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News and Views November 2015

National Federation of the Blind of Arizona

News and Views

November, 2015

In This Issue

Greetings from Our President


Word on the Street

Guess Who Just Took Another Trip Around the Sun

Blind Parent Winds Battle for Access to Online School Resources

Important Regional Paratransit Plan Meeting

Our Book: Building the Lives We Want

What to Expect at VRATE

Exercising Your Right to Vote Privately and Independently

Upgrading to Windows 10

Holiday Safety and Security, Part 1

The Book Shelf, 2 Selections

Healthy Choice, Healthy Living, Finding the Motivation to Exercise

Flick, Swipe, and Tap, To Close or Not to Close the Apps on Your App Switcher

The Local, State, and National Organization: 3 Parts of a Whole

The Recipe Box, After Thanksgiving Casserole

Debbies List

Stay Connected

Grins and Groans, the Usual Endings


The NFB of Arizona newsletter has been produced in such a manner that makes it easier to stroll through the articles. If you are using JAWS, System Access, NVDA, or Window Eyes, press the letter H to move through the headings. If you wish to go back to a previous article, simply press the shift key + the letter H. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H and to go backwards through the articles press Control Option Command shift plus the letter H.

Greetings from Our President

Hello, fellow Federationists,

We are in that time in autumn when we have just celebrated Halloween and look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving! This weekend, we are hosting the Stem2U program for blind elementary school students, their blind high school mentors, parents and teachers at the Phoenix Science Museum between November 5 and 7. The kids will have hands on experiences with science projects, and the teachers will learn techniques for teaching math and science. This is a national project with kids and parents and teachers from throughout the country as well as Arizonans.

* NFB of Arizona affiliate board meeting takes place by telephone conference call Saturday, November 14, from 9:30 to noon. You are invited to participate by telephoning the conference call number at,

605 475 6777

And entering the Pin 06322 and then the pound (#) sign.

· I am sorry to report that long time member of our Tucson chapter, Lee Kerr, has passed away unexpectedly in late October. There is no funeral, and no plans have been made yet for a memorial. Lee had been active in our affiliate for many years, having served as Tucson chapter president and as an affiliate board member. He was always a willing and capable volunteer, a good and reliable friend, and will be missed. Lee is survived by his wife, Linda, who has just moved to Gilbert to be near her family. You can convey condolences to her by email at

· October 15 was our White Cane Safety and Advocacy day at the capitol. The Governors proclamation was read in chambers, and here is that proclamation submitted to the Governor by NFBA Legislative Director, Donald Porterfield.


WHEREAS, the white cane, which all blind citizens of the state of Arizona have the right to carry, demonstrates and symbolizes their ability to achieve a full and independent life and their capacity to work productively in competitive employment; and

WHEREAS, by allowing all blind people to move freely and safely from place to place, the white cane makes it possible for them to participate fully in and contribute to our society; and

WHEREAS, Arizona law calls upon employers, both public and private, to be aware of and use the employment skills of blind citizens by recognizing their worth as individuals and their productive capacities as employees; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has declared October as Meet the Blind Month end takes this opportunity each year to educate the public about the abilities of blind citizens; and

WHEREAS, through the public education and outreach efforts of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona, citizens of this state can look forward to a continued expansion of employment opportunities for and greater acceptance of blind people in the competitive labor market:

WHEREAS, On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the Congress was signed into law proclaiming October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day to recognize the contributions of Americans who are blind or low vision; and

WHEREAS, the white cane is one of a wide variety of tools that sustain independence, productivity and mobility for individuals who are blind or have low vision and in recent years, refreshable Braille displays and speech synthesis devices have given these individuals access to the Internet, unlocking a new frontier of unlimited possibilities in education and employment; and

WHEREAS, individuals who are visually impaired are less constrained and better integrated in our state than ever before, but much work remains to ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential to secure equal access to education and employment for blind Arizonans and all those with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, since White Cane Safety Day was first proclaimed, individuals who are blind or have low vision have achieved substantial progress. As leaders in government, business, academics, arts and the community, these individuals have made and continue to make remarkable contributions to Arizona and its communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Douglas Ducey, Governor of the State of Arizona, do hereby proclaim October 2015 as


· The Nebraska Center for the Blind has created a video training series called
Quote, Pathways to Independence. Quote. The link to their video on cane travel can be

found at,

· If you have made changes to your telephone number, address, or email, please let me know so we can update our roster and keep you current with news from our affiliate!

Bob Kresmer, President

1 888 899 6322.

Word on the Street

Big, big news! Congratulations to Allison and Darrell! Not only have they moved into a new home, they got engaged in June! But, the biggest news by far, is that they are expecting a little girl on January 16th. We wish them the best of luck, and again, congratulations to the new parents to be!

Got any news to share with us? Send it in to:

We look forward to sharing your news with our extended family here within the NFB of Arizona.

Guess Who Just Took another Trip around the Sun?

Happy birthday to the following people!

November 10, Kristy Shields, from Scottsdale.

November 20, Ben Bloomgren, from Scottsdale.

November 21, Connie Ryan, from Mesa.

November 26, Barbara MacPherson, from Tucson.

Please help us build our birthday list, by sending your first and last name, date of birth, (year optional), and the city you live in to:

Blind Parent Wins Battle for Access to Online School Resources

Seattle Public Schools will make its website and other online resources more accessible to blind students, faculty members and parents as part of an agreement tied to a lawsuit filed by a blind parent last year.
The Seattle School Board voted Wednesday to enter into a consent decree to settle the lawsuit, which alleges the district’s websites and an online math program were not accessible to those who are blind. The lawsuit was filed by Noel Nightingale, a blind parent of a Seattle student, and the National Federation of the Blind.
Under the agreement, the district will make its current websites accessible, hire an accessibility coordinator and create a website portal to help faculty and staff communicate effectively with people with disabilities.
The district estimates it will cost from $665,440 to $815,400 to implement the 3½-year decree. That includes funds to pay for an accessibility coordinator, staff training and attorney fees. Nightingale will receive $5,000 from the district for monetary relief.
Nightingale notified the district that its websites were not accessible in 2012. She said she had been able to use the website with a screen reader, which allows websites, documents and applications to be read aloud or displayed in Braille on another device. Changes to the website in 2012 made the site incompatible with the technology she used.
The district said it relayed the information to its website provider, which did not fix the problem. It alleges the provider breached its agreement by failing to provide a website compliant with the standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Nightingale sued the district in August 2014, alleging discrimination. Her lawyers said cheap, available programs were available to make the site compatible.
The agreement to settle the case is subject to the approval of the U.S. District Court for Western Washington.
Nightingale and the National Federation of the Blind applauded the boards vote, which they called historic and comprehensive.
quote, This landmark agreement with the Seattle Public Schools should serve as a model for the nation and should put school districts on notice that we can no longer wait to have equal education for blind students and to have access to information, use of school services, and full participation in school activities by blind faculty, personnel, and parents, quote, federation President Mark Riccobono said in a statement.

Important Regional Paratransit Plan Meeting

Please make plans to attend:

Valley Metro will host a public meeting on the Regional Paratransit Plan to share study findings and recommendations. The Regional Paratransit Plan will assess recommendations from the 2008 Regional Paratransit Study and consider opportunities for greater consistency of service policies and improved regional travel. As part of this effort, Valley Metro has reviewed current Dial a Ride (DAR) services in the East Valley, Northwest Valley, Phoenix, Glendale, Southwest Valley, Paradise Valley and Peoria.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5:00 to 7:00 PM

Burton Barr Library, Lecture Room, 4th Floor

1221 North Central Avenue,


For additional information or to make accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact Dolores Nolan by Wednesday, November 4, at: 602 523 6070, or TTY 602 251 2039 or

Attention DAR Customers:

Dial a Ride service to this meeting will be direct, that is, a transfer from one DAR service to another will not be necessary. Please call your local provider at least one day prior to travel.

East Valley Dial a Ride: 480 633 0101
Glendale residents Northwest Valley DAR: 602 266 8723
Peoria Dial a Ride: 623 773 7435
Phoenix Dial a Ride: 602 253 4000
Please advise the DAR operator that you wish to attend the Valley Metro Regional Paratransit Plan Stakeholders Meeting. This will help your DAR provider group your trip with the trips of other people who wish to attend the meeting. Normal DAR policies and fares are in effect for this service.

Our Book: Building the Lives We Want

From its beginning in 1940, the National Federation of the Blind has been the driving force behind a powerful peoples movement. It has raised expectations, shattered assumptions, and broken down barriers to secure the full participation of blind people in every aspect of society. Building the Lives We Want traces the history of the blindness movement from its dawn in the nineteenth century to the founding of the Federation in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. The story continues with the first efforts at grassroots organizing and the emergence of the Federation as an instrument of change. The book portrays Federationists working tirelessly for access to education, employment, and equal rights.

The work of the Federation has been carried forward through the dedicated efforts of thousands of men and women fighting for equality, security, and opportunity for all blind people. This ebook brings the story of the movement to life through the voices of its leaders and rank and file members. In addition to the extensive material in the text itself, the book amplifies the story through dozens of photographs and hundreds of links to articles, speeches, and songs. It demonstrates how, through seventy five years of collective action, working together with love, hope, and determination, blind people are finding the freedom to build the lives they want.

Use the link below to access options for reading the book including iBooks, Voice Dream Reader, computer, Kindle and hardware book readers. The page contains instructions on how to read the ebook via all of these formats.

What to Expect at VRATE

By Barbara McDonald

Are you or is someone you know experiencing vision loss or a combined vision and hearing loss?

Are you looking for information, help or support with your, or a family members vision or combined vision and hearing issues?

If so, mark your calendar for December 11, 2015 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, for the 20th Annual Vision Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Expo (VRATE) at the Phoenix Convention Center in the South Building located at 33 South 3rd Street.

At this FREE event, there will be speakers and exhibitors presenting information and products that will be of great interest to you.

There will be presentations from retinal specialists where you will learn about the newest eye care treatments and ongoing research.

Blindness consumer and provider organizations will be there sharing information on the services and support they provide.

There will be presentations on website accessibility, assistive technology and the Business Enterprise Program.

The captivating Jessica Loomer will present her popular, Blind Girls Can Rock Heels talk, on dating and relationships.

The movie, Going Blind, with closed captioning and audio descriptions, will be available for viewing throughout the day.

You will gain knowledge about the Talking Book program and hear about web based radio stations with broadcast content specifically intended for people with eyesight disabilities.

There will also be opportunities for you to get a personal hands on look at the newest assistive technology products.

If you have a lot of questions about vision loss or combined vision and hearing loss and the services, tools and methods that support independence and maximize functioning.

The answers can be found at VRATE.

For the most current information, go to,

Exercising Your Right to Vote Privately and Independently

By Lou Ann Blake

Editors Note: Lou Ann Blake from the National Center submitted the

following article on the Help America Vote Act and blind people being able

To exercise their right to vote. A video on the subject is available at:

As the 2016 election season approaches, it is extremely important that

voters who are blind or visually impaired know their rights and how to apply

them when barriers to the right to vote privately and independently are

encountered at the polling place. While sighted voters are able to take for

granted the right to vote privately and independently, it is not uncommon

for blind and visually impaired voters to encounter barriers to the exercise

of this right at the polling place. Poorly trained poll workers and the

absence of an accessible voting system may result in the blind voter having

to vote with assistance. However, when a blind or visually impaired voter

knows her rights and how to apply that knowledge, barriers encountered at

the polling place can frequently be removed.

Your Right to Vote Privately and Independently

Prior to the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002, voters who

were blind or visually impaired had to rely on sighted assistance to mark

their ballot. HAVA has enabled voters with disabilities to fully exercise

the fundamental right to vote privately and independently by requiring that

every polling place have at least one accessible voting system for all

federal elections. In addition, many states have enacted legislation to

require at least one accessible voting system in each polling place for all

state and local elections.

What to Expect at Your Polling Place

If you are voting on Election Day, you will need to go to the polling place

for your election district or precinct. The location of your polling place

will be indicated on your voter registration card. You may also be able to

find your polling place location on the website of your local or state board

of elections.

Once you have arrived at your polling place, you will need to check in with

poll workers by giving your name and requesting an accessible voting system.

Be aware that you may need to repeat your request to use an accessible

voting system. After your check in process is complete, a poll worker will

show you where the accessible voting system is located and hand you the

headphones and control box. Once the audio ballot has started, the poll

worker should walk away so you can vote in private.

What to Do When Things go Wrong

Poll workers have many responsibilities on Election Day. In addition, the

training they receive on the accessible voting system is frequently

insufficient to equip them with the knowledge they need to set up and

operate the system, and to resolve any problems that may occur.

Consequently, it is not uncommon for blind and low vision voters to

encounter poll workers who do not know how to set up or operate the

accessible voting system.

If upon your arrival at the polling place for a federal election, poll

workers tell you that the accessible voting system is not available or not

working, or if the system malfunctions while you are voting, it is extremely

important that you politely, but firmly, insist on your right to vote

privately and independently. Request that an accessible system be brought to

the polling place, or that a technician be sent to the polling place to

repair the system. If poll workers offer to assist you in marking a paper

ballot, politely decline this offer, and firmly, but politely, repeat your

desire to vote privately and independently using an accessible system.

In many cases when a voter is patient and politely, but firm, insists on her

right to vote using an accessible system, poll workers are able to resolve

the problem. However, if poll workers have made every attempt to honor your

request, but are unable to provide an accessible voting system that operates

properly, you should still exercise your right to vote by voting with


If you are unable to vote privately and independently on an accessible

voting system at your polling place during a federal election because there

is no accessible system available or the system is not operating, the most

important thing you can do is to file a HAVA complaint with your state or

local board of elections. While HAVA guarantees the right of blind and

visually impaired voters to vote privately and independently, it does not

provide them a means to enforce this right through private action when it is

violated. Therefore, filing a HAVA complaint is the most effective way blind

voters can be sure that problems are brought to the attention of election

officials and the U.S. Department of Justice, which has authority to enforce

HAVA. Because there is no private right of action under HAVA, it is

imperative that blind voters who are not able to vote privately and

independently at their polling place during a federal election file a HAVA

complaint so that the Justice Department has a true picture of the problems

that voters with disabilities are experiencing.

Make Your Voice Heard

The United States Constitution guarantees the right of all blind and

visually impaired citizens to vote, and the exercise of this right is vital

to the function of our democratic form of government. With the passage of

HAVA, it is now possible for blind and visually impaired citizens to

exercise their right to vote both privately and independently. Making your

voice heard through voting is imperative because state and federal elected

officials implement policies and pass legislation that directly affect our

lives as blind or visually impaired people. Make your voice heard. Register

to vote and exercise your right and responsibility to vote!

Upgrading to Windows 10

By Tim Hornik, LMSW

US Army Captain, Retired

By the time many of you read this, you undoubtedly heard that Microsoft released Windows 10. After all, this information has been broadcasted everywhere from main stream news sources like the BBC to the Huffington Post, email alerts from Microsoft and assistive technology companies, and even an update to Windows 10 button found in the task bar on Windows 7 and newer. Based on this dissemination to a wide audience to update, individuals with screen readers and screen magnifiers are left wondering if they should. The purpose of this article is to provide you with an awareness and some recommendations about updating to Windows 10.

General Windows 10 Accessibility
In large part, the Windows 10 operating system is a very stable and enjoyable system, especially when compared to Windows 8.1. Just using Narrator, I have been able to access Windows 10, with little to no issues. Keep in mind that Narrator is not a full fledge screen reader still, but is fully capable of performing many simple tasks. Microsoft Accessibility has released one warning about accessibility issues for screen readers and its new internet browser, Edge. Microsoft states:

quote, For web browsing, Microsoft recommends that users of assistive technology avoid the new default Edge browser at this time and switch to Internet Explorer or another browser you may have used in Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. quote.

The rest of Windows 10 works just as one expects it should. Even the Digital assistance, Cortana, has been a pleasure to invoke, through the shortcut Windows Key plus C or hitting the microphone button next to the search box on the start menus.

Individuals using JAWS 16 will be happy to learn that JAWS is fully compatible with Windows 10. In fact, Freedom Scientific proudly states that upgrading will be seamless, provided one follows a few steps located on their Upgrading to Windows 10 page, found here:

As for older versions of JAWS, you might wish to hold off updating to Windows 10 until you can obtain JAWS 16. Freedom Scientific stated that JAWS 16 is the only version of their screen reading software that will work with Windows 10 without any issues.
For individuals running ZoomText 10.1, AI Squared released an update that will enable ZoomText to work properly after updating to Windows 10. The actual version number is ZoomText 10.1.14. AI Squared stated that the update will be free for those who received a copy of ZoomText 10.1 after June 1, 2015, but those using ZoomText 10.0 or older will have to purchase an upgrade. For more information, visit the below link:

Similar to JAWS, the latest version of Dolphins Guide, version 9.04, is ready for the Windows 10. If you are running an older version of Guide, obtain an update prior to considering the upgrade. For more information, visit Dolphins website:

Free Screen Readers
Both NVDA and the latest version of Window Eyes for Office are fully compatible with Windows 10. The only issue one might encounter is a pop up window that appears in the task bar that states the software is not compatible with Windows 10. However, as an NVDA user, I can attest to not encountering a problem with NVDA.

Final Thoughts
Since obtaining this information about which assistive technologies are compatible with Windows 10, one must ask the question if upgrading is right for you. If you are perfectly comfortable with your current Windows setup, there is nothing wrong with not upgrading. Windows 10 offers a few new interfaces and features, but ultimately it is your comfort level and trust with your current setup that is important. By not upgrading you save yourself much frustration trying to learn the locations of various items you might be very comfortable with right now.

There is no need to rush into Windows 10 immediately. Microsoft stated that they will continue to support Windows 7 until 2020, which provides you with five more years of software and security updates.

Holiday Safety and Security, Part 1

By Robert D. Sollars

It is the most wonderful time of the year! This song was sung more than 50 years ago, and it is still a Christmas classic. The warmth, fellowship, and compassion that is shown this time of year towards everyone, mostly, is truly wonderful. But, there are innumerable hooligans and miscreants out there that wish to rob you of your holiday warm and fuzzy feelings. So in an effort to try and help you to avoid those criminals, here is a list of tips that may help you.


You must be aware of who and what is around you at all times. This sounds simple enough but during the holidays it really is not. And, the first unusual thing you will read here is that it really helps you to be a tad bit paranoid and watchful of everything and everyone around you, literally, and not just the special sales and gifts for Mom.

While not being pessimistic and suspicious of people, you definitely need to take care and be wary of potential scammers and those following you. Those stalking you may want to take advantage of you and the fact that you are not aware of everything going on around you.

Carry only 1 credit or debit card, and NEVER flash a wad of cash around. Criminals that are stalking you will watch how you pay for your purchases, and if they spot numerous credit cards or a huge wad of cash in your wallet, it makes you an obvious target, and you might not be aware of a person constantly following you around a store. Know where you are at all times. This goes along with the first tip. You must be constantly aware of where you are and how you got there. Wandering mindlessly around the mall like you are in a daze, which is common during the Christmas season, you may forget or overlook some little issue that may become a bigger problem when you try to leave the stores with your packages.

Carry your wallet in your front pocket, and this goes for you as well ladies. This is weird tip #2, but stop and think for a moment. Which pocket is closer and harder to get into, your rear or front pocket? If you carry your wallet in your front pocket, then it is less likely to be a target of a pick pocket.

Ladies, if you are not wearing pants with pockets, place your purse around your neck and shoulder and wear it on your chest. This will make it harder for someone to steal or open it up . You never want to make yourself an easy target. Therefore, make those pick pockets find someone else to target.

Make frequent trips to your car. This goes along with the last tip. If you plan on shopping til you drop, then make sure that you do not drop from being robbed! Make a purchase or two and take it to the car. Then go back to the next store or bargain special. This will allow you to keep your hands free, and you will be able to pull out your keys quickly.

Never ever, carry so many packages that you are unable to see well or your hands cannot move freely. If your hands are full, and you cannot reach your keys easily, you make a very easy and inviting target to a criminal. This is especially true if your hands are full while walking to your car.

As with number 1 above. ALWAYS be aware of what’s going on around you.

Here is another tip that may help during those Christmas shopping outings. Keep your keys poking out between your fingers. It makes a wonderful weapon to slash a criminal who tries to accost you. And it also helps you to save time in unlocking the car, so that no one can pounce quickly.

The 2nd part of this post will be in the newsletter next month. Look for it so you can stay safe & secure during the traditional holiday rush.

I certainly hope that the Christmas and holiday season will be wonderful. And I ask of you, those who celebrate, please remember the reason for the season. If someone is rude and surly to you, remember that they may have had someone be rude and surly to them earlier (even if they just started). A smile and a few kind words may go a long way in the warmth and fellowship of the season.

The Bookshelf, 2 Selections

Do you love to curl up with a good book? Been meaning to read that best seller? Here are two book selections that you may wish to read! If you have a book that you absolutely loved and want to share your thoughts about it with us, please send in your write up to:

Happy reading!

Book #1, The Stranger


Written by Harlan Coban

Read by Jason Culp

Reading time 9 hours, 37 minutes
Genre: Suspense Fiction

Married father, Adam Price, is approached by a stranger who tells him Adams wife faked a pregnancy a while back and instructs him how to confirm it online. When Adam demands an explanation, his wife asks for time, and then disappears. Strong language and some violence. 2015.

Download The stranger

Book #2, In the Shadow of the Cypress: A Novel


Written by Thomas Steinbeck

Read by Jeff Harding

Reading Time 7 hours, 57 minutes

Genre: Adventure

In 1906, marine biologist, Charles Gilbert discovers two artifacts under the roots of a storm toppled Cypress tree that prove the Chinese arrived in America before Columbus. A century later, surfer/scientist Luke finds Gilberts journal and searches for the treasure. Commercial audiobook. 2010.

Download In the shadow of the cypress:

Healthy Choice, Healthy Living, Finding the Motivation to Exercise

By Lawrence MacLellan

Hello everybody!

This month I would like to share some ideas about exercise, but first let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I attended a school for the blind at a early age where their gym program was excellent. There were lots of activities to choose from and I did them all.

When I joined the work force I continued to be active, running, weight training, karate, track and field, goal ball, power lifting and whatever else I could do to stay in shape.

I was fortunate enough to have good guiding vision, but as some of you know, who have RP, then you know that the vision you enjoy is temporary. This caused me to change what I do to keep healthy and in good shape. Working full time also made it more challenging.

For nearly 30 years I have been working full time, working from my home. My wife and I also raised 3 children and my work involves 40 to 50 hours a week.

The reason I am telling you all this is because I still manage to workout 4 days a week and part of my work is to motivate people to make positive changes in their lives.

Here are a few things that I hear when people tell me that they do not exercise.

I have no time.

I have no energy.

I do not know what to do.

I cannot afford a membership at a gym.

I have no motivation.

I have no room in my home to exercise.

I cannot afford exercise equipment for my home.

I am too embarrassed to ask for help

As you can see, there are lots of reasons why people do not exercise.

There is so much information about health and exercise and it can get very confusing. It seems that everyone is an expert, and some of the information is very extreme. The only thing that you can do is to check your results after 3 or 4 weeks of exercise, and I can only offer you what has worked for me as a blind person. Most of us cannot play tennis or squash, and going to a gym by yourself can be very stressful, not to mention dangerous

The following are some tips that may help you get started, or if you are already exercising, the following may motivate you to step up your exercise program.

1. Make time. Pick 3 or 4 times a week that you are going to exercise. Think of it as a part time job. You have to show up and make sure that the times are set in stone. Know the night before that you have to exercise. If someone wants you to do something else at that time, tell them you are booked up, and that you have an appointment. That appointment is with yourself.

2. Ask for help. If you do not know what to do then ask someone that can help you. YouTube is a great source of information and motivation. Have someone check out videos and help you with a program.Tap into people who know how to workout and find something that works for you. It is okay to ask. It is not some kind of weakness or failure.

3. Keep track of your exercise program and your progress. Use a talking timer to keep you honest. A timer will make sure that you do not cheat. It is very easy to say, that is good enough and quit early. You may want to weigh yourself and take a few measurements, and each week you can check how you are doing. Seeing results will encourage you to stay with it.

4. Start out slow. Remember, you are not training for the Olympics, and you want to still be able to exercise when you are in your seventies and eighties, or even longer. A good rule is to stop exercising knowing that you could do more, but that it can wait until tomorrow. Make it easy at first, and watch the results. It is not what you start out with, , it is what you are able to do after 6 months and what you can do when you are in your later years. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

5. Check your belief system. What limitations have you placed on yourself? You only need a little floor space, maybe a free wall to use, a chair, a counter top and if you are real lucky, a set of stairs. You can also find exercise equipment for free. There are lots of people who have exercise gear that they would love to get rid of and pass on to the next person. They may even deliver it to your home. Keep your options open. Do not say, I cannot do it. Instead, say, I am working on it.

6. Build your gym. If you are working out in a gym, it is a good idea to have a friend to workout with to help keep you accountable. If you are working out at home, look at what space you have, and what your options may be. Bungee cables take up no room, and they are not very expensive. Dumb bells and an adjustable bench take little room and can be a big part of your exercise program. Build your exercise space, adding new things each month. Give it time to build up and that way, you will have a better idea of what you need.

7. Cover all of the bases. Make sure that your workout involves flexibility, resistance and cardio. In other words, stretching, working your muscles and getting your hart rate up. Learn about working out and keeping your heart rate in a safe zone. Use a talking heart rate monitor if you have any concerns. Pay attention to how you are feeling, and play it safe. Do not continue if you are not feeling well. Remember, stop knowing that you could do more and that you have the rest of your life to exercise.

8. Chat with others. Keep in touch with other like minded people. Chatting with others about exercising and staying healthy will really help to keep you motivated. Learn from each other, share what works and what doesn’t. Challenge each other, and set goals. The blind community is well connected now that we are able to use a computer. Chat sites, Skype, and email are just a few ways that we can stay connected and help motivate each other.

9. Complement your exercise program. To really be successful with exercise, it is very important to drink lots of water, eat healthy food, get enough sleep, and keep a positive attitude. Be consistent and do not set your goals too high. Make it easy, enjoyable and give yourself a pat on the back.

10. Be smart. If you have any medical condition that may make it difficult or dangerous, please check with your doctor or someone who can help you. Even a little activity can make a big difference. Stay within your limits and for others that can challenge themselves more, go slow and increase your activity gradually.

I hope that this may be of some help to someone. I would like to close with the following quote.

Quote, Being healthy and fit is not a fad or a trend. Instead, it is a lifestyle. Quote.

Flick, Swipe, and Tap, To Close or Not to Close the Apps on Your App Switcher

Submitted by Rich DeSteno

By Neil Hughes

Recently, in talking with some friends about the app switcher, it was stated that
apps should be closed in the app switcher when not in use in order to
save battery life and data usage. I mentioned that I had heard on an
instructors podcast that this was not accurate and that there was no
need to close apps. I just came across a new article on the subject,
which also asserts that it is of no value to close apps on the app
switcher. Here it is for those of you iPhone users who are interested.

Stop force closing apps on your iPhone, it is not making it run faster or last longer

By Neil Hughes

Yes, you can force close iOS apps by double pressing the home button and sliding the app window up, but you should not make a habit out of regularly doing it. Here is why.

Constantly swiping up on all apps to force close them is a waste of time.

For years, iOS has included the ability to force close an app by accessing the app switcher view. While the look and feel of multitasking has changed with different iOS updates, the basic functionality and intent have stayed the same. The app switcher is just an easy way for users to quickly jump between recently used apps.

However, many users mistakenly believe that all apps shown in the app switcher are currently running in the background on their phone, draining performance and battery. That is incorrect.

Apples iOS platform does allow for intelligent multitasking, meaning some apps will operate or finish a task in the background, then automatically close.

However, the iOS app switcher shows all apps that have been opened on an iPhone or iPad, regardless of whether or not they are actually running in the background.

Misconceptions about the iOS app switcher have led many users to adopt the habit of double pressing the home button and swiping up on all apps, constantly, in a futile effort to improve their handset's battery life or performance.

The truth is, that habit is a waste of time.

For proof, restart your phone, then double press the home button without launching anything. You will see all of the same recent apps in the app switcher, despite the fact that iOS has been completely rebooted and nothing has been opened.

The only time you should force an app to close is if it becomes unresponsive or erratic. For example, if you are using Facebook and the app has crashed, return to the home screen, then double press the home button, then swipe up on the Facebook window to force it to close. Reopening Facebook should return the app to its normal state.

If you are truly worried about battery life and performance, actual effective ways of improving it include lowering your screen brightness, manually turning on the iOS 9 Low Power Mode, or digging into settings to disable Background App Refresh (under Settings, then General).

The Local, State, and National Organization: 3 Parts of a Whole

Braille Monitor, April 2006

By Fredrick K. Schroeder

I have been a member of the National Federation of the Blind for many years. I

am not quite sure when I moved from being a new member to being one of the

old timers. I have always felt that I was one of the young people in the

Federation, still with much to learn. Given that I joined in 1974 and since it's

now 2006, I suppose I no longer have a claim to being one of the new people in

the organization. Yet it is gratifying to look around this room and see how many

new and dynamic leaders we have in our organization. It gives me great

encouragement and hope for the future.

As many of you know, I grew up in New Mexico. I lived for several years in

California and later Nebraska, but in 1980 I moved back to New Mexico and began

getting active in our state affiliate. At that time blind people in the state

had very limited opportunities to obtain the training and encouragement they

needed to live active, productive lives, yet we were Federationists and knew

that things could be better. In 1986, after years of effort, we were successful

in creating a separate agency for the blind, the New Mexico Commission for the

Blind, and I was hired as its first director.

One day in the late 1980’s I was sitting at my desk, and I received a telephone

call from a young blind woman living in Tucumcari, a woman I did not know. She

used a guide dog, and she called to say that she had gone to a local restaurant

which refused to admit her with her dog. She insisted on calling the police, and

when the police came, she told them about the White Cane Law that guaranteed her

right to take her dog into a restaurant. Unfortunately the local police were not

aware of the White Cane Law either and refused to require the restaurant owner

to admit her, so she was turned away. She called the Commission for the Blind

asking for help, and of course we did help. We contacted the restaurant and the

Tucumcari police, and we were able to resolve the issue. But I remember thinking

to myself, Here it is, the late nineteen eighties, and a young woman in Tucumcari, New Mexico, has the legal right to take a guide dog into a restaurant. But why does

she have that legal right? Whether she knew about the National Federation of the

Blind or not, her right to take her guide dog into a local restaurant was a

result of the efforts of the Federation, and even the intervention of the state

agency, the Commission for the Blind, was also directly linked to the work of

the Federation.

In 1967 New Mexico was the first state in the nation to pass the Model White

Cane Law in its entirety. Because Pauline Gomez and other Federationists in New

Mexico had worked with the legislature twenty years earlier, this young blind

woman in Tucumcari, New Mexico, had the right to go into a restaurant and take

her dog.

But where did the Model White Cane Law come from? The idea did not originate

with blind people in New Mexico; it had been conceived a year earlier. It

started as an article that our president, Dr. tenBroek, wrote and published in

the California Law Review in April 1966. The title of the article was quote, The Right

to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts. Quote. In that article he

talked about fundamental principles of civil rights for blind people, a concept

that was not generally established in law at that time. In Dr. tenBroeks words,

quote, Nothing could be more essential to personality, social existence, economic

opportunity—in short, to individual well being and integration into the life of

the community, than...public approval, and the legal right to be abroad in the

land. Quote.

At that time a smattering of state laws provided some level of legal protection

for blind people around the country, but no systematic guarantee of rights

existed for blind people generally. Dr. tenBroeks article included the draft of

a model White Cane Law that would grant to blind people many of the protections

we take for granted today. At our 1966 national convention we voted to seek the

adoption of the Model White Cane Law in all of the fifty states. As a result

leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico went home and

worked to have the Model White Cane Law passed by the state legislature so that

twenty years later a young blind woman in Tucumcari who knew nothing about the

National Federation of the Blind would have the right to go into a restaurant of

her choosing and to take her guide dog in with her.

But the Model White Cane Law did much more than guarantee blind people access to

restaurants with their guide dogs. At that time, some of you are too young to

know this, it was not uncommon for blind people traveling alone to be told by a

bus company or an airline that they would not be allowed to travel unless they

were accompanied by a sighted person, and it was perfectly legal for the bus

company or airline to do so. It was also not uncommon for blind people to be

turned away from a hotel on the basis that they might unknowingly start a fire

or have some other kind of accident that would endanger themselves or others,

and the hotel had a legal right to do so. Recognizing that blind people needed

the guarantee of basic civil rights, Dr. tenBroek drafted the Model White Cane

Law, and brought it to the national convention. As a national movement we made

its adoption in the states a priority, a unified effort of our Federation.

The Model White Cane Law demonstrates how the national, state, and local bodies

of our organization work together, each with its role, each with its job to

do, separate and yet parts of a cohesive whole. It demonstrates our unity, and it

shows something else. It shows how our philosophy binds us together. What gives

us direction, what makes us strong and unified, is our shared belief in our

fundamental normalcy; and, as Mrs. Jernigan pointed out to us, the truth of our

equality has evolved past belief, past hope, into knowledge. We know that as

blind people we can in fact live normal, productive lives and that blindness is

nothing more than one of our many characteristics; it is not the overarching,

all defining characteristic of who we are. The truth of our normalcy, our

equality, is the foundation of what we believe and drives our actions; it

organizes us and gives us unity and focus.

There is a concept in open systems theory called negative entropy, entropy

being defined in the physical sciences as the tendency for all matter and energy

in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity. When applied to

social systems, entropy is defined as the inevitable and steady deterioration of

a system or society. In plain language entropy means death or dying. That said,

what then is negative entropy? By definition it means that, in order to survive,

an open system must arrest entropy, a universal law of nature, by incorporating

acquisitions equal to or greater than its exports. That is, negative entropy

means to be alive, but, more than alive, it means to grow or expand or develop.

So in open systems theory why use the term negative entropy? Why not simply say

expanding, growing, or developing? Why be so convoluted? Why not talk about

death as contrasted with growth rather than entropy with negative entropy? The

reason is that, according to open systems theory, social organizations drift

toward death. If not resisted, if not actively combated, systems lose vitality

and die. Applying this concept to our movement, if we are not expanding, if we

are not growing, if we are not continuously taking on new challenges, then we

will inevitably drift toward death. It is not enough to continue doing what we

have done in the past. We must constantly challenge ourselves and push forward,

staving off entropy through the process of negative entropy. Our success can be

seen through our history, in the lives and examples of many of our members.

We have a legacy of pioneers in our movement, and their spirit guides our

efforts today and lays the course for the future. In February 2006, a man in

Santa Fe, New Mexico, named Albert Gonzales died. He was ninety three years old.

In the nineteen forties in New Mexico, Albert was the first blind person to earn an

undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University. He went on to be the

first blind person to graduate from the Georgetown University School of Law. He

returned to New Mexico and became the first blind person to be elected judge in

the state and the first blind person to serve in the New Mexico legislature. He

was a very successful man who practiced law for sixty years, although he slowed

down a little as he reached his nineties. Albert Gonzalez was a pioneer, yet

today the National Federation of the Blind has an entire division of practicing


At about the same time as Albert Gonzales began practicing law, a woman in New

Mexico named Pauline Gomez became the first blind person in the state to

graduate from the University of New Mexico. Pauline wanted to be a teacher, but

in the nineteen forties, if a blind person wanted to teach, it was presumed that he or she

could teach only other blind people. Employment was limited to educating

children at the residential school for the blind or training blind adults

through the state rehabilitation agency. But Pauline did not want to teach at

the school for the blind at the other end of the state and away from family and

friends. With the help of her family, she opened a private kindergarten, Los

Niños, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I do not know if it was the first private school

owned and operated by a blind person in the nation, but if not, it certainly was

one of the very first. Pauline ran her school for many, many years and was a

true pioneer. Yet today, through the work of the National Federation of the

Blind, we have an entire division devoted to blind teachers.

What do the experiences of Albert Gonzales and Pauline Gomez teach us as

affiliate presidents? How can we learn from their lives, and what do we do from

here? Of course there is no one answer. We must start with our fundamental

beliefs, beliefs that have now matured into knowledge, and apply them to the

present situation facing blind people in our individual states. In other words

we must determine what needs to be done, and then we must find a way to make

change, to make a difference.

Some of us have the good fortune to live in states that have had strong, active

affiliates for many years. That means we have an established infrastructure,

making it easier to share the work, mentor new members, and train up and coming

leaders. In other states our affiliates have been smaller, more isolated, and

less active. Still we must begin at the beginning, start where we are and move

forward from there. Many years ago, when I moved back to New Mexico, I attended

a local chapter meeting in Albuquerque. That was in September of 1980. At the

meeting people were invited to sign up for handicapped day at the state fair. It

was the practice to recognize special groups with free admission on a designated

day. On handicapped day blind people and others with disabilities could enter

the fair without paying (along with their attendants) and would receive a free

cheeseburger, Coke, and french fries from the Hardees hamburger restaurant for

lunch. Our chapter meeting was spent signing people up for handicapped day at

the fair.

I was discouraged. In that room only one blind person was employed. Many of the

people in the room were in their forties or fifties, had gone to the school for

the blind, yet had never worked in their adult lives. That was the condition for

blind people in 1980 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. What was the need? Where and

how were we to begin? Of course we had a pressing need to change the

rehabilitation system, to help blind people obtain the training necessary to

find work and become self supporting; but the immediate need, the more urgent

and important need, was to instill hope, the belief that we could work, could

participate, could live normal, active lives.

Making such changes is not automatic and not easy. When I became blind, I

believed I was destined to be helpless, dependent, and isolated. I think that is

a common assumption among people as they lose sight. Most of us did not have

blind role models to encourage us while growing up, the role models we find in

the National Federation of the Blind. When I was a teenager losing sight and my

mother and others tried to encourage me by telling me of blind people who were

doing miraculous things, I was not encouraged; I was angry.

I was angry because their dramatic achievements were so at odds with my own

experience of blindness. I did not feel remarkable and knew I could never do

remarkable things. I concluded that the stories of extraordinary blind people

must be lies: they must simply be untrue, or, if the reports were true, it must

be that they had had a lot of help behind the scenes. If the stories were lies,

I could not understand why anyone would want to give false hope to others. Iwas

not encouraged, and if they were true, that meant that I must be even more

inferior than I already believed because I knew in my heart that I could never

be remarkable or achieve exceptional things. To be average was beyond my

ability, and to be remarkable was absolutely beyond wishing, beyond yearning,

beyond hope.

In 1980 what we had in our affiliate were ordinary blind people who had grown up

believing that they could not participate, that they could not earn a living,

and that they could not be in charge of their own lives. To begin turning this

around, we had to start learning what we could do through collective action. We

decided that we needed a blind person on the board of regents of the school for

the blind. The school was NAC (National Accreditation Council for the

Blind)-accredited and unresponsive to our views. They fought our efforts to have

a blind person appointed and were successful. The school had a lot of contacts,

a lot of credibility, and a lot of political support.

We failed in our efforts to get a blind person appointed, but we did not give

up. We next went to the legislature asking for a bill to be introduced that

would require the board of regents to include a blind person. We learned much

along the way; we found that you can get just about any bill you want

introduced, any bill. If you go to a local legislator and say, quote, You know, I think

Groundhog Day is very important and is really overlooked and underappreciated, quote,

the legislator will most likely thump you on the back and say, quote, I share your

concern, and, by golly, I will be glad to put in a bill for you making this

state give Groundhog Day the respect it deserves. Quote. As I say, it is easy to get a

bill introduced.

It does not mean that you can get any bill you want passed. That is a very

different matter. We found a bill sponsor, and sure enough she put in a bill

calling for a blind person to serve on the board of regents. She introduced our

bill, but she neglected to tell us when the first hearing was scheduled. With no

one there to speak for the bill and school officials quietly working behind the

scenes to have it killed, the bill was tabled. Tabling a bill is a common way of

killing a bill without killing it. Generally someone asks a question or offers

some other reason why the committee cannot act on the bill at that time, so it

is tabled for later action, but it never gets scheduled. In fact it never sees

the light of day and dies.

We lost, but we did not lose all. We scared the school for the blind; we showed

them we had energy and commitment, even if we lacked sophistication. They got

busy and found a blind person who would be in their camp, not rock the boat, not

push for meaningful change, and they got the governor to appoint him to the

board. Then they could say to the legislature that there was no reason to amend

state law because they already had a blind person on the board of regents. So we

lost. We failed in our attempt to change the governance of the school. We should

have been depressed, sad, demoralized; but of course we were not. We felt the

injustice of what had happened, and it made us more resolved.

We lost in our attempt to change state law, but the experience helped to show us

that blind people could take charge of our own lives, that we had power and

could make a difference. Is having a blind person appointed to the board of

regents of your state’s school for the blind the most pressing need in your

state? I have no way to know. I do not even know if it was the most pressing

need in New Mexico at that time, but it was a need that was in front of us, and

it energized us and gave us focus.

We battled with the school for years, trying to get the board to drop the

school’s NAC accreditation, and by so doing we strengthened the affiliate. Blind

people began seeing that there was a reason for being part of the organization

beyond social activities, beyond signing up for a handicapped day activity. Yet

of course we never demeaned handicapped day at the fair or the people who

enjoyed it and looked forward to it. We never put it down or suggested that

people who liked going were in any way deficient. We never said that it was

something that hurt blind people, our public image and our self image. Yet, as

our members became more active, growing in self respect, signing up people for

handicapped day at the fair went by the way, replaced by other issues, other


In 1994 I moved from New Mexico to northern Virginia. As I prepared to move, I

thought back to my first chapter meeting fourteen years earlier. Perhaps fifteen

people were in attendance that day, and only one had a job. At my last chapter

meeting in 1994 about seventy people were present, and everyone in the room was

either working or in college, everyone! These were the same blind people who had

been living in the state in 1980, people who had never worked, never believed

they could work, never been encouraged to work; yet they were now working

because of the National Federation of the Blind. Of course to go to college, to

go to work, takes resources. We had to make changes in the rehabilitation agency

system, creating a separate commission for the blind. But beyond the structure,

what we really did was take our philosophy, our belief in the ability of blind

people, and combined it with the resources of a state agency.

The commission for the blind provided training. It gave people the chance to

learn how to travel with a white cane, to learn to read and write Braille, and

to master needed technology. The commission sent people to college and helped

them find jobs, but at its core the commission integrated what we believed about

the abilities of blind people into its services. This is good rehabilitation; it

works and the blind of the state are its beneficiaries. We believed in people.

We shared the National Federation of the Blind with everyone we could find, and

the commission for the blind was our ally, encouraging people and promoting high

expectations, and it is still happening today.

It is happening in New Mexico, and it is happening in Iowa. It is no surprise

that today the New Mexico Commission for the Blind and the Iowa Department for

the Blind battle back and forth each year to see which agency will have the

highest wages for its clients at closure. It is no coincidence that New Mexico

(which by the way has the highest wages in the nation this year) and Iowa

consistently rank at the top in real earnings for the people they serve. And

that is not just when comparing them to other agencies serving the blind; that

is compared to all rehabilitation agencies across the nation. Why do New Mexico

and Iowa always rank at the top? Is it because New Mexico and Iowa are wealthy

states with superior job opportunities? This year New Mexico is the only state

in the country that places clients in jobs paying more than the state average.

This is from a state that, when I was there, ranked forty-third in the nation in

per capita income.

So why does the New Mexico Commission for the Blind do so well? Because of the

National Federation of the Blind and integrating our philosophy into its

programs. Most states are afraid to join with us openly, fearing criticism for

taking sides, but the ones that do are invariably the high performing ones. Not

because they side with us against others, but because they know that the essence

of good rehabilitation is high expectations, helping people learn to believe in

themselves and learn that they do not have to be powerless but can be in charge

of their own lives and achieve their goals and that the agency will stand with


We created the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. It was not easy, but we knew

that it was important. We first tried in the nineteen seventies and were not successful. In

1985 we went back to the legislature and tried again, and again we lost, but we

got closer than we ever had before. Our bill had passed the senate and had made

its way through the relevant house committees. On the last day of the

legislature, our bill was up for final passage in the house. Unfortunately the

house and senate were battling over issues unrelated to us. As a result both the

house and the senate decided not to take action on any of the remaining bills.

Each side was holding the other’s bills hostage, but we did not know that. We

just wanted our bill to pass. We had worked hard, and it had made its way

through the senate and had been passed out by all of the house committees. All

it needed was final passage. On the last day of the session, the session

adjourned, and our bill died. We had lost.

On the way out I ran into the director of the state rehabilitation agency, and

he was smirking. He had fought the effort to separate blind services from his

agency, and he had won. A month later, when I wrote inviting him to speak to our

state convention, he wrote back and said that he was too busy preparing for a

special session (that had not been called) to come. In other words he felt that

he did not have to be responsive to the blind of the state and wanted to make

sure we knew it. We were down but not out. I called a new member, Arthur

Schreiber, who had just lost his sight and who at the time was the general

manager of the largest radio station in New Mexico, one of the largest in the

entire Southwest. Radio may not buy ink by the barrel like newspapers, but

Arthur had the loudest voice in the state, so politicians listened when he

talked. I called Arthur and told him that the director of the rehabilitation

agency would not come to our convention and meet with us. Arthur called the

speaker of the house and asked him to meet us for lunch. We drove to Santa Fe in

his company car, a Mercedes, and had lunch with the speaker of the house. The

speaker had not supported our bill during the session, but when we told him of

the treatment we had received from the director of the agency following our

defeat, writing to say that he was too busy to meet with his constituents, the

speaker began to understand just how unresponsive the agency was and why we

wanted a change.

The speaker of the house offered to call the director and tell him to go to our

convention and meet with us. I should have let him make the call, but I was

stunned; it was the day before our convention, and I was not expecting the

speaker to offer to take such immediate action. I wasn't used to being around

Arthur and getting that kind of response, so I told the speaker that calling the

director was not necessary. That was a mistake. It would have shown the director

that we were not going away and that we had some significant clout of our own,

but I did not take the chance when it was offered. Even so, the speaker of the

house became our ally and helped us the following year.

Other things happened to help win us additional supporters. On the last day of

the session we were sitting in the first row of the gallery, looking down on the

house floor. We wanted to be visible. We had our canes propped against our

shoulders, where they could be seen. Our senate sponsor was in the room, talking

with other legislators. Another legislator came up to him and said, quote, I think

I will get on the microphone and ask everybody who supports the commission for the

blind bill to stand up and take one step forward. Quote. This legislator must have

thought asking blind people to take a step forward from the front row of the

balcony was a great joke, but our bill sponsor did not think it was funny. From

that moment it became personal and the next year he worked even harder for us.

We had no high priced lobbyists. We had only ourselves and our dreams. We had

people who believed that they could take charge of their own lives, people who

wanted to be employed and to have the chance to be productive. The next year,

1986, we went back to the legislature, and this time we were successful in

passing the bill to create the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. We made a

difference. We reshaped services for the blind in the state. We created the

opportunity for blind people to get the training and services they needed to go

to work, but the most important thing was that it showed us, the blind of the

state, that we could take charge of our own lives, that we did not need to live

in dependency and poverty, that by standing together we could forge our own


One of our members who testified at a legislative hearing was a woman who worked

in the sheltered workshop. During her testimony she held up her most recent

paycheck. For two weeks of work she had earned only $5.27. Her story was

powerful. It made a difference to the members of the legislature present in the

room that day, but it also made a difference to her. Working in a sheltered

workshop making $5.27 for two weeks work does not instill confidence; it does

not help you believe that you are in charge of your own life; it does not

encourage you to feel like a normal, capable, productive individual. But when

she spoke to the legislature and talked of the injustice she and other blind

people faced, her testimony helped us pass our bill, and it gave her strength to

stand up for herself and others.

What we must do as affiliate presidents is to look at conditions in our states

and see what needs to be done. Perhaps you live in a state with a strong

affiliate. If so, you have an advantage, a head start. But whether your

affiliate is mature or fledgling, the same need exists. We must focus our

members on working to improve our collective lot, our collective opportunity.

This will change your state, and in the process it will change us: it will give

us new strength and confidence.

This morning Mrs. Jernigan spoke about how Dr. Jernigan felt when he walked into

the convention hall, the uplift of spirit and the sense of excitement and hope. I

share the same feeling. The convention is powerful. We receive a wealth of

information, but it is being in a room with three thousand of my brothers and

sisters, being where people believe that blindness does not mean inferiority,

does not mean helplessness, that makes the difference in my life. It is

rejuvenating, and I believe it is something that every blind person needs.

When we try to recruit new members, what can we do to bring them in and make

them a part of our movement? First we must be respectful of where they

are, whether confident and accomplished or fearful and isolated. Next we must

channel their interests and encourage them to be involved. We must put them to

work to show them that through our collective labor we can be in charge of our

own lives, our own destinies.

In Virginia we recently started a new parents division. We have not had one for

some time and needed to get it going again. Last fall we held a seminar for

parents of blind children. We will hold a second one this spring in another part

of the state. Next month we will have a membership drive in Charlottesville. If

we are able to recruit new members, capture their interest, capture their

imagination and commitment, we will be stronger as an affiliate; and they will

be stronger as individuals. We are not selling snake oil. This is serious work.

We are offering people something that they personally and urgently need. So

where should we concentrate our energy? The national level? Absolutely. The

affiliate level? Absolutely. The local level? Absolutely. At all levels of our

organization, local, state, and national. If we have strong chapters, we will

have a strong affiliate. And if we have strong affiliates, we will have a strong

and dynamic national organization.

As in open systems theory we have the choice to live or die, to grow and expand

or to fade away, to stave off entropy through negative entropy or to give up. If

we are not growing, we are dying. We must continuously look for ways to find

blind people, to focus their energy and ability, their time, their money, and

their imagination in support of an overarching, fundamental belief in our basic

equality. When I joined the Federation, I found blind people whom I could

admire, blind people who were living active, productive lives, blind people

doing interesting things and doing them without fear and without reservation.

When Dr. Maurer takes the gavel and conducts our convention, he is a living

testament to what we believe: that we can be in charge of our own destiny

through our collective work. He gives us confidence and perspective, and by

extension, through his personal dignity he gives us dignity. Before finding the

Federation, I could not have believed that I could live a dignified life, full

of challenges and rewards.

This is who and what we are. We work hard to expand opportunities for blind

people. We may work to have a blind person appointed to the board of regents of

the state’s school for the blind, we may work to restructure rehabilitation

services, we may work to start or rebuild a parents division, we may work on

outreach to blind people who need us and who do not know about us, but whatever

the activity, the bedrock of what we do is to help blind people develop a belief

in our basic equality and over time help that belief mature into knowledge. We

must teach through action. What we say about blindness is true. As we do more

and touch the lives of more people, we are made stronger as an organization, and

our members are made stronger as individuals. This is our mission. This is our

responsibility and challenge. Alone we have only ourselves; together we have the

power to change our lives. Alone we are vulnerable to entropy, to the death of

spirit; together our future is bright. This is the National Federation of the

Blind, the promise of real equality, equality not just as hope or even belief, but

as certainty, as knowledge.

The Recipe Box, After Thanksgiving Casserole

By Debi Chatfield


2 cups, diced turkey meat

1 package, flour tortillas

1 can, chicken broth

1 can, cream of chicken soup

1 can, cream of celery soup

1 can, cream of mushroom soup

1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

1/2 pound, grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon, garlic powder

1 can, Rotel tomatoes & chilies

1 teaspoon, chili powder


Chop turkey into bite sized pieces. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Drop tortillas into boiling broth.

Soak until wilted. Line bottom of 9 by 13 inch pan with tortillas. Add a

Layer of turkey, then onion, pepper, and cheese. Spread soups evenly over above mixture. Add chili powder and garlic powder to tomatoes & chilies. Pour over all. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour in preheated oven.

Enjoy! Best Dishes!

Debbies List

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** Are you blind and a lover of craft making? Would you like to share your love
of crafting with other like-minded people? Would you be interested in
learning a new craft taught by and geared specifically for blind folks? If
the answer to any of these questions is yes, then visit the NFB Crafters
Division website at
We offer a free email list for discussion of all crafts with friendly folks
ready to help in any way.
We also offer classes in both phone conference call as well as email
formats, which are only available to members of our division. The cost for
membership is $20 per year allowing a member to take as many classes as they
wish. Having offered 72 classes in 2014 in a wide variety of crafts, you are
certain to find classes to peak your interest.
Check out our membership page, join during our early bird special in March,
and get four months free.
For questions, please contact our president Joyce Kane at,

Cathy F.

** a Useful, Stylish New Idea!
When you go out for a walk, or running to class, are you looking for a way to easily carry your water bottle and cellphone, in a way that would be both stylish and practical? Are you looking for something that can hold many items, yet is not heavy on its own? Well look no further than the Invisibag! This is a stretchable belt like strap that clips easily around your waist. It contains two zipperred pockets, one for a conventional water bottle, and one that is the perfect size for your smartphone. With the water bottle pocket you will be able to carry around a water bottle, without the need to carry a purse or backpack, as it simply hangs from your belt. The cellphone pocket allows you to carry your cellphone in a safe, secure environment. You can feel your cellphone vibrating, yet it is difficult to steal as one must open the zipperred pocket to get the cellphone out. And when you're done using it for the day, just take all your items out and let it sit around your waist. it is so light you will not even notice.
As these are imported products, you will not find them anywhere on the U.S. market. I personally handle all the importing and costs myself. I'm asking only $20 per each one.
Please send me an email at, if anyone is interested.

Harrison Tu

** Join a Free Voice Chat Site Community on the Web!

Would you like to meet other blind or visually impaired individuals from across the country and around the world? Do you like challenging interactive games, old time radio, learning about adapted cooking techniques, a monthly book club, product presentations, chess instruction, computer tech help, Bible Study, a blindness support group, a weekly talent show, iPhone discussions, and much more? Join our free chat community at:

Stay Connected

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If you have any changes in your contact info for the state roster, chapters, or divisions, please write to:

and we will send your info to the appropriate people and make the necessary corrections.

Contact our President, Bob Kresmer at:

888 899 6322, or write to:

If you would like to submit an announcement or article for publication in this monthly newsletter, please send your submission to:

Grins and Groans - The Usual Endings

Submitted by Bob Kresmer

What goes ha, ha, ha, plop?

Someone laughing his head off!

What do you get when you cross a fly with an elephant?

A zipper that never forgets.

Can an elephant jump higher than a lamp post?

Yes, lamp posts cannot jump!

Debi Chatfield


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