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Winter Issue December 2006
The official publication of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon

Published Quarterly
Edited by John A. Fleming

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Kae Madera
Phone: 503-282-0804 (home)
971-221-8260 (cell)

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

Editors Note:

The Stylus is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. Please submit materials by the first of February, May, August and November.

President’s Message Fall 2006
By Kae Madera

Greetings Friends: As I write this message, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the stores and shopping malls will soon be packed with Christmas shoppers. I can hardly believe that a year has almost gone, and all of us will be celebrating another holiday season. This has been a busy year for our organization as well. Many of us had the opportunity to attend the convention, held in Salem at the new Salem Conference Center. We heard from a variety of speakers, saw old and new friends and were able to share with one another, networking to discover how to find jobs, learn how to advocate, and do what we do best—demonstrate that blind people are active members of their communities.

As I mentioned in a previous message, Sharon Lofting, who served as our treasurer for one year resigned because of family obligations. Bob Rushing has graciously volunteered to serve out her term and steer us through the always challenging waters of financial management. We appreciate Bob’s willingness to serve and look forward to working hard to continue to explore fundraising options, and hopefully see a bit of an increase with the car donations program.

At the State convention, we held elections for District Representative at our business meeting. John Fleming will be our District One representative. Ron Welcho will continue to serve as District Three Representative, and Lenoard Cokel will serve as District Two representative. Jean-marie Moore was elected as district Two representative, but, because she was not a member of a local chapter, the bylaws state that she cannot be an elected member of the Board. We are hopeful that Jean-Marie and others will help to either form a chapter in Eugene, or become involved in the existing chapter, so that we can utilize her talents in the future.

One of the issues that we have been working with is the future of the Oregon State School for the Blind. As some of you know, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Secretary of Public Instruction Susan Castillo and other representatives of the blind and deaf communities to discuss the proposed move of the programs from the Osb campus to the School for the Deaf. It was our strong recommendation that there be no move; as of this writing, we have not heard a definite decision on this aspect of the future of the school for the blind. We have, however received a letter which states that it is the belief of Ms Castillo, that the programs of the blind and deaf should remain within the department of Education, rather than be contracted out to local Esd Districts. Her recommendations for the other aspects of the proposal will be made available in December.

This year has not been without the loss of special friends in our organization. Fred Kennedy, a long-time member of Multnomah Chapter, and a former First Vice-president of our organization died this spring; other dear friends of departed this life as well, and they will be sorely missed.

However, as we continue to work together to promote the best for blind Oregonians, we can make a difference—as an organization, in our communities, and as individuals. I challenge all of us to find ways that we can enhance the lives of blind Oregonians—whether it be by providing a scholarship to a deserving college student, continuing to keep the Oregon State School for the Blind at its current location, or invite a new person to our local chapter. As you gather with your family and friends to celebrate his past year and look forward to the future, consider how you can impact the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.

We would like to wish all of you a blessed holiday season, and may 2007 bring good health, safe travels and joy to you and yours.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.
You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
-Naguib Mahfouz, writer (1911- )

Important Announcement for Portland residents

In January 2007, Downtown Portland bus stops will move from 5th and 6th avenues, and Most stops will move to 3rd and 4th avenues and Columbia and Jefferson streets. This bus stops move is to make way for the I-205/Portland Mall Light Rail Project.

Go to for more information about which lines will stop where, signage and Stop ID numbers. You can also phone Trimet at 503-238-7433 to find out the same information.

Chapter Reports

(If your chapter is not represented, please have a member submit a report for the next issue. Items for the next issue of the Stylus are due to the Editor by the first of February, 2007)

Multnomah Chapter News
By Patty Bessant

A well-orchestrated White Cane Day was held on October 13, 2006. Several from our chapter as well as Patricia Kepler from Independent Living Resources and Mike Yamada from the Commission for the Blind were so helpful. Guide dog and white cane users were moving about and audible signals were demonstrated. ACB of Oregon President, Kae Madera, began the program with an excellent speech. Darian Fleming focused on her experience as a pedestrian struck while crossing a street. People strolling past were interested. Some asked questions, some lingering a bit. Pedestrian safety was the main underlying theme.

Our last meeting featured J. Todd Clique, an attorney, who spoke about estate planning. Making proper preparations will ultimately ease the burden on the person chosen to handle all of the legalities. Having all of the intricacies in advance will save money and, above all, executing the desires of the decedent without disturbing delays. Life is uncertain, and making one’s desires clear and preparing the necessary documents is a responsibility not to be denied.

Here we are once more, almost to the end of another year, and certainly chaos is becoming routine. Enjoy your holidays to the fullest. May this next year provide a glimmer of hope for personal peace and contentment.

Klamath Falls Chapter
By Jan Chance

We had elections in September, and our new board is as follows.
President Glenn Keep, Vice President Don Poultier, Secretary Leona Whitt, and Treasurer Jan Chance.

In November we had a Thanksgiving Potluck and it was great. As you can see we love to eat!

Our meetings are the second Saturday of each month. We are having our annual Christmas Potluck and gift exchange in December.

Pioneer chapter
By Wesley Smith

We are not having a Christmas party, instead We are having our gift exchange at our Epiphany party. We are going to have another krispy-cream partnership card sail in February. The date hasn't been set. We are also going to have a candle sale.

Well that's about all for now. I would like to Wish every one a Very safe and happy holiday season.

Wilamette Chapter
By R C Johnson

We have had a great summer, with a successful fund drive and July picnic and penny auction.

We are looking forward to our Christmas party with pirate gift exchange and lots of good food.

School has resumed at O.S.B. and we are again helping the students witha student of the month certificate and cash award. This is such a win win situation for both students and our chapter.

We are, in conjunction with the commission and the school, conducting a membership drive and hoping to start a youth chapter, with their own officers and agenda.

This should be an exciting year for our chapter. We held elections in November and we have the same faces on the board again this year, but with new and exciting ideas for the future of our chapter. January will have a discussion of where we will go for fund raising for 2007.

Southwestern Chapter News
By Carrie Kokel

We would like to thank the convention committee. We enjoyed the speakers and tour of the Capitol. It was a fun convention. We were pleasantly surprised to receive, for the 4th time, the plaque for highest Membership growth in 2006. We look forward to attending next year’s convention.

Last spring we sold candy bars and boxed mints. It was a very successful fundraiser. We decided to use some of the funds to offer individual grants (up to $100) for people with visual impairments in our community. At our November meeting we granted funds for a high school student to purchase a software program for his home computer. This was the first grant request. We will be selling candy again this spring.

Our chapter is also providing Christmas gifts for the children in our community with visual impairments. We have contacted Donna Penny (our local teacher of the visually impaired) to get ideas and number of children. We will provide gifts for 20 sight impaired children and 2 sighted siblings. Also, Dunes Park Chapter intends to provide gifts to 2 sight impaired children in Reedsport. We are excited to offer this to the future generation. Donna Penny will be presented with the gifts at our Christmas party on December 9th.

Our chapter enjoys social outings together. In addition to our annual picnic and Christmas party, we go bowling once a month and attend theater productions. I would like to hear what other chapters do. You can email me at or write it for the next Stylus.

Take care,
Carrie Kokel

Theater Anyone?
By Carrie Kokel

One of the activities our chapter enjoys is attending theater productions. For many years we have been invited to attend the dress rehearsal performances at Little Theater on the Bay. During the last six months we have broadened our horizons. We have attended performances at On Broadway Theater, the Sawdusters Theater, and Waterfront Players.

Most performances we attend are the dress rehearsals; therefore, we are not charged for seats. Some of us meet early for dinner before the shows.

Our most recent performance was watching In Juliet’s Garden at the Waterfront Players. Judy McDonald wrote and directed the play. This was our first time attending a performance at this theater. It was quite exciting because we were invited to a pre-performance introduction. Judy McDonald had thought of this idea for several years.

The following is a copy of the letter I wrote to the editor of our local newspaper to thank them:
November 19, 2006
Dear Editor of The World:
Today I experienced an incredible performance that was catered to audience members with visual impairments. I have been legally blind for 22 years. I have attended several theater productions and greatly enjoy the talent in our community. I am a member of the Southwestern Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon.

Typically, we attend performances with sighted family and friends. They describe scenery and costumes and narrate when a play is difficult to follow. Today’s performance thrilled not only those of us with visual impairments, but also our sighted companions.

Judy McDonald and the Waterfront Players invited the Southwestern Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon to attend a matinee of In Juliet’s Garden with a special pre-performance introduction. Prior to the regularly scheduled performance, Judy McDonald gave a brief history of the play, described the theater, scenery, and props. The actresses then joined us in their costumes. They took turns describing their costumes and giving a brief description of their character. The performers then allowed us to feel the costumes. The theater was then opened to other audience members and we all enjoyed the performance.

It was an awesome experience. Many people misunderstand blindness. They don’t realize that most of us have some usable vision. In addition, we can do most things sighted people do, just a little differently. Many of us work, have families, volunteer, and enjoy recreational activities. Today’s experience allowed us visually impaired audience members to enjoy the performance without relying on our sighted companion for information.

Thank you, Judy McDonald and the Waterfront Players for offering such an eye-opening experience. We look forward to future performances.

Thank you

Carrie Kokel
Activities Coordinator, SW Chapter ACB of O

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.
-- Will Rogers

Guide Dog Users of Oregon News

2007 Guide Dog Users of Oregon officers Elected during the 2006 GDUO Fall Convention and membership meeting in Salem at the ACB of Oregon’s state convention.

President, Kae Madera
Phone: (971)221-8260
Vice President, Sharon Ely
Immediate Past President, Patricia Kepler
Phone: (503)649-5086
Secretary, Colleen Utter
Treasurer, Robert Clark
News Letter Editor, Sharon Coverstone

The list of 2007 GDUO officers, along with their email addresses can be found at

Back Issues of the Stylus Wanted
By John A. Fleming

I am looking for someone who saves their copies of the Stylus. I would like to post as many issues of the Stylus to the Web page as I can. I have some of the issues dating back as far as 2000.

If anyone has copies of the Stylus dated before 2000 and can Scan them and Email me the text I can then format it and post it to our Web page. My Email address is My postal address is: John A. Fleming, 12820 NE Prescott Dr, Portland, OR 97230. If scanning is not possible, then a photocopy would work just fine. Because it’s in large print, you can send it “Free Matter for the Blind.” Mail it to the postal address above.

I need copies of the following issues of the Stylus. If you have any of them you can Email me a copy, or send by postal mail to the address above. I need all issues of the Stylus published before 2000. I also need the Spring 2000, autumn 2000, spring, summer and winter 2002, winter 2003,spring, summer and autumn for 2004 and 2005.

How far back can we go? Let’s try and preserve our history for future eyes to see.


Blue Skies

John, Stylus Editor

Post Convention Report
By Deb Marinos

Dear ACB of O members and friends: The 2006 Convention has come and gone. Thank you to all who came and helped put it together. It was attended by about 61 attendees with 87 present for the networking lunch on Friday. One of the guests on Friday reported gaining some new resources and sharing them with others in her agency. All of our guests expressed their thanks for the invite, and all said they would come again when we are in Salem some years ahead.

We heard from several notable and gifted speakers; Naturopath, Dr. Chris Cooke, Publisher and Educator, Carol McCarl, Work Source Disability Navigator, Sheila Johnson, Computer Teacher, Winslow Parker, Counselor and Manager, Frank Synoground, Electrician, Deb Marinos, Peer Counselor, ILR, Patricia Kepler and Darian Fleming, sky diver, John Fleming, Florist and CHIP advocate Char Cook, Engineer and Inventor, Mike May, Author John Dashney, Braille transcriber, Kae Madera, also our president and leader. Lots to learn and think about.

Special features included a river cruise and an glass artist that produced some glass art for us with Braille inscription. See you all next year in Grants Pass, OR, in the third weekend of October.

School for the Blind Resolution passed during the ACB of Oregon’s state convention, October 21, 2006.
Resolution Submitted by Kae Madera

Whereas communities composed of people who are deaf and blind have stated that the Oregon State School for the Blind and the Oregon School for the Deaf should not be merged, And Whereas there are safety concerns which include: poor sidewalks, lack of good public transportation, noise caused by trains and railroad tracks on and around the OSSD campus, mobility barriers for children who are blind, very few straight sidewalks, very dangerous crossings, and a very rural residential setting. And Whereas there are communication barriers that could occur between students who are deaf and blind and staff members due to the inherent communication barriers brought about by these two disabilities, Therefore, be it resolved, that we, the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, assembled ..., urge the Oregon State Legislature to oppose the proposal set forth by the Department of Education Study committee. And be it further resolved that we direct the leadership of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon to continue to work towards making certain that the Oregon State School for the Blind remains in its present location.

The passing of a dear friend of ACB of Oregon
Submitted by Wesley T Smith, Pioneer chapter

Joan Reid passed away do to natural causes this past October. Joan was a member of the Pioneer Chapter where she made many friends.

Several members of the Blind community and many other friends attended a memorial in Kaiser Oregon. It was a very positive service. There was a short memorial service for her at Oral Hull park for the Blind on Saturday, the 11th of November from 11:15 to 12:00 PM. We all will miss her very much.

Access Technology Institute
Setting the Standards Others will Follow

A teacher affects eternity; he never knows where his influence stops. - Henry Brooks Adams -

Free Windows Training

Access Technology Institute is dedicated to changing the way in which the world of training for blind and visually impaired consumers is viewed by society as a whole. Accountability and responsibility are the cornerstones upon which all of ATI's training courses are founded.

At ATI, you have a guarantee of success. Students will come away from the classrooms of ATI with a strong foundation in the controls and concepts of Windows as well as a solid understanding of course materials. Students and teachers work together to form this solid foundation. By offering assistance in live voice chat, via email lists and in peer study sessions, the ATI methodology spurs students toward ultimate success and absolute understanding of the course instruction.

With a straightforward, easy-to-understand training style, the courses of ATI appeal to beginners and professionals alike. Rather than addressing Windows via keystrokes and simplistic memorized commands, ATI offers a robust and complete immersion into Windows, screen reading technology, the Internet and more.

Access Technology Institute is proud to play an important role in changing the way in which rehab agencies, educational institutions and individuals view access technology training. Every blind and visually impaired student has a right to expect quality training in access technology. ATI fervently supports that right and guarantees that students who hold a certificate of graduation from ATI are among the upper echelon of Access Technology Trainers.

Take a tour of our site. Try the free training courses, visit the reference cards, check out our upcoming live, voice-chat, courses, and experience the future of Access Technology Training... at its finest.





I voted Independently!
By Darian Slayton Fleming

I was among the first eighteen-year-olds to vote when the voting age was lowered. I have voted in many elections during the past years. In November of this year I voted without the assistance of sighted family members.

Politics and elections have always been among the topics of discussion, and voting is a privilege valued by my family. My mother worked for Barbara Roberts from the time she was an Oregon State Representative to when she served as Oregon’s Governor. My mother also filled the role of my ballot marker since I was old enough to vote.

Last November, when I was ready to vote, my mother was traveling. However, I was able to vote because I had learned about accessible voting alternatives at the American Council of the Blind (ACB) of Oregon’s convention exhibits. People who are blind were given the chance to experience voting by HTML ballot via email or by going to their Elections Offices and voting by telephone. I called the Multnomah County Elections Office, and they weren’t even surprised to receive my request. I gave my email address, and they sent me the html ballot along with very well written instructions about how to proceed. Since I had received some tips about how to use the ballot with Jaws, I was ready. As recommended, I used forms mode and got out of it each time I wanted to move to the next office or ballot measure. When I double-checked my work, all of my choices were entered to my satisfaction. The only help I received was locating the signature line on the envelope. I mailed my independently cast ballot in time to be counted.

Some may think it would have been easier to have a sighted person mark my ballot. However, I actually felt that it went more quickly with Jaws reading. I didn’t feel the need to discuss the ballot or ask for things to be repeated. Jaws reads information exactly as it appears on the screen and does not add editorial tones of voice or incidental remarks. My thinking process seemed clearer, and I felt good about my decisions. The sense of independence and autonomy I felt while voting touched me more than I thought it would. No one had to know how I voted. The idea that my choices could be totally private and anonymous gave me such a sense of control over my life. I celebrated my right to choose for myself.

I hope others took advantage of the opportunity to utilize the accessible voting via email or by phone at Election Offices in Oregon. We encourage continued accessibility by taking advantage of opportunities to demonstrate the effectiveness of technology and equal access. Opportunities like this one are our tickets to further access. I was proud to vote this year. This year I feel as though my vote really counted.

>Music For The Blind
By Bill Brown

Over 500 songs taught in an All-Audio format for over a dozen instruments. Available in Tape, CD or as Downloadable MP3’s. No Print. No Braille. No Problem! Guitar, Piano, Sax, Bass, Drums, Banjo, Violin, Flute, and More!
“That All May Play!”

To Contact Us …
Email Us at:
Call us at: 1-888-778-1828
Write us at: Music for the Blind, 704 Habersham Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602.
Find us on the Web at:

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
-Zen saying

Have Cane, Will Travel A moving, mesmerizing biography of a blind adventurer who was determined to see the world
By LEV GROSSMAN, Jun. 12, 2006 It may be time to retire Caspar David Friedrich's The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog from further use on a book cover. Lovely as it is, this painting has done enough time as shorthand for a sentiment along the lines of "Man is so small, the world about him so vast, gaze on it with me, won't you?" Then again, sometimes exactly that sentiment is called for. Such is the case with Jason Roberts' A Sense of the World (HarperCollins; 382 pages), an enthralling biography of a man you've never heard of named James Holman.

Holman was a prodigiously restless world traveler in the early 19th century, a time before Ambien and JetBlue when the world was a dangerous, miserably uncomfortable place to travel. He circled the earth, traversed Siberia, roamed the Australian outback and the Brazilian rain forest, climbed Vesuvius during an eruption, hunted elephants in Ceylon and slave ships in the Atlantic and wrote best-selling books about it all. He did all this despite a grave handicap: he was blind. A promising naval officer, Holman lost his sight at age 25 after a mysterious illness. That was, to say the least, a calamity. Braille had not been invented yet. The blind were institutionalized and infantilized, expected to lead celibate lives mooching or begging or doing menial work. None of which appealed to our hero. Seeking a cure (not only for his blindness but also for agonizing rheumatism), he set off alone for southern France.

As he traveled, he made a strange discovery: he felt better. Soon he realized he wouldn't, maybe couldn't, stop traveling. He never got his sight back, but when he was on the move he felt different--healthy, dignified, whole. "I see things better with my feet," he said, with characteristic good humor.

Holman had a talent for brushing up against interesting people and things--literally. He occasionally got into trouble for groping a piece of statuary or other priceless artifact, and his biographer takes full advantage of any occasion for a rich, satisfying digression. Holman met François Huber, a pioneering blind entomologist who, like Holman, had managed to carve out a career despite his disability. He studied bees using a special hinged hive that opened and shut like a book. Holman sailed with William Owen, the brilliant, illegitimate, eccentric naval captain who surveyed the coast of Africa.

A Sense of the World is inspiring--but in the real way, the way most "inspirational" books aren't. Holman wasn't a Fear Factor thrill seeker; he was a deeply Romantic figure, a man ransacking the globe for peace of mind even as he fled the demons of disappointment and bitterness nipping at his heels. A celebrity in his time, Holman subsided after his death into the darkness in which he lived. He, and readers everywhere, owes Roberts thanks for leading him back into the light.

Karyn Swinderman Greeting cards

Phone: 541-267-7302
Brail and or large print. $2 per card. 10% off if you buy 2 or more cards. You pick the occasion, and what you want on the card and we do the rest.

Call or Email for more information.

Important announcement from our national Office:

ACB has won a major victory against the Federal government.

Hello All, I have some very exciting news to report to you! Judge Robertson has ruled in ACB's case against the United States Treasury and, his decision was very much in favor of ACB's position! For the first time, a federal judge has found the United States government to be in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act because of its failure to provide people who are blind with the means of identifying the denomination of paper currency.

The full text of the full opinion is too large to put in this newsletterthe, but anyone who wants to read the full opinion can either contact the national office or the website of the federal District Court. I want also to publicly thank our attorney, Jeff Lovitky, for his perseverance and hard work on this case.
Melanie Brunson, ACB Executive Director

The beginning of the text of the full opinion:
Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they lack meaningful access to U.S. currency. They have put forth several potential accommodations that are reasonable on their face. The government has not sustained its burden of showing that any of them would be unduly burdensome to implement. I find, accordingly, that the Treasury Department's failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and I will grant plaintiffs' prayer for a declaratory judgment.
United States District Judge

Safeway Installs New Equipment to Protect Financial Privacy of Shoppers With Visual Impairments
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA
October 31, 2006

Blind Community Leaders Applaud Safeway's Commitment. PLEASANTON, Calif.- In a move praised by state and national blind organizations, Safeway today announced that it has begun installing equipment to protect the privacy and security of Safeway shoppers with visual impairments. The new devices plug into existing point of sale payment machines and have tactile keys arranged like a standard telephone keypad. They will allow Safeway shoppers who have difficulty reading information on a touchscreen to privately and independently enter their PIN, telephone number, and other confidential information. Every Safeway store in California has already been equipped with several of the devices, and they will be installed across the country over the next 12 months.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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