Braille Monitor                                                    July 2009

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News from the Federation Family

Braille Coins in Space:
Space shuttle Atlantis soared toward space after its May 11 liftoff from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph-Kevin O'ConnellThe NFB circulated the following press release in early May:

The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, the first coin ever to feature readable Braille, flew on NASA space shuttle Atlantis on May 11, 2009. The coin was launched into space on mission STS-125, which serviced NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar was released by the United States Mint on March 26, 2009. Sales of the coin will be used to support the National Federation of the Blind Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, a national initiative created to double the number of blind children learning Braille by 2015. NFB President Marc Maurer said: "The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar symbolizes the power of knowledge and future opportunities for blind children across America. It is therefore fitting that this historic coin is part of a mission to uncover the secrets of the universe. Perhaps someday a Braille reader will also be part of such a mission."

"NASA believes strongly in the importance of educational opportunities for everyone," said Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for education at NASA headquarters in Washington. "That is why we have partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to help create programs that enhance scientific study for blind youth. Launching the first coin to contain tactile, readable Braille into space symbolizes NASA's commitment to the spread of knowledge by every means and to every individual."

The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar is currently on sale. Those interested in ordering a coin should visit <> or call (800) USA-MINT (872-6468). For more information about the National Federation of the Blind and the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, visit>.

On March 7, 2009, the Kankakee Heartland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois held its annual election. The following officers were elected: president, Bill Isaacs; vice president, Frank Einfeldt; secretary, Carol Kwaak; treasurer, Ruth Isaacs; and board member, Raymond Kwaak.

Book Available:
Bud Publishing Company of Bremerton, Washington, recently introduced Ivan Weich as its newest author and released his first novel, The Bloody Shield. The novel looks at the anatomy of homicide investigations. It is a virtual ride with a homicide team leader in a large city. The publisher is working to produce the book in an alternate format as quickly as possible and has spoken out about print-disabled people’s recent problems with the Authors Guild. Ivan is a longtime Federationist who currently serves as president of the NFB Public Employees Division. 

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.

Book Angel Program Reminder:
Seedlings Braille Books for Children has a free program open to all blind children in the United States that enables them to receive two free Braille books a year. So sign them up now if you haven't already done so. It is called the Book Angel Program, and you can register your children online at <> or call Seedlings toll-free at (800) 777-8552.

Free Christian Magazine Available in Braille:
The Apostolic Faith Church publishes the Higher Way, a free quarterly Christian magazine in standard print and Braille. When subscribing, readers should indicate format preference. For further information or to subscribe to the magazine, contact the Apostolic Faith Church at (503) 777-1741 or email <>. Recent editions of the Higher Way can be read online at <>.

Summer Experience at the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind:
Blind adults are welcome to attend one of the week-long camps at the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind in Sandy, Oregon. This is our twenty-seventh annual summer camp series. Featured this summer are Adult Adventure Camp (August 1 to 7), Alumni and Friends Camp (August 9 to 15), and Explore Oregon Camp (August 17 to 23). For further information about the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind's summer camp programs, weekend retreats, and other special events, contact Jeff Lann, executive director, at (503) 668-6195 or email <>. Visit the foundation's Website at <> for camp registration forms and a description of its facilities and history.

Pen Pal Wanted:
Jamie Thompson writes: I am a thirty-seven-year-old female seeking a pen pal with whom I can exchange letters in uncontracted Braille. I would like to meet someone with whom I can share thoughts and insights and with whom I can practice my Braille writing skills. My address is: 1819 Corning Lane, Midland, Michigan 48642.

ASB Ends Magazine Production:
Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) ceased its recorded periodicals service operation on May 15, 2009. ASB also closed its RICB radio reading service at that time. Some people have subscriptions to recorded periodicals that are paid up beyond May 15. If so, ASB will issue refunds for the unexpired portion and hopes to send refunds by the end of June.

Music Instruction by Ear:
Learn to play your favorite musical instrument without having to read printed or Braille music. Bill Brown's Music for the Blind offers beginner courses for a dozen instruments, including piano, guitar, bass, violin, banjo, and flute. These courses are taught by ear in all-audio formats, so no reading of music is required. Each course contains at least four cassettes or CDs and costs as little as $39.

In addition to these beginner courses, over six hundred individual song lessons are taught in the same all-audio format. Prices start at $11.95. For further information visit the Website at <>; call (888) 778-1828; or address correspondence to Bill Brown's Music for the Blind, Valdosta Music and Publishing, 704 Habersham Road, Valdosta, Georgia 31602.

Independence Is Cross-Country Skiing:
The thirty-fifth annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday, January 31, through Sunday, February 7, 2010, in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. We will stay at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Provo, Utah. We will ski at the Soldier Hollow cross-country ski area in nearby Midway, Utah. Soldier Hollow was the cross-country skiing venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

If you are a visually impaired adult who would like to spend a week skiing or learning to ski, you will want to attend the thirty-fifth annual Ski for Light International week, January 31 to February 7, 2010. Nearly three hundred skiers and guides will converge for a week of recreational skiing, fun, friendship, and fellowship. Visually impaired skiers are matched with sighted guides and ski together for the week while working on developing the skills and techniques of cross-country skiing.

For additional information contact the VIP Coordinator Renee Abernathy (704) 263-1314 or <>; or Lynda Boose at (906) 370-7541 or <>. Visit the SFL Web page, <> to learn more about the program and to put in your application for a fantastic week of fun.

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:
Perkins Braillewriter with cover, in excellent condition. Asking $275. Will ship by UPS (insured). Contact Bill at (719) 547-1611 or email <>.

For Sale:
Tony Sohl has a K-NFB Reader Classic that he is willing to sell. This is the first handheld unit manufactured. Included is all the documentation in print, Braille, cassette, and CD. Also included are the case for the unit, charging adapter, and software version 3.8.1. The software is on an SD (Secure Digital) memory card. The data is stored on a compact flash card that can be used with other notetakers such as the BrailleNote and PAC Mate for reading.

The only problem he reports was that, when the PDA needs to be recalibrated, sighted assistance is required. He is asking $1,200 or best offer. If you have any questions, contact Tony at <>.

For Sale:
This Patriot Platinum Magnifying America CCTV is in perfect condition and includes camera, color TV screen, and movable table. The original price was $3,895; the asking price is $1,775 or best offer. The owner has to move and does not want to take the CCTV with her. Selling this technology is an immediate priority. For further information and to negotiate all other terms, contact either Sylvia Cohn, owner, or Sue Ellen Goldman at (410) 484-7110 (home) or (410) 375-4866 (cell). Email inquiries can be sent to <>.

For Sale:
Sarah Harris would like to sell a BrailleNote MPower BT 32. The unit is three years old and in good condition. Carrying case and battery charger are included. Asking $4,100. If interested, email <> or call (806) 886-1340.

For Sale:
Contact Alice McDonough at (404) 626-6621 to inquire about any of the following items:

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.


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