Change is inevitable and there is change in the air for the Stylus. As far back as I can remember, which is not very far back in the scheme of things, only about 12 years, we have only published the Stylus in large print, on cassette tape, and more recently, Email, and on the ACB of Oregon's Web page. When I first came on board with ACB of Oregon, the Stylus was only put out in large print and on cassette tape. The addition of Email and the Web page has been a welcome change for many of you. There is more change coming.
As we move farther into the Twenty First Century cassette tapes and the equipment used to record, duplicate and play them get older and older. It will not be long before these machines start to wear out and eventually stop working all together. Here in lies the problem. It is becoming harder and harder if not impossible to replace these machines and for that matter it is becoming almost impossible to buy cassette tapes to record on.
The next change for the Stylus will be the fazing out of cassette tapes and changing to Compact Disks (CD). These CD’s will play on any standard CD player or on your computer.
I do understand that for many of you computers are still a mystery and not a part of your lives. We do not expect you to change to CD over night, but we do expect you to change to CD in the future. I do hope you in turn will try and understand why this change is inevitable and must happen some time soon. As the machines we use to record and duplicate the cassette tapes ware out they will be replaced with equipment that can record and duplicate CD's. Jerry Delaunty has assured me OPB's accessible Information Network (formerly Golden Hours) will continue to record and duplicate the Stylus for us. As in the past they will also put the duplicated tapes or CD's in envelopes and mail them. It will be OPB's volunteers that will do the recording and envelope stuffing for the recorded version of the Stylus. It is my hope to start producing a limited number of CD versions of the Stylus for the Spring or Summer 2008 issue. I will be bringing this up to the Board at the pre convention board meeting in Grants Pass this October. The way we will make this change is yet to be worked out but I am sure that with the help of the Board and you, the membership, we can make the change work smoothly and painlessly for all concerned. If you have any ideas that may help please let a board member or me know and we will take them into consideration.
I look forward to seeing you all in Grants Pass this October and working together to make the Stylus a newsletter we can all be proud of.
Thanks and Blue Skies to you all.
John A. Fleming
Speaking of the convention, the folks in Grants Pass have been busily preparing for you to come and visit and attend our convention. You'll hear more about it as you read the stylus, and I sincerely hope to see all of you in the beautiful Rove Valley. Our convention dates are October 19, 20, and 21st and we look forward to seeing all of you.
We rejoice that the legislature has passed a bill which would create a Board of directors for the School for the Blind, and School for the Deaf. The Board of Directors of the School for the Blind and deaf will be appointed by the Governor; representatives from the staff, parents, business, education, Commission for the Blind, and the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, and the American Council of the Blind will serve on this Board. I have submitted my name, because this Board will oversee the future of the school, and this is something which is very close to my heart. I will be able to tell you more at the convention.
I would like to thank those of you who were able to attend the American Council of the Blind National convention in Minnesota; I especially thank James Edwards for so ably representing us, and hope that he was able to enjoy himself and gain a fresh insight into the workings of the American Council of the Blind. He had assistance from several Oregonians, notably, John and Darian Fleming, and Ted and Charlotte Noddin. We will be hearing from James at the convention. We have new leadership at the National level, and look forward to the continued progress of our organization.
The American Council of the Blind of Oregon is holding elections at the convention in October. Should you be interested in seeking any of our officer positions, please contact Darian Slayton-Fleming our Nominating Committee Chairman. The positions are: President, First and Second vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
In closing, I would like to encourage all of us to be open to continued growth as we move into 2008. As the summer draws to a close, and we feel the tang of fall in the air, and see the brilliance of autumn, may we be willing to participate in activities which would enhance our local chapters, and help our communities. Just as seasons change annually, our lives change as well. I have decided not to seek another term as President of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. I look forward to serving in other capacities and look forward to working with our new President to make the American Council of the Blind of Oregon a place where blind and visually impaired individuals can find independence, dignity and self-worth. It has been an honor to be a part of the Council, and I have come to appreciate everyone who has made this organization vital and strong. Sometimes, it is easy to think that you are not important, and that your ideas and thoughts don't matter, but they do. Each one of you has something vital to contribute, whether it's time, or something more tangible. I look forward to continuing to see the growth of our organization, and my deepest appreciation to you as the membership cannot be expressed enough.
Kae Madera President
All membership dues need to be paid before January 15, 2008. You can join a local chapter or become a member “at Large” according to our bylaws rules. This will allow all chapter treasurers to mail their state dues to reach me by January 31, 2008. Please note the new date, which is a month earlier than last year. If you are joining as an “at Large” member you need to send your check for $ 5 directly to me. Your check should be made out to ACB of Oregon. Your check should be sent to: Joan Hill, 4332 Meadows Drive, Klamath Falls, OR 97603. If you have any questions you can contact me at (541) 882-9967 or email at: email@example.com.
The nominating committee will accept nominations for these offices until October 12, 2007. This will allow the committee a week to confer and to prepare the nominating slate. The nominating slate will be read at the convention prior to elections. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor of the convention. Elections will follow.
You may contact any member of the committee to submit your nominations. Contact information for committee members is listed at the end of this article.
Please realize that people must have given you permission to nominate them. They must be willing to run. So you must ask them before submitting their names.
Candidates who are nominated must be regular, voting members, in good standing, of ACB of Oregon chapters. To be a member in good standing, candidates must have belonged to a chapter for at least 360 days and have paid their dues by February 15, 2007.
To date, the following nominations have been submitted. Many of them have entered information about themselves in this issue of “The Stylus.”
President, James Edwards; first vice-president, Joan Hill; Bev Rushing; second vice-president, Gregg Welch; Joan Hill; Charlotte Noddin; secretary, Jan Chance; Treasurer, Bob Rushing.
Please submit your nominations no later than October 12 to any of the following members of the nominating committee: Darian Slayton Fleming, 12820 NE Prescott Dr., Portland, OR 97230, (503) 253-9543 (home), (503) 522-3272 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org; Kevin Bird, (541) 582-0094, email@example.com; Flo Dugan, (503) 585-4340.
Many of you know me, as I have served on the board for several years, first as a district representative, and, for the last four years as First Vice President. It has certainly been a learning experience for me, sometimes a little rough, but well worth the education.
I have been engrossed for the last year in studying a book on parliamentary procedures, which, I believe, should be required reading for all board members. I would like to quote a paragraph from that book, if I may. "THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE'S DUTY TO THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO RECCOMEND THE CANDIDATES WHO ARE BELIEVED TO BE THE BEST FOR THE ORGANIZATION. MATURITY, EXPERIENCE, LEADERSHIP ABILITY, GOOD JUDGMENT, COMMITMENT TO THE ORGANIZATION, ATTITUDE TOWARD SERVICE, ABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS, AND PERSONAL DEPENDABILITY ARE IMPORTANT QUALITIES FOR CANDIDATES."
I hope, in your eyes as a member, I meet those qualifications, and you will consider voting for me in October.
It has always been my policy to encourage all members to "GET INVOLVED IN YOUR ORGANIZATION!" All the board positions accept the district representatives are open for nominations, so if you think you can help our organization by serving on the board, please, get yourself nominated. Give us a chance to vote for you. YOU may be just what this organization needs!
Thank you, James Edwards
One of the highlights of the last two years was my trip to Washington, DC to represent ACB of Oregon. It was a unique experience to talk to all of the Oregon legislators and tell them about our activities and concerns. As 2nd Vice-President of ACB O, I have had a busy four years including attending the national convention in Las Vegas. That convention was not only informative but great fun. . The membership job involved keeping track of the whereabouts of all 245 of you. By using email messages, I have tried to keep members informed about important events.
It has been fun being part of Klamath chapter and working hard to educate the community about blind issues. “Buttons” and I also belong to the Guide Dog Users of Oregon group.
I hope you will support my candidacy for 1st vice-president.
He has served as a committee and board member of his local neighborhood association. Gregg has also been on the board of Parents Without Partners here in Portland. He has served as a member of the Student Advisory Committee for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Currently he is president of the Multnomah Chapter of ACB of Oregon. During Gregg’s presidency he formed fund raising and membership committees and both have been well received and successful. He helped formed the Pedestrian safety Alliance, a committee working on Pedestrian issues here in the Portland area.
Gregg would be a welcomed new face on the board of ACB of Oregon bringing with him new ideas, enthusiasm and energy. A vote for Gregg Welch would be a vote for the future of ACB of Oregon.
The Grants Pass Chapter is really hard at work preparing a great Convention this year. Hope to see you all there in October.
Our Annual June Picnic received a good turnout and was a lot of fun. Once again Dianne Bird, with the assistance of Laurie Whelchel, conducted a great "Penny Auction" and was able to raise $293.00.
Once again a reminder about the Convention on October 19,20 and21. As previously mentioned we are planning a short town-tour on Friday afternoon with a stop at the "Bear Hotel". Here is a little information about this facility: This facility is a large industrial-type building owned by Evergreen Federal Bank and was used a few years ago to store the first in a series of large fiberglass bears which a placed around town in the Summer. This is quite an attraction for the tourists who like to take pictures of themselves with the Bears. Local Artists have decorated all of the 50 Bears and Cubs with a variety of themes. The Christmas theme at the facility this year will be "The Bears Invite Their Friends For Christmas" and will include another 26 metal sculptures of various animals one of which is an elk that is 11 feet tall. Also, there are 45 "Nutcracker Soldiers" which are about 9 feet tall. There are 19 5 feet by 6 feet fiber optic Christmas Cards that also play music. All of these are placed around town at Christmas time.
A note for you Guide Dog users attending this years Convention. Sharon Watson said the Grants Pass and Medford "puppy raisers" are planning to be at the Convention. They want to set-up a small "dog spa". They plan to assist with the guide dogs by walking them and doing a "brush/groom" at the spa area. They can also help some of the people attending the convention if they need assistance.
That’s all for now from The Valley of The Rogue.
A sad note for our chapter – Teresa Brown, a long-time associate member of our chapter is leaving us. During the past several months she lost both of her parents; now she is moving to Florida to be nearer her brother. We will greatly miss Teresa’s help with calling members and organizing potlucks. As a symbol of our appreciation, our chapter presented her with an Outstanding Service Award. Teresa – thanks for the many years of service to our chapter.
We are having our next meeting September 8th. We will be making plans to help members go to the convention in October.
Our meetings will resume in a couple of weeks, and we are looking forward to seeing each other again and catching up on what we all did for the summer. We are hoping for a year of growth and good fortune in our chapter, and we wish all chapters the same.
Our summer gathering took place at a pleasant restaurant with a deck and much greenery providing more privacy. We all enjoyed ourselves.
Please remember the talking microwave-six tickets for $5 and one ticket for $1. Proceeds will benefit ACB National, the ACB of Oregon and the Multnomah Chapter. The drawing will occur at State Convention. How about taking a chance on a truly useful item?
Our July picnic coincided with the state board meeting and several of the board members attended the picnic. Plenty of food and the penny auction brought in $150.00 thanks to some spirited bidding by several board members. Jerry Delaunay helped our treasury immensely. I think John Fleming, James Edwards and the Chance's all took home auction items. We had so much fun that I wouldn't mind the picnic and board meeting every year.
Our Garage sale was a huge success thanks to donation from the local Lions, chapter members and Ted and Charlotte Noddin and Bev Rushing; s mother. We cleared $344.00 and will use this money to help chapter members attend the October convention. Setting up this sale is a lot of work but the rewards make it all worthwhile.
We will have elections in November and several board members who have served the maximum terms will watch as a new board takes us on a new and different cruise. It is always good to have exciting and original input to keep a chapter healthy and happy. I am looking forward to setting back and watching this happen.
Most everyone knows my guide, Fellow. I have had to retire him due to allergies and old age. He just didn't want to work anymore. Back to the cane until November when I go to see my new guide and am really anxious to see what he/she will look like. I asked for at least four feet and a tail. I thought that would be a good start.
With the start of a new school year we will continue to assist the school for the Blind in both dorm and scholastic awards on a monthly basis. Several of our chapter (Bob & Bev Rushing, Geri Hallisy and myself) sit on the AVI board and will keep the entire state updated on the situation concerning the combining of the blind and deaf schools now pending ong the state senate and house level. There will be more hearings in the future and we will need the rooms packed to show our support for keeping the schools separate.
Our chapter has always been very active at both local and state level and we hope the new state board will remember that the welcome mat is always out for meetings in our area. I have served my three terms and will step down in January. But I truly believe whoever steps forward will carry our chapter onward and upward into the future.
I leave as president wishing both ours and the new state board best wishes and the knowledge that I will always be willing to help whenever and wherever needed. Twelve years, at both state and local level is a long time and I want to sit back, relax and see my grandchildren more often. Hope to see all our friends at the convention in October!!!
"These complaints illustrate a market failure on the part of the Cell phone industry to address accessibility," said Paul Schroeder, VP, Programs and Policy Group at the American Foundation for the Blind. "While some companies have taken steps, consumers with vision loss have few good options for accessibility, and almost no reliable information about accessibility."
There is a growing need for accessible phones given the increasing rates of vision loss. Experts predict that by 2030, rates of severe vision loss will double along with the country's aging population. For people with vision loss, finding a cell phone with a readable screen or with voice output of essential features like menus or text messages is almost impossible. Some companies like AT&T, have taken the lead on providing accessible phones. But too often the handsets and services are not designed to be user- friendly for those who are blind or visually impaired. Earlier this month, AFB initiated a campaign called 255 Action to help people with vision loss understand access requirements, and if necessary, file complaints. As part of that campaign, AFB sent letters to leading cell phone service providers and manufacturers asking what they are doing to meet the needs of people with vision loss. Frequent complaints from blind and visually impaired cell phone customers include:* cell phones do not provide for audio output of information displayed on the screen; * The visual displays on most phones are hard to read; * Numeric and control keys are not easy to distinguish by touch; and * product manuals or phone bills are not available in Braille, large print, or other formats they can read. * The complaints filed with the FCC came from customers in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, California, and West Virginia.
QUOTES FROM FCC FILINGS Problems Purchasing Equipment "In November 2006, I asked for assistance in identifying and purchasing a new telephone. The agent was completely uninformed regarding available phones with built-in accessibility features for a Blind user. Indeed, the representative did not even understand what features a Blind user would need in purchasing a phone." Melissa Green, Greeley, CO Phones Features Are Inaccessible "I cannot text message, surf the Internet, or use the phonebook. Additionally, the numbers displayed on the keypad are too small for me to read, thus I have to use the voice recognition feature to call contacts in my phonebook. This poses some limitations, because I can only program in ten names, yet I have many more contacts than this amount.” Douglas Brooks, Winston, GA "Even after setting my phone's level of brightness to the highest level, I still have to use a closed circuit television (cctv) to read the text displayed. This magnification device is quite large, encompassing a television set with a similar sized stand. This defeats the "mobile" aspect of my phone, since I have to wait until I am at home to enter contacts in the phonebook, change settings, etc."Richard Rueda, Union City, CA. Documentation Is Inaccessible "Upon receiving my phone, I was given an inaccessible print manual explaining how to use the phone. However, because I am totally Blind, I cannot read the text on the instruction manual. My phone's instruction manual is in a pdf file, which I have difficulty accessing with my computer's screen reading software because graphical representations are used to instruct a person on how to use the phone.” George Roberts, Orlando, FL Phones With Access Software Cost More "In order to access the features of the MotorolaQ, I had to make an additional out-of-pocket purchase of Mobile Speaks (a screen reader) to access the cell phone features. While this phone is more accessible than the Katana with my add-on software, it was quite expensive, and I would not have purchased it if my previous phone was accessible. Being Blind forced me to stretch my budget to the limits in order to have access to my cell phone's features."Tony Claive, Winter Park, FL Customer Service Is Inadequate and Accessibility Features/Information are Unavailable "I went to my local Sprint store, and explained that I was legally blind and looking for an accessible cell phone. The salesperson did let me know about getting my bill in large print format. Sprint's representatives were unable to provide me with a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of their phones.” Dennis Wyant, Melbourne, FL
Media Contact: Adrianna Montague-Gray AFB Communications 212-502-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release at http://www.afb.org/Section.asp? DocumentID=3596
EDITORS NOTE: To file your complaint at the FCC about an inaccessible cell phone, use FCC online form at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cib/fcc475.cfm (Tips: You must name a company in 2a; Put zeroes in the boxes if you don't have the company phone number; describe your concern in answer to Question 2f and you should ask for a remedy). For further information on accessible telecommunications and technology, please contact AAPD staffer Jenifer Simpson at email@example.com
SOURCE: American Foundation for the Blind.
technologies and services. The American Council of the Blind along with AFB were among the founding members of COAT and actively participate on its steering committee.
The principal objective of COAT is to affect positive policy change to ensure that people with disabilities, especially those with sensory disabilities such as vision and hearing loss, can be full beneficiaries of the telecommunications and video programming revolution. The policy platform of COAT includes an extensive array of objectives. For additional details about the COAT policy agenda, visit http://coataccess.civicspaceondemand.org/node/14.
However, four major goals of the agenda are of particular interest to people with vision loss and those who serve them-- . Accessible User Interfaces. All devices with the capacity to receive or display television or other video programming must be designed to allow no visual and other alternative control of all device features. Video Description. The mandate on broadcasters and others to provide at least a minimal amount of description accompanying their television programming, a mandate overturned by a wrongly-decided federal court of appeals ruling, must be restored, and the Federal Communications Commission must also promulgate regulations to guarantee appropriate descriptive access to emergency information. Equipment Availability. The existing Universal Service Fund should be tapped to provide equipment meeting the unique and profoundly under met needs of people with deaf-blindness.
. Internet-Based Telecommunications. Every effort must be made to ensure that the current requirements of law mandating access to traditional telecommunications equipment and services (such as cell phones and standard office telephone systems) are strengthened and fully extended to newer telecommunications technologies that use the Internet, such as voice over Internet protocol (VOIP).
How You Can Help . . .
It is important that all organizations which can lend their support to this critical platform of policy objectives make their voices known. To date, organizations within the deafness and hearing loss communities comprise the overwhelming number of COAT affiliated groups. While this is commendable, our community can be a much more visible equal player in this arena. While policy change in Congress and the FCC will be advocated primarily by groups with a consistent Washington presence, ACB affiliates are encouraged to express their general support for the COAT platform by allowing their affiliate's name to be listed in support of the overall agenda. Organizations that do so are welcome, but under no obligation, to have representatives join either in person or via conference call in regularly scheduled meetings open to all COAT-affiliate groups usually held monthly. To Join . . . If your organization can lend its support, please contact me to have your organization's name added to the roster of COAT affiliates. If your agency, school, or membership chapter is associated with one of the representative groups in our field, such as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI), the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and others, you are encouraged to work with the leadership of those associations to communicate your group's support.
We will be coordinating with them to list as many individual organizational partners in this effort as possible.
Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
American Council of the Blind
Phone: (202) 467-5081, Fax: (202) 467-5085
Overview of Google's accessible services Overview of our accessible services< http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/overview-of-our-accessible-services.html Posted by T.V. Raman, Research Scientist
Sound RTS is a real-time strategy game based on games like Warcraft and Civilization. Bryan Smart has created a recorded introduction and brief tutorial. You can get the tutorial from http://www.bryansmart.com/files/SoundRTSDemonstration. mp3 and the game site is http://jlpo.free.fr/soundrts/
ABISee, Inc. sells two reading devices. Zoomex is a portable stand and camera which, attached to a desktop or laptop, can provide either rapid OCR of documents or magnify and display them. ZoomTwix takes Zoomex and adds the ability to act as a cctv. http://www.abisee.com
iZoom Web is a web-based screen magnifier with many features. You can download a free public beta to test it. http://www.issist.com/
Insight Radio is a new bbc radio station directed toward the blind and visually impaired, on fm in Glasgow and online. http://www.viponair.com
Beginning in the fall, ATT Wireless will carry Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier from Code Factory in both windows and Symbian versions, a move which should make accessible cell phones easier to come by in the US. http://tinyurl.com/yu3o9n
Google has made its scanned books accessible to blind readers; a first step. http://www.daisy.org/news/default.asp#newsitem322.
I found a lot of the above links from the Technology Center Announcement Email list
The Technology Center Announcement Email list is a very informative Email sent out to listers when Winslow Parker finds or hears about some new Technology information he thinks we should know about. I find it very helpful and interesting. Give it a try.
To join the Technology Center Announcement Email list send a blank Email to: OCB-Announcementsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Winslow Parker, Adaptive Technology Specialist, Oregon commission for the Blind.
535 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214.
Phone: (971(673-1588 ext 31602, FAX: (971) 673-1570.
You can Email him at: email@example.com
http://www.sfl.org/ Ski for Light is a program of cross-country skiing benefiting blind, visually-impaired, and mobility-impaired individuals and their guides.
The 33rd annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday February 10 through Sunday February 17, 2008 in central Oregon. We will stay at the Riverhouse Resort Hotel in Bend and ski at nearby Mt. Bachelor.
The total cost of the week is $775 for double- or triple-occupancy or $1,150 for single-occupancy. (Triples are the same price as doubles because the rooms used as triples are actually family suites with kitchen.) This amount includes room, all meals, six days of skiing, round-trip transportation between the Bend/Redmond (RDM) airport and hotel, and daily transportation between the hotel and ski area. All meals are group meals. Cross-country skis, boots, and poles will be provided free of charge to first-time blind/visually-impaired participants. The cost of transportation from home to and from Bend is the responsibility of the participant. Stipends of up to $350, based on financial need, are available for guides and first-time participants.
The application deadline is November 1, 2007. Applications received after the deadline will be considered as space permits. Full payment is due by December 17, 2007. Blind/visually-impaired and mobility-impaired applicants will be notified of their acceptance to SFL 2008 between mid-October and mid-November, with acceptance priority given to first-time applicants. The number of skiers to be accepted at any given point in time will depend on the number of guides who have applied.
Take a look at the web page, it is very good and has a lot more information for those who have not attended before. There is an application on the web page.
"These new demonstration videos detail some of the unique steps seniors, people with disabilities and pet owners should take to keep themselves and their families safe and prepared for the unexpected." The videos, available online at www.ready.gov , remind individuals to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and be informed about the different types of emergencies while considering the unique needs of these individuals, their families and caregivers. The videos recommend seniors include any necessary prescription medications in their emergency supply kits. It encourages Americans with disabilities or special needs to create a personal support network that they can rely on during an emergency. Pet owners are advised to learn which emergency shelters in their area and/or along their evacuation route will allow pets.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps. he Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Individuals interested in more information about family and business preparedness can visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials. Citizen Corps brings together community, emergency and government leaders to involve community members in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response, and recovery. Through Citizen Corps and its program partners and affiliates, individuals can find training and volunteer opportunities to support first responders in an emergency. Americans can learn more about volunteering by visiting www.CitizenCorps.gov
Copyright © 2001 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind