NOW, AS TO THE CONVENTION; I DONíT SEE ANY WAY THAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER (AND NOT BECAUSE MY WIFE WAS THE CONVENTION COORDINATOR EITHER). THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THE CONVENTION WAS HELD IN KLAMATH FALLS, AND THE FIRST TIME THAT THE SHILO INN STAFF WAS FACED WITH THE TASK OF DEALING WITH THAT MANY VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE, AND THAT MANY GUIDE DOGS. I THINK THEY DID A REMARKABLE JOB. AS FOR OUR VOLUNTEER HELPERS, THE KLAMATH FALLS GUIDE DOG PUPPY RAISERS, AND THE HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL JR. ROTC, WE COULDNíT HAVE ASKED FOR MORE.
I HOPE A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL, AND THAT NEXT YEARíS CONVENTION IN SALEM WILL BE JUST AS ENJOYABLE. NOW WE NEED A PLAN TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO ATTEND. RIGHT ?
THANK YOU AGAIN, KLAMATH AND ROGUE VALLEY CHAPTERS, THE KLAMATH FALLS PUPPY RAISERS, THE HENELY HIGH SCHOOL JR. ROTC, AND THE KLAMATH FALLS SHILO INN. YOU ALL DID A GREAT JOB, AND YOUR EFFORTS ARE APPRECIATED.
WASNíT IT GREAT TO HAVE THE HOTEL STAFF WELL TRAINED AND QUALIFIED TO TAKE SUCH GOOD CARE OF US? THE MANAGEMENT AND STAFF PUT IN A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND EFFORT TO MAKE SURE OUR STAY WAS COMFORTABLE.
2005 STATE CONVENTION COORDINATOR
I realize that we have some daunting tasks ahead of us, and I believe that we will continue to move forward, blazing a trail for those who come after us. Change does not come merely because we want it to; it happens with hard work, and with people catching a vision of what we can be.
The Council has come a long way under the leadership of Bob Johnson; we have seen an increase in membership, and financial stability. It is not our desire to see these hard-won accomplishments disappear; we will strive to find a solid financial footing, and we will work together to ensure that the American Council of the Blind of Oregon will have a financial future that reflects responsibility and integrity. With this in mind, because the car donations program was unable to provide the one thousand dollars we had hoped for, for the last reporting period, we will be unable to provide scholarship monies for the American Council of the Blind in 2006. We regret this, but hopefully, we will have monies come in either with an increase in donations, or through other funding sources.
In order for us to continue to be a living, active organization, we need to grow. I am pleased to announce that hopefully, by the next time I share a message with you, we will have a new chapter in our organization. Bob Johnson and I recently had the delightful opportunity to sit in on the beginnings of a new chapter in Washington County. Just as we are commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition, the American Council of the Blind of Oregon is blazing its own trail by the formation of a new chapter.
As we pause to celebrate the joys of 2005, and remember what Christmas is really all about, my sincere hope is that all of you will have a healthy and peaceful year ahead. The only way we can succeed- the only way we can continue to be a vital organization, is to work together; we can do this by realizing our potential, and by continuing to work by using our strengths, focusing on them, rather than what divides us. What unites us is the desire to help other blind people, people who have needs, people who are truly looking for ways to make their lives better. The Board truly desires to serve you and to promote a positive, vital organization. This can only be done by your belief in us, and your willingness to work with us to promote the ideals that our forefathers established many years ago. We will be pro-active, and we look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me. My contact information is as follows:
Home phone: 503-282-0804
Cell phone: 971-221-8260
I look forward to hearing from you.
Bailey and I would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, and a joyous, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
Congratulations to Klamath Chapter on wining the Membership trophy, with a growth of 37% in 2005. It will be fun to see if the trophy keeps traveling. Since the change was made to a percent of growth, 4 different chapters have won the trophy.
It is that time again to really work on increasing our membership. Letís all work on inviting new and old members to join in. It is also time to once again satisfy your membership obligations, as well as making sure your information is correct. Please let me know any changes right away. Everything must be taken care of by the end of January 2006.
You can also join as an At Large member. Contact me for further information:
4332 Meadows Drive
Klamath Falls, OR 97603
HB 2022 didnít pass, but we did find a sympathetic lobbyist, and are hopeful that the third time will be a charm and our bill will finally become law.
Our 2005 convention was a big success. During the business meeting we discussed the possibility of moving the Romp to a new location. Several suggestions were given. OIT in Klamath Falls has provided a bid. Some members thought Oral Hull Park would be a good idea, and others suggested Cannon Beach. GDUO would like to hear your suggestions and ideas for Romp 2006.
Other topics of discussion included building GDUOís membership, and the GDUO Christmas cards. Anyone interested can view the GDUO Christmas cards at: http://www.cafeshops.com/gduo
Our guest speaker, Clydia Gibson, from SPOKES, talked a bit about the ADA and access rights. She also invited the K Falls chapter of ACBO to use their facility and newsletter to reach out to potential members. There are 10 independent living centers in Oregon. I encourage you all to get to know them and build on those partnerships. They not only have connections to potential members, but they also can provide a meeting room if necessary.
GDUO will be holding strategy meetings concerning the guide dog bill. We are hoping to reach other types of service animals this year and partner with them to get this bill passed in the next session. Your help would be greatly appreciated. We need statewide support to get congress to take this bill seriously. Anyone interested in helping us with this can call Patricia at 503-203-2461, or by e-mail at email@example.com
Remember, as of January 2006 GDUO will no longer be a chapter of ACBO. We will be maintaining our affiliation though. We want to encourage all GDUO members who have not already done so, to join up with their local ACBO chapter.
Happy Holidays to all and have a great 2006!
Submitted by: Lynn Hobbs The 51st annual convention of American Council of the Blind of Oregon was held in Klamath Falls, Oregon on Oct. 13th, 14th, and 15th at the Shilo Inn. The event was well attended by both cane users and dog users. Klamath Chapter of ACBO hosted the event. Puppy raisers from Klamath Guiding Eyes were on the scene. Leader, Kathy Young, puppy raisers, and hotel personnel met with event organizer, Jan Chance, ahead of time for training on how to best help the visually impaired attending the event.
During the 3 day event, Klamath Guiding Eyes puppy raisers and Guide Dog puppies were there to offer a helping hand to the 72 participants. They greeted guests as they arrived and offered to orient them to the hotel, find their rooms, meeting areas, and restaurant. Others received assistance with luggage, shopping, or connecting with a special friend. Those attending the convention had nothing but praise and thanks for Kathy and the puppy raisers who went the extra mile to help make the convention a success. Klamath Guiding Eyes has a well established relationship with the ACBO in Klamath Falls. The two organizations frequently work together at each otherís events.
Pioneer Chapter is involved in fund raising for our chapter. In October, we sold fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts and made over $500. Now we are selling Krispy Kreme friendship cards. The way the card works is you buy a card for $10, and each time you buy a dozen doughnuts you get another dozen free. You can buy up to 3 dozen per day and the card is good for up to 10 free dozen.
To qualify for services under this program one need only to be 55 or older and be experiencing vision loss to the extent that itís not possible to read the standard print in the newspaper. Itís just that simple. Since all of those Baby Boomers are now five years into that segment of the population and the major causes of vision loss are age related, there just has to be lots of folks who qualify.
Itís all about Independence and living safely. Clients discover that even with vision loss, that if they learn new ways to do things, they can live competently, safely, and with dignity. OCB has nine skilled teachers working throughout our state. Teachers visit folks armed with information, aids, and appliances, the tools of independence. People are taught how to do every day tasks such as preparing meals, household tasks and traveling safely, all without relying upon the use of their vision. They learn that there is life after vision loss. They are also told about organizations of the blind where they can connect with folks who share similar challenges.
If you or anyone you know is someone who might benefit from the services that are available through the Older Blind Program then give us a call. In the Portland area call: 971-673-1588, or toll-free outside Portland, 1-800-202-5463. Watch for the next issue when you will be able to read about another aspect of your Commission for the Blind.
In addition, we want to remind you of helpful information available on the CMS website, www.medicare.gov also, Social Securityís website, www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp ---has valuable information about the extra help available under the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
Blind Community leaders praise Wal-Martís actions
Bentonville, AR November 7, 2005: In a move applauded by members of the blind community nationwide, Wal-Mart today announced that it has begun installing state-of-the-art point of sale devices to protect the privacy and security of Wal-Mart shoppers with visual impairments. The new devices have tactile keys arranged like a standard telephone keypad and will allow Wal-Mart shoppers who have difficulty reading information on a touchscreen to privately and independently enter their PIN and other confidential information.
Todayís announcement is the result of collaboration between Wal-Mart and major blind organizations including the American Council of the Blind and the California Council of the Blind. Speaking for the organizations, Melanie Brunson of the American Council of the Blind and Jeff Thom of the California Council of the Blind commended Wal-Martís actions: ďWal-Mart has taken a leadership role in ensuring that persons with visual impairments do not have to disclose confidential information when purchasing products and services.Ē
According to the website of the American Foundation for the Blind, there are approximately 10 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMíS CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. The companyís securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com . On line merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com .
About the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the California Council of the Blind (CCB).
The American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country, with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. The California Council of the Blind is the California affiliate of the ACB, and is a statewide membership organization, with 40 local chapters and statewide special interest associations. The ACB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about the ACB and CCB can be found by visiting www.acb.org and http://www.ccbnet.org/
CONTACTS: Linda Blakley, Wal-Mart Stores, inc. 417-273-4313; Linda.Blakley@wal-mart.com
Lainey Feingold, ACB, CCB 510-548-5062; firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Dardarian, ACB,CCB 510-763-9800; email@example.com
Freedom. Thatís what assistive technology means to me.
My first Ďassistive devicesí were my parents. My mother read to me for hours on end. I puffed along with the Little Engine That Could, pulled the lever of my toy dump truck when the Happy Man and His Dump Truck took his friends for a ride, and giggled at lunch to Green Eggs and Ham.
My Dad was my hands and feet. Heíd hold me tight as he ran down the street in the wind and rain. Heíd pour sand into my hands and laugh with me as it flowed between my fingers.
Music was a part of every day. Squeekers, cymbals, keyboards, little plastic tooters, and glasses filled with varying amounts of liquid pleased me. Well, not the squeekers. The first memory I have is that of a loud, scary noise blasting in my ear as I played my favorite game of banging my head on the floor when I was about 18 months old. My folks tell me that no amount of distraction could stop me from banging. I liked it. Finally my mother slipped a soft squeeker toy under my head as I began to lift it up for a really good bang. SQUEEK! I was cured.
My parents pushed the buttons on the tape player until I grew strong enough to do it myself. The day I voiced over a number of my brotherís cassettes was the day all of the general family cassettes mysteriously disappeared. They didnít return until I could be trusted not to put motor sounds or sing-alongs in the middle of a story.
Bob, a speech pathologist, was another help to me. At one time he concluded that I should use a device in my mouth to help me with the sounds of Ďpí and Ďbí. I didnít like what I understood of that idea, so we didnít do it. We were both very surprised and happy when sometime later I could suddenly Ďpaí and Ďbaí with the best of them.
A braille access keyboard (Braille-n-Speak) soon served as an augmentative communication device. A Multi-Voice was added later for clarity of speech.
When I was eight, the Make-A-Wish Foundation purchased a Braille-n-Speak, an Apple IIGS with voice output, a printer and a Braille embosser for me. WOW! The easy to push buttons of the B-n-S decreased my fatigue in writing when compared to using an electric brailler (similar to a typewriter) and an abacus. School work became easier and the portability of the B-n-S has been a lifesaver during the months each year Iíve spent in bed either in the hospital or at home.
My current arsenal of tricks includes a B-n-S Classic, a B-n-S 640, a MultiVoice, an IBM compatible computer with a variety of speech output programs, screen readers, optical character recognition program, and Braille translator (JAWS, Duxbury Braille Translation, DecTalk Express, Ruby) a TSI Braille embosser, an HP laser printer, a Franklin Language Master (portable dictionary), and an HP 5200 Scanner that reads print.
Wheelchairs Iíve used since outgrowing my parentís arms. My favorite one is gathering dust in the garage. Itís an electric scooter that can go faster than my parents can run. The combination of being blind, liking speed and vehicular traffic is not safe they tell me. The scooter will remain in the garage until I figure out a way to know where I am quickly enough to navigate without threat to myself or my motherís vocal cords.
Being homeschooled has worked well. My folks, never shy about going places or doing things, brought the world to me when all I could do was think and breathe. I did go to public school kindergarten, but it wasnít the best for me. The ambient noise made hearing the teacher hard. My clearest memories of kindergarten are the following: Hearing my personal attendant tell me to imagine the shape of ĎIí as the teacher wrote it on the board way up in the front of the room. Itís good that I knew the shapes of both print and Braille letters BEFORE I went to kindergarten because I never could have imagined an ĎIí if I had never seen one before that day.
Coming home with an itchy head and having my mother drag me off to the doctor for a nonpoisonous means of solving the problem. I thought the itch and the little bugs I couldnít feel was pretty cool though, and complained about the cure.
Finally, there were the wonderful choking noises my mother made the day she found a list of all the new words Iíd heard at school. First she told me I was a great phonetic speller. She then corrected my spelling and supplied the definitions. Iíve not used those words since, but Iíve often wondered what I could do to get Mom to make those noises again.
Iím a high school senior now, planning a career in computer programming. My early and continued exposure to tape players, computers, augmentative communication devices, and other gadgets that scan print or speak have encouraged me to try to learn how to improve the quality of sound programs.
Iíll begin college courses through the computer because Iím slow moving, and traveling makes the days too long sometimes. My parents have always encouraged me to make decisions. Sometimes , though, it is easier to just have someone else think, speak, or do for me, but I try to fight the laziness that fatigue and pain bring. I talk with my family and friends about ideas, do research and pray in order to find the right thing to do.
Itís difficult dealing with those Ďoutsideí my circle (strangers, people in a hurry, doctors, etc.) because the reality of my blindness, slurred speech weakness, and my need for frequent medication seems to make people nervous, and they act as if I cannot think properly. Having the right tools, however, adds to my will to participate in my own life. As the Blazie Engineering song goes, ďTechnology, technology. Itís my key to being freeĒ.
Matthew W. Boyer
The booklet in which the full version can be found has been published by: Northwest Media, Inc.
326 West 12th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401
The booklet, ďMe and my A.T.Ē contains seven more stories by High School Assistive Technology users.
The version I read to ACB of O on 10/14/05 is shorter, by a couple of paragraphs, than the version in the booklet. Immediately after Matts death (5/22/80 Ė 3/24/05) I could not find the booklet around the house. I found this draft (which I thought was the full version) on his computer. I have read this one aloud a number of times to small groups as well as making copies of it for those who wanted one.
Whether by land, by air, or by sea, itís the United States that sets the standard for excellence. Itís the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are keeping Al-Qaeds and Osma bin Laden on the run in Afghanistan and the rest of the world, while helping to keep terrorism in check here in the United States.
As members of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, and veterans of the United States Armed Forces we need to insure that todayís young men and women serving the United States receive the same or even better services and treatment than we have received. When veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan come home and need the services of the Veterans Administration (VA) we need to make sure they are there.
No matter whether itís a medical need, help getting services or counseling or any of the other needs veterans may have, we need to make sure those services are there for them.
One way we can do this is through the Visually Impaired Veterans of America (VIVA). VIVA is a special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB).
VIVA consists of veterans who are Blind and Visually Impaired, their family members, and friends. VIVA also has members who are professionals in the fields dealing with blindness as well as with veterans.
At the same time as we work to ensure those currently serving in the armed forces receive services they were promised, we need to continue keeping an eye on services for our older veterans who are blind and visually impaired. As our population grows, so does the number of older veterans who need help because of low vision and blindness. Whether service connected or not, veterans have earned the right to the excellent care that the VA provides, and we need to insure that the best care is there when they need it.
VIVA does itís work in part through the ACB resolutions process, the ACB legislative seminar, and through advocating from the National level to the grass roots level. VIVA has itís general membership meeting once a year at the ACB national convention. Our next meeting will be in Jacksonville, Flordia, July 2006. We will be having an afternoon meeting on Tuesday July 11. You need not be a member of VIVA to attend, but we encourage those interested in veteransí affairs to join and lend their support. When you join VIVA you automatically become a member of ACB, the largest and fastest growing consumer group of people who are visually impaired and blind. As a member of VIVA you will receive the VIVA News. The VIVA News is published bi-annually and is available in large print or by e-mail.
Contact David Dowland, VIVA Secretary, at: David L. Dowland, 1111 East 39th St., Tulsa OK 74105. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The president of VIVA is John A. Fleming. You can contact John by e-mail at: email@example.com, or by phone at: 503-253-9543.
We look forward to seeing you at the next VIVA general membership meeting in Jacksonville, Florida in July 2006. Of course, if you canít make the convention in Florida next year, your membership is still important and will count when it comes to supporting issues concerning veterans dealing with blindness. Join VIVA and support all Visually Impaired Veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
In closing, and speaking for all members of VIVA, I would like to thank the members of the United States Armed Forces and all veterans for their service, dedication, professionalism, and ultimately, their sacrifices. I am proud to be a veteran of the armed forces of the greatest nation in the world, the United States of America! God Bless the USA!
Please, no personal conversations, and no ďFlamingĒ or foul language. This is ACB of Oregonís e-mail list; so lets use it, and not abuse it.
To subscribe to the Oregon-l e-mail list, send a message to: Oregonfirstname.lastname@example.org
To remove your address from the list, and if you havenít changed addresses since subscribing, you can send a message to: email@example.com You can also send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org For addition or removal of addresses, you will be sent a confirmation message to that address. When you receive it, simply reply to it to complete the transaction.
If you need to get in touch with the human owner of this list, please send a message to: email@example.com
You can also go to the American Council of the Blindís home page, and near the bottom of the home page there is a link titled ďJoin our E-mail Discussion and Information Lists ď. Click on this link, and Oregon-l is about the twenty-third in the list of e-mail lists. When you find the link titled ďSubscribe or unsubscribe to Oregon-l, the e-mail discussion list for OregonĒ, click on it and follow the instructions. Itís painless, easy, and itís free!
Join the list and keep in touch with what is going on from the local level, to the National level. Join and participate.
John A. Fleming
ACB of Oregon Webmaster
Copyright © 2000 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind