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.
The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at (800) 792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge by E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site www.njcounciloftheblind.org. Feel free to write us at email@example.com.
The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Much appreciated tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.
The NJCB officers are
President, Wanda Williford (609) 375-6682.
1st Vice President, Frank Schack – (973) 595-0116
2nd Vice President, Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675.
Secretary Dan Bausch
Treasurer, Steve Sowa (848) 999-2079 or by mail to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095
Imagine it is a perfect sunny Saturday. You are planning to spend the day preparing a meal of family favorites; cucumber salad, potatoes au gratin, Dijon crusted chicken and drunken peach cobbler for dessert. Standing in the middle of the kitchen, you realize you need fresh peaches for the cobbler. You grab your white cane and wallet then jump in your autonomous vehicle parked in the driveway. You verbally instruct the vehicle to drive you to the local Farmer’s market. You are dropped off at the entrance and the vehicle parks itself. You buy the juiciest peaches and a bouquet of fragrant flowers for the table. An audible beacon system helps you locate and identify your vehicle. You settle in, give the verbal command for home, and enjoy the ride. The entire errand only takes an hour. Dinner is a success, and the peach cobbler is exceptional with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
10 years ago, that scenario would have seemed impossible. A futuristic dream not of our time. However, the dream is in our sights. The presenters at this year's DC leadership conference made me a believer. It is their hope, in the next five years autonomous vehicles will rule the highways and be accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. This George Jetson-ish world may someday become our reality. I came away from the leadership conference convinced an autonomous vehicle will someday safely transport me to a desired destination. The idea makes me giddy with anticipation
Transportation has long been a barrier that sometimes prevents the blind and visually impaired from fully participating in many life experiences. The difficulties in traveling to work, school or activities can be daunting. Nevertheless, generations of blind and visually impaired people have successfully navigated the challenges of transportation to live wonderful lives. However, it would be a huge leap forward to have access to autonomous vehicles which would allow us to travel independently and efficiently. Therefore, opening up opportunities for the blind community previously never imagined. By no means do I believe autonomous vehicles will solve all our transportation issues. However, it would be nice to have autonomous vehicles as an option. I’m putting in my order for a Pearl black Porsche SUV with lots of leg room and heated seats.
In the meantime, we are thrilled to host, Ronda Williams, as our guest speaker for April’s meeting. Ms. Williams is the Acting Director of Operations ADA Services for Access Link NJT. She will explain the Access Link model and update us on all the new and innovative features recently implemented. She will also answer questions regarding best practices during Covid and more. Please join us for this informative discussion. Saturday, April 24th, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Call 605-468-8005, passcode 425373.
Wanda Williford, President NJCB
Our next Quarterly NJCB meeting will be held by conference call on Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Please note this is a different time than our normal in person meetings. The call-in number is 605-468-8005 Access code 425373#. We hope all of you will join us!
Ronda Williams has recently been promoted to the Acting Director of Operations ADA Services for Access Link NJT. In this capacity, Ronda will lead the Operations Center team efforts including training, performance monitoring, and incident and accident management. She will work closely with customers, department heads and providers to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
Ronda has 21 years of NJ TRANSIT experience and 18 years of Access Link operations experience. Ronda has extensive knowledge of Access Link call center operations, reservations, and service monitoring and will make immediate contributions to the Operations Unit.
Ronda Williams has extensive PC, MS Office skills. She has excellent written and verbal communication skills. She has over 21 years’ experience in the Transportation Industry. She is comfortable interacting with various levels of management. Ronda is a team player.
Ronda has two daughters. She enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family. She resides in East Orange, NJ.
In this issue we discover the friendly charm of Jack Truehaft. He joined NJCB in 2019 and has been an active and engaged member from minute one. Born premature, Jack has been visually impaired since birth. His family moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey when he was a small child. His parents raised him to be an independent person and to pursue his passions. When he was a young adult, his mother purchased him an unlimited Greyhound bus pass to travel solo from NJ to visit California. When Jack called to inform her he was going to tour the United States with his unlimited travel ticket for the entire summer, her only response was, “Have fun and make sure you come home.”
The proverbial “Jack of all trades”, he has mastered a great many things in his life. Out of high school, he worked as an intra state messenger for a garment company, which required lots of exciting travel. It was during that time he met his wife. She encouraged Jack to attend college. He earned a degree in Special Education and taught school briefly. He then managed a coffee shop which led to his true calling as a business owner. Jack became a highly successful Randolph Shepherd vendor for 41 years. Currently, Jack is a retired widower living with his son in Rahway, NJ. Let us discover more about Jack in 20 questions.
Full disclosure, I could have written double the content contained in this article. Jack has a true zest for life, which is evident in his love of travel, good food and great people. We discussed his triumphs, struggles and ability to adapt and move forward with a positive attitude. Jack has an easy-going manner and natural curiosity which makes him easy to talk to. At our next in-person meeting, take a seat next to Jack Truehaft, you won’t be disappointed.
Above: Picture of eight surgeons in light-green face masks, surgical caps, and scrubs, viewed from a patient's vantage point. They are in a circular formation, and only their heads and upper torsos can be seen.
Almost 20 years ago, I lost the vision in my right eye, due to a botched surgery to correct a macular hole. After wallowing and seething for a time, I decided to get back to life. One thing that helped me was finding a way to help others.
I started a website called, “Recuperade” to offer advice to those considering vitrectomy surgery for a macular hole and to prepare them for the rigorous recuperation process afterward. My first suggestion was always: get a second — even a third — opinion before you schedule that surgery. In fact, this applies to finding any kind of doctor.
Anecdotal claims, such as, “I hear he’s one of the best in his field,” don’t cut it (pardon the pun) when it comes to finding a competent surgeon. After all, it could be that the rumor was started by his own mother! Get solid facts when it comes to such important matters.
For example, the NJ State Board of Medical Examiners has a searchable database of Disciplinary Actions on doctors’ records.
That being said, word-of-mouth from someone you know who has been to that doctor can be helpful. Is the physician respectful of others? Do patients feel as if he or she is listening? How long will you be sitting in the waiting room before you see the doctor?
Once you’ve found a doctor you believe is sufficient for your needs, call the office. How polite is the office staff answering the phone? Do they accept your insurance? How long were you on hold? If you call with a question, how long does it take for someone to get back to you?
Even after doing your due diligence, sometimes a doctor you’ve seen for years can suddenly no longer be the right one for you.
This happened to me at a doctor’s office years ago as I waited to be seen and had a small, outstanding balance from a previous visit. I told them that I couldn’t pay it that day but would call them in two days when I could pay and sat back down.
My blood pressure rose as I listened to the staff discussing me for 45 minutes. “Should we let her see the doctor? Well, she says she’ll pay it later...” I realized that this situation should only be viewed in retrospect, as a cautionary tale (like this one here!) so I walked up to the front desk. “I’ve been listening this whole time. I’ll call Friday to pay the balance, but I’m done with this practice,” I said angrily, and left. Later, the office manager left me an apologetic voicemail, but no patient should be treated disrespectfully, for any reason.
It’s important to remember that you have rights as a patient. If a provider hasn't treated you properly, you have the right to voice your complaint. If it doesn’t get resolved to your satisfaction, you can always “vote with your feet,” as I did, and find another doctor.
We’ve all had to fend for ourselves in life in so many ways, so I consider it a gift when someone else shares their insights with me. They may not have had the same exact experiences, but just knowing you’re not alone can be a source of comfort. And if ever you find yourself somewhere you’ve never been before, you can pave the way for the person coming up behind you and leave a trail.
Spring is in the air and eggs are in the nestbox! I’m fortunate to have a small flock of chickens that provide me with fresh eggs throughout the year. In the winter, however, due to reduced sunlight hours and colder temperatures, egg production really slows down. But now spring is upon us, and egg production is up, up, up! What to do with all those eggs? Quiche, of course! Here's my go to recipe for broccoli quiche. Bon Appétit!
Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Quiche
9-inch frozen pie crust
2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup milk (whole milk preferable)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
Submitted by Barbara Plunkett
As 2021 is an election year, we are seeking members to join our Nominating Committee. We need someone to Chair and up to 2 additional members.
Up for election for the 2022-2023 term is President, 1st and 2nd VP, Secretary and Treasurer. Responsibilities for this committee is to first verify if current board members want to stay in their positions and if not, then the committee will need to seek out new nominees. The slate will be voted on during the October quarterly meeting. Please contact Wanda for more information.
Due to the ongoing pandemic NJBCA has been closed. Hopefully we can reopen soon.
Peace and wellbeing to everyone from members of MCAB, we hope everyone has been safe and enjoying all the favors of our Creator.
MCAB held a virtual meeting on February 18, 2021. We welcomed two continual family successors to the group. They are George Franc, and Julius Braimah. Also, MCAB would like to extend appreciation to our former Treasurer Catherine (Cathy) Godfrey for years of service and welcome our new Treasurer Theresa (Terry) Hammoutene. As we live through this era of Pandemic we will continue to have virtual meeting until we hear different and we pray that will be soon.
Sharing a little County News on Vaccinations: Mercer County hosts two vaccination sites – one at CURE Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health, and the other at Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor Campus. A limited number of doses are currently available due to a supply shortage at the federal level. To receive a vaccination from Mercer County, you must first register with the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS) at covidvaccine.nj.gov or by calling 855-568-0545. No walk-ups can be accommodated at the vaccination sites. You will be notified when it is time for you to schedule an appointment.
Submitted by: Mustafaa Shabazz, MCAB President
Our deadline to submit application for our 2021-22 NJCB Scholarship is fast approaching. If you want to be considered for an award, please visit our website at njcounciloftheblind.org and review the questions and answers for the requirements. The deadline is May 1.
Do you have tech questions? Not sure if you want to buy that new iPhone or gadget watch? Join our monthly calls and get some answers from your friends.
The calls are on the first Monday of each month. Our next call will take place on Monday, April 5th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Call (978) 990-5000, passcode 361060. Please join us for a fun and informative chat. Email Wanda Williford, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions or suggestions for discussion topics.
When shopping on Amazon use Amazon Smile and support the NJCB.
Go to Smile.Amazon.com and look for New Jersey Council of the Blind Inc. Or use smile.amazon.com/ch/22-3592848
NJCB is on Facebook. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of this page please send your ideas and posts to our email address at email@example.com Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.
For members at large if you have not already paid dues for 2021, please do so immediately. To be an active, voting member and continue receiving the benefits of our members which includes our Chronicle and ACB newsletters, please send us your $10.00 dues payment. NJCB is required to submit our membership lists and dues to the ACB national headquarters to remain a valid certified affiliate. Please send your membership dues payment to our Treasurer, Steve Sowa PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.
As a reminder for our At-Large members you can also go to our web page and pay online now. The link is www.njcounciloftheblind.org/dues.
Saturday July 24th location TBD
Saturday October 23rd location TBD
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.
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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
PO Box 434
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