Skip to Content

News and Views February 2016

National Federation of the Blind of Arizona

News and Views

February, 2016

In This Issue

Greetings from Our President
Word on the Street
Guess Who Just Took Another Trip Around the Sun
NFB Launches Registration for Worldwide Blindness Conferences
Regional Transit Plan
SAAVI Hike and Bike Event
Secure Those Credit and Debit Cards
The Book Shelf, 2 Selections
Merchant Division Report
West Valley News
Inaccessible Uber and Lyft Apps
Healthy Choice, Healthy Living, What are You Doing About it?
Rim to Rim to Rim, A Blind Mans Hike Across the Grand Canyon and Back
Flick, Swipe, and Tap, The iStick
Gadgets and Gizmos , The Dot Watch
Fun Facts About the Super Bowl
The Recipe Box, Creamy Rice and Chicken 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,

While people in Washington, DC and Baltimore and other eastern cities are enjoying and enduring the cold and snow, we are busy preparing for pleasant outdoor activities and avoiding sunburns!

NFBA quarterly board meeting Saturday, February 13, from 9:30 to noon. You can participate by calling in to the telephone conference call number at,
605 475 6777
Pin, 06322 #

We will be discussing the direction our state affiliate will take during 2016, our budget and expenses for the year, fundraising opportunities, and other matters of interest to our chapter and division members.

Have you a strong interest in participating in the NFB national convention for the first time?
The Kenneth Jernigan stipends are available, on a competitive basis, for NFB members who have yet to attend a national convention. You must contact your state president for a recommendation for a member or parents of a blind child. You must contact me soon so we can construct an application that can win the stipend. Stipends average about four or five hundred dollars, so you will need to be able to contribute some of the necessary expenses yourself. My phone number is, 888 899 6322 toll free, and my email address is,
We need to complete our interview by April 1, 2016.

If you are interested in competing for one of the thirty NFB national scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, you must act now! You must prepare an application packet that includes an interview with the NFB state affiliate president, me. Please make arrangements to give me a call, so we can make sure your application for a national scholarship is as competitive and timely as possible.

We will be visiting our legislators at the capitol before February is over, and have a number of issues to discuss with our state legislators. We will be sending out details soon.
We have already advocated for some issues, including changes to the use of service animals in Arizona, and advocating for increased funding for RSA Vocational Rehabilitation.

We encourage you to participate in the town hall budget meetings the Arizona legislature is holding in different cities Gilbert, Glendale, Tucson, and Yuma. We will send out alerts that include the time and place for each These Arizona budget forums will give us the opportunity to learn about and advocate for a better budget without having to travel to the legislature. Each chapter can assemble chapter members to speak to our best advantage!

Gilbert, Saturday February 20, 10:00 AM
Glendale, Saturday February 20, 1:00 PM
Tucson, Saturday March 5, 10:00 AM
Yuma, Saturday March 19, 10:00 AM

It is now the heart of winter, but our chapters and divisions are hard at work planning spring seminars, picnics, outdoor activities, and blind children activities! Learn more about these at our Saturday, February 13 quarterly board meeting!


Bob Kresmer, President
1 888 899 6322.

Word on the Street

New baby!
Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow Hilliker welcomed a baby girl on Jan 9 in Scottsdale AZ. Her name is Allyssa Kathleen Leveda Hilliker. She was born at 11:42PM, weighing 7lb 9.3oz and measuring 20.5inches. Allyssas 2 middle names were chosen after her 2 grandmothers, Kathleen Hilliker and BettyLue Leveda Kelley.

Allyssa is healthy and growing well. She has a lot of light brown hair and chubby cheeks. Allison says they love her a lot and are incredibly happy and sleep deprived! smile
Congratulations to the new mommy and daddy!

Happy Anniversary!
Debi and John Chatfield will be celebrating their 3rd wedding anniversary on Valentines Day! Congratulations!

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 NFBA members!

February 6, Fred Rockwell, from Phoenix.
February 8, James Woods, from mesa.
February 14, Debbie Feliz, from Mesa.
February 14, Patrick Hamblin, from Mesa.
February 16, Erma Seals, from Tucson.
February 19, Eric Sharlat, from Mesa.
February 19, Kathy Hilliker, from Glendale.
February 22, Mark Feliz, from Mesa.
February 28, Ned Sgroi, from Mesa.

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:

NFB Launches Registration for Worldwide Blindness Conferences

By Chris Danielsen

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the World Blind Union (WBU) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) Joint Assembly.

The WBU/ICEVI Joint Assembly, hosted by NFB of the USA, will take place in Orlando, Florida, USA from 18 to 25 August 2016 at the beautiful Rosen Centre Hotel. The WBU/ICEVI Joint Assembly will give the WBU, ICEVI, and all of their members the opportunity to share important information, knowledge, and best practices while promoting even greater collaboration among blind individuals, organizations of the blind, service providers, and other stakeholders at the global level.

To register, click on the following link:

Please note that registration for the WBU/ICEVI General Assembly is only available online. Registration will close on 1 June 2016.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: quote, We are excited and proud to host the first World Blind Union General Assembly to be held in the United States. Hosting this important meeting of the worlds blind is a natural step for us, as our founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, also helped found the International Federation of the Blind, and we have sought to improve the lives of the blind throughout the world by participating in international efforts ever since. We look forward to meeting our fellow advocates from many nations and to finding opportunities to collaborate on various projects and initiatives, so that all members of the global blind community can live the lives they want. End quote.

The registration website features information on a number of important topics, including:
Joint Assembly information

Registration details


Airport transportation

Exhibitor information

Destination information, such as information on Orlando and the surrounding area, typical local weather in August, and tourist information

Travel information, such as information on visa requirements, medical insurance, guide dogs, vaccinations (Yellow Fever), and traveling with medications

The registration website does not feature General Assembly documents. Please visit the WBU and/or ICEVI websites for specific General Assembly documents. Follow this link to the WBU General Assembly page: .

Follow this link to the ICEVI General Assembly page:

Regional Paratransit Plan

Valley Metro is seeking comments from members of the public, including but not limited to Dial a Ride customers, family members, friends, agencies whose customers use Dial a Ride service and others, regarding a series of policy recommendations, which Valley Metro staff will be making to the Valley Metro RPTA Board of Directors.
This document summarizes the recommendations for which comments are being sought. The Board will be requested to take action on these recommendations February 18, 2016.

Valley Metro, in cooperation with a Technical Working Group comprised of staff members from each member agency, and a Stakeholders Group, comprised of Dial a Ride users and other members of the senior and disability advocacy community, engaged in an eighteen month process to update the approach for providing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit, locally referred to as ADA Dial a Ride. There were two basic goals for this process:

1. Increase the regional consistency of the policies and procedures, which each of the five local Dial a Ride providers use to operate service; and 2. Develop an approach for providing regional Dial a Ride service that reduces or eliminates the requirement for customers to transfer when traveling between one or more local Dial a Ride service areas.
Taken together, the recommended Dial a Ride policies described herein will significantly improve service consistency throughout the region while eliminating the need for customers to make transfers when traveling between local Dial a Ride service areas.

Specific Policy Recommendations:

Recommendation #1:
Eliminate Dial a Ride Transfers:
Valley Metro staff recommends that all ADA regional Dial a Ride trips be provided as, one seat rides and that all Dial a Ride transfers be eliminated based on the following policies:

Regional service will be for ADA certified riders making ADA eligible trips at times when a comparable trip can be made using fixed route bus and/or light rail service.
Regional trips will be provided by Valley Metros regional Dial a Ride contractor.

Regional service will be provided as shared ride service, meaning that vehicles may pick up and drop off other passengers while on route between a customers pick up and drop off.

The one way fare for each regional Dial a Ride trip will be $4.

Recommendation #2:
Implement the following policies and procedures for individuals who wish to use ADA Dial a Ride in accordance with ADA Visitor Eligibility requirements In keeping with regulatory requirements as well as current practices, the following visitor eligibility policies and procedures are recommended:

Documentation of ADA paratransit eligibility issued by other transit agencies will be accepted.

Visitors who have not been granted ADA paratransit eligibility by another transit agency and who indicate disabilities that are not, apparent, (e.g., psychiatric disability, seizure condition, non apparent health condition) will be asked to provide some readily available documentation of their disabilities.

Visitors who do not have documentation of ADA paratransit eligibility from another transit agency and indicate an, apparent,
disability (e.g., use a mobility device, use of a long white cane or dog guide) will not have to provide documentation of disability.

Visitors will be provided up to 30 days of service within any 365 day period. For additional service, visitors will be asked to go through the regional ADA paratransit eligibility determination process.

All individuals who request service as visitors will be referred to the regional Mobility Center to be registered for service. The Mobility Center will gather appropriate documentation and will enter approved visitors into the regional ADA rider database. Visitors’ ID numbers will include a unique character to identify them as such.

The Mobility Center will include visitors in the regular, ongoing updates of rider eligibility that are sent to each Dial a Ride operation.

Recommendation #3:
Define the Dial a Ride service area:
The ADA Dial a Ride service area will be defined as any area within three quarters (3/4) of a mile of a transit route or light rail station. The ADA Dial a Ride service area will also include any relatively small areas, which are more than three quarters (3/4) of a mile from the nearest transit route or light rail station but are surrounded by areas within three quarters (3/4) of a mile of the nearest transit routes and/or light rail stations.
Non ADA Dial a Ride service areas will be defined by each community that provides non ADA Dial a Ride service.
The current Dial a Ride service area, including ADA and non ADA service areas, can be viewed at the following link:

Recommendation #4:
Establish Dial a Ride days and hours of service:
What follows are general hours of operation for each of the Dial a Ride providers serving the Phoenix metropolitan area. If local bus or light rail service is available before or after the stated hours of operation in the area where the rider will be traveling, service may be requested by calling the local Dial a Ride provider:

Phoenix and the Southwest Valley: Daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
East Valley: Daily from 4 to 1 a.m.
Glendale: daily when and where Valley Metro operates local bus service
Peoria: Weekdays from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Northwest Valley Dial a Ride: Weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Non ADA days and hours of service are established by each community that provides non ADA Dial a Ride service.

Recommendation #5:
Establish Dial a Ride reservations hours Request a trip by calling a local Dial a Ride provider:
Phoenix: 602 253 4000, daily between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
East Valley: 480 633 0101, daily from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Glendale: 623 930 3515, daily between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Peoria: 623 773 7435, daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Northwest Valley and unincorporated Maricopa County: 602 266 8723, daily between 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Hours vary for non ADA Dial a Ride trips.

Recommendation #6:
Establish advanced reservations policies for Dial a Ride ADA Dial a Ride trips can be requested one to fourteen days prior to travel.
Advanced reservations requirements for non ADA Dial a Ride trips vary and are established by each community that operates non ADA Dial a Ride service.

Recommendation #7:
Establish policy and procedures for Dial a Ride subscription trips The following procedures apply for both ADA and non ADA Dial a Ride trips.

A subscription trip is defined as a trip from the same place, to the same place, at the same time, on the same day or days of the week for at least a month. Once a subscription trip is established, the trip will be provided automatically, unless notification is made by the rider to change or cancel it. In all communities except Glendale, a subscription trip may be requested as long as the trip occurs at least once per week. In Glendale, only trips that take place on three or more days per week may be requested.

Recommendation #8:
Clarify Dial a Ride trip booking procedures For ADA Dial a Ride, riders can book trips based on a desired pick up time or a desired appointment time, but not both. In accordance with ADA requirements, the provider may offer a pick up time that is up to one hour before or after the requested pick up time, and the provider may factor in travel time to permit for shared rides. The riders total travel time should not exceed the time required to make the same trip on fixed route transit.
Procedures for non ADA Dial a Ride are the same, but the provider may offer an available pick up time that is more than one hour before or after the requested pick up time.

Recommendation #9:
Clarify the Dial a Ride Pick Up Window Policy For both ADA and non ADA Dial a Ride, providers will communicate a thirty minute pick up window to the rider. The vehicle will be on time as long as it arrives to transport the rider within this pick up window.

Recommendation #10:
Clarify the Dial a Ride Boarding Window Policy For all communities except Glendale, Dial a Ride vehicles will wait a minimum of five minutes for the rider to board the vehicle. If the vehicle arrives to transport a rider before the start of the thirty minute pick up window communicated to the rider, the vehicle will be expected to wait until the start of the pick up window. In Glendale, vehicles will wait at least two minutes. If a rider needs longer to board, the driver will be expected to wait.

Recommendation #11:
Clarify Dial a Ride Rider Assistance Policies The following rider assistance policies apply for both ADA and non ADA Dial a Ride trips.
Service in all communities except Glendale will be door to door, meaning that the driver will be expected to meet the rider at the outermost door of the pick up address and then to accompany the rider to the outermost door of the destination. Service in Glendale will be curb to curb with door to door service provided upon request.
Notwithstanding, the driver will not be allowed to lose sight of his or her vehicle when it is occupied by any other rider. All Dial a Ride providers will explore strategies for providing, call outs, to riders who are unable to see the vehicle when it arrives and/or to others who may have difficulty knowing when the vehicle has arrived.

Recommendation #12:
Establish the following Dial a Ride Package Policy The following policy applies for both ADA and non ADA Dial a Ride trips.

Packages can take up no more than two cubic feet of space (e.g., three brown paper grocery bags or six plastic grocery bags).

The total weight of all packages cannot exceed 50 pounds.

In addition, one piece of luggage and one carry on bag will be accommodated.

Driver assistance getting packages on and off the vehicle and to or from the door will be provided on request.

Drivers will assist carrying an unoccupied child seat, but will not carry a child in a car seat.

Examples of articles that cannot be brought on board will be provided in a detailed package policy.

Recommendation #13:
Clarify the policy for unaccompanied children For ADA Dial a Ride, children who are seven years of age or less must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The age thresholds for when children may travel unaccompanied on non ADA Dial a Ride vary by community.

Recommendation #14:
Establish the following No Show and Late Cancellation Policy and Procedures The following applies for both ADA and non ADA Dial a Ride service.

A No Show is defined as an instance when the rider fails to board the vehicle when it has arrived on time (within the pick up window) and when it has waited the required five minutes and/or when the rider has informed the driver that he or she will not be taking a scheduled trip.

A late cancellation is defined as an instance when a rider cancels his/her trip less than two hours before the start of the thirty minute pick up window.

No shows and late cancels that are beyond the riders control will be excused.

If a rider accumulates three or more unexcused No Shows and/or Late Cancellations during a calendar month, a review of the riders travel will be conducted to determine the frequency of No Shows and Late Cancellations.

If a riders unexcused No Shows/Late Cancellations percentage exceeds ten percent of all trips scheduled within a thirty day period, the rider will be subject to the following sanctions:
• First occurrence within a calendar year, Written Warning. • Second Occurrence within a calendar year, Seven day suspension. • Third Occurrence within a calendar year, Fourtee nday suspension. • Fourth Occurrence within a calendar year, Thirty day suspension.

Riders will be advised of planned suspensions in writing and riders’ suspension letters will be mailed not later than fourteen days before a planned suspension will be scheduled to begin. This notice will include information regarding the riders right to file an appeal.

If a rider files an appeal, the suspension will be delayed while the appeal is pending.

SAAVI Hike and Bike Event

By Mike Armstrong

The Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, (SAAVI), presents our Third Annual Hike and Bike Workshop Saturday, February 20th 2016! This is a free event for blind children ages 6 to 18. Participation exposes the children to adaptive hiking and cycling. SAAVIes Instructors will teach and demonstrate effective and safe ways to hike and bike while totally blind.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend to learn simple yet effective ways to guide their child. There will also be opportunities to captain a tandem bike.
We will meet at SAAVI at 9 AM, or inside of the North Mountain Visitors Center on 7th Street between Thunderbird and Cactus. Event starts at 9:00 AM at SAAVI or 9:30 at North Mountain Visitors Center. Please have all attendees wear appropriate shoes. No slip on shoes, flip flops, or shoes with high heels.
These types of activities can really improve the quality of a persons life. It will help the child/teenager build confidence and get a better understanding of what they can accomplish.
Please contact Mike Armstrong at,
to RSVP. or if you have any questions, please call Mike at:
602 795 0195, extension 102.

Secure Those Credit and Debit Cards

By Robert D. Sollars

This article will be covering simple things you can do to help protect yourself when using your credit or debit cards online. It could be very upsetting, not to mention frustrating, to learn that your credit limit has been reached on your credit card, or worse, your bank account has been drained of every last Penney.

Both of those scenarios happen on an all too frequent basis across the country. In some instances, it could even be foreign nationals trying to use some get rich quick schemes, or doing some other mischievous actions. Even more often, it is just plain criminals doing what they do, which is stealing from other people, because it is easier than working an actual job.

Credit Cards:
When you are out shopping and using your credit cards, try not to take a whole fistful with you when walking through the store or mall. This advice is also true for shopping online. Take one or two cards and use only those cards.
No matter where you are, always keep a list of credit card phone numbers close by and handy. Whether you keep them in your wallet for traveling or at home in a desk drawer, it is imperative that you have them close by you. Why you ask? In case your cards are missing, and you need to notify the credit card company, (or bank), that they have been lost or stolen. However, never keep the actual card numbers in the same place. Always keep them in separate places.

If someone breaks into your house and finds the phone numbers, do you really want them having the card number as well? They can always call the number and change the address, not to mention getting a new card. Keeping them in your wallet is trickier, but a risk you may have to take.
Have the credit card company use a security question to make any changes. Most of them will do that, and it does give you another layer of security if your card gets lost or stolen. But, again, make it a question that only you, or your spouse, can answer.

Even more care needs to be taken with your debit card. Debit cards do not offer the same protections as credit cards when it comes to fraudulent charges. When you lose or get your credit card stolen, it is like losing a piece of paper with a phone number on it. You are not liable for most charges that occur on the card after it is lost or stolen.

Debit Cards:
With a debit card, it is like dropping your money on the street and leaving it behind. If someone gets a hold of it, or the accompanying numbers, then they can spend all of the money in your bank account. Unfortunately, the account can be drained very quickly, and for some of us that depend on a fixed income, that can literally be devastating.

When using your cards while shopping, especially your debit card, do not let anyone watch you put your PIN number into any store payment terminal. Do your best to hide your card when you are using it to get money back from the cashier or at the ATM machine as well. To do this, leave your finger over the card until you have put it away.

There are some reports that thieves were using their iPhones to snap pictures of peoples cards while they were using them! After they did this, they made up a dummy card and ran amok spending all kinds of money. When using your debit card, have the cashier run it as a credit card. That way, you do not have to input a PIN number, and for some folks, this can help save some unwanted frustration. Just remember to record it in your bank book so you do not accidently over spend from your account.

When shopping online, it is just like going out and being in the store itself. Many people and websites are just waiting to take your numbers and run with whatever you give them. And while I will have a couple of tips for you on keeping your cash where it belongs, then just be paranoid and cynical about anything you find online.

One added tip for both credit and debit cards is that at all swipe payment devices or locations, ensure that it has not been compromised by a skimmer device. This is a device that will steal your card info by reading the magnetic strip information. If it is a stand alone machine, such as at a gas pump, then check to ensure that the state inspection seal tape is still intact. On all others look closely at the insert slot. If something looks weird or fishy, then most likely, there is a problem.

Robert D. Sollars is a 32 year veteran of the security field. Despite his blindness, he has continued to try and save lives and property by writing and consulting, with 2 published books, and a twice weekly blog, and has appeared in the media on a range of security topics. Contact him for questions or advice at, 480 251 5197, or contact him on his various social media platforms, Facebook, linkedin, twitter, or his blog site,

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 Revenant


Written by Michael Punke

Read by Ted Stoddard

Reading time 9 hours, 9 minutes
Genre: Western Stories
Missouri River tributaries, 1823. When a trapper is mauled by a grizzly, he is left behind with two volunteers who soon abandon him. Deserted, defenseless, and enraged, he vows to survive, and exact his revenge. Based on the real life of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Some violence and some strong language. 2002.
Download The revenant

Book #2, The Beach Trees


Written by Karen White

Read by Jill Fox

Reading Time 14 hours, 51 minutes

Genre: Family
Julie Holt becomes the guardian of her late friend Monicas five year old son Beau and inherits a beach house in Biloxi, Mississippi. While introducing Beau to Monicas estranged family in New Orleans, Julie gradually rebuilds her life, and discovers why Monica had left home. 2011.
Download The beach trees

Merchant Division Report

By Brad Kuhn

Last week the All Manager Meeting was held. This is a meeting that is held twice a year. We get reports from the Business Enterprise program Administrator and Fiscal Manager. At this meeting we also had a number of brokers report on new products, and a presentation about Non24. During our lunch hour, the annual awards were given out. This year it is very exciting to report that the awards were all received by Merchant Division leaders and members:
Cafeteria Manager of the Year:
Val Luttenburger

Prison Vending of the Year:
Mike Feeney

Vending Manager of the Year:
Debra Smith

Chairman Award:
Tim Mead

Inspiration Award:
Mike Feeney

Operator of the Year:
Scott Webber

A number of operators were recognized for operating more than one location during the last year.
During the afternoon we held discussions about the training program, prison commissaries, BLAST and a variety of other issues important to the Arizona program.

West Valley News

By Marc Schmidt

For those who were not able to attend the January 23 West Valley Chapter meeting, I think it was one of the better meetings that we have had in a while. Not having the distractions of a restaurant, since we were meeting in a large conference room, we were able to get a good amount accomplished.

With 9 of our 17 paid members present, we barely achieved quorum. But, we are proud to announce that we welcomed two new people to our chapter, Ed and Bonny Seach, who decided to join our chapter at the end of the meeting.

Here are the main things that the chapter decided during the meeting:

1. We will continue holding our meetings at the Banner Hospital, located at, 5555 West Thunderbird Road, in conference room 1. It will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 on the 4th Saturday of every month, as every other month was deemed to be too infrequent to get things accomplished. The next meeting falls on Saturday, February 27, at which annual dues will be collected, to determine who is eligible to vote at the elections in March.

2. At the meeting in February, we will discuss committees,which are currently advocacy, fund raising, membership and recruitment, outreach, and socials. Once their chairmen have been established, short and long term goals will be developed.

3. Before elections take place at the March meeting, persons interested in running for a board position should let me know in advance, as well as find someone who'd nominate them from the floor.

4. Nicki Jeffords will help promote our chapter by creating a page on Facebook.

5. We decided on a design for a T shirt to sell for a chapter fund raiser, and Kristen will check into the cost of printing them. anyone with contacts to T shirt printers should contact Kristen at,
720 299 8039.

Here are some important events coming up, that you won't want to miss:
February 13 at 9:30 to noon: State board meeting conference call, (open to all).

And, last but not least, you will want to plan on attending this years National Convention at the Orlando Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, June 30 through July 5.
Reservations can be made via, 866 996 6338. Rooms just $83 to $89 a night plus 13.5 percent tax. Warning: Rooms tend to fill up fast.

Inaccessible Uber and Lyft Apps

By Tina Sohl

My NFBA Family,
Myself and many Android users are requesting advocacy help with the Uber and Lyft apps. The apps have become inaccessible due to recent updates, and the companies seem unwilling to make changes. Here is where you come in. I am hoping we can all help by emailing and requesting they change what is inaccessible, so blind Android users can once again use these apps more easily. Can you please help? For more information and contact info for these companies, please contact me at:

Healthy Choice, Healthy Living, What are You Doing About it?

By Lawrence MacLellan

Hello everybody,
Some of you may be wondering who is this person that is giving advice each month? Telling you to drink more water, get more sleep, start exercising, lose weight, eat healthy food, be positive, be nice and to take charge of your life.
Well for those who do not know who I am, I am a full time Reflexologist for over 20 years, and my work is in motivating people to make healthier choices.
People come to me with all kinds of problems: overweight, depression, low energy, insomnia, anxiety and many other problems. The first question I ask people is, quote, What are you doing about it? End quote. That question can be a surprise to some, because they want me to fix them. To give them the magic solution, the herb that will take care of everything, the piece of advice that will change their life. In other words they want me to do all the work, to make it all better, to take away all of their problems.

Usually when they leave my office they have a plan and I tell them to be full into that plan before they come back to see me. I also tell them that the clients that get the most results are the one’s that follow the program that we agreed to. Their efforts are what make the biggest difference.

So lets say that you have a magic Genie and you have 3 wishes. What would they be?
To have perfect vision.
To have perfect health.
To have lots of money.
To find the love of your life
To have lots of friends.
To feel safe.
To have all the help you need.
There are hundreds of ideas or wishes that you could make. and my question to you is, quote, what are you doing about it? End quote.

You may not be able to do anything about your blindness or other situations in your life, but there are things you can do about most of the problems that we complain about. There is not a magic potion that will fix everything.

Last month I suggested making small changes, ones that are easy and that you can believe in. When you make 5 or 6 healthy changes then you can start with changes that are more challenging.

Do not be surprised when you make a wish list or a magic Genie wish list, you may find that you already have a lot of what’s on your wish list.
We have it better then we think, but for the things that we would like to have, ask yourself that question,
What am I doing about it?

Come up with a plan and stick to it. Remember the people that have the most success are the ones that have a plan and follow it.
So now when you ask yourself, quote, What am I doing about it? End quote, you have the first two steps to your success.
1. Make a plan.
2. Stick to the plan.
Make the plan simple and add healthy changes to it as you go along.
Take care and happy planning!

Rim to Rim to Rim,

A Blind Mans Hike Across the Grand Canyon and Back

By Mike Armstrong

Editors Note:
On May 15 and 16, students, staff, and volunteers from SAAVI, will be hiking into the Grand Canyone for a 15 mile, down and out hike on the South Kaibab Trail. There is also a partial hike of the Grand Canyon on May 8 and 9. Mike Armstrong will be leading these adventurous hikes, and in anticipation of these upcoming hikes, below is an article he wrote after hiking from south to north to south (rim, to rim, to rim) in the Grand Canyon, on October 9 and 10 2010!

I participated in another amazing hike on October 9th and 10th of 2010. This time it was a Rim to Rim to Rim hike across the Grand Canyon. This hike a thon was to benefit blind children. This forty eight mile trek was a truly incredible experience, challenging my mind, body and will to succeed.
After the Kilimanjaro climb in 2009, everyone was asking, What is next? It turned out to be a rim to rim trek from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This made the most sense, because we have one of the worlds seven natural wonders right here in our home state. The date was set for 10/10/10.

Now are you wondering about that extra rim to rim I mentioned earlier? Well my team was in training for an eight hundred mile hike in April of 2011. The hike runs from the Mexico border to the Utah border on The Arizona Trail. We felt that hiking that extra twenty four miles would give us a good idea of what to expect from our upcoming forty day trek across Arizona. We were not disappointed.
Ben Cane, Greg DePinto, and I headed up on the afternoon of the 8th. After spending the night in Flagstaff, at my in laws, (Chris and Dave), we awoke at 2:45am to set out for the South Rim of the canyon. Our plan was to meet up with a friend of mine, (Cat Isfan) at the Bright Angel trail head at 5am. We assumed that two hours would be more than enough time to drive seventy eight miles. The elk crossing the road every few minutes put a bit of a glitch in that plan. At 5:40am we finally arrived. It was a bit later than we wanted, but we thought we would still be able to meet up with the rest of the group on the North Rim by 5pm. This was the deadline for us to make the group picture.
As we started down the South Rim at 5:47am my thoughts were focused on making darn sure of where my guides were. I knew that if I slipped and fell off the side there would be no helping me. With a drop of a thousand feet or more I would be dead. Ben and Greg were very aware of this as well.

When I hike I follow the sound of bear bells while using a set of trekking poles to feel out the terrain. Greg was in the lead with several bells attached to his pack. Ben gave verbal clues and even put himself on my ledge side to make sure that I did not fall off.
The guys had to wear head lamps for the first hour or so of the morning. The temperature was pretty chilly at about forty degrees. Even though I am totally blind I could feel the immensity of the Canyon.
As we worked our way down the switch backs we went through two caves and avoided several huge puddles of mule piss.
As the sun came up the temperature began to rise and we stripped down to t shirts and shorts. I could hear the awe in the guys voices as the sun came over the horizon. They tried to describe to me how amazing the views truly were. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for a hike.

Our first break was at Indian Gardens. This is a common destination for people who wish to camp in the Canyon. I have been told that one must reserve a camp site as early as a year in advanced to be assured a permit. It is approximately four and a half miles from the trail head and is equipped with rest rooms and water. After a quick snack and water refill, we were back on the trail.
This is where the trail becomes rockier. It also is a bit more congested. We had to pull over for a couple of mule trains. We also passed some small streams and even a couple of water falls. Gradually the trail dropped down into a sandy/rocky terrain similar to a beach or river bottom. A few miles of this lead us to the Colorado River.
The sound of the river was awesome. The guy’s were surprised at how muddy it was, but they were stunned by the beauty and majesty surrounding us. After letting another mule train pass us we stepped up to the bridge. It was made up of steal grating for the floor with thick wire fencing sloping away from us as it arose to about eight feet. The floor was about two feet wide and I could feel it move under my feet as we walked. The sound of the river running below us helped me appreciate how high above it we were and the fact that it took us at least three minutes to cross illustrated how wide the river was. As we walked across we talked about how they probably used rope bridges at first. We could only imagine how intense that would have made the crossing.

A short hike later and we made it to Phantom Ranch. Phantom Ranch is a mixture of camping sites, cabins, a hotel and a small general store. It was now noon and we were less than half way. Here is where we had our lunch and a well needed break. We spent about twenty minutes eating our sandwiches and drinking a couple glasses of their home made lemonade. The trail was much smoother at this point so we decided that we could make the next six miles to the Cottonwood Campsite before filling up our water. This decision we later came to regret.
From this point on it would be about 99% up hill. We had thirteen and a half miles to go and only four and a half hours to make it. Regardless, we were in great spirits and the trail was easy (at first). Over six thousand vertical feet is nothing to take too lightly.
The following six miles had some of the most beautiful scenery of the canyon. After leaving Phantom Ranch the trail ran next to a river through a box canyon. As we started to ascend the foliage became almost tropical. There were several bridges and the sound of water was always with us. The smells and feel of this section were intoxicating. I loved the feel of pushing passed reeds and foliage on the trail. A great majority of this portion of the trail was quite smooth. We did hit a few rocky and tight spots here and there, but nothing too challenging. Ben said it would be a great place for a ninja ambush.
After traveling for two and a half hours I ran out of water in my hydration system and started in on my water bottle. I usually have an average hiking speed of two and a half to three miles an hour, so we figured that we would have no problem making the Cottonwood Campsite before getting low on water. We were wrong. The last mile was a bit tough without water, but we made it.
The Cottonwood Site was a relief. You can hear the waterfall in the distance. This is also were we start getting into the trees. We were all starting to feel the hike, but were still strong. While we sat on the picnic benches we fueled up with bars and trail mix, filled up our water and only lost about ten minutes.
The time was 3:20pm and we had eight miles to go. I was not too optimistic about making our five o’clock meeting. This is when Cat turns to me and says, quote, From this point on it will get harder, end quote. The trail became, and remained, pretty steep and rocky the rest of the way up. As we hiked through the trees and over bridges, along rock ridges and moved along death drops we kept our spirits up. Around six we came upon a woman coming down and asked her how much farther to the top. She looked at us and said, quote, You are at least three hours from the top. End quote. Cat and Ben had both previously hiked from north to south and they said that there was no way we were still that far out. An hour and a half later we ran across another hiker coming down and he said, quote, At your present rate, you should make the rim in another two hours and twenty minutes or so. End quote. He then added, quote, I hate, yet love this canyon, but this is the last time I am hiking this thing. End quote.

We could not believe we had another two and a half hours left. It was already seven, my legs were cramping up and all of us were getting tired.
Greg suggested we play a game to help pass the time. He said that we should each name a sport, but it must make money. So we spent the next hour thinking of and chiming off different professional sports. This helped until we eventually ran out of ideas. The last thirty minutes were gruelling, but we made it out at 8:20pm with soar feet and legs.

Now we needed to find our group and get prepared to do it all over again the next day. As we stood at the top of the north rim we were wondering where our ride to camp was. Our cell phones did not work and the van was not there. We asked a lady in a car if she had seen a van with some people looking for a blind hiking group. She said she did, but they left about ten minutes ago. She then added that she wished she could take us to the camp, but she was waiting for her family to come out. So we started walking down the road toward camp. Ten minutes later Cat had cell signal and called Marc to come pick us up.
Upon entering the van we were greeted by Marc, Max, and Yancey. Then Marc asked me, quote, How long did it take you? End quote. Quote, Fourteen and a half hours, end quote, I answered. Marcs reply was, quote, We are screwed end quote.
Entering the camp that night was awesome. Yancey had set up Gregs tent and put all of our supplies inside. I also had Yancey pick up some beer for us on his way up. For the next two hours we ate, drank, showered and celebrated our accomplishment as well as Gregs forty third birthday.

Day Two
We started our second day at 4:20am. After tearing down and packing up our campsite, we had a breakfast of muffins, bagels and coffee. I followed this up with vitamin I (Ibuprofen). We were running a bit slower than the rest of the group, so we were in the last van out and arrived at the trail head at 5:45am.
It was a bit chilly and we were all road weary from the previous day. My first five minutes were rough, but as my body warmed up my muscles felt pretty good. This was a very pleasant surprise and we started to move. The up hill challenge of the night before turned into a rather fast and fun hike that morning. We also had the added encouragement of all our other team mates.
We made it to the Cottonwood Campsite at 9am and took a ten minute break. We made sure to refill our water and set off.
The different teams were spread out all along the trail. There were forty three of us in all and as we met each other we encouraged and motivated our fellow hikers.
There was a photographer for the Arizona Republic named Mike taking pictures as he hiked with us. The Republic also sent Dennis to write up a story on our adventure. They floated from team to team and were really nice guys.
We reached Phantom Ranch at 12:30pm in need of lunch and a break. I was starting to feel the thirty nine miles of hiking over the last two days. After eating and sucking down some more lemonade, I sat down outside to retie my boots. While sitting there Dennis approached and asked me if I would mind giving him an interview. So I told him about my blindness and why I do these hikes. I explained to him about how we are going to hike the Arizona Trail in April of 2011. I think that he thought I was a bit crazy and maybe he was right. The guys and I were ready so we threw our packs on and set off.
Crossing the bridge over the Colorado River was just as amazing the second time. It was cool to hear the other blind hikers experiencing the same things I had the day before. Right after the bridge the guys started razzing me about the interview. Saying things like the great Mike Armstrong, the awesome Mike Armstrong and such. Then Cat asked, quote, How come every time you want to do something amazing, the rest of us have to suffer? End quote. We all laughed and then Cat offered to start an Amazing Ben website if Ben would only carry our packs up the South Rim. This type of joking kept us amused all the way to Indian Gardens.
At Indian Gardens we refilled our water and took a five minute break. There was a television station interviewing some of the other hikers and Tanner was getting interviewed by the ASU paper. Just as we were starting up the last four and a half mile leg of the hike Dennis caught up with us. He became an unofficial fifth member of our team.

The last three hours were brutal. At times I thought that my legs were done, but they did not fail. All of us kept climbing, cracking up the whole way. After what seemed like forever and a day we made it to the top of the South Rim at 7:00pm with a final time of thirteen hours and fifteen minutes. This beat our south to north time by an hour and fifteen minutes.
We immediately went to the lodge and relaxed over a couple beers and some food.
Shortly after Greg and Cat left, Ben and I headed over to the trail head to wait for Yancey and to see how everyone else was doing. It must have been pretty comical to see Ben and me trudging along.
The Grand Canyon is truly a natural wonder. The views I heard about were awe inspiring. One does not need to see this treasure to appreciate or experience it.
During The hike Dennis asked me, quote, Why do you do this, I mean you cannot see the view? Is it for the bragging rights or something else? End quote. I proceeded to tell him that it was a mix of reasons. I want to help inspire people to do more with their lives regardless or in spite of any hang ups or handicaps they may have. Also our entire group helped raise funds for the blind of all ages, but especially for the children. Bragging rights are fine, though what it is really about for me is finding a challenge and then meeting it. These kinds of adventures help me understand about what living a truly full life is. I am just so happy that I have been blessed with a family and friends that help support me in these endeavors. Without their support I would not be able to participate in these adventures.

Flick, Swipe, and Tap, The iStick

By Rita Howells

Often there are questions about how to transfer files from a computer to an iDevice. Many members of this list so graciously give instructions about the myriad of ways that content can be transferred from a PC or MAC to an iOS device: which include using iTunes, DropBox, etc.

I found this information while doing a Google search about the iStick USB drive. This offers another way to transfer and access files on an iOS device.

Please note: any files you download will be located in the iStick app downloads folder on the app and not transferred to your music app or ringtones location in your iPhone Settings/Sounds.

iStick is a multi-functional storage device for PC,MAC, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. iStick has a standard USB interface and a lightning interface for iPhone, or an iPad, when connected to a PC with the USB interface.

This article came from, The Blind perspective.

By Cheryl Spencer

Those of you that have an iPhone may join me in my struggles in navigating iTunes when it comes to transferring content from your computer onto an iDevice. Well glory be! There is an alternative way of getting the job done. It is called an iStick.

It is a flash drive for the iDevice. It comes with both a USB connector and a lightning connecter. Simply insert the USB into your computer, copy and paste from your music or mp3 files onto the drive. Detach it from the computer, then connect it to the iDevice via the lightning connecter, and the iPhone, for example will recognize the drive is connected. You will then be asked to visit the app store and download the app that the drive uses.

Open the app, and in my case, once I found the files on the drive, I chose the share button, and selected save to downloads. Now the files will be located in the downloads folder on the app. How cool is that! It was an answer to many frustrating hours I had spent trying to figure out how to sink my music files from iTunes.

The price for this little treasure varies and can be purchased from Best Buy, Amazon, and eBay. I got the 16 gig, but larger capacities are available.

To join the iDevice list, send a blank email to

Gadgets and Gizmos, The Dot Watch


The Dot Watch, which turns text messages into Braille for the blind, is being celebrated as the first major innovation for visually impaired readers in nearly 15 years.

After seeing a blind classmate lugging around a heavy braille bible, which contained only five percent of the contents of the Holy Book, Eric Ju Yoon Kim was surprised that nothing like a Braille iPad existed.

So the University of Washington student set out to invent one.

His first product is a smart watch that raises and lowers pins on its face to create four Braille characters at a time. The watch works with both iOS and Android devices, allowing the blind to immediately read texts, alerts, and other short messages.

Electro mechanical Braille readers can translate text on computer screens in a method similar to the DOT watch, but the bulky machines can cost more than $2,000.

His company, Dot Inc., plans to sell their wearable device for about $300.

It is impractical for reading longer text such as an eBook, so DOT Incs next project is the worlds first Braille smart device, which they plan to deliver in 2017.

The DOT Pad will feature multiple layers of Braille pins, allowing a more natural reading experience. The DOT Pad will also let users feel shapes, math symbols, and read eBooks.

Only about one percent of all books in print have been translated for the blind. Having a pocket device that could translate vast libraries of eBooks into Braille would write a whole new chapter in reading for the blind.

Fun Facts About the Super Bowl

By Dan Thompson

The average Super Bowl 50 ticket price is set at just over $6,350 as of this
writing. Compare that to the nearly $4,100 average ticket price on last
years Super Bowl during the same two weeks before the big game, and it
seems likely Super Bowl 50 will set a new record.

Estimates suggest that during the Super Bowl, we consume 4,000 tons of
popcorn, eight million pounds of guacamole with 14,500 tons of chips, and
over 1.2 billion chicken wings, among other snacks. We will wash that down
with over 325 million gallons of beer.

The Recipe Box, Creamy Rice and Chicken Casserole

By Debi Chatfield

2 cans, Cream of Chicken soup
1 can, Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can, Cream of Celery soup
1 can, Chicken broth
3 cups, uncooked long grain rice
1 1/2 cups, frozen peas, optional
6 or 8 chicken pieces of choice

Mix together in a large bowl, the broth and all cream of soups, until well blended.
Add peas and rice, then stir well.

Use a 9 by 13 inch pan, and spray with no stick (butter flavored), or
grease the pan with butter. Pour rice mixture into the pan.

Lay chicken pieces atop rice mixture, and do not overlap. Sprinkle with salt
and pepper if desired.

Cover with foil, and cook 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove foil, and cook an aditional 15 minutes to brown chicken.

Remove chicken pieces to serving platter. Stir rice in pan from the edges to center to mix well. Serve with salad and bread.

If desired, you can substitute a different cream soup for the mushroom or celery soups. Using all Cream of Chicken soup works fine, but using at least one can of celery or mushroom soup, (if not both) helps with the flavor. Also, in place of the can
of broth, you can use a can of chicken and rice soup instead.

I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but this is not necessary. Use what chicken you like, but just remember, that if it has skin there will be added juices to
the rice mixture. This might make it a bit more soupy then when skinless chicken is used.
Enjoy! Best Dishes!

Debbies List

No, this is not Craigs List, but it is the next best thing! If you have something to sell, or announce, send us your ad, and we will post it, as long as there is space available in the newsletter. Send your ads to:

** With Spring on its way, now is a good time to be thinking about the upcoming cycling season! There is an email list, specifically focused on empowering the blind into the arena of bicycling. We are a friendly community, dedicated to helping you to reach the next level, in your fitness goals.

Even if you do not own a tandem, there may be local opportunities that we can uncover, together. So, click on the below link and come join us. Introduce yourself and enjoy the ride! Federationists greatly encouraged!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Ron Burzese, NOMC
916 716 5400

** Welcome to Leblond Tech Services, where we put our 20 years of experience to work for you.

Whether your needs are personal or business related, we have the solution that is right for you and easy on your pocketbook.

We offer Instruction in the latest mainstream and specialized technologies, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, Access, Dragon Naturally Speaking, JAWS for windows and much more.

We also set up and configure all forms of hardware, from single computers to business networks

For more information go to,

** 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

Sending this newsletter to friends? Tell them they can receive this monthly newsletter by subscribing to:

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

If your car says Dodge on the front of it, do you really need a horn?

Why is it that night falls, and day breaks?

Who yelled, Coming are the British!
Paul Reverse

Why is it that you must wait until night to call it a day?

Debi Chatfield


Access Security: 
Back to top