSA while you pursue meaningful employment.
SSA has created several "work incentives" to enable a person to continue to receive benefits and earn income. The work incentives and how they are applied are described in a free publication from SSA titled "The Red Book: The Guide to Work Incentives," which can be picked up at a local Social Security Office or viewed online at www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/main.htm. Some work earnings may also be applied to expenses that improve your employment opportunities. The Red Book will help you identify which incentives will fit your personal needs. Your local Independent Living Center staff may be able to provide information and assistance in understanding the work incentive options.
Another resource to promote meaningful work opportunities for SSA beneficiaries is the "Ticket to Work" program. This program provides "tickets" to SSA beneficiaries to receive employment assistance and support services from organizations that are part of the "Employer Network" (EN). Recruitment to add additional organizations to the EN is ongoing.
The program responsible for communicating "Ticket to Work" information is "Work Incentive Planning and Assistance" (WIPA). Information is being shared locally through free "Work Incentive Seminar" (WISE) Events. Attending a WISE event benefits you in four ways: A) Explore opportunities to increase your income. B) Learn about the Ticket to Work Program and other Work Incentives. C) Find disability service providers and other resources in your community that can help you navigate career development. D) Learn how to explore your options and try work without losing your Social Security benefits.
For more information or to sign up for a FREE WISE event in your area, please visit www.cessi.net/wise or call 877-743-8237 (V/TTY). New events are added monthly. For more general information about SSDI, SSI and work incentive information by podcast, visit Disability Law Lowdown past show #27 entitled "Social Security," as well as other interesting topics, at dll.ada-podcast.com/showlist.php.
Empower yourself with the knowledge to make the right choices as you explore your career options.Return to the Table of Contents
Members of the Resolutions Committee assembled at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 3. Many worked all day Friday and on Saturday until just before the banquet. The really strong individuals convened even after the election on Friday night and worked until 2 a.m. The task is sometimes difficult and exacting, but it also provides light moments; and the participants really come to know each other well. We need additional committee members, so please let Jeff know if you are interested.
The committee chair was Gabe Griffith; other members were Winifred Downing, Marvelena Gray, Eugene Lozano, Jr., Charles Nabarrete, and Linda Porelle. They considered twelve resolutions, the final two expressing gratitude to the volunteers and the hotel staff for their valuable aid. Of the remaining ten, two, resolutions 4 and 7, were withdrawn; and, since they were not read to the convention, they will not be summarized here.
Resolution 2009 A-1 urges Duxbury Systems to add within one year to its braille translation program Megadots-style blind-friendly features. Duxbury owns both programs, and many blind persons, including technology trainers, find that the Duxbury Braille Translator for Windows is not intuitive, is difficult to learn, and is awkward to use. Megadots, on the other hand, permits one to move from print to braille and review material easily. This resolution will be submitted for consideration to the American Council of the Blind (ACB) at its annual convention in July, 2009.
Resolution 2009 A-2 calls upon the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to "take whatever actions necessary to rescind the move to cubical settings" rather than closed offices, which have been used in the past, when interviewing clients. The "implementing regulations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 impose strict obligations to protect confidential information." The use of cubicles easily broadcasts clients' confidential information because of the assistive technical devices used by counselors in the interview, a problem worsened when clients may have hearing difficulties requiring raised voices.
Resolution 2009 A-3 requires the California Council of the Blind (CCB) to "write to the Director of the National Park Service strongly urging that policy directives be developed for dissemination to park superintendents to ensure that the access needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired be met and that the National Park Service issue new design guidelines which will provide greater access for persons with visual impairments." This resolution will be sent on to the ACB for consideration at its national convention in July, 2009.
Resolution 2009 A-5 calls upon CCB to "strongly urge the California High Speed Rail Development Authority to establish an Accessibility Advisory Committee whose mission it is to be actively involved in the design of its facilities and vehicles." This committee should have cross-disability representation, including people who are blind or visually impaired, "with knowledge about accessible transportation issues and regulations."
Resolution 2009 A-6 suggests that CCB should strive to hold its convention at a time which does not conflict with the convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The resolution failed.
Resolution 2009 A-8 assigns to CCB the task of pressing DOR "to ensure that appropriate levels of economic stimulus package funding are provided to programs and services for consumers who are blind or visually impaired." California has received $56 million in such funds, but reports from sources involved in such matters indicate that strong preference continues to be given to Independent Living Centers. At one point the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) asked for funds to establish seven roadside sites, thus providing good jobs for seven blind or visually impaired individuals. Initially the request was denied, but pressure has resulted in a reconsideration of the matter, though no final distribution of funds has been announced.
Resolution 2009 A-9 requires CCB to "urge DOR, which is the California State Licensing Agency, to immediately comply with the provisions of Section 107-B-1 of the Randolph Sheppard Act amendments of 1974," particularly the fiscal solvency report. It should provide "data including (a) BEP vendor program set-aside fees, (b) expenditures paid from the set-aside fund to date, (c) percentage of federal matching funds placed back into the Set-Aside Fund per expenditures, and (d) a total year-to-date balance of the funds." That document is to be sent quarterly to all vendors and in alternative formats. Should these provisions not be implemented in a reasonable period of time, the CCB will work with the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors to explore legislative remedies to "this and other problems facing BEP."
Resolution 2009 A-10 states that CCB should "strongly urge the Department of Rehabilitation Business Enterprise Program to actively obtain and develop all federal locations within the state of California for blind licensees." A growing number of such facilities already exist, and the resolution provides "that there be an immediate filing for federal arbitration by the Department against those federal entities which have declined federal priority under the terms of the Randolph-Sheppard Act."
Complete copies of the resolutions can be obtained from the CCB office.Return to the Table of Contents
This report pertains to actions that have been taken with respect to resolutions adopted at the spring, 2009 convention. These resolutions were summarized earlier in this issue. We will provide updated information on the outcome of our advocacy.
The resolution was submitted, along with a cover letter, to Duxbury Systems. We will also be submitting this resolution for action at the 2009 American Council of the Blind convention.
This resolution has been submitted to the Department of Rehabilitation for its consideration.
This resolution, along with a cover letter, has been sent to the head of the National Park Service. We are also looking for advocacy opportunities with respect to specific parks within California and will notify those in the affected areas when such opportunities arise. The resolution will also be submitted to the American Council of the Blind for action at its convention.
This resolution, along with a cover letter, is being submitted to the High Speed Rail Authority. We will continue to monitor this project and the degree to which access is an important consideration.
This resolution has been submitted to the Department of Rehabilitation for its consideration.
These resolutions have been submitted to the Department of Rehabilitation for its consideration.
A copy of this resolution was sent to every person who volunteered at the convention.
A copy of this resolution was sent to the Arden West Hilton Hotel.Return to the Table of Contents
Step into a bright cozy kitchen during the holidays, toasty warm against the cold outside. It radiates the tantalizing aroma of Christmas cookies and uproarious laughter. See the multi-generational women, bonded in baking together. Many eager hands make the work lighter. Lessons of all sorts are learned. Hearts are joined together. The cookies taste sensational!
Throughout history, women have come together for their common benefit in extended families and in communities. They have linked arms to face common threats and disasters and celebrated happy events. They have gathered in knitting and quilting circles. The driving agenda was to share their stories, their hopes, joys and sorrows in a sisterhood of caring.
In the same tradition, the ACB Women's Concerns Committee has organized a support group by phone for those living with the dual experiences of vision loss and a history of breast cancer. Group members provide an empathetic listening ear, practical coping tips from their own experience, and some humor. Having already held our first four sessions with women calling in from all over the country, it can be rightly said that this is truly a community of strength and grace under pressure.
Groups are facilitated by three social workers who are also ACB members, including one who is a breast cancer survivor. As facilitators, our role is to promote an environment of comfort and encouragement. The selection of topics for discussion is driven by what the participants want to talk about.
In our attempt to make this group a safe and supportive place, we offer some guidelines, standards for such groups. We ask and expect members to honor them. Briefly, they include absolute confidentiality: what happens in the group stays there. We do not engage in medical advice or comparisons of treatments. Each woman's case is unique to her and should ultimately be resolved between her and her treatment team. For those wishing or needing psychotherapy, this group is not the place to receive it. Giving everyone an opportunity, who wants one, to share at her own comfort level and respect for the feelings expressed are two more items. In this way, even though some painful things may be discussed from time to time, the group can retain a positive tone.
But rest assured that there is still plenty left to talk about. Interaction can range from cultivating a support system, ways to give back and have fun, and dealing with the responses of one's family and friends to one's illness. There is much focus on the endless variety of ways to take good care of oneself. As the group members are getting to know each other better, there is more and more laughter.
If you are a woman who feels you would benefit from this group via conference call, here's what you need to know. We meet on the first Tuesday evening of each month from 8:30 p.m., to 10, Eastern time. That's 5:30 p.m., Pacific time. To attend, call 605-475-4850. Then enter the group identification code 727660. You will be asked to state your name and city location, so the group knows who is attending and exiting the session. This also promotes confidentiality. If you should have any difficulty getting through at the above phone number, it is important that you hang up and then call 650-969-3155 for help.
You are most welcome to join us in this wonderful phone support group. As for those luscious frosted cookies mentioned earlier, if only we could share those with you!Return to the Table of Contents
As this report goes to press, the California State Legislature is struggling to close a $24.3 billion deficit in the state's 2009/2010 budget. The governor has proposed massive cuts to education, social services, prisons, and other state programs. We are concerned about how these proposed cuts will impact the lives of blind or visually impaired Californians. I encourage each of you to contact your assemblymember and your state senator to let them know how various state programs touch your life. Believe it or not, there's more going on than the budget discussions in Sacramento. Here's an update on the bills CCB is watching.
The California State Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by CCB, SJR 6, by Senator Allen Lowenthal. SJR 6 will soon be taken up by the Assembly Committee on Transportation. This resolution would place the state legislature on record in support of H.R. 734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which is under consideration by the U.S. Congress. That bill would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop minimum sound levels for new, quiet cars.
AB 386, by Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, has passed the Assembly, and it is waiting to be taken up by the state Senate. Existing law requires publishers of printed educational materials used at public colleges and universities in California to provide the material, upon request, in an electronic format that is compatible with commonly used braille translation and speech synthesis software. Existing law also requires non-printed electronic education materials to be made available, when feasible, in a format that is compatible with braille translation and speech synthesis software. This bill would expand the definition of non-printed instructional materials to include audio/visual works, podcasts, web clips and video and audio tapes. It would also require that the electronic versions of non-printed educational materials be compatible with audio/visual captioning for the deaf as well as braille translation and speech synthesis software for the blind. CCB is supporting this bill.
SB 475, by Senator Alex Padilla, has been passed by the State Senate, and it has been sent to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. This bill will raise the registration fees that guide dog schools pay to support the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind. It would specify that the annual license fee charged to guide dog schools would be no more than 0.005% of each school's annual expenses as set forth by regulations, and that the fee would be payable before April 30 of each year. Currently, the annual registration fee is 0.004% of the school's expenses. CCB is supporting this bill.
AB 378, Cook, has been passed by the Assembly, and it will be heard by the Senate Committee on Human Services on June 9. This bill would require each public authority or nonprofit consortium providing in-home supportive services, with consultation from its stakeholders, to develop training standards and topics to be used in the training it provides its IHSS workers. CCB is supporting this bill.
SB 250, by State Senator Dean Florez, has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, and it is headed for the Senate floor. This bill would require owners of dogs and cats to have their animals spayed or neutered. CCB will oppose this bill unless language is included to exempt breeders of dog guides from these requirements.
SB 246, by Senator John Benoit, is stalled in the Senate Human Services Committee. This bill would mandate criminal background checks, including fingerprinting, for IHSS workers. CCB is supporting this bill.
AB 144, by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, was passed by the Assembly, and it is awaiting consideration by the State Senate. This bill will increase the penalty for abuse of a parking placard reserved for people with disabilities.
AB 452, by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, has stalled in the Assembly Committee on Human Services. The bill would establish the California Independence Program, a voluntary, fee-based program for the provision of in-home supportive services to certain aged, blind and otherwise disabled individuals who are otherwise ineligible for IHSS services.
AB 885, by Assemblyman Brian Nestande, has stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This bill would allow the state to borrow federal funds to pay for area centers on aging during times when the passage of the state budget has been delayed. CCB opposes this bill because it doesn't address the funding needs of other agencies serving the blind.
AB 1532, by Assemblymember Lieu, has stalled in the Assembly Human Services Committee. This bill would provide additional state funds for in-home supportive services.
SB 92, by State Senator Sam Anestad, failed in the Senate Committee on Health. It may be taken up again next year. Among other things, it would set up a demonstration project to turn Medi-Cal from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.
SB 389, by State Senator Negrete McLeod, has been stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill would expand the types of professions for which practitioners must submit fingerprints to the California State Government, and it would be applied retroactively to people licensed before 1990.
SB 638, by State Senator Negrete McLeod, has passed through the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. It deals with the administration of various state boards, including the Guide Dog Board. It would move the sunset reviews for these boards from the legislature's Sunset committees to the individual committees that regularly oversee the respective boards.
SB 755, by State Senator Negrete McLeod, has stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill would require state agencies to award at least 1% of their contracts to Persons with Developmental Disabilities Business Enterprises.
SB 810, by State Senator Mark Leno and others, has stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill would create the California Health Care System. This would be a statewide health insurance program for Californians.
Finally, AB 23, by Jones and others, was chartered on May 12. This law requires employers to notify employees that they can receive federal premium assistance for CAL-COBRA health benefits.
Hybrid cars and some other alternative fuel vehicles pose an increasing danger to pedestrians, especially those who are blind or visually impaired. This is because they operate much more quietly than conventional vehicles, so they are difficult to detect by sound. As mentioned above, a bill that would address this problem, H.R. 734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; and its companion bill, S 841, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. H.R. 734 directs the Federal Department of Transportation to conduct a study of the quiet car problem, and based on the results of the study, to prepare a requirement for the minimum sound to be emitted by new cars.
So far twelve members of congress from California have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 734: Representatives Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Bob Filner, Jane Harman, Barbara Lee, Dorris Matsui, Dana Rohrabacher, Linda Sanchez, Adam Schiff, Pete Stark, Ellen Tauscher, and Maxine Waters. We're seeking more co-sponsors. If your member of the House of Representatives is on this list, please thank them. If your representative isn't yet a co-sponsor, please ask them to be one. We also encourage you to ask our U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to co-sponsor S 841. You can reach the office of your member of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Recently S. 700 and its companion H.R. 1708 have been introduced in the United States Congress. These identical pieces of legislation are entitled, "Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009." Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Representative Gene Green (D-TX) are the chief sponsors of this legislation in each body. We encourage you to call your congressional representatives and U.S. Senators in support of these bills.
Check with the California Connection to find out when the next Capitol Report will be updated and for the latest news on California state legislation. You can listen to the CCB Capitol Report by calling the CCB office during evenings and weekends at 800-221-6359. The report is also posted on CCB's website, www.ccbnet.org. For federal legislative information, please check with the Washington Connection at 800-424-8666 or on the ACB website, www.acb.org.Return to the Table of Contents
Greetings to all residents who reside in the Southern California Area. If you are a person with a disability or an individual that provides technical support to persons using adaptive technology, then you might want to learn about the Southern California Assistive Technology Users Group. The purpose for bringing this group together is to provide a local organization/group where those interested can meet and exchange ideas and information regarding assistive technology.
At the present time, the ATUG Meets on the fourth Saturday of every month at the campus of The Junior Blind of America, formerly known as the Foundation for the Junior Blind, 5300 Angeles Vista Blvd., in View Park, Windsor Hills, a community in Los Angeles. The meetings are scheduled for three hours, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a 20 minute break. Those in attendance will be able to enjoy complementary coffee, tea and doughnuts. People wishing to attend are encourage to bring a lunch or snack.
Some of the topics covered up to now were: Accessible IPod Nano; Getting the Most of the Victor Stream; PC Tuning, Performance and Cleanup; Using Zoomtext with Windows XP or Vista; and an overview of the Abisee product line consisting of the Eye-Pal, Zoomex and Zoomtwix. Some future topics will be: June: Getting the Most from Kurzweil 1000, July: Using the Macintosh platform and its Voiceover Accessibility features; September: come and learn all about GwMicro's Window-Eyes screen reader for any version of today's Windows environment; and much more.
Interested persons should contact Stephanie Rood, Phone: 323-295-4555 extension 285, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Robert Sweetman, Phone: 323-295-4555 extension 209; email: email@example.com; or email Louis Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org.Return to the Table of Contents
While helping to plan this year's Bayview Chapter lasagna dinner, my thoughts went back to last year, and what a wonderful time I had, and how it made the whole ensuing year happier. Read on!
At last year's dinner, my excitement mounted as the prizes were called out, and as everyone knows, there is always one that you just feel like it has your name on it. And so it was with me when I heard: "We have a cookbook here, in either braille or large print--The 20th Anniversary SVCB Cookbook." I didn't win it, but to my delight and joy, I received a call from Cathie Skivers saying she had a surprise for me--that the braille copy was available and that it was mine!
The braille edition has a pleasing compact size. There is a beautiful tactile design on the cover, and the title is also displayed in large, embossed print. It is a wonderful collection of recipes--a book to rival any PTA or church cookbook.
There are touching reminiscences and stories about the recipes and information about SVCB and its formation.
Reading this cookbook is so pleasant, nostalgic, and thrilling--it's like going to a family reunion or a big picnic of friends where you feel at home. And you know these recipes are well-loved and tried and true. Read it--you'll get hungry and want to try them all.
The braille edition is in two volumes containing appetizers, beverages, breads, desserts, meat and poultry, salads, side and main dishes, and "Presidents' Picks." Each section is introduced with a page containing only its name embossed in large print, like the sign to a new neighborhood, city or world.
While reading the book, I received the answer to a question that had been bothering me for a very long time. Like Bev (Greanya) Clifford, I spent my childhood in Michigan. One of my dad's and my favorites was my mom's recipe for navy bean soup. It was thick and the beans were mushy, but I could never get the right consistency when using the navy beans here in California. They just would not cook down. From Bev, in her recipe for the Greanyas' beans (her way), I learned that you ask for small white beans, not navy beans, and with them you will achieve the result you want--the same consistency you get using Michigan navy beans.
This book would make an excellent gift. So if your curiosity is piqued and you'd like to procure this book, contact the Silicon Valley Chapter.
Note from SVCB: Our cookbook is still available on CD-ROM and 4-track cassette tape. The CD-ROM contains versions of the cookbook in text, braille, HTML, and audio DAISY formats. The large print and braille editions are currently out of print; but if you are interested in purchasing either of these two formats, please check on availability as we have a very limited supply remaining. All formats are $10 each and will be shipped "free matter." If you are not eligible to receive mail as "free matter for the blind" or wish the cookbook to be shipped another way, please contact SVCB for shipping charges. You may leave a message for our Fund-Raising Chair at 888-652-5333 or send email to email@example.com. Checks or money orders for the CD-ROM or cassette editions should be made payable to SVCB and be mailed to Silicon Valley Council of the Blind; P.O. Box 493; Mountain View, CA 94042.Return to the Table of Contents
The social milieu of Hollywood's entertainment biz includes a diverse socio-economic mix of individuals from an eclectic source of geographic origins. From that perspective, the entertainment business may seem diverse and inclusive, but from traditional definitions of diversity, including ethnicity and gender, nothing could be farther from the truth. Where disability is concerned, film and TV studios continue to ignore, under-represent and discriminate against that 17% of the American scene. Blind persons are among the very least visible people in the media, and blind characters in the media are most often portrayed by sighted actors.
Previously, this series explored the opportunities and requirements for employment in the media from a "behind the scenes" perspective. A handful of collegial performers, including blind professionals, have kindly contributed to this discussion of the opportunities for employment in the performing arts , e.g. acting, voice-over, and music.
An entire book could, and probably should, be written about how blind performers can approach acting as a profession. Discussions of stage blocking and camera cheating and body language could make for interesting reading for anyone and would be quite helpful to aspiring blind performers. Unfortunately, explanations about the technical "how to" aspect of performing for cameras or stage for blind actors will have to wait for a future article. However, much of the relevant information about launching a career, which happens to be similar for sighted or blind performers, can be described here, with the help of some knowledgeable, experienced performers, including blind professionals as well as the most famous actor with a disability on TV today.
The working life of an actor has been so glamorized that understanding what skills are required may be difficult. My own experience as an actor suggests that "people skills" are the real key. Steve Gladstone, a blind actor/entertainer in Florida, describes the essential skills for actors as "ability to deliver honesty and believability in your performance." Lynn Manning, an internationally acclaimed blind actor, says: "You have to be able to memorize lines and do so quickly. You have to be able to convincingly convey a variety of emotional states. You must have 'body consciousness,' the awareness of your own physical presence as well as how to use body language."
So how does one develop the skills required for professional acting? Steve Gladstone's ideas include "Continually practice your craft through paid gigs, unpaid projects, classes, or workshops." Lynn Manning recommends "to get professional training--collegiate or private, join a small theater company or ensemble. Don't allow yourself or others to limit you to specifically blind roles." The most visible actor with a disability on TV today is Robert David Hall, actor on CSI and activist for People with Disabilities. He suggests that "On-camera and stage actors need to perform in anything they can get to, community theater, student films, etc."
Does blindness really make a difference for those who wish to pursue a career in acting? According to Robert David Hall, "There is a discriminatory and slightly ignorant world out there. There are people with the power to employ blind performers, who have stereotypical views about blind people." Steve Gladstone says: "Lacking sight is a show stopper for some directors regardless of your talent. Also, lacking sight makes it difficult for timely transportation to auditions and call-backs." Lynn Manning shares his perspective this way: "For me, being blind has made it easier to step out onto the stage, because I'm no longer intimidated by the visual reality of the spotlight. On the other hand, it's made acting for the camera more difficult, because I'm never secure with where or how to focus my face and eyes. The most difficult thing to accept about being a professional blind actor is the dearth of opportunities to audition for roles, let alone get the part. It's been truly bleak out here."
Some people question whether an acting career is even possible for blind performers. How realistic is it? As for myself, it has been much like careers of non-disabled actors. Some years it has paid the bills and more. Other years it has been completely absent from my financial picture. My biggest complaint is not being allowed to audition for roles that were not conceived as blind characters. If I could do that, I would have an equal shot at making more of a career out of it. My esteemed colleague, Lynn Manning, numbers the known blind actors as around 40 or so. He says, "Here in the states, I'm aware of approximately ten blind/visually impaired professional stage actors. Overseas, I'm aware of far more. Between the two professional blind theatre companies of Extant in The UK and New Life in Croatia, there are at least 25 actors. I've also met blind actors from Slovenia, France, Norway, Spain, and Italy. That's at least another dozen." Robert David Hall remarks: "Sadly, there have been very few blind performers I'm aware of who work in the acting profession. I still refuse to believe that great talent will be stopped, but it can certainly be discouraged and slowed down."
For some blind performers, the tasks of hitting physical marks, properly cheating cameras, and incorporating effective body language are just beyond the scope of capability or interest. Hence, voice-over work seems like a natural fit. Here again, most people in general do not understand what is really required for this work. The sound of one's voice is perhaps not the most important factor. While some voices are simply not very suitable to any type of voice recording work, most voice types have their market. Simply listen to the radio or television and notice the range of voice types you will hear: young female, middle age female, young male, middle age male, and a variety of animated character voices. The real skill that separates professionals from amateurs is the "reading" ability, the ability to interpret material and deliver a variety of convincing performances that sound like original thoughts and not like someone reading a script.
Two blind voice-over artists with professional experience shed some light on what is important in developing a career in voice over. Tina Wilson, a blind VO artist on the west coast, believes: "Perseverance is critical. You must be pretty thick-skinned in the face of rejection in order to survive. Confidence in your abilities is a must." Tom Wlodkowski, an east coast VO artist with professional experience, adds: "Adaptability is key. Knowing what to ask for can make all the difference. Proficiency in assistive technology is vital to being able to compete."
What should an aspiring blind voice-over artist do to get started? Tina Wilson points out the importance of having a home studio, continuing training, and networking. Tom Wlodkowski states: "Initial contact with someone requires education and familiarization. If you are the right voice for the gig, they will do what they need to do to a certain extent, and you need to do your part. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Start small and grow. Don't expect to start huge. Volunteer, do industrials, develop your technique, network, start with PSA's if possible." Robert David Hall, who has also had a very successful voice-over career, has this advice: "If I wanted a career in the voice world, I'd take classes from working professionals ... classes in basic diction, classes focusing on commercial voice, animation, documentary reads, trailer and promo skills ... above all, I'd try to record myself every day and critique myself and get a pro to listen to me and offer some opinions."
There are logistical issues confronting blind voice-over artists, including the need for accessible scripts. I prefer to read braille, either from paper or from a notetaker. I have witnessed Tom Sullivan, Chris Snyder, and other blind VO artists using ear prompters quite successfully. Tina Wilson says: "Scripts are emailed prior, and I braille them ahead of time. Otherwise, it is dictated and I braille it by hand." Tom Wlodkowski handles scripts by "obtaining scripts prior, scanning them with OCR technology, and embossing them." Tom emphasizes the importance of reading braille, being computer literate and understanding audio recording software.
Frequently when people think of a music career, they limit their imagination to pop songs on the radio or perhaps movie scores. In fact, music is incorporated into nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry, from radio ads, to music beds under TV sports highlights, to video games, telephone systems and more. Figuring out which markets to exploit and how to ensure your music is heard by the right people is probably the most difficult part of the journey.Return to the Table of Contents
This happened to a coworker several years ago. She decided to make a batch of peanut butter cookies. After placing all necessary items on the counter, she started putting the ingredients in a bowl. Her recipe was a typical one with flour, sugar, margarine, salt, baking powder, soda, and, of course, peanut butter.
As she worked, everything seemed to be going smoothly. However, after creating the batter, she was horrified to discover the cookie dough was full of small, hard pieces of something she couldn't identify. Although she thought her flour and other ingredients were fine, she was afraid to bake the cookies until she was absolutely sure they weren't infested with God only knew what! So she swallowed her pride and called a neighbor to help solve the mystery.
As soon as her neighbor entered the kitchen and saw the jar of crunchy peanut butter on the counter, the mystery was solved. My friend absolutely hates crunchy peanut butter and has always refused to buy anything other than the creamy variety. It simply never occurred to her that she was using crunchy peanut butter; and as a result, she didn't recognize the little pieces of peanuts in the batter.
Until our next issue, I want to wish each of you a fun-filled summer. Stay safe and always look on the lighter side. Be sure to share your stories with me by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Return to the Table of Contents
Greetings, friends! As we know, summer is here, and the following recipes are a few of my favorites for picnics and get-togethers. Always use safety precautions, and remember that a great dish is what you make it out to be. Good luck, and happy cooking!
A very healthy version of the standard tuna salad. Broccoli, cauliflower, onion and celery combine with tuna and fat-free mayo for the perfect tuna salad. Best tuna salad you've ever tasted!
Ingredients: 2 6 ounce cans tuna in water, drained; 1/2 head broccoli, finely chopped; 1/2 head cauliflower, finely chopped; 1/2 red onion, finely chopped; 2 stalks celery, finely chopped; 1 cup fat-free mayonnaise, or to taste; 4 pita bread rounds.
Directions: In a large bowl, toss together the tuna, broccoli, cauliflower, onion and celery. Stir in mayonnaise until the salad reaches your desired consistency. Serve on pita bread.
A fantastic blend of fruit and feta cheese tops off this tossed salad, making it perfect for summer barbeques!
Ingredients: 3 6 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves; 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing; 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped; 1 avocado, diced; 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled; 1-1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries; 1 cup dried cranberries; 3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette, or to taste.
Directions: Place the chicken breasts and Italian dressing into a resealable plastic bag. Mix together to coat the chicken with the dressing, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 3 minutes per side. Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients for the salad, then dice.
Toss the diced apple with the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl until well coated; drain and discard any excess lemon juice. Place the lettuce into the mixing bowl, then sprinkle with the diced chicken, avocado, feta cheese, strawberries, and cranberries. Gently toss the salad with the balsamic vinaigrette, and serve immediately.
Notes: I use the George Forman grill, not the outdoor grill, when I don't have sighted assistance. Another option is to bake or use a skillet.
Ingredients: 1-1/3 cups flour; 1 cup quick oats; 1/2 cup Splenda; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; 1/4 cup nonfat milk; 1/2 cup applesauce; 1 egg white; 1/2 cup raisins; 1 cup mashed bananas; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Directions: Stir together flour, oats, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. In a 9 by 13 inch non-stick baking pan, spray with cooking spray and spread batter evenly. Bake at 350 until bars are golden brown and just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan--about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or cool, cut into 2 inch squares. To store, wrap each bar tightly with plastic wrap and keep frozen for use as needed.
Enjoy!Return to the Table of Contents
Ardis Bazyn and Kevin Berkery were married May 23 at the Coast Anabel Hotel in Burbank. They had a very nice small wedding with mostly family and will be living at 2121 Scott Road No. 105 in Burbank, CA, where Kevin owns a condo.
Ed Hudson of Chico, CA is offering his service as a guide runner for visually impaired athletes.
"I enjoy all kinds of events but my favorites are Half Marathons and Endurance Relays. I am willing to run any kind of event where I can assist a vision-impaired runner.
"I became interested in becoming a guide runner after running behind a blind runner and his guide during the Paris Marathon this year. It was a powerful experience to witness someone not only overcome the challenge of the marathon but navigate the crowds, the debris, the wet pavement, etc.
"I am currently registered for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July and would love to run with someone for that race if possible. I am open to running with relay teams as well. Sacramento and Bay Area runs events are easiest but open to travel depending on schedule.
"I can best be reached at 707-799-3250 or by email at email@example.com."Return to the Table of Contents
[Editor's note: We are indebted to Bernice Kandarian who updates and corrects the list of CCB officers and board members, including the number of the term each is presently serving, the year elected to that term and the year next up for election. Terms actually begin on January 1 following election. The presence of an asterisk means that the individual served a partial term before the first full term.]