Braille Monitor                                                    May 2008

(back) (contents)


Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Attention Affiliate Presidents and Those Interested in Public Relations:
The NFB public relations committee and the PR staff at the National Center for the Blind invite affiliate presidents or their designated representatives, as well as others interested in learning about working effectively with the media, to attend a special meeting of the public relations committee. This meeting will include a comprehensive seminar entitled “Grow Your Affiliate through Effective Messaging,” conducted by Chris Danielsen and Jessica Freeh of the public relations office at NFB headquarters in Baltimore. The seminar will cover topics such as locating press contacts in your state or community, drafting a press release, pitching story ideas to the media, and developing relationships with reporters and editors. An effective public relations strategy can help state affiliates and local chapters to raise funds, recruit new members, and educate the general public about blindness. It doesn’t take a public relations professional to carry out such a strategy, just knowledge of the tools and techniques needed to implement it. Come to this special seminar and learn how your affiliate can get its message to the media.

Those who participate in this seminar will be added to an email list to receive NFB press releases, media advisories, and tips from the NCB public relations staff. In order to begin to compile the email list and determine how many people to expect at the seminar, we are asking all state presidents to send us the name and email address of the person who handles media relations for your affiliate. Please send this information to Jessica Freeh at the National Center for the Blind by email at <>, or call her at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2348. If you have any questions about the seminar, call Chris Danielsen at the National Center for the Blind at extension 2330, or email him at <>.

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB resolutions committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2008 national convention the resolutions committee meeting will be held on Monday, June 30. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. If the convention passes them, these resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Maurer or to me by June 15, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you miss this deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, <>; fax, (410) 715-9597; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045.

Braille Book Flea Market:
The Braille Book Flea Market to be held at our national convention in Dallas this summer is looking for your gently used Braille books. Cookbooks, Twin Vision® books, handmade books, and other Braille material appropriate for children are greatly needed. Please send your Braille contributions to Dan Tinklepaugh, Dallas Customer Counter, 10155 Monroe Drive, Dallas, Texas 75229

Available Now:
What Are We Going to Wear? You’ve heard the adages before: “Dress for success”; “Maximize your message”; “Put your best foot forward.” They are more than just tired old clichés; they are time-tested truths. The appropriate attire can boost your confidence and show the world that you are part of an important team. Imagine the impact your chapter or affiliate can make at educational events, public meetings, and fundraisers if all your members and supporters are attired in new, sharp, high-quality garments.

We can help you obtain shirts that will assist you in making that very positive impression. Each short-sleeved golf shirt is stitched on the upper left chest with the National Federation of the Blind logo, including Whozit depicted in full color. These shirts can be customized to include the name of your state affiliate at no extra charge. Select a color unique to your affiliate or chapter, and really stand out in the crowd at state and national conventions. What an immediate and graphic reminder of the exciting opportunity we have to be proud members of the largest and most dynamic consumer organization of the blind in the world!

Ordering is easy. Each chapter submits a prepaid order for shirts for its membership. Shirts will be shipped to the ordering chapter in about three weeks. Shirts are available in adult sizes small to XXXL. We can process orders for twelve or more shirts, and your cost is an amazingly low $16 per shirt for sizes small to XL and $19.00 for XXL and XXXL, plus shipping. Available shirt colors are white, black, ash, California teal, heather gray, ivy, kelly, maroon, natural, navy, red, and royal. Order right away to ensure that you have the shirts before our 2008 national convention in Dallas from June 29 to July 5.

Those interested in more information should have a representative contact East Hillsborough Chapter board member DJ Hackney at <> or at (863) 853-7776. Orders may also be placed and paid for online at <>. Interested in button-up shirts, caps, or tote bags? Ask for a quote on those too.

Attention Colorado Center for the Blind Alumni:
The Colorado Center for the Blind will hold its twentieth anniversary celebration and reunion weekend September 19 through 21, 2008. If you attended training or worked at the center, we need your name and contact information. All alumni, family, former staff members, and friends are invited to join us for a wonderful weekend celebration.

The anniversary celebration will take place on Saturday evening, September 20, at the Colorado Center in Littleton, Colorado. Ticket prices have not yet been determined. The reunion breakfast, which will also be held at the center’s Littleton facility, will take place on Sunday, September 21. This is a free event for all alumni. Overnight accommodations (at reasonable rates) with a local hotel are being planned. Rooms should be available as early as Friday, September 19, with a Sunday afternoon checkout.

For more information about any of the anniversary celebration and reunion weekend events, contact Lorinda Riddle at (303) 778-1130, ext. 236, or email <>.

On March 1, 2008, the Kankakee Heartland Chapter of the NFB of Illinois elected the following officers: Bill Isaacs, president; Frank Einfeldt, vice president; Carol Kwaak, secretary; Ruth Isaacs, treasurer; and Raymond Kwaak, board member.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

OSSB Reunion:
Friday the 13th brings dread to some people, and those affected by this fear usually behave very cautiously. Well, this need not be the case with the fifty-eighth biannual alumni reunion at the Ohio State School for the Blind. This eagerly anticipated event will take place Friday, June 13 through Sunday, June 15. The cost, the same as 2006, is $60, which covers two nights lodging, six meals, and $10 dues. This reunion will be the last time we will experience the campus in its current state because it will be significantly remodeled before the next reunion. Deadline for registering is May 23. If you have any questions, please call Paul Dressell at (513) 481-7662 or email him at <>.

Braille Patterns Transcribed:
Linda Hurlock will Braille any knitting or crocheting pattern that you want. Send the pattern and enough Braille paper to Linda Z. Hurlock, 636 1/2 North Davis, Helena, Montana 59601.

Brailler Repair:
The Selective Doctor, Inc., is a repair service for all IBM typewriters and Perkins Braillewriters. Located in Baltimore, the service has done work for the Maryland School for the Blind and a number of other organizations in Maryland. They accept Perkins Braillers sent to them from around the country.

The cost to repair a manual Perkins Brailler is $55 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. Because of technical complexity the cost to repair an electric Perkins Brailler is $60 for labor (flat rate), plus parts. The Brailler will be shipped back to you by U.S. mail, Free Matter for the Blind and insured for $400. The cost of this insurance ($5.50) will be added to your invoice. This listed insurance charge may fluctuate due to rate changes by the postal service.

To mail Braillers using the U.S. Postal Service, send your Brailler(s) to the Selective Doctor, P.O. Box 28432, Baltimore, Maryland 21234-8432. If you care to use UPS or Federal Express, please send Braillers to the Selective Doctor, 3014 Linwood Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21234-5821. With your Brailler(s) please include your name and (if applicable) organization, shipping and billing addresses, telephone number, and a brief description of your Brailler's needs. Should you require additional information, please call (410) 668-1143, or email <>.

Seeking Nominations:
Imagine the impact your innovation could have on providing increased access to blind people around the world. We invite you to apply for the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation. The prize will be awarded to an individual or group who contribute to innovation in the field of tactile literacy for blind people. The prize can be granted for a new educational method, a new tactile literacy product, or a new technological advance. In any of these areas the innovation must demonstrate some aspect of tactile literacy. Tactile literacy refers to any product, method, or service that has the effect of increasing access to information through the sense of touch. The $20,000 prize is provided through support from the Gibney Family Foundation and National Braille Press.

The deadline to be considered for the 2008 prize is June 15. For more information about the Touch of Genius Prize and previous winners, visit <>. If you have questions, contact Stephanie King at (617) 266-6160, ext. 47 or <>.

Notice from NLS:
Two additional devices can now be used to read downloadable audio materials from the National Library Service (NLS).

The LevelStar Icon is a portable device for the visually impaired that provides access to all of your contacts, documents, and media on the go. Icon, with its 40 GB hard drive, can store thousands of documents and audio files. Icon users are now able to download NLS books directly, using the Icon's powerful Web browser and its wireless connection, and play and navigate them using Icon's Bookshelf. To learn more about the Icon and its support for NLS content, visit <>, call (800) 315-2305, or send email to <>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.'s Braille+ Mobile Manager is a handheld, accessible tool that combines entertainment and productivity in one device small enough to fit easily into a pocket or purse. With its large hard drive the Braille+ stores dozens of books at a time, and with its built-in Web browser the user can download and read any of the NLS DTB collection without having to use a computer at all. For complete information about the Braille+, go to <>.

Current owners of these devices are just a free software upgrade away from adding the ability to download and read NLS talking books and magazines. Remember, to authorize any new device for download, just go to the download site's home page, choose "Update my settings," and then choose "Add a new player."

A Pocketful of Sound:
A Quick-Start and Buyer's Guide to Accessible Book and Music Players by Anna Dresner in Braille and PortaBook, $14. Have you ever wished you could carry a whole library of CDs or audiobooks with you to college, on your commute, or on vacation? It's now possible to do just that in a device that fits in your pocket. But there are so many choices it can be hard to know which one of these cute little gadgets you should buy.

A Pocketful of Sound will help you decide. Author Anna Dresner describes and compares many of the most accessible players, including the Zen Stone; iPods; players running Rockbox; the Olympus DS-30, DS-40, and DS-50; the Victor Stream; the Icon; and many others. She uses the same checklist for each product, so you can quickly compare their features. You'll learn how to get the most out of your player with detailed descriptions, basic instructions for use, and tips for power users. Anna has given each of these products a good workout and shares her personal opinions on each in a Would-I-Use-It section.

Also included are brief sections on the media-playing capabilities of notetakers and cell phones, information about how players organize music, links to tutorials and other resources, and sources for downloading music and books. So whether you already own a player or are considering your first one, this book will help you rock and read the way you want to. Check out the table of contents: <>.

Tour to Bermuda:
American Star Travel offers a luxurious seven-day cruise from Boston to Bermuda October 5 to 12, 2008, for blind and visually impaired travelers. Passengers can have an orientation to the Norwegian Cruise Lines Ship, the Dream, upon arrival and assistance embarking and disembarking if desired. The ship offers fine accommodations and the newest innovations at sea, including freestyle cruising with no required activities. All elevators and cabins are marked in Braille and large print. A limited number of cabins have accommodations for people using wheelchairs. People with hearing impairments are also welcome. These accommodations are first come, first served. Guide dogs are welcome.

Six restaurants, from Italian to French and everything between; a lively casino; galleria duty-free shopping; and ten bars and lounges mean there’s always something to keep you entertained. There are also plenty of ways to stay active afloat with a jogging and walking track, two pools, and a modern fitness center open twenty-four hours a day. A variety of daily activities led by cruise staff and port and shopping lectures and shore excursions are available. If we have enough people in our group, American Star Travel will host a party on the first day to welcome you and to introduce group members to each other.

For more information or to book the seven-day Boston to Bermuda cruise, call American Star Travel at (508) 815-4327. Fares start at $689 + tax for inside cabins. Airline bookings can be made if needed. All cabin rates are per person, based on double occupancy; triple cabins are available by request. Union members will receive a 5 percent discount. The last day to book this trip is June 3, 2008.

Monitor Mart

The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.

For Sale:
One PAC Mate BX420 with twenty-cell Braille display. This PAC Mate from Freedom Scientific runs firmware version 4.1 and is easily upgraded to the newest version known as the PAC Mate Omni. This device is used but is in excellent working condition. I will include one carrying case, one Ethernet adapter cable with flash adapter to fit the PAC Mate, and one PAC Mate power charger.
I am asking $3,000 or best offer. Will negotiate shipping. Please call with questions (678) 206-6154 or email <>.

Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader for Sale:
WKLV has a brand-new, unused Reader Classic for sale. Still in the box. Asking $2,300. Contact Tara Keesling at (800) 526-3937, ext. 135.

Hoping to Buy:
William Loy wants to buy a serial parallel converter cable for his Braille 'n Speak 2000. If you can help, call him at (301) 233-8043.

For Sale:
Power Braille 40 with power cables and owner’s manual. Asking $1,500 or best offer. If interested, contact Kerry Stein at (800) 533-3846 weekdays and (205) 967-4901 evenings and weekends.

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.

(back) (contents)