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Fall Issue September 2012 Vol. 1

The official publication of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.
Published Quarterly
Edited by Mary L. Reid

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James Edwards, President, ACB of OR
Phone: (541) 404-8214

For more information about the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, you can go to our web page at:

James Edwards

At our July board meeting we accepted the application for a new chapter of ACBO. Welcome! the Emerald Valley Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, in the Lane County area. I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Mary Reid in making this happen. It seems as though nothing comes easy anymore, especially things of value, so we appreciate Mary's persistence and dedication to the task she imposed on herself. Thanks also to Megan Smith for stepping up and taking the role of serving as President of the new chapter. We look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming convention.

We also appointed a new person to the board to serve as District One Representative to complete John Dashney's term. We are happy to welcome Michael Alvarez to the board of Directors of ACBO. You will have an opportunity to hear from Michael and to meet him at the convention.

Thankfully, John Dashney is doing great! He had us all very concerned for quite a while, but the last time I talked with him, John told me he expects to be at our convention in October.

Many of our chapters have been on summer break and doing the normal activities of enjoying summer. But, soon we can turn our attention to our regular chapter meetings and our state convention. This year, we will have a new activity at our convention, which I think most of you will enjoy. Because the Willamette Valley has become a world renowned wine producing region, we have made arrangements for a wine tasting event at our convention. We hope to have the state board meeting earlier Friday afternoon so we can have an evening of relaxation and visiting with friends.

The National Convention was held in Louisville, Kentucky this year, and as usual, it was a great convention. You will hear reports on convention activities in October.

I like to keep up on what's going on in the field of blindness related research because, like many of us, I hope that someday the word "blind", as it relates to humans, can be obliterated from our vocabulary. Some time ago, a neighbor loaned me a book which was the story of a man living in Williams, Oregon, who had his sight restored after thirty years of being blind, and recently, I read a book, "Crashing Through", which chronicles Mike May's journey of living life with sight after forty years of living in darkness. Regaining sight after years of blindness has been documented as far back as the 17th century and with the subjects for the most part, experiencing the same results. I found it interesting that as many of us know, being blind or severely vision impaired is not always easy, and for some, being sighted is just as difficult.

Hope to see you all in Cottage Grove in October!

By Jeanne-Marie Moore

I don't know if folks want to use public transport to get to the hotel, but I thought I'd write some basic information about bus service between Eugene and Cottage Grove in the hope that this is helpful and gives the potential option to use the service.

When you arrive at the Amtrak Station in Eugene, you will be at about 4th Avenue and Willamette Street. The place to catch the Cottage Grove bus is about seven blocks south near West 11th Avenue and Willamette Street.

If you arrive by bus, the Greyhound Station is on East 10th and Pearl, three blocks east from the Eugene LTD station.

The Eugene Station is located between 10th and 11th Avenues, and Willamette and Olive Streets. It's an oddly shaped place which is pretty challenging to explain, but here at the Station is bus schedule info which might be helpful. Also, Willamette Street is the dividing line between "East" and "West" avenues. So the Greyhound Station is on East 10th Avenue and one corner of the LTD station is on West 10th or West 11th Avenue. Bus fare is $1.75 one way, unless you already have a Lane Transit EZ-Access Card and then it's $0.85.

Please call: (541) 687-5555 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or go to for more information.

The #98 runs from Bay N close to 11th and Willamette. The #98 has trips from Eugene Station to Cottage Grove, Monday through Friday at 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. and later: at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:35, and 7:45 p.m. On Saturday, there are three trips going from Eugene Station Bay N: 8:33 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 5:33 p.m. Sunday: 8:33 a.m. and 5:33 p.m. On Sunday, coming from Cottage Grove to Eugene: 9:46 a.m. and 6:46 p.m. That time model (with the bus leaving Cottage Grove about an hour and ten minutes from when it leaves the Eugene Station), can be used to calculate your return trips for other times which were given above. It takes about 50 minutes to get to Cottage Grove.

The bus stop is just after the Wal-Mart on Jim Wright Street, on Row River Road very close to the hotel where the convention is happening.

July 21, 2012
By Darian Slayton Fleming, Secretary

President James Edwards called the meeting to order at 10:00 A.M. All officers were present except Ron Whelchel and John Dashney. The meeting agenda and minutes from the previous meeting were approved as distributed.

Loretta Spahn gave the Treasurer’s Report. Vehicle donations have declined. We are advertizing on the Internet with Speed’s Towing in Portland.

District Reports were given. Due to his accident, John Dashney will take a leave from the District 1 Representative position. Michael Alvarez, a Multnomah Chapter member, was appointed to serve in this position for the interim. See Chapter News for other information about chapter doings.

“The Stylus” report was given next by Mary Reid.

Patricia Kepler reported on the Board of the Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) meetings. The next Commission Board Meeting was scheduled for the following Friday, at 3:00. The board had a Special meeting June 27 to work on the Business Enterprise Rules and Regulations Handbook. The handbook has been submitted to the state and Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA), and the OCB Board is awaiting approval. In the mean time, the BECC has filed a complaint saying that the Commission is out of compliance with the Active Participation definition.

The Membership Committee reported the revised state brochure is completed. However, due to printing costs, reproduction of this brochure is on hold.

The Bylaws Committee reported that discussion of members’ right to vote at conventions will take place during the membership business meeting on Sunday morning. A Bylaw will be written by the committee subsequent to this discussion. Meanwhile, all dues paying members in good standing will receive a name tag and be allowed to vote this year. Potential members may send $5 to Loretta to be counted as members at large for voting rights at convention.

The Nomination Committee consists of Kae Seth, Carrie Kokel and Leola Goodrich. Send your nominations for district representatives to Kae. You may e-mail her at:; or call her at (503) 282-0804.

Next, the Board discussed Convention plans. Marlaina Lieberg, ACB Secretary, will be our keynote speaker. Kae Seth will take the lead on organizing transportation for Portland members. You may contact Kae for further information.

The Board discussed the formation of a new chapter in Lane County. All necessary documentation, lists of officers, members and dues has been received. The name of this chapter will be known as the Emerald Valley Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. Kae Seth made a motion, seconded by Darian, to accept the Emerald Valley Chapter and give them their charter. James will send the acceptance letter to President Megan Smith and Treasurer Mary Reid. They will be formally recognized at convention.

Darian and Loretta will soon finalize the grant application. Rae

Hail reported that The Oregon Columbia Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association is purchasing bronze Braille flags for the Willamette Cemetery as well as for other cemeteries in Roseburg and Vancouver.

The meeting was adjourned to Executive Session.

Richard Kohl, Multnomah Chapter Treasurer
By John and Darian Fleming

Richard (Dick) Kohl was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 20, 1943. In 1946, Dick’s father was transferred to Fort Lewis. After serving in the military, Dick’s father worked in management for the Internal Revenue Service in Seattle. In 1953, he was transferred to Portland where he also bought some property on Northeast 131st Avenue where he built a home for his family. Dick, an only child, has lived in this home since age eleven.

As a senior in high school, Dick began suffering from glaucoma. He went through several surgeries after graduating from David Douglas High School in Portland. In the 1990’s, he underwent laser treatments. Now he has no useable vision in his left eye and benefits from useable vision in his right eye. He travels independently during the day and uses his cane at night and in unfamiliar areas. He enjoys reading the newspaper with a reading glass attached to his glasses. He appreciates the advancement in the National Library Service (NLS) reading equipment to digital reader. He enjoys reading nonfiction such as early American history and magazines including “National Geographic” and “Dialogue.”

Dick dreamed of being a radio announcer but determined this goal was unrealistic given his vision loss. Instead, he went to work in the Business Enterprise Program which he enjoyed a great deal. He retired in 1971. For six years, Kohl worked at the Red Cross as a telemarketer. When the system there changed he stayed on as a volunteer for almost thirty years, and retired when he received his thirty-year pin.

Dick Kohl joined the American Council of the Blind of Oregon (ACBO) in 1964 when Jim Allen was president of the Multnomah Chapter. Dick has attended three national conventions. He attended his first state convention in 1965; since then, he has only missed two state conventions. Throughout his Council involvement Dick served as treasurer on the state board for three years, president of the Multnomah Chapter for three years and as Treasurer of the same since 1978.

Besides his Council life, Dick has been an avid member of the Blind Bowlers League since 1963 with an average score of 133.

He has attended Faith Community Church on 124th and Burnside in Portland for twenty years, where he served as a Deacon for many years. His current duties have included recruiting people to help with work parties, teaching adult Sunday School, serving as a greeter, folding bulletins, signing checks, bringing in mail, picking up litter on the grounds and ushering.

Dick is active in the Centennial Lions where he has been President for nine years. Since July of this year his role has changed to that of Treasurer. He has enjoyed Lions Club activities such as making phone calls participating in fund-raisers and ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Fred Meyer.

Dick says highlights of his life include meeting people, going to conventions and participation in church and civic activities.


Chosen to be a torchbearer at the 2012 Summer Games, blind ultra-runner Simon Wheatcroft will carry the Olympic Flame running solo -- with only the guidance of his iPhone. “If you had asked me three years ago if training alone was possible while being blind I would have said no," Wheatcroft told "Now I do it and ... I realize perhaps a lot of things are possible.”

The RunKeeper app uses the GPS tracker in the iPhone to track your runs, including duration, distance, pace, calories burned and path traveled on a map. The app reads your current stats over your headphones as you run, and the virtual coach warns if you are ahead or behind pace. “This allowed me to match distances with markers on my route. So I would pair a dip before a turn with a distance marker from RunKeeper," Wheatcroft explained.

Blind by the age of 17, the 30-year-old from the UK undertook the challenge of learning to run outdoors alone after he lost his guide runner to a distant college.

Only able to make out shadows, running on an open road and blindness seem like a pretty dangerous mix. But luckily Wheatcroft hasn’t hit or been hit by any colossal hardfalls, saying there were only “a few accidents along the way including running into posts that RunKeeper just couldn’t help me with.”

“We had no idea when we built the app that it could be used by a blind person," Jason Jacobs, RunKeeper developer told "He's truly an inspiration -- we're huge fans of him and what he has been able to accomplish.”

Wheatcroft primarily sticks to the same six-mile loop he has memorized, running always with a gait that keeps his feet very close to the ground. But he has no worries about navigating the Olympic path on June 26, 2012.

“It's a very simple road route, so I could easily learn this route by running it once,” he said.

Family, friends, and supporters will be there to cheer Wheatcroft on as he makes the inspiring journey through the small English village—and thanks to the RunKeeper app, anyone can join in the excitement by tracking his run using the “watch live” function. This real-time map locater also lets his wife and friends keep tabs while he is out running alone.

The torchbearer is currently earning a psychology degree at Sheffield University, and says it was his belief in himself and confidence achieved through running on his own that prompted him to begin competing professionally in ultra distance running.

“Belief in yourself gets you a long way. Don’t achieve what someone believes you are capable of, achieve what you believe you are capable of,” he said.


Emerald Valley
By Mary Reid, Treasurer

Yes, we are officially a chapter of ACBO! Our Constitution, lists of officers and members along with heir dues were accepted on July 21st during the State Board conference call meeting. Officers are Megan Smith/President, Ken Rivernider/Vice President, Adam Gilbert/Secretary and Mary Reid/Treasurer. We are thirteen members strong with great potential for many more.

We are excited about the upcoming State Convention in Cottage Grove, where you will have the opportunity to meet many of us.

The Board of Officers has met and drafted our Mission Statement, which will be presented at the next Chapter meeting on September 14th. We will meet monthly on the second Friday of each month from 2-4:00 p.m. in the Saul Room of the Atrium, 99 W. 10th. Please join us if you are in the area.

Our members have stepped up to the plate and will be gathering exciting door prizes for Convention, and one of our very talented members will be performing during the Wine & Cheese Tasting Party. Hope to see many of you next month.

Metro PDX
By Darian Slayton Fleming

Summer is always a busy time for many of us. Bill Mlynarski, Patricia Kepler and Darian and John Fleming attended the ACB national convention. Larry Treuber is working with motorcycle riders to provide rides to Veterans who are blind. If you’re a Veteran who is legally blind, and live in the Portland area, call Jodi Roth at 503-402-2986 or shoot her an e-mail at Leave your name and say you are interested in being a passenger on a motorcycle.

Our 2013 calendar sales are going well. They are the Insights Calendar from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). APH allows nonprofit groups to use the calendar as a fund-raiser. Groups may customize the cover page and add text to the back page. Our calendars feature people who are blind and members of the Metro PDX Chapter, skydiving and dragon boating. The tag line says “Dare to do!” Calendars are $15 and will be available for purchase at the ACB of Oregon State Convention October 19th through the 21st, 2012, or you may contact Darian at (503) 522-3272 or o request calendars.

We have one or two new members and that means more energy, so we’ll keep you posted about our future endeavors.

Rogue Valley
By Ron Whelchel

For our March meeting the program was a presentation by Roger Ramsey from the Josephine County Historical Society who provided a variety of stories about his family in this area; the first of whom were his Great-Great Grandparents who arrived here in 1864. Along with the history of his family he also described a number of photographs and relics.

On April 7th a group of 15 members and guests attended a play in Ashland called "Animal Crackers". It was an adaptation from an old Marx Brothers film and it was a wild one to say the least.

On April 14th we joined with the Oregon Commission for The Blind to put on a "Vision and Hearing Fair" at the Independent Abilities Center in Grants Pass. Our chapter had a table, as did the Commission and Talking Books and Braille Services. A number of other service providers and vendors were in attendance. Over 90 people passed through during the morning and we were able to gain a few new members.

For our May meeting the program was a presentation by Mike Anzalone from the Josephine County Historical Society Living History Players who portrayed Jessie Applegate who was responsible for the "Applegate Trail" through this area. These are always great programs.

On Saturday, June 23rd, we had our annual picnic with lots of chicken, ribs, a variety of great side-dishes and plenty of cake-yum yum. The meal was followed by a "penny auction" which is always a lot of fun.

That's all for now from the Valley of The Rogue

By Patrick Schwab

As everyone knows, several months ago the President of the Willamette Chapter and ACB of O Board member John Dashney had a horrific accident and has been recovering. A driver, allegedly under the influence of drugs, hit John while he was crossing the street. He was legally in the crosswalk with his white cane. John was severely injured and is recovering in a Salem/Keizer care facility.

As a group, we have been discussing working on a campaign of pedestrian safety. We have talked about lobbying the State to create a pedestrian awareness program. We will keep everyone informed as to how this venture progresses.

Last spring, Willamette Chapter member Patrick Schwab led a discussion on the new Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) regulations for service animals. Dr. Schwab has been writing new policies for colleges for the new ADAAA regulations. The federal government published the regulations for the new act last year.

On July 27, 2012 the Willamette Chapter held its annual picnic. We held the event at the Salem Greene Estates Club House. We held a penny auction and raised dollars to support activities of the chapter. This was the most successful fund raising we have done in recent history.


Consumer Guide for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

The FCC published a new Consumer Guide that provides a description and summary of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP). The Guide is available online: HTML –

For this or any other consumer publication in an accessible format (electronic text, Microsoft Word, Braille, large print or audio), please send an email to; call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; or write to: Federal Communications Commission Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division 445 12th Street, S.W. Washington, DC 20554

For more information, contact Rosaline Crawford, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office, at (202) 418-2075 or

Walmart offers talking prescription containers
By The Law Offices of Lainey Feingold

We are excited to let you know that today Walmart announced that it is offering the ScripTalk Talking Prescription program on a pilot basis to its mail order customers with visual impairments and to Walmart pharmacy customers in three stores. The press release is available here:

This is the first time in the United States that a national retailer has offered Talking Prescription labels to the blind community on a national basis. Walmart is working with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and California Council of the Blind (CCB) through the Structured Negotiations process on this important health, safety, and privacy initiative. We are also working with the other national pharmacies on these issues.

Inquiries about talking pill bottles or accessible prescription information in connection with Walmart or any other retailer or prescription provider should be directed to Scott Grimes. Scott can be reached through the following email address or toll free telephone number: or 1-800-822-5000.

Walmart mail order customers or customers at the three pilot stores (listed in press release) may contact En-Vision America at 800-890-1180 for a free ScripTalk talking prescription reader.

Walmart mail order pharmacy can be reached on line at: or by calling toll free 1-800-2REFILL (1-800-273-3455)

By Don DeFord and Jeanne-Marie Moore

(Don will be speaking at our upcoming convention so you can ask questions before the time to cast your ballot is here.)

From Don’s blog a fantasy to help others understand…:

It’s hard for those of us without obvious disabilities to imagine what it’s like for others to fully participate in activities that we take for granted. I would like you to join me on a magical adventure where we can all learn a little bit more about ourselves and maybe about our neighbors too. Join me as we step into the transmogrifier for a journey into the fantastic. When we exit the machine, we find ourselves transformed into pixies, in a world full of every wonderful thing that a pixie could ever want or need. Pixie berries grow on trees, and rivers of sparkle juice flow above the trees with lazy lounge leaves to rest on as we float through the beautiful glimmer forest. We reach for the wonderful pixie berries, but they are just out of our reach, and we realize that our transmogrifier didn’t give us wings. The berries, the sparkle juice, lounging on the lazy river—all of it is just out of our reach. Sadly, without having experienced the joys of the pixies, we reenter the machine and head for our next destination. We emerge in the fast and furious Maserati Race World. Everyone gets their own super duper race car, and every road is a race track. We are each assigned our own personal work of racing art; we hear the neighbors thundering off to work at about mach six; we climb into our own cars, ready for the thrill of a lifetime…and we realize that these beautiful, complex machines require a third arm to shift out of first gear, and again our machine has let us down. We only have two arms. Unable to reach the minimum speed limit, we aren’t even allowed to leave the driveway.

Get the picture? Think of how your heart sank when you couldn’t taste the pixie berries, or when you saw that fantastic racing machine and realized that you could never drive it.

Now imagine that this is a presidential election year, and you are so excited to live in a country where your voice is your vote, and where every vote counts. But what if injury or disease keep you from going to your local polling place, or you can go but when you arrive you find that you can’t get inside. Or when you receive your ballot, you can’t read it, or you can’t mark your ballot because you can’t hold a pen. These are real limitations that many voters have.

Fortunately, we do live in a kind of magical pixie Maserati world. We have fantastic technology all around us, and there are ways to make the voting process accessible to everyone. In Oregon, we mail a ballot to every voter, eliminating the access barriers you might have found at old polling places. (If you need it, every county still has at least one accessible polling place.) If you are unable to use the paper ballot that is mailed to you, you can access our on-line ballot marking tool and voter’s pamphlet at home with your own accessible computer. (I once sat and watched a voter who is blind doing his banking on-line, and figured that if it’s good enough for banks, it should work for voters too!) And if you don’t have access to an accessible computer, we have implemented a solution that uses mobile devices and tablet computers to let you access and mark your ballot. We can even bring these tools to you if you can’t come to us.

We’re not doing magic in Oregon. We don’t really have a transmogrifier. Honestly, we really don’t need one. All we’re doing is trying to understand what might be a barrier to someone who wants to vote and applying the best of current technology to make voting easier. And the truth is that these improvements make voting easier and more secure for everyone. Oregon has been a pioneer in the application of the best available technology for voting since we built our first accessible computer system in 2006. Today, we are using iPads, Windows 8 tablets and Android devices to mark and print ballots. And we continue to work with technology leaders and vendors to define the devices that we will all be using tomorrow.

From Jeanne-Marie

If you have not used accessible voting before, it is an incredibly important way to take your power and have a SECRET ballot. I did not have this until May, 2006, and I will not forget it for a very long time! I love the dignity I feel not having to tell anyone else how I voted. Funny: the secret ballot is sometimes so easily given up by people who lose their sight later in life… “Oh, it’s just easier to have … do it.” Well my civic pride will make it so I really fight for the right to secrecy when I vote.

If you have not registered to vote, the first step is contacting your county clerk. To do this, call: 1-866-673-8683 to learn how to contact your county elections office. To get a voter registration form, most city offices and post offices also have voter registration forms. Mr. Deford’s office is happy to send them out to anyone who wants some to have on hand. You can also find it online at under "Publications and Forms". And if you have a state ID, you can actually register online too.

If signing your name is an issue and you want to use a signature stamp or other mark, you need to fill out an Attestation Card with your county clerk. It is kept on file so you don’t have to redo it all the time, you must match this with your voter registration card, and then you need to be consistent about using the same signature every time you vote. And here’s the good news, ladies and gentlemen! This can ALL be done by mail, but you need to get on it so it’s all processed by the time the ballots go out in the mail: two weeks before Election Day. After you have registered and you have received your print ballot in the mail, go to: … And then go to the link that says: My vote. Most likely, you’ll enter: first and last name, date of birth and zip code to bring up the proper ballot for where you live. You will be able to download the ballot and print it to submit in the envelope that normally arrives at your residence. It works with various web browsers and screen readers, and you need to have access to the internet and a printer to vote. It doesn’t even have to be YOUR computer and printer, which could assist some people who do not have one of their own.

If we all take advantage of this available service, and we tell other people we know with disabilities about it, many people who have not had a secret ballot will have one, and that’s a beautiful thing!

By Wendy Owen, The Oregonian (August 2, 2012)

HILLSBORO -- A Washington County jury awarded a former special education teacher nearly $1 million late Wednesday night after determining the Northwest Regional ESD fired him in retaliation for advocating for blind and visually impaired students.

Michael D. Wright, who taught blind and visually impaired students during the 2009-10 school year, questioned the use of $3 million in state funds the ESD was expected to use for the kids, sought modern Braille equipment, additional staff and other resources for the students.

The ESD claimed Wright failed to renew his teaching license before the start of school despite repeated reminders and a warning that he would lose his job.

Wright, 43, said he expected the verdict.

"I believed they would see the truth," he said. "The other side had a lot of bureaucracy. What I had were the stories from the children."

The ESD released a statement Thursday morning, saying it was surprised by the verdict.

"NWRESD takes concerns people raise about issues seriously and believes that those did not play any role at all in the employment decision at issue."

The ESD's attorney, Bruce White, said the district may appeal.

The jury spent about three and a half hours in deliberations Wednesday night before awarding Wright $320,000 in economic and $650,000 in non-economic damages for violating his First Amendment rights of free speech, the Rehabilitation Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act.

(Hi all

I just came across this post by Sara Conrad, one of the new ACB board members. This was posted before she was elected to the board at this year's ACB Convention. She is president of the national Students special interest affiliate for ACB. This is an example of how she thinks. Take a minute to check it out.

blue skies

Are We Really All That Different
By Sara Conrad
(Submitted by John Fleming)

Someone asked me today about the problems that students and young people face in the blindness community. As a leader in ACB and a candidate for the board, I am finding it important to express a glaring detail. We all need to realize that many if not all of the issues our youth face are indeed related to the very issues adults combat each day. Let's look at some of these issues. First, there's the social side of college and school in general that can concern many students. I'll actually be covering this topic alongside other colleagues at a CCLVI and ACBS joint seminar on networking in Louisville. As a blind student, the thought of dorm life, college parties, and even the logistics of a college lecture hall can be daunting. But my question is this: How are these fears any different from moving into a new neighborhood as a middle-aged couple, attending a church luncheon for senior citizens, or attending a town hall meeting at any age?

Next, we look at accessible technology. Students face troubles with this every day. We see a major lack of accessibility in textbooks, board work, and overall classroom environments. But how does this differ from the work environments of all disabled Americans or even the insufficient accessibility in technologies for leisure and independent living?

Finally, students fight stereotypes every day in schools. Sometimes I think this one is the toughest. We struggle with professors and peers who simply do not understand disabilities nor how to turn them into abilities. Still, I ask how is this different from the life of any other blind person as their own self-advocate?

I could go on with more issues, but I think you get the point. As I run for the board, while I do care strongly about the needs and aspirations of our youth and desperately desire to see an increased presence in student attendance within ACB, the issues I represent are the same as my colleagues. Age is just a number. We all have different experiences, and if I had a million blog posts to write, perhaps I could elaborate on all the many life experiences God has uniquely given to equip me for this role of leadership. But I trust that through our dialogue, you will appreciate our connections and see how we may work together for the common good of our blindness community.


Art Tours for the Blind and Visually Impaired
By Sylvia Lurie

Dear Friends....

The use of recycled materials to create art that tells a story is the theme of the September 20 “Tours for the Blind and Visually Impaired” at the Portland Art Museum.

For years, artists have taken found objects and transformed those objects into works of art that make a statement and are meaningful in their lives. Barbara Hart and I will introduce you to three pieces in the Northwest Gallery, where artists have made a statement using items that originally had other purposes:

“Blankets” by Marie Watt, “American Flag” by Ross Palmer Beecher, and “Bloat” by Bill Will.

Marie Watt, a Portland artist who is a member of the Iroquois tribe, incorporates blankets in her artwork because of the associations blankets have with family and community as well as the role they played in the transmission of European diseases to Native Americans.

Ross Palmer Beecher lives in Seattle and is often associated with folk artists who take urban discards and remake them into other objects. She is drawn to each piece intuitively and the end results frequently include a political statement.

Bill Will is a professor at Oregon College of Art and Craft and an installation artist whose works are found in public installations throughout Portland. Though his final pieces are varied, most are sculptural. He frequently uses urban elemens in his work.

The tour begins at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, September 20, 2012 at the museum’s main entrance, located at 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland. If you are a Portland Art Museum member, the tour is included with your membership. For non-museum members, the admission for those who are blind or visually impaired is $3. An individual who aids a visually impaired person may attend at no charge and children 17 and under are free. Guide dogs are welcome.

Please let us know if you will attend this tour by leaving a message at 503-276-4290. If you have any questions, call that number and a docent will return your call.

I hope to see you there.

Portland Art Museum Offers Tours for the Blind and Visually Impaired at a Special Rate

Did you know that the Portland Art Museum offers regular monthly tours for the blind and visually impaired at a special tour rate of $3.00 to those who are visually impaired, and free to an aid who assists a visually impaired visitor? If you are a museum member, the tour is included with your membership. Tours begin at 2:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Group tours are also available with advanced reservations. Tour participants meet at the museum’s Park Avenue entrance, and are escorted into the gallery.

Tours vary each month and will either feature highlights from the permanent collection, or a tour of a limited engagement special exhibition.

What you can expect from the tour is that knowledgeable docents offer vivid descriptions on works of art, share interesting information about the artists and the time period, and when possible, provide tactile materials to enrich the experience.

Presentations are designed to encourage questions and discussions. Because groups are kept small, interaction is encouraged.

Docents keep the tours within a limited area to reduce walking, and participants sit on folding stools during presentations. The Portland Art Museum is handicap accessible. Ramps and elevators enable visitors to move about safely, and docents provide assistance as needed. Service dogs are welcome.

For further information, or to schedule a group tour, please call and leave a message. (503) 276-4290. Someone will return your call.

Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, OR 97205 (503) 276-4290 (message only)



TriMet Board Adopts Drastic Budget for FY13
By Kellie Randall (June 13, 2012)

After nearly eight months of extensive public outreach that resulted in an unprecedented 16,000 comments, the TriMet Board of Directors today adopted the agency’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget. The $458 million operating budget that begins July 1, 2012, includes internal efficiencies, fare changes and service cuts to close a $12 million shortfall.

The shortfall stems from the slow economic recovery, potential cuts in federal operating funds and the unresolved union contract.

When the budget process started, TriMet faced a $12 million to $17 million shortfall in the FY13 budget. The agency targeted $12 million in cuts due to the unsettled labor contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union. Depending on the outcome of arbitration, TriMet may need to cut an additional $5 million during the FY13 budget.

Board President Bruce Warner said, “During this budget process, the agency faced many tough choices but we believe this is a responsible and sound budget. It reflects the public and the Board’s priority to preserve service and navigate the financial uncertainties ahead.”

TriMet made internal cuts, including layoffs, to minimize service cuts and impact to riders. Elimination of fare zones and creating flat fare system adds $6 million in revenue. The zone system was created 30 years ago in an attempt to charge for distance-based trips that typically started in the suburbs and ended in Downtown Portland. It kept fares lower for minority and low-income riders who lived in the central city. Over time, travel patterns shifted throughout the region, and demographics also changed with most minority and low-income riders living further away from the central city and making longer trips. Moving to a flat fare system makes it simpler for riders.

Effective September 1, 2012, fares are required on MAX in Downtown Portland and the Lloyd District. This change results in $2.7 million in savings. Effective Sunday, September 2, 2012, bus service will be changed. 15 bus lines will be reconfigured. Route segments that overlap with other routes will be eliminated while maintaining service to an area. This may mean more transfers for some riders on 15 bus lines.

TriMet will adjust the LIFT paratransit service boundaries to match nearby regular bus/MAX service. This change is in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. Six LIFT paratransit service boundaries will be created: weekdays, Saturday, Sunday and all respective evenings. LIFT trips would only be provided if there is nearby fixed-route bus or rail service in operation during that time. This change still keeps TriMet service exceeding ADA standards. It saves $400,000 a year.

TriMet will reduce its contribution by $300,000 to help fund the Portland Streetcar operations.

Fares changes take effect on September 1, 2012; service changes take effect September 2, 2012.

During today’s meeting, the board also directed staff to continue to look into suggestions from the public made during the budget process, including low income mitigation strategies, development of a convention pass, TriMet’s role in the Portland Public School Youth Pass program and aligning LIFT boundaries with fixed route service.

With the slow jobs recovery, TriMet expects to receive about $3 million less in payroll tax revenues than previously anticipated. TriMet estimates a $4 million cut in federal formula funds that are used for preventive maintenance; the agency receives $40 million to $45 million annually.

The unresolved union contract adds $5 million to $10 million to the FY13 budget shortfall. The contract expired in 2009 and a ruling in the interest arbitration is expected in late July 2012.


Ten Tips For Low Vision People

Editor's Note.

Nope. I did not come up with these but copied this off the blind-x mailing list so don't blame me.
End of Editor's note.

Having directly experienced many of the following situations, we would like to share our tips on avoiding embarrassment with others. We will also give invaluable advice on how to cope with these every day occurrences. So, in no particular order, here are our top ten tips:

1. Sitting in someone's lap. When using public transport be very careful not to sit in someone’s lap. Now I know the upholstery of the seats is often similar in shade to people's clothes but this is really no excuse. This kind of familiarity with strangers should be reserved for the upcoming Christmas party season. If you do still make this social faux pas, you will of course have a good excuse but you will feel very red in the face for the rest of the journey. However, you will brighten up all the other traveller's days, as it will appear to them as a very funny error indeed.

2. Putting things in your mouth the wrong way round.

My fiancé has done this with a pen; I've done it with a cigarette. Not to be recommended; it put me off fags for life. With regard to putting anything else in your mouth, just make sure it's clean. (you've very smutty minds you know).

3. Talking to people who aren't there.

I've done this many times; its no good pretending you've gone mad and that you meant to talk to an empty chair, people won't believe you. Best just to admit you've made a mistake here.

4. Calling someone by the wrong name.

How many times have we all gone up to Sally's desk in accounts and asked her "Would you like to come out for a drink with me tonight"? only to find that Brian is sitting in Sally's chair. This simple mistake can lead to all sorts of trouble. Worse still is if your telling Sally what a total gimp you think Brian is only to find that Brian is either present in the room, or STILL sitting in Sally's chair. My advice here is to keep your insulting comments to yourself until you know for sure that Brian has gone.

5. Mistaking people for inanimate objects.

I did this quite recently in Amsterdam airport. I was sitting 2 or 3 seats away from what I assumed was a dustbin. The thing was very still and looked remarkably like one of those flip lid bins. Keen to assert my independence, I rose, walked over, and tried to put my empty can of Pepsi into a man who was holding a newspaper. This hideous moment passed off without physical injury to me or Mr. Newspaper but I felt very silly, particularly as I had walked over to him with out my Cane and so probably seemed to be sighted. He must have thought he was being attacked by a Pepsi-can-wheeling nuttier.

6. Answering questions not meant for you.

This could happen to anyone of course but the visually impaired are particularly prone. If, in a nightclub, someone asks "would you like a shag" and you answer "Yes please", then, depending on how drunk you both are, this mistake might just work to your advantage. However, as the question was actually intended for your friend sitting next to you, it is more likely that you will just end up looking foolish. The answer I find is to insist that every one you come into contact with uses your name when addressing you.

7. confusing shoppers.

Ever asked a shop assistant for help only to find you've asked another shopper if they can show you where the K.Y. jelly is kept. If you are not obviously blind, the person concerned is going to think you are a crazed loon! Always best to go to the counter and ask. Which reminds me, I once had to ask a shop assistant in Boots to show me where the condoms were. Even though I had a white Cane, she shyly told me that they were "just over there sir". Well, having conjured up the nerve to ask where they were, I wasn't going to be put off by this vague answer so I asked her to show me where exactly they were. She did this, perhaps a little unwillingly but then of course I had to ask about what sizes they had. By this point, I don't know who was more embarrassed, me or her. Anyway, I obviously ended up with some jumbo sized Durex and was pleasantly surprised to find that when used, they smelt of strawberries and bananas.

8. Those confusing little sashes of stuff you get given with fast food.

Once, back in my college days, I shared a lovely KFC dinner with a room full of fellow new students, none of which knew me. Convinced I had the Tommy Ketchup sashes in my hand, I ripped the corner and proceeded to pour the stuff over my chips. It was very stubborn and simply refused to leave its paper container. It wasn't until some minutes had passed and a lot of strange looks had come my way that I realized I was trying to dispense a wet wipe on to my fries.

9. Mistaking mother-in-law for wife.

Don't worry, it wasn't quite that bad; I mean I might be blind but I can still tell a 30-year-old woman from a 55 year old one. Mother in law was round our house but sitting in a place she wouldn't usually sit. My wife was in the room but you know, I just got a bit confused. I sat down on the floor beside who I thought was my wife but, well, I got it wrong. I started fondling my mother in laws thigh. Luckily, she's a good-humoured old dear and took it well. I think she quite enjoyed it actually.

10. Jumping out of your skin.

What's more embarrassing than someone quietly coming up behind you and making you jump by simply asking if you'd like a cup of coffee? To them you look like a total nervous wreck but in fact you just didn't see them coming. The only answer to this is to insist that everyone you work with wears play bells just like guide dogs. I've suggested this at work but for some reason they are resisting my request.

In order to produce an interesting, informative and creative newsletter; it is essential that chapter and other reports, dates/locations of meetings, articles on legislative matters and any other blindness-related information be submitted in a timely manner.

The Stylus will come to you quarterly in March, June, September and December. Please submit materials by the last day of February, May, August and November.

Materials may be submitted in Braille, on cassette, in print, on computer disk or by e-mail (whenever possible, use e-mail, please: ). The mailing address is 811 Waite St. Eugene OR 97402.

End of the Fall, 2012 Issue of the Stylus

Edited by Mary Reid
Audio Production Bradley Holmes

Posted on January 3, 2013

Copyright © 2000 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind