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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
October, 2022

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.


President’s Message: Convention Reflections
By Wanda Williford

I had the opportunity to attend my very first ACB National Conference and Convention this past July. This trip was two years postponed due to the Global pandemic. The planning and preparation felt like a NASA rocket launch that was aborted several times due to bad weather. Needless to say, once we were finally cleared for take-off to Omaha, I went into panic mode. I had not been on a plane since August of 2019, and I would be traveling solo. Over the past twenty-four months my sight had steadily deteriorated, and my cane skills atrophied, simultaneously. Therefore, I questioned my ability to safely navigate airports, hotels, and unfamiliar surroundings. After many lengthy conversations with friends reassuring me, I could manage the trip and would have a wonderful time, I purchased too many sundresses, packed my bags, and took an Uber to the airport.

The travel went remarkably well. A lovely couple, from New Jersey, assisted me with finding my gate during the lay over in Chicago. Once I arrived in Omaha, I encountered other convention attendees, and we all helped one another make our way to the Omaha Hilton. There was definitely a “No Man/Woman left behind” mentality. Whew! I had made it with a little help from my ACB friends. The knot that had set up camp in my stomach, turned into relief and I took a deep breath. I was now looking forward to the next eight days of excursions, wine tasting and General Sessions.

The next three days were a flurry of activity. Meeting friends for the first time in-person, attending an 8- hour Board of Director’s meeting, representing NJ during roll call at Opening Session and popping into several seminars. My schedule was jammed packed with events for the entire week. Unfortunately, my in-person participation was short lived. I woke up Sunday morning feeling lousy, made it through General Session and decided to call it a day. With the help of Aira, I took a Covid test, waited the obligatory fifteen minutes, Dun! Dun! Dun! Positive! Not a surprising result, I had all the typical symptoms. However, I was nervous being sick and so far away from home. I had managed to stay Covid free for two and a half years by limiting social exposure and diligent mask wearing. Frankly, I was a little smug, thinking “I got this, I won’t catch the dreaded Rona.” Boy was I wrong.

Although I spent the next six days isolating in my hotel room alone, I was still able to participate via Zoom. Thankfully, ACB made the smart decision to hold a hybrid convention. In retrospect, moving from room to room virtually was much easier than navigating the massive convention center. One might think I regretted attending convention considering my initial apprehension and ultimately ending up hold up in a room for six days surviving on bar food. You would be mistaken. Overall, my convention experience was a win. It bolstered my confidence as a solo traveler and reminded me, I possess the confidence to face my fears and conquer the world independently. Omaha was my first but will not be the last ACB convention I attend.

Our October Quarterly meeting will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022. We are thrilled to host Melissa Allman, with The Seeing Eye, as our guest speaker. The Seeing Eye is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. Located in Morristown, NJ, their mission is to enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of guide dogs. Please join us to learn more about this wonderful organization. We will meet in person at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 1985 Pennington Rd, Ewing NJ 08618, (Find meeting directions here) The meeting will begin promptly at 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. A Pizza lunch will be from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm. A cost of $5.00 per person is requested to cover the cost of the food and drinks. To attend virtually call 605-468-8005, Access code 425373. The phone conference starts at 1:00 P.M. Call 609-375-6682 to RSVP by October 19th.

Our Guest Speaker

Melissa Allman joined The Seeing Eye in April of 2018 and serves as the Advocacy and Government Relations Specialist. Allman advocates for the access rights of Seeing Eye graduates and other guide dog handlers by providing direct assistance to people who contact The Seeing Eye for guidance regarding access to public places, housing, or transportation. She also promotes the rights of guide dog handlers in the legislative context and regularly conducts outreach and training concerning laws that affect service animal handlers. Allman has a multi-faceted law and advocacy background with a primary focus on providing legal services to people experiencing housing discrimination. Allman holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Ohio State University, and a law degree from Temple University. She is currently working with a yellow Labrador/golden cross Seeing Eye dog named Luna.

From our Scholarship Winner by Gavin Morrobel

I am very honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Bernard Zuckerman scholarship by the NJCB. I appreciate the recognition for my hard work and for the financial assistance. I am currently in my freshman year studying Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I am excited for the new challenges and independence that pursuing post-secondary education provides. The scholarship helped me buy a new laptop computer and monitor to use to do my classwork and keep me organized. I plan to work hard but also balance that with making new friends and developing new relationships with people from all over.

From our Scholarship Winner by Mark Szafran

I would like to kindly thank the NJCB committee for choosing me as one of the recipients for the Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship 2022! I am majoring in Education at Rowan College of South Jersey as it was my passion to be a teacher. As a person with a visual impairment, I have met many supporting and caring people throughout life. I love working with children and so someday, I hope to pay this support forward. This scholarship will definitely encourage me to continue my studies and achieve my lifelong goal, being a special education teacher.

Thank you once again!

Getting to Know You by Wanda Williford

In this issue we point the magnifying glass at a true “Renaissance Man”, Julian Langford. Joining the NJCB in 2022, he has made an impact during his brief time with us, by consistently asking thought provoking questions of guest speakers, during NJCB meetings.

Growing up in Wildwood, New Jersey, Julian played high school basketball and was a member of the Rap group, The New Jersey Rebellion. He earned a Criminal Justice degree from Rutgers University. Wanting to expand his horizons, Julian moved West to Las Vegas, attended culinary school and became a professional chef. Along with a partner, he owned and operated a successful Tapas restaurant in Vegas.

Diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy in 2008, Julian returned to New Jersey. He attended the residential program at the Joseph Kohn Training Center to rehab. Proud Dad of an active-duty military son, Julian currently resides in Sicklerville, New Jersey. His future plans include sharing his culinary skills by teaching cooking classes for blind and low vision students. Let us get to know more about Chef Julian in 20 questions.

  1. What is your middle name?
  2. What did you want to be when you were a small child?
    "From the age of five, I wanted to be an Architect.”
  3. What is your favorite way to travel? Plane, train, or automobile?
    “None of the above, I love riding on a motorcycle.”
  4. Where is the furthest you have traveled from New Jersey and why were you there?
    “Aruba, on vacation.”
  5. You are sitting on the beach in a comfy chair, what are you drinking?
    “Sex on the Beach”
  6. What three flavors make up your triple scoop ice cream cone?
    “Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry”
  7. What is your favorite pizza topping?
    “Ham and Pineapple, I love Hawaiian Pizza.”
  8. If you could share a meal with any three people, who would you choose?
    “Martin Luther King Jr, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg”
  9. What was your first concert?
    “I saw Nas in Wildwood, NJ”
  10. What is your go-to Karaoke song?
    “The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground”
  11. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
    “Sky Diving in Las Vegas”
  12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    “The Philippines”
  13. Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
    “Most definitely an extrovert”
  14. What creature comfort could you not live without?
    “My music”
  15. Who is your favorite singer?
  16. What is your favorite movie of all time?
    “Spike Lee’s, Love and Basketball”
  17. Who is your favorite film star?
    “Morris Chestnut”
  18. What sound do you enjoy?
  19. What sound makes you cringe”
    “Fingernails scratching a black board”
  20. What is your favorite sports team?
    “The North Carolina Tar Heels”

Rapper, Daredevil, Chef and Dad, Julian wears lots of hats. In the past year, our conversations have touched on everything from our favorite 90’s R&B music to his chance encounter with heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. The self-professed “Sneaker Head” is also an expert on all things Apple and their accessibility features. I learn something new each time we speak. I especially enjoy Julian’s detailed description of Creme Brulé with Drunken Berries and other decadent desserts. Bon Appetit!

Give Yourself Space by Miss Ruth Williams

One morning I woke up to an unusual, smoky smell. As it turned out, I had left the burner on the stove on overnight. The flame had been so low that it did not even set off the smoke detector. In fact, it did not even burn the leftover rice in the pot. It simply fused the rice together into a beige-colored Frisbee formation. Kind of a super-sized rice cake!

Everybody makes those kinds of mistakes. I have to remind myself not every mistake is due to my visual issues. It really could happen to anyone.

Still, it reminded me that I have to ask my fully sighted son to do the “nightly lock-up” of the house, including checking to ensure that all the doors are locked, the lights are turned off, and now, that the stove’s burners are off.

So now, I feel in a way as if I have lost my “standing” in the house. I know I haven’t, really, and no one else is making me feel this way. It is just that I used to do it all without a thought. And now I have to cede control of what I cannot control anyway.

I came to realize that there were many losses I had yet to allow myself to grieve over, and I thought, isn’t that true of us all?

I have grieved for family members who have passed on, but I never allowed myself to mourn twenty years ago when a surgery meant to correct a macular hole instead took away the vision in that eye.

I never faced the fact that there have been a series of transitions in the visual acuity in my other eye, and each one is a small death of sorts.

Not to be too dramatic, but several years ago, when I had to stop driving, it was the end of an era. And I never gave it another conscious thought; however, I have thought of it often, unconsciously.

Every time I have to call Lyft for a ride to a doctor’s office. Every time I need breadcrumbs for a recipe but can’t just grab my keys and run to the store. Every time I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it…. but I cannot.

So, I would need to add to the list of losses: independence, free will, money spent on rides that I could have used for something frivolous, spontaneity — in a word: freedom.

There is no sidewalk on my street and, even if there were, it is too far to walk to the places I used to go by car. And the road is too filled with potholes to be safe for me to go by foot.

So, if you have not done this already, for your own well-being, let yourself have a moment of silence for what you have lost. Perhaps even a moment of yelling for the pain you have gained.

I have learned that if you let yourself process all the grief from the past you have been carrying by mourning your losses fully, you will be able to release some of the pain.

And if you feel as if the burden is too heavy, reach out to family or friends. Therapy may help, or perhaps you could talk to a clergy member.

Please keep in mind that help is always just a phone call away, and if you are in a dark place, the new National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Number is 988.

With all the losses you have had to endure, now it is time to give yourself a few things. Give yourself time to heal. Give yourself a break. Give yourself space.

Blind Health Expo

Accessible Pharmacy’s 2022 Blind Health Expo will be the largest virtual expo of healthcare information, products, services, and medication for individuals who are blind, DeafBlind, or have low vision. Attendees will include thousands of consumers, caregivers, healthcare professionals, educators, nonprofit and government officials. The event is FREE to attend and FREE to exhibit.
Friday, December 2, 2022
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern Time

Accessible Pharmacy - Blind Health Expo Logo: Logo with a stylized graphic of an orange sun in the upper left with Accesible Pharmacy© in both print and Braille under the sun. On the right In large face type is Blind Health Expo with a horizontal line, and under those words in smaller type is December 2, A Free Virtual Event underneath

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: Blind Health Expo - Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind

Blindness & Diabetes Webinar: Dexcom and FreeStyle Libre

Please join Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind and University of Pennsylvania’s Diabetes Education Center as we compare Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) devices available to our blind, DeafBlind, and low vision patients living with diabetes. We will be discussing differences between Dexcom and Freestyle Libre as well as their accessibility features.

This webinar will have captioning and a live ASL interpreter.

As this webinar was held prior to this newsletter’s publication, please register to receive the webinar audio and video via email.

Blindness & Diabetes Webinar: Dexcom and FreeStyle Libre - (accessiblepharmacy.com)

Speaker Bio:

Abigail 'Abbie' Chesterson: with long dirty blond hair wearing a green floral long-sleev dress

Abigail “Abbie” Chesterson is the Director of the Diabetes Education Center at Penn Medicine – University of Pennsylvania Health System. Abbie grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University. After graduating, she completed her Dietetic Internship with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. After working for a few years as a Registered Dietitian in Washington, D.C., Abbie decided to pursue her Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) certificate. She has experience working with three hospital diabetes programs, in both the hospital-based Diabetes Education Center and in the primary care provider’s office. In recent years, Abbie has represented newer Diabetes Educators as a member of various task forces with the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education. She enjoys working with patients with all types of diabetes and enjoys bringing her nutrition expertise to the diabetes world.

Chapter News

News from Blind Citizen’s Association by Sarah Thoma

Notes from Camp…
The NJBCA board, members and staff were disappointed that we could not host the Annual Meeting at Camp Happiness and meet everyone in person. However, and with COVID on the rise, soaring temperatures it was a wise decision to make it a statewide call. There were so many wonderful people on the call, hopefully sometime in the near future, we will all be able to meet in person and move forward…

With the support of Middletown Arts Center and their Art Program Coordinator, NJBCA’s Camp Happiness won 1st Place in the Group Project Category with a beautiful mosaic created with beans at the Monmouth County Fair. Wait! - but that is not all. Mary came in 1st Place with her billiard balls and rack sculpture, Barbara won second place with a mother and Baby Whale sculpture and Charles came in third with this Yoga Pose sculpture. Honorable Mentions went to Pat for her Iguana sculpture and Nancy for her starfish sculpture. Doris won first place for her crochet work! Such talent!!! They are all looking for “what’s next?” so they can show their talents to the community. Items are on display in the main room and will be displayed at the Artisan Market in October for everyone to enjoy! Our Crocheters and Knitters are already at work to donate their beautiful scarves to children at a domestic violence shelter so that they have a present to give to their mothers for the holidays.

Campers are enjoying the garden planted by a collaboration of our volunteers, scouts, brownies, and a member of the Monmouth County Master Gardeners. While we wait for a donation for the kitchen, we are looking forward to one of the local restaurants putting together a fun tasting for the Campers using the bounty of the garden.

NJBCA is also happy to announce that our membership is growing! With that came the realization that the bus would not be able to be the main form of transportation with the increase of Campers, so we are offering the Camp Happiness bus for sale. If anyone is interested in learning more about the bus, please contact Bob Guijarro at 732-291-0878.

In addition to our membership, our programs are also expanding much to the delight of everyone! Campers have a schedule that includes Art, Therapeutic Arts, Chair Yoga, Expressive Arts, Storytelling, Knitting and Crocheting and more. A new partnership with Hackensack Meridian Healthcare System will be providing Wellness programs and more.

The dedication of Kat & Laura has paid off and Thanks to Katherine, Anne’s Thrift Shop is thriving! Once a “best kept secret,” every day we greet new customers who comment on the beautiful new or gently used clothing and items, the reasonable prices, and fun sales! Our regulars are amazed at the transformation and how much the quality has improved. It is a wonderful place to shop as you never know what you will find!

Thanks to our volunteers Kim, Shirley, and the Monmouth County Master Gardeners we have a beautiful garden for our members to enjoy. Most days you will find Kim and Shirley watering and weeding after working all day, keeping the garden a delightful place for our Campers to visit, and get some fresh produce. Kim is also involved with the three Eagle Scout projects that are in progress. One project was completed and resulted in a lovely meditation garden next to the vegetable garden for our Campers to sit and reflect in. A second Eagle Scout project will finish the garden by transforming the former Camp Happiness’s outdoor shower room, into a garden shed to hold tools to maintain the garden. The third project is to create a raised bed to provide our Campers with a sensory garden.

The completion of the Phase One of the wheelchair ramp that was created by the talented team of AT&T Pioneers has been completed now that the inspection has been finalized. Phase two will begin in September which will create sidewalls to the ramp for people using white canes and a retaining wall will be built to keep the area safe and free of debris.

Katherine is once again producing an Artisan Market in the Fall. October 29th is the date, and it will be another wonderful Fall event at 18 Burlington Avenue with more than twenty vendors, musicians, crafts created by Camp Happiness’ own members, and activities for kids. It will be another wonderful day in Leonardo! We do hope everyone is able to join us!

Mercer County Association of The Blind (MCAB) by, MCAB President

Mercer County Happenings!

Happy Birthday MCAB! The Mercer County Association of the Blind is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2022. The organization was established in 1932 as The Trenton Association of the Blind. Originally, most members were from the greater Trenton area. Over the years the membership has grown to include individuals from Mercer County and beyond. Currently, our members are blind, visually impaired, and sighted individuals ranging in age from 23 to 91, from various backgrounds and religions. Our rich diversity and respect for one another are our greatest strengths and the reason we continue to thrive. We are committed to fostering independence and improving the lives of the blind community through education, engagement, and advocacy. The MCAB looks forward to another 90 years of service to the blind community of Mercer County.

The MCAB annual summer picnic was held August 6th at the Elks Lodge in Ewing, NJ. There were approximately 43 in attendance including 17 guests. Members proudly wore their beautiful MCAB VIP T-shirts, and a good time was had by all. We enjoyed great food, door prizes, entertainment, and fellowship. Thanks to George Franc, Cathy Godfrey, Terry Hammoutene, Barbara Knoblock, and Barbara Plunkett of the Party Planning Committee for organizing an amazing event. Let’s do it again in 2023.

MCAB continues to safely meet in-person at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Ewing. We are next hosting, Andy Burstein, with Accessible Pharmacy, headquartered right over the bridge in Fairless Hills, PA. We are excited to learn about the services and products Accessible Pharmacy offers for the blind community. Additionally, we are looking forward to welcoming the NJCB back to Ewing. Join us Saturday, October 22, 2022, for NJCB’s first in-person Quarterly meeting since October 2019. Let’s celebrate our longevity and resilience. Why yes, MCAB is 90, but we do not look a day over 70.

Submitted by Wanda Williford

Foodie Focus by Wanda Williford

Meatloaf is a classic American comfort food. Some yummy version can be found on every diner menu, served with a heaping side of mashed potatoes. Most families have a treasured recipe handed down from Grandmom. A friend shared this unusual variation with me, and I was blown away by the delicate texture. The addition of carrots and thyme, make for a moist and flavorful meatloaf. Your family will be pleasantly surprised by this delicious spin on a traditional American staple. This is not your grandma’s meatloaf.

Meatloaf with Carrots and Thyme

1½ pounds ground beef
1½ pounds ground pork
¾ cup grated carrots
½ cup chopped shallots
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
2 cups (½ inch diced crusty sourdough bread
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 to 8 twists of black pepper

½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, add all meatloaf ingredients and mix with your hands, to combine. Do not over mix.
  3. Divide the mixture between 2 - 9 inch by 5-inch loaf pans. Set aside
  4. In a medium bowl add ketchup. brown sugar and Dijon mustard, stir to combine. Glaze the top of each loaf with the mixture.
  5. Bake the meatloaves for 45 minutes. After baking let rest 10 minutes, unmold, slice and serve.

Submitted by Wanda Williford

2023 Dues are due.

Please send your annual dues along with the attached membership form to our Treasurer, Steven Sowa. Annual dues for members at large are $10.00. Checks should be made payable to NJCB and mailed to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095. To pay dues online go to New Jersey Council of the Blind (Dues Payment) (njcounciloftheblind.org).


Get onto Route 95 heading south. (From Route 1 south, from Route 295 heading north or Route 195 heading west to Route 295 north)

Get off at Exit #4 making a left turn onto Pennington Road (Route 31 South toward Ewing)

Turn right at the 4th traffic light, Carlton Avenue. It is across the street from The College of New Jersey.

Remember NJCB on Amazon Smile

When shopping on Amazon use Amazon Smile and support the NJCB.

Go to Smile.Amazon.com and look for New Jersey Council of the Blind Inc. or use smile.amazon.com/ch/22-3592848

Check out the NJCB Facebook Page

NJCB is on Facebook. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of this page please send your ideas and posts to our email address at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.

Save The Date

Saturday January 28th Location TBD

Saturday April 22nd 12 Location TBD

Saturday July 22nd 12 Location TBD

Saturday October 28th Location TBD

The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at (800) 792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge by E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site www.njcounciloftheblind.org. Feel free to write us at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Much appreciated tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.

The NJCB officers are.

President, Wanda Williford (609) 375-6682.

1st Vice President, Frank Schack – (973) 595-0116

2nd Vice President, Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675

Secretary, Dan Bausch

Treasurer, Steve Sowa (848) 999-2079 or by mail to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

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.

New Jersey Council of the Blind
An affiliate of
American Council of the Blind

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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
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