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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
July, 2011

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 at www.audiovision-nj.org and our website www.njcounciloftheblind.org. We thank John Hart of Audiovision and our webmaster Dave Casterline for their technical assistance. The Chronicle is read by Bob Lucas.

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 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 on 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 or phoned to (609) 882-2446. All information must be received by September 1st to be included in the next issue of the Chronicle.

You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site at www.njcounciloftheblind.org

The NJCB officers are: President, John Vernon, 447 Bellevue Ave., Apt 7-I, Trenton, NJ 08618, (609) 392-3674; First Vice President Frank Schack (973) 595-0116; Second Vice President Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675; Secretary Ottilie Lucas (609) 882-2446 and Treasurer Bob Lucas (609) 882-2446, 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ 08638.


The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be hosted by The New Jersey Blind Citizens' Association (BCA) at Camp Happiness on Saturday, July 16, 2011. 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 8th 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

Hello Fellow NJCB Members,

The past four days the temperature has been in the nineties with clear skies. I guess that summer is truly not far off. Good! Summer is my favorite season.

The past quarter has indeed been active in the state of New Jersey. Budget restraints in our Garden State have been all consuming. The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been hit with a 1.5 million dollar budget reduction. They will accomplish this reduction by eliminating its 20 ten month contracted teaching staff. This is a reduction of one third of the teaching staff for preschool through high school students. The remaining 40 twelve month contracted teachers will be expected to meet this new challenge. These teachers will now be in the field nine days out of ten and only one day in the office. Previously they were in the field working with their students four days per week and in the office the fifth day. These teachers will be given new iPads so that they can now complete their reports daily or even hourly rather than weekly as was done up until now. It has been reported that the number of blind children being served state wide has been going down during the past few years, although John Reiff reports that the number of blind children being served in the Central Region has actually gone up.

Another reduction in the Commission's budget is coming from the elimination of the summer week long camping program. There will however be some daily adventures for our students. These daily opportunities include Disney's Beauty and the Beast in Newark on June 25th, Rocking Horse Ranch in West Orange on July 10th, 17th and 25th, The Atlantic Riding Center on July 24th, and Camelback Water Park, Turnersville, PA on August 6th.

If you have any questions please contact Sarah Wolff at 973-623-5027, or at sarah.wolff@dhs.state.nj.us.

Two students from New Jersey have made it to the final competition in the Braille Experience. They will be traveling to California for the final round in July.

The Central Regional Office will be replacing a social worker with an additional rehabilitation teacher to help seniors with technology. They will assist such items as on line services, bill paying, e-mailing family and friends, etc. It should be noted that the seniors must already have their own computer and be hooked up with their own service provider.

Please don't forget our Night at the Trenton Thunder Baseball Game on Friday, July 29th at Waterfront Park in Trenton.

I look forward to being with everyone for our quarterly meeting at Camp Happiness on July 16th.

May Good Health, Happiness, Love, and Joy be with you.

All the Best! John Vernon, President


The Mercer County Association of the Blind's picnic will be at the Trenton Elks on Saturday, August 6, 2011. There is always lots of homemade food and great fellowship. 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 6, 2011

Time: 12 PM to about 4 PM.

Cost: Free to MCAB members and $5.00 for all others.

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.

Lauren Casey Honored
at Covering the Bases

On Friday, July 29, 2011, The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, NJ State Library Talking Book and Braille Center and The Trenton Thunder baseball team will join together to celebrate the talent and potential of people who are blind and visually impaired. Lauren Casey, our immediate past president, is one of the 7 individuals who will be honored at this ceremony. Congratulations, Lauren.

The Current State of Cell Phone Accessibility

Following are excerpts from an article written by Darren Burton in the June, 2011 issue of American Foundation for the Blind's AccessWorld. "I thought it would be helpful to include a round-up of what each of the four national service providers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile) has to offer as far as accessible devices.

AccessWorld readers familiar with my articles on Apple's products know I am a huge fan of the iPhone. Its built-in VoiceOver screen reader and Zoom magnification feature, as well as its compatibility with wireless braille displays, are unparalleled in the mobile device landscape. Now available from both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, I highly recommend the iPhone to our readers who want a mobile device that is both powerful and fully accessible. Mine rarely leaves my side, as I use it as a Web browser, book reader, music player, and to keep up with my e-mail. With all the third party apps available, such as money identifiers, GPS tools, and bar code scanners, there seem to be unlimited possibilities for the iPhone. We're also seeing early optical character recognition (OCR) apps, and I hear that a Bookshare app is right around the corner.

AT&T was the first to offer the very accessible iPhone, and it continues to do so. In addition to the latest model, the iPhone 4, AT&T also offers the iPhone 3G S at a discounted price of $49.

In early 2011, to the delight of many of their customers with vision loss, Verizon Wireless began offering the iPhone, with the same accessibility features as the AT&T iPhone. The only difference we've found between the phones offered by these two providers is that you can't browse the Web via the cellular network while on a call on the Verizon phone. You can, however, browse the Web while on a call if you have an active WiFi connection. Verizon's Samsung Haven is a basic phone with speech output that supports every single feature on the phone.

Sprint offers several Android phones, but does not cover the cost for Mobile Speak. As far as feature phones, Sprint's LG Lotus has accessibility features similar to other LG phones. Sprint also offers the Motorola i580 and i880, which provide speech output for several features.

T-Mobile has not made much effort to comply with federal mandates to accommodate people with vision loss. The company has never offered discounts on screen readers for smartphones, nor has it offered any meaningful accessibility in the feature phones it carries.

I've seen significant improvement in mobile phone accessibility over the past eight years, but we still have a way to go. As it stands, I can't say that the industry has fully complied with the spirit of federal accessibility mandates. Obviously, Microsoft has to step up to the plate and develop real accessibility with the new phones it offers. If and when Microsoft does that, I hope the company will follow Apple's example and build in comprehensive accessibility to every device at no extra cost.

Accessibility will only grow in importance as mobile devices get more powerful and mobile computing becomes an even more intricate part of our daily lives. We can only hope that industry truly embraces accessibility and fully complies with the spirit of federal accessibility mandates."

New Internet Resource.

There's a new resource on the internet called Helping the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is run by Christine Chaikin. For more information go to http://www.visuallyimpairedandtheblind.com She has also created a group and a page on Facebook called Helping the Blind and Visually Impaired. To join this group, sign into Facebook. Then in the search box type Helping the Blind and Visually Impaired and click the search icon. Then when the next page comes up click on the button that says request to join and it is the third link that you want to click the request to join button on.

Book Port Plus Now Works Wireless

American Printing House for the Blind's Book Port Plus, a portable digital talking book player/recorder, now has WiFi connectivity.

2011/ 2012 NJCB Scholarship Committee: Second Quarterly Report Update

Current Committee Members: Chris Ward, Lauren Casey, Bob Collins

As of Friday May 27th the NJCB College Scholarship Committee has done the following.

An initial working draft of the 2011/ 2012 NJCB Scholarship Application was completed. The draft includes all the major components of the scholarship application.

Eligible students range from graduating high school seniors through graduate level candidates.

In addition a TRIO Program Director from Georgian Court University of Lakewood has been contacted.

The TRIO Program is a US Department of Education program designed to help students with disabilities have special accommodations provided throughout their course of study at many major colleges and universities.

More work will be done to improve the Scholarship Application including any adjustments deemed necessary by this committee via phone conference.

The next step will be to distribute the revised application to high school as well as other eligible students.

It is hoped within the month of June several eligible students will have applied for this scholarship; whereupon a deserving recipient will be determined by this committee.

At the quarterly meeting held in Camp Happiness additional developments will be presented to the NJCB membership.

Submitted by Christopher Ward, Acting Chairman

Chapter Reports
Garden State Guide Dog Users.

GSGDUI held a meeting and picnic at the home of Vicki and Ricky Curley on Saturday, June 11. Vicki Curley has agreed to be our chapter delegate for GDUI this July in Reno. We in GSGDUI thank you, Vicki. Our board member, Ottilie Lucas, will be the NJCB delegate in Reno. Our little chapter is certainly represented. One of our members, Susan Vanino recently returned from Seeing Eye with her second guide dog. She has a male black lab named Qcwa. Susan and her trainer have decided to call him "Q" for short. We wish Susan all the best with Q.
Wishing all of you a good summer.
Lauren Casey, GSGDUI President

Mercer County Association of the Blind.

We had a full spring with speakers at our monthly meetings and a dinner dance generously hosted by the Trenton Elks. Stan Partyka again supplied the music for our listening and dancing pleasure.

Now that Summer is here, we are planning many activities. Our Association will be having picnics and a night out with CBVI and TBBC at the Trenton Thunder. Some of our members will be attending the ACB Conference/convention in Reno. We are looking forward to our picnic at the Elks on August 6th. We hope to see many of you at Camp Happiness on July 16th for the NJCB quarterly meeting.

Have a fun and enjoyable summer.

New Jersey Blind Citizens Association.

No report.


Saturday, July 16, 2011: The quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at Camp Happiness in Leonardo, NJ from 12 Noon to 4 PM. (See details in prior article)

Friday, July 29, 2011: Covering the bases at the Trenton Thunder.

Saturday, August 6, 2011: Mercer CAB summer picnic at the Trenton Elks on Decou Avenue in West Trenton. See details and directions in prior article.

Saturday, October 29, 2011: NJCB Quarterly meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Perth Amboy. Details and directions will be in the October issue of The NJCB Chronicle.

Saturday, January 28, 2012: Quarterly meeting at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Ewing. Watch for details and directions in The January 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.