The New Jersey Council of the Blind’s mission is to strive for the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community. The purpose of this publication is to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information that concern blind and visually impaired people.
We thank Audiovision, the Radio Reading Service of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center for the use of their recording studio to produce the cassette and digital formats that are aired on Audiovision and our website www.njcounciloftheblind.org. For more information about Audiovision call 1-800-792-8322 or visit their website at www.audiovision-nj.org. We thank John Hart of Audiovision and our webmaster, Dave Casterline for their contributions to the Chronicle. We also thank Ed Fedush for his valuable proofreading skills. The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. The Chronicle is read by Bob Lucas. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge in either large print, audio cassette or E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site.
The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Tax deductible donations should be sent to Bernie Zuckerman, Treasurer of NJCB (address is below).
Articles to be included in the NJCB Chronicle, requests for copies of the newsletter or membership information should be sent to NJCB, 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ 08638. They may also be e-mailed to email@example.com or phoned to (609) 882-2446. All information must be received by June 1st to be included in the next issue of the Chronicle.
The NJCB officers are: President, Ottilie Lucas (609) 882-2446; First Vice President, Frank Schack (973) 595-0116; Second Vice President, Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675; Secretary, Bob Lucas (609) 882-2446 and Treasurer, Bernie Zuckerman of 32 Judson Street, Unit 7B, Edison, NJ 08837, (732) 221-5362.
The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at the Joseph Kohn Training Center at 130 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick, NJ 08901 on Saturday, April 25, 2015. A pizza lunch will be served at 12 Noon for a cost of $5.00; the meeting will begin at 1 PM and will be over at about 4 PM. In order for us to order enough food call (609) 882-2446 by April 15th to let us know that you are coming. One person from each organization can call with a group count. We are looking forward to seeing you there.
We are going to try something new at this meeting. Read an article in this issue inviting those who can’t attend the meeting to join us on the phone.
Directions to the Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC)
130 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2421
Cross Street: Seaman Street
From the North
Proceed south on Route 1 to Route 18 toward New Brunswick.
Get off Route 18 at the New Street ramp.
Turn slight right onto New Street/ NJ 26.
Take the 2nd left onto Livingston Avenue/NJ 26.
Turn left onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.
From the South
Proceed north on Route 1 to the Livingston Avenue/NJ 26 exit toward New Brunswick.
Turn right onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.
Our last two winters have been cold and snowy. Our January, 2014 meeting was held and our participants braved treacherous travel with snow. The Executive Board decided to cancel the January 24, 2015 meeting at JKTC due to another forecasted snow storm. It was not as bad as forecasted but the parking lots, streets and general conditions were poor. We trust that April’s weather will be much better.
Bob and Ottilie Lucas attended the ACB President’s Midyear Meeting in Arlington, Virginia on Sunday, February 22nd. Many speakers spoke on pertinent topics. Some of these will be mentioned in another article in this issue. You can always get more information on ACB’s legislative initiatives in the ACB Braille Forum. This is available on line at acb.org or on Newsline. Many people no longer have cassette machines and these formats are great alternatives.
Since our January meeting was cancelled we will have our discussion question “How do we ask for assistance and graciously decline if not needed?” at our April meeting. Let us know if you have any topics for this feature for future meetings.
We have updated our brochure. Two of our officers are visiting a support group, the Hawkin Hawkeyes on April 1st. We have some members at large in this group. We have been asked to speak about NJCB and to learn how local groups can network with us. We will bring the new brochures as well as membership forms.
We are going to try something new. Since our Members at Large cannot come to our meetings and some of our regulars are unable to get transportation to the April meeting, we are going to give our members the opportunity to call in on the conference number or attend the meeting. Read the article in this issue to give the dial-in instructions.
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting at JKTC on April 25th.
Since many of our members cannot attend our NJCB quarterly meetings, we are going to give them an opportunity to join us on the phone at our April 25th meeting at 1 PM. Let us know if this additional outreach is something that you would like to have continued. Note that this is not a toll free number. If you have unlimited services with no additional charges for long distance calls, this will not cost you anything.
Here’s how to join us:
Shortly before 1 PM on Saturday, April 25, 2015 dial
You will be asked for your Access Code. Dial 425373#.
Then you will be told to press 1 if you dialed 425373#.
You will then be told how many are on the line. Last, you will be asked to introduce yourself.
We will welcome you. When the meeting starts, we will ask those on the phone to press *6 to mute. You can hear what is going on at the meeting. When it is discussion time, you will be asked to press *6 again and join in on the discussion, questions or voting.
We hope you will join us and we will be looking forward to your comments or suggestions for future meetings.
If you have any questions prior to the date, call Ottilie Lucas at (609) 882-2446.
Hope you can join us.
President Ottilie Lucas and Secretary Bob Lucas attended the ACB Midyear Presidents’ Meeting in Arlington, Virginia on February 22nd. Among those topics discussed were the use of ACB social media and communication basics and strategies for getting our message out to potential members and our community at large. There was also a discussion on the use of PayPal and credit cards. Other discussions focused on fund raising initiatives and programs. For more details, one can listen to the entire meeting on ACB radio or one can go to the ACB website, www.acb.org.
At the Legislative Seminar that followed Presidents’ Meeting, the ACB legislative initiatives for 2015 were presented. Among those initiatives are H.R. 729, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015 and The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act. The H. R. 729 legislation would allow reimbursement for certain low-vision devices that are the most function-rich, most powerful, and most expensive that are currently excluded by Medicare. The devices would be considered durable medical equipment. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will ensure that properly designed and individually tailored services are in fact provided to meet the unique learning needs of students who are blind or visually impaired, and that the educators who serve them are prepared and supported to do their jobs well, based on evidence-driven best practices. The third initiative calls for the Senate to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. This treaty provides an exemption to the signing nations’ copyright laws for distribution of reading materials for people with print-reading disabilities. In practical terms, this means that libraries and other organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities will be able to share those works with each other.
Many of our members are no longer getting their NJCB Chronicle or ACB Braille Forum on cassette and cannot use large print or the computer. Here’s how to continue to read these important publications on your telephone.
NJCB’s Bill Dougherty shared the following with us. The NJCB Chronicle, Insights, New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center’s Newsletter, and The Friends of The New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped Newsletter are now available on Newsline. You can access these Newsletters with a Newsline subscription and a touch-tone telephone. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at 1-800-792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. If you have a Newsline subscription, but do not remember your login information, contact Christian Riehl at the above number extension 821. Once you have secured your login information, dial in to the service by calling 1-888-882-1629, or the local dial up number provided to you for accessing the service. Follow the prompts for logging in and reading the Newsletters. Choose option 2 of the main menu for your state’s information channel, followed by option 5 the New Jersey information channel, and then follow the prompts for the Newsletters.
Bob Hachey of ACB has provided a step-by-step guide for accessing The ACB Braille Forum.
Press 1 for previous article, 2 to restart the current article or 3 for the next article.
Press 4 for the previous sentence, 5 to restart the current sentence or 6 for the next sentence.
Press 7 to slow down the speaking rate, 8 to change speaking voices or 9 to increase the speaking rate.
Press * for the previous menu, 0 to pause speech or # for help. The pound or number sign (#) is directly to the right of 0 on your phone. The star (*) is directly to the left of 0 on your phone. Anyone who wants more specific help using Newsline may contact me at (781) 893-6251. I will be happy to help get you started.
Find and download user manuals for any device out there at Central Manuals. All for free: http://lifehacker.com/central-manuals-lets-you-find-and-download-user-manuals-1681233160 From TTT on January 29, 2015.
Spread the word! NJCB is again awarding scholarships to deserving legally blind students. Request an application package by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Requesting scholarship application package” in the subject line. One may also phone (609) 882-2446 to have the application package sent by snail mail. Completed application packages must be returned by May 15, 2015 to be considered.
MCAB Chapter Report. Mercer County Association of the Blind started the year off with a general business meeting with pizza donated by Jean Cannella. Many details were announced since we have new officers and board members. Several of our members offered to volunteer to serve and bring refreshments. The Trenton Elks serve a buffet dinner every Tuesday evening and several of our members have enjoyed these dinners.
Our February meeting was cancelled due to the extreme cold. Our March meeting was a dinner meeting. Our officers prepared and served a meal for our members whose birthdays fall between November and April. Barbara Knoblock’s famous pistachio and chocolate cakes topped off the evening. No one went home hungry. It was a nice evening of fun, food and fellowship. We followed the meal with an abbreviated business meeting. Try to keep warm and we hope to see you in New Brunswick on April 25th for the NJCB quarterly meeting.
NJBCA Chapter Report. The New Jersey Blind Citizen’s Association is really looking forward to the spring season. We had to close several days this past winter as the safety of our participants is and has always been first and foremost with us. But now we are ramping up as spring is now upon us. Following are excerpts from their February newsletter. “There are many new and exciting ventures on the horizon for the NJBCA. We recently met with representatives of Meridian Health and Meridian at Home. We discussed the potential ‘partnership’ with Meridian and their low vision and outreach programs. We are still in the planning stages, but we are looking forward to the potential of working together to make a difference in the lives of those who need the support.
The NJBCA is also committed to bringing an eye center to reality. This is something that will be of value to those with vision loss and adjusting to life with vision loss. It would be similar to the one offered at a local hospital some time ago, with access to hands on opportunities for the public to try different products such as magnifiers, color readers, bump dots and every day products that would make adjustment to vision loss easier.
The Ladies Auxiliary will be holding their semi-annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser on Saturday April 18, 2015. Reservations are preferred, but not required. For $10.00, you will receive salad, spaghetti, meatballs and/or sausage, bread, dessert and a beverage (non-alcoholic). Please call the office at 732-291-0878 if you would like more information or to request reservations.
We have two fundraisers in addition to the spaghetti dinner this spring. On March 28th at VFW Post 2179 in Port Monmouth from 1 PM to 3:30 PM you can bring in those old valuables and have them appraised. The entrance fee is $20.00. On the evening of May 29th we will be having our 10th Annual Gift Auction also at VFW Post 2179. Please call the office at 732-291-0878 if you would like more information or to request reservations.”
Saturday, April 25, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB at JKTC in New Brunswick. There will be a pizza lunch at 12 noon and the meeting runs from 1 PM to 4 PM. See the meeting notice for more details.
Saturday, June 6, 2015: Semi-annual meeting of the Friends of the Library for the Blind and Handicapped at JKTC in New Brunswick. The meeting is from 10 AM until 12 noon with a pizza lunch to follow.
July 3 – 11, 2015: ACB Annual Conference and Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, TX. Read the ACB Braille Forum for more Convention details.
Saturday, July 25, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB at Camp Happiness in Leonardo, NJ. There will be a picnic lunch provided by NJBCA at 12 noon and the meeting runs from 1 PM to 4 PM.
Saturday, August 1, 2015: MCAB’s annual picnic at the Trenton Elks picnic grounds in West Trenton. More details will be in the July issue of the NJCB Chronicle.
Saturday, October 24, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at JKTC in New Brunswick. There will be a pizza lunch at 12 noon and the meeting runs from 1 PM to 4 PM.
Saturday, December 5, 2015: Semi-annual meeting of the Friends of the Library for the Blind and Handicapped at JKTC in New Brunswick. The meeting is from 10 AM until 12 noon with a pizza lunch to follow.
NOTE: Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the New Jersey Council of the Blind officers and/or members. The editor reserves the right to edit articles submitted for both space and content.