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The New Jersey Council of the Blind


October, 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 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 njcounciloftheblind@verizon.net. All information must be received by December 1st 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) 280-8387; 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. Our Board members are: Doug Heine, Joyce Sowa and Chris Ward.


Meeting Notice

The next quarterly meeting of the NJ Council of the Blind will be hosted by The Garden State Guide Dog Users on October 24, 2009 at the Lawrence Public Library at 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. Their phone number is: (609) 882-9246. It is at the corner of Darrah Lane and Brunswick Pike, (Business Route 1). It is Access Link Accessible.

Our speakers will be Vito DeSantis, Executive Director from The NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Trish Ebel and Rick Fox from DeWitt and Associates.

Lunch will be served at noon with the speakers to follow.

Bring money collected and the stubs for the raffle. Pick up more books of raffle tickets from Bob Lucas.

Remember that your chapter membership lists and dues are due at this meeting. Registration is required. Call Lauren Casey at (609) 912-0657 to let her know that you are coming. The meeting will be over by 4 PM.


Get onto Route 1 South from NJ Turnpike, Parkway or Route 295. After the 1st traffic light south of the Route 295/Route 1 South interchange, bear right onto Business Route 1, Brunswick Pike. Turn right at the next traffic light onto Darrah Lane. The Library is immediately on the right.



Hi all, as of this writing it is the middle of August. I hope that everyone is having an interesting and enjoyable summer. Hopefully, the somewhat wet weather has not affected your plans.

I am leaving next week for Chicago where I will be attending the tri annual Low Vision Conference of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and the Dieke Eye Center. Please wish me luck. I shall look forward to sharing what I learned with you at our quarterly meeting in October.

Please keep in mind the Fall Festival at The New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC), formerly the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped. The Fall Festival will be held on October 3rd at the TBBC in Ewing. The guest speaker, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, will be noted author Mary Jane Clark. She is a New Jersey resident who has entertained us with her many mysteries. Don't forget to stop by the NJCB table at the Conference. Perhaps you would like to volunteer some time at our table.

The next quarterly meeting will be held on October the 24th at the Mercer County Library in Lawrenceville. The address is 2751 Brunswick Pike in Lawrenceville N.J. The meeting is sponsored by the Garden State Guide Dog Users. Lunch will be served at noon. The meeting will then begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. Our guest speakers will be Vito DeSantis, the Director of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Rick Fox and Trish Ebel from DeWitt and Associates. Vito will update us on both Commission business and utilization of the almost 2 million dollars in stimulus grants. Rick and Trish will inform us of their latest technology program offerings. There may be other speakers who have not yet been confirmed at the time of this writing. Time will of course be allocated for any topics or concerns that you may wish to discuss. If you have a specific topic that you would like to discuss, please phone me at 609-392-3674. I will then make sure that you are on the agenda. I hope that as many members as possible will make an attempt to attend the quarterly meeting in October.

May the rest of your summer and beginning weeks of the fall bring you travel, good health, and happiness. All the best!

John Vernon, President of NJCB


Attention Chapter Officers

All chapter dues and membership lists are due to be given to me, your Treasurer, Bob Lucas, at the NJCB quarterly meeting on October 24th. Please include in the membership list the member's name, address, phone number (place a "u" after the number if it is an unlisted number). Please include their E-mail address if they have one. Indicate whether they are legally blind or fully sighted, and the preferred newsletter format (large print, cassette or E-mail). Please alphabetize your lists.

The dues are $6.50 for each voting member and $1.50 for each non-voting member. The only organization that has non-voting members is Monmouth County Association for the Blind.

Invoices will be sent out near the end of the year for our members at large. Their dues are $10.00 per year. Send them to me at the following address: 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ 08638-1410. They may also be given to me at the October meeting. I am very flexible.

Thank you,

Bob Lucas, Treasurer, NJCB


Delegates' ACB Convention Report

Ottilie Lucas was the NJCB delegate and Lauren Casey was the alternate. Six others also attended the ACB annual convention in Orlando from July 4th through the 11th. The convention had a full agenda that included exhibits, fund raisers, workshops, technical training sessions, informative speakers, entertainment, prizes, excursions, socialization, business meetings, elections and more. The hardest thing to do at these conventions is relax.

We attended sessions on the digital book readers, Book Share, identifiable currency, membership, the closing of schools for the blind, legislation, Guide Dog Users, women's interests, human services professionals, Nominating Committee, etc.

Many resolutions were passed to endorse things such as sound emissions for quiet cars; audio description for TV and movies; insulin pumps accessible to the blind; health care reimbursement for O&M; rehab teaching; technology for the blind; accessibility of the Kindle Reader; commendation of Apple Computers for its accessibility improvement of the I Phone; and the urging of states to continue funding for schools for the blind.

The slate of officers currently serving ran unopposed and was reelected. They are President Mitch Pomerantz, First Vice President Kim Charlson, Second Vice President Brenda Dillon, Secretary Marlaina Lieberg and Treasurer Mike Godino.

Some minor changes in language were made in the constitution and bylaws.

The two main legislative topics were The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R.734 and S.841) and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (H.R.3101).

The speakers at the general sessions included Frank Kurt Cylke, Director of the National Library Services; Steven Rothstein, President of the Perkins School for the Blind; L. J. Ganser, a Talking Book narrator; Eric Bridges, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs; and Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President of the United States, to name a few.

The hotel, The Rosen Center, was very accommodating. It was one of the more accessible hotels that we have experienced.

Ottilie and Lauren thank you for choosing them as your delegates. If you have any questions, they would be pleased to discuss any specific aspect of the convention.


Fall Festival

The New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center's (formerly Library for the Blind and Handicapped) is holding its fabulous Fall Festival on Saturday, October 3, 2009, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the library's name change to the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center. The Little Rock Foundation will be recognized for their advocacy and tireless efforts in making October Blindness Awareness Month in New Jersey.

Programs include:

Keynote Speaker: Author Mary Jane Clark, who is sponsored by the Friends of the Library

John Hopkins University Engineering Department: Will discuss cutting edge white cane technology, using the latest GPS and radar technology to improve the lives of the visually impaired as applied to an "intelligent" cane.

Garden State Story Teller's League: Professional storytellers will create a fun-filled rendition of a children's story set to music. ASL interpreters will translate and our Summer Reading Program participants will be honored at an award ceremony immediately following the program.

Accessible Racing: Prototype NASCAR for the Physically & Visually Impaired - a race car designed for physically and visually challenged individuals will be on display to touch and sit inside. Rides will be made available for individuals who want to experience what it feels like to drive a race car. Participants must register in advance on a first come first served basis for this experience. There is a small fee of $10.00 to cover fuel.

The Philadelphia Zoo: Touch & Tactile Animal Workshop - traveling naturalists bring animals and bio-facts providing the audience with an educational and exciting encounter with wildlife!

Grounds for Sculpture: Visiting Artist and Collection will showcase and discuss their touchable artwork.

Tell Us Your Story! Here's your chance for your five minutes of fame! Film a YouTube video of your personal story and tell us how the library has helped you.

Vendors: Over 25+ Vendors have registered to attend the Fall Festival!

Registration Deadline: September 10, 2009

If you have not received your registration packet, call 1-800-792-8322 or visit http://www.njlbh.org/fallfestival


Something Old and Something New

Many of you are aware that the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped (NJLBH) has changed its name to the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (NJSLTBBC). At this time we, The Friends of the NJLBH have decided to keep our current name. We hope that by keeping our name it will eliminate confusion. Our mission is still the same: to support the Library. We want to make you aware that there are two different modes of donating to the Library. One is through the Friends and the other is directly to the Library. Both are tax deductible but with different spending goals.

The Friends is an organization of library users and others who work to support programs, purchase equipment and fund other requests from NJSLTBBC that are not funded by money from the federal or state governments.

In the past the Friends donated several vans that have been used for outreach projects and transportation of NJSLTBBC equipment. More recently we purchased a van to be used for outreach with technical equipment to demonstrate NJSLTBBC's services. We have sponsored the Fall Festivals, Volunteer Dinners, and made purchases of hardware and software for both Audiovision and the NJSLTBBC. We have paid for The Story Hour, Braille reading programs, English and Spanish large print books and many other projects. We have also been recipients of large grants such as $20,000.00 from Comcast to help fund the equipment in the RTAC.

The Friends' current goals are to purchase a new van for NJSLTBBC in the near future and to assist in the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to transition to the new digital program.

We are also sponsoring noted New Jersey author Mary Jane Clark as the Keynote speaker for the upcoming Fall Festival on October 3rd.

We appreciate your past and future donations to help support the NJSLTBBC. You may send your tax deductible donation to the Friends and make your check payable to the Friends of NJLBH and send it to:

Friends of NJLBH

PO Box 434

Woodbridge NJ 07095.

Thank you!


NJCB Fund Raisers

NJCB Raffle

We are selling up to 5,000 raffle tickets for $2.00 each. They are in books of 10 tickets. Every member of NJCB is urged to contact Bob Lucas to get several books and sell them to their friends, family, etc. The unsold tickets, stubs of the sold tickets and money must be returned prior to April 24, 2010 to our Treasurer, Bob Lucas. The drawing will be at 3:00 PM at the Monmouth County Association for the Blind's clubhouse at our quarterly meeting on April 24th.

Some lucky person could win up to $2,500.00 if we all get busy. The prizes are as follows:

1st prize - 25% of the gross proceeds collected

2nd prize- 15% of the proceeds collected

3rd prize - 10% of the proceeds collected.

The portion collected for NJCB will be put directly to reducing the cost to members going to the 2010 NJCB convention. We hope that this will make it affordable to all of our members.

To get books of tickets, Call, E-mail or write to Bob Lucas, Treasurer

520 Ewingville Rd.

Ewing, NJ 08638-1410

(609) 882-2446


Thank you for your interest and we are hoping that you will actively get involved in this cause.

Blind Awareness Ribbons

We are selling Blind awareness ribbons for $5.00. These are pins that can be worn on your collar, lapel, hat, backpack, etc. The pins are black and white and a good conversation starter. It has the letters in Braille brl which is the short form word for Braille. You can get them at our quarterly meeting or by contacting Bob Lucas at the above address. Move fast. They are going like hot cakes.


Get connecteD!




BLIND and LOW VISION New Jersey Residents

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:

  • Send and receive e-mail
  • Surf the Web
  • Play easy-to-use games on the Internet

Learn to Use:

  • The latest assistive technology hardware and/or software
  • Screen readers, such as JAWS For Windows
  • Screen magnifiers, such as ZoomText


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


Adjustment to Vision Loss Update

The Adjustment to Vision Loss Project (AVL) was developed for residents of 14 counties in northern and central New Jersey to address the issues of those living with the loss of vision. It is a unique, multi-faceted program that involves people with vision loss in peer support groups and, when appropriate, links them with mental health consultants and other professionals who have been trained to understand their special needs.

AVL has two main components:

• Peer Support Group component: Peer support groups bring together people who share the same life situation. People with similar experiences meet and talk with one another to get emotional support, exchange helpful information, and learn practical solutions. The realization that one is not alone is of great value... someone who has had similar experiences can offer a special kind of understanding, which is not available elsewhere.

Just a few of the things people are saying about being part of an AVL peer support group are, "Vision loss does not seem so frightening when you have people around you that have been down the road before that can show you the way," states Lee Ann Winthrop, group facilitator from Bergen County. Long time member and facilitator Myles Williams who is from Passaic County says, "Get involved and take your life back!" Trish Ebel, a member and facilitator of several AVL groups exclaims, "The support group lit a fire inside me and taught me to let it shine!"

Information about becoming involved in any of the Adjustment to Vision Loss peer support groups can be obtained by contacting Susan Vanino, the AVL Peer Support Coordinator, at 201-996-9100 ext. 26, or by sending an email to svanino.ber@hipcil.org

• Mental Health Professionals component: AVL conducts training programs for mental health and other professionals about the emotional issues unique to persons with vision loss. Our experienced Adjustment to Vision Loss training team provides education and training about such topics as the psychological issues of loss and grief, and changes in lifestyle and relationships. The AVL project maintains a Directory of Mental Health Professionals that have received AVL training. This Directory can be accessed by the community for referral and informational purposes by sending an email to nhodgins.ber@hipcil.org or by calling 201 996-9100 ext.16.

AVL is administered and housed at Heightened Independence and Progress (hip). All AVL services are offered free of charge since they are fully funded by the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.



BRAILLE PAPER FOR SALE. Future Forms is a manufacturer and seller of Braille paper. It offers both 11" x 11.5" and 8.5" x 11" sizes in quantities of 1,000 sheets. You may subscribe to the monthly newsletter, place an order, or inquire for more information by visiting http://www.futureforms.com/ , or by calling 1-800-748-0235.

Disney's New Audio Description Device. Building on an existing relationship, Walt Disney World Resort recently invited the American Council of the Blind (ACB) to test its new audio-description device at Epcot while the organization was in Orlando for its national convention.
The Disney-patented* technology delivers audio description of the visual images inside attractions for guests who are blind or have low vision. The device, slightly smaller than a TV remote and a bit wider, can be attached to a lanyard and worn around the neck.
Once at the park, approximately 36 ACB members divided into three work groups. Each group was accompanied by a Disney employee as they visited several attractions with descriptions in order to try the new device in a variety of settings.
Following the tour, the groups gathered in a conference room to talk about the device. "Disney employees asked very specific questions and gave us ample opportunity to provide constructive feedback. They seemed genuinely
interested in what we had to say," said John Weidlich of St. Louis, MO, who was one of the participants.
NJSLTBBC. It's an exciting time at the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center. To keep up with all the news and updates that just cannot wait for a newsletter, we have an online newsletter for parents and teachers at www.njlbh.org/ysnewsletter. Check in often; it will be frequently updated with news about the library, books, and other things you may find interesting.


Chapter Reports

Garden State Guide Dog Users- GSGDUI will be meeting in the fall but as of right now we do not have a date or location in place. I will be in touch with everyone as soon as we have the information for you. Our treasurer, Bob Rindt, will be going to Seeing Eye for the September 26th class for his new dog. Mike Moran from GDUI is dealing with an issue with a NJ radio station regarding a restaurant's treatment of a guide dog handler and his/her guide dog. We'll keep you informed. Anyone wanting more information on this, please contact Lauren Casey.
Members at Large- The MAL teleconference call meeting will be on Thursday, October, 29, at 8 p.m. This call will be an hour long. The dial in number is 1-616-347-8100 and the access code is 425373 followed by the pound sign which is right of the zero. Hope to have you join us.
Mercer County Association of the Blind- MCAB had a fun summer. Our activities included the quarterly meeting at Camp Happiness, an evening at the baseball park with the Trenton Thunder. Ottilie Lucas, our president was recognized for her service to the blind population in New Jersey. We all enjoyed a picnic at the Trenton Elks. We thank Jean Cannella's family, Cheryl, Taylor, Bonnie, Randy, Zach and their friends, Diane, Katey and Kristin for their continued faithful assistance. They chip right in and we know that all our guests get the best attention possible. We are now looking forward to fall activities. Our monthly meetings start on September 17th. We are also looking forward to hearing from Del Basha, Technology Specialist from CBVI in October. Susan Vanino from Adjustment to Vision Loss will bring us up to date on the latest with the support groups around the state at our November meeting. Our Christmas Party will again be at the Elks on December 3rd. Stan Partyka will be our DJ. He is back at everyone's request after doing a fantastic job at the Elks' dinner dance in May. John Conte caters it and Santa will be there to ensure that everyone gets some goodies.

We meet at The Trinity United Methodist Church at 1895 Pennington Road in Ewing, NJ 08618 on the third Thursday evening of the month from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Please contact Ottilie Lucas, (609) 882-2446 or Bob Rindt, (609) 912-0657 for more information. All are welcome.

Monmouth County Association for the Blind- A message from Al Plevier, the recently elected President of the Monmouth County Association for the Blind. The other officers are 1st VP, Elizabeth Walzer; 2nd VP Charlotte Poole; Recording Secretary, Bianca Stewart; Corresponding Secretary, Ruth Giuffre; and Treasurer, Marianne Hoffman.

As you know the NJ Council of the Blind's mission is for the betterment of the visually impaired community and the Chronicle is a forum for sharing ideas and concerns. Representing the Monmouth County Association, please let me share our feelings and thoughts. We would like to work with the NJ Council in taking on a special cause and project involving the visually impaired. With groups such as the Lions and some political people in office, we perhaps can join forces in resolving some problems that the visually impaired face. Some issues might be as simple as having step markers to indicate the edge of steps at stores or restaurants, bathroom signs that would offer a layout scheme of the room, money identifiers, transportation, electric cars or so on. I personally am interested in the members' general opinions and thoughts. If there are other concerns, I certainly would like to know what they are. If the NJ Council and the members would like to focus on a certain problem perhaps a committee could be established or a survey could be taken of the members to determine which direction to take. I am offering our services and a phone number that could be used if needed to record the responses of the members. The Monmouth County Association for the Blind's phone number is 732-280-2326.

In closing we welcome everyone to attend our meetings during our Thursday morning session or the 2nd Monday night of the month. Of course you are always welcome to attend all of our special events and parties. Thank you and we hope all of you are well.

New Jersey Blind Citizens Association- The NJBCA/Camp Happiness is awaiting an October decision on a grant application to initiate a physician directed on-site medical program. Educational components and medical intervention will be specifically directed to issues encountered by the blind/visually impaired. Call Director Doug Scott for additional information at 732-291-0878.


Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, October 3, 2009: The Fall Festival at the NJ State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (Details are in a prior article).

Saturday, October 24, 2009: NJCB quarterly meeting sponsored by the Garden State Guide Dog Users at the Lawrence Public Library at 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. For reservations, call Lauren Casey at (609) 912-0657 (See prior article for more details).

January 23, 2010: NJCB quarterly meeting at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Ewing, New Jersey. More meeting details will be in the January issue of the NJCB Chronicle.

Saturday, April 24, 2010: NJCB Quarterly Meeting at the Monmouth County Association for the Blind Clubhouse in Wall, New Jersey. We will have the drawing for the raffle at 3 PM at this meeting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010: Elks Dinner Dance for the blind and visually impaired of New Jersey at 42 Decou Avenue, West Trenton, NJ.


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.