[Ohio-talk] Spring Newsletter
peduffy63 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 17:23:12 UTC 2015
Pasted below is the spring newsletter.
I thank Barbara Pierce for all of her hard work as usual. I also appreciate everyone else who contributed. Enjoy!
A publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
Barbara Pierce, Editor
237 Oak Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com <mailto:barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com>
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 back.
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, 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 barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com <mailto:barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com>. 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
by Barbara Pierce
From the President’s Desk
by Eric Duffy
My Washington Seminar Adventure
by Aleeha Dudley
The Legislative Report
by Barbara Pierce
Can Your Medicine Bottles Do This?
by B. T. Kimbrough and Marja Byers
Whispers from the Past
by Barbara Pierce
The iPhone, Apps, and More
by Eric Duffy
Advice to MDs
by Barbara Pierce
NFB of Ohio Combined Leadership List
by Barbara Pierce
This column is an unabashed plea for you to keep this newsletter. It strikes me that you will want to refer to a number of the articles in it in the coming months. Eric's "From the President's Desk" has the convention registration information for the national convention. You will find that convenient for registering. His article about iPhone apps may well include names of apps that you will want to keep track of.
My article about the history of the Ohio affiliate should be of interest for years to come. I had great fun researching it, and now we know lots about our past. The letter to doctors may also be helpful to you in the future. The legislative report will help you when the time comes to contact your member of Congress or our Senators. It will save me time if I don't have to explain each bill to you in order for you to discuss them intelligently.
Reprinted in this issue is information about talking medication labels. As of last January we have the right to access to this information in a form that we can read.
In this issue we have also added the contact information for the state, chapter, and division leaders. People are always contacting Eric and me asking for someone's email address or phone number. If you save this newsletter, you will always have the information at your fingertips.
I always aim at giving you information in the newsletter that you will find useful, but this time I modestly say that I have succeeded. Please read the following articles with enjoyment, and then tuck the newsletter away in a file where you can find it. For your convenience we have dropped the text into this email and attached it for easy saving. Happy reading.
From the President's Desk
by Eric Duffy
In the throes of winter, one might assume it would be hard to think about an event to be held in Orlando, Florida, at the beginning of July. But, if you have ever been to a convention of the National Federation of the Blind, you will understand why it was not at all hard for me. After attending my first national convention in 1987, I said it was kind of like Christmas. As soon as it ended, I couldn't wait for it to get here again. After all of these years, the convention still hasn't lost its magic for me.
The convention will once again be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Dr., Orlando, Florida 32819. The dates are July 5 to 10. The 2015 room rates are singles and doubles, $82; and triples and quads, $89. In addition to the room rates, there will be a tax, which at present is 13.5 percent.
Make your room reservation as soon as possible with Rosen Centre staff by calling (800) 204-7234. At the time you make a reservation, a $95 deposit is required for each room reserved. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $95 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Monday, June 1, 2015, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made. This is our seventy-fifth anniversary celebration. It is a convention you won't want to miss. It would be very helpful if you would notify me once you have decided to attend the convention. You can email me at <peduffy63 at gmail.com <mailto:peduffy63 at gmail.com> or call me at (614) 377-9877.
We are going to get in Guinness World Records. I am not going to talk about the record we will set here, but think about it like this. The only way most of us are likely to be a part of setting a world record is by doing it at this convention. I can think of plenty of records I would like to set, but I haven't come close to doing so yet, so I'm going to go for the sure thing. How do I know we will set a world record? Because we have decided we are going to do it, and when we in the National Federation of the Blind decide we are going to do something as an organization, we get it done.
Preregistration is now open. When purchased online by May 31, the preregistration fee for convention is $25 ($30 on-site) and the cost of a banquet ticket is $55 ($60 on-site), so preregister, and save a little money.
Because this is our seventy-fifth anniversary celebration, the seven states (California, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) that met in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, are going to serve as the host affiliates for the convention. The Ohio affiliate has taken on the responsibility of coordinating the hospitality suite. I believe that this convention could be very well attended. The suite will be very busy, so there will be a lot of hard work to do. The grand prize at this convention will be one like you have never seen before. I will say only that it involves the numbers $7,575.
The National Federation of the Blind of Ohio has been engaged in a long campaign to raise enough money to make financial assistance available to those who need it to attend this special convention. JW Smith has been leading this effort, so I am confident that we will raise a substantial amount of money by the close of the campaign.
I have created a form for requesting financial assistance. The application deadline is April 15, so please consider seriously what it will take to get you to the convention, and get your assistance request in. Ask your chapter or division president to send you the form or contact me directly at peduffy63 at gmail.com <mailto:peduffy63 at gmail.com>. If you are a first-time attendee, you are eligiable for a Jernigan Fund scholarship stipend to attend the convention. Consult the article about how to apply for these funds. It appears in the January through April Braille Monitors. Contact me if you have questions about this application process. The deadline for applying for a Jernigan Fund scholarship is also April 15.
This will be a convention like we have never experienced before and that we will never experience again. The National Federation of the Blind is on the move. We will celebrate our history, but we will also plan our future. Join us in Orlando and help us build the Federation.
The next convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio will be at the DoubleTree Hotel in Independence, Ohio. The dates of the convention are later than we are used to. They are November 19-22, 2015. It is a little closer to Thanksgiving than I like, but it is what we have. The room rates are $89 plus tax. These rates are also not what we are used to. But we are the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio. We will do what we always do. We will make this a great convention. The Cleveland and Cuyahoga chapters are looking forward to helping us make this a great convention, and so am I.
We have two conventions to plan for. I look forward to seeing you at both of them.
My Washington Seminar Adventure
by Aleeha Dudley
Editor's note: Aleeha Dudley is vice president of Ohio's student division. She has been forced to bring a lawsuit against her university because of the reprehensible way she has been treated in her zoology major. We thought she would be an excellent person to talk with legislators about the necessity of the TEACH Act, so we invited her to be part of the Ohio delegation at the Washington Seminar. She made herself right at home. She agreed to share her story at the Great Gathering-in meeting. She also volunteered several hours in seminar headquarters taking down reports from returning Federationists who needed to record their impressions of their meetings. Here is Aleeha's version of her experience:
As the plane’s wheels touched down at the Baltimore airport, my heart was in my throat. OK, OK, I don’t like flying, but I was nervous and excited for a different reason. I was going to be attending my first Washington Seminar, and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was ecstatic to be going to Capitol Hill and helping to communicate the Federation’s legislative goals to several representatives. I couldn’t have been more proud to represent my Federation family in this way.
The real fun started Monday morning. I had spent the night with a friend, so I took a train into the DC metro area, a short distance from the hotel. I walked through the doors and was immediately reminded of convention. The sounds of canes, dogs, and people made me feel right at home. I had to check into my room quickly, because the first event was about to start. As a student I made the decision to attend the winter seminar of the National Association of Blind Students. The energy in the room couldn’t have been any more palpable. I was proud to represent Ohio by giving a report about our student division’s recent activities. After that it was time to settle in, rest my already aching feet, and enjoy. Several speakers presented on different topics. We heard about the legislative agenda of the NFB, the current efforts in litigation, and many other intriguing presentations. President Riccobono stopped by to give us his own presentation, which left us all energized and ready to go to the Hill.
The afternoon was filled with a more detailed presentation about the three legislative efforts we were to focus on over the coming days. The evening, however, was really the highlight of the day. As I walked toward the room where the Great Gathering-in was to take place, I heard many excited voices talking about their days and the coming seminar. The main room for the Gathering was packed to capacity, so everyone was being funneled into an overflow room. This gathering was made especially meaningful to me by the opportunity that I was given to speak about my experiences with Miami University and why the TEACH Act was so important. On top of the high energy in the room, I was filled with nerves about my short presentation. Eventually, though, i was able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere and the many speakers. Again I felt the energy in the room as almost a living thing. There were so many dedicated Federationists present who were ready to take on the next few days with determination and excitement.
At the end of the Great Gathering-in, members of the Ohio delegation met for pizza and a mock meeting with a representative. This really put me at ease since I really didn’t know what to expect over the next day and a half. I found a certain rhythm by the end of the meeting, as I learned to build on what my fellow teammates were saying and add constructively to the conversation. I was, in fact, ready to go to Capitol Hill and talk about the legislation that I was most passionate about: the Teach Act.
The next two days were a whirlwind of meetings and walking. I was initially very nervous since for some reason I saw these meetings as difficult ones with stern-faced politicians who couldn’t give two hoots about our agenda. And, while I cannot say that there aren’t some out there like that, I can say that I never experienced meetings with them. Everyone I met was kind, helpful, and generally interested in what we were doing. It was quite interesting to learn to navigate the House and Senate buildings, simply by finding flags, which were sure to have Braille room numbers by them. I learned from the best people possible. On Tuesday I was on a team with Eric and Richard, and on Wednesday Barbara and I took care of the last two meetings. I was initially disappointed that I didn’t get to really speak with a single representative on Tuesday. We more than made up for that on Wednesday, though, by getting to see both Senator Portman and Congressman Latta.
Although I really enjoyed all the extra opportunities these few days brought, the most fun and most important part of the whole thing was getting to spread the word about blindness and the legislation necessary to make our lives better, not just for Americans, but also, in the case of the Marrakesh treaty, for blind people around the world. I think that our message was extremely well received, and I know that, given the chance, I will return to Washington one day. I learned much throughout those three days and truly gained an understanding of the core beliefs of the Federation and what it is to change what it means to be blind. My time could not have been better spent. Thank you to all of those who helped me along the way, showing me the ropes and allowing me to speak when necessary. It was an amazing experience.
The Legislative Report
by Barbara Pierce
Editor's note: At the Washington Seminar this year we dealt with three issues. As the Ohio legislative director I gave a report to the Ohio board of directors at its January 31 board meeting. Here it is:
We dealt with three issues at this year's Washington Seminar, but one of them was just for the Senators and the members of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. By the way, that includes Congressmen Chabbot and Jordan. The Senate issue was the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, known as the Marrakesh Treaty.
Blind people in the US have as much or more access to print material in accessible formats as citizens of any country in the world, but that is only 5 percent of published works. Things got better for us in 1996 when the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act was passed. It provides an exception to the requirement that permission be obtained by the copyright holder before a work can be reproduced in an accessible format. Two thirds of the countries in the world have no such exception. In fact, in many places such reproduction is an infringement of copyright law.
The Marrakesh Treaty makes changes in the international copyright system. The Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) worked out the Marrakesh Treaty in June of 2013. The US signed it October 2, 2013. There are now eighty-one signatories, and six countries have ratified it. Twenty countries must do so for the treaty to take effect even in ratifying nations. The treaty would make Chafee-like modifications to international copyright law. It would allow reproduction, circulation, export, and import of accessible published materials. This would give American students access to thousands of titles in other languages and would permit the exchange of English titles reproduced in other English-speaking nations.
Because the Marrakesh Treaty resembles the Chafee Amendment, the Congress would have to make very few changes to American copyright law to conform to the treaty. The Obama Administration is preparing a ratification packet that is "sleek and narrow." This is the document that will go the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If it is approved, two thirds of the Senate must vote to ratify the treaty before President Obama can sign it as being ratified. We do not yet know what the Foreign Relations chairman, Senator Bob Corker's, views are on the treaty, but we should know that soon. The ratification packet will go to his committee within the next two months. Then we must put pressure on both Senators to vote for ratification. By the way, nothing about this treaty infringes upon US sovereignty. This is a big deal with Republicans. The US will make no reports to the United Nations.
The other two issues were the TIME Act and the TEACH Act. The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act is identical to HR 831, the Fair Wages for Disabled Persons Act. The name has been changed this year to make it clear to Republicans that this is not a minimum wage bill. Greg Harper has again introduced it as HR 188. Two other members had cosponsored it before we got to Washington, but twenty-eight Republicans have done so since our visit. We need Ohio's members to cosponsor it. We think the four Democrats will come on again, but we must put pressure on the Republicans.
The bill would eliminate Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which allows the issuance of certificates of exemption for employers who hire disabled people. The idea was to encourage for-profit companies to give jobs to these workers and train them so that they could work their way into competitive employment. It did not work. Today only 5 percent of employers are for-profit; 95 percent are sheltered shops that are nonprofit. This is a failed system. The TIME Act would immediately stop the Secretary of Labor from issuing any more certificates of exemption. For-profit companies would have a year to convert to paying at least the minimum wage. Public or governmental shops would have two years, and nonprofits would have three years to convert to the minimum wage. We know that this system will work. Vermont eliminated certificates of exemption in 2002. In 2012 the national average of people with developmental disabilities at work was 18 percent. Vermont's figure was 38 percent.
Source: The 2013 National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes, University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.
The Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH Act) does not yet have a number. Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee has agreed to Introduce it as soon as we work out language with the colleges and universities, which should be soon. Oren Hatch and Elizabeth Warren in the Senate will introduce it there as well as soon as the language is settled. Last session this bill was HR 3505 and S 2060. There will be some changes when we get bill numbers this year.
Print-disabled students have always had problems with print access. One would expect that the technological evolution of materials and platforms in higher education would have made life easier for blind students. It is undisputed that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act guarantee print-disabled students equal access to educational materials, but these laws do not stipulate what that access should look like. The TEACH Act would create a purpose-based commission to develop voluntary guidelines for access. The commission would be composed of stakeholders. If institutions of higher education used these guidelines, they would have a safe harbor from litigation from students having trouble getting access to materials. The third element of the bill would be to reiterate that students have the right to equal access. Schools would not have to follow the guidelines if they want to try to solve the access problem another way, but they are required to make their content and platforms accessible to print-disabled students.
Aleeha Dudley and I were lucky enough to talk with Bob Latta for a minute when we were in his office. He cosponsored HR 3505 last year, and he said that he expected that he would do so again this year.But we have to lean on the rest of the Ohio delegation to get them onto the TEACH Act as cosponsors. I will notify the Ohio listserv as soon as contacts are in order.
Can Your Medicine Bottles Do This?
by B. T. Kimbrough and Marja Byers
(This article appeared in the fall 2014 issue of Dialogue Magazine and is reprinted with permission. For information about subscriptions to Dialog go to <blindskills.com <http://blindskills.com/>>.)
Those of us with limited vision often find ways to harvest the information from food and over-the-counter medicine labels when we really need to. Many of those ways involve help from sighted family members, friends, or neighbors. But what happens when our packages contain prescription medication and arrive with customized print instructions that we would prefer to read for ourselves--without necessarily sharing the information with anyone else?
If lack of privacy is the most significant disadvantage associated with blindness or low vision--and many of us believe that it is--the difficulty of getting private information about our prescription medications is long overdue for attention.
The United States Congress took a step toward addressing this problem a year ago when it passed the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Safety and Innovation Act, which is scheduled to go into effect on the first day of 2015. The law requires that blind and low-vision patients must receive instructions they can read for themselves when they buy prescription medications either directly or via mail order.
The legislation itself did not stipulate what does or does not constitute an accessible format. That issue was left with the US Access Board, which held a series of meetings last year with interested parties, including consumers and major players in national pharmaceutical sales, such as Walgreen's, Walmart, and CVS. The Access Board produced a set of guidelines, or "best practices," designed to serve as blueprints for actual accessible solutions that pharmacies can offer to blind and low-vision customers.
Now, as days grow short before the new law takes effect, there are actually three accessibility solutions available to drugstores and pharmacies in the US. This article will provide some details about these products, the available information about what retail pharmacy is offering them, and how they can be obtained.
NOTE: The overall plan calls for print enlargement solutions as well as audible ones, but these will involve more adjustments to current labeling practices than development of new labeling products. This article will focus on new alternative labeling solutions which have actually achieved product status.
What Goes On the Bottle
Talking Pill Reminder is the accessibility solution offered by Walgreen's drugstores. It's a plastic disc about an inch across and about three quarters of an inch thick and comes with adhesive stickers to secure it to the bottom of a prescription medicine bottle. It has two buttons. The control marked with one dot is for playing and recording information with a maximum of 30 seconds of recording time. The button marked with two dots sets a beeping reminder in adjustable intervals from two to 24 hours. Talking Pill Reminder is the only product in the field so far that involves voice recording of information. Once the order is prepared, the pharmacist would record all of the needed instructions which would fit in the 30-second window and then attach the device to the bottle before shipment. Operating instructions are provided in both Braille and print. The Talking Pill Reminder can be included at no charge for medication orders over $25; for smaller orders the device costs $9.99.
A company called AccessaMed offers the Digital Audio Label, which is designed to be permanently attached to the medication bottle with a hyper-strength sealant. Participating pharmacies will obtain a special docking station for about $20 which connects to the store's label-generating computer. At the pharmacist's option, text from the finished label will be sent to the Digital Audio Label and converted into an audio file using a synthetic voice which has been licensed from AT&T. The pharmacist can use check boxes in the software to control the speed at which the text will be spoken and whether any of the words will be spelled as well as pronounced.The labels reportedly cost the retailer about $3 apiece. It is expected that participating pharmacies will offer the disposable Digital Audio Label at no extra charge with the walk-in or mail order purchase of subscription medication.
The developer with the most experience in this area is Envision America, which has offered a medication accessibility solution for at least ten years. The heart of the Envision America system is a computer application which converts a finished print prescription label into an electronic file which can be stored in an area of a few centimeters. The stored file is conventional electronic text decoded by a product called ScripTalk Station, which is designed for long-term, no-cost loan to the blind or low-vision consumer. The retrieval technology uses a weak radio signal or RFID to transmit the data once the ScripTalk Station is placed on top of the bottle whose label contains the RFID code. Participating pharmacies pay about one dollar for each disposable "talking" label, though the start-up costs are reported to be close to a thousand dollars.
Those Devilish Details
The ScripTalk Station is the only device in this group to offer volume adjustment and an earphone connector for private listening. None of the products offer the user the option to control the speed of playback or to scroll back and forth within the information. All three offer a simple start/stop control which is combined on a single button. Talking Pill Reminder stands alone in offering an alarm to help with multiple doses that need to be spaced within a single day. ScripTalk Station is the only product to offer data retrieval in multiple media. Because the electronic text stored in the RFID can be transmitted to a computer, it can be displayed in hard copy or refreshable Braille, which would be essential if the user is deaf-blind.
The Talking Reminder is unique in that it is reusable. Once the original medication is gone, the reminder could be detached from the bottle and associated with other medications so long as there is someone available to record the essential information. The recording and speaker are of marginal quality, but, with a little care and adaptability, a serviceable recording could be made to supply necessary information when it's time to take the medicine and no sighted help is available.
Your Mileage May Vary
You know those phrases of disclaimer that come at the end of radio commercials--"Some assembly required." Well, there are quite a few special circumstances to bear in mind when shopping for medication that you will be able to handle independently. For openers, we don't know of any pharmacy that offers multiple accessible solutions. The alternative is to learn something about every accessible solution and then find out which one your store of choice offers. If their solution doesn't appeal, you might decide to go for a pharmacy that offers a solution you prefer. Some outlets may offer no solution at all, in which case they are in technical violation of the new law as of January 2015. Bring that matter to the attention of management, and do not hesitate to talk up the accessible solution that sounds the best to you.
What We Know So Far
Walgreen's (over 8,600 stores in all fifty US states) has an exclusive relationship with the source of Talking Pill Reminder. If you are arranging for a mail order, there is a phone number you need to use to ask for the Talking Reminder at the time you order your medicine. The number is 800-345-1985; ask to speak to a customer advocate. If you are a walk-in Walgreen's customer, contact the store pharmacy manager to find out if there are any Talking Pill Reminders in the store. When we checked, many local stores had at least one of the units, and their managers were aware of the product's purpose, but a few stores were out of the loop, so to speak, and their managers caught up only when we brought the issue to their attention.
The Digital Audio Label had not been officially adopted by any national providers by press time. There was some talk of a pilot program among some Target outlets, so you might check with your local Target manager if you are interested in the Digital Audio Label. For later information about pharmacies that use the Digital Audio Label, contact Chad Hazen of AccessaMed at 360-773-0060.
The ScripTalk Station is offered for mail orders through CVS Pharmacy and Walmart. There may be some local in-store availability, so check with the local pharmacy manager at your nearest CVS or Walmart. You will need to arrange with Envision America for the free loan of a ScripTalk Station. The toll-free number to do that is 855-773-2579. That same number should yield information about how you could arrange for CVS or Walmart mail orders in conjunction with the ScripTalk hardware and labels.
Whichever numbers you call, be prepared for the possibility that you'll be asked for documentation of need, that is to say, written proof of limited sight. Those with a handy copy of a "limited vision" statement from a doctor or even a well known agency in the field may get a quick pass, depending on how motivated the gatekeepers are to hold down demand for the new accessible solutions. Surely, over time, the process of proving need will become routine and standardized as corporate executives come to realize that checking credentials costs money, while selling accessible medicines generates revenue.
Bottom Line: the bad news is that the current situation in accessible medication labels is a jumble of complexity and rapidly changing restrictions/opportunities. The good news is that the new legal mandate offers a financial motive to providers that will, one day, open a new window of opportunity for consumers to read the label as easily as they can locate the bottle itself.
Whispers from the Past
by Barbara Pierce
Several years ago Eric Duffy asked me to take on the project of dredging up what I could of the affiliate's history. It seemed a huge job, but I recognized that it was less difficult for me than for almost anyone else because I had lived through a good bit of that history and therefore could presumably remember a lot of it. That has proven to be an unreliable assumption, but in any case I took on the assignment.
I knew that we had remarkably few documents here in Ohio, so I decided to begin my search by looking at what the tenBroek Library at the Jernigan Institute had in its files. We all know that Ohio was one of the original seven states (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) that came together to form the National Federation of the Blind on November 16, 1940. Glenn Hoffman of the Mutual Federation of the Blind of Cleveland represented Ohio at that meeting. Efforts were clearly made after that meeting to unite various organizations of the blind across the state into a single organization, which seems to have been called the Ohio Federation of the Blind, according to a letter from Glenn Hoffman to Dr. tenBroek in 1947. Harry Stiller was apparently the president from 1940 to 1947. A constitution was adopted on January 12, 1947, forming the Ohio Council of the Blind, which was incorporated and listed with the Secretary of State's office in February of 1947. Paul Clark of Canton was elected as president and Emma Warrent as secretary of the new organization.
Nothing more is said about officers until Clyde Ross of Akron was elected president in 1949 or perhaps 1950. We have a 1962 profile of Ross from the Akron Beacon Journal that says he was president of the OCB for thirteen years, and we know that George Bonsky was elected president of the OCB in 1963. Ross was elected second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind in 1956 and served on the NFB executive committee for ten years. He tried to make peace between the two sides during the civil war—he was good friends with George Card, who early on sided with the states fighting for more power for state organizations. Ross was dropped from national leadership and won the OCB presidency by a shrinking margin in 1962. At that time officers were elected by the executive board, which consisted of one member from each chapter. Ross had been winning seventeen votes to five (twenty-two chapters). In 1962 the OCB was down to twenty chapters. That year his margin of victory was twelve to eight, and the next year he lost, apparently to George Bonsky.
George Bonsky apparently served as president from 1963 to 1968, when Alfonso Smith was elected. Smith was also a member of the NFB executive committee, but I have no idea for how long. He died suddenly in March of 1970. Clyde Ross had died in January of that year. Helen Johnson of Toledo was first vice president in 1970, so she took over as president after Smith's death and served until October. However, leadership of the affiliate was not her strength. The officers elected in October were president, Raymond Creech; first vice president, Robert Steyer; second vice president, Thomas Matthews; secretary, John Knall, and treasurer, Ivan Garwood. But Creech also proved not to be a popular president. His wife controlled the affiliate's books, and she chose to work with a bank in Florida. Members were frustrated because reimbursement checks took a long time to arrive in people's eager hands.
It seems as though Creech should have had a two-year term as president, but elected without explanation in October of 1971 were president, Edna Fillinger; first vice president, Tom Matthews; second vice president, Ray Creech; secretary, Shirley Stowe; and treasurer, Ivan Garwood. Rita Bressler was appointed executive secretary by the executive board. On October 25 the Convention approved an amendment to the OCB constitution indicating that henceforth the organization would do business as the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio. The amendment passed enthusiastically. Edna Fillinger was a difficult president. The NFB's archives reveal that she exchanged extremely frank letters wih President Jernigan on the subject of dual membership. Her language was salty, to say the least. Several of these have found their way into the materials used in national leadership seminars.
Bob Eschbach was elected president at the 1973 state convention. He was elected to the national board in July of 1974. He served until the 1984 convention, when he announced that he would not run again, and Barbara Pierce was elected. Bob was named assistant director of the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired in February of 1985.
Barbara served as president for twenty-four years, until the fall of 2008, when Dr. J. Webster Smith was elected and served for four years. In 2012 Eric Duffy was elected president and continues to serve in that office.
It is hard to gather impressions of the organization from the spotty documents in the national archive. In 1969 four regional seminars were held across the spring with substantive programs. John Nagle, NFB's Washington representative at the time, attended several of these meetings. They took place in Cleveland, Dover, Dayton, and Fostoria. Dayton would be organized or reorganized that summer as the Dayton Federation of the Blind with Ray Creech as president. Clearly this seminar was used as a tool to attract members. I read letters between the organizers and John Nagle, and I was struck by the presumption on the part of the Ohioans that John would jump to do their bidding, including taking buses to get to the meetings.
One of the most interesting things I came across was a list of the chapters in the affiliate in April of 1960. Remember that at this time we had Black chapters and White chapters in some cities, but even so, I find that thirty-two chapters is an astonishingly high number. Here they are with their presidents:
Amaurotic Society of the Blind, Richard Hollinger, Dover
Barlow Memorial Club, William Brown, Cincinnati
Brotherhood of the Blind, Hiram Cooksey, Akron
Fingertip Club, Jack Mackey, Ashtabula
Hancock Association of the Blind, Ivan Garwood, North Baltimore
Helping Hand League of the Blind, Dr. James Sweeney, Springfield
Mansfield Council of the Blind, Beatrice (Bea) Baker, Mansfield
Lorain Council of the Blind, Joseph Kozdon, Elyria
Mahoning Valley Association of the Blind, Pete Waback, Youngstown
Mutual Federation of the Blind, Glenn Hoffman, Cleveland
Philomatheon Society of the Blind, George Bonsky, Canton
Progressive Association of the Blind, James Pool, Columbus
Progressive Sightless Club of Licking County, William Davis, Newark
Queen City League of the Sightless, Thomas Allen, Cincinnati
Rosina Club of Sightless Women, Betty Albert, Columbus
Starlight Club, Eva Fair, Spenceville
Summit County of the Blind, Clyde Ross, Akron
Sunshine Club, Lillian Williams, Canton
Arthur (Art) Tatum Council of the Blind, Homer Jackson, Norwood
Toledo Council of the Blind, James Thompson, Toledo
White Cane Club, Rev. Woodford S. Smith, Springfield
Youngstown Council of the Blind, Alfonso Smith, Youngstown
Members at Large United, Ernest Schaefer, Dayton
I have tried to indicate when I am certain of the facts in this article and when I have made my best guesses. Some of you may have memories that conflict with these facts. I know that I have talked with some of you and have come away convinced of how faulty our memories can be. I want to pay tribute to John Knall, who wrote detailed and accurate reports of conventions in the Braille Monitor all the time that he served as secretary of the NFB of Ohio. One day we will be able to do much more careful and thorough research in the archived Braille Monitors. They are still being corrected and coded for placement on our website.
I do hope that anyone who has documents or clear memories that conflict with this article will contact me with your information. Only if you do will we have a chance of clarifying our history.
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 language:
“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.”
The iPhone, Apps, and More
by Eric Duffy
Have you thought about buying a smart phone? If so, what would you do with it? My smart phone of choice is the iPhone. The apps I will discuss in this article are apps that I regularly use on my iPhone. Many of them (but not all) are also available on the Android platform.bI am not going to spend a lot of time discussing the differences between iPhone and Android. The iPhone is of course made by Apple Inc. For the most part it is a very closed system, meaning that only Apple developers and technicians can make software and other modifications.
The Android runs on what is known as an open source platform. This means that the code used to accomplish things is available to the public, and some would argue that it allows for more robust development. For my money the iPhone is far more accessible to the blind than is the Android platform. That is not to say that blind people can't and don't use Android-based phones. They can and do. It is simply my opinion that, if you are blind and want a highly functional, robust, and accessible phone, you should go with the iPhone.
Enough of that, however. Very often the first thing I do upon waking up is check my email, text messages, and bank balance. The last of these usually makes me sad. But I do all of these things from my iPhone. Texting and email are pretty self-explanatory, but the banking app is far more interesting. I bank with J.P. Morgan Chase, so the Chase Mobile App is what I know and use. My guess is that there are other mobile banking apps out there, but I have no need to use them and therefore don't know about them. I do know the Chase Mobile App is accessible and user friendly.
I can check the balance in my checking and savings accounts and on my Chase Freedom card. I can transfer money between accounts and pay my credit card. I pay my rent and all of my monthly bills without writing a paper check. I can review account and credit card statements. I can send money to and request money from others, regardless of whether or not they have a Chase account.
I can ask Siri for the temperature for my current location or for that matter for the temperature anywhere in the world. I can also ask for the weather forecast. If I want greater details, I open my NOAA Weather App. Don't get me wrong. I am not obsessed with temperature, but I also use the Lyric Thermostat App to control the temperature in my house. I can schedule adjustments for certain times of the day or night, or I can make adjustments while I am away from home. I can use the Light Detector App to determine when lights are on or off, not only in my home, but in other locations as well.
The knfbReader is of course my favorite app. Rare is the occasion anymore when I have to have someone else read my mail. I have used it to identify credit cards and insurance cards. I have even used it to read a computer screen. It is possible to read bottles, cans, jars, and more. The speed and accuracy with which it recognizes text is amazing. Using the knfbReader takes practice, but you can begin reading many things right away.
I have used the Kurzweil Reader in all of its various iterations. The first one that I used was as big as a dishwasher and housed in a special room at the Ohio State School for the Blind. I was a beta tester for the first knfbReader and then a user of the knfbReader Mobile. This is not my favorite app just because of all of the information that I now have access to with it but also because the National Federation of the Blind has been such an integral part of its development. When I was a kid using the first Kurzweil Reading Machine, I had not heard of the National Federation of the Blind. What a great feeling it would have been to know that an organization of blind people helped develop that machine.
The looktel MoneyReader is another very useful app. As its name suggest, it is a paper currency reader. It can identify U.S. currency as well as currency from a number of other countries. There are other money-identifying devices, but I like to carry around as few devices as possible. It is only by pure accident that I ever leave home without my iPhone, and, when I do, I don't usually make it far without turning around to come back for it. Therefore, I almost always have my money reader in my pocket.
Today I plan to go to the grocery store and McDonald's. When I pay for my order at McDonald's, I will use ApplePay. I will hold my phone near the terminal, and the charge will go on to my stored credit card. No need to pull out my wallet for a credit card or cash.
Since I don't want to bring my groceries home on the bus, I will use the ride-sharing service called Uber. You guessed it. I am not going to call them. I am going to request them using the Uber App. The app will send me the closest available driver. It will tell me the driver's name, the kind of vehicle that he or she is driving, and the license plate number. I can also call the driver or send him or her a text message.
I read all of my National Library Service books and magazines using the BARD Mobile App. I no longer need a computer to search for, download, or read books and magazines.
With the NFB-NEWSLINE App we can now carry a variety of magazines and hundreds of newspapers in our pockets. I believe that with the NFB-NEWSLINE App we now have more convenient access to newspapers and magazines every day than most sighted people can ever hope to enjoy. We used to say that NFB-NEWSLINE leveled the playing field for the blind in daily access to newspapers, but I think we've gone far beyond that now.
Seeing Eye GPS is another app that I use quite frequently. This app is part of the Sendero family of GPS systems for the blind. I used the GPS for the Braillenote for many years, but, with the Seeing Eye GPS App, I now have my GPS in my pocket. It is extremely accurate.
There are all kinds of sports apps. Major League Baseball's At Bat is one of my favorites. I can listen to radio broadcasts of any major league game. Had this app been available when I was a kid, I would have gotten in to an unbelievable amount of trouble. I was a baseball fanatic, and having so much access to games would have been the end of me.
There are all kinds of accessible games. There are Trivia Crack and Word Crack. I am told they are addicting. One of my favorites is Dice World. There are a variety of dice games within the app, including Farkle and Yatzy. I know these games can be addicting.
Though I am hugely unimpressed with the name, one of the most recent apps to hit the App Store is Be My Eyes. With this app a blind person is connected to a sighted volunteer, who can answer a variety of questions such as what color is my jacket, what does this sign say, and more.
Whether for practical use or relaxation, there are more apps out there than one can imagine. This is but a brief summary of the many apps I regularly use.
I can connect my Braillenote Apex to my iPhone to write email and text messages. This is also true with many other Braille displays and notetakers. Apple has done a good job of integrating Braille into the user experience.
If you are a current iPhone user, I hope I've been able to tell you about an app that you didn't know about. If you are considering buying an iPhone for the first time, I hope this will help you make your decision.
Advice to MDs
by Barbara Pierce
Editor's note: I recently came across the following letter in my computer. I wrote it after a frustrating visit to a new ophthalmologist. His staff had no idea how to guide a blind person,so I wrote this letter. I have no idea whether or not it did any good, but I felt better for having written it. You are welcome to use and modify it if it would help you.
Dear Dr. blank:
Having spent some little time in your waiting room and office during the past month, I have noticed that your staff is unfamiliar with the generally agreed-upon method of offering to guide a person who does not see well. I thought it might be helpful for me to describe the technique. My hope is that, if your employees begin guiding patients easily and naturally, people losing vision will actually discover how much simpler and safer the method is than being pushed in front of the guide, and they will then insist that their friends and family also do the job correctly.
The blind person should always take the guide’s arm just above the elbow and walk a step or so behind. To offer an arm, bring the bent arm into contact with the blind person’s arm so that it is easy for him or her to take it. Then the guide walks about a step ahead and takes care to allow enough room for both people to walk without striking obstacles. The guide’s motion and intentions are communicated through her arm to the blind person. Turns, stops, even movement up or down a step come through clearly without speech being necessary.
The guide can indicate a chair or table where the patient is to sit or lie by extending the guiding arm until her palm rests on the chair back or arm on the table. The patient can then follow the arm down to the furniture and adjust position in order to address it correctly.
This method may seem counter-intuitive to nurses and technicians, who feel responsible for patients and therefore instinctively wish to take hold and direct the line of travel for a low-vision patient. But a moment’s reflection should suggest how unnerving it is to be pushed into the unknown, which is what happens when a person who does not see well is thrust forward from behind. Following a guide is easier, safer, and less uncomfortable.
I hope that this information will be helpful. If at any time I can provide further information or support to your staff or your patients losing sight, please have them contact me.
NFB of Ohio Combined Leadership List
(513) 886-8697 (c)
q123 Queens Road, Milford, OH 45150
salbers1 at twc.com <mailto:salbers1 at twc.com>
Board member, convention coordinator
(234) 207-9955 (c)
(330) 526-6643 (H)
1307 South Main St.Apt. 3, North Canton, OH 44720
NFB of Stark County president
(937) 206-2935 (c)
(937) 471-5193 (h)
bakerdebra53 at gmail.com <mailto:bakerdebra53 at gmail.com>
1107 Burt St., Springfield, OH 45055
Board member, Education Committee chair
(216) 587-5488 (h)
(440) 804-4644 (c)
ldelcenia at prodigy.net <mailto:ldelcenia at prodigy.net>
5736 South Blvd., Maple Hts., Ohio 44137
4487 Bascule Bridge Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio 45440
greymaster95 at gmail.com <mailto:greymaster95 at gmail.com>
Board member, Springfield chapter president
(614) 377-9877 (c)
peduffy63 at gmail.com <mailto:peduffy63 at gmail.com>
P.O. Box 82055, Columbus, OH 43202
NFB of Ohio president
(216) 691-1619 (h)
c16a19f at sbcglobal.net <mailto:c16a19f at sbcglobal.net>
4313 Groveland Rd., University Hts., OH 44118
NFB of Cuyahoga County president
(440) 964-7824 (h)
(440) 812-5594 (c)
befohl at gmail.com <mailto:befohl at gmail.com>
1116 Thayer Ave., Ashtabula, OH 44004
Ohio Association of Blind Seniors president
(513) 931-7070 (h)
lhall007 at cinci.rr.com <mailto:lhall007 at cinci.rr.com>
700 Hamilton Ave. Unit 2, Cincinnati, OH 45231
(614) 558-8059 (c)
shelbiah1 at gmail.com <mailto:shelbiah1 at gmail.com>
185 Crestview Road, Columbus, OH 43202
NFB Ohio Secretary, Capital Chapter president, Awards Committee chair, and Constitution Committee chair
(513) 673-4474 (c)
dkkendrick at earthlink.net <mailto:dkkendrick at earthlink.net>
2848 Ridgewood Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45213-1062
Board member, Cincinnati chapter president, Promotion and Publicity Committee, Resolutions Committee, and Scholarship Committee chair
(513) 328-7976 (c)
ldeannakay03 at gmail.com <mailto:ldeannakay03 at gmail.com>
7100 Hamilton Ave., Apt. 2, Cincinnati, OH 45231
Ohio Association of Guide Dog Users president
(614) 263-5599 (h)
(614) 288-4323 (c)
annettelutz at att.net <mailto:annettelutz at att.net>
77 W. Jeffrey Place, Columbus, OH 43210
Ohio Merchants Division president
(937) 935-2610 (c)
macymcclain at yahoo.com <mailto:macymcclain at yahoo.com>
701 Stonehollow Place, Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311
(937) 829-3368 (c)
rchpay7 at gmail.com <mailto:rchpay7 at gmail.com>
1019 Wilmington Ave., Apt. 43, Kettering, OH 45420
Vice president, NFB of Ohio, NFB of Miami Valley president
(440) 774-8077 (h)
(440) 935-4511 (c)
237 Oak Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074
barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com <mailto:barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com>
Board member, NFB Ohio president emerita, president NAPUB, legislative director of Ohio
(419) 661-9171 (h)
n8tnv at att.net <mailto:n8tnv at att.net>
1912 Tracy Rd., Northwood, OH 43619-1307
At-Large Chapter president
(440) 324-4218 (h)
(440) 281-6959 (c)
babyruth2 at windstream.net <mailto:babyruth2 at windstream.net>
6922 Murray Ridge Rd., Elyria, OH 44035
NFB of Ohio treasurer, NFB of Lorain County president, Funding the Movement Committee chair
(513) 285-2072 (c)
kaiti.shelton at gmail.com <mailto:kaiti.shelton at gmail.com>
5480 Honnert Dr., Cincinnati, Oh 45247
Ohio Association of Blind Students president, Deaf-Blind coordinator
(937) 580-1792 (c)
1300 Genesis Way Apt. 118, Dayton, OH 45417
Diabetes Action Network of Ohio president
Smith, J. Webster
(740) 593-4838 (w)
(740) 707-5114 (c)
smithj1 at ohio.edu <mailto:smithj1 at ohio.edu>
2 Canterbury Dr., Athens, OH 45701
NFB of Ohio past president
(330) 328-9860 (c)
william.h.turner at ssa.gov <mailto:william.h.turner at ssa.gov>
1064 E. 167th St., Cleveland OH 44110-1523
Board member, president NFB of Cleveland
(330) 773-5253 (h)
966 E Archwood Ave, Akron, OH 44306-2702
Stark County chapter president
The NFB of Ohio has joined Amazon Smiles. Whenever you order something from Amazon, be sure to go to amazonsmiles.com <http://amazonsmiles.com/>. You will be asked to choose a charity to make a contribution to. You want to choose Ohio Council of the Blind. Then you do your ordering business as usual. A small percentage of your purchase price will be automatically contributed to the NFB of Ohio. Don't forget to sign up for Scrip before you go shopping. This will provide even more cash to the affiliate.
We are sorry to report the death of Richard Payne's mother, who died unexpectedly on Saturday, February 28. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with Richard and his family.
On March 15, 2015, the NFB of Summit County approved its constitution. Mary Weldon was elected president. Congratulations to this new chapter.
Sheri Albers' father, Daniel A. Davis, died on Thursday, March 5, 2015, at age eighty-four. He lived in New Bern, North Carolina, with his wife Diana. Sheri reports that this has been a difficult time for her, but he came to her wedding last September, and they have had several good talks since. so she is at peace with his loss. Our sincere condolence goes out to Sheri, Jesse, Brook, and Danielle in this time of loss.
Kathy Withman reports that on December 10, 2014, the Miami Valley chapter held a Christmas dinner at a local church. Members did a lot of the cooking, and much of the food and supplies was donated. This was an evening of fellowship and a celebration of giving. The chapter sponsored a family of five who were going through a difficult time financially. We provided presents and clothing for the children plus food for the whole family. One of our members played Santa. Carols were sung, and everyone had a great time.
Our chapter has two ongoing Drive for Seventy Five projects. One is a candle sale. One of our members makes lovely candles at a candle store. She provided members with many candles for us to sell. Another Drive for 75 fundraiser will happen on March 14 at the Bob Evans Restaurant on Miller Lane in the Dayton area. Flyers were passed out by the membership advertising this event. Those presenting this flyer when paying their bill will generate 15 percent of their food purchase to our chapter for the fundraiser. We are holding our meeting there on that day and will each have lunch or a dessert. thereby adding to the amount raised for the Drive.
In May we plan to have our annual Italian dinner at our normal meeting location in Dayton.
Keep handy this list of Disability Tech Support Hotlines from companies committed to providing some special services.
Microsoft has started a free program for people with disabilities through which technicians access computers in need of repair and fix what they can remotely. The service number is 800-936-5900, For more information such as calling hours, see
Elizabeth Sammons reports that Lazarus Wine (in Spain) has pioneered a new wine-making method, sensorial wine making, which incorporates the sensitivity of blind wine makers into the process. The result is reportedly some of the best Syrah and Merlot made in Spain today. Read more about this creative vocational rehabilitation and the project from the wine maker’s perspective.
The Senior Division Sponsors Conference Calls in 2015
The National Federation of the Blind Senior Division proudly sponsors the following conference calls on the topics listed below. Each conference call will be moderated by an active member of the NFB:
Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Organizing Paperwork—keeping track of banking, labeling, sorting, and filing necessary documents
Moderator: Ruth Sager, Maryland, president, NFB Senior Division
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, Hobbies—pursuing favorite hobbies and crafts
Moderator: Marguerite Woods, Maryland
Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Leisure Time—dining out, movies, museums, enjoying favorite pastime activities
Moderator: Shelley Coppel, South Carolina
All calls will be held at the times listed: 4:00 eastern daylight time. The conference call number is (712) 432-1500, and the access code is 59633 pound. All calls will be recorded and put on the NFB Senior webpage, and directions for calling in to listen to missed calls will be given a few hours after the calls have taken place. In order to obtain the best possible sound for these calls, it is recommended that each caller, after dialing in, press *6, which puts you in mute mode. You will be able to hear everything during the call, but background noise from your location will not disturb others listening to the conversation. When you wish to speak and enter the discussion, press *6 once again, and you will be released from the mute mode and able to participate.
It is also highly recommended that each person wishing to speak state your name and wait for the moderator to recognize you before speaking. The quality of our calls is diminished when we have too many people trying to seek the floor at one time; chaos is the result, so a little courtesy goes a long way in participating in an information-filled meeting. The moderators will do their very best to recognize as many callers as possible; however, they will determine the order in which speakers proceed. When finished with your comments, press *6 once again to go back into mute mode.
Everyone is welccome to join these calls. You do not need to be a senior. They will last about an hour. Be sure to spread the information that you gather.
The NFB of Springfield will host an informational/membership recruitment meeting at the Springfield Art Museum, 107 Cliff Park Road, Springfield, Ohio. We invite blind citizens from Clark, Champagne, and Greene Counties to attend, Friday evening, June 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
March 31, National scholarship application deadline
April 11, NFB-O telephone board meeting
April 15, Deadline for submitting applications for NFB-O and Jernigan Fund applications for convention assistance
May 14-16, STEM2YOU at COSI
May 15, Ohio scholarship application deadline
June 22-July 3, Ohio BELL Program, OSSB
July 5-10, National convention, Orlando, FL
November 19-22, NFB of Ohio convention, Independence
More information about the Ohio-Talk