For more information about the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, you can go to our web page at: www.acboforegon.org
As I sit at my desk, spring has finally arrived with the traditional Oregon rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine, and oh yes, did I say rain? Flowers are blooming and our dogs have spring fever wanting to get outdoors to sniff the enticing smells that only canine noses can fully appreciate.
Since our last chat, many things have been happening to keep Acbo officers and friends busy. In February, Bailey and I had the fortunate opportunity to participate in the midyear meeting of the Presidents' of the American Council of the Blind. Once a year the Council holds a mid-year meeting along with a legislative seminar which affords leaders of the organization to inform the state affiliate presidents of what is occurring nationally in the blindness arena. Bailey and I traveled to Arlington Virginia and attended the midyear conference and also participated on a panel dealing with the issue of schools for the blind. As you may remember, Acb created a task force at the annual convention held in Orlando Florida that would look at the alarming trend to close down many of the country's schools for the blind. Since Oregon has the dubious distinction of being the only state to close down completely its school for the blind, I was asked to share from that perspective.
For anyone who is interested, I would be glad to make my presentation available in written form.
We attended an action-packed two-day meeting which highlighted several things of interest that Acb is working on. In July of 2010, Acb will unveil a new database for keeping more accurate records of membership and other information for its members. Chris Gray former President of Acb has been working hard on this project and is excited about its completion and its introduction to Acb affiliates. State affiliates will be able to provide timely information on new members, as well as information about those who have passed away; we will also be able to track the growth of our organization and be able to provide more accurate demographics as well. The membership chairpersons or designated individuals will be able to tap into the database. It will make compiling information easier as well as reporting our membership information to the national office Other subjects of interest included a interesting talk about how to plan a good state convention by Carla Rushible our National Convention Coordinator. We also talked about the importance of filing appropriate tax forms for state affiliates such as the federal 990 forms. With tighter restrictions placed on charitable organizations with regard to fundraising, we were encouraged to keep accurate records, have our state Boards develop a conflict of interest policy as well as a policy on personal information.
Acb can be proud that a successful suit was filed which forced the Social Security Administration to provide information to its blind clients in alternative formats. Also, Acb was instrumental in asking the Major League Baseball to make all of its websites accessible to blind customers. President Mitch Pomerantz was asked to conduct a three-minute interview on Sky radio which is broadcast on American Airlines, informing them about the American Council of the Blind. We are hopeful that we will gain more exposure and members. The interview is aired as we speak beginning in May.
As you can see, we learned a great deal at the conference and it was a delight to represent Oregon and meet new friends as well.
In closing, there are several local issues that I wish to make you aware of which are of interest to the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.
First of all, at our April Board meeting, we made a motion which allows Bob Rushing to act as interim treasurer until Jan Chance is able to fulfill her duties as treasurer. Jan is recovering from a particularly nasty bout of pneumonia which her doctors feel will take some time to recover from; she will be taking an medical leave of absence and will assume her duties when her doctors feel she is able to resume them. Bob Rushing has agreed to act in the capacity of treasurer, although Jan will be included as an officer in what is happening with the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. Please join with me in praying for Jan, and in wishing her a speedy recovery. She has been a tireless worker for our organization, and we look forward to seeing her at our Board meetings soon.
There has been an ongoing problem with the Vendors program its managers, and the Oregon Commission for the Blind. As a result of a meeting organized by the Commission, there may be some recommendations made to change the structure of its vendors program. James Edwards our Commissioner is keeping us very well-informed and I have been asked to serve on a Working Group to try and find workable solutions to some of the problems within the program.
At our April Board meeting, we were pleased to hear from the Department of Justice whose representative talked with us about fundraising and charitable organizations. Kirk Harvey's presentation was so good, that we are hoping to have him speak at our state convention in October.
Although we received a donation check in our car donation program, we still are looking for ways to save money and be accountable as good stewards of Acbo's finances. Also, we had a great presentation by the Advocates for Visually impaired whose mission is to focus on the needs of blind children. We may be able soon to have a fund entirely for blind children. When that is finalized, we will inform you.
Lastly, I would like to welcome a new chapter to the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. It was with great pleasure that the Board approved the formation of the Metro Pdx Chapter of the American Council of the Blind into our organization. We hope that in the months to come you will be hearing more about this new chapter.
May I say, that it is important for chapter leaders to provide our Stylus editor, John Fleming with reports about what your chapters doing. No chapter is too small, or unimportant. We like to hear what's happening, and if necessary, we'll try and help you out. I had an opportunity to visit Willamette Chapter recently and enjoyed my time with them. Due to funding, I'm not able to visit every chapter as I'd like, but from time to time I'll do my best to drop by and say hello. The chapters--you who are the core of this organization are important. We need you!
As I write this note, I'm preparing for arthroscopic knee surgery; although I might be laid up for a relatively short time, I'll be keeping abreast of everything, and I'm always available for conversation or to answer questions. Don't hesitate to send me a note or call. Also, if you'd like someone to visit your chapter, contact your district Representatives. They are: District 1, John Fleming and District 2 Carrie Kokel; presently Ron Whelcho is covering district three as part of his duties as Second ice-president.,
May your summer be filled with picnics, baseball games and family joys, so that when you come back to us in the fall, you'll be eager to work for the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.,
Sincerely: Kae L. Seth:
President: American Council of the Blind of Oregon.
The Willamette Chapter of Acbo is helping put together a truly interesting convention; volunteers from several organizations will be in evidence to help us out; we are planning an interesting program, and the lunch and banquet meals will be spectacular.
We will be providing you with more information, and look forward to seein you all in October.
Transportation from Portland to Salem is easy, either via Amtrak or Greyhound bus. The trip by train is a roundtrip of $21 per person including a discount. The hotel provides shuttle service, and if you indicate you need to be picked up, the hotel will be glad to pick you up at no charge.
Room rates are as follows: $70 plus $7 tax for singles; and $90 plus $7 tax for two queens.
One of the important parts of any convention is the food. The Red Lion will present u with some wonderful meal options for lunch on Saturday, 16th of October For lunch, we will eat a Croissant sandwich entre with potato salad and fruit. For those who wish other vegetarian options will be served a similar sandwich with potato salad and fruit. Coffee and tea will be served.
After a day of entertaining meetings, our banquet will offer you two choices to consider.
Option number 1> Terraki Chicken rice and other vegetables. Desert and coffee will be served.
Option 2. For those who love steak, We will be offered Prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables, with coffee and desert.
For those who wish vegetarian selection one will be offered. The hotel is also willing to accommodate for special dietary needs if you let us know in advance. Should you have any questions, please feel free to call me at: 503-282-0804 or Bev or Bob Rushing at: 503-362-4151. Stay tune for more information.
Linda Mock Director of the Oregon Commission for the Blind proposed a legislative concept which would modernize certain aspects of the vending program giving more responsibility to the blind managers in handling their own business affairs rather than have the Commission negotiate contracts with new prospective building sites or facilities. A proposal was introduced at the most recent Commission meeting, and a Working group consisting of blind members of the community, representing the Commission Board, the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, and the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. Commissioner James Edwards and I represented the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, Carla McQuillin and Art Stevenson represented the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, Randy Hauk represented the Business Enterprises Managers Committee; Commissioners Joyce Green, and Richard Fay were in attendance John Gordon Vice-president of the Randolph-shepoard Vendors of America, (a special-interest group of the American Council of the Blind also participated by phone. . Our Group facilitator was a former director of the Washington State Services for the Blind.
We met from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. to discuss the pros and cons of the concept put forth by Linda Mock.
Our consensus was, that givin the current economic climate in the state of Oregon, and the gloomy economic forecast for Oregon's state agencies, we determined, that we would like to explore other avenues which might bring about dialogue which could ultimately strengthen the current Business Enterprise program, and create a climate of collaboration between the blind community and the Oregon Commission for the Blind. It would also give us more time to possibly draft legislation in the future which would possibly ensure that blind vending facility managers would have a stronger hand in their future.
I am sharing this with you, because I was greatly impressed with the willingness of all participants in the discussion to work together to find common ground upon which we could begin the important task of making the Business Enterprise program more vital than it already is. I especially wish to thank Linda Mock for her willingness to see the picture clearly, when we consider the future of the Oregon Commission for the Blind as a whole. According to the Governor's Reset Cabinet, things look mighty bleak indeed, and the Governor will attempt to find ways to staunch the bleeding, which could mean more budget cuts to already suffering and struggling agencies as well as other dire measures. Therefore, in the next few months, James Edwards and I will work hard as your representatives to promote positive change, provide ideas and suggestions and listen, so that we can move forward to strengthen one of the most necessary programs that the Commission for the Blind has.
James will represent us ably as the Commissioner for the Blind, and will keep us posted on events as they occur. I believe that the positive input from our meeting was brought about by individuals sitting down across from one another at the table, listening to one another and putting aside pettiness in order to come up with constructive ways to save a program which has been struggling for a long time. This opportunity might not have occurred without the willingness of everyone involved to make it work.
My first voting experience was not all I had hoped though. I did not get to check in at the counter, then proudly walk to the voting booth and cast my secret vote. I couldn’t because I lost my vision just a few months before. I could not read the ballot and there were no alternate options for those of us who were unable to vote in the traditional manner. I felt cheated out of the voting experience. For many years voting meant hearing someone else’s interpretation of ballot measures and candidates, and some times audible grimaces if my scribe did not agree with my choices.
That all began to change 6 years ago. HAVA, the help America Vote Act, had passed and each state had to begin formulating a way to accommodate their voters with disabilities. I remember travelling to Salem to learn about a variety of different accessible voting topics. I was introduced to talking voting machines, telephonic voting, and several other voting products. They were all promising, but none of them truly met the needs and requirements of today’s voter. A few years later, I was notified of the development of a HTML ballot. The idea is simple, provide the elections office your email address, and they will send you an electronic version of your ballot. This HTML version allows me to read my own ballot without the help of anyone but my computer screenreader. After I have read and cast my vote by selecting checkboxes, I print the ballot and place it in the return security envelope. After signing the security envelope I can drop it off or mail it back to the elections office. If you don’t own a computer, your local elections office has a fully accessible computer available for you to use.
I received my first HTML ballot has part of a test group two years ago. I was excited as I opened the attachment sent to me. My excitement built as the reality sank in that I was actually voting completely independently. I read my own ballot and marked my own choices. No comments like, “Are you sure you want to vote that way”? No need to wait for someone else to have the time to read it out. I could even, do a little, save the document and come back later to finish it up. By the time I finished the process, I realized that there were tears in my eyes. I had no idea just how much this particular freedom meant to me until I had the chance to personally experience it.
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank all of those who worked so hard on making this right possible for all of us. If you would like to view a video that better explains alternative voting you can access it at http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/HAVA/accessibility.shtml.
In Lane County, several people now use the e-mail balot and I was one of them and have been for every election since its inception. I've worked for seven years with the Secretary of State's Office and we tried various systems, including telephone voting from the Elections Office the first year. That proved extremely expensive, and after several disappointments with various voting machines, the (Help America Vote Act) HAVA Committee members brainstormed and came up with the e-mail system and also laptop computers, one at the elections office and one which could travel to voters who either do not have e-mail, live in a more "institutional" setting, or simply request the use of it. I ask people to consider the expense of this "bring it to you" option because it requires two elections staff members.
The most difficult thing to do is convince people it's worth the effort to change behavior and move against the tradition of having someone else mark the balot. As a lifelong blind person this was very easy for me because, since voting in my first election, I never had a secret balot. Developing a way to vote by myself seemed logical, necessary and delightful and I'm glad the system is in place. I hope everyone reading this article will consider calling their county elections office and signing up for an e-mail balot.
I understand some counties send the balot out on cd, but Lane does not. Each time there is an election, I receive a notification which includes the attachments related to voting. I open the balot, mark it, reread it, then print it and enclose it in my secrecy envelope and then in the signature envelope, and voila! I've cast a vote without having to tell anyone how I voted! It's what we have assisted people in other countries to do, and I'm so glad Oregonians who are blind now have this option.
If anyone has any questions about this, please feel free to contact their County Elections Office or the Secretary of State's Office.
You can vote from a friend's computer, as long as you can open your email there, or have a cd from your County.
To sign the envelope myself, I sign using the punched hole in the signature envelope as my guide and start signing my name right underneath and two fingers to the right of it.
Happy voting in the next November election! Secret balots all!
Jeanne-marie Moore, Eugene, Oregon
If you have not tried this HTML version of voting you need too. Before the next election contact your County Elections Office and let them know you want to vote by Email. It’s safe, private, easy, and fun.
Being in a great recreational area, LCCB Members are being asked to attend or organize accessible activities that may interest them, with plans to also educate management and owners of community opportunities as to the desires of blind and visually impaired spectators, event attendees and visitors who might need greater access to their venues. Thanks to our Seniors Outreach & Communications Chair Marthana Guglielmo, Members may now attend the Regency Theaters that now have Descriptive Video presentations weekly. Going to a DVS movie that is being shown at an accessible theater is wonderful and really makes the theaters truly inclusive for all community Members. In LCCB, we feel that to truly integrate into our local shows, musical or theater venues and general recreational opportunities, is of utmost importance and we’ll be out there having a great Summer. We hope all ACB-O Members will go out to enjoy something aside from recent rain and cold weather!
One completely accessible and well thought-out venue is the 3-day Oregon Country Fair, which has a huge staff of volunteers who work with all disabled attendees as they come off the buses out to the mid-summer event. Likewise the Eugene Celebration is quite accessible due to the on-going accessibility upgrades that Eugene has been committed to for many years.
Springfield is also having many great community activities throughout the Summer, including a weekly Farmer’s Market, the 4th of July Light of Liberty Celebration and the 3-day Summer Fest from July 16 to 18 with tons of food and musical opportunities. Though we will still be holding our June 14 and August Meetings, LCCB Members will have plenty of things to do and places to go during “LCCB’s slow-time!”
details of what the Lane County Chapter is up to presently:
* Our Recreation Committee is very active and we're doing several "Birding Outings" with a well-known local Audubon expert. We'll be listening and observing birds in both urban and rural areas like Alton-Baker Park in Eugene and possibly the Eugene Wetlands area, plus an outing or two in Springfield too. Spring is the time and it will be quite novel, as before our tours/walks our senior Chair Marthana Guglielmo is having folks over to her house to listen to CD's of local and migrating birds, so we may be able to really learn the 'nature of the bird business.'
* As per our illustrious President and Parolympian tandem bike Champion and Medalist Karissa Whitsell, we are beginning the work of creating a Parolympian sports and tandem club in conjunction (possibly) with the Hilyard Community Center in Eugene. LCCB is already considered a "Community Partner" of the Hilyard Center, which is a Nationally renowned disabilities activity center. Since the entire Lane County region is a biking and sports haven, we are hoping for growing participation in the future.
* Lane County regional free fishing days are on our Recreation List and Chair Ken Rivernider is keeping our fishing interested Members abreast of the dates and locations of these angling events. Several fishing opportunities will be held throughout the Spring and early Summer, all over the area from Eugene and Oakridge to Leeburg Dam. Members may be able to catch hatchery salmon and trout ... and any LCCB kids and friends are free to come also, as LCCB has two young Junior Members who are totally ready for some fishing!
* Our monthly Meetings are now going to be held on the second Monday of each month (save July and August) and will be held at the Lane Community College Downtown Center, in Eugene in Room 204. The Downtown Center is located at 1059 Willamette Street and the Meetings start at 5:30 and go to 7 PM, so as to accommodate those who work.
LCCB Secretary Rob Cook
In April State President Kae Seth reported on the national meeting of the state affiliate presidents in Virginia. Since Kae will undoubtedly report on this herself, I will skip the details here, but it was a very informative presentation.
When our scheduled speaker failed to show for our May meeting, our newest member, Jon Codner, gave a fine impromptu presentation of vegon cooking, which is is very good at. Jon has promised to bring a pot of his vegon New Orleans-style chili, which he claims is guaranteed to make you sit up and take notice, to our annual summer potluck and penny auction. Speaking of which, this event will be held on July 23 at Salem Green Mobile Home Park. All members of ACBO are welcome, but remember--even though bids start at a penny, you have to pay each time you open your mouth--win or lose!
We will also have a table at the huge Salem Green multi-garage sale July 9-10. Our proceeds will go toward helping the chapter with the state convention. Once again everyone is welcome. Just bring your billfolds and be prepared to buy. Note from the Editor: Deb Marinos from the Willamette Chapter reports that she has completed her Masters Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling at San Diego State University this summer. She thanks ACB for their contribution in the form of scholarship several years ago. Deb is currently enjoying working for the Salem Office of the Oregon Commission for the Blind. Congratulations, Deb!
Quite a few of Pioneer and Multnomah Chapter attended the Oral Hull Park Memorial Day extended weekender and had a great time.
Our newsletter is named "Multnomah Chapter on the move" and here is why: One of our most distinguished members just graduated from childhood to 98 years young and is active and high spirited as ever. Vivian Dignan hasn't let the years slow her down much as she continues to entertain people singing, playing the piano and continues to do lots of volunteering in the community and supplies us with great jokes for the newsletter. Vivian became a member around 1961 or 1963 and is always ready to help our members when called upon. When you get to be 98, we'll start giving you some slack as to our expectations. Speaking of slack, our Secretary Cheri Slack just had some medical complications that equaled those of a full stroke and is recovering like a rocket and she is anxious to get back to work and doesn't expect any slack from us. Cheri has multiple challenges beyond blindness and is a real go getter. Rexanne Millard is still winning medals in Special Olympics as she recently picked up a bronze medal in basketball. She now has a Gold medal in bowling, Silver in Bocce ball and now is getting ready for another tournament in June for Bocce ball again. Glenys Becker is another sweetheart, who really came thru for us by volunteering many hours in the kitchen and the dining lounge, serving members at our State Convention. We have members previously or currently involved in all kinds of recreation, education, employment, volunteerism and spiritualism. Can you tell we are very proud of all of them? What a great group!
Please drop in and see us sometime.
Klamath chapter officers: Barbara Carlson, President; Dale Jacobsen, Vice president; Loretta Spahn, Secretary; Joan Hill, Treasurer; Don Poulter, Past President.
I was not at the last meeting, so I do not know anything other than we will not have another meeting until September.
Joan & Buttons
That's all for now from The Valley of The Rogue.
The opportunity will be there to not only raise funds for research for retinal degenerative diseases, including macular degeneration, Ushers, Stargaarts, and Retinitis Pigmentosa, too name a few, but also to raise awareness of ACB of O. It is not necessary to physically be present at the walk, however it is fun to do, and you join with hundreds of others with vision impairments. You can have your team do a virtual walk in your community, or online. The foundation fighting blindness has fine tuned this event to make "millions" of dollars over the last few years, so it would also be a tool for learning what works in fund raising. Your team gets a free web page, and tools to send emails and confirmations directly. The Oregon website is http://www.fightblindness.org/site/TR/VISIONWALK/VisionWalktr?fr_id=3630&pg=entry&AddInterest=1561
To get there without this link go to www.blindness.org and go to vision walk link, and then to Portland link.
I am new to the Oregon list and would like to offer my services (as a member at large) of ACB. Since 1992 I have hosted a radio program on K B O O F M in Portland called Sounds of Awareness. Sounds of Awareness is an interview program discussing life style, education, social and legal issues, housing, health care, and employment, and how these impact people with disabilities. We serve as a voice of the disabled to the community at large.
I produce and host this 30-minute forum heard every 4th Monday at 11:00 AM on KBOO, FM, 90.7
The program may also be heard on Evergreen Radio Reading Service, ACB Radio Mainstream, and The Global Voice. MP3 downloads available on the Sounds of Awareness web site as well as at www.kboo.fm/soundsofawareness.
If you have something of interest to a general audience, please contact me for possible inclusion in the program.
We are fortunate to have 30 minutes a month on a radio station on the commercial broadcast band (as opposed to an internet station only). In Portland’s media market this opportunity would cost thousands of dollars and we are offered this opportunity free of charge. Of course, we can always use underwriters, but that is not the purpose of this communication. I am a volunteer programmer for KBOO and want to offer my primary audience programming that is interesting and informative.
He prepares donated computers by removing unnecessary programs and any remaining personal information. Then he installs JAWS and makes an audio CD containing basic operating instructions.
He is also in the process of working with a local "big box" tech store to use donated computers to start a class where "our" units will be restored and made ready for delivery.
Mr. Hansen delivers donated, adapted computers to needy recipients in his local area. However, is seeking funds for shipping them to others. He has several computers ready to give to people who are blind and in need, and who would otherwise be unable to afford them.
Mr. Hansen estimates the cost to ship each computer at around $30. Mr. Hansen challenges ACB members and friends to donate just $1 to further this work.
To donate computers, arrange for a delivery or to become a sponsor, contact Mr. Hansen at 909-717-1959 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear OSB Friends, After a little more than six months of being unemployed, I have a new job! As those of you who have shared this experience know, finding a job in this economy is anything but easy.
On March 25th I will begin work as Vice President of Education Services at Junior Blind of America in Los Angeles.
Junior Blind, which is a private agency, has been in business for a little more than 50 years. Its mission is helping children and adults who are blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled achieve independence. It's based in Los Angeles. It offers specialized services for infants, children, teens and adults throughout California and across the country. Through programs that offer early intervention, education, recreation and rehabilitation, children learn essential skills that meet their goals and contribute to the quality of their lives.
My role will be to operate the special education school, manage the child development program serving children birth to 3, and their families, operate the recreational program (this includes both a year round program at the school and a 40 acre summer camp in Malibu), and operate an after school program.
I'll be leaving Salem on the 23rd. Kathy will stay to deal with selling the house and getting us moved. We hope to be in place by June.
Kathy & I are sad to be leaving our friends in Oregon, but believe that this new challenge is right for us. We want to thank each and every one of you for your friendship and for the support you have provided.
When we have new contact information, we'll share it. Don & Kathy Ouimet
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, 12 NE Prescott Dr., Portland, Or 97230. You can phone: 503-253-9543. You can Email your material to email@example.com.
This page was posted on April17, 2012
Copyright © 2001 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind