Braille Monitor                                                                    August/September 2006


Convention Miniatures

Flea Market a Great Success:

At the Braille Book Flea Market Kristin Turgeon (Massachusetts) reads to her mother.

The 2006 Braille Book Flea Market, held in Dallas, was another big success. On Monday, July 3, at 5 p.m., at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, the doors opened to a long line of parents and blind children eagerly waiting for an opportunity to browse through the eighteen large tables of books piled high with donated Braille books. Earlier volunteers had helped to open, weed through, sort, stack, and tidy the several pallets of books that had arrived during the last three months.

This year's selection again included Harry Potter, as well as the wonderful classics like Heidi. There were also a few cookbooks, a few books on gardening, history, and autobiographical material. But as usual, most of the offerings were fiction. Thanks to many individuals, schools, and libraries, we had several pallets of Braille books and a few games donated just for this event.

Over five hundred Twin Vision® books alone were generously contributed to this event. Many had been hand transcribed. But within thirty minutes of opening the doors, they were all gone.
Hot dogs, brownies, and lemonade were available for busy browsers. They were the really yummy, large hot dogs, yet kids and adults alike were content to wait until the shopping was done before sampling them. Children sat on the floor, deciding which books they would keep to read at night and on the flight home and which should be mailed. UPS volunteers helped box up books to be sent home. In all, three pallets of books went to the post office.

Thank you to all who helped in Dallas, to all who donated the many wonderful books, and a big thank you to all those who spent time Brailling the Twin Vision books.

Federation Merchants March for Independence and Opportunity:

Charlie Allen (left) and Kevan Worley (right) present an award to Don Morris while Shirley Morris reads the inscription.

Mark Harris writes: On the heels of the most successful Business, Leadership, and Superior Training (BLAST) for blind entrepreneurs in late April in Nashville, some may have wondered how we could sustain the momentum, but as usual the National Federation of the Blind surpassed expectations. After Nashville with 509 registered blind vendors, thirty-five state licensing agencies represented, and sixty-four exhibitors--in short, the best-attended, most successful Randolph-Sheppard-related conference ever held--many of us were still celebrating that achievement as we headed to Dallas, Texas, for the sixty-sixth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. In Dallas almost 200 blind merchants joined with more than 2,900 of our colleagues and friends to continue the march. In fact, it was there that we heard about the upcoming National Federation of the Blind March for Independence at our NFB annual convention in Atlanta in 2007, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

First, we sustained the momentum by filling and selling the ever-popular snack packs, breaking a snack-pack sales record of more than $7,000. We also broke our merchant association raffle record, selling over $8,900 worth of tickets. A heartfelt thank you to our hungry, gambling colleagues.

The annual business meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants on Monday afternoon, July 3, was brimming with energy, business ideas, instruction, and inspiration. We honored retiring board members, many of whom have provided longtime leadership and we trust will continue to do so. We elected leaders who most surely will continue leading the march. Gold Braille watches were ceremoniously presented to Carl Jacobsen (New York), Bob Ray (Iowa), and immediate Past President Don Morris (Maryland). Charles Allen (Kentucky), who served as president during much of the 1990's, and current President Kevan Worley then presented a small sculpture to Don Morris signifying that he has become the first ever Presidential Fellow in the new Imagination Fund effort to raise awareness and offer appreciation to those in our movement and beyond who have contributed much to the NFB over many years. And the march continues.


Each year at convention a number of divisions conduct annual or biennial elections. What follows is the report of this year's results in the order we received the information:

The Science and Engineering Division: John Miller reports that the S&E Division has an exciting year planned. They are taking steps to make being a blind student or professional in science or engineering easier than in the past. Election results for the division are as follows: president, John Miller (California); vice president, Kelly Wills (Ohio); secretary, Nathanael Wales (California); treasurer, Al Maneki (Maryland); and board members, Brian Buhrow (California) and Dave Faiman (California).

The National Association of Blind Merchants: Elected were president, Kevan Worley (Colorado); first vice president, Nick Gacos (New Jersey); second vice president, Pam Schnurr (Indiana); secretary, Kim Williams (Tennessee); treasurer, Mark Harris (Texas); and board members, Don Hudson (Colorado), Sharon Paris (Tennessee), John Jones (Virginia), Deb Smith (Iowa), Virgil Stinnett (Hawaii), and Art Stevenson (Oregon).

Diabetes Action Network: The DAN conducted its annual diabetes seminar July 3, 2006. The following members were elected to office: president, Lois Williams (Alabama); first vice president, Joyce Kane (Connecticut); second vice president, Minnie Walker (Alabama); secretary, Bernadette Jacobs (Maryland); treasurer, Joy Stigile (California); and board members, Ed Bryant (Missouri), Mike Freeman (Washington), and Maria Bradford (Washington).

National Association of Office Professionals: Election results were president, Lisa Hall (Ohio); vice president, Mary Donahue (Texas); secretary, Sherri Brun (Florida); and treasurer, Debbie Brown (Maryland).

National Association of Dog Guide Users: Elected this year were president, Priscilla Ferris (Massachusetts); vice president, Marion Gwizdala (Florida); secretary, Melissa Riccobono (Maryland); and treasurer, Toni Whaley (Pennsylvania).

Deaf-Blind Division: The Deaf-Blind Division conducted elections at its business meeting Wednesday, July 5. The following were elected: president, Robert Eschbach (Arizona); first vice president, Burnell Brown (District of Columbia); second vice president, Robert Deaton (Nebraska); secretary, Patricia Tuck (Florida); treasurer, Bruce Woodward (Connecticut); and board members, Catherine Guillory (Louisiana) and Joe Naulty (Florida).

National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals: Election results were as follows: president, Carlos Serván (Nebraska); first vice president, Shawn Mayo (Minnesota); second vice president, Melody Lindsey (Virginia); treasurer, Sheila Wright (Missouri); secretary, Pam Allen (Louisiana); and board members Dr. Edward Bell (Louisiana), Lea Grupen (Hawaii), Ron Brown (Indiana), and Julie Deden (Colorado).

Classics, Antiques, and Rods Division: At its meeting the CARs Division elected president, Joe Naulty (Florida); first vice president, Harold Wilk(New Jersey); second vice president, Rick Canode (Wisconsin); secretary, Arlene Naulty (Florida); treasurer, Mike Stauffer (Pennsylvania); and board members Dave Hutchins (Kansas) and Harold Wenning (New York).

National Center for Blind Youth in Science:

The NFB Jernigan Institute announces the first national clearinghouse for all information and resources related to blind people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This new Web portal brings together resources and information in a new and dynamic way, creating an online community where blind people can learn about how to succeed in STEM professions and where teachers and parents can learn about how to engage blind students in these important subjects.

Your feedback on the first phase of this portal is critical. Visit <>, spend some time browsing the site, and complete the online survey. Those completing the online survey will be eligible to win a $35 gift certificate for merchandise available from the NFB Independence Market.

NFB Youth Slam Participants and Mentors Needed:

In the summer of 2007 the largest gathering of blind youth ever will come together to give voice to a new generation of blind leaders and explorers. The NFB Youth Slam will forever change the perception that challenging careers are not appropriate for the blind. Working under blind mentors, blind youth will engage in four days of inspiring activities centering on science, technology, engineering, and math. More information on the NFB Youth Slam is available at <>.

To express interest in being either a youth participant or mentor in the NFB Youth Slam, send an email to <>. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime event.

A Word of Thanks to Our Sponsors:

The title sponsors, Freedom Scientific and HumanWare, had signage that was visible from any point in the exhibit hall.

The 2006 convention had a record number of sponsors. Eight of them took part in the Tuesday evening opportunity for attendees to enjoy shopping in the exhibit hall without the usual crush. We are deeply grateful to our convention sponsors:

Title Sponsors: Freedom Scientific and HumanWare

Platinum Sponsor: Independent Living Aids

Silver Sponsors: Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hilton Anatole, IBM, Marriott Global Reservation Sales and Customer Service, and UPS

Exhibit Hall Sponsors: ifbyphone, National Industries for the Blind, Optelec, and Sendero Group

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.