For more information about the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, you can go to our web page at: www.acboforegon.org
I would like to inform you of some of the things which have been happening in the American Council of the Blind of Oregon since I last wrote to you.
We conducted our first quarterly Board Meeting of 2011 in Salem Oregon. At that time, we welcomed Jan Chance and John Dashney to the Board where they will serve as District Representatives for the next two years. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to John Fleming who has served us well as District One Representative. He will continue to serve as Stylus Editor. Carrie Kokel will be returning as District Two Representative.
Convention News: The Southwestern Chapter of Acbo extended an invitation to members of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon to attend our annual convention in Coos Bay Oregon the third weekend of October. With the Board's approval, the convention will be held in the Mill Casino. We have signed the contract with the hotel, and will be able to provide you with room rates as well as other pertinent information.
Bev Rushing our Membership Chairman has been diligently collecting and putting together our 2011 Membership list for ACB. The information was due on March 15. This information impacts our ability to vote at the national convention and gives us an idea of growth in the state organization.
We found that chapter officers or secretaries were not always providing accurate information regarding what is needed to keep our data accurate.
1. We require: Name of Person; address; phone number and *correct e-mail address if applicable. We also require information regarding whether the person wants the Braille Forum in Large-print, e-mail, Braille, or Cassette or CD. We also require information such as: name, address, e-mail, if someone wants our quarterly Newsletter. We don't need directions on getting to someone's house or their birthdays. Thanks so much.
On the Legislative front there are several bills that might be of interest to blind Oregonians that are being considered by the legislature. The Commission for the Blind, and Talking Books and Braille Services have had hearings regarding their state budgets. The House Education Committee is holding hearings regarding blind children who are being educated in their school districts and out-of state. There is an appropriation of money which is to go into a fund making it available for blind children's educational needs. The State of Oregon has considered not providing this money since approximately 6 million dollars from the sale of the Oregon School for the Blind is available to be distributed one-half going to the School for the Deaf for repairs, and one-half to blind children. We spoke with Representative Sara Gelser regarding our concerns, and she seemed interested in what we had to say. Stay tuned for more information.
One way, that we can save money is to hold at least three of our quarterly Board meeting via telephone conference call. We will be trying this out in April. Plans are being finalized as I write and we will make sure that phone numbers for the call will be available so that you can call in and hear for yourself what happens at these meetings.
As you can see, we've been busy. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know.
Sincerely: Kae L. Seth: President, American Council of the Blind of Oregon.
Deb and Jody are both doing a great job. They bring new and good ideas to the chapter. I'm happy to have them aboard.
On March 16th the Lakeside Lions hosted a corned beef dinner for the benefit of our chapter. On Tuesday, March 22nd, at our regular Lakeside Lions club meeting, I was presented a check for $364.00. The dinner was attended by several local people and several of the Southwestern Chapter came from Coos Bay to join in the festivities. After enjoying a delicious meal we were entertained with Irish songs by our new President and Secretary, accompanied by Deb's wonderful guitar playing. Our gratitude goes out to the Lakeside Lions Club – They are a great group of people.
The membership committee has established a few goals and begun developing a strategic plan to increase membership. Darien Slayton Fleming (chair) has created a short flyer that we will put into various formats to be used in a number of avenues, such as, personal contact, placed in ophthalmological clinics and offices, educational settings and to be handed out by members of other organizations (Lions, Elks, Rotary, etc.) At this point, the committee plans to meet monthly outside of the chapter meeting.
The fundraising committee is chaired by Larry Treuber and has four forward-looking, hardworking members. They have presented four ideas for “signature” fundraising events and will be fine-tuning each of them over the next two months for presentation to the chapter. Each will require total membership involvement for planning and implementing, not to mention upfront funds and more chapter members.
Last year three of our members attended the State Convention and all are being encouraged to begin thinking about attendance this year. As transportation is often a concern for members, we plan to check into obtaining a bus and driver for the round-trip to Coos Bay. We invite you to discuss this idea with your chapter members, as we hope to have room for some of you down the state line. More information will be forth coming as we make our contacts.
Have a terrific spring and hope to see many of you in the fall.
Within both Eugene and Springfield City Accessibility domains, LCCB has been present in regards to future City planning on urban pedestrian areas and transit zone changes. Last month two LCCB Members met with Springfield Traffic Planners to discuss changes in the City’s Plans to possibly include more accessible Pedestrian Signals (APD’s) to accommodate the disabled who use the discussed crossings. The week of (03/14) President Rob Cook spoke to the Eugene Accessibility Committee and discussed “Better Practices” and methods by which the City might save considerable funds when planning/installing ADA compliance products which were well received by the Committee. Both Eugene and Springfield City authorities have been listening to LCCB and vision disabled citizens’ recommendations since last year when several vehicle/pedestrian incidences occurred and appeared newsworthy due to the nature of those accidents--the pedestrians were disabled. In fact, it was the particular crossing orientation and “the desire to QUICKLY cross the intersections” was at issue, not the individuals crossing either in or out of the traffic zone.
Restarting in March is the “Listening & Learning Birding” Rec Committee activity, which has been spearheaded by our Seniors Committee Chair Marthana Guglielmo. “We’re having a study lesson at my house” says Marthana “so we’re all ready to listen, identify and enjoy those lovely voices in the yards and parks in Lane County”. Several LCCB Members are planning on the activity including a couple of new folks. The later planned “Birding” walks in the Parks of Eugene/Springfield may also have a knowledgeable member of the local Audubon Society for learning and identification of our local birds. Spring and Summer planned opportunities for Recreation will also include a large multi-community gathering specifically for biking, with disability-integration exemplified through the new “Eye-Cycle Tandem-Riding” group. This event should occur in mid-Summer in Eugene at Amazon Park, near the Hilyard Community Center – one of the Country’s most noted accessible recreation centers. The summer music and theater festivals will also be places LCCB will frequent and of course, LCCB will be present at the Eugene Celebration and the Oregon Country Fair in late summer. Advocacy, Recreation and Senior – elder inclusion are LCCB goals for this upcoming year. Keep track of our Lane County events by calling recreation Chair Ken Rivernider at (541) 688-4560 and maybe we’ll visit with you at an LCCB event!
The February Program was a presentation by Jim Thorpe, a "Living History Player from the Josephine County Historical Society. He portrayed Elijah Davidson the person who discovered the Oregon Caves. Jim proved to the group that he is a very talented person and provided us with a great presentation.
The following letter was sent to President Kae Seth from the Rogue Valley Chapter but as yet no answer has been received. February 4, 2011 Kae Seth, President American Council of The Blind of Oregon At the January Board Meeting the Accounting Review Committee presented their recommendation regarding our accounting services. They reviewed Proposals from three participants and also additional information based on responses to a list of questions they had prepared. It was determined that we have been paying twice (or maybe even more) the amount we should have been paying for these services.
If our current provider returned the $100 per month as a contribution to the Organization we would still be paying fifty percent, or maybe even more, than we should have been paying. Based on their review the Committee recommended that in order to reduce cost and provide a broader base of coverage that we retain the professional accounting firm located in North Bend. Unfortunately five Board Members voted against this recommendation and elected to continue with the current "one-person non-certified public account provider and continue to be overcharged. Also, two Board Members who voted "No" stated that they had a "conflict of interest" but elected to vote anyway. Actions of the Board should be for the good of the entire membership and not just on behalf of certain individual’s. With this in mind, and because you were one of the "No voters", we would appreciate knowing the various facts you considered in order to reach your decision.
Rogue Valley Chapter of the American Council of The Blind of Oregon
P.O. Box 406
Grants Pass, Or. 97528
Enclosed page with 15 signatures.
That's all for now from the Valley of The Rogue.
In January Norm Jordan from the Willamette Educational Service District spoke to us about the services they are providing to blind and visually impaired students in Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties. We in turn told him about ways we might help the E.S.D.
In February Robert Krebs from the Salem TranBoard gave a report and answered some rather sharp questions about the mess the Salem bus system finds itself in. (For the benefit of you lucky folks living outside of Salem, Courthouse Square, Salem's downtown transit hub, was declared unsafe and in danger of collapsing in 2010--just ten years after it was built. The project cost 30 million dollars to build, but was only insured for two million. Go figure.) Our March speaker is scheduled to be Heather Mains from Family Building Blocks, an organization dedicated to helping single parents with infants and very small children. Although this organization may not seem to have much to do with issues of blindness, they do provide a valuable service to our community and we are a part of this community.
In January, there were letters sent to every member on the state membership list informing people of the raffle, and the amount and manner of payment. The initial idea was to allow members to sign up for a minimum of $5.00 per month, or any other amount they wished to send during the year, to equal a total of $60.00, which will be the purchase price for one raffle ticket. We were anticipating at least one half, or one hundred, of our membership participating, which would bring in at least $6000.00 at the end of the year. At the upcoming convention in October, we will be awarding cash prizes totaling twenty five percent of the total amount raised. If we reach our goal of $6000.00, the prizes will be substantial. First prize will be $1000.00, with second and third prizes being $250.00. If we do not reach our goal, the prize money awarded will decrease proportionally for a total of twenty five percent of the actual amount collected.
Although the number of members responding has not been as great as expected, it is not too late to achieve our goal. As a member of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, you are encouraged to participate in this effort to raise funds for your organization. You will be helping us achieve our goals of supporting the blind citizens of our state and helping us stay a strong organization.
If you did not receive a letter and a form to join the Membership Monetary Support Program, or if you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 541-404-8214, or e-mail me at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the program and be eligible for a raffle ticket, the mailing address is; MMSP-ACBO P.O. BOX 323 LAKESIDE, OR. 97449
MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: MMSP-ACBO
Therefore, since bylaw changes need to be published for review before the assembly of our members at an annual Convention I am taking the liberty of submitting a "Finance Committee" bylaw.
Finance Committee Bylaw to be added to our current set of Bylaws:
A finance committee shall be appointed by the Board consisting of three (3) members in good standing plus the Treasurer, with the Treasurer being chairperson. The finance committee shall be responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal proceedings, investments, annual budgets and fundraising plans, as well as other duties which may be required. Any major changes in the budget or investments must be approved by the Finance Committee and brought before the Executive Board for final approval.
Monthly reports are required to be submitted to the Executive Board showing expenditures and income and an annual year-end report showing all financial activities.
The financial records of ACBO are public records and shall be made available to the Board Members, membership, and the public upon request.
For the last couple of years I have been stating that we (ACBO) need a person(s) to be involved in the legislative process at the State Capitol. I firmly believe that we need someone now, more than ever, with state budget cuts looming around every corner.
Art Stevenson, President NFB of Oregon, is doing a great job of advocating for the blind community. I applaud him and we need someone from our organization to join him to express our support for the blind community as well.
A good example is the recent discussion on funding for blind students. Apparently, the Dept. of Education decided not to allot money for the education of blind children in Oregon because of the funds contributed from the sale of the School for the Blind. I haven't heard the outcome of that discussion but it is one we should have been involved in. If we cannot find a volunteer from the Salem area to be our Legislative Representative we may have to find money in our budget to financially assist someone from another part of the state who is interested. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ROLE.
At 91, Marthana Guglielmo breaks barriers everywhere she goes. She does it by educating those around her that vision loss is not the end of the world. Marthana became legally blind at age 85 and instead of relying on others for her needs, she attended classes to teach herself all the skills she needed to maintain her independence. After attending the classes in Sacramento California where she lived, as a student she was subsequently asked to become a mentor. For three years she taught nearly everything: mobility, communications, personal skills, cooking, etc. Her mantra is, "you can still do anything, only in a different way. Marthana is currently the senior coordinator for the Lane County Council of the Blind, American Council of the Blind of Oregon. Her job for the past three years has been to connect in any way possible that helps seniors. At this time she has two main advocacy projects: benches for those who need rest while shopping and Descriptive Movies so those with blindness or low vision will hear a word picture of the action on the screen.
Marthana is also active in a bird listening group she’s brought together. For many months since last Spring, they’ve come to her house to learn listening and identification skills through CD’s and tapes of local Oregon birds. They have plans this Spring to go out with a guide from the Audubon Society to identify and listen for local and migratory birds.
Marthana has also taught a crocheting class at Willamalane Adult Activity Center. Believe it or not, in her rare spare time, she still finds time to crochet.
With the help of a reader and her experience on her vocal output computer, she is able to participate in the local Eugene Bible Study Fellowship group. One of her dreams is to have Braille classes started with her friend Denise Gosar. Denise and Marthana have previously held a “Just A Different Way” class at the Willamalane Adult Activities Center, emphasizing independence and “just doing things differently.” Her mantra is, "you can still do anything, only in a different way." At 91, Marthana breaks barriers every where she goes. She does it by educating those around her that vision loss is not the end of the world.
Marthana and her white cane, "Charlie," go everywhere together. Her daughter Betty Jean or BJ, is honored to be described as Marthana's side kick, driver, reader and friend. Marthana has taught classes at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center for adults with low vision. Her goal is to reach out to those who are new to being low vision and help them answer the question of, "what do I do now?" In the Willamalane class Marthana teaches self advocacy, personal skills- money folding, tactile labeling, etc and most importantly, coping with vision loss. "I want to reach those who say 'I'm not that bad, I don't need the white cane training ', and then they fall and break a hip." Marthana does not actually consider her self a teacher. She prefers being more of an inspiration to all in her class with her spirit and knowledge. She wants to start a talking book reading club at the library and a tai chi class for those with vision impairments. With all that Marthana has done, she still says there is so much to do that she sometimes doesn't know where to start. She wants to inspire others to collect their strength and courage, learn the skills and gather the tools available to them and go out their and live their life! She often notes, “it’s all about attitude and adapting.”
Named after Jim Olsen, who first served as the Council’s elected Treasurer and then was employed by the Council for over 25 years, the award was created to recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of opportunities for people who are blind and visually impaired. Signed into law last year by President Obama and authored by Rep. Markey, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is landmark legislation will make it easier for individuals who are blind, deaf or both deaf and blind to access the Internet, smartphones, television programming and other communications and video technologies.
“I am honored to receive this award from the American Council of the Blind, and I look forward to continuing my work to fight for equal access to technology for all Americans,” said Rep. Markey upon receiving the award. “Whether it’s a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue- it’s a participation issue. Americans with disabilities need access to the latest 21st century communications and video tools to compete in the job market and engage in daily activities that increasingly rely on the technology. I am proud that the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is now the law of the land, and I know we will continue to make great strides so all individuals can more fully participate in society.”
The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society.
“Representative Markey has played an instrumental roll over the last four years in not just introducing the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act but leading the blind community through some very difficult negotiations so that a landmark bill could be signed in to law. We sincerely thank him for all of his efforts in ensuring that the blind community will be able to gain access to important information that is conveyed on television or through a smart phone,” said Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American council of the Blind.
Rep. Markey’s 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act significantly increases accessibility for Americans with disabilities to the indispensable telecommunications and video technology tools of the 21st century by: #8226 Increasing access to the Web for Americans who are blind through improved user interfaces for smart phones • Enabling Americans who are blind to enjoy TV more fully through audible descriptions of the on-screen action • Making TV program guides and selection menus accessible to people with vision loss • Providing Americans who are deaf the ability to watch new TV programs online with the captions included • Mandating that remote controls have a button or similar mechanism to easily access the closed captioning on broadcast and pay TV • Requiring that telecom equipment used to make calls over the Internet is compatible with hearing aids • For low-income Americans who are both deaf and blind, providing a share of a total $10 million per year to purchase accessible Internet access and telecom services.
Congress of the United States
March 9, 2011
RESTORE BALANCE TO TAX TREATMENT OF CAR DONATIONS Bipartisan Bill Attracted Over 200 Cosponsors Last Session
We urge you to join us in supporting legislation to encourage charitable vehicle donations, which provide a substantial source of service organizations' annual operating budgets. Six years ago, Congress enacted changes in the tax code related to charitable donation of vehicles. While those changes were focused on addressing abuses within the system, they inadvertently created a serious new problem causing car donations to plummet and thousands of charities to reduce services across the country. As bipartisan members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, we have introduced HR 860 to restore balance to these rules.
Until 2005, a taxpayer could deduct the fair-market value of vehicles donated to charity if that amount was less than $5,000. Otherwise, an appraisal was required. Unfortunately, some taxpayers were gaming the system and IRS oversight was insufficient to detect or police these abuses. In response, Congress limited deductions for vehicles worth over $500 to the amount for which the charity resold the donated vehicle, regardless of appraised value.
For potential donors, this created uncertainty and confusion. To donate a vehicle in good condition, a donor had to hand over his or her car, keys, and title without any idea - for weeks or even months - how much it may eventually sell for or how it might affect his or her tax liability. In the first year after the law changed, the IRS reported a 67 percent decline in the number of vehicles donated to charities and an 80 percent decline in their value. This contradicted reassurances during the 2004 debate that the changes would not adversely affect charitable revenues.
HR 860 would allow tax deductions based on fair market value up to $2,500 and require an appraisal over that threshold, while preserving all of the necessary tracking and enforcement safeguards enacted in 2004. This would protect against abuse without scaring away donations altogether.
Last session, this legislation attracted over 200 bipartisan cosponsors. It's a modest bill that would help stock food bank shelves, advance medical research and provide shelter to the homeless. For details or to cosponsor, please call Lee Slater (Larson) at 225-2265 or Jason Edgar (Reichert) at 225-7761.
John B. Larson
On Thursday, February 17th, all members of Salem Historic Landmarks Commission voted to deny demolition of Howard Hall by Salem Hospital! The board had an in-depth discussion over 4 points that were needed to approve the request. Prior to this discussion they heard testimony from the SH Team, former students of the Blind School, SCAN President Tom Anderson & Board Members, neighbors, local historian Virginia Green, and a couple other interested or interesting folks. Letters and emails were presented. It was noted by the HLC that the amount of verbal testimony, letters and emails did express to them the importance of HH by the community.
A very BIG THANK YOU to all who came to the hearing and/or wrote in support of establishing Howard Hall a Historic Landmark. Your efforts did not go unnoticed and made a great difference! It was a long, interesting evening!!! Again, thanks to all who wrote, came and stayed!!! The former students were tickled--HH is THEIR history!!
I don't know what comes next, but will keep you informed. In these situations, many people speaking up can make a difference.
“We are thrilled with American Cancer Society’s commitment to make its website accessible to people with visual impairments,” said Mitch Pomerantz, President of ACB. “Today’s announcement is part of the Society’s on-going effort to meet the needs of the visually impaired. The website will provide critical information to those in our community touched by cancer, as well as family and friends.”
Website Accessibility The American Cancer Society’s new website is designed to meet guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (www.w3.org/wai). The guidelines, which do not affect the content or look and feel of a web site, ensure that sites are accessible to persons with visual and other disabilities. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen reader voice output or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse for navigation. “Web site accessibility is of great importance to both the blind community and to people with disabilities generally,” said ACB First Vice President Kim Charlson of Boston, Massachusetts. “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in the blind community’s quest for independent access to health information.”
Alternative Format Pilot Program The Society’s accessible website is part of a broader initiative to ensure the availability of cancer information to people who are blind and visually impaired. As part of that initiative, the Society has worked with ACB to develop a pilot program that will offer certain ACS materials in Braille, Large Print and Audio Formats to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from reading standard print. Details of the information available in alternative formats can be found at www.cancer.org/AboutUs/ACSPolicies/accessibility-at-the-american-cancer-society-policy . Members of the public with visual impairments may call 1-800-227-2345 for more information and to request materials in other formats.
Acosta, a sergeant major in the Army Reserve, was blinded while fighting in Iraq on Jan. 16, 2006. Nearly 3 years after beginning training for a new career the 51-year-old father of four has learned how to navigate through darkness. Leaving his home in Santa Fe Springs at 6 a.m. each morning with his 3-year-old guide dog Charley, he skillfully navigates the 2 hour bus trip to the training facility, Junior Blind of America, where he is learning software programs so he can work in data analysis.
Through the program, Acosta has become close friends with Carlos Galvan, a 59-year-old Vietnam vet who went blind 7 years ago after complications from diabetes, stemming from exposure to the chemical Agent Orange. Acosta was a “great inspiration to me” Galvan says, who was beginning to retreat into his home. He's now attends the blind school regularly and is thinking about getting a guide dog.
Acosta has no regrets about his service, but believes many injured soldiers are forgotten once they return home. Before Acosta had a chance to heal, still reeling from his brain injury, "I had to advocate for my own surgeries". He also had trouble finding a VA hospital that provided the right treatment, but the Long Beach VA hospital, which Acosta visits once a week, "picked up the ball." … "The only regrets I have is how I was treated when I came back," he says. "They weren't ready for the younger generation. That's how they failed us."
It's been a long transition for the tough, East Los Angeles- born soldier who enjoyed working on cars, lifting weights and riding Harleys. The transition has also been difficult for his wife of more than 30 years, Connie, and their four children, ages 7 to 33. "It's hard," he says. "There's a lot of barriers."
At the time of the original article (Jan. 2010) Acosta was still on active duty, in charge of the 376th Personnel Battalion. He speaks with his troops about personal issues and post-traumatic stress disorder twice a month at a center in Long Beach. He’s eager to get back to work. "Why? Because now I'm blind," … "And I want to show the community out there that this ain't gonna stop me."
Acosta has asked for veterans who need help to contact him at Junior Blind, at 323-295-4555 or > www.juniorblind.org/Sgt
The Stylus will come to you quarterly in March, June, September and December. Please submit Materials by the first of February, May, August and November.
Materials may be submitted in Brail, on cassette, in print, on computer disk or by E-mail. Email is preferred.
Please submit materials to: John A. Fleming, 12616 NE Prescott Dr., Portland, Or 97230. You can phone: 503-253-9543. You can Email your material to email@example.com.
Last updated: January 24, 2012
Copyright © 2000 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind