[Ohio-talk] Online Customer Service CallRe: Ohio-talk Digest, Vol 82, Issue 23

Jeanne Gallagher jeanne_gallagher at sbcglobal.net
Fri Dec 26 22:46:51 UTC 2014


I've been a custojmer service representative for over nine years. I don't 
see how an online course would provide you everything you need to be 
sufccessful as a customer service rep. at a call site. Two of the most 
valuable aspects of live training are listening to other calls (both good 
and bad) and receiving constructive criticisms from a coleague and/or coach. 
Also, the variety of situations one encounters is almost endless. In 
addition, each organization may have its own protocol when greeting 
customers, as well as its own system, which may not always be as compatible 
with JAWS as one woulod like. So, no matter how successful you would be 
taking an online course, you would still need the training from whatever 
company or organization hired you.

-----Original Message----- 
From: ohio-talk-request at nfbnet.org
Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2014 7:00 AM
To: ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
Subject: Ohio-talk Digest, Vol 82, Issue 23

Send Ohio-talk mailing list submissions to
ohio-talk at nfbnet.org

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
ohio-talk-request at nfbnet.org

You can reach the person managing the list at
ohio-talk-owner at nfbnet.org

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Ohio-talk digest..."

Today's Topics:

   1. call center training (Kelsey Nicolay)
   2. Re: call center training (C Tolle)
   3. {Disarmed} Winter Buckeye Bulletin (Eric Duffy)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 08:48:27 -0500
From: Kelsey Nicolay <piano.girl0299 at gmail.com>
To: ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Ohio-talk] call center training
Message-ID: <549ac437.e4538c0a.0274.ffffa84d at mx.google.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1; format=flowed

I am planning on taking the customer service online training from
Cleveland Sight Center in January.  I know they teach you the
skills to be successful in a call center, but beyond that, I'm
not quite sure what to expect.  Therefore, I am wondering if
anyone on this list has ever gone through the call center online
training.  If you have or know someone who has, could you
describe a little bit exactly what happens in class? As I said,
I'm doing it online as opposed to in person.  I look forward to
any responses.
Thank you,
Kelsey Nicolay


Message: 2
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 10:04:33 -0500
From: C Tolle <tollebooth at yahoo.com>
To: Kelsey Nicolay <piano.girl0299 at gmail.com>, NFB of Ohio
Announcement and Discussion List <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] call center training
Message-ID: <08BA785A-4AD3-470E-B363-0C2FD4A32804 at yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Good morning, did you say you were doing this training online??

Forgive me, I am a 17+ year veteran call center manager both operations and 
staff.  I am concerned with any training program that says they can teach 
you to take calls in a contact center with an online training course. That 
is almost like saying that a doctor could learn to perform open heart 
surgery using an online training course

If you would like, I can paint a real picture of a call center life for you. 
Give me a call 513-439-7931.


Note: this message was created using dictation on an iOS device.

> On Dec 24, 2014, at 8:48 AM, Kelsey Nicolay via Ohio-talk 
> <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Hello,
> I am planning on taking the customer service online training from 
> Cleveland Sight Center in January.  I know they teach you the skills to be 
> successful in a call center, but beyond that, I'm not quite sure what to 
> expect.  Therefore, I am wondering if anyone on this list has ever gone 
> through the call center online training.  If you have or know someone who 
> has, could you describe a little bit exactly what happens in class? As I 
> said, I'm doing it online as opposed to in person.  I look forward to any 
> responses.
> Thank you,
> Kelsey Nicolay
> _______________________________________________
> Ohio-talk mailing list
> Ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/ohio-talk_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for 
> Ohio-talk:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/ohio-talk_nfbnet.org/tollebooth%40yahoo.com


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 11:57:54 -0500
From: Eric Duffy <peduffy63 at gmail.com>
To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List
<ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Capital Chapter \(Columbus, Ohio\) Mailing List"
<capchapohio at nfbnet.org>
Subject: [Ohio-talk] {Disarmed} Winter Buckeye Bulletin
Message-ID: <81651401-DAB8-4522-B219-F6C5467F2F3B at gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

National Federation of the Blind Ohio

Winter 2014
Buckeye Bulletin
A publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
Barbara Pierce, Editor
237 Oak Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
bpierce at oberlin.net <mailto:bpierce at oberlin.net>
http://www.nfbohio.org <http://www.nfbohio.org/>
(440) 774-8077
Eric Duffy, President
(614) 935-6965 (NFB-O Office)
Peduffy63 at gmail.com <mailto:Peduffy63 at gmail.com>
P.O. Box 82055, Columbus, OH 43202

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the 
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise 
expectations, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people 
and our dreams. Live the live you want. Blindness is not what holds you 

            The National Federation of the Blind of Ohio is a 501 (c) 3 
consumer organization comprised of blind and sighted people committed to 
changing what it means to be blind. Though blindness is still all too often 
a tragedy to those who face it, we know from our personal experience that 
with training and opportunity it can be reduced to the level of a physical 
nuisance. We work to see that blind people receive the services and training 
to which they are entitled and that parents of blind children receive the 
advice and support they need to help their youngsters grow up to be happy, 
productive adults. We believe that first-class citizenship means that people 
have both rights and responsibilities, and we are determined to see that 
blind people become first-class citizens of these United States, enjoying 
their rights and fulfilling their responsibilities. The most serious 
problems we face have less to do with our lack of vision than with 
discrimination based on the public's ignorance and misinformation about 
blindness. Join us in educating Ohioans about the abilities and aspirations 
of Ohio's blind citizens. We are changing what it means to be blind.
            The NFB of Ohio has eight local chapters, one for at-large 
members, and special divisions for diabetics, merchants, students, seniors, 
parents of blind children, guide dog users, and those interested in Braille. 
This newsletter appears three times a year and is circulated by email, 
posted on NFB-NEWSLINE?, our digitized newspaper-reading service by phone, 
and can be read or downloaded from our website, www.nfbohio.org 
<http://www.nfbohio.org/>. For information about the National Federation of 
the Blind of Ohio or to make address changes or be added to the mailing 
list, call (440) 774-8077 or email bpierce at oberlin.net 
<mailto:bpierce at oberlin.net>. For information about NFB-NEWSLINE, our free 
digitized newspaper-reading service, call (866) 504-7300. Local NEWSLINE 
numbers are: 330-247-1241 (Akron), 330-409-1900 (Canton), 513-297-1521 
(Cincinnati), 216-453-2090 (Cleveland), and 614-448-1673 (Columbus).

The NFB now has a vehicle donation program. For complete information go to 
<www.nfb.org/vehicledonations <http://www.nfb.org/vehicledonations>> or call 
our toll-free vehicle donation number (855) 659-9314.

Table of Contents

>From the President's Desk
by Eric Duffy

Convention Wrap-Up
by Shelbi Hindel

The National Federation of the Blind of Ohio's 2014 Scholarship Winners
by Deborah Kendrick

The 2014 National Federation of the Blind of Ohio Awards Report
by J.W. Smith

2015 Committee Appointments

Ode to the Code: How One Student Came to Love Braille
by Kaitlin Shelton

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program

Seeing Is Believing: Further Adventures of the White Cane Guy
by David Cohen

Buckeye Briefs

Activities Calendar

>From the President's Desk
by Eric Duffy

            The National Federation of the Blind is beginning its 
seventy-fifth year of service to the nation. The National Federation of the 
Blind of Ohio just concluded its sixty-eighth annual convention. The 
foremost challenge faced by leaders in the organization at every level in 
the beginning was simply organizing: building an organization strong enough 
to make a difference in the blindness field and in the everyday life of 
blind people. Today the National Federation of the blind is the strongest 
force in the blindness field. Our job is to keep the foothold we have gained 
and to continue to build stronger.
            Two years ago I was elected president of the National Federation 
of the Blind of Ohio. Dr. J.W. Smith, who is my predecessor, always said he 
saw himself as a transitional president. When he first said that, neither of 
us believed the transition would be as short as it was.
            I made it clear to any one who asked that I hoped JW would serve 
until both of my boys finished high school. I was in a job that I knew could 
be short term, so I wanted to be a little more certain about my own future 
before taking on the responsibility of the Presidency of the National 
Federation of the Blind of Ohio.
            Therefore I was as surprised as anyone when JW invited Richard 
Payne and me to his room and announced that he would not run for reelection 
at the 2012 National Federation of the Blind of Ohio Convention. As I have 
already said, for a number of personal reasons I did not want to take on the 
presidency. However, when the Federation calls, I have always answered.
            I believe that, if we are to continue to grow as an 
organization, we must have commitment and stability in the office of the 
president. Dr. Jernigan once said, "The Presidency of this organization is 
not a plate of cookies to be passed around." So I knew two things by the end 
of that meeting in July of 2012. They were that I was prepared to be the 
president of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and that I would 
give the organization all of myself that I could. The other thing I knew was 
that I was prepared to run for the presidency and do all that I could to get 
myself elected to the office. I made these commitments because I believe in 
the National Federation of the Blind and because I believe in you, the 
individual and collective membership of the National Federation of the Blind 
of Ohio.
            At the conclusion of that 2012 convention you elected me as your 
president. In doing so, you gave me two of the most challenging but also 
most rewarding years of my life. In my candidate speech I said that, if I 
was elected, we would have a Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning 
(BELL) Program in Ohio in 2013. When I made that pledge, I meant it. Yet 
after I was elected, I asked myself, "What have I just done?" For a couple 
of years prior to 2012, I heard Barbara Pierce, president of the National 
Association to Promote the Use of Braille of Ohio (NAPUB) say, "If we only 
had more money, we could have a BELL Program in Ohio."
            Well, we had less money in November of 2012 than we had had in 
November of 2011. The same is true for 2011 and 2010. So how could I so 
confidently say we would have a BELL Program in 2013? I believed it, and I 
said it because I knew I could count on you. I knew I could count on your 
love, support, generosity, and faith in and commitment to the next 
generation of the blind.
            So in the midst of establishing my presidency and all that goes 
with that, I began laying the groundwork for a BELL Program in Ohio. Our 
first BELL Program was more successful than even I could have hoped for. You 
heard from some of our students, their parents, and our program staff at our 
2013 convention.
            During my first year as president I had to look at how to cut 
costs. The board of directors had already decided that we no longer had 
funds to assist people who needed help coming to conventions. I had to apply 
the same approach to the Washington Seminar. This was not an easy or popular 
decision for me. We have had to find as many ways as possible to cut our 
            While cutting costs, we have also had to find ways to raise 
money. I have been in the position of having to say, "No, I can't help you 
financially to participate in the Washington Seminar or the National 
Convention, but I need you to raise some money for this project or that 
program." Without fail you have answered the call. Chapters, divisions, and 
individuals have helped support our work. Yes, we all could do more, and I 
include myself here as well.
            We have assisted blind children and their families with IEP 
development . We have continued to answer questions about assistive 
technology. We have assisted with rehabilitation cases. In fact, we helped 
Macy McClain get to the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
            We amended our constitution. Amending the constitution is 
something that shouldn't be taken lightly, and it should be done only when 
necessary. Tom Anderson began floating the idea of reducing the size of the 
board of directors at least five or six years before I was elected. We got 
it done at the 2012 convention.
            There is always more to be done than we have the time or the 
resources to do. There is an ocean of problems out there that blind people 
need assistance with. Some of those problems are different than they were 
when our organization first began, and some of them are the same. We talk 
about our concerns in a different way than we did in the beginning. We dream 
bigger because we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. But 
how different are our concerns?
            The unemployment rate among the blind is still very high. We 
must do what we can in many ways to change this. We must do so internally 
and externally. We must ask ourselves what it is that is keeping me from 
getting a job (or a better job) and do what we can to eliminate those 
obstacles in the way of our dreams.
            Externally we must improve educational and rehabilitation 
opportunities for the blind at every level. We can and must do this through 
systemic change in the education and rehabilitation systems, but we must do 
it in our daily lives as well. We must continue to educate the public about 
the capacity of the blind and to let them know about the National Federation 
of the Blind of Ohio.
            You once again elected me as your president at our 2014 
convention. I thank you for your confidence and trust. I again pledge to 
give all that I can to help build and grow the National Federation of the 
Blind of Ohio. I will lead with as much strength, determination, wisdom, 
patience, and love as I possibly can. As I look at the challenges before us 
in 2015, I can say that the road that lies ahead of us is daunting. The 
hills that we must climb are steep, but the rewards along the way are worth 
striving for, and the fruit that we harvest will be sweet.
            We will again have a BELL Program in Ohio, and that takes a lot 
of time, energy, and effort. We must change some of what we do in this 
program to meet the needs of the students who are more advanced Braille 
users. There is work to be done in Congress and in the Ohio General 
Assembly. our work in both of these bodies will begin shortly after the 
start of the new year.
            Ohio is one of the original seven states that founded the 
National Federation of the Blind. President Riccobono has asked the founding 
seven to come together once more to host the 2015 convention of the National 
Federation of the Blind. Leaders in all seven states (including Ohio) have 
answered the call. We will begin planning shortly. I don't yet know what 
responsibilities Ohio will have, but I know we are engaging in a tremendous 
            Our Drive for 75 campaign will kick into full gear in January. 
Our goal is to have a minimum of seventy-five Ohioans at our 2015 convention 
in Orlando. It has been several years since we have been able to provide 
financial assistance to those in need who want to participate in our 
national convention. Our Drive for 75 Campaign headed by JW Smith will 
change that for 2015. We are looking at raising money in a variety of ways, 
but we know we will have five major events around Ohio between January and 
May. We will have events in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and 
Toledo. We will do what we can to assist as many people as possible to be an 
active part of our 2015 National Convention.
            In May we will be bringing blind elementary and high school 
students to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus. These 
students are a part of the STEM2U program, which you heard Ashley Russell 
and Lillie Pennington talk about at the convention. We must instill the 
expectation in the minds of the coming generations of the blind and sighted 
alike that the blind can participate in science, technology, engineering, 
and math.
            I am pleased with the way students are involved in our movement. 
Macy McClain and Lillie Pennington were presenters during general sessions 
of our 2014 convention, and Macy was elected to our board of directors. 
Aleeha Dudley recorded and streamed our convention. This is the first time 
that has ever happened in Ohio. Katie Shelton did a terrific job of leading 
us in Federation song.
            As I look forward to 2015 and the next two years of my 
presidency, I am filled with hope, energy, and love by participating in the 
National Federation of the Blind. My expectations are raised, my 
contributions make a difference to me and to others, and I can celebrate the 
realization of my dreams with my Federation family. I know with certainty 
that the National Federation of the Blind is the only organization that 
believes in the full capacity of blind people and has the power, influence, 
diversity, and determination to help transform our dreams into reality.
            The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not 
the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the 
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles 
between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; 
blindness is not what holds you back.
            I am confident that we will continue to march into the future 
together more united and stronger than we have ever been before. By doing 
so, we will make our dreams come true.

Convention Wrap-Up
by Shelbi Hindel

            Editor's note: Shelbi Hindel is the secretary of the NFB of 
Ohio. Here is her report of the 2014 state convention:

            It should not come as a surprise to anyone that once again this 
year our state affiliate had a convention jam packed with business, 
meetings, and activities. There were so many things to work into such a 
limited amount of time that at its September meeting the board of directors 
voted to hold the board meeting on Thursday evening, October 30. This might 
seem like a new schedule to some, but to others it was a familiar schedule 
revisited since until recent years that was when the convention began.
            The convention did indeed start on Thursday evening at 
approximately 7:00 p.m. with the board of directors meeting, which lasted 
for two hours. Please read the minutes of that meeting for details.
            Friday morning did not start at the break of day, but at the 
civilized hour of 10:00 a.m. with a workshop organized by Deborah Kendrick 
with the goal of being particularly informative and attractive to counselors 
from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. This year the counselors 
were required to attend one consumer convention.
            The workshop was divided into two segments, one hour each. The 
first was titled "Doing Work We Love: What will you do when you grow up? 
Anything you want." Three blind professionals participated in the 
discussion. They told us about their paths to get to their current 
positions, what they do professionally, and how they do it.
            The second segment of the workshop was entitled "Braille Is 
Cool, and it Gets Jobs!" This portion of the program consisted of two 
people. They spoke about the ways in which they use Braille in their jobs. 
The theme they both had in their presentations was that Braille is 
effective, efficient, and necessary.
            The first general session of the convention was called to order 
Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. by President Eric Duffy. Due to the planned 
evening fundraiser, this session was somewhat abbreviated. We did hear from 
Danene Fast from the Ohio State University. She reported on preparing 
teachers of blind children. She came to the Ohio State University to head 
its relatively new orientation and mobility program after serving as 
outreach coordinator at the Ohio State School for the Blind.
            Our national representative, Marc Maurer, and his wife Patricia 
were introduced to the convention. Dr. Maurer gave the national report. Many 
of us are familiar with his presentations from national conventions. He was 
even more riveting and personable at our convention when addressing us. Mrs. 
Maurer also spoke briefly to us. It was an absolute pleasure to have a 
couple with us and hear from both of them.
            The Friday afternoon session concluded with a report from the 
Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities director, Kevin Miller, and his 
colleague, Melinda Duncan, director of the Bureau of Services for the 
Visually Impaired. We did have an opportunity to ask questions and make 
comments. It is safe to say from those questions that the bureau 
administrators are much more pleased with the services that are being 
provided to consumers than we as a consumer organization are. We concluded 
their program time by singing some old favorite NFB songs about 
rehabilitation in the old days led by Kaiti Shelton. The remainder of the 
afternoon was devoted to registration and committee and division meetings.
            The fundraiser took the entire evening on Friday October 31. It 
started with time for people to look at the items in the auction and place 
written bids on the ones they were interested in. This took place in the 
foyer area of the Griswold Ballroom. In the Griswold Ballrooms J.W. Smith 
was master of ceremonies for the evening's activities. Art Schreiber spoke 
on his experiences touring with the Beatles in 1964, and the John Schwab 
Band performed all-Beatles music. Eric Duffy conducted the vocal portion of 
the auction during the band's intermission. It was a wonderful evening from 
start to finish. We learned a lot from this fundraising effort. We now have 
experience from which to expand and grow our fundraising activities.
            Saturday, November 1, started early with the Diabetes Action 
Network and National Association to Promote the Use of Braille holding 
breakfast meetings. The general session opened another full day of 
presentations at 9:00 a.m. Aleeha Dudley gave a demonstration of the KNFB 
Reader app for the iPhone. Pat Eschbach told us why she is a Federationist. 
Tracy Grimm reported from the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically 
Disabled. Richard Payne and Dr. Maurer spoke about building the Federation 
and the new branding concept. The morning session concluded with a 
presentation by Rosa Jones and Charlene Bolden of the Cleveland chapter on 
Charles Bonet Syndrome. There were lunch meetings for divisions. Then at 
2:00 p.m. we started a full afternoon of presentations. Stephen White, 
legislative director of Rob Portman's Columbus office, addressed the 
convention briefly. He was there in response to an invitation to Mr. Portman 
to address the convention about his position with respect to the Technology, 
Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act. We 
were disappointed to find that Mr. White had nothing to say about the TEACH 
Act. Macy McClain spoke about her experiences at an NFB training center in 
Louisiana. Gayle Stanford from Columbus Speech and Hearing spoke about the 
program for deaf blind Ohioans, ICANCONNECT. We had a lively presentation 
from a BELL student, Makenzie Love, and her mother. I loveSjoberg-Witt from 
Ohio Disability Rights Law and Policy Center Inc. spoke to us about working 
together to create positive changes for blind people in our state. Ashley 
Russell from the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and Lillie 
Pennington, a high school member from Cincinnati, presented the STEM2U 
Columbus program. Lillie will be a high school mentor in the Columbus 
program in May, and Ohio will have two of our BELL students participating. 
The afternoon session concluded with Kaiti leading us in song.
            As always the banquet was held Saturday evening. Richard Payne 
served as master of ceremonies for the banquet. Dr. Maurer gave the banquet 
address. J. W. Smith presented the gavel awards to the chapter and division 
winners. A full report of those awards appears elsewhere in this issue. 
Deborah Kendrick presented the scholarship awards. Deborah reports about 
these presentations elsewhere in this issue. President Eric Duffy conducted 
Money for the Movement. We can report that the Drive for 75 Fund toward 
getting seventy-five Ohioans to the Orlando convention next summer now has 
$1,541 in it. The amount raised Saturday evening was $1,840, and the amount 
pledged was $925. After-banquet activities consisted of games and singing.
            Sunday morning started early with a leadership breakfast for 
those serving as presidents or treasurers of chapters and divisions. Dr. 
Maurer spoke to us at this breakfast, and we had an excellent conversation.
            Again this day, general session was called to order at 9:00 a.m. 
We began the morning with a moment of silence in remembrance of 
Federationists who had died: Bruce Peters, Summit County; Bob Crawford, 
Cincinnati Chapter; Robert Boyd and Cordelia Leach, Cleveland Chapter. We 
then had panel presentations on the history of the Federation and NFB 
philosophy. Crystal and Mark McClain reflected on rearing a child guided by 
Federation philosophy. The treasurer reported financial activity in 2013, 
and elections were held. We reduced the size of the board in accordance with 
the amendment to the constitution passed last year. Elected were president, 
Eric Duffy; vice president, Richard Payne; secretary, Shelbi Hindel; 
treasurer, Sherry Ruth; and board member, Macy McClain.
            It was a very busy, full, encouraging, and fun weekend. We have 
a lot of work ahead of us and invite everyone to join us in our efforts.

National Federation of the Blind of Ohio's 2014 Scholarship Class
by Deborah Kendrick

            Editor's note: Deborah Kendrick chairs the NFB of Ohio 
Scholarship Committee. Here is her report of activity at this year's 

            Our treasury is small, but generosity abounds, both within our 
affiliate and beyond. Consequently, it was our pleasure to award three 
scholarships to outstanding blind students at our 2014 NFB of Ohio 
convention. All three winners attended the entire convention as our guests. 
Although each was aware that he or she was a winner, neither they nor we 
knew which scholarship was being awarded to which individual until the 
Saturday night banquet, November 1.
            Shortly before the banquet the Scholarship Committee held a 
brief meeting to make those final decisions. The committee was comprised of 
Deborah Kendrick, chair; Barbara Pierce; Robert Pierce; Kyle Conley; and 
Suzanne Turner. All but Suzanne were present at the convention to make the 
final decisions.
            Arriving at that final decision was a difficult task indeed 
because all three of our 2014 winners are excellent students and are either 
already working hard or eager to get involved with the Federation. 
Scholarships presented at the banquet were as follows:

National Federation of the Blind of Ohio scholarship in the amount of $1,000 
was awarded to Jonathan Thomas. Jonathan is a first-year student at Wright 
State University. His commitment to ending world hunger and helping others 
less fortunate than himself impressed the committee, particularly the shoe 
drive he orchestrated single-handedly during his senior year of high school, 
during which he collected 3,600 pairs of shoes to be sent to underdeveloped 

The Robert M. Eschbach Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, was 
awarded to Kaiti Shelton. Kaiti is a junior in music therapy at the 
university of Dayton, active in a number of student organizations, and the 
dynamic leader of the Ohio Association of Blind Students, our NFBO student 
division. Kaiti's contributions of time and talent to our affiliate are 
numerous. A special treat for all of us at this convention was hearing 
Kaiti's guitar and voice as she led us in a number of Federation songs.

Elif Emir Oksuz was awarded the Jennica Ferguson scholarship, in the amount 
of $1,500. Elif is a doctoral student in counselor education at the 
University of Cincinnati. Elif and her husband are sponsored by the 
government of their native Turkey to study in the United States for five 
years. Elif came to the Federation almost immediately after her arrival here 
in 2012 and has been sharing much of Federation philosophy with the blind of 
Turkey. She launched an online magazine in which she translates articles 
found here in the Braille Monitor and AccessWorld, records them in Turkish, 
and uploads them for the benefit of the blind in her native land.

Congratulations to all three 2014 scholarship winners. We will be watching 
your progress and welcome the work you do.
            The application for the 2015 NFB of Ohio scholarships will soon 
be posted on our website. Three scholarships will again be awarded, and 
three winners selected to be our guests at the 2015 NFBO convention, to be 
held in the fall at a hotel as yet to be announced. For information visit 
our website <www.nfbohio.org <http://www.nfbohio.org/>> or contact NFBO 
scholarship chair, Deborah Kendrick, dkkendrick at earthlink.net 
<mailto:dkkendrick at earthlink.net> or (513) 673-4474.

The 2014 National Federation of the Blind of Ohio Awards Report
by J.W. Smith

            Editor's note: J.W. Smith chaired the Awards Committee this 
year. Here is his report of the awards that were presented at this year's 

            At the 2014 banquet of the NFB of Ohio, held on November 1, 
three awards were presented. First, Dr. J.W. Smith, the committee chair, 
thanked the members of the committee for their service. The committee was 
comprised of Paul Dressell, Cheryl Fields, Shelbi Hindle, Emily Pennington, 
Barbara Pierce, Jerry Purcell, and Cathy Withman. The first award presented 
was the 2014 Chapter Gavel Award, and this year's winner was the National 
Federation of the Blind of Cincinnati. Dr. Smith announced the winner and 
then asked its president Deborah Kendrick to come forth and accept the award 
and bring any of her chapter members with her if she'd like to. The 
certificate was presented to President Kendrick in both print and Braille, 
and the text reads as follows:

Chapter Gavel Award
by the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
to the National Federation of the Blind of Cincinnati
For your very successful October 15, 2013, White Cane Safety Day March, 
which drew nearly 100 participants; for your effectiveness and willingness 
to teach Braille to students at the University of Cincinnati; for your 
involvement with the development of an effective video on appropriate 
interaction with blind people, developed by the Clovernook center; and for 
the 33 percent membership growth in your chapter. You are an example and an 
inspiration to us all.

            In addition to awarding this certificate and $50, the committee 
also recognized the NFB of Cincinnati for an outstanding chapter activity 
and suggested that they receive an additional $25 for the activity they 
called "Mini Blinds." Here is how the activity was described in the 
chapter's Gavel Award questionnaire:

            For the last few years we have opened our meetings in the NFB 
Cincinnati chapter with what I whimsically dubbed "Mini Blinds." As we go 
around the room introducing ourselves, each person gives his or her name, 
tells whether or not he/she is wearing NFB insignia, and finally adds a 
response to the Mini Blind of the month.
            To introduce the Mini Blind, I tell a little story and then 
frame a question for others to follow suit. examples:
What is one cool thing about being blind?
What is your favorite low-tech solution to a blindness-related problem?
Who was the first person you met in the Federation?
            I set it up by telling a story. For example, last year I 
suddenly started giggling one day at convention when I realized that 
panic-stricken sighted people wanting to give directions often begin 
shouting "Go straight! Go straight!" They do this whether the direction is 
at all relevant to the situation. So I asked each person to give an example 
of good or bad verbal directions they'd been given.
            Admittedly, I am more creative some months than others, but our 
members enjoy the Mini Blinds, and it gives us a way to learn a bit about 
one another, share attitudes, and sometimes laugh.

            It is ironic that, after President Kendrick's acceptance 
comments and elaboration of the Mini Blinds activity, we all had to be 
particularly careful about getting on and off the stage which was set up 
rather awkwardly. In fact, we all found ways to use the term "go straight!" 
as a way of providing directions for this purpose.
            The 2014 Division Gavel Award was then presented to the Ohio 
Association of Guide Dog Users, and President Deanna Lewis was asked to come 
forward to accept the award and to bring anyone she liked with her. Once 
again the Division received a certificate, which was read, as several 
members stood on the platform. The text of the award is as follows:

Division Gavel Award
Presented by the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
to the Ohio Association of Guide Dog Users
For your current work with police officers and firemen concerning proper 
service dog etiquette; for the efforts of your members to educate both third 
and fourth graders as well as high school students about guide dogs and 
blindness; and for the development of your effective and proactive listserv 
and frequent conference calls. You excite and inspire us by your dedication 
to the NFB and the values for which it stands.

            Finally, the committee felt that one division was worthy of 
special recognition this year, and thus the Division on the Move award was 
presented to our students. President Kaiti Shelton was asked to come forward 
and accept the award and invited to bring anyone she wanted as well. She 
brought with her the entire division board, and their enthusiasm was 
contagious and enthusiastic. The text of the certificate is as follows:

The Division on the Move Award
Presented by the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
to the Ohio Association of Blind Students
For the development of your listserv and your very effective and informative 
monthly conference calls; for the development of a viable constitution, 
complete with membership dues; for the promotion and implementation of a 
significant fundraising activity; and for your increased visibility and 
contributions to our state affiliate at every level. You excite and inspire 
us by your dedication to the NFB and the values for which it stands.

This division received a print and Braille copy of its certificate, and it 
was clear that a strong foundation had been established for this division.
            We had excellent submissions for our chapter and division awards 
this year, and every effort will be made to maintain and increase this 
involvement in the future.

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

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto the Ohio Council of the Blind dba 
National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, P.O. Box 82055, Columbus, Ohio 
43202, an Ohio nonprofit corporation, 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."

National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
2015 Committee Appointments

            Editor's note: These are the committee assignments made at the 
December 8 board meeting.

Deaf Blind Coordinators: Delcinia Brown, Lisa Hall, and Kaiti Shelton

Awards Committee: Shelbi Hindel (Chair), Paul Dressell, Cheryl Fields, Jerry 
Percell, Emily Pennington, Barbara Pierce, and Kathy Withman

Constitution Committee: Shelbi Hindel (Chair), Annette Anderson, Barb Fohl, 
and Colleen Roth

Convention Arrangements Coordinator: Sheri Albers

Education Committee: Debbie Baker (chair), Kyle Conley, Marianne Denning, 
Colleen Roth, Kaiti Shelton, and Suzanne Turner

Financing the Movement: Sherry Ruth (Chair), Annette Anderson (SUN 
Coordinator), Barb Fohl (PAC Coordinator), and Barbara Pierce (Jernigan Fund 

Fundraising: Milena Zavolie (Chair), Susan Day, Aleeha Dudley, Shelbi 
Hindel, Deanna Lewis, Annette Lutz, Richard Payne, Lillie Pennington, and 
Emily Pennington

Legislative: Barbara Pierce (Chair), Sheri Albers, Debbie Baker, Susan Day, 
Deborah Kendrick, Annette Lutz, and Walter Mitchelle

Membership: Richard Payne and Macy McClain (Co-Chairs), Sheri Albers, 
Stephanie Claytor, Cheryl Fields, Cheryl Fischer, Lillie Pennington, Arlie 
Ray, Colleen Roth, Gloria Robinson, Suzanne Turner, William Turner, and Mary 

Promotion and Publicity: Deborah Kendrick (chair), Susan Day, Barbara 
Pierce, and Milena Zavoli

Resolutions: Deborah Kendrick (Chair), Paul Dressell, and Colleen Roth

Scholarship: Deborah Kendrick (Chair), Barbara Pierce, Bob Pierce, Kaiti 
Shelton, and Cheryl Fields

Vehicle Donation: Richard Payne (chair), Tim Janning, and Aleeha Dudley

Ode to the Code: How One Student Came to Love Braille
by Kaitlin Shelton

            Editor's note: Kaiti Shelton is president of the Ohio 
Association of Blind Students and a winner of two NFB of Ohio scholarships 
and one NFB national scholarship. She is also an enthusiastic supporter and 
user of Braille, but she was not always excited about the code. Here is her 
            Today I am an avid Braille reader. I love reading novels on my 
BrailleSense or in hard copy, and couldn't imagine life without literacy. 
Some would say I'm even a bit too stern about Braille because I tend to 
avoid other forms of reading like audio and readers since a part of me 
considers using those methods of reading to be cheating, but you really just 
can't replace Braille and the independence that comes along with it. From 
the way I talk, you're probably assuming that I've had a Braille-filled 
childhood and parents who fought long and hard to secure the privileges of 
reading for me, but that wasn't the case.
            One day in pre-K I was pulled out of class by a woman from the 
county for an assessment. We sat in the hall, and she introduced me to the 
Perkins Brailler for the first time. We brailled a few letters, and I was 
starting to get the hang of it, but she took me back to class, and I never 
saw her again. County officials concluded that I saw well enough that 
reading Braille might not be the best option. I was sent along to 
kindergarten with the notion in my parents' heads that I would read large 
            Kindergarten came and went, and I started the first grade in the 
fall of 2000. My teacher, a creative and wonderful woman named Mrs. Murphy, 
noticed that there were a few problems with my academic performance right 
from the start. For one thing I could read print, but it was painfully slow 
and tedious. Since I have nystagmus and a very small focus in the one eye 
that has vision, I had to scan each letter individually before I could 
identify the word I was reading. I was also missing out on a lot of the 
incidental learning that the sighted students gained from seeing things like 
alphabet posters, number charts, and other visuals on the walls of the 
classroom. Mrs. Murphy decided that this needed to change. She researched 
the problem and decided that it was time for me to switch from reading print 
to reading Braille.
            This terrified my parents, especially my mother. She had been 
told that, since her child had vision, everything should be done to allow 
that vision to be used and that using it would help me be more like my 
peers. In a round-about way, she had been told that reading anything other 
than print would make me look blind. Under these conditions she was against 
the idea of my learning Braille. She thought, "Who does this teacher think 
she is?"
            But Mrs. Murphy followed her instinct and fought for me to learn 
Braille. She sat my mom down and told her that I was a bright student; there 
was no reason why I should be reading below grade level and falling behind 
my peers if it didn't have to be that way. She explained that for me Braille 
would be the great equalizer. The books would grow longer and more complex, 
I'd be expected to read more for my classes, and without Braille I would 
continue to function at a lower level than my sighted classmates. She also 
made the point that the doctors had no idea how long I would have usable 
vision and that it would be much harder to learn Braille as a middle-school 
or high-school student than it would be at six years old when reading 
instruction was part of the curriculum. My mom finally agreed that I should 
start learning Braille, so my instruction began.
            But that wasn't the half of my struggle to become Braille 
literate. By that time the idea that reading print was what made me the same 
as my friends had already wedged its way into my six-year-old brain. When my 
books that had pictures on the covers and looked just like everyone else's 
were taken away, I was absolutely distraught. The Braille books I was given 
instead were bland, bulky, and very different. I didn't like being the only 
one in my class to have books like them, so I resisted the instruction. I 
also came to despise the Perkins Brailler. Before I used the Perkins, I used 
a grease pencil to write. I'd often lift my face from the page to have black 
grease smeared all over myself, but I figured that I was at least doing what 
my friends were. The brailler was heavy, bulky, and loud. We were supposed 
to be very quiet during spelling tests, and using the noisy machine made me 
feel self-conscious.
            Many of my spelling tests were not completed because I would get 
frustrated or upset and begin to cry or throw a temper tantrum in the middle 
of class. I remember being carried out of the room into the hall by my aide, 
sobbing out, "I hate Braille." Though I laugh about it now, it was a serious 
self-esteem issue for me at the time. As the year went on, I started to 
devise other methods for avoiding the Brailler. Once, when my aide had left 
me alone in our Braille room to grab something, I shoved everything I could 
get my hands on into the brailler. Pencils, paper clips, and thumb tacks 
were among the items that the aide tried to fish out of the brailler, and it 
needed to be sent off to be repaired. Unfortunately for me the county 
brought a spare brailler to the school for me to use while the one we had 
was being fixed, and I think that was when I realized that I wasn't going to 
avoid Braille. It was clear to me that it would now be a part of my life, 
and I would just have to deal with it.
            In the second grade, after I had been reading Braille for a 
year, my attitude about Braille began to change. My skills had improved to 
the point where I could start reading the same stories as my classmates, so, 
even though I still didn't have pictures, I could at least read the same 
Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse books. My mother had become a staunch 
supporter of Braille and began purchasing the print copies of books I read 
so she could read with me. Each Christmas after that, until I became a 
member of Bookshare and NLS, I received several Newberry Award-winning books 
from Seedlings in Braille. I soon started reading books above my grade 
level, and by the third grade my favorite books included The Trumpet of the 
Swan, Matilda, Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach, and some books in 
the Goosebumps series.
            Over the next several years I began to advocate for Braille 
along with my mother. Together we established a Braille book library for 
blind children throughout Ohio, and several of my Seedlings Books remain in 
that library today. Whenever I hear a parent of a blind child say that he or 
she uses audio and the computer to read, I always ask, "What about Braille?" 
and try to educate them about how it has benefitted my life and the lives of 
other blind people. As Mrs. Murphy said, for blind people Braille is the 
great equalizer. It is what makes us literate, and, although technology and 
audio can certainly be useful and do serve their purposes, they can't 
replace Braille. I know that I would have at best struggled through high 
school and performed less successfully than I have and at worst not finished 
high school and found some small job which doesn't require literacy skills. 
Fortunately, I can say that, not only am I well versed in the literary code, 
but I also use the music Braille code for my studies as a music therapy 
major and know the scientific and Nemeth codes as well.
            In the Federation we hear all the time about parents fighting 
their school districts for Braille instruction. My situation was the 
opposite, and I shudder to think of where I would be today if my parents had 
never changed their minds about Braille. I am glad that both my parents and 
I have come to see Braille, not as something which makes me different from 
my sighted friends and classmates, but as something which lets me compete 
and perform to the same standards. I consider myself to be extremely lucky, 
not only because I learned Braille at all, but because most kids like me 
with usable vision are denied the right to receive a comparable education to 
those of their sighted peers. If it weren't for Mrs. Murphy's insistence, I 
would never have discovered the necessity and joy of Braille literacy. It is 
fitting that my birthday is the same as Louis Braille's, January 4, because 
I owe so much to him-as we all do--for the code which has made me who I am 

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31, 2015

            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 in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad 
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 2015 NFB 
annual convention in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity 
for high-level networking with active blind people in many different 
professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the Submission 
Checklist, complete the official 2015 Scholarship Application Form (online 
or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one 
interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a 
later date). Applications are accepted for five months, from November 1, 
2014, to March 31, 2015. Go to <www.nfb.org/scholarships 
for complete rules and requirements.

Seeing Is Believing
The Further Adventures of the White Cane Guy
by David Cohen

            Editor's note: In the last newsletter David Cohen, a member of 
the Miami Valley chapter, wrote about acquiring the nickname of White Cane 
Guy (WCG for short). Here are WCG's further adventures in the neighborhood.

            If ever there was a loaded statement, "Seeing is believing" 
packs the equivalent of the funniest Looney Tunes gags. I'm thinking of 
Yosemite Sam in the episode about the singing sword, wherein he finds 
himself along with the loveably innocent resident dragon inside the castle 
turret surrounded with explosives and the dragon's desperate need to sneeze 
fire again:
            Seeing and believing is one thing, and it is quick and easy. 
Observing and allowing the facts to be revealed takes time and patience, but 
often that which is revealed needs no words of explanation, for the truth of 
it is a feeling of knowing. Or, if any words at all are spoken, the result 
is an oh-my-God moment and that's all, folks. The question is then, how many 
times has public education about blindness resulted in an oh-my-God moment? 
In short, there's a whole lot more of them than there is of us. "Us and 
them" is an expression of separation, and we have to resign ourselves to the 
struggle to make ourselves understood to the general public.
            I have two black dogs that I walk regularly. The elder is 
Maggie, and she is 100 percent Labrador. The younger male is Snerdley, and 
he is at least half Labrador and possibly more since he is always mistaken 
for Labrador; but his crescent-curve tail, his pinched-short ears, and his 
twin elongated canine teeth, which bow inwards to his mouth, lead me to 
think he's got something else in his bloodline-possibly Burmese Python or 
the vampire Lestat. So when I am asked-and I am often asked about the dogs-I 
like to say that I have 1.5 servings of the recommended daily allowance of 
            The three of us were out walking, as we do at least twice daily, 
and this particular day was the late afternoon of the Labor Day holiday 
after the parade. The parade began at ten o'clock in the morning and 
finished by noon. Now the traffic outside on State Route 48 passes at a 
reduced volume like a Sunday evening as opposed to the normal weekday 
ever-present and rushing volume one can expect from the most 
heavily-traveled road in the state of Ohio's second largest suburb.
            The sidewalk on which we were walking was blocked entirely by 
twin aluminum bleachers outside the Board of Education Building two blocks 
north of my home. Additionally the city stationed portable toilets a few 
yards from the corners of select blocks both north and south along the 
one-mile stretch of the parade's route. Years ago, when I was passing one 
such port-o-John and struck the backside of the molded plastic enclosure 
with my cane a bit too forcefully, a surprised voice called out from within, 
"Just a minute. Occupied." The smile on my face had a life of its own as I 
recalled how many times I had accidentally knocked the doors of hotel rooms, 
apartment doors, and cubicle walls at work before I decided to employ a 
softer touch in such situations.
            We circumnavigated the portable toilet stationed on the sidewalk 
between my driveway and the nearest corner to my house, and I knocked and 
identified with my cane the wooden sawhorse barriers placed in the crosswalk 
of this first street adjacent to my house to discourage through traffic from 
entering the parade route. My cane tap echoed the location of the upcoming 
curb, and I swept, looking for the wheelchair ramp on the other side, and we 
three stepped up onto the next block. Maggie stopped after a few yards to 
sniff at a routine spot. Ahead of me I heard a voice and several footsteps. 
The voice rose in volume as it approached. I realized as the voice drew 
closer that it was a man. Walking along with him and behind him were younger 
            "Stay to the side, everybody; those dogs are working," he 
announced importantly. As the group passed, I exchanged neighborly greetings 
perfunctorily because it was important that my primary focus remain on 
Maggie, who on occasion relieves herself at this spot, and I needed to 
attend my civic duty and pick up if nature called.
            "Hi. Hello. How are ya."
            "Hello sir, hi, hi sir." Three voices of younger people spoke in 
passing, and I smiled but did not take my full attention away from Maggie, 
who was rooting in the grass to my left at the end of her leash like an Iowa 
hog and snorting just as loudly. This informed me that she was not thinking 
of relieving but probably searching for edibles. If you have a Labrador of 
your own or have ever lived with such a dog, you know that no other appetite 
on earth compares, not even that of professional athletes injected with HGH 
and steroids. I do believe that, if I ever spilled mustard or ketchup on 
her, she'd consume herself into nothingness and find a way of communicating 
with me spiritually to beg for something else to eat.
            "Those dogs are working," the man told the kids behind him, and 
his voice was like the informational voice that interrupts television 
broadcasts to announce that a test of the Emergency Broadcast System is 
taking place, that such is only a test, and that, if such was not a test, I 
would be advised to take shelter and to Tweet or post to Facebook only if 
the tornado strikes my neighbor's home.
            I gave Maggie a cursory leash tug to signal to her to come 
along, and the three of us were walking northwards again. I had the twin 
leashes in my left hand and my cane in my right; I kept the dogs always to 
my left, which took some patience and a lot of repetition to train into 
them. Obviously I could not have one or both of them crossing in front of me 
to my right side to sniff routinely, but sometimes they could not resist. 
Two legs or four, you cannot beat the arc of the cane is what I like to say, 
and many times I've tickled the pad of a dog foot. Dog feet are so 
cool-especially Labrador duck-style feet.
            The way I went about managing this dog-walking coordination was 
simply to use the common stainless steel choker chains so that I could heel 
them both quickly with a catch and release tug/signal, and shorten the 
length of leash or leashes as necessary-Maggie always the culprit-without 
the vinyl cloth collar rubbing and/or holding uncomfortably against the 
neck. This is not as cumbersome as one might think, although I do experience 
times when Snerdley sights a rabbit or cat and rockets ahead, crossing to my 
right side; but I simply stop, replace my shoulder in the socket, and think 
of something equally disappointing, like the fact that Chipotle does not 
deliver, in order to quell my guilt for restraining his nature.
            "I know, Snerdley. I know. You missed the rabbit. I love fast 
food too but can't always have it," I tell him, and he chuffs at me 
disgustedly. A twin portal blow through his dog nostrils is his way of 
dismissing me, I'm sure.
            The three of us have been walking together for five years now. 
Prior to engaging this twin walk, I would walk one dog and return home to 
walk the other, but, after months of their competitive bickering and 
hearing, "She always gets to go first," and "That's my leash! Why doesn't he 
get his own?" I'd had enough and made the change to walking them 
            "Now listen, you two," I would demand. "If you do not stop with 
this bickering, I'll go myself. Cane and I are Abel, ha ha ha." I routinely 
engage them with playful language this way as a means of both annoyance and 
            At present both dogs are pulling ahead strongly to be the first 
to capture the next freshest inhalation of oxygen, and I pick up my own 
pace. The sidewalk beneath my feet soon begins to slope downward and informs 
me that we're approaching the end of this block. I mentally throw my ears 
forward to the cross-street and the crosswalk and include the passing 
traffic on State Route 48 to my left as I reel and shorten their leashes in 
toward me. Hearing predictability ahead, we cross this next street without 
stopping and maintain our pace. It's a perfectly executed crossing; even the 
Russian orientation and mobility instructors are pleased, and their 
scorecard displays a 9.7 score rating. For me it is just one of those days 
when alignment is Zen-like, and no other people approach with dogs, and no 
remnant of parade food has been discarded in the crosswalk for distraction.
            In this next block is where the aluminum bleachers are 
positioned, and both block the entire sidewalk, which is at least twice the 
width of suburban sidewalk paths because it accommodates a nicely cobbled 
brick area surrounding a city bus stop and shelter. I am very familiar with 
the parade bleacher setup because at least twice in the early years of my 
residency here I took a five foot nine-inch bleacher seat or step to my 
forehead, my cane sweeping beneath and my ears and mind elsewhere, probably 
dreaming of the advent of Diane Sawyer's voice in my computer's synthesizer 
or a Wendy's double burger with everything the size of a Frisbee.
            Today as in previous years since my last headshot, I have 
stepped off the sidewalk well before the placement of the bleachers and 
along with the dogs walk up the sloping grass of the Board of Education lawn 
to go around the blockade.
            "Hello. I like your dogs," a woman's voice speaks to me. Maggie 
and Snerdley are heading directly for her until Maggie stops short to root 
at what I can only imagine is food droppings from parade-attendees. "Oh I'm 
sorry," the woman says as I tug on Maggie's leash-Snerdley is not a 
constantly begging, sniffing or food-on-the-brained kind of dog-and I am 
again giving Maggie a smart leash correction of the sort I learned how to 
administer when in guide dog school twenty years ago. It is a mental check 
at best, and the equivalent of a tap on the shoulder.
            "I'm sorry," the woman repeats. "I know they're working; I 
shouldn't have distracted them," she says apologetically, but I hear she's 
smiling because, well, dogs have this effect on people, unlike politicians.
            "No problem," I say loosening my hold on Maggie because she's 
now sweep-sniffing and no longer rooting, which tells me she's not eating or 
about to eat.
            "I know you're not supposed to pet working dogs, but can I?" the 
woman asks me.
            I worked with a Black Labrador guide dog for many years, and I 
never did get used to this question of simultaneous acknowledgement and 
dismissal. I wonder if this is limited to those who work with service dogs 
only or if it is spoken elsewhere.
            "I know you're not supposed to smoke in the maternity ward, but 
can I?" "I know the sign reads 12 items or fewer, but...." "I know it's a 
school zone, and the cautionary light is flashing, but c'mon, man, it's a 
            "Sure," I say, and ask if she attended the parade, attempting to 
non-sequitur a guide dog conversation, which as you know is not the reality 
of the situation, but seeing is believing. I cannot imagine being so 
equipped as a blind person with a cane, all my senses in working order, and 
only four dogs short of a sled-team of guide dogs, but this is what is seen 
and spoken to me routinely when we three are out for a walk. My blindness 
experience has taught me that we see what we know and that knowing is not 
the same as understanding. Knowing is good for multiple-choice tests and 
Jeopardy, but understanding has very little to do with memorization.
            "Yes. We're cleaning up and are waiting for the trucks to remove 
the bleachers. Were you here for the parade," she asks.
            "Yes and no," I tell her. "I live just two blocks south of here, 
and the parade... well, it passes in front of my house. It's like having a 
marching band playing in your living room," I say to her and feel chills on 
the nape of my neck as I recall the scene I've just inadvertently described 
from The Amityville Horror movie.
            "Oh I know you," she says. "You're the guy with the dogs," and I 
know she's saying that I am the White Cane Guy with the dogs, more or less. 
But herein I am not WCG but the blind guy with two guide dogs, working dogs 
or service dogs... whatever.
            "Yes, that is me," I reply acknowledging her with a glance.
            "I think these dogs are so amazing... I mean what they do for 
you," she says, bending over to pet one then the other.
            "What do I say?" I ask myself. Do I tell her the truth, that my 
dogs are regular walking, trashcan-sniffing, rabbit-chasing, and obviously 
harnessless dogs with no formal training? This is a uniquely dissonant 
situation, for everything in plain view contradicts the woman's belief. 
"God, why are you doing this to me? I ask internally. "Why am I doing this 
to myself? Please turn my head into a plasma flat screen so I might be 
seen," I muse patiently. "Give me the radio voice of Art Schreiber, Rush 
Limbaugh, or Teri Gross so I might be heard."
            "Now where did you get them?" she asks still petting and cooing 
to them.
            "Maggie is from a breeder in Tampa, and Snerdley comes from the 
Tampa Humane Society, where he was doing three to six for civil 
disobedience," I reply.
            "Whaaat?" she asks laughing at me, but I know she's sincere and 
believes the twain are working.
            "The truth is that neither dog is a working dog," and this I 
relate seriously. "I sort of rescued them, and they are from Tampa, 
            "But they work for you, right?" she states more than asks.
            "Nope. This works with me," I say softly, smiling sincerely and 
holding my cane upright to my side above the recently shorn front lawn I 
feel beneath my feet. I know my cane's simple utilitarian power, but most 
folk know it only as an accessory to the DMV driver exam picture and 
functionally like a candy-striped barber pole mounted on the wall outside 
the shop.
            "They're not working for you... They're not service animals" she 
replies, and I can hear the disbelief in her voice.
            "No, they're served animals," I reply. "They get served meals in 
the morning and the afternoon, eat dog snacks, and take routine walks with 
me to the pet store, where they are served treats and God only knows how 
many discounts that I am unaware of which they steal from the store's lower 
            The woman is laughing. I am laughing. I think she's definitely a 
dog-person. This mistake has occurred many times since I began walking the 
dogs I've cared for in the past ten years since my former guide passed. Who 
knows, maybe I'll educate someone or, even better, maybe she'll want two 
            "I don't understand. I always thought they guided you. I've seen 
them take you across the street," she says.
            "Take me across the street" I consider incredulously to myself? 
Chinese emperors are taken places by rickshaw inside the Imperial City. The 
New York Yankees are taken by floats or convertibles through the streets of 
Brooklyn in parades celebrating victory, but the last time I was taken 
across a street was by pram by my mother in the very early seventies.
            "Do you have a dog?" I ask, mild in tone and turning my gaze 
away so as to make sure I am communicating understandingly. I do not want to 
give the impression that I am at all incredulous. I do not want this kind 
woman to feel anything but openness to the reality of my walking the dogs. I 
do not want to communicate a corrective "Well duh" tone of voice to her.
            "Yes, a Beagle mix," she says.
            Hearing Beagle, I so want to reply, "BeagleJuice BeagleJuice 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz15PudXkXM>) but even I know now is the 
time for seriousness.
            "When you walk the Beagle, the Beagle sometimes walks ahead of 
you and sometimes at your side. Beagle turns at all the routine corners and 
after certain street crossings. The Beagle marks territory at the usual 
places and walks down curbs and up wheelchair ramps along with you," I am 
explaining, and she is understanding this, I know, because she is now 
speaking to me engagingly and, truth be told, laughing at herself, which I 
can appreciate because I've walked into bleachers in broad daylight.
            "Oh my God. You're just walking these dogs. You're blind though, 
right?" she asks, and she is most definitely in need of confirmation. If 
ever there was an opportune time for me to walk into a tree or bleachers it 
is now. This would be called taking one for the team.
            "This is true," I say. You know it is, that moment when engaged 
by a person unfamiliar with blindness but simultaneously in the know of 
blindness who needs you to confirm something obvious in its functionality 
like reading Braille in an elevator and pressing the corresponding button so 
the light illuminates the seeing-is-believing truth. It's like asking 
someone at a costume party to remove his Batman mask even though you know he 
planned to arrive as such despite the fact that the entire event is a 
pre-planned Barack and Michelle Abama look-a-like costume party.
            "Yes," I reply now looking uncomfortably directly at her for 
only a second or two.
            "Ohhhh," she exclaims. She's cool in manner and not at all 
uncomfortable with the word "blind," which I really appreciate.
            "Sweet!" I'm elated. She's cool with it. I can get on with my 
walk, but suddenly I notice the dismantling of my presumptions of what is 
going on between us.
            "But how...? You just walk... alone..., with that," she states a 
bit incredulously and obviously pointing at my white cane as if I were 
holding a soiled diaper.
            I have a choice to make. I can prolong the exchange, which has 
turned into a whole bunch of everything regarding blindness, and maybe 
dispel her disbelief. I could make another joke and tell her that, yes, I do 
use the cane; it works free; I incur no health insurance costs; it requires 
no room and board, does not cheat at cards, and also functions as a sweeping 
tool for the identification and retrieval of all the single socks that have 
gone astray beneath beds and behind the washing machine and dryer in my 
home. I could answer yes and excuse myself and continue walking, and this is 
what I did more or less.
            "My name is David," I say, holding out my hand to her, and we 
shake. "This cane is to me a literal extension of my arm and hand with five 
fingers, each with an eyeball for a fingerprint. It informs me of everything 
I need to know **added an i in fivesixty-five inches ahead of my scheduled 
arrival. It really works wonderfully in its simplicity."
            "Oh I guess so," she replies in a tone of challenged 
consideration. "I never really thought.... But don't you need a service 
dog?" she asked.

More Tools for NFB-NEWSLINE Readers

by Scott White

            Editor's note: Just as the newsletter was closing, the following 
notice came from Scott White, the director of NEWSLINE services at the 
National Center for the Blind. We thought that these changes would be of 
real interest to everyone who uses NEWSLINE to read newspapers or magazines. 
If you don't know about NEWSLINE, refer to the information at the top of 
this newsletter. Everyone who can no longer read newspapers should try 
NEWSLINE. Here are the description of the new features available:

            The NFB-NEWSLINE team is pleased to announce the introduction of 
a new feature for the telephone access method that will help subscribers 
streamline the reading of their favorite publications. This new mode is easy 
to navigate; you are able to move quickly from section to section without 
having to return to the list of sections and their corresponding option 
numbers, and you still retain the ability to move swiftly from article to 

            Ever find yourself reading the New York Times, Wall Street 
Journal, Time Magazine, Vogue or one of the other 400 publications on 
NFB-NEWSLINE and wish you could hear all the sections one after another, 
without having to go back to the section list and listen to all the sections 
in order to select the correct number of your choice? Now you can press 99 
at the section level of your favorite publication as soon as you hear all 
the sections listed with their associated option numbers, and you will be 
placed in the new Continuous Reading Mode.

            What about those Sunday mornings when you are relaxing with your 
coffee and wish to read your USA Today all the way through? Using the 
Continuous Reading Mode, you can hear every article in every section. With 
the easy navigation of Continuous Reading Mode, you can read an entire 
newspaper beginning to end or skip any section that you are not interested 
in by simply pressing the * key.

            While reading the Metro Section of the Washington Post, you can 
still move from article to article by a press of the 3 key as you have 
always done in the past. Need to have an article emailed to you for your 
personal use? Press the pound nine key combination, and it is on its way to 
your in box.

            Once you are finished using the Continuous Reading Mode and wish 
to exit, press the pound key followed by the * key and you are immediately 
returned to the section level of the publication that you are reading.

            These new reading tools do not affect the existing tools you are 
accustomed to using. Pressing Pound 9 will still email articles to your 
email address in our system. Pressing 3 will still move you to the next 
article in a publication even while in Continuous Reading Mode.

            For users of the "My Newspaper" feature that allows you to 
design your very own customized publication, we have also enabled the 
Continuous Reading Mode so you can quickly move through the content that you 
find of most value to you.

Summary of Continuous Reading Mode Tools

99-Turn on Continuous Reading Mode from the Section Level

*-Skip to next Section of the Publication while in Continuous Reading Mode

Pound*-Return to Section Level

            We hope you enjoy this new reading feature of the NFB-NEWSLINE 
service, which was designed to provide you with more flexibility in your 
reading and an opportunity to efficiently discover other sections in the 
publications that you read. We would very much like to have your comments on 
this new Continuous Reading Mode. Please call us at (410) 505-5896 or email 
me at swhite at nfb.org <mailto:swhite at nfb.org> to let us know what you think.

Buckeye Briefs

            The Ohio Association of Blind Students had a very successful and 
enjoyable time at the 2014 convention of the NFB of Ohio. The division's 
split-the-pot fundraiser went very well, and the division plans to sponsor 
similar fundraisers at future conventions.
            The division and its members were more visible and active than 
they have been in years. Lillie Pennington spoke about her experiences at 
the STEM2U Leadership Academy this past September. In addition to monitoring 
our streaming, Aleeha Dudley demonstrated the KNFB Reader app. Kaiti Shelton 
spoke on a panel about Braille on Friday morning, and Macy McClain and 
Aleeha were a part of the BELL presentation. Macy also spoke about her 
experiences as a student of the Louisiana Center for the Blind, of which she 
is now a graduate. There was also a lot of singing this year, and Kaiti 
provided instrumental backing to favorite Federation songs.
            OABS elected a new board for 2014-2015 at its business meeting. 
The board includes Kaiti Shelton, president; Aleeha Dudley, vice president; 
Macy McClain, secretary; Emily Pennington, treasurer; and Elif Emir Oksuz, 
board member.
            Finally, three members of the division received scholarships 
from the affiliate. The NFB of Ohio Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to 
Jonathan Thomas, a freshman psychology major at Wright State University. 
Kaiti Shelton, a junior studying music therapy at the University of Dayton, 
received the Robert M. Eschbach Memorial Scholarship of $1,000. The Jennica 
Ferguson Memorial Scholarship of $1,500 went to Elif Emir Oksuz, who is a 
graduate student in counseling at the University of Cincinnati. OABS would 
like to thank the affiliate and the scholarship committee for offering this 
program to blind students. We thank everyone for supporting the division 
thus far and plan to continue to become a bigger and better division in 

            Eric Duffy has appointed a special committee and asked J.W. 
Smith to chair it. The name is the Drive for 75 Committee, and its purpose 
is to raise sufficient funds between now and July to get seventy-five 
Ohioans to the seventy-fifth convention of the National Federation of the 
Blind. Obviously most of the funds will have to be raised beyond the 
membership, but members are invited to make contributions of $75 to this 
fund. So far $1,541 has come into this fund.
            J.W. has assembled his committee and begun planning for 
fundraisers in Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. The 
committee members in addition to J.W. are Sheri Albers, Mike Anderson, David 
Cohen, Annette Lutz, Mark McClain, Walter Mitchell, Renee Payne, Colleen 
Roth, and Tom Ruth. You will be hearing more from this committee in the 
months ahead.

Announcing a New Fundraising Drive for the NFB of Ohio:
            From now till December 31, 2015, Commtech USA will donate 10 
percent of any purchase from any of their products or services, unless 
noted, to the NFB of Ohio. So, if you are interested in new cell phone 
purchases or new memberships to instructional classes, mention the NFB of 
Ohio. Commtech will donate 10 percent of the purchase price to the NFB of 
Ohio over the next year. If you are in need of support, training, a new 
website, or a new cell phone or service plan, remember, get more bang for 
your buck by helping Commtech LLC donate to the independence, empowerment, 
and assistance that the NFB of Ohio provides to the blind of Ohio. Go to the 
website commtechusa.net/nfbohio <http://commtechusa.net/nfbohio> or call 
(623) 565-9357. If you do not use the link, mention the NFB of Ohio in the 

            The Miami Valley chapter conducted elections in December. The 
results are as follows: president, Richard Payne; vice president, Gloria 
Robinson; secretary, Kathy Withman; treasurer, Tim Janning; and board 
member, Carolyn Peters.

            We have just learned that Deborah Kendrick is the winner in the 
Excellent Work category of the North America/Carabbean Region of the Onkyo 
Braille Essay Contest. She was encouraged to enter this contest because she 
was told that they need good contestants. She has won $1,000 and other 
prizes. Congratulations to Deborah.

            Debbie Baker reports an interesting job held by a member of the 
Springfield chapter. Bethany Goff of the NFB of Springfield has a 
November-December temporary job at the Springfield Mall, working as an elf 
to bring the children to Santa. As Bethany has gotten to know Santa better, 
she has learned that he too has a visual impairment. He is interested in 
learning more about the NFB and perhaps becoming a member. We ho ho hope 
that he does.

2015 NFB Writers' Division Writing Contest:
            The annual youth and adult writing contests sponsored by the NFB 
Writers' Division will open January 1 and close April 1. Since it is the 
Federation's seventy-fifth birthday, for the first time ever the contest 
will have a required theme. All submissions will need to incorporate the 
theme of seventy-five. It does not have to be about the anniversary of NFB. 
It could just be the number seventy-five, or perhaps the diamond 
anniversary, or seventy-five steps to your destination, or even seventy-five 
balloons. In the pattern of some past entries, seventy-five aliens would 
work. Seriously, let your imagination take over. Write the piece you want; 
just remember to include the theme of seventy-five to commemorate the 
seventy-five years of the work that has been happening within and because of 
the National Federation of the Blind.
            In the adult contests poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and stories 
for youth are open to all entrants eighteen and over. The youth writing 
contests, poetry and fiction, are to promote Braille literacy and excellence 
in writing. The contest is divided into three groups by grade 
level-elementary, middle school, and high school.
            Prizes in the adult contests may be as much as $100; winners in 
the youth contest may receive as much as $30. All contest winners will be 
announced during the Writers' Division business meeting at the NFB national 
convention, held in Orlando, Florida, in July of 2015. In addition the list 
of winners will appear on our website, <http://writers.nfb.org 
<http://writers.nfb.org/>>, and their submissions will be considered for 
publication in our division's magazine, Slate and Style. For additional 
contest details and submission guidelines, go to <http://writers.nfb.org 

            The Cleveland chapter held elections for two board seats in 
October. The new members are Richard Kirks and Bryant Ealy, Sr.

            Debbie Baker says that on October 25 she administered the 
National Braille Literacy Competency Test in Cincinnati. She reports that 
both Marianne Denning and Deborah Kendrick passed it. Congratulations to 
both women, even though as of January 1 we change to UEB.

            Jennifer Love reports that Love Chiropractic will be doing 
philanthropic marketing for the 2015 calendar year for the NFB of Ohio 
because of the close connection with Dr. Love's daughter MaKenzie, who is 
involved with the NFB BELL Program. When the office does any outside 
marketing especially for new patient activities such as screenings or health 
fairs, the cost of the initial appointment will be donated to the NFB. We 
will have flyers and brochures printed for our activities so that people 
will have information about the NFB and what patients will be donating to. 
We will also have an event within our office for existing patients.

Activities Calendar

January 4-11, Braille Literacy Week
January 26-28, Washington Seminar
March 31, National scholarship application deadline
May 1, Ohio scholarship application deadline
May 14-16, STEM2YOU at COSI
July 5-10, National convention, Orlando, FL


Subject: Digest Footer

Ohio-talk mailing list
Ohio-talk at nfbnet.org


End of Ohio-talk Digest, Vol 82, Issue 23

More information about the Ohio-Talk mailing list