Braille Monitor                                                                                 May 2006

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by Daniel Facchini

From the Editor: Dan Facchini is the president of the NFB of New Jersey Northeast Chapter and a vendor in the Business Enterprise Program. His chapter was determined to get useful information about blindness into the hands and heads of people who need to know more about dealing constructively with blindness. This is what they did:

In early 2005 the members of the Northeast Chapter were frustrated by the lack of information about blindness and the NFB that blind people and the public have access to. Believe it or not, some people have never heard of us. So Lenny Azzerone and other chapter members established a Web site that we named, and we produced our first online video show. We also started airing Internet radio shows twice a month on many different topics related to blindness.

Lenny, a retired police officer, had already produced videos for public access TV. He thought this would be a great way to inform the public. So in January of 2005 we broadcast a TV show at the Comcast studio, where Lenny has made videos for the police department and the town of Saddle Brook. Our first video was on accessible transportation. We all know the part transportation plays in the lives of the blind. Other New Jersey chapters joined us on the TV show. It was a great show. However, we had to pay to have the videos aired on TV, and that was too costly for our chapter. We formed a committee to find a solution to this problem. They came up with having an Internet radio show instead. Lenny has his own home studio with all the necessary equipment. Two of the committee members work on securing speakers for the radio show. We have had great cooperation from those we have asked to participate. Joe Ruffalo, the president of the NFB of New Jersey, has been the moderator of all the Internet shows, which are archived, so please check them out.

We have been fortunate to interview great leaders in the blindness field: Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, director of the NFB Jernigan Institute; Barbara Pierce, editor of the Braille Monitor; Venetia Demson, director of the New Jersey Talking Book Library; Annemarie Cooke from RFB&D; James McCarthy, NFB director of governmental affairs; and Kevan Worley, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, to name only a few. We even broadcast the NFB of New Jersey convention live on the Internet last November. To date we have produced forty shows.

We are grateful for a grant we received through the NFB Imagination Fund, which will allow us to continue developing the Web site and educating the public about blindness. We meet twice a month in the studio to produce three Internet radio shows each night.
The grant also enabled us to add additional programs such as a free voice chat program and a toll-free number so listeners can call in during a radio show and ask questions of our host and guests. The call-in number is (800) 791-6563.

In the near future we're looking forward to a program featuring President Maurer, so please continue checking our Web site for dates: <>.