[nfbmi-talk] NFB OK Today

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Sun Jan 12 20:04:51 UTC 2014

     Here is the Newsletter from Oklahoma that Michigan Federationists
may wish to read.

Larry Posont

NFB OK Today
The Official Newsletter of the National Federation of the blind of Oklahoma
January 2014

Glenda Farnum, Editor

Published by e-mail, on the Web and through Newsline by
The National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma

Jeannie Massay, President
National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma
457 N Blackwelder, Edmond, OK 73034
E-mail: president at nfbok.org

Letters to the President, address changes, subscription requests,
letters to the Editor and articles for NFB OK Today should be sent to
the editor by e-mail to gfarnum at cox.net. The editorial staff reserves
the right to edit all articles for space and/or clarity

Please Note: The deadline for the next issue is March 15, 2014.

NFB OK Today subscriptions cost the Federation about six dollars each
per year.  Members are invited and non-members are requested to cover
the subscription cost.  Donations should be sent to the
National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma
457 N Blackwelder, Edmond, OK 73034.

NFB OK Today will be provided upon request in print. To subscribe to
Newsline, contact Oklahoma Library for the Blind at 405.521.3514 or

If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of
the Blind of Oklahoma in your will, you can do so by employing the
following language:

“I give, devise and bequeath unto the National Federation of the Blind
of Oklahoma, 457 N Blackwelder, Edmond, OK 73034,  a non-profit
the sum of $__ (or “__ percent of my net estate” or “The following
stocks and bonds: __”) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of
blind persons.”

Table of Contents

A Message from the Editor by Glenda Farnum

A Message from the President by Jeannie Massay

NFB and Me by Dorothy Robinson

Tips for Learning to Play a Musical Instrument by Audrey Farnum

This and That by Glenda Farnum

Central Oklahoma Chapter Update by Audrey Farnum

West Central Chapter Update by Avey Rico

Northeast Oklahoma Chapter by Tim Willison

Upcoming Events

Message from the Editor
By Glenda Farnum

Someone once said that all good things are worth waiting for. I
believe those words apply to this issue of NFB OK Today. In this issue
you will find a wealth of interesting and helpful information.

Jeannie Massay, our affiliate president and National  board member,
will provide us with an inspirational message to guide us through 2014
and beyond. Jeannie recently took and passed her examination to be a
Licensed Practical Counselor. Congratulations to Jeannie.

Dorothy Robinson, president of the South Central Chapter and affiliate
2nd vice president will share her thoughts and feelings about her
experience at Louisiana Center for the Blind. Dorothy is in the
process of acquiring the skills she needs to become a successful,
confident and competent blind person. Good luck to you Dorothy. May
all your dreams come true.

Audrey Farnum, Central Oklahoma chapter president and affiliate 1st
vice president will share techniques and resources for learning to
play a musical instrument.

This issue also contains information about Washington Seminar and the
2014 NFB Legislative agenda, meet the blind month activities and other
chapter news, and resources of possible interest to our readers.

I hope you enjoy this issue of NFB OK Today.

Glenda Farnum

Message from the President
Jeannie Massay, President NFB of Oklahoma

Happy New Year, Federationists!

What lies at the intersection of an irreversible past and an uncertain future?

In a sermon I heard today, the answer was and, to me, is, Hope. What
is the meaning of Hope? We all have our own versions of what we
believe it to be. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hope as the
following: 1: to cherish a desire with anticipation;  to desire with
expectation of obtainment 2: to expect with confidence. Hope, to me,
is the essence of what the National Federation of the Blind is all
about.  With regard to the specifics of the definition above: we
cherish the desire, with much anticipation, that we will attain
equality  in our lifetimes, we desire with expectation, the obtainment
of equality and most definitely, that we confidently expect that we
will achieve equality one day.  We cannot change what has occurred in
our personal or organizational pasts, but we can prepare for the
future full of hope for what we set out to accomplish; both as
individuals and as local chapters, our combined state affiliate and as
a national organization.

In recent meetings at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore
the following information was discussed in relation to who we are and
what we do:

“The NFB steadfastly believes and promotes the philosophy that
“blindness is a characteristic, not a tragedy.” Through word and deed,
members demonstrate that blind individuals are capable of completing
home and work tasks; independent mobility aided by the long white cane
and other skills; having successful careers as teachers, lawyers,
doctors and the list goes on. In this way, NFB members show sighted
and blind people that the blind are capable of all the same activities
and accomplishments as sighted people. There is no need to pity,
aggressively help or have lower expectations of blind people. The NFB
aims to provide the tools, training, technology and social change
needed to make sure that the blind are part of the fabric of our
society, today and for future generations. The ultimate goal is
complete and equal integration of the blind into society, as well as
having a membership with high expectations and the will and resources
to achieve those expectations.”

The values with which we base our organization have been identified
and defined as: Courage, Respect, Full participation, Love, Democracy,
and collective Action. Hope is a foundation for each of these. A
description of each of the above values follows:

COURAGE. Fighting for freedom takes perseverance and unwavering
determination in the face of challenges, setbacks and difficulty. For
75 years the NFB has led this fight and made significant progress on
the road to complete freedom and equality for the blind. It will take
our continued courage to “break down the remaining barriers on the
last miles of the road to freedom” (to paraphrase Dr. Maurer).

RESPECT. Our faith in the capacity and dignity of blind individuals is
at the heart of our mission. We assert the right to be treated fairly
and equally.  We reject society’s low expectations that come from the
ingrained belief that blindness is the characteristic that exclusively
defines us.

FULL PARTICIPATION. We assert that blind people have a right to live
fully and equally in the world. From this flows our expectation that
society will not artificially prevent blind people from full
participation. The world is better off when all of its people can
contribute all that they have to offer.

LOVE. The NFB provides a loving, supportive and encouraging family
that shares in the challenges and triumphs of our blind brothers and
sisters. This deeply held faith in one another sustains members during
times of challenge and cheers on individual and collective successes.
Love is the feeling that permeates our organization and pushes us to
expect the best from each other.

DEMOCRACY. The NFB is the original and largest organization OF the
blind. By virtue of being a democratic organization open to all blind
people, we represent the issues that are important to the blind.
National, state and local officers are elected by the membership of
the NFB to ensure a representative form of government and democratic
decision-making practices. Our membership-driven structure ensures
blind people may determine their own future rather than relying on
others to advocate for them.

COLLECTIVE ACTION. The primary purpose of the NFB is “to serve as a
vehicle for collective action by the blind.” A core belief is that the
blind can and will speak for themselves. Embodied in this
self-determination is the understanding that progress comes from blind
people working together, sharing individual dreams and speaking with a
more powerful, unified voice than any one person could on his or her

Together with love, hope and determination, we transform dreams into
reality. This is what we promise to each other and to the blind who
have not yet found the truth that we know.  In the coming months you
will hear much more about the message that we want to send to
ourselves and to the rest of the world.

Many changes are under way in the great state of Oklahoma. As you
know, we have a new Director of the Department of Rehabilitation, Joe
Cordova. You may not know that we have a new Division Administrator of
Visual Services as well. Please welcome Doug Boone and his wife
Christine to our great state! Doug will begin on January 6th. When we
spoke, he said that he is excited to be in Oklahoma and is very happy
to work under the leadership of Joe. You may have seen in the press
Release from DRS about Doug, that he is a proud and longtime member of
the Federation.

Should you happen to meet or find reason to call on Joe or Doug,
please welcome them to Oklahoma. They are both keen on insuring
quality rehabilitation services for the blind of our state. I have
great hope that each will facilitate growth in the Department of
Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Visual Services
respectively. As blind individuals, blind students, parents of blind
children and blind seniors, we must do our part in expecting informed
choice regarding quality services and meet the challenges that
acquiring the necessary skills may bring in pursuing independence,
whatever that might mean for you.

At the board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind
meeting in late November, Dr. Maurer, our long-time, much loved,
National President, Leader and friend, announced that he would not
seek reelection at the National convention in July of 2014. We all
knew that this day was coming as Dr. Maurer has prepared us for the
day for many years.  Still, the day was not yet truly expected to come
when it did. Strong leaders recognize that the mission must be to
continue the organizational goals, of which Dr. Maurer believes in
ours wholeheartedly; that we belong.  To this he spoke in the banquet
address at the 2013 National Convention in Orlando. The speech
entitled “The Power of belonging” can be found at the following link:

To read the speech:

Dr. Maurer, along with many other leaders in our movement have
prepared the foundation for the work that they knew, that Dr. Maurer
knows we will continue. We are all bonded together as brothers and
sisters in the Federation. We will continue to challenge low
expectations. We will continue to seek Independence and Equality in
Education and Employment. We will continue to insist on full
integration for the blind. This we will do for the love of each other
and for the love of our past and future leaders. Dr. Maurer has
announced that he will support Mark Riccobono in his pursuit of the
Presidency of the National Federation of the Blind in July 2014 at the
National Convention in Orlando. I, too, will give my support to Mark
in his bid to become our President. Mark is the Director of the
Jernigan Institute, the Blind Driver and a friend. I hope you each
have the opportunity to meet him, his wife, Melissa and their three
children are several more reasons to come to the National Convention
in 2014.

As always, but even more so now, I wish you peace, wisdom and
prosperity in the new year. There are great things in the future of
the National Federation of the Blind and our affiliate is a brightly
shining star! Let’s keep the momentum going! New chapters are on the
way, a Parents Division will be formed and we will host 2 Braille
Enrichment for Literacy and Learning programs this year! Whew! Thanks
for being a part of the NFB of Oklahoma. The work that we do together
is important.  it’s great to know that we can accomplish great things

Jeannie Massay
Legislative Update
By Glenda Farnum

On January 28th and 29th seven Oklahoma NFB members will meet their
NFB brothers and sisters in Washington D.C. for Washington Seminar.
This is an annual event where NFB shares its legislative agenda for
the year with Congress. Below is information about this year’s NFB
Legislative Agenda.

The NFB’s three legislative initiatives for 2014 are:

• The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act (HR 831)
Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to pay
workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage because of the
false assumption that they are less productive than non-disabled
workers. This antiquated provision breeds low expectations and
discourages disabled Americans from reaching their full potential. HR
831 responsibly phases out the use of the 14(c) Special Wage
Certificates, ending the era of segregated, subminimum wage work.

• The Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher
Education Act (TEACH) (HR 3505)
Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods
of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority
of e-books, courseware, web content, and other technology are
inaccessible to students with print disabilities. The law mandates
equal access in the classroom, but fails to provide a prescription to
schools for how that applies to technology. The TEACH Act creates
accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials that
will guide the market, give clarity to schools, and protect blind
students’ rights to critical course material.

• The Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act (ACTA)
Passenger interaction with technology is a central component of air
travel. The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the
basis of disability by airlines, but it was written before the
emergence of web sites, kiosks, and mobile apps. These tools are all
inaccessible to blind travelers despite readily-available solutions,
resulting in segregation and substandard service. ACTA calls for all
technology-based air travel services to be accessible to blind

The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 (HR 831)

Current labor laws unjustly prohibit workers with disabilities
from reaching their full vocational and socioeconomic potential.
Written in 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
discriminates against people with disabilities. The provision allows
the Secretary of Labor to grant Special Wage Certificates to
employers, permitting them to pay workers with disabilities less than
the minimum wage. This is based on the false assumption that disabled
workers are less productive than nondisabled workers, but successful
employment models have emerged in the last seventy-five years to
assist people with significant disabilities in acquiring the job
skills needed for competitive work. Section 14(c) sustains segregated
subminimum wage workshops that exploit disabled workers, paying some
only pennies an hour for mundane, repetitive tasks.

This discriminatory policy is not necessary for the successful
operation of a disability-training program. In reality, the
overwhelming majority of Goodwill Industries Affiliates, and all but
one of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) affiliates,
operates successfully without paying subminimum wages. Countless
entities have successfully transitioned their subminimum wage business
model of low expectations to an innovative model of competitive
integrated training and employment, meeting the growing needs of
mainstream employers with the proven talents of employees with
disabilities. Only outdated workshops argue they will be unable to
manage worthwhile programs without the use of the Special Wage

The subminimum wage model fails to provide adequate training or
employment to disabled workers. Data shows that less than five percent
of the 400,000 workers with disabilities in segregated subminimum wage
workshops will transition into competitive integrated work. Moreover,
research shows that the subminimum wage model costs more but actually
produces less! In fact, workers must unlearn the useless skills they
acquire in order to obtain meaningful employment. It is poor policy to
reward such failed programs with wage exemptions, preferential federal
contracts, and public and charitable contributions.

After 75 years of demonstrated failure, it is time to invest in
proven, effective models for employment. This discriminatory model
sustains the same segregated subminimum wage environments that existed
in 1938. Section 14(c) has proven to be extremely ineffective and
offers no incentive for mainstream employers to hire people with
disabilities. The Employment First Movement promotes new concepts such
as “supported” or “customized” employment that are successful at
producing competitive integrated employment outcomes for individuals
with significant disabilities that were previously thought to be

The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013:

Discontinues the issuance of new Special Wage Certificates. The
Secretary of Labor will no longer issue Special Wage Certificates to
new applicants.
Phases out the use of Special Wage Certificates over a three-year
period. Using the following schedule, entities will be able to
transition to the proven-model of competitive integrated employment:
• Private for-profit entities will have one year to transition;
• Public or governmental entities will have two years to transition; and
• Nonprofit entities will have three years to transition. (These
entities make up ninety-five percent of the Special Wage Certificate
Repeals Section 14(c) of the FLSA. Three years after the law is
enacted, this practice of paying disabled workers subminimum wages
will be officially abolished. This will result in the elimination of
segregated, subminimum wage workshops and in the development of
integrated environments that encourage people with disabilities to
reach their full vocational and socioeconomic potential.

Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher
Education Act (TEACH Act) H.R. 3505

Colleges and universities need an education about accessibility.
Students with disabilities need accessibility to get an education.
Technology has fundamentally changed the education system. The scope
of instructional materials used to facilitate the teaching and
learning process at institutions of higher education has expanded.
Curricular content comes in the form of digital books, PDFs, webpages,
etc.; and most of this content is delivered through digital databases,
learning management systems, and applications. Traditional print
materials are inherently inaccessible to disabled students, but
technology creates opportunities to expand the circle of
participation. These opportunities are missed when the majority of
these materials are inaccessible to students with disabilities.
The use of inaccessible technology by institutions of higher education
is a violation of law. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and
Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit
discrimination on the basis of disability, but these laws were written
before technology permeated the classroom. In 2010, the U.S.
Departments of Justice and Education issued guidance to institutions
of higher education clarifying that the use of inaccessible technology
is a form of discrimination. In the four years since, several of the
country’s leading institutions have faced legal action for continuing
to use inaccessible technology.
Accessibility solutions are widely available, but schools and
manufacturers are resisting. A 2009 Congressionally-authorized study
found that, despite innovations in text-to-speech, refreshable
Braille, and other accessibility features that create promise for
equal access, there is still persistent unmet need. Developers claim
there is not enough demand to justify making accessible products, and
schools claim to have limited options and a lack of knowledge about
accessibility to properly guide procurement. Because of this
blame-game, developers are moving too slowly and schools are openly
violating the law.
Guidelines are sorely needed to guide the market and lift burdens off
of disabled students. While schools and manufacturers are waiting for
the other to take action, blind students are facing insurmountable
barriers to their education. No student can be expected to succeed in
college if he or she is denied access to course material, and yet the
solutions available to remedy this discrimination are ignored!
Universally-accepted accessibility guidelines will give direction to
manufacturers, clarity to schools about how to meet their legal
obligations regarding technology, and long-overdue equal access for
disabled students.

Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act:

Develops accessibility guidelines for instructional materials and
related information technology. The Access Board will consult experts
and stakeholders to develop functional performance criteria for
electronic instructional materials and related information
technologies so that those materials are usable by individuals with
disabilities. The guidelines will serve as a flexible prescription for
accessibility for both developers and institutions of higher

Provides incentive for institutions of higher education to follow the
guidelines. Institutions of higher education that use technology that
conforms with the guidelines will be deemed in compliance with the
provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and
III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that pertain to schools’
use of technology.
Establishes a minimum usability standard for all technology in the
classroom. Institutions of higher education may only use materials
that do not conform to the guidelines if that material allows disabled
students to enjoy the same educational benefits in an equally
integrated and equally effective manner, with substantially equivalent
ease of use as nondisabled students.

Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act

To allow blind and low vision individuals equal access
to technology used in all phases of air travel.
Despite anti-discrimination laws, airlines continue to deny access to
blind passengers. In 1986 Congress passed the Air Carrier Access Act
(ACAA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability during
all phases of air travel, including purchasing a ticket, checking-in,
boarding and deplaning, receiving in-flight services, and assistance
getting around the airport. Air travel has changed significantly since
1986, and most services now require interaction with technology;
however airlines have failed to honor the ACAA by ensuring that those
services are usable by blind travelers. The Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) also prohibits discrimination on the basis of
disability in public transportation, but because of unique security
issues in air travel, airlines were explicitly excluded from the law,
compounding the problems facing blind air travelers. Technology
creates opportunity to expand the circle of participation, so the law
needs to be updated to capture the prospect and ensure equal access.
Passenger interaction with technology is a fundamental requirement of
air travel. Passengers have multiple options of accessing flight
information that replace endless phone calls and check-in lines. For
booking and accessing boarding passes, flyers use web sites, mobile
apps, or kiosks. Mobile apps provide real-time updates on departure
and arrival information, and even make it possible to scan a digital
boarding pass at security check points. On board, passengers can make
in-flight purchases of movies, drinks, or Wi-Fi by using consoles on
the seatback in front of them. Technology enhances the flying
experience, and who knows what innovative tools might emerge in the
future? Blind passengers pay the same price to fly the friendly skies
as everyone else, and yet cannot use any of these services.
Airlines should stop this discrimination by embracing readily
available solutions. Technical criteria for accessible web content and
best practices for mobile apps were released back in 2008, and
accessibility standards for ATMs and usable kiosks have been on the
market for years. Rather than utilize these options and deploy
accessible technology, airlines “meet the needs” of their disabled
passengers by offering internet rates over the phone to those who
self-identify as blind and giving priority access to blind flyers in
line. Technology can meet the unfulfilled promise of equal access, yet
airlines choose to use an ineffective method of “access” that
relegates blind passengers to antiquated methods of service.

The Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act:

Provides equal access throughout the air travel process by requiring
that all methods of booking flights, checking-in, obtaining boarding
passes and making in-flight purchases are accessible to blind
passengers. All newly-created or purchased web content, airport
kiosks, mobile apps and other technology-based services operated by
air carriers will be usable by the blind.
Establishes a complaint mechanism to resolve issues of non-compliance
with the Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act.

LCB and Me
By Dorothy Robinson

Editor’s Note: I first met Dorothy shortly after she lost her vision
at a support group meeting in Ardmore. She was insecure, frustrated
and searching for ways to get on with her life and return to work. It
was apparent that Dorothy was not finding the answers she needed. Now
Dorothy is confident and finally has the opportunity to receive the
things she was searching for when I first met her. I am very proud of
the progress Dorothy has made. I know she will succeed in with
whatever endeavor she wants to conquer.

The Past:

I first heard about The Louisiana Center for the Blind in May 2000.
The information that I received was all negative and I didn’t
investigate for myself. I was told, by my Visual Service Councilor,
several horror stories about the Louisiana Center and I was encouraged
to attend a Training Center located in Boston, MA. Because I didn’t
want to go that far away from my home in Oklahoma, I decided to go
back to college to show my former employer that I had lost my sight,
not my mind. I HAD LOST MY MIND.

The end result being that it wasn’t until 10 years later that I
learned the importance of receiving the proper Blindness Skills
training before setting out on a new career. I spent 2 semesters
struggling through College courses. I couldn’t read print or Braille.
I had run from the computer for over 30 years and I hadn’t a clue on
how to use one, even with Jaws. And to top it off I hadn’t attended
college in nearly 20 years.

In 2010, I attended my first ever Convention of the National
Federation of the Blind. What an eye opening experience. It was being
held in Dallas, Texas, and since that was only a hundred miles from my
home and both of my children lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I
decided to attend the convention. While there I met several graduates
of the Louisiana Center and was totally flabbergasted when I noted the
difference in the level of their Blindness skills and mine; that is to
say, the deficiency of skills that I had.
The Present:

It is 2013, and after spending over 2 years fighting with the Oklahoma
Department of Rehabilitation Services, I am now a student at the
Louisiana Center. I arrived at 501 East Mississippi, in Ruston,
Louisiana, on August 11, 2013. The first person that I met was the
Braille Instructor, James Konechne, who was on apartment duty. I was
assigned Apartment G, and thank you Lord, I did not have an
apartment-mate. I was pleased to have the time to adjust to my new
surroundings before having to adjust to living with someone. I had
lived alone for the last 20 years, being a widow with grown children.
Before I came to LCB, I realized that I would have an apartment mate,
but I was most certainly glad to get a reprieve.
It has now been 2 months, and I now have an apartment-mate. After all
of the time that I spent distressing over having to live with a
stranger, I find that my apprehensions were wasted time. Having an
apartment-mate is not so bad after all. I now have help with cleaning
the apartment, and work shared is work halved. We can go places
together; it’s always more fun when you have someone to go shopping
with. We can problem solve together, two heads are better than one.
And most important, we can laugh together over the entanglements’ that
we get ourselves into.

Although it is a rough program and my days are diminutive of time and
extensive on things that I need to do, I am really enjoying my stay. I
am acquiring the wisdom to get around Ruston, not just from place to
place, but how to listen to the movement of traffic, which helps me to
know the street and the direction that I am traveling. I am also
learning how to tell driveways from streets and how to tell if the
intersection has a light or stop sign or a four way stop. During all
of the training, students are garb in sleep shades. I am, after almost
20 years of retirement, back in the kitchen again, and cannot believe
that I am actually cooking. I am also learning to use numerous work
Tools in shop, a thing that I have never dreamed of doing and still
can’t believe that I am using the table saw; the drill press; the arm
saw and the band saw. And most important of all, to me, I am
relearning Braille and am learning to use the Computer.

The Future:

After I complete my training at the Louisiana Center, I plan to take a
course in Debt Collection and be certified as a Debt collector. When I
am certified, I intend to establish a Home-Based Business billing
delinquent clients and collecting bad debts. This way I can work from
home or, thanks to the Internet, from wherever I am in the world. I
feel that I can succeed in this type of business because I have been a
problem solver in the field of Nursing for over 35 years. I have been
the mediator between patients; family members and nursing staff. I
have also, when needed, resolved disagreements between administration
and nursing staff. And if I do say so myself, I was in almost all
cases, able to settle the conflicts and bring them to a comparable

Tips for Learning to Play a Musical Instrument
By Audrey T. Farnum

Have you ever thought it would be fun to learn to play a musical
instrument but you don’t know where to begin? Well, read on my friend
because I have some handy tips for you. Recently, I decided I wanted
to learn to play the Ukulele. I did some research online, picked out a
nice starter uke and bought myself a shiny new ukulele for Christmas.
But, how do I learn to play it? I don’t really want to mess with a
private teacher. They cost money and I would have to figure out
transportation to get to lessons. I could do it if I wanted to, but
honestly, I’m lazy. And then there’s the whole music reading issue. I
could read sheet music back in the day when I could see, but I don’t
know how to read Braille sheet music. Sure I could learn, but again,
I’m lazy. I just want to jam on my uke. I have a good ear so once I
figure out the basics, I won’t need music. So, here is my solution to
all these issues.

First, check out www.musicfortheblind.com. There, you will find audio
music lessons by Bill Brown. All of his courses are designed with the
blind in mind. He describes proper technique for holding the
instrument, where to put your fingers to make notes or chords and goes
step by step to teach songs. He has beginner courses that require no
musical experience and there is no need to read music. His courses are
a great way to learn the basics to get you started on an instrument.
He offers courses for many instruments including guitar, drums,
violin, trumpet, penny whistle, ukulele and many more. I have used his
beginner courses for both guitar and ukulele and have found them to be
a great way to get started with an instrument. The downloadable
versions of his courses are $35 or you can purchase them on CD for
$39. I purchased the downloadable version, got my download key within
minutes and loaded them on to my BookSense for playback. You will
learn to play several songs in the beginner courses. While the song
choices may not be the kind of music you want to play, they will give
you the foundation you need to branch out and learn cool songs on your
own later.

After getting the basics, you’ll probably want to branch out and play
songs you like. YouTube is a great resource for this. I did a search
on YouTube for “learn ukulele” and got hundreds of results. I found
videos from people giving beginner lessons and people doing walk
through to teach you how to play specific songs. The quality varies of
course. Some people just play a song slowly with the camera zoomed in
on the fret board so that the viewer can learn by watching what chords
are played. That doesn’t work for me, but I found many videos where
the presenter described the finger placement for each chord and went
through the song measure by measure describing what note to play. With
patience and persistence, you can find plenty of great, free
instruction on YouTube.

If there’s a song you want to play but it’s not on YouTube, chances
are you can find tabs for it with a google search. There are many
sites that have chord tablature or “tabs” for guitar, uke, bass and
drums. You will find that some of the sites use graphical chord charts
that can’t be read by a screen reader, but there are plenty that have
the name of the chord as text and you can figure it out by playing
along with the song you are trying to learn. I have been using
ultimateguitar.com to get ukulele tabs. While it isn’t perfect, there
is enough information there for me to figure out what chords to play
so I can learn a song.

Another thing to consider when playing a musical instrument is how to
tune it. If you have a piano or keyboard, you can use that to tune
your instrument by ear. If that isn’t an option for you, you can
purchase tuners that play audible tones of different notes. I have a
tuner that starts at middle c then cycles up the scale through every
note so I can tune by ear. Tuning by ear isn’t for everyone. It is a
skill that requires some practice and some people are naturally better
at it than others. I played the viola from 4th grade all the way
through high school and have continued to tinker with music ever
since, so I am comfortable tuning by ear. But, if it isn’t for you,
never fear. There is a handy app for the iPhone called “Talking
Tuner”. It is a free app that automatically announces what note you
are playing and whether it is sharp or flat. It completely eliminates
the need to tune by ear. I find it to be extremely accurate. It works
best with no background noise and can be used to tune any instrument.
You can find “Talking Tuner” on the app store from your iPhone or in

Learning a musical instrument is a fun and rewarding activity. While
there is no magical quick fix that will make you an expert musician,
you can learn on your own with practice, patience and persistence.
With a little effort you can be entertaining your family and friends
in no time. If you play an instrument and know about other resources
that would be helpful for blind musicians, please drop me an email at
Audrey at nfbok.org.

This and That
By Glenda Farnum

NFB 2014 Scholarship Program
Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or
Puerto Rico? This annual program offers thirty scholarships worth from
$3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors
beginning their freshman year of college in the fall semester of 2014,
up through graduate students working on their PhD degrees. These merit
scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and
leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive
assistance to attend the July 2014 NFB National Convention in Orlando,
Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking
with blind people active in many different professions and
occupations. Applications are accepted from November 1, 2013, through
March 31, 2014. Go to www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and

Central Oklahoma Chapter Elmer Wright Scholarship
The Central Oklahoma Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind
invites all legally blind Oklahoma students to apply for our annual
Elmer Wright Memorial Scholarship. Applicants must reside in Oklahoma,
be legally blind and be enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or
university program during the 2014-2015 academic year. The enclosed
application should be completed in full, with all supporting
documentation attached, and must be submitted no later than February
15, 2014. The winner will be notified by February 20, 2014 and must be
available to attend an award ceremony on March 1, 2014 in Edmond, Ok.
If you have any questions, please contact me at (405) 590-6110 or
email me at audrey at nfbok.orgg.

2014Central Oklahoma Chapter
Elmer Wright Memorial Scholarship Program - APPLICATION FORM

To apply for the NFB of Central Oklahoma Scholarship, please complete
the application form and mail it along with the required documentation
to the following:

Central Oklahoma Chapter
National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma
Attn: Scholarship Committee
4515 N.W. 25th Place
Oklahoma City, OK 73127

Applications may also be e-mailed as an attachment to: audrey at nfbok.org

Only completed forms will be considered.  Read the application
carefully and submit all required items.  The checklist below contains
all required information and supplementary documentation. The
application deadline is January31,2014.

A completed application form.
An official Transcript(s) from current university or, if high school
student, transcripts from your high school.
Confirmation of Legal blindness.  (See final page of application), or
a letter of confirmation from your doctor dated within the last 12
Personal Essay, see guidelines below.
One letter of recommendation from a teacher or professor.

Your personal essay should include, but should not be limited to the
following information:
Your personal philosophy of blindness
How your philosophy of blindness has impacted your life
How you have, or plan to conquer perceived barriers that have hindered
or might hinder you in the future
What you consider to be the most important information that anyone
should know and understand about blindness


Name:       ______________________________________________________

Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY): _________________________________________

Home address, City, State, Zip: _______________________________________

Home phone number: ______________________________________________

Cell phone number:  ________________________________________________

E-mail address:  __________________________________________________


High school name:  ________________________________________________

School address, City, State, Zip:  _______________________________________

Cumulative grade point:  _____________________________________________


Name of current college or university:  ___________________________________

School address, City, State, Zip:  _______________________________________

Cumulative grade point:  ____________________________________________


Name of the proposed institution:  ______________________________________

School address, City, State, Zip:  _______________________________________

Classification:  ___ Freshman ___ Sophomore ___ Junior ___ Senior ___ Graduate

Vocational goal/major:  ____________________________________________

URL to download form: www.nfb.org/scholarships

Confirmation of legal blindness is required for special consideration
or disability services from the IRS, Social Security, and other
federal, state, and private organizations.  The federal government
defines blindness as follows:

	[T]he term “blindness” means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less
in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.  An eye, which is
accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the
widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than
20 degrees shall be considered for purposes in this paragraph as
having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
			Social Security Act: 42 U.S.C. § 416(i) (1) (B) (Supp. IV 1986).  [1]

Translation: A person is considered legally blind if the vision in the
right eye and the left eye (both eyes) is 20/200 or less when wearing
glasses or contacts or both, or if the field of vision for both eyes
together is 20 degrees or less.


Name:                                Date of Birth:


Best corrected vision: OD (Right Eye): 				OS (Left Eye):

			     OU (Both Eyes):

Visual field (in degrees):

Specific eye condition(s):

Certifying Authority:

I certify that _________________________________ is legally blind in
both eyes as specified in the federal definition quoted above.

(Signed)  ____________________________________       (Date) ____________________

 (Title)  __________________________________________________________________

Please attach your business card or print/type your name, profession,
and address here:

NFB Travel and Tourism 2014 Fundraiser Trip
OCTOBER 6-10, 2014

5 Day/4 Night Bus Trip
Departing from Nashville International Airport
On Monday, October 6, 2014
Returning Friday, October 10, 2014

Price is $568 per person double occupancy

For single and triple occupancy rates, please call for pricing. FYI on
the triple occupancy there are only 2 double beds in the room. No
roll-away beds!

Deposit is $75 per person, once deposits are met we can do payment
plans, final date for deposits is May 15, 2014, and final due date for
all payments is 7/15/2014.

What is included in the price of the trip:
Transportation in Nashville to and from the airport on a video and
restroom equipped Motorcoach.
4 Nights Lodging at hotels similar to Best Western and Holiday Inns
8 Meals: 4 Breakfasts and 4 Dinners
2 Great Shows 1) The Grand Ole Opry, 2) Nashville Nightlife Theater
Exclusive Diamond Tours (our tour bus company) Dinner Party with Entertainment
Guided Tours of Nashville and Belle Meade Plantation
Admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum
Admission to the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
And so much more
Price does not include transportation to and from Nashville
International Airport, please contact us at info at nfbtravel.org and we
will recommend an NFB Member that is a travel professional to help
with these issues. Also, the trip does not include travel protection,
the division will be offering travel insurance, please contact
info at nfbtravel.org for more information on this as well.

There is no select time frame on where and when each item happens,
etc.         So that is why we don't put the exact time itinerary
starts and stops.

Day 1: After you land in Nashville International Airport, bus will be
leaving at 1pm, please make sure you are at pick up place no later
than 12:30PM; you'll depart in the comfort of a luxury, video and
restroom equipped Motorcoach as you head for lots of excitement in
Nashville. This evening you'll enjoy Dinner and check into your
Nashville area hotel for a four night stay.

Day 2:After enjoying a Continental Breakfast, you'll take a Guided
Tour of NASHVILLE, including a stop at the Parthenon. The Parthenon is
the world's only full scale reproduction of the famous Greek Temple.
Then you will experience a ride on the DELTA FLATBOATS inside the
OPRYLAND HOTEL. This evening you will enjoy Dinner before going to see
a show at the famous GRAND OLE OPRY.

Day 3: Today, after a Continental Breakfast, you'll depart for a
Guided Tour of beautiful BELLE MEADE PLANTATION. Marvel at its
antebellum architecture, and learn about its unique Southern history.
Belle Meade's illustrious past has spanned from its prosperity as a
Thoroughbred breeding establishment, to
its perilous location at the Civil War's Battle of Nashville, to its
current restoration as a historically accurate Victorian home. A visit
to Belle Meade also provides an important insight into the struggles
of African Americans before the Civil War. Next, you'll have an
opportunity to explore Historic Downtown Nashville. This evening,
enjoy Dinner and a Show at the fabulous NASHVILLE NIGHTLIFE DINNER
Day 4: Enjoy a Continental Breakfast, before departing for the GRAND
OLE OPRY BACKSTAGE TOUR. There's nothing like a backstage tour of the
Grand Ole Opry House -it's a must-see for everyone in Music City! Walk
in the footsteps of country music's superstars and get an exclusive
look at what happens behind the scenes of the show that made country
music famous! This afternoon, you'll head to the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF
FAME. This is a state of the art cultural landmark and an
architectural crown jewel of the Nashville skyline. Be amazed by its
incredible array of rare costumes, instruments and historical
mementos. This evening, enjoy an exclusive Diamond Tours Dinner Party
with Entertainment.

Day 5: Today, after enjoying a Continental Breakfast, you depart for
home. A perfect time to chat with your friends about all the fun
things you've done, the great sights you've seen. Trip ends at 3PM at
Nashville International Airport, make sure all that are flying into
and out of Nashville that you arrange for you flights for about 6PM.

If driving, taking trains or bus, we can arrange for drop offs at
Amtrak, and Greyhound terminals. We will also be arrange for a hotel
stay with free shuttle service to and from the airport once we know
how many people will be requested to stay a day before or after the

Important information
If we do not have 30 people by May 15, 2014, all money will be
returned in full. The trip will not take place. Should you wish to
cancel your trip prior to May 15, 2014, please contact us and all
money will be returned. Should you need to cancel after May 15, 2014,
we suggest purchasing travel insurance for your trip. If you do not
purchase it from us, make sure your credit card has travel protection.

NFB Vehicle Donation Program
Wondering what to do with your old car or truck?
Donating your vehicle to the National Federation of the Blind is
convenient, easy, and may qualify you for a tax deduction And best of
all, your donation of a used vehicle will ensure a brighter future for
all blind children, youth, adults  and seniors.  This is an easy way
to give to the National Federation of the Blind, and get rid of an old
vehicle at the same time!  The program is able to accept all sorts of
donated vehicles including motorcycles, ATV’s, cars, trucks, boats,
and R.V.’s. don’t let your old wheels slow you down, donate them to
the National Federation of the Blind!

For more information go to the link below:

Vehicle Donations Take the Blind Further!
Donate your car to the National Federation of the Blind today!
For more information, please visit: www.carshelpingtheblind.org or
call 1-855-659-9314

Chapter News

Muskogee Chapter Update
An organizational meeting was held on January 7th at the Hornback
Restaurant in Muskogee and the group attending expressed their desire
to form the Muskogee Chapter of the NFB of Oklahoma. The newly elected
board includes: Melodee Armstrong, president; Marsha Tabor, vice
president; Shellie Houston, Secretary; Tanna Porter, Treasurer and
Arvey Mason, board member. The chapter will be completing their
constitution and submitting it to the affiliate board for approval. A
special thanks to James Rigler and Melodee Armstrong for assisting the
affiliate board in arranging the meeting.

Central Oklahoma Chapter Update
Audrey Farnum, President
The Central Oklahoma Chapter of the NFB is currently planning its
Annual Chili Supper Fundraiser and Scholarship awards ceremony. The
Event is tentatively scheduled for March 1 2013 at a yet to be
determined location. More information will be distributed as it
becomes available.

We are also currently accepting applications for our Elmer Wright
Memorial Scholarship. Any blind student who is currently enrolled or
will be enrolled in a postsecondary education program is eligible for
the scholarship. For an application or more information, please
contact Audrey Farnum at 405-590-6110 or atfarnum at gmail.com.

The Chapter held its annual Thanksgiving celebration on Friday,
November 8. We had a fantastic pot luck dinner with all our favorite
Thanksgiving dishes.

Our chapter sponsored a family through a local charity for Christmas.
We collected over $500 in gifts and cash to help our family have a
wonderful Christmas.  We held our Christmas party on December 13th
where we had snacks and celebrated the season together.

West Central Chapter Update
Avey Rico, President

Come join us as we gather our community and raise money for our
chapter by hosting a chili supper on January 10th, 2014 from 11:00AM
to 5:00PM at 1705 S Hwy 183, Clinton, OK. The cost is $7.00 for adults
and $2.50 for children 10 and under. Items to be served include chili
with or without beans, cornbread, dessert and a drink. For more
information about this event contact Avey Rico 580-309-0142.

Northeast Oklahoma Chapter
Tim Willison

Editor’s Note: The Northeast chapter hosted multiple community
activities during Meet the Blind Month. Activities included a goal
ball demonstration with proceeds going to the goal ball team to help
with travel expenses and participation in the human hamster ball race
that raised money for the Little Lighthouse in Tulsa and more.

October was “Meet the Blind Month” and here in Tulsa we had plenty of
opportunities for our community to meet the blind.   One of the ways
that we interacted with the community was through a bike ride.   We
teamed up with some really great sighted men who took us on the ride
of our life!

We borrowed four tandem bicycles.  I am a para-athlete and my sport is
tandem cycle racing, so I have some great guys who ride with me.   I
asked them if they would pilot the bikes and take my blind friends on
a ride.  They all agreed to help out.  We all met up on a Sunny Sunday
afternoon.  The sighted guys are called pilots and the blind riders
are called stokers.   The pilots got the bikes adjusted and set up for
each stoker.   Then they helped get the helmets fitted correctly on
the stokers. They went over some safety tips and we were set to go!

There were six stokers and four pilots.  We loaded up the first four
bikes and took off.   Everything went great!  We rode several miles
and then returned to give the other stokers a chance.  The day went
well and everyone had a fantastic time.  The pilots were totally
blessed by the fun that the stokers were having.  The stokers had
smiles on their face despite the sore bums.   I was excited to know
that so many of my friends fell in love with my sport.    They have
been bugging me to do another ride ASAP.  They are truly
“Tandemaniacs” now…

Upcoming Events

The Brady District Chapter meets on the first Thursday of each month
from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at Chimi's Mexican restaurant, 1304 E. 15th
St., Tulsa, OK

The Central Oklahoma Chapter meets on the second Friday of every month
at the Downtown Edmond Community Center, 28 E. Main Street, Edmond,,
OK., from 7:00-9:00.

The Northeast Chapter meets on the second Saturday of every month from
2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. Meetings are held at the Furr's Cafeteria located
at 5560 E. 51st
off of Sheridan in the Farm Shopping Center in Tulsa, Ok.

The South Central Chapter meets on the third Saturday of every month
at 1:30 PM at the Ardmore Public Library located at 320 E Street Nw,
Ardmore, Oklahoma 73401

The West Central Chapter is open to anyone with vision Impairments, as
well as family and friends. The Group Meets on every 2nd Tuesday of
each month at 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of
Clinton at 900 West Frisco (west side entrance ). Attendees will enjoy
Refreshments, Presentation's from guest speakers, discuss a new topic
each month and exchange information and resources. For more
information call: President: Avey Rico, 580-547-4760 or 309-0142

January 27, 2014
Great Gathering In @ Washington Seminar

April 2014
NFB OK Affiliate Convention
Specific dates are not yet set but details will be forthcoming
regarding our 2014 Affiliate convention in Tulsa.  This is a
particularly  important milestone for our affiliate to celebrate as it
marks the 40th year of our reorganization as an affiliate of the
National Federation of the Blind. Start saving now to make sure that
you are a part of a big celebration and a fantastic convention.

July 1 – 6, 2014
NFB National Convention
The 2014 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take
place in Orlando, Florida, July 1-6, at the Rosen Centre Hotel. The
hotel will begin taking reservations on January 1, 2014. Mark your
calendar now - you won't want to miss the largest gathering of blind
people in the count The 2014 convention of the National Federation of
the Blind will take place in Orlando, Florida, July 1-6, at the Rosen
Centre Hotel. The hotel will begin taking reservations on January 1,
2014. Mark your calendar now - you won't want to miss the largest
gathering of blind people in the country! Visit
www.nfb.org/national-convention for more details as they develop.

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