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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
January, 2015

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.

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. For more information about Audiovision call 1-800-792-8322 or visit their website at www.audiovision-nj.org. We thank John Hart of Audiovision and our webmaster, Dave Casterline for their contributions to the Chronicle. The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. The Chronicle is read by Bob Lucas. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge in either large print, audio cassette or E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Tax deductible donations should be sent to Bernie Zuckerman, Treasurer of NJCB, 32 Judson Street, Unit 7B, Edison, NJ 08837.

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 March 1st to be included in the next issue of the Chronicle.

The NJCB officers are: President, Ottilie Lucas (609) 882-2446; First Vice President Frank Schack (973) 595-0116; Second Vice President Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675; Secretary Bob Lucas (609) 882-2446 and Treasurer Bernie Zuckerman of 32 Judson Street, Unit 7B, Edison, NJ 08837, (732) 221-5362.

Meeting Notice

The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at the Joseph Kohn Training Center at 130 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick, NJ 08901 on Saturday, January 24, 2015. A pizza lunch will be served at 12 Noon for a cost of $5.00; the meeting will begin at 1 PM and will be over at about 4 PM. In order for us to order enough food call the NJCB phone at (609) 895-1048 by January 15th to let us know that you are coming. One person from each organization can call with a group count. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Directions to the Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC)

130 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2421
Cross Street: Seaman Street

From the North
South on Route 1 to Route 18 heading toward New Brunswick.
Get off Route 18 at the New Street ramp.
Turn slight right onto New Street/ NJ 26.
Take the 2nd left onto Livingston Avenue/NJ 26.
Turn left onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.

From the South
North on Route 1 to Livingston Avenue/NJ 26 toward New Brunswick.
Turn right onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.

President’s Message

My name is Ottilie Lucas and I have lived in the greater Trenton area most of my life. First and foremost, thank you NJCB members for electing me president for the 2015-2016 term. Most of you know me but I would like to introduce myself to those of you who don’t. I have retinitis pigmentosa and did pass for sighted in my school years. The doctor and IRS declared me legally blind in my early 20s and I became totally blind by the age of 32. My husband of over 50 years, Bob, is very supportive and has been elected Secretary of NJCB after serving as Treasurer for many years. I was a Rehab Teacher with the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) from 1975 to 2002. The organizations in which I currently serve the blind of New Jersey are:

There are other groups representing the blind population in New Jersey in which I also serve. I look forward to working with the members to make NJCB informative and enjoyable during this term. This can only happen with participation from all of our members. Lauren Casey, Doug Heine and Pat Kay have agreed to serve during this next two years as Board Members at Large. The current officers are Frank Schack, Joyce Sowa, Bob Lucas and Bernie Zuckerman.

Larry Morgan, our past president and his wife Marcia moved to Delaware and will be truly missed. We wish them health and fulfilment in their new home. We thank them for their cheerful and competent service over the last two years. Larry always led a cheerful and upbeat meeting. Marcia donated many of her crafts as well as serving at our meetings.

One of Larry’s many contributions was to institute the “How do we do it?” portion of each meeting. This created a lot of participation as well as great ideas which were appreciated by all. The topic of discussion for our January meeting will be “How to we ask for or graciously decline offers of help?” I am willing and available to talk with you regarding any suggestions and concerns. You may call me at (609) 882-2446 or E-mail me at Ottilie@verizon.net.

NJCB needs your input. We hope to get as many members involved in committees as possible. Some of these committees are: Guide Dog Committee, Membership Committee, Legislative Committee, PR Committee, Publication Committee, Scholarship Committee, etc. This will be one of the topics we will also discuss at our January meeting.

This is a time of new beginnings. Let’s all join in and make NJCB the best it can be.

Ottilie Lucas, President

The Last Word

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice holiday with family and friends. I greet you from our new home in Dover, Delaware. As much as I am enjoying my new digs, it was really hard leaving all my friends in Jersey. The emotions that go with moving have finally settled (I think).

We are still in the process of learning about all the services available to the blind here in Delaware. I am eligible for and am using Delaware Area Regional Transit (DART). The DART transportation system is very similar to Access Link in Jersey. The Delaware Library for the Blind is available for me and the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired has had people out to the house to help me with mobility around the community.

I have found the people in my new neighborhood to be very friendly and helpful. I have been offered jobs with both the Delaware Association for the Blind and the Randolph Shepard vendors. Marcia and I joined a local choir and have traveled to nursing homes to entertain the patients. We shared Thanksgiving and Christmas with our new neighbors. When Easter comes it will be our turn to host.

Our dog Danny has become very popular with the other dogs in the neighborhood. But he does like a little more freedom than we can give him.

Each day I think of everyone back in Jersey and remember all the good times we enjoyed. There is plenty to do here however. A night at the races, a New Year’s Eve party and a pot luck dinner are included in our activities. What we don’t have are the special people we left behind.

Our wish is that this be the biggest and most prosperous year ever for the NJCB.

Best to everyone,

Larry & Marcia Morgan

Recap of the NJCB Fall Conference & Convention

All the comments regarding the Conference on October 25th were very positive. We had great speakers who shared their expertise with us. Executive Director, Daniel Frye from the Commission for the Blind and visually Impaired, and Director Adam Szczepaniak from The Talking Book and Braille Center, shared the progress made in their agencies during the last year.

NJ Assemblyman Daniel Benson shared how he helped get Dusty’s Law passed and the general procedure of getting a bill introduced into the state legislature.

Officer Henry Rodgers from the Perth Amboy Police Department gave an entertaining as well as informative presentation on the ten scams most often affecting seniors.

Ed Sroczynski, State-Wide Coordinator of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, from CBVI gave us many of the details of the new Strategic Plan and other CBVI initiatives.

We had fund raisers, several items donated by members and companies who have adaptive products for the blind. Sony, Scriptalk and Mercer County Association of the Blind donated items for the raffle.

We had an active discussion on “How do we travel?” Many of our members contributed very helpful tips as well as a letter prepared by Vito DeSantis, Past Executive Director of CBVI, who has and continues to travel throughout the country.

We thank all who contributed to make the 2014 NJCB Conference such as success.

How do we Travel?

We had great discussions at our NJCB Conference on this topic. Many of us had experiences, good and bad, while traveling in and out of the country. Vito DeSantis, the past Executive Director of CBVI gave us a letter with many hints and tips that he finds very useful. Below are some of the comments shared during this segment.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  2. Plan transportation to and from the airport.
  3. Ask for “Meet and Assist”. This can be done with limo service, the airport, trains, shuttles, getting luggage, etc.
  4. Have Access Link forward eligibility certification to the state where you are traveling for disabled transportation.
  5. Use Debit cards when traveling abroad. Exchange rates are best.
  6. Be very careful with personal items due to theft. Wear money belt, fanny pack under coat and have wallet in an inaccessible pocket. Put copies of passport into every piece of luggage.
  7. Book through a tour company with narrated tours. These companies will often provide transportation from airports, luggage handling, tour planning, etc.
  8. Plan excursions before trip to ensure you get to see what is important.
  9. Check the weather to ensure you will have the proper clothing.
  10. Put identification markings on luggage such as bows, tape on handles, bright colored tags, etc.
  11. Check currency rates before leaving the country and get some foreign currency in advance from your bank. Get additional currency in foreign banks or airport.
  12. Notify credit card companies where and when you are traveling.
  13. If traveling to a foreign country, check to see if your card is accepted in that country.
  14. Make copies of all credit cards and have this document in a safe place with you and at home. This document can also be sent by E-mail to smart phone or tablet.
  15. Bring extra medication in case of delay of transportation or other emergency. Transport in original bottle.
  16. There are travel agencies that especially work with the blind.
  17. Take a friend and pay their way with the understanding that they will be your guide and helper.
  18. Ask a hotel if they have a shuttle service to and from the airport. Also ask for taxi rates.
  19. Ask a staff person from the hotel to show you to the room, show you how to set settings on the heat, orient you to the room, elevator, lobby, air conditioning, light switches, electric plugs and identify the toiletries. Ask for the lower corner of the room key card to be clipped for orientation when inserting into the door lock.
  20. Hotels usually have lists of restaurants, menus, take out menus, and possibly shuttle transportation. The concierge service can give information; obtain tickets, book tours, etc.
  21. Purchase trip insurance to pay for health services while on the trip or for reimbursement if you are too ill to take the trip.
  22. Know that all additional in room amenities, room service, house phone and other personal services have an additional cost.
  23. Copies of boarding pass, passport, etc. can be put into a smart phone so that paper documents are not necessary.
  24. Get Meet and Assist even if with sighted people. The airline staff knows best how to work within the system and can give you the best service.
  25. Get some information on tipping customs in the country you are visiting.
  26. Be gracious and thank people for their assistance
Top 10 Scams

Officer Henry Rodgers from the Perth Amboy Police Department gave an informative and very entertaining presentation at our NJCB Conference on October 25th. Here is a recap of the 10 most popular scams that he warned us to watch out for in reverse order of popularity:

Officer Rodgers last words of advice to us were to ask lots of questions and when in doubt, don’t!

The Chat Oasis
By Lauren Casey

You might ask, “What is the Chat Oasis?” The Chat Oasis is a telephone chat line for the visually impaired, but all are welcome. We have callers from all over the US and occasionally from around the world.

The line owners are Rose and Tom from Vermont. The line has a Vermont attitude. This means that they welcome all, they have rules that are enforced and they operate under Christian guidelines. That means that you are not just a caller, but rather you become a member of a family of people that genuinely care about you and your interests.

The Chat Oasis likes to have fun. They play games that include Farkle, Skunk, Trivia games, Hangman and Mad Libs.

They put a Daily Devotion up on their Main Board in addition to conducting 2 Bible Studies a week, Tom is available for prayer requests and they do stop whatever they are doing for prayer at any time if circumstances warrant. They also offer to help anyone find whatever information they need. Computers are powerful tools that they don't believe should sit idle. Do you want to make an order online but don't have computer access? Come into the Chat Oasis. If you want to order something we will place your order with your information in a secure room and you will receive it just as you would normally.

Do you want to get together with old friends or make new ones? Come into the Chat Oasis and they will help you do so.

Their primary goal is first and foremost is to Glorify God through what is said and done. Their secondary goal is to make friends and to have fun in a good way. They DO NOT tolerate profanity, harassment of callers, bashing of people or other lines for any reason. They try to keep their line friendly and caring.

If you are interested, call (712) 432-3645, come into room 1 and ask for Tom and or Rose. They are in everyday from 8 AM on. In the evenings they are usually in Room 7 playing games.

They are always looking for people to operate rooms and possibly make a little pocket money. If this interests you, give them a call and they will explain how it works.

They are always looking for new ideas to improve the Chat Oasis. So feel free to join them and share your ideas with them. This service is best suited for people who have unlimited long distance provided by their phone company.

Comcast Talking Guide is Now Available

Just before Christmas we received an e-mail via the ACB Leadership List from Eric Bridges, ACB’s Director of External Relations and Policy stating the following, “Comcast’s latest accessibility feature is now live for all X1 customers…tap the “A” button twice on the remote to activate Voice Guidance. To learn more about this exciting development please go to:

Shortly after Eric’s e-mail was received, we received the following e-mail from our friend, John Dehmer, “I tried the Comcast menu reading system. It is very easy to use. You can navigate the menus with six buttons. You can get information on the program that is currently playing, information on the details such as how many minutes are left, the description of the show and much more. The device is self-explanatory and if you listen to the directions you can use it without sighted assistance. I had my wife Robin assist me in the beginning; after that it was easy. Some dots on some of the buttons may be of assistance for some users. I have not checked out the audio described feature yet but I will keep you posted.”

2015 Dues are Due (3rd Notice)

The chapters’ membership lists have been received. All Members at Large should have received a renewal form by either e-mail or snail-mail. We thank all of you who have already paid and all others please send your check for $10.00 and the form or the information requested to Bob Lucas at 520 Ewingville Road, Ewing, NJ, 08638.

The newsletters as well as a great deal of other information are available on the ACB and NJCB web sites listed below.

The e-mail format is very much appreciated by both ACB and NJCB since they are very cost efficient.

Consider Newsline for another format since it is accessible by the phone for those who no longer have cassette players and for those who do not have computers and cannot access the web or e-mail.

Chapter Reports

Mercer County Association of the Blind: MCAB had a fall of interesting speakers and the relocating of several members. Marcia and Larry Morgan moved to a beautiful new home in Delaware. They have already made lots of new friends and have signed up with many groups. It didn’t take long for them to become busier than they should be in retirement.

Susan Yochim moved to Florida to be closer to family. She is living with her son, Scott, and his family. She is helping out with her 2 granddaughters so that their parents can work. This is a win/win situation.

Harry and Maryanne Eberle have also moved to Florida. They are living in an over 55 community that several of our friends also moved to.

Florida has been called New Jersey South. They are adding to this rumor. We will miss all of these people. They have all been officers and volunteers in MCAB.

John Maloney, past president of the Ewing Lions Club spoke at one of our meetings. He was very informative and offered to give us assistance with issues in the future.

Several of us attended the NJCB Biennial Conference in Perth Amboy. We had the privilege of hearing several very informative speakers and were able to participate in discussions. Everyone had a great day.

Our officers for the 2015-2016 term are: President, Ottilie Lucas; Vice President, Bob Collins; Recording Secretary, Liz Nelson; Corresponding Secretary, Joan Pope and Treasurer, Bob Lucas. Bob and Liz have graciously filled in their new offices during the last couple months of the year since Larry and Susan moved.

We had a very enjoyable Christmas Party at the Trenton Elks with menu choices of beef tips, roasted chicken and tilapia. The Elks have excellent chefs. Barbara Knoblock brought her Bose sound system and provided beautiful Christmas music. We all enjoyed the evening. They have dinners on Tuesday evenings and invited us to attend. A few of us enjoyed a pulled pork with barbeque sauce dinner on December16th. Several of us will return in the future. We hope that your holidays were full of fun, good friends and good health. We hope to see you at the January 24th NJCB meeting at JKTC.

New Jersey Blind Citizens Association: NJBCA wishes all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


Saturday, January 24, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at JKTC in New Brunswick. See Meeting Notice for more details and directions.

February 19-21, 2015: ACB Midyear Conference in Arlington, Virginia. See the ACB Braille Forum for more details.

Saturday, April 25, 2014: Quarterly meeting of NJCB at JKTC in New Brunswick.

Saturday, June 6, 2015: Friends of the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped meeting at JKTC in New Brunswick from 10 AM to noon with lunch to follow.

July 4-11, 2015: ACB Conference and Convention in Dallas, Texas. See the ACB Braille Forum for more details.

Saturday, July 25, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB at Camp Happiness in Leonardo, NJ.

Saturday, October 24, 2015: Quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at JKTC in New Brunswick.


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.