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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
April, 2012

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 and our website www.njcounciloftheblind.org. We thank Audiovision's John Hart and our webmaster Dave Casterline for their technical assistance. The Chronicle is read by Bob Lucas. For more information about Audiovision call 1-800-792-8322 or visit their website at www.audiovision-nj.org. The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline.

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. We appreciate any donations. Please make your check out to NJCB and send it 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 all other groups and organizations which serve the blind and visually impaired.

Articles to be included in the NJCB Chronicle, requests for copies of the newsletter, donations 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 June 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.

Meeting Notice

The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be hosted by Garden State Guide Dog Users on April 28, 2012 at the Hamilton Public Library The Library's location is 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619. Lunch will be served at noon for a cost of $5.00 and the general business meeting will begin at 1 PM. The day's activities will be over at about 4 PM. Chuck Cohen from C-Tech will be exhibiting some of his adaptive equipment. Make sure to invite interested friends and relatives to this meeting.

Call Lauren Casey at (609) 912-0657 to let her know how many to prepare for.
Directions to Hamilton Public Library

The Hamilton Public Library is located at 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619. The cross street is Whitehorse Mercerville Road. Their phone number is: (609) 581-4050.

From the North:
Take Route 1 South past Quakerbridge Mall and Mercer Mall.
Take jug handle getting onto Route 295 South.
After driving 2 miles get off at Exit 65A (Sloan Avenue East)
Proceed 0.7 miles on Sloan Avenue.
Turn right at the second light onto Quaker Bridge Road (County Road 533) and continue for 2.6 miles. (Quakerbridge Road becomes Whitehorse Mercerville Road at 5 points).
Turn right onto Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way. It is the 6th light after you turn onto Quakerbridge Road. The Library is on the left.
If you reach Kuser Road, you have gone too far.

Alternate route from the North:
Take the NJ Turnpike south to exit 7A.
Pick up Route 195 west and follow the directions from the east.

From the East:
Take Route 195 west onto Route 295 north.
Get off at Exit 61A and follow the directions from the south.

From the West:
Take Route 95 north which becomes Route 295 south at Route 1.
Get off at Sloan Ave, Exit 65 A and follow the directions from the north.

From the South:
Take Route 295 north
Get off at Exit 61A (Arena Drive east)
Turn left onto White Horse Ave which becomes Whitehorse Mercerville Road and travel 1.3 miles.
Turn left onto Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way. The Library is on the left.

If you have any questions, call the Lucas cell phone at (609) 638-4232.

President's Message

Hello fellow NJCB Members. Have you been enjoying this rather unseasonably warm winter? When is the last time you remembered temperatures in the 50s and even 60s throughout February? Perhaps we better look out for in like a lion weather throughout March. Whatever March brings, I am thankful for what we have enjoyed so far in the year 2012.

The year 2012 has been rather productive so far for the NJCB. Although a final written copy of our agreement with The Clarion Hotel/Palmer Inn for our convention still seems to be elusive, we have been assured that all is in order at the same cost as last year. Ottilie and Bob Lucas have been working consistently with the Hotel's restaurant management by phone, in writing, and in person. I am very thankful for all of their hard work in making and securing these arrangements.

We have secured or are in the process of securing the following speakers for our convention:

  1. Adam Szczepaniak, the Executive Director of the TBBC.
  2. Ken Stuart from New York. He is a member of the National Board of Publications for the ACB and a longtime advocate for many blind causes.
  3. Vito DeSantis is not yet sure if he will be available on October the 27th.

However, we have been assured that someone from the Commission will be available for our convention. I have let the Commission staff know that if Vito is not able to attend, that we would like to have John Reiff, the Central Regional Manager represent the Commission. I have been told that they will be in contact with me before our next quarterly meeting. The Convention Committee, chaired by Frank Shack, will be reporting to us at the next quarterly meeting in April. This is still very much an ongoing process so all comments and recommendations will be welcomed.

Ottilie Lucas, Bob Lucas, and I represented the NJCB at the annual State Presidents' Meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Approximately eighty representatives from thirty-one states attended this meeting. It is always a pleasure to see old friends and meet new ones from across our nation. On Friday night, we attended the Board of Publications meeting. Paul Edwards, the Board Chairman, directed this meeting. This Board oversees not only The Braille Forum, the ACB magazine, but it also oversees the ACB internet radio station, and the ACB web site. Some of the topics that were discussed included copyright laws, meeting the needs and concerns of our members, and utilizing these publications to help form and direct our future concerns. This meeting was very informative and was open to much dialogue from every one attending.

Saturday's agenda was, directed by Mitch Pomerantz, the President of the ACB. There were a number of speakers and panel members from the ACB staff, from the membership, and from outside professionals. Some of the topics discussed included structured negotiations, fund raising, pertinent legislation, live streaming of conventions, ACB publications, and the next national convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2013 convention will be in Columbus, Ohio followed by Las Vegas, Nevada. Ottilie, Bob, and I will report to you on these and other agenda items from the Presidents' Meeting at our April quarterly meeting in Hamilton Township. This next NJCB meeting will be sponsored by the Garden State Guide Dog Users. Please remember that there will be a $5.00 charge for lunch in order to help offset the cost of the meeting.

Due to other obligations, we were not able to stay for the ACB Legislative Seminar. The main items to be discussed on Monday and then followed through with congressional contacts on Tuesday included the Pharmaceutical Accessible Drug Labeling Law, bill HR 4087, sponsored by Representative Ed Markey, and the other piece of legislation to be discussed was the Vehicle Donation Law HR 860. We will be keeping an eye on how these bills progress through the House and Senate. If you would like to contact your representative or senator on behalf of these bills, then please feel free to do so. Ottilie, Bob, and I will also have some discussion on these bills at our April meeting. I look forward to being with you all in AprilAll the best! John Vernon, President, NJCB

Covering the Bases

NJCBVI's 2012 Night Out with The Trenton Thunder Baseball Team will be held on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets will sell for $10.00 each with a portion of the proceeds going to NJCB. The event will include a very special pre-game awards ceremony so please, put it on your calendar now.

SSA announces increase in SGA for 2012

The Social Security Administration has announced that the monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2012 is $1690. This represents an increase of $50 per month over the SGA amount for 2011. SGA for the blind does not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, while SGA for the non-blind disabled applies to Social Security and SSI benefits. Read more at www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html.

Win-Win with MMS

Some of our members have donated to American Council of the Blind and a portion has been forwarded to New Jersey Council of the Blind. This program is known as The Two-for-One MMS Program, a new version of ACB's Monthly Monetary Support Program.

Now, when you take part in the MMS Program, the funds are deducted from the account you designate or charged to a credit card of your choice on a regular, monthly basis. You can have all of the funds go to the national organization or, alternatively, you can designate an amount up to 50% of the total amount of your deduction be given to NJCB.

All amounts are greatly appreciated, no matter how small or large! The ACB financial office in Minneapolis, Minnesota will withdraw the amount you indicate each month from your bank account or charge your credit card. All contributions are kept completely confidential and are tax deductible. This is an excellent way in which you can provide support for the American Council of the Blind and NJCB.

For more details, contact Dr. Ron Milliman, MMS Program Committee Chair, by e-mail rmilliman@insightbb.com or by phone at 270-782-9325 and get started making tomorrow look brighter today in ACB. You can enroll immediately in the ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program by calling ACB's Finance Office at 1-800-866-3242.

Be Informed- Read the Braille Forum

The Braille Forum is The American Council of the Blind's publication that contains information that all people in the blind community should know. It contains articles on eye diseases, adaptive technology and legislation important to our specific needs, personal testimonies on coping with vision loss, recreational opportunities geared to our needs, items for sale and much, much more. It is available for members in large print, Braille, cassette tapes, Disk, and E-mail. It can also be found on line at www.acb.org. Our NJCB Chronicle has information of interest to residents of New Jersey but the Braille Forum is a treasure of information to all.

Einstein Home Museum Tour

Eight members from Mercer County Association of the Blind were enlightened by a tour of an exhibit at the Bainbridge House of the Princeton Historical Society. Eve Mandel narrated an hour tour of 3 rooms with furniture, pictures and other items from Albert Einstein's home. We heard many stories regarding Einstein's life, family, activities and humanitarian contributions to Princeton and the world. We had the opportunity to touch many items of his furniture and facsimiles of pipes and games that Einstein used. We highly recommend that you call Eve at (609) 921-6748 Extension 102 to book a "hands on" tour especially geared to people with visual impairments. The Einstein Tour will only be available through August 19th of this year.

Ask Ottilie

We are going to start a new column in the NJCB Chronicle. Ottilie Lucas was a Rehab Teacher for the NJ Commission for the Blind for 27 years. She is going to give a tip to help increase confidence and safety for those with visual impairments in each issue, space permitting. Send in your questions or your tips to help others to live more independently to Ottilie's address listed in the introductory article or to her e-mail address at Ottilie@verizon.net.

Tip for April, 2012- Do you "win the Ketchup race"? Do you under or over measure liquids, salt, oil, salad dressing, etc. The tip for this issue is to put the wet or dry ingredient into a container with a large enough mouth to dip out the spice or liquid instead of pouring it into the measuring spoon or cup. I use a small jelly jar for vanilla. I use a tall plastic container with a lid for liquid fabric softener or vegetable oil. I put salt into a plastic cup with a plastic spoon in it in the corner of a shelf near the stove. It is always handy to add salt to water for boiling or a recipe. I keep a cup in my laundry detergent container, the dog food can, my cereal box, etc. This ensures that I do not get too much or too little.

Watch the next issue for another tip. Don't forget to send in your questions or tips.

Chapter Reports

Garden State Guide Dog Users. Hello Everyone. By the time you are reading this it will be springtime. As I am writing this chapter report it is still winter. Fortunately right now there is no snow or ice around. We had our conference call meeting on March 6th. Our face to face meeting will be held on Saturday, June 30th, at the home of Bob and Ottilie Lucas. The meeting will be from ten a.m. until noon. A picnic open to others for the Fourth of July celebration will follow. Directions will be given in another section of this newsletter. Lastly I would personally like to give our vice president, Jean Cannella, best wishes and congratulations on being back home from her convalescence. Lauren Casey, GSGDU President.

Mercer County Association of the Blind. We are hoping that winter is behind us and that we will soon be enjoying the signs of spring. Our members had regular business meetings in January and February in which we discussed many issues and planned some of our 2012 events. We enjoyed hosting the NJCB January quarterly meeting. The meeting was completed early and many of us had interesting conversations getting to know each other better. Three of us, John Vernon, Ottilie & Bob Lucas, attended the mid-year President's Meeting for ACB in Arlington, Virginia from February 24th through the 26th. We will report on this meeting at the next MCAB and NJCB meetings. Also, a group of us are planning to go to Hunterdon Hills Dinner Theatre on May 5th. We hope to see many of you at the future NJCB meetings as well as our picnic on August 4th and the NJCB conference on October 27th.

New Jersey Blind Citizens Association. Following is Executive Director Rhoda Yucht's Director's Message which has been excerpted from the NJBCA February, 2012 newsletter. "Soooo.. what has been happening at Camp Happiness?
I am working and maintaining the tried and true, and planning and implementing additional program pieces. One new program that will be starting any day is a "book club". We will be reading a book by Mary Higgins Clark titled "On the Street Where You Live". Dottie Lee tells us that the suspense novel is set in Monmouth County and many places mentioned in the book will be familiar to us. Exercise, Art, Music, Health, Safety, Nutrition and Medically based activities are also in the "startup" mode. Some of you may be impatient, but I promise it is almost here. One major happening here recently was a fire in the furnace that fortunately was contained. Unfortunately, we were without heat for a few days and camp was suspended until the furnace was replaced. We are now back up and running and looking forward to happiness at camp."

Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, April 14, 2012: NJBCA Ladies Auxiliary Spaghetti Dinner. Call (732) 291-0878 for details and directions.

Saturday, April 28, 2012: NJCB quarterly meeting at the Hamilton Township Library. See details in the meeting notice.

Friday, May 18, 2012: NJBCA's 7th Annual Gift Auction. Call (732) 291-0878 for details and directions.

Saturday, June 2, 2012: The Friends of the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped's spring meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Perth Amboy. Call Barbara Finan at (732) 738-1996 to let her know you plan to attend.

Saturday, June 30, 2012: Garden State Guide Dog Users Meeting/ MCAB Summer Birthday picnic at the Lucas home in Ewing Township. Call (609) 882-2446 for details and directions.

Thursday, July 26, 2012: Covering the Bases at the Trenton Thunder at 6 PM. See details in a prior article.

Saturday, July 28, 2012: NJCB quarterly meeting at Camp Happiness in Leonardo. Details will be in the July Chronicle.

Saturday, August 4, 2012: Mercer County Association of the Blind's picnic will be at the Elks Club in West Trenton. MCAB members are free. Others are welcome for a cost of $5.00. Details will be in the July Chronicle.

Saturday, October 27, 2012: Biennial NJCB Convention at the Clarion Hotel/Palmer Inn in Princeton. Watch for details in future issues.


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.