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The official publication of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.
Published Quarterly
Edited by John A. Fleming and Mary Reid

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ACB of Oregon’s PRESIDENT is Kae Seth
Phone: 503-282-0804

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

President’s Message
By Kae Seth

As I write Memorial Day Weekend will soon be upon us. Traditionally, Memorial Day Weekend is supposed to be the kickoff for summertime fun where families go on camping trips and also remember loved ones who have died by decorating their graves with flowers. Now, most folks appreciate a long weekend. However, we should remember those who have died for our country who have been members of the Armed Forces.

We at Acbo are gearing up for the state convention scheduled for October 14, 15 and 16 in Coos Bay Oregon. We will be holding our conference at the Mill Casino and Hotel located in that city. The Casino and hotel have recently been renovated and it has many features that I think you will enjoy. There are two restaurants which will be available. One is on the floor of the Casino and is called the Timbers Restaurant. It is open twenty-four hours a day, and I have it on excellent authority that the ham and eggs are especially good at 2:30 in the morning. The other restaurant is called the Plank House, open from 7:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M.

As this is an election year for officers of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, I urge you to let our nominating committee know if you wish to run for office. The committee members are: Mary Reid from Portland, e-mail address; Carrie Cokel from Coos Bay, e-mail address and Loretta Spahn from Klamath Falls, e-mail address Candidates must be members of a chapter, in good standing and must be active in her/his chapter for at least 360 days of the calendar year; President, first and second vice-presidents shall be blind and Secretary and treasurer may be sighted. Also, the Stylus has generously offered a candidates’ page where you can send in a short biography telling us about yourself. Should you have any questions about this contact the committee or any member of the Board.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Southwestern and Dunes Park Chapters of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon while I visited the Mill Casino and Hotel in Coos Bay. Both of these chapters are friendly and eager to welcome all of you to a very beautiful part of Oregon. We are planning an interesting program and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. I will have a short article later which will give further details on the convention.

Some of us will be attending the American Council of the Blind's 50th Anniversary convention from July 9 to 16. We will be celebrating this milestone in Reno Nevada and hope to see some of you there as well. I wish you all a wonderful summer and look forward to sharing with all of you about my trip to Reno, and my return safe and sound. Take good care.

For any questions or comments I can be reached at: 503-282-0804.

Convention Notes
—October 14-15-16 2011

Hi Folks:

If you are looking for a beautiful place for a conference Southwestern Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon has cordially invited you to attend our 55th annual convention.

The American Council of the Blind of Oregon will hold this convention at: The Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park located in Coos Bay Oregon.

Room Rates are: $90 per night plus tax. Should you have any questions, or wish to make reservations, you may call: 1-8009533—4800. Tell the reservationist you are with the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.

The rooms are spacious and will hold more than one person. The hotel is away from the Casino, so those that don’t want to frequent the casino don’t have too.

There are several restaurants within the Mill complex for you to choose from. Two that I am aware of are: The Timber Restaurant located on the Casino floor which is open twenty-four hours, and the Plank House which is open from 7:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M.

Lunch and dinner Entrees

You will find that this year our luncheon and dinner selections should meet with your approval. For lunch on Saturday we will be having shaved Roast Beef Croissant sandwich with Tortellini Salad and cookie for dessert. For those wishing vegetarian fare, that can be accommodated. The price for lunch is $14.95. The banquet meal is prime Rib with vegetables and Potatoes and salad plus Strawberry cheesecake for dessert.


For those needing transportation to Coos Bay along the I-5 corridor, we are working on this at this writing. We will be sending out news regarding this soon.

The Southwestern and Dunes Park Chapters of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon are looking forward to seeing all of you. We are putting together an educational and informative program, and don’t forget that elections for the officers of ACBO will be held this year.

Should you have any questions regarding theconvention please don’t hesitate to contact me at 503-282-0804, or by e-mail at

Membership Raffle
By James Edwards

The membership fundraising program has been a disappointing endeavor. We were hoping to raise enough money to present a sizable check to our treasurer to boost our income and to present checks to three lucky winners of the drawings. We were anticipating one half of our members to participate, or at least one hundred members, but as of this date, we have only 19 paid members, for a total of $1140.00, so the pay-outs will be considerably less than anticipated.

The program was well advertised in the Stylus, and hopefully, by each chapter President and notices were sent to every member on the membership list. It was a great idea in its simplicity. No doubt due to the difficult economic times people are experiencing, it would have created a drain on their budget to participate, but it is not too late to make your contribution. It is important to continue searching for ways to raise funds for the organization. I encourage each member to think about fundraising ideas, and present them to the Board of Directors.

For information please call me at 541-404-8214


Dunes Park
By Deb Nichols, President

I was elected president of the ACBO's Dunes Park Chapter in February. I feel excited as well as a bit anxious about setting and meeting goals for Reedsport and the surrounding area. I count on the guidance of our members, especially James Edwards' invaluable experience.

In September, our small chapter is changing the meeting location back to Reedsport at 2:00 P.M. on the second Saturday of each month. All are welcome! Please e-mail me if you’d like to attend.

During the spring, we were warmly welcomed at meetings of the Coos Bay Chapter, where we learned much! Jody Manchester, our secretary and I shared a few songs at Coos Bay's April meeting and eagerly await future events of mutual benefit.

Paula Deweese, Jody and I formed a subcommittee to raise funds, and become better known in our community. We are contacting businesses in the five towns near us to set out donation cans and informational flyers about our chapter and will include the State website. We are contacting service organizations offering to give talks and PowerPoint presentations on blindness issues. We are collecting items for a yard sale and holding an open house in July. We will enjoy a picnic with the Coos Bay Chapter on August 27, 2011, per their invitation and plan to torture them again with our music! Also, I joined a successful letter-writing effort that moved the Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety bill to the House from its committee with key provisions! Jody and I hope to go to the National Convention in July and will help as needed with the State Convention in October.

We welcome all suggestions and ideas that work for your chapters. My e-mail address is:

Lane County
By Rob Cook, President

We’re moving towards summer a lot quicker than most of us expected, so LCCB Members have already begun to look toward local summer activities, music and special presentations. Certainly and in spite of the rainy days, many of us couldn’t wait and now have dirty hands and muddy pants due to spring garden preparation and plantings. In both Springfield and Eugene, LCCB Members are gardening, with many folks utilizing one of the several Community Gardens that each town’s Recreation Programs provide. There are also those Members who put equal energy into luscious home gardens and beautiful landscapes. Here’s hoping flowers and fruits will abound for vision disabled gardeners this year!

Here’s a note from our senior’s Outreach Coordinator: “We are pleased to honor Marthana Guglielmo during Lane County's eighth Annual Older Americans Month celebration in May. The theme this year is ‘Lane County Honors Older Americans: Breaking Barriers.’ Marthana is truly and inspiration. Her mantra is, ‘you can still do anything, only in a different way.’ 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! It is all about attitude and adapting.’

Marthana and seven others were honored on May 19 during the celebration at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center. For Marthana, all this happened AFTER our 91 year-old intrepid elder went to visit James Edwards on the Coast, “to check out fishing for BJ,” Marthana’s driver and partner/daughter! As this LCCB President has noted several times, “she burns us into the ground!”

Thanks to recent new Member Natalie Castro who has offered her PC and Accessible Web talents, “We are currently in the process of setting up a Lane County Council Website with the latest goings on and upcoming events and resources. We hope the website will facilitate the dissemination of LCCB and Blindness-related information as well as show off our groovy, techy spirit.” LCCB Members are thrilled at this opportunity and hope that ‘techy energy’ will bring new and younger members to our local group.,

Additionally, our monthly LCCB Meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month at the Springfield Library at 5th & A Streets adjacent to the City Plaza & Fountain; the Meeting is from 6 to 7:30 pm. Please let your Lane County friends know and we’ll welcome them.

Metro PDX
By Mary Reid, Treasurer

It seems like such a short time ago that we were writing and submitting reports for the spring issue, and now I’m at my keyboard tapping away the report for summer. No new members to recognize but recruitment has been the focus these past few weeks. With so few members, many of us medically challenged with little energy, fundraising efforts have been limited. However, we are a young chapter and have high expectations of ourselves.

The membership committee has created a brochure to be used in a variety of venues for recruiting new members. It can be used in developing fliers for specific events, and we have selected four community events to participate in over the next six months. Our plan is to support the events and have space at a resource table to promote ACBO, Metro PDX in particular. We believe face-to-face contact with the public is the best way to promote the wealth blind persons can bring to their communities.

In addition to these community events, we will take advantage of the Oregon Commission for the Blind client database. In September we will do a direct mailing to current OCB clients to send out letters and information enticing blind individuals in the Portland area to check us out. This mailing may be expanding to 3-5 years back, depending on initial response. Also, Tyanne Coverstone will represent our chapter and speak with each new group of students at OCB. She will bring back to the chapter names/addresses/numbers of interested persons, and we will all participate in following up with them.

Larry Treuber has taken responsibility to set up a PayPal account with hopes of raising enough funds to financially assist members with upcoming state convention costs. John Fleming has met with chapter presidents of Multnomah and Pioneer to discuss and promote collaborative efforts to increase public awareness of our organization. Currently, the three chapters are working to get as many members to the convention as possible, including securing reasonable transportation.

At this time, we are in contact with Oral Hull Park to use their buses and hope to have more information by mid-June. Please encourage your members to attend this important event. I believe elections of new officers will afford our affiliate the opportunity to change the face of who we are as activists on all levels. We will keep you updated on transportation progress. Hope to meet many new persons in the fall.

By Gregg Welch

Hello everyone from Multnomah Chapter. Our chapter has been busy with numerous projects and planning. We have had members coming out of the woodwork volunteering for committee work and when you see 10 people volunteer for fund raising; you know there is enthusiasm in the air.

We will be having our June Chapter picnic on June 18 at Gregg and Carol's home from 1:00 until 3:30. We expect a large turnout. Everyone at our last chapter meeting said they will be there.

We are growing every month and are adding a minimum of one to three members each and every month. We are developing a "Special Needs Fund" to assist members with various needs and we are looking forward to establishing the criteria for members to apply for grants. We plan to buy some new technology for members to try out to see if it is a good mobility device for each member. We currently have two closed circuit televisions thanks to Vivian Dignan, Dale Nichols and Mike Hawk. We expect to have two more totaling four CCTV's, that we will be looking for homes for soon.

Our fund raising committee has ten members and is going Gung Ho on candy bar sales and our bank account is increasing in a very positive fashion.

Our newest members have very interesting skills and backgrounds such as a piano tuner, an engineer, a computer programmer, a successful inventor and a member who has done professional auctioneering and real estate investing and much more. Six of our members just completed another season of bowling with the Portland Blind Bowlers League. We plan to do some recreation planning soon to get the family together and enjoy each other.

Patty Bessant has recently moved from her home into an adult foster home and sounds like she is very happy about the move. Patricia Kennedy has been under the weather and wants to join us at our chapter picnic. Our senior member Vivian Dignan is turning 99 on May 29 and is still as sweet and vigorous as ever. Portland Impact just put on a birthday party for her on May 27 and it was quite a success. Many of her long time friends in the chapter were not able to join in on the fun because of illness issues and we hope Vivian knows that not one of us would have missed it, if our attendance was possible.

Our chapter newsletter is very popular but the editor complains that it has too much information in it. She is expected to get over it soon.

We are working with Metro PDX and Pioneer chapters in arranging transportation for the State Convention in October. We want a count from our membership about August 15 as to how many members will be attending.

We hope all of you have a great summer and will drop in and visit now and then. We will make it a positive experience.

Southwestern Chapter News
By: Carrie Kokel

During February and March, we had a very successful candy sales fundraiser. We projected $10,500 in sales; however, we sold $11,300 in candy. We also received more than $500 in donations. This was our largest candy sales ever.

Sadly, we lost my mother, Annette Muth, in April. My family requested that contributions be made to the Southwestern Chapter. To date, $1121 has been received. Our chapter voted to send $500 to the Oregon Commission for the Blind for their Older Blind program. The remaining funds were added to our grant monies and will help purchase items for Older Blind clients in our community. Both the cash donation and items purchased will be doubled with matching funds for the Oregon Commission for the Blind. This is a great way for our chapter to help those in our community while supporting the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

On a brighter note, we are looking forward to an outing to the South Slough Sanctuary in June, a blind tactile art painting experience in July, and our summer picnic in August.

Convention News

We hope to see many of you at the convention in October. Leonard & Tim Kokel have made arrangements for an ocean bottom fishing trip early Friday, October 14th. This would require those interested in attending to arrive on Thursday instead of Friday. The cost for the fishing trip will be $60. A fishing license is required (a day license can be purchased for $16.75 if you do not have an annual fishing license). The cost for filleting the fish is up to $7. Those interested in this opportunity can call Leonard Kokel at 541-888-0846.


All chapter reports must be submitted to Mary Reid. Her email address beginning with the fall submissions will be ( The absoluge deadline for the fall issue will be August 31st. No reports will be accepted after 9:00 p.m. that evening.


At our October convention last year, a fundraising program was submitted, and approved, by the members and the board of directors. The program is in the form of a raffle, called the Membership Monetary Support Program.

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 to 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, or

To join the program and be eligible for a raffle ticket, the mailing address is; MMSP-ACBO P.O. BOX 323 LAKESIDE, OR. 97449


Thank you,
James Edwards


Bylaw Committee
By James Edwards

President Kae Seth has appointed me to serve as committee chairman. Two members have stepped forward and offered to serve as committee members, Leonard Kokel from Coos Bay and Ron Whelchel from Grants Pass. Anyone who is interested in serving on the committee is welcome. Although time is short for submitting by law changes to be considered at this year’s convention, you can still contact me at: or call 541-404-8214.


For President
By James Edwards
Past President, A.C.B. of O.

I have been asked to accept nomination for the office of President of our organization, and, after considerable thought, have decided I will at this time declare my candidacy for President of A.C.B. of O.

I have been serving on the state board for twelve years in various positions, with one term as President, 2007/2009. During those twelve years, I missed only one board meeting. I have attended the last four National conventions as a delegate for A.C.B. of O., and was invited to serve as a national committee member to re-establish an Idaho affiliate, which is going quite well, thanks to the hard work of Berl Coley, Marlana Lieberg, Ardis Bazyn, and several others on the committee. I have also served a two year term as Commissioner for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, representing our organization.

During my term as President, my main focus was to advance public awareness of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. In my effort to promote A.C.B. of O, as President, I conducted four newspaper interviews, two radio interviews, and spoke at several public meetings. I also encouraged other members to do the same. During the period of the closure of the school for the blind, I spoke at three rallies on the capital steps in Salem, and attended three legislative hearings. I have developed a working relationship with N.F.B. presidents, and will continue to work with them to advance the cause of the blind citizens of Oregon. If elected, I will once again work hard to promote A.C.B. of O., not only in the public awareness arena, but also to promote growth within our organization. For too long, we have been stagnated by lack of enthusiasm, initiative, and willingness to get involved. We need to change, to be willing to move forward, become pro-active. We need to find ways to solve problems, and develop leadership training. It is imperative to the future of our organization to train younger people to serve as leaders. I believe, by working together, we can make A.C.B. of O. a strong, viable organization, no matter who is serving as President.

Past President, A.C.B. of O.

By Rob Cook

Though many ACB-O Members may recognize my name as the current President of the Lane County Chapter (LCCB,) I wanted to introduce myself as a candidate for ACB of Oregon Secretary. If allowed to serve within that specific ACB-O post, I would hope to bring my positive decades long recordkeeping history and ACB associated skills to the seat, along with my rather large background in both commercial and non-profit business organizational development. In short, running businesses while being a Secretary in other like non-profit organizations, I believe has trained me rather well for the ACB-O Secretarial position. Since I’ve been totally blind for around 30 years now, I’ve taken the educational Rehab road to several advanced degrees and would surely bring that organizational fetish with me. My early background in non-profits actually came through the Blind Students of California and then the National Alliance of Blind Students in the late 1980’s, as I was reentering college. Those initial experiences in both CCB and ACB were of great value to me, as much time was spent with a few of the original ACB founders; several of those ACB leaders became my academic advisors in disability law and rehabilitation/teaching. Constitutional and Bylaw development-editing became a special interest of mine through my several undergraduate and graduate study years, as it still is; much to the development and enhancement of many disability and ACB organizations. My hope is to bring those years of ACB and other non-profit skills to ACB-O if elected Secretary.

Moving to Springfield in mid-2001, I attempted to obtain Membership and a role in local ACB activities, however at that time the existing local Chapter and apparently the Oregon ACB leadership also had little interest in my Membership hopes. Fortunately, when exhibiting for my Company at the 2008 ACB National Convention in Louisville, I was urged by several ACB National and current Oregon leaders at the time, to try ACB-O Membership once again. Hopeful, I came back to Oregon and began an effort to reestablish an ACB Chapter in Lane County, which succeeded in late 2008 & 09. There will be another Candidates Page and article in the Fall Stylus and I hope to provide more details on my background, qualifications and hopes then. However, I’d enjoy answering questions from Members who just email or phone me directly. Simple:

Rob Cook
(541) 741-4367 (office)

(541) 510-6160 (cell)

ACB of Oregon Members should have the opportunity to learn both my qualifications for the Board seat of Secretary and my desired objectives within the Organization as a whole. One clue to Members who do not know me well is this: after I was invited “to come back” to ACB-O in 2008, I founded LCCB … but why have I continued to assist other Chapters with their Constitutions and Bylaws? Because those are the documents that bond us as MEMBERS and subsequently, guide us as an INDEPENDENT yet WHOLE ORGANIZATION. As a smaller ACB State Chapter, it’s also important to me that Oregon folks really do get to know me. In that regard, I’ll provide more info in the next Candidates Forum article, then hope some of you who are interested in the ACB of Oregon, will call or email me soon. Thanks.

Candidate for Secretary
Darian Slayton Fleming

I am pleased to declare my intention to run for secretary of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon (ACB of O) for the 2012-2013 term. I have excellent computer skills, and I read and write Braille fluently. I also enjoy creative writing. This record of my writing skills as well as my long-time involvement in and understanding of the American Council of the Blind demonstrate my qualifications for this position.

As a member of the Oregon Student Chapter of the ACB of Oregon, I organized three annual, successful tandem-bike-a-thon fund-raisers. I attended several national conventions in those early years.

I rejoined the American Council of the Blind in the late 1990’s. Then future President of the ACB, Mitch Pomerantz, appointed me to his Employment Task Force and submitted my name to the Resolutions Committee. I served on the Resolutions Committee for four years which involved long and tedious late-night hours word-smithing proposed resolutions and making them suitable for reading to the convention assembly. During that time, I assisted the Visually Impaired Veterans of America (VIVA) in writing a resolution directing the Blinded Veterans Association and the Veterans Administration to make appointment reminders, treatment instructions and other documentation available to blinded Veterans in alternative formats. This resolution passed on the ACB floor.

As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and with a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW), I joined the ACB Human Service Professionals and served for three years as their Program Coordinator. This position involved writing articles about that affiliate’s events for the student newspaper and writing information for the Convention Scopes and programs. Following that position, I was elected to serve as the President. Our membership is growing through my efforts with strategic planning and articles I have submitted to “The Braille Forum.”

On the local level, I served for four years as editor of “The Stylus.” I assist the current editor of this publication as well. I served two terms as President of ACB of Oregon’s Multnomah Chapter and was active on the former Pedestrian Safety Alliance; planned White Cane Day activities and participated in fund-raising.

In 2009, I served on the convention planning committee procuring door prizes and coordinating volunteers. I also authored, produced and performed in “Louis Braille Jeopardy,” a light-hearted skit, that preceded lunch on Saturday of convention weekend.

In 2010, I joined ACB of Oregon’s newest chapter, Metro PDX where I serve as Membership Chair and assist with White Cane Day planning.

Also in 2010, I joined the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) Oregon Lower Columbia Regional Group and was elected to serve as President of their local Auxiliary. In this capacity, I help plan and implement educational activities and White Cane Days. I also serve on the national Auxiliary Board as Reporter submitting quarterly articles for the BVA Bulletin.

In 2010, I joined Portland’s Coalition Connecting Communities (CCC) where I serve on two task forces dealing with Employment of people with disabilities and Preventing Harassment and violence against People with Disabilities.

Outside of my involvement in blindness and disability organizations, I am a member of a women’s philanthropic organization, Delta XI, a chapter of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) International. Delta XI assists St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital through fund-raising. This group also provides services to local nonprofits including Independent Living Resources. Delta XI members were among the volunteers who worked at the 2009 ACB of Oregon convention. As a member of Delta XI, I have held various positions including two years as Recording Secretary and two years as Education Coordinator.

I am also active on various committees at Rose City Park United Methodist Church in Portland. I have served several terms on the Education, Staff Parish (the Personnel Committee), and on the Inclusive Ministry Committees. I have organized several successful bike-a-thon fund-raisers that benefit church education programs.

In many of my advocacy and civic activities, my peers have encouraged me to continue in these roles of responsibility. Employers have complimented me on my report writing, timely follow-through and organizational skills. I look forward to serving as the next secretary of the ACB of Oregon.

NOTE: If you are interested in submitting a statement of interest to be considered for one of ACBO’s five officers but did not get your information sent in time for this issue, you will have one more opportunity. There will be a Candidates’ Page in the fall issue. No submissions will be accepted after August 31st. Again, you can email your page to Mary Reid and her new email address will be ( Please take advantage of this last opportunity until convention.


Legislative Update
May 27, 2011

MAKING PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS SAFER FOR ALL On Thursday afternoon, the House Committee on Judiciary heard from many supporters of Senate Bill 424. This bill clarifies existing pedestrian law in significant ways. It particularly recognizes that motorists may need to use added caution when approaching crosswalks where pedestrians with disabilities who use wheelchairs, crutches, or assistance animals are attempting to cross.

DRO’s Executive Director Bob Joondeph testified in support of the bill, pointing out that a person with an obvious vision, hearing or mobility impairment should be recognized as needing more time and consideration when using a crosswalk.

Rep. Val Hoyle (West Eugene and Junction City) testified in support of the bill, as did Nicholas Johnson of the Portland Commission on Disability. Johnson, a member of Portland’s blind community, testified about his own experiences with dangerous traffic as a pedestrian, and noted fatal instances of others. Other supporters included the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council, Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, as well as victims and family members of victims of pedestrian accidents.

The bill also ensures that Oregon’s firefighters can continue their “Fill the Boot” fund-raising events along Oregon’s roadways. The longstanding tradition where firefighters walk alongside traffic collecting money for muscular dystrophy has raised over $400,000 last year and over $1 million in 2007.

“This bill in its entirety represents the best of Oregon: people who are being careful, who are being generous and who are taking the time and effort to help people who need some extra help,” said Joondeph.

News Release
March 2, 2011
CONTACT: Molly Woon (503) 986-1074

Senate votes to protect persons with disabilities from criminal intimidation

SB 398 adds “disability” to list of groups already protected

SALEM – The Oregon Senate voted this morning to support vulnerable Oregonians by passing Senate Bill 398, legislation that adds “disability” to the list of classes that are protected from intimidation under state law. Protected classes from intimidation include a person’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national religion. “Disability” would be added to that list under SB 398. “This bill will ensure that vulnerable Oregonians have greater protection if they are attacked because of their disability,” said Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D-NW Portland/Washington Co.), who carried the bill on the floor.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, people with disabilities experience a rate of violent crime one and a half times higher than persons without disabilities. For sexual crimes, that rate of victimization is twice as high as the general population. Advocates believe that people with disabilities are sometimes unable or afraid to report crimes against them, and these numbers could actually be understated. “Crimes against people with disabilities are commonly underreported,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “Disability is already included as a basis for protection in Federal hate crime laws. SB 398 will make Oregon’s law consistent, give vulnerable Oregonians greater protection, and impose greater punishment on those that commit crimes against another person because they are disabled.”

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

For more information on the Senate Majority Caucus, please visit

CAPVI news: Teaching Children Who Are Blind to Understand Reading
Concepts -- taken from Fred's Head
by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI
Sent to on May 9, 2011

A few weeks ago I was honored to be a presenter and a vendor at TAER's conference in Dallas, Texas. Before I signed up to be a trainer, I asked myself what I would want to hear as a participant and thought about what I was most passionate about along with my friends who are vision teachers. One thought kept pounding into my brain- "Teaching a child who is blind to truly understand concepts during reading." My mother, who is a vision teacher as well as a reading specialist, has pretended to be a seesaw when Tim and Pam rode on one in the Patterns series, played hide and seek and role-played many other scenes that were being portrayed in a book. I learned once again from my mother about how important understanding is before you can ever ask a child to read with fluency and understanding Braille.

During my training on this topic, I quoted the best: Dr. Phil Hatlen, Dr. Virginia Bishop and Myrna Olson on Braille reading. Amazingly each had similar views on teaching concepts for Braille comprehension. For example, each believed in the benefits of a story box for younger children, that Braille should begin in infancy and that reading skills should be relevant. Another great point that Dr. Phil Hatlen makes in his incredible book, "The Opportunity to be Equal- The Right to be Different", is that children learn through different types of styles such as: Basal Reading (when the skills are taught beforehand such as vocabulary, character analysis and background building), phonetics, whole language, and language experience where the child writes about his experiences and begins to understand that the dots represent real words in a real world.

Other great tips by these amazing professionals: Teach through real objects until the concept is understood then graduate to two-dimensional tactual objects, Braille is King and will never become obsolete like some professionals believe. The age of technology will not take the place of Braille and should be used as an incredible resource, make reading fun and exciting, literacy is the right of all children, documents in print should also be provided in Braille and that less than an hour a week of Braille instruction creates an illiterate reader. I added a few tips of my own: Look for a child's likes and dislikes and surround him or her with favorite objects. Bond with a student before you expect them to hand over power to you, and keep a routine when working with children who have a visual impairment as this will give more security and a safety zone for learning.

I recently wrote three novels in a series of The Adventures of Abby Diamond where I demonstrate that Abby is a girl detective who happens to be blind. The emphasis behind Abby is that she is just like everyone else- she just cannot see. I have also put Abby Diamond on audio (homemade) CD's and electronic copies for embossing with no PDF formatting. My intent is for a Braillist to Braille on the correct level of contractions for each student. When I wrote and am still writing the stories for Abby Diamond I also tried to create a high interest story with vocabulary and mysteries that would keep a child interested. Teachers can teach any testing objective through the electronic copies of Abby Diamond. Please see my website for ordering:

People who are blind deserve the same opportunities as others who can see just like Dr. Phil Hatlen said, "The Opportunity to be Equal - The Right to be Different."


Need a Good Case?

Are your looking for a fitted case for your Apex, Braille Sense, Iphone, or other Braille products then go to

We at Executive Products has been in business for 7 years now, creating case for the sight impaired community. We have always had one goal in mind and that was to protect your valuable devices, and to make you and your devices mobile. Over the years we have noticed that many companies in the sight impaired community make very good products but provide you with very little protection to your devices. We have also evolved to adapt to our customers needs and always welcome your suggestions (such as using magnets instead of Velcro when possible).

If at any time you would like to purchase any one of our cases you can always go to our website or call us anytime at 818-833-8080. Carol or Al will be able happy to answer any questions you may have or to help you place an order.

We take great pride in working very closely with the sight impaired community. We are also very proud that all our products are made in the USA!

(Note from John Fleming:

I have an Executive Products case for my Victor Stream and it is great. It’s much better than the one that came with the stream. Check out their Web Page and see for yourself. They have cases for almost every device out there, and that includes most cell phones.)

Directions for Me

Did you know that there is an incredible, free online resource that will help us figure out those often confusing labels on medication bottles, including dosages, safety information and side effects? What if we could easily figure out the various ingredients in common household food items like macaroni and cheese and even have free recipes to download?

A new website,, developed by Horizons for the Blind in Crystal Lake, Illinois, puts accessible consumer packaging information for more than 350,000 products at your fingertips. The Hadley School for the Blind is pleased to be partnering with Horizons to get the word out about this unique online tool to print disabled individuals around the world.

Try it out for yourself at Type in a common household medication or food product and check out the vast amount of information that is available to help us be informed consumers.

(I took a look at this site and it is great. John Fleming)

by Darian Slayton Fleming

Over the years, I have discovered that more and more members have multiple disabilities including physical, psychiatric, intellectual and hearing loss. These additional disabilities are a natural part of life; they occur due to illnesses and accidents. Our military veterans have incurred multiple disabilities through their war action. Yet, my experience is that unless you are a spouse or family member, some of our peers who are blind seem unaware and intolerant of our needs to use mobility devices. I am writing specifically about the needs of those of us who have physical disabilities and use mobility devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters, and how people who are just blind can better understand and help us.

You may think we are unaware of how much space our devices take up and that we don't consider your needs to move freely without running into them. My experience is that those of us who use mobility devices are especially conscientious about looking for walls, ends of rows, alcoves in backs of rooms and other out-of-the-way places to park our devices. We have learned to do this as we have become aware of the conflicts our devices seem to cause for people who cannot see. In fact, since we also cannot see, we experience the same conflicts. But regardless of whether people use mobility devices, we all use the entire space in rooms. We all have equal rights to equal access.

I have also heard people say things like, "She didn't use her walker to get to the microphone. She doesn't need it if she doesn't use it all of the time." The truth is, sometimes we don't use our mobility devices because there isn't space to navigate with them. Or, if we use them to get to a microphone, they will have to be parked in the middle of an aisle, which also leads to conflict. In other cases, some of us have better days than others and may feel we can get by without our devices for short periods. In other cases, complaints from others lead us to try to do without them. I am aware that these are similar reasons to why cane and dog users choose not to use their canes and dogs at all times.

Here are some simple etiquette reminders about coping with our mobility devices. I think those of you who use canes or dogs would appreciate the same considerations.

People often feel our walkers or scooters are in the way, and often want to move them. Sometimes they ask if they can move them as they are already doing so. Other times, they move them without asking and tell us after the fact, if at all. Please ask if you'd like a mobility device moved, and say why it needs to be moved. Allow the owner to move it if possible. Remember that there might be things to consider. For example, pushing a walker out of the way while the brakes are on causes the brakes to loosen. Eventually the user might need to sit on it. If the brakes are loose, the walker will roll and cause the person to fall. Ask if there is anything you need to know before moving a device, and follow those requests.

If you do move a device, please be sure the owner knows exactly where it is so he/she can get it when needed. And be sure there is someone who will bring it to the owner when it is needed. Ask that person to check with the owner periodically. Don't leave somebody desperate for their mobility device to take a trip to the restroom!

When organizing and setting up events, allow more space between tables or along the sides. Perhaps organizers could quietly explain the layout of the room and give suggestions for seating to attendees who enter with mobility devices.

When taking affiliate roll call, ask how many spaces in the row will be needed for wheelchairs, walkers, etc. If chairs are put in to demarcate space, perhaps a volunteer could move chairs out of the way at the beginning of each day. Perhaps space could be left for a wheelchair or a walker using one less chair per table, or extra space could be allowed for easier navigation for those who use mobility devices. We aren't blocking your path on purpose. Also consider taking a different route through a room. Consider your own mobility skills. Is the device really in the way, or was your sighted guide cutting things too close? Were you using effective cane technique? Were you paying attention to your dog's cues? When you are sitting, is your cane sticking out in the aisle where someone might trip over it?Is the room crowded? Could that be the reason for the conflict?,

Another issue we all encounter is lifts on buses and vans. Those of us who need lifts are very happy that we can travel independently with our peers. However, problems with lift devices occur frequently. These lifts often fail or the operator doesn't understand how to use them. This can lead to delays or even cancellation of vehicles after everyone has boarded.This is inconvenient for us as well as for you.

Remember that some of us have poor balance, too; that is why we use mobility devices. We may need extra space and time when boarding and disembarking. When we board a bus, we may need a little extra time to move to a seat. When we get off buses, we have to make sure we have something to hold onto while waiting for our devices to be brought to us. Please move a little more slowly and carefully when boarding and disembarking so you don't accidentally knock us down. Multiple disabilities along with blindness are more common than people might realize.

In order to produce an interesting, informative and creative newsletter; articles of interest, chapter reports and dates of meetings, and other items of interest need to be submitted in a timely manor.

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 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

You can send your Chapter reports to the new “Chapter Reports Editor, Mary Reid. Send Chapter reports to Mary Reid

End of the Summer 2011 Issue of the Stylus

Edited by John A. Fleming
Assistant Editor Mary Reid
Audio Production OMNI

This page was posted on April17, 2012

Copyright © 2001 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind