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The New Jersey Council of the Blind


July, 2007

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 relative to matters of concern to blind people.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation and all gifts are tax deductible. Tax deductible donations should be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.

Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge in either large print, audio cassette or E-mail. Non-members may request the NJCB Chronicle by E-mail and for an annual donation of $5.00 may receive copies in large print or cassette. If anyone would like their newsletter by E-mail, please let me know and I will put you on the group list.

In order to make the Chronicle better, we need and appreciate information from our chapters, from individuals and from agencies and other outside groups and organizations which serve the blind and visually impaired. 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 Ottilie@verizon.net. All information must be received by September 1st to be included in the next issue of the Chronicle.

The NJCB officers are: President Lauren Casey, (609) 912-0657, 153 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648; First Vice President John Vernon (609) 392-3674; Second Vice President Frank Schack (973) 595-0116; Secretary Ottilie Lucas (609) 882-2446 and Treasurer Bob Lucas (609) 882-2446, 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ 08638.

The officers at large are: Bill Dougherty (732) 283-1688, Jim Dougherty (732) 549-5826 and Liz Walzer (732) 280-8387.



Hello Everyone,

As I write this it is thundering outside my window, my Bob (Bob Rindt) and Bob Lucas and others are a Trenton Thunder baseball game. I hope they're not getting rained out (Editor's note: they did get rained out).

The next New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, July 21st at the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association's (BCA) Camp Happiness in Leonardo. The BCA will be providing a wonderful picnic lunch prior to the business meeting.

We will not have a presenter at this meeting. The meeting will be business only. I will be away during that weekend at a family wedding in Rhode Island, so our First Vice President, John Vernon, will be chairing the meeting. See "Meeting Notice" for details and directions. I wish everyone who will be attending a great meeting.

Thanks again to BCA for providing their picnic spread for lunch.

I wish everyone a wonderful summer.

Yours truly,

Lauren Casey

NJCB president



This year's Convention theme is "What's Happening in 2007." Friday evening, October 26th will offer an interactive self defense class. On Saturday, October 27th we will hear from Jennifer Valez, Acting Commissioner of NJ Department of Human Services, Vito DeSantis, Executive Director from NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Faith Lundgren, Director of the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Deborah Toomy from National Library Services and Robert Koska from NJ Transit. We will also have exhibits with information from many areas including Braille maps, high tech, software, communications and crafts.

Again the convention will be held at the very accessible Clarion Hotel/Palmer Inn at 3499 Route 1 in Princeton (West Windsor). The hotel has a Charlie Browns restaurant adjacent to the hotel. It is Access Link accessible and they have a shuttle from the Princeton Junction Train Station for those with room reservations. Call the hotel at (609) 452-2500 to make your room reservations or arrange for a ride from the train station. There are a limited number of rooms reserved for NJCB's special rate of $79.99 plus tax.

Please gather up some door prizes or prizes to be raffled off. Frank and Joyce Schack will be in charge of the door prizes this year. We thank the Chapters in advance for their faithful contribution of cash gifts for door prizes.

We were able to keep the cost at $25.00 for a continental breakfast and sit down luncheon. The registration will also stay the same at $15.00. The total cost for continental breakfast, dinner luncheon and registration is only $40.00. You can't get more for your money.

Fill out the Registration Form at the end of this newsletter. Send it with your check made out to NJCB to Robert Lucas, Treasurer, 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ 08638.

Now is the time to mark it on your calendar.



The Mercer County Association of the Blind's picnic will be at the Lucas' on Saturday, July 14, 2007. There is always lots of homemade food, "Music by Ira" and lots of laughs. Let Bob or Ottilie know if you would like to come. Call: (609) 882-2446 or e-mail Ottilie@verizon.net before July 5th.

Date: Saturday, July 14

Time: 12 PM to about 5 PM.

Cost: $5.00 for non MCAB members

Place: 520 Ewingville Rd., Ewing, NJ 08638, (609) 882-2446. (Cross Street is Pennington Road.)


Get onto Route 95 heading south. (From Route 1 South in Lawrenceville, from Route 295 heading north or Route 195 heading west to Route 295 North)

Get off at Exit #4 making a left turn onto Pennington Road (Route 31 South toward Ewing)

Turn left at the second traffic light, (Upper Ferry Road on right and Ewingville Road on Left)

The Lucas' house is the first house on the left just past the 7-11 on the corner. The driveway is opposite the Village Hardware Store.


Welcome to Adam Szczepaniak, new Assistant Director of LBH

We welcome the new Assistant Director of the Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Adam Szczepaniak. Adam is from the Maryland Library for the Blind. We look forward to getting to know him and to work together to make NJLBH one of the best libraries in the country.

Faith Lundgren, Director, NJLBH


NLS Needs Your Support

The National Library Service (a division of the Library of Congress) will begin the three-year conversion to the new digital Talking Book program next year. To pay for this modernization of the program, the Library of Congress has requested a budget increase. These funds will allow for the production of all new recorded books in both cassette and flash cartridge format, as well as the production of the new digital talking book players.

It is important for all Congressional representatives to know how important the talking book program is. Please help spread the word by contacting your legislators. Write to your Representatives and to your Senators telling them that the appropriation for the Digital Talking Book program and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is vitally important to the blind of the nation. Please send copies of your letters to the chairpersons of these committees. The chairperson for the Appropriations committee (a democrat) is David Obey and the ranking republican (the minority party) is Jerry Lewis. The chairperson in the Senate (a democrat) is Robert Byrd and the ranking republican (the minority party) is Thad Cochran.


Internet Speech

Do you have a computer? Would you like to be able to send and receive e-mail, surf the Net and do it all by just using your voice and a standard telephone keypad? If the answer to the first question is "no", and the answer to the second question is "yes", read on. Internet Speech is a San Jose, California-based company which offers what I just said for what I consider to be nominal monthly rates. If you already have a nationwide long-distance package, Plan A would cost you $14.00 and gives you unlimited usage. Plan B is $23.00 for five hours of phone time, using a toll-free number. Each additional minute above the five-hour block is five cents. For $75.00, you call a toll-free number and have unlimited usage. If you're really ambitious and adventurous, for $6.00 more to any of these plans, you can stream audio. There is a $20.00 set up fee for any of these plans. There is no contractual obligation so you can try the different plans to find which is best for you. You also can sign on or off the service at any time.

I've been on this program for about the past five years, even before I got into any computer courses or acquired a PC of my own. Although I now have a PC with XP, I continue using the program as a backup if and when my computer might be down for a variety of reasons. Most recently, I was "out of business" because of a problem with Verizon and maintaining my proper DSL signal strength. Internet Speech made it possible for me to continue sending and receiving important e-mail during this "crisis."

If you are interested in further information directly from the company, call, toll-free: (877) 312-4638 or (408) 532-8460.

If any of you have any further questions, you also can call me at:

(973) 478-1900, at home, and I will try to answer them. If I can't, I will arrange to have the company contact you.

Happy surfing!

Ed Fedush


Currency Cut Corner Code

This is just one of the proposals on how currency could be made accessible for the blind. Eurodollars are different sizes for each denomination. Altering the corners is another idea. Since anyone can cut more corners on a bill, the fewer cut corners, the more valuable the bill.

Here is the proposal: none on the One Hundred, and all four on the One Dollar bill. The three denominations with two corners cut, can be remembered by thinking about how close the two cut corners are to each other. That is, the closer they are, the higher the value; two on an end for a Twenty; two along a long edge indicates a Ten; and, two cuts diagonally for the five dollar bill!

There is not a consensus on what method is best. Watch and listen for proposals to be announced. We can forward this cause by contacting our legislators when asked.

This will be another step in increasing our independence.



A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS number printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Ways to limit the damage if you lose your wallet:

  1. Have the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
  3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the numbers you always need to contact if your wallet, etc., has been stolen:

  1. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  2. Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  3. Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
  4. Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271



Easy Sites. Here is a Web Site with some easy sites that will be useful to you. http://easysites.4t.com/ It has a dictionary, encyclopedia, JAWS tutorial, weather, news and much more.

Menus That Talk. Taylannas Inc. announces the launch of an electronic restaurant menu system, Menus That Talk(TM), which is a portable compact device, approximately the size of a DVD case that speaks to restaurant guests, describing selected food items from the hand-held unit's illuminated buttons.

For more information, contact Susan Perry, President, CEO at

susan.perry@menusthattalk.com or (305) 255-9600 or Richard Herbst, VP Marketing at richard.herbst@menusthattalk.com or his cell (786) 449-9351

New from SONY. There is now software for voice and voice/video calls on the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) This would be the first portable "Gaming Console" on the market enabling user to make calls via the gaming console using "Voice Over Internet Protocols" (VOIP).

RadioShack Announces Point of Sale, Web Site Initiative for Customers with Visual Impairments. RadioShack will install new point of sale equipment with tactile keypads to protect the privacy and security of visually impaired shoppers and will make improvements to its Web site that will benefit visually impaired shoppers and other customers with disabilities. This is the result of collaboration between RadioShack and major blindness organizations including the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind, and California Council of the Blind.


Chapter Reports

Garden State Guide Dog Users has a new brochure designed by Christine Heilman, GSGDU President Jean Cannella's granddaughter. It has the White Cane Law, Guide Dog Laws as well as some tips on approaching a guide dog. Thank you, Christine!

Mercer County Association of the Blind recently had a speaker on Emergency Preparedness for the Disabled. We have some extra brochures that we will bring to the Convention. We invite everyone to our picnic at the Lucas'. See article for more details.

New Jersey Blind Citizens Association. The NJ Blind Citizens Association Camp Happiness is looking to expand their Art/Recreation program for blind and visually impaired children. This groundbreaking program is currently held on the first Saturday of each month. Please contact Doug Scott for details, or visit the website at www.njbca.org.

The NJBCA Open House is scheduled for July 22nd at noon. Please come out and get some great barbecue, salt air, and fun. Last year's event drew almost 200 people.



Saturday, July 14, 2007: Mercer CAB picnic at the Lucas'. See above article.

Saturday, July 21, 2007: NJCB Quarterly Meeting at Camp Happiness in Leonardo.

Saturday, October 13, 2007: The New Jersey Library's Fall Festival NJLBH, 2300 Stuyvesant Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08618. Details will be posted on their website closer to the time.

Friday and Saturday, October 26 & 27, 2007: The Annual NJCB Convention at the Palmer Inn in Princeton. Watch for details in future issues.

Saturday, December 1, 2007: Friends of the NJLBH meeting at the Library from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Saturday, December 1, 2007: Garden State Guide Dog Users meeting at the Library from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.


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.