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The New Jersey Council of the Blind


July, 2009

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 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.

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 njcounciloftheblind@verizon.net. All information must be received by August 15th to be included in the next issue of the Chronicle.

The NJCB officers are: President: John Vernon (609) 392-3674; First Vice President: Liz Walzer, (732) 280-2326; 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. Board members are Doug Heine, Joyce Sowa and Chris Ward.



The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be hosted by The New Jersey Blind Citizens' Association (BCA) at Camp Happiness on Saturday, July 18, 2009. A picnic lunch will be served at 12 Noon; the meeting will begin at 1 PM and will be over at about 4 PM. In order for them to prepare enough food call the BCA office at (732) 291-0878 by July 10th to let them know that you are coming. One person from each organization can call with a group count. We are looking forward to seeing you there.


Take Route 36 to Leonardo, New Jersey in northern Monmouth County.

Turn toward the shore onto Leonard Avenue in Leonardo, NJ. Turn right onto Burlington Avenue. The meeting will be on the right starting at the picnic grounds at Camp Happiness.


President's Message

Hi All, Can you believe that it is almost summer? Neither can I. However, as of this writing, the baseball season is well under way, the pro basketball finals start tonight, and the temperature is at least in the seventies or eighties every day. These are definitely signs that summer is almost here. The other signs are that the summer Chronicle is at hand, and the summer quarterly meeting at Camp Happiness is upon us.

I hope that everyone has their vacation plans well under way, are planning family and friend get togethers, and as many as possible are planning on attending our quarterly meeting at Camp Happiness on July 18th. It should be a unique and informative meeting.

Ottilie and Bob Lucas, and Lauren Casey and Bob Rindt will be attending the ACB National Convention Orlando, Florida during the first week of July. Ottilie will be attending as our representative delegate and Lauren Casey will be attending as our first alternate delegate. We shall all look forward to hearing their remarks on all avenues of the convention.

There has been much discussion on two particular topics in the ACB leadership emails. The first topic regards the probable closing of the Oregon School for the blind in September. Much of this discussion is regarding the least restrictive surroundings and the advocacy of choice for parents and students. The other most talked about topic of discussion was the availability and convenience of video described movies at local theatres throughout the country.

I would like everyone to give these topics some thought before our meeting. Then we can allocate some time to discuss each of these concerns. If anyone has other topics that they would like to bring up, then please send them to me at least one week before our meeting so that I can put it on our agenda. My email address is whynot48@comcast.net . My phone number is 609-392-3674.

Please do not forget about the NJCB fund raising event on July 16th at the Trenton Thunder baseball game in Trenton. Our friend Ottilie Lucas will be honored for her many years of service to the blindness community in New Jersey. I guarantee that you will never experience a more meaningful pre-game ceremony. If you have not yet purchased your tickets, then please contact either Bob Rindt at 609-912-0657, or Larry Morgan at 609-588-5012.

I look forward to being with everyone at Camp Happiness in July.

All the best! John Vernon, President



The membership voted in April at our quarterly meeting to have biannual conventions on the even numbered years. We are hoping to have better turnouts and therefore have more exhibits and speakers. Therefore, our fall meeting on October 24th will not be a convention but a regular quarterly meeting. Garden State Guide Dog users will host it at the Mercer County Public Library in Lawrence. It is Access Link accessible. We will have more details in the October issue of the NJCB Chronicle.

We urge all of our members to attend the Fall Festival on October 3rd to see the largest number of exhibitors at any event in New Jersey. They will also feature interesting and informative speakers.

Let us know what topics you would like to have at our 2010 convention. We are starting to plan it now.



NJCB, with the assistance of Monmouth County Association for the Blind, is going to have a raffle to offset the cost of the 2010 NJCB Convention. The tickets will cost $2.00 each and will be in books of 10. The prizes will be: 1st prize, 25% of the total receipts; 2nd prize, 15% of the total receipts and 3rd prize, 10% of the total receipts.

We plan to start selling the tickets after the July 18th NJCB meeting and the drawing will be on April 24, 2010 at our NJCB quarterly meeting at the Monmouth County clubhouse at 3 PM.

Let's all put forth a great effort to sell tickets to all of our friends, family and whomever else we can.



The Mercer County Association of the Blind's picnic will be at the Trenton Elks on Saturday, August 1, 2009. There is always lots of homemade food 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 15th.

Date: Saturday, August 1, 2009

Time: 12 PM to about 4 PM.

Cost: $5.00 for non MCAB members

Place: Trenton Elks Lodge, 42 Decou Ave. in West Trenton (the cross street is Parkway Ave.) 609-638-4232 (Bob Lucas' Cell Phone)


From the North:

Take Rt. 31 South; turn right onto Rt. 95 South one mile south of the Pennington Circle. Get off at exit 2 turning right toward West Trenton, Turn left at the second traffic light (West Upper Ferry Road). Turn right onto Decou Ave. where road bends right. If you go under the railroad overpass, you've gone too far. The Elks Lodge is on the left where Decou Avenue bends to the right.


Take Rt. 1 South and take Rt. 95 South after passing Mercer Mall on the right and Quaker Bridge Mall on the left.

Get off at exit 2 and follow above directions.


From the East:

Take Rt. 195 West to Rt. 295 North, which becomes Rt. 95 South. Get off at exit 2 and follow the above directions.


From the South:

Take Rt. 206, Rt. 130, Rt. 295 or Turnpike north to Bordentown. Pick up Rt. 295 North, which becomes Rt. 95 South. Get off at exit 2 and follow the above directions. Have a safe trip and we hope to see you there.


2009 LBH Fall Festival - Save the Date!

NJ State Library for the Blind and Handicapped Fall Festival

Saturday October 3rd, 2009

9:00am - 3:00pm

2300 Stuyvesant Avenue, Trenton, NJ. 08618

Governor Corzine has declared October 2009 as Blindness Awareness Month for the state of New Jersey. The Fall Festival is the premier event kicking-off month-long awareness, advocacy and activity celebrating New Jersey's great achievements in Blindness Awareness and Braille Literacy. The Fall Festival is the library's biennial event which provides approximately 500 attendees access to vendors, advocates and organizations tailored to those who are visually impaired, deaf, or have a mobility impairment. It is a day of education and entertainment for children and adults across our state that is specifically designed to their needs and interests. The keynote speaker is noted author Mary Jane Clark.

NJLBH's vendor registration and sponsorship opportunities are available by calling the Development Office at 609-530-6131.


Get connecteD!


Did you know that you can learn to use a computer even if you are blind or visually impaired? AccessTech classes are fun and free-of-charge. Little or no computer experience is needed!

Learn to Use:

Learn to Use:


The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired


Statewide at public libraries and other community facilities; inquire for current sites and counties served.

Enroll: Contact (877) 447-6500 ext. 227, or info@4dewitt.com



Phone numbers/web sites

  1. Rights of the disabled in rental housing in New Jersey. (973) 275-1175
  2. Diabetes dogs
  3. Class 3 Safety Vests for Better Visibility for Motorists at Night- PLASTEX Protective Products, Massachusetts: (888) 752-7839; www.ppprainwear.com
  4. North Star Foundation- Companion Dogs for children with social, emotional and educational challenges (Autism), Massachusetts: www.northstardogs.com
  5. Pet Relocation (shipping valuable pets), Texas: (512) 264-9800; www.PetRelocation.com

Walt Gardiner, (908) 233-8819, will mail or fax out information on the following items:

  1. Rights of the disabled in boarding houses in New Jersey
  2. Special needs trusts (Newspaper article)
  3. "Hard to (health) insure find novel way to get coverage." (newspaper article)
  4. Tips on retaining home after Medicare
  5. Tips on finding lost pets (Magazine article)

(Note: Use a qualified attorney for items 2,3 & 4)



by: Dr. Marty Becker

and Gina Spadfori

Parade magazine, June 7, 2009

How do you know which foods and household cleaners are safe for your pets? "If you have any doubts, ask your veterinarian," says Dr. Steven Hansen, head of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. Some facts may surprise you.

RELATIVELY SAFE. Chocolate. Don't offer it as a treat, but don't panic if your Lab eats a bar of milk chocolate- the worst she'll likely get is a bellyache. Caution: Chocolate is more dangerous for smaller dogs. They may need a trip to the emergency clinic.

UNSAFE. Xylitol sugar substitute. You'll likely find this ingredient in your favorite sugar-free gum, candy, or cough drops. If your pet eats Xylitol, head to the vet immediately. Make sure you put candy where pets can't get to it.

RELATIVELY SAFE. Commercial chewies made to be ingested and pet toys are usually fine. Dr. Hansen says to buy appropriate sizes and use as recommended. Watch for wear and replace as necessary.

UNSAFE. Letting a pet chew on socks, underwear, and nylons is risky business. Materials such as elastic can cause a blockage in the digestive tract if ingested. Keep laundry in hampers, and always watch for what your dog has in his mouth

RELATIVELY SAFE. Soap-based cleaners such as those found in Swiffer products present no risk to pets. Nor is that "blue water" toilet cleaner a problem, although Hansen recommends keeping the lid down anyway.

UNSAFE. Disinfectants and strong cleaning products are dangerous. Don't store any cleaning products under the sink. Put them away in hard-to-reach cabinets.

UNSAFE. "Easter Lilies are lethal to cats" Hansen warns. "It takes very little of this plant material to cause kidney failure."

RELATIVELY SAFE. Carrots, apple slices, and even pizza crusts are generally okay in moderate amounts, although sharing "people food" is not recommended. It can contribute to behavior problems (begging) and obesity.

UNSAFE. Raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and dough are off-limits. Because of the yeast, dough can expand inside a dog's stomach and become a big medical problem that may need to be addressed surgically.

RELATIVELY SAFE. Silica gel and roach motels. The little gel packets put in boxes to keep products dry are harmless. And for as that roach motel, "it doesn't have enough insecticide to be of concern," Hansen says

UNSAFE. Cat litter. Many dogs like to consume the contents of the cat's litter box, which may form a blockage that will require medical care. Put the litter box where the cat can get to it easily but the dog cannot.

UNSAFE. If your cat gets in the garbage and swallows some yarn or the cord that holds a roast together, you might need to make a trip to the vet for possible surgery. Put craft projects away and get a lidded trash can to prevent these problems.


FYI- For Your Information

Another Typing Tutorial. The following article came from Denny Huff, President of Missouri Council of the Blind as a reply to Ron Milliman of the ACB Leadership List. I highly recommend Typeability from Yes Accessible. The user will need to have Jaws installed. I have used Talking Typer and a few other typing programs but find that Typeablility is the best. I always recommend this program to all of the Rehab counselors I serve. It can be set up for young kids or for adults. You can also download a demo copy of it at: http://www.yesaccessible.com/
Blind Awareness Ribbon. NJCB has entered into a fund raising venture with Short & Sweet, a company owned and operated by Kim A. Miller. Kim is a visually impaired woman who started Short & Sweet and the Blind Awareness Ribbon is her first product.
It is a lapel pin with the word Braille written on it in Braille. The word (brl) is written in Braille dots. It is too small to read with your fingers but sighted people will be able to see it and understand what Braille looks like. It is a great ice breaker and way to open discussions about blindness and Braille to the entire community.
NJCB is selling the pins for $5.00 each. The funds raised by the sale of the Blind Awareness Ribbon Pins will help the organization provide opportunities for more members with attending conventions and seminars on a national level.
This would mean more of our members could participate on other than the local and/or state level and learn advocacy, legislative and other services available to blind and visually impaired people.
Anyone wishing for more information should contact NJCB president, John Vernon, or Ottilie Lucas.
Information will also be on the NJCB web site.

Brand New Battery. The Tacoma Research Corporation has just developed the latest type of battery. Yes, folks, it's really true. Finally, they've developed the Digicell battery, a digital battery that lasts up to 50 percent longer in any digital device such as a radio, small television, laptop, cell phone or PDA device.
These devices eat battery life faster than little Mikey ate his Life cereal.
Now, with these brand new, longer lasting, digital batteries, no longer will you need to change batteries as often. Not only that, but, when the battery quits, it quits gradually, not like the analog batteries of today that die suddenly right in the middle of your favorite song. You will be warned before this new Digicell dies.
For more information, call (206) 309-8433.
To hear an episode of Books and Beyond at any time, simply call (773) 572-3166 and choose an option on the menu.
Don't throw away your old cassettes. Do any of you out there wonder where one can recycle tape cassettes? Here's a place that would appreciate receiving your cassettes:
Care Ministries
321 University Dr
Starkville, MS 39759-2956
(800) 336-2232
Ruby Handheld Video Magnifier. (St. Petersburg, Florida - June 5, 2009) - Freedom Scientific today announced the new RUBY handheld video magnifier. The RUBY contains a small camera and displays images on a brightly lit four-inch screen. The magnification level can be varied from 2x to 14x with none of the distortion that one experiences with traditional magnifying glasses. The compact, lightweight design with a folding handle allows the RUBY to be easily slipped into a pocket or purse, ready for use at any time. Use the RUBY to verify a prescription at the pharmacy, read the menu at a restaurant, fill out a check at the bank, read item labels at the grocery store, and much more.

The RUBY is extremely easy to use. Simply flip out the handle, turn it on with a push of a button, and use it as you would any glass magnifier. With the handle folded underneath, rest it directly on a document, and use the zoom button to adjust the magnification for the best reading comfort. A single button can switch between five different viewing modes - full color for viewing photos and four enhanced contrast modes for reading text. For items on high shelves, a Freeze Frame button lets you capture the image and bring it close for easier reading.

"The RUBY operates for more than 2 hours on its included rechargeable batteries. You can also use 4 AAA alkaline batteries.

"The RUBY is our smallest video magnifier yet," said Brad Davis, Vice President of Freedom Scientific. "It's a great companion to our TOPAZ® desktop video magnifier line and our other low vision solutions, MAGic® screen magnification software, the SARA® scanning and reading appliance, our ONYX® portable low vision cameras, and the OPAL® handheld video magnifier. It reaffirms Freedom Scientific's commitment to providing the most fully featured line of technology solutions for the visually impaired."

The RUBY is priced at $745.00 and will be available for purchase in July. For more information including specifications, visit www.LowVisionSolutions.com or contact Freedom Scientific at 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000.


Chapter Reports

Garden State Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GSGDU): We had our business meeting on Thursday evening, June 4, as a teleconference call. On Saturday, June 6, at lunch following the Friends of the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped meeting at NJLBH. GSGDUI provided a cake for dessert in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Seeing Eye.
The cake read, "Thank You Seeing Eye for 80 years of service."
Friends of Vice President Jean Canella and frequent volunteers of NJCB, Diane French and her daughter, Katie, were also in attendance for the celebration. Katie handed out emergency packs for service dogs to guide dog users who attended the Friends meeting. Katie had put these emergency packs together as a project she did for her Girl Scout troop.
Pictures were taken and will be sent to the Seeing Eye along with a short article.
Members at Large: We had our second telephone conference call on Thursday evening April 30th. I told the members who called in about the quarterly meeting which had taken place the previous Saturday.
We discussed some issues which were of concern for one of our members on the call. We discussed some options for this person and ways of advocating for our needs and services.
Our next teleconference call will be on Thursday, July 23, at 8 pm.
The call in number is (616) 347-8100 and the access code is 425373 followed by the number sign which is on the right of the zero.
Lauren Casey, M.A.L. liaison

Mercer County Association of the Blind (MCAB): We have enjoyed our informative meetings as well as the NJCB quarterly meeting at the Monmouth County clubhouse. Many of us partied with the Elks on May 17th at their annual dinner dance with DJ, Stan Partyka. We have had Trisha Eble tell us of DeWitt's computer instruction programs throughout the state at our April meeting. John Cunningham taught us some self-defense moves at our May meeting. We will learn about identity theft at our final meeting before the summer break in June. Ottilie Lucas and Lauren Casey will be the NJCB delegates to the ACB convention in Orlando, Florida. Bob Rindt is handling a fund raiser for NJCB . We will be going to a baseball game at the Trenton Thunder on July 16th. Ottilie will be honored at this event. This year's MCAB picnic will be at the pavilion at the Trenton Elks on August 1st. All are welcome. Check out the previous article to get details.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the NJCB meeting at Camp Happiness on July 18th. Have a wonderful summer.

Monmouth County Association for the Blind (MCAFB). No report.

The NJ Blind Citizens Association, Inc./Camp Happiness (NJBCA) is in the process of initiating yet another groundbreaking effort to help fulfill its mission to improve the lives of the blind.

The NJBCA has applied for grants to fund a physician run on-site medical care program tailored specifically for the blind/visually impaired. The program will have both educational and direct medical care components, and will be invaluable to all day campers, especially low income. Also, in 2009, free dental care will be available to the NJBCA low-income day program participants. Executive Direct Doug Scott says this is the most exciting initiative in his five years at Camp Happiness.

The NJBCA has seen donations decrease dramatically with the economic downturn. The Middletown, Eatontown and Point Pleasant Lions Clubs are holding special fundraisers to benefit Camp Happiness, and many wonderful individuals and businesses will continue to ensure that the BCA can continue to provide programs and services.

If you can help in any way, please e-mail Lion Doug Scott at newjerseyblind@aol.com.



Thursday, July 16, 2009: Covering the bases at the Trenton Thunder.

Saturday, July 18, 2009: Quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at Camp Happiness in Leonardo, NJ from 12 Noon to 4 PM. (See details in prior article)

Saturday, August 1, 2009: Mercer CAB summer picnic at the Trenton Elks on Decou Avenue in West Trenton. See details and directions in prior article.

Saturday, October 3, 2009: The Fall Festival at the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped. See details in prior article.

Saturday, October 24, 2009: Quarterly meeting of NJCB at the Mercer County Library in Lawrence. Watch for further details in October issue of the NJCB Chronicle.


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.