FCB OFFICERS, 2010 - 2012
President, Paul Edwards
20330 N.E. 20th Ct., Miami, FL 33179
1st Vice-President, Debbie Drylie
1544 Walnut Creek Dr., Flemming Island, FL 32003
2nd Vice President, Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Avenue, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
Treasurer, Linda Jacobson
2915 Circle Ridge Dr., Orange Park, FL 32065
Membership Secretary, Sally Benjamin
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308
Recording Secretary, Sila Miller
2201 Limerick Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32309
Immediate Past President, Debbie Grubb
4215 17th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205-1418
Editor of White Cane Bulletin, Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Avenue, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
Articles for the White Cane Bulletin must be submitted to Sally Benjamin no later than the 20th of the month before it is published. Sally’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you do not have access to a computer and email please find someone in your chapter to help send it. We would like to hear from anyone who wants to contribute to our news letter. If you don’t have a way to write an article you can call Sharon Youngs at the number above and she will be glad to write it for you.
Articles published in The White Cane Bulletin are in compliance with Public Law No. 104197, Copyright Law Amendment of 1996. This law allows authorized entities to distribute copies of previously published non-dramatic literary works in specialized formats, including Braille, audio or digital text that are exclusively for use by Blind people or those with disabilities. Any further distributing of such articles in another than a specialized format is an infringement of copyright.
ARE YOU MOVING? – Sally Benjamin
If you are moving please notify me of your new address so you will continue to receive your White Cane Bulletin. Also if you know of anyone interested in joining FCB and who would like to receive the White Cane Bulletin and the Braille Forum please contact me at: (800) 267-4448 or E-mail: email@example.com.
FCB Officers 2010 - 2012
President’s Message: by Paul Edwards
Look around You: by Rosanna Lippen
Mother – Friend – Helper – (Soft Voice – Soft Heart)
Nancy Folsom in the Spotlight: by Sila Miller
Getting There: by Mike Taylor
Passing of A Supporter of FCB: Submitted by Sally Benjamin
White Cane Law Education Skit: by Jack Varnon
Patricia A. Lipovsky, Has Career Success:by Empish J. Thomas
Poetry Corner: by Shelley Justice-Sawyer
FCCLV & Adventures on FACEBOOK: by Barbara Grill
Greater Orlando Council of the Blind: by Jay Bader
Challenge Reminder: by Florence Pincus
Southwest Florida Council of the Blind: by Mike Ulrich
Handy Telephone References
It is remarkably easy for an organization to get lost in its day-to-day operations. Planning meetings, working on projects, thinking about raising money and dealing with all the millions of issues that come up whether you want them to or not all take time and attention. Perhaps that is as it should be. After all, without all of this attention, chapters, state affiliates and, even, the American Council of the Blind could not survive. It is, in fact, pretty amazing that our organization continues to survive and do good work even as other organizations are going under.
Make no mistake, volunteer organizations are getting smaller every year and many are simply disappearing. Lions clubs are shrinking as are many organizations aimed at helping others. The economic situation, attitudes toward people with disabilities and isolation based, I think, partly on the rise of the internet have all played a part. I could write an article on each of those subjects I think. For now, though, my issue is a little different. I believe that FCB is already showing signs that suggest we are not immune to what ails other organizations. Our membership is not growing. We are not doing a very good job of attracting and retaining young members. Our finances are certainly less healthy than they have been. Are there special reasons why this is happening to FCB? I believe that part of our problem is that we have not spent enough time exploring what we have accomplished and what needs to be done still. I would also suggest that we do not take enough time to talk to each other about what blindness and low vision mean in our lives. We are approaching the beginning of a new year as I write this. Perhaps this is a moment for us to pause and take stock of what we are about in FCB.
Being a person who is visually impaired is not easy! However, it is certainly more fulfilling than it was when ACB began. At that point, blind people had no civil rights, very limited access to information, and were, for the most part, being told what to do by counselors and other members of the sighted community. Workshops were the norm. The vending program put people into little tiny facilities where little money could be made. Only a few of us pushy souls got to go to college. When we finished, there often were no jobs. There was no braille on elevators. Government saw little need to provide us information in accessible format and politicians did not see people with disabilities as worth wooing. In many ways, we were what a book published by AFB called us; we were an “unseen minority”. So much has changed! And yet, so much remains the same!
We take access to information, paratransit, the right to vote privately and independently, and accessible pedestrian signals for granted. When we ask for help in a store, we give no thought to how we got the right to ask for it. My first suggestions for the revival of FCB then, is to begin to revere our heritage and honor those who gave us what we have. It did not come easy. People did not simply say okay when we asked for things. We had to fight and claw and cajole and argue for every tiny alteration in the way things were. Many of us gave our lives to the struggle and paid a high price for daring, like Oliver Twist, to ask for “some more”. Looking back to our glorious past is not sufficient though.
There is still a lot to be done. We vote on machines that are unreliable and that nobody else uses, if we vote using machines. We are finding ourselves more and more settling for jobs that pay less and are more circumscribed. Despite the passage of the ADA unemployment among people who are blind remains at close to seventy percent. As our population ages, the number of blind people will increase. Most of these folks will be older and there are insufficient resources to begin to provide the services they need. Many of the children being born with vision problems have other disabilities as well. What are we doing to assure that they get the education and rehabilitation they deserve? Braille reading is on the decline; there is not nearly enough training available for people wanting to learn to use the technology that ought to be opening doors for us. In many places, rehabilitation training focuses on the needs of people who are blind while doing a poor job of recognizing the special needs of people who have some usable vision. I could go on. The list of things that need our attention is as long as we choose to make it. There is as much to do at the local level as there is at the state and national level. I have not even mentioned the plight of people who are blind in developing countries where literacy and education happen occasionally and employment happens very rarely. Here is the real issue, though.
We all know about at least some of the things that need to change. We are aware of what needs to be done. Far too often, we assume that somebody else will do it. It isn’t my job. I am blind; I can’t do it. There is a level of complacency and apathy among blind people that is more frightening than almost anything else. Each of us must be responsible for accepting responsibility for making things better. Our organization at the local, state and national level is a vehicle through which each of us can operate but each of you is the organization. Every day each of us fights discrimination or prejudice without really knowing we are doing it. When we persist when others say we cannot do a thing, we are fighting. When we correct someone’s misunderstanding about what we can do, we are fighting. When we cross a street, use a computer, cook a meal, read braille or sort money, we are fighting. The question is how do we turn all of these small rebellions into the full-blown revolution we need?
I suggest that we do this by incorporating the large and the small things into a coherent vision of what being blind or having low vision is all about. We need to be proud of all we have accomplished. We need to be proud of what each of us accomplishes every day. We need to be aware of all the things that still need doing. We need to be confident that we as individuals and we as an organization can get them done. We can because of who we are and how we came to be who we are!
Pride is important but it is not enough. We must also be angry as those who started our organization were. Injustice has not gone away! Discrimination is happening every day! We have gained much but there is much more for us to do. Each of us must accept our responsibility to be angry for those who are being denied services or jobs or books or education or dignity. That is what being human is all about! That is what being a member of FCB is all about!
Each of us, and FCB must not rest until people all around Florida can see our vision of who we are and what we can do. So, let us take our determination, our pride and our anger and share our vision of what blind people need with the sighted community that still won’t see it!
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It’s time for the members of FCB to look at your life and think about who has influenced it. Evaluate your peers, instructors, and government officials to see if they may qualify for one of the annually presented awards given by FCB. The last issue of the White Cane Bulletin outlined the awards and the criteria for each one. Now all we need are your nominations. It is so nice to be surprised when your name is announced as the recipient of one of these awards. You may think you are just helping out an organization that is important to you. It is an honor when someone notices what you’ve done, the effort it took and the impact it has to enrich the life of someone who is visually impaired.
Please send your nomination to me. Then the Awards Committee members will get busy making very difficult decisions. These decisions are to be announced at next year’s convention in Tampa. Please let me hear from you soon.
Rosanna Marie Lippen
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On July 23, 1958, Johnnie and Virginia Ann Dasher became proud parents of a baby girl. Nancy Leah Dasher Folsom was born in Panama City, where her father was assigned as a store manager. Johnnie worked throughout the state, managing McCrory's, a five and dime department store that sold everything from shoes to toys to records. Virginia Ann, better known as Nan was a stay-at-home mom until her kids started school when she began working at a bank. The baby of the family, Nancy grew up alongside two older brothers, Gordon and Donald.
Nancy was born with a visual disability which was diagnosed as Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disease that generally affects premature babies, though Nancy wasn’t born early. Both oxygen toxicity (high concentrations of supplemental oxygen) and oxygen deprivation are thought to be contributors to the development of ROP. “A couple of ophthalmologists told me that some babies that weren’t premature routinely got oxygen and that’s maybe what happened but they really didn’t know. I don’t know if I received oxygen or not. They really didn’t keep track of that kind of thing back then,” Nancy offhandedly says.
“I went to the school for the blind but only for a couple of years,” Nancy says. “My mom insisted that I learn skills while I still had vision which was a good thing. It made it a lot easier for the transition time.” Nancy attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine from first through fourth grade. She was able to go home every weekend since by then her family had moved to Gainesville—only a short two hours from the school.
Nancy was then “mainstreamed” in public school in Gainesville. Mainstreaming in the context of education is a term that refers to the practice of educating students with disabilities in regular classes during specific time periods based on their skills. It is a quite complicated and controversial subject. Many believe it is detrimental to the disabled student as many public schools don’t have the resources to offer instruction in Braille, adaptive technology and mobility while others contend that educating children with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers fosters understanding and tolerance, better preparing students of all abilities to function in the world beyond school.
“Mainstreaming had some disadvantages, but for the most part, I was able to ignore folks who’d make fun of me and find people that were nice and make friends,” Nancy says. “It was difficult at times though. Even teachers sometimes were a little difficult to deal with—they didn’t want to make special accommodations even simple ones, like letting me sit near the front. I couldn’t see the blackboard from the front row but I could walk up to it and read material,” she explains. Despite the challenges she faced, Nancy was an honor role student. She used large print and strong magnification glasses.
Following graduation from Santa Fe High School in Alachua Florida in 1977, Nancy came to Tallahassee for the Florida State University (FSU) college preparatory program. Several classes were offered that were designed to help provide the academic background needed to succeed in a degree program at a college or university. Nancy returned home in the fall and began attending Santa Fe Community College where she earned her Associate of Arts degree. It was then back to Tallahassee and FSU where she began working towards her degree in Elementary Education and Visual Disabilities. As fate would have it, marriage and babies derailed Nancy’s completion of her degree.
Nancy had fairly decent, albeit low vision until the age of 22. Unfortunately, her remaining vision was lost to a combination of glaucoma, an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye and cataracts, clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Nancy underwent 2 surgeries, the first of which was successful and helped relieve inter eye pressure. Regretfully, the second surgery on her right eye caused the eye to atrophy and it had to be removed in 1999.
“I basically went from seeing details to only having light perception,” Nancy explains. “The most difficult part of transitioning was my mobility because I just didn’t want that white cane! I felt like, oh, everybody will know I’m blind, you know? Then it dawned on me one day, well when you run into things and you fall down stairs, people generally figure it out,” Nancy says with a self-deprecating chuckle. “So I thought ok, maybe I should use the cane and it’ll be a little less obvious in the long run and at least I won’t have any broken bones.”
Nancy met her husband, Richard through a mutual friend at a football party. After a short courtship, the couple was married on April 23, 1982 in a simple ceremony. In 1983, they became proud parents to a beautiful baby girl, Melanie and in 1986, to a precious son, Clifton (Cliff).
Lack of vision never thwarted Nancy’s parenting or helping her children with their studies. “Both my children are strong readers,” Nancy proudly says. “Probably because we had to rely on that a lot. They could read something to me and I could explain it and they could read it again and then they’d get it. I would give them my input as far as what to draw or write or say or how to go about finishing a project. That was before computers became such a big deal and we began to have all this fun with technology,” she sarcastically sniggers.
For the next several years, Nancy’s life was primarily devoted to raising children and keeping house. She raised, bred, and sold Persian cats in her home, and did some medical transcription work. “I didn’t make a lot of money but I learned a lot about taking care of animals through operating my cattery,” Nancy says. “At one point, I had nine cats. Probably the most difficult issues were helping with the birthing process and tube feeding kittens when their mommas weren’t able to,” she recalls.
In the summer of 1994, Nancy learned of a job opening with the Florida Council of the Blind, answering phones for Project Insight and performing various other clerical duties. She applied for the job and in September of that year, began working as the first Project Insight Coordinator where she remained employed for the next seven years. “I was really grateful to have that job and I learned a lot about resources for the blind and that type of thing. The office was located on Lafayette Street and Carl McCoy; Chair of Project Insight at that time would come in and help me with things,” Nancy reminisces. “My favorite part of that job was having people reach out to get help, knowing what they were going through, that they’d just lost their vision, even if it wasn’t total; it was still a traumatic experience.” One caller in particular stands out in Nancy’s memory. “This lady was devastated and really felt like her life was at an end. You don’t know how much you affect people sometimes or even if you do but it really seemed to have helped her a lot to know that she wasn’t alone in this. She ended up writing a very touching letter and poem about it,” Nancy remembers.
The following poem is reprinted from the September – October 1997 edition of the White Cane Bulletin and perfectly exemplifies what Project Insight is all about.
PROJECT INSIGHT – My Lifeline
by Patricia Goodchild
I opened my eyes, but I could not see.
My world came crashing down on me.
My life was over, what would I do?
I couldn't express my fear to you.
I built a wall so you couldn't reach me.
I wouldn't allow you to try to teach me.
I cried alone 'til I fell asleep.
My desolation was now complete.
I dreamed I saw a brilliant light
That erased the darkness from the night.
Words came floating into my head.
"There's another way of looking at life, instead."
Morning found me calm, my mind was clear.
I started to plan where I'd go from here.
I reached out my hand and dialed the phone.
"Project Insight", a soft voice intoned.
I learned invaluable information about my plight
That helped through the transition of losing my sight.
Project Insight became to me,
The lifeline I needed to set me free.
Dedicated with much love to
Nancy Folsom and Nigel Ricards
In 2001, FCB was experiencing difficult financial times and cut Nancy’s hours. Needing to continue earning the same salary, Nancy took a position with the Division of Blind Services (DBS) as a receptionist. She worked there for three and a half years. In 2006, Nancy went to work part-time for the State Directory, a toll-free information line that callers can contact to access state resource information or locate employees. Nancy remains employed there now on a full-time basis. During 2007, Nancy also worked part-time at the Lighthouse of the Big Bend on a one-year grant. “That was an exciting job. I loved it,” Nancy emphatically says. “I helped set up a lab with computers and adaptive equipment, create a Users Manual for all the adaptive technology that volunteers could refer to when they came in to help, and trained the clients.” Nancy then took a part-time position with Florida Reading and Vision Technologies demonstrating and teaching HumanWare products. “I enjoyed the training and travel but I had a really difficult time carting all that heavy equipment around,” Nancy says.
In addition to all this, Nancy has been a proud distributor of Mary Kay beauty products since 1996. “I really enjoy working with people and making a difference in someone’s life,” Nancy illuminates. “The company actually has values that I admire and it’s a great company to work for.”
“A friend, Mycell Armington had a guide dog and she let me walk with it one day. I felt such a freedom—I was exhilarated! I couldn’t wait to get my own,” Nancy excitedly relates. In May, 1994, Nancy attended a 28-day training program at Southeastern Guide Dogs for the Blind located in Palmetto Florida and obtained her first guide, Elgin. “He was a smooth-coat collie and he worked for me for seven years,” Nancy fondly recalls. “We were walking one day and he just sat down in the middle of the road and he would not get up. So, I said, ok, we must be done. He was nine.” Nancy return to Southeastern and was given a yellow Lab named Howard. Unfortunately, Howard was just too much dog and after six months, Nancy made the decision to return him to the school. Happily, Howard was successfully placed with another student. In May 2002, Nancy obtained Maggie, another smooth-coat collie whom she still works with. Nancy says—a hint of sadness in her voice, “Maggie is slowing down. It won’t be long, and she’ll be retiring. She’s eleven and I can’t expect her to hang in there a lot longer.”
Nancy and her dogs have worked everything from busy streets to hotels to roundabouts—a type of circular junction in which road traffic must travel in one direction around a central island and priority is given to the circulating flow. Signs usually direct traffic entering the circle to slow down and give the right-of-way. “A driver’s dream and a pedestrian’s nightmare,” Nancy laughs. “Once I began working with a dog, I just felt like the world had been opened up to me again and I was ecstatic! If you’re considering a guide dog, you have to weigh the fact—if you’re a cane user, you fold that cane up and stick it in your purse—but you can’t do that with a dog. They’re there, and they need to go out and be fed. But then you look at the fact that they provide you so much freedom and so much confidence in your mobility. It’s well worth it, as far as I’m concerned,” she emphatically concludes.
Nancy served as FCB’s Membership Secretary from 2000 through 2004. She also chaired the Membership committee and served on the Project Insight, Education/Leadership and Archives committees. She currently serves as First Vice President in her local chapter, Tallahassee Council of the Blind.
Nancy attends the Centerville Road Church of Christ, pitching in where needed, often cooking meals for people who aren’t able to cook for themselves. She enjoys gardening, listening to music, reading, and singing. Family is very important to her. She has two grandsons whom she adores, Mark and Devon. Nancy says, “For a while, I used to think that you had to please everyone but you really don’t. You please God and yourself and that’s it. And if you can keep that in perspective, then whatever anybody else thinks or does, it really isn’t important because that’s your main focus.”
Nancy’s heroes are her mom and a friend named Cindy who passed away from breast cancer. “My mom just has such a fantastic attitude about things,” says Nancy. “When I was a child, our house burned and we had nothing, I mean nothing—no clothes except what we had on our back—and she just shrugged and said,” “Well don’t worry about it, we’re all still alive, we’re all still here, we’ll replace all that stuff,” “And I thought, yeah, that’s right!,” marvels Nancy. “My friend Cindy was remarkable! She never once lost hope and she never, ever once complained. She was just constant upbeat—my biggest supporter, my biggest fan—no matter what. She helped me through some tough times and was always there for me,” Nancy says with a bit of nostalgia creeping into her voice.
It’s clear by Nancy’s deeds and words that her heroes have made quite an impression upon her. Nancy has been a loyal friend to many in FCB. Soft spoken, even tempered, a peace maker and always willing to listen, Nancy, Thank you for all you have contributed to blind people throughout Florida and in FCB. You have played an Integral role in her rich history.
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People who don’t drive automobiles are at a distinct disadvantage in the modern age. As with many other problems blind people face in life, you can simply bemoan this fact or accept that getting around for you will be a problem, and try to look for ways to minimize the affect. Your ability to solve your transportation problems will have an affect on how you live your life.
There are actions which can be taken that will get one started in the right direction. Where to live may, or may not be an option. If you have a choice, why not make the best use of that opportunity to locate in a place that will be most convenient for you? Convenience may be relative. Living closer to school, work, shopping, or all these things and more might make it possible for you to get there independently. Drawing an imaginary circle around all the places you frequently need to go, and looking for a dwelling within the circle is one approach. It may be possible to find a place to live that puts you within walking distance to those places you need to go. Another is looking for housing with good access to public transportation. Public transportation operators pay their drivers to be at work, on time, and have regular routes. You will discover that the easiest way to find a ride is to identify someone that is going there already, and giving you a ride does not take them out of their way.
Locating along a public transportation route provides the most effective way to insure that when you require transportation it will be available. Transportation services could be curtailed, or cut out altogether; we get very few guarantees in life. However, locating along a public transportation route, learning to use that transportation will afford the most dependable and reasonably priced transportation that is available. If it is not possible to locate and use public transportation then other means must be sought.
Is finding a ride that takes you where you want to go: when you want to go: and at a reasonable cost your problem? Linking up with a driver whose destination is the same, or very near yours may offer a good chance for meeting all these conditions. How could you find such a person? We suggest trying every means you can think of simultaneously. That is, look for another person in your class that comes from your direction by asking everyone in the class. Place notices on bulletin boards, in newspapers, or other public forums. Advertise for drivers that live close to you and who work or go to school during the times that you need. You will certainly need good fortune to find your ride, but mostly you will require a great deal of determination. Once you find a ride, take measures that it is not soon lost!
After you found your ride, you will want to insure that your riding with that driver provides a rewarding experience for them. Smoking in the automobile of someone who themselves does not smoke could certainly cost you a ride. Keeping your ride waiting because you are not in the appointed place at the appointed time is certainly a bad idea. Many annoying practices, such as eating in the car, might cost you a ride. After making the determined effort to secure a ride, you will not want to risk losing your transportation by the want of a little consideration for the driver. If you can help them defray the cost of their own transportation by giving you a lift, why not insist they accept your contribution towards expenses?
Because your driver may need to take days off, you need to continually be looking for backups for your transportation arrangements.? Not sure
If you have a satisfactory transportation arrangement planned, why would you need a backup? The short answer to this question is because things happen”. Yours or your driver’s hours might change. Your driver might get sick, have time off, or change jobs. There are many, many things that could happen and it is impossible to prepare for them all. However, it is good planning to have an alternative available when things do happen. The alternative to your primary transportation is probably not as convenient, maybe not as affordable, or lacking in other desirable elements, but could be there if you needed a ride. The important point is that you have transportation—a means to get there. Many employers will not accept your transportation woes as an excusable absence. Having backup arrangements planned could bridge a gap that could keep you from falling short. Taxi service could be a back up, if available, and if you have the fare.
The important thing to remember is that the alternative to “getting there” is staying with what you currently have. For all the difficulties and discouraging events you will face along your way, determination has helped get others to where they were going. Seek out and talk with others that have successfully handled their own transportation difficulties. Be resourceful. It may be possible to identify individuals that live in your area from zip codes or prefixes of phone numbers. Do not wait until the last minute to start your search. Pursue every means of identifying and obtaining a ride—it will take you to your future.
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It has come to my attention that few people know of the passing of one of our long-time supporters. Alice Warth, Jim’s mom died on September 16th. Through the years she has helped so many of our members and I know how much she will be missed by us all. I wanted to add my condolences to those of everyone.
I am very sad about this. I believe I only met Alice once but my impression was that she was a very kind and caring person who loved life and FCB. Jim and Kathy, my heart and prayers go with you both and all of your family. If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to call on me.
I did not know her personally, but did meet her one time. I know that she did do a lot for Jim and Kathy, as well as many others. Jim, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May peace be with you.
"Mama Warth" was one in a million. She supported both FCB and FCCLV continually. No was not in her vocabulary. She was one of the kindest women who I ever had the privilege of knowing, working with and loving. Jim and Kathy: Your dear mother will be missed but never forgotten.
Dear Jim, Kathy and family,
I'll never forget the day when dear Miss Alice won the Dolly Gamble award. What a moment! Sharon presented it and she talked about "an enabler". Sharon spoke of how much Ms. Warth helped and enabled her family to be independent and strong, how she was always there for everyone. Jim, when you and I did our interview for your spotlight article, you reiterated this and then some, and I was truly touched. A mother is special just by the very nature of her role but when you have such a loving and supportive mother, it is extra special and therefore extra hard and sad when you lose her. My heart hurts for your loss. I hope your family and friends and the special memories you have will bring you comfort during your time of mourning. God bless and strengthen you and your brothers and family.
I spoke with Jim on Saturday night because he called me after our Board meeting.
I don’t have a lot to add to what others have already said here. Jim’s mum was everybody’s mother. She was always prepared to listen. She believed in the capability of all of us and she knew that what all of us were doing was worthwhile. She was perfectly content to let others shine as she did the things that made that possible. She will be missed for all she was and for all she did. Jim, you were lucky to have a mother like yours. Thanks for sharing her with us!!!
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The challenge of raising public awareness of the White Cane Law and understanding the problems of blindness requires ingenuity, opportunity and cooperation of all parties involved.
On September26, Alachua County Council of the Blind (ACCB) teamed up with the Newberry Lions to meet that challenge by presenting a unique skit at the Newberry City Commissioners meeting. The twenty minute skit achieved its purpose of receiving a proclamation from the Mayor declaring October as White Cane safety Awareness month, describing the White Cane Law and educating others to a better understanding of the problems of blindness. A portion of the City Commissioners agenda was used to execute a short skit to illustrate some of these problems.
This simple designed skit can be conducted at any County or City Commission meeting by any blind advocacy organization.
At a Newberry Lions Club meeting, president Lion Mindie Fortson casually asked me, “Lion Jack, what can we do that compares with the annual White Cane Safety Awareness demonstration walk in the City of Alachua”? “Maybe something that would involve the city commissioners”. My first thoughts were, it’s too hazardous to have a demonstration walk on Newberry Road guiding blindfolded people like they do in the Alachua White Cane Safety Awareness. Also our city does a lot for us by hanging a Newberry Lions banner across Newberry Road which has the caption “We stop for white canes & guide dogs! Do you? And providing the Lions with a proclamation on a nice plaque. Then I thought about the challenge task table that blindfolded participants are asked to do at the end of the Alachua walk – simple tasks like pouring water in a cup, counting money and other tasks to raise their understanding of the problems of blindness.
I contacted Newberry’s Mayor, Bill Conrad, explained the idea of having the city commissioners blindfolded and performing a few simple tasks that blind people deal with every day. Mayor Conrad asked, “How long would it take”? “About 20 minutes,” I stated. Mayor Conrad’s enthusiastic reaction left me flabbergasted, as he said, “I think that’s a great idea, Jack and I am sure the commissioners will agree to participate after I explain it to them”.
I reported the results of the meeting to president Lion Mindie and preparation for the September 26th event began in Ernest. The initial proposal for the challenge task was count money (48 cents), pour hot coffee in a small cup, unlock a door, sign name on the line, and place a Band-Aid on the ring finger with pad on the fingernail. The club agreed to purchase the medical blindfolds product “Eye Shade” for all the participants. Lion, Gene Elliott constructed a miniature door and the city manager’s staff agreed to provide the hot water to simulate pouring a cup of coffee.
On August 23rd, Mayor Conrad attended the Newberry Lions Club meeting to preview the skit plan. There were some concerns over the 20 minute time frame which caused adjustments to the number of challenge tasks and it was agreed to have three tasks at the demonstration table – count money, unlock the door and pour coffee, after the commissioners completed the challenge tasks, they would be given a Band-Aid to apply on their ring finger. To keep things moving, a narrator was appointed.
It seemed important to demonstrate the appropriate way to offer help to a blind person who appears to need help. Mayor Conrad offered to talk with the city manager to be blindfolded for the entire skit and be the blind person who appears to need help.
By September 14th, the dialogue between the city manager’s staff and Newberry Lions committee indicated we were ready. Publicity about the skit was quietly circulated around town. Other Lions clubs and blind advocacy organizations were invited to the event.
September 26, 2011, the Newberry City Commissioners open their regular Monday evening meeting at 7:00 PM, agenda approval, invocation, pledge of allegiance – there were two guest speakers ahead of us. However, by 7:20 PM, the auditorium was packed with standing room only available. Most of the audience received a handout which described a ten minute video, “Tips on helping the blind” and how to access it. You can access the video by going to the Alachua County's website.
After the second guest speaker completed her presentation, the City manager was blindfolded and led to an open space area near the commissioner’s platform. He appeared to be looking for something as he felt around with the white cane in his right hand. A Lion walks up to him and introduces himself, “My name is Jack Coleman, do you need help”? The narrator focuses the audience’s attention on how to approach a blind person to see if they need help. The city manager answers, “I need to find my chair”. Lion Coleman lines up on the left side, touches the arm with his right arm and says, “Here’s my arm”. Then guides him to the platform, pauses to alert him they are about to step up on the platform, then continues guiding him to the chair, where he places his own hand on top of the chair back, enabling the city manager to slide his hand down to where the guide’s hand is on the chair which clearly identifies to a blind person where the chair is. The narrator points out to the audience, the importance of getting the blind person’s hand on the chair, as it makes it safe for the guided person to seat himself into the chair. The city manager stayed blindfolded through the entire skit and experienced why environment awareness is 85% visual.
The skit had a few humorous moments as a Lion guided each of the five blindfolded Commissioners and Mayor to the challenge task table. One Commissioner counted out forty six cents instead of forty-eight cents. Another Commissioner overflowed the coffee cup. Strangely enough, none of them had any problems unlocking the door. After the commissioners completed the challenge tasks, the Band-Aids were handed out to all the blindfolded commissioners and many members in the audience to place on their ring finger with the pad on the fingernail.
Still inside the twenty minute time frame, Mayor Conrad announced the proclamation, declaring October the White Cane Safety Awareness month and presented a beautiful plaque to me, the representative for ACCB and Newberry Lions Club. I thanked the commissioners for their courage to demonstrate their understanding of the problems of blindness and their concern for the safety of the visually impaired citizens. The skit was captured on a closed TV circuit. If you would like a DVD copy of the meeting, contact ACCB: 352-338-7951 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to obtain a copy.
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With foreclosures on the rise, property values down, and people struggling to pay their mortgages one might think that a career in the real estate industry would not be a good idea. But Patricia A. Lipovsky, of Daytona Beach, Florida thinks otherwise. “The demand for rental properties is increasing,” said Lipovsky, a 13-year old veteran in the business. “No matter what people will always need a place to live.” She notes that she does not have as many properties as she use to; but business is not bad. “It is a great responsibility but it is also a great source of income,” she said.
Lipovsky launched her career virtually by accident. She was reading an ad in the paper, put in by a local investor, about investing in real estate and decided to inquire and learn more. “After working for others, I wanted to go into business for myself,” she said. “Why make someone else wealthy when I can make myself wealthy.” She learned from these investors things like assessing property, working with banks, hiring contractors to do repairs, creating rental contracts and other legal documents. She purchased her first property with the proceeds from the sale of her home after her divorce. Her first house was a fixer-upper that she remodeled, rented out, and then eventually sold.
One of the first things Lipovsky did was to go to an office supply store and purchase generic copies of rental contracts. She scanned them into her computer and adjusted them for her business. She also used her own rental lease agreement as a guide for proper language and legal structure. Additionally, she wrote up contracts for the repair companies she would need to hire and for criminal background checks for hiring drivers.
In order to view new properties to purchase and to also check on current rentals, Lipovsky placed an ad in the paper to hire a driver. When interviewing prospects she and her partner at the time, would meet them at the local Denny’s Restaurant to discuss the job. “A lot of people were interested because of the fact that we were both blind,” she said. “They found it interesting and intriguing to work for blind people.” Once the driver was hired, they then had to be trained in what to “lookout for.” You need to know what repairs need to be done, and the cost involved in doing these repairs. She says it is important to get a good idea of the visual appearance of the property; the landscape, windows, doors, carpeting, paint, bathrooms, etc.
Next she had to research and hire a group of contractors to do repair work. She again ran ads in her local paper looking for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and roofers. “I had to put together a good reliable team of people to have on call,” Lipovsky said. “It was challenging at the beginning because I was a novice and female.” “People aren’t always dependable, so there may be a lot of weeding out in the beginning until you find a good, reliable team.” She also points out that her blindness played a role because people would sometimes inquire how much vision she had. “I would never tell what my real vision level was because some people might try and pull a fast one on me, taking advantage of a situation,” she said.
Lipovsky lost her vision at 4 years old from what she was told was an insect bite. “I was outside playing one day when I started having a bad headache,” she said. “Within two weeks I lost a lot of my vision and was even paralyzed on one side of my body. The doctors were uncertain of the cause and even though the paraplegia when away the vision did not return. It was speculated that optic nerve damage had taken place and that vision loss would be permanent. It was a pretty traumatic time for me and my family," Lipovsky said. “My parents tried all kinds of doctors and procedures, even one of my brother’s friends wanted to donate his eyes to me.”
Lipovsky’s mainstream School years were tuff at first with kids giving her a hard time. “Some of the children would hide my lunch box and books,” she said, thinking it was funny. “But I also had kids that were nice to me too.” Nonetheless she was an active child participating in broad jumps, the fifty-yard dash, bike riding, roller-skating, and horseback riding. “The more things you let your child do that are normal, the better off they are,” she said. “When a child is doing well, and is fitting in with others, they will feel more happy and confident with themselves.”
After high school graduation she started working. Her first job was working as a Dictaphone typist for the local police department. She would type up the reports that officers would call in on accidents, burglaries and other crimes. But shortly after starting she got married and started her family. Her husband’s job caused the family to move around and live in several states, with their last move being in Florida. She was married for 22 years when the stress of her husband’s traveling a lot wore her down and she divorced. From this experience she learned how to manage her own finances and return to school where she took business and psychology courses, which would prove very beneficial in her current career. “When working with tenants and rental properties there is a certain psychology about the whole thing,” Lipovsky said. “You have to try and figure out what kind of people your tenants really might be, trying to insure they are suitable, sometimes having to ask a lot of questions.”
When Lipovsky is not managing her rental properties she volunteers in the community. About two days a week she is a receptionist at both the Florida State Division for the Blind and the Braille and Talking Book Library. She also helps at a local nursing home and is listed as a mentor for the American Foundation for the Blind CareerConnect program. When asked for words of wisdom and career advice, Lipovsky remarks, “Check out the real estate market in your area, do you have a lot of foreclosures or rentals,” she said. “Call local real estate offices just to inquire about the overall market.” She notes it is not necessary to get a real estate license to manage rental properties, or buy and sell, but it is important to do your homework. Ask questions and understand the legal side of the business. “Don’t go into the rental market if you don’t know what you are doing,” she said. “Call people in this industry to find out what is going on because you can’t go into this industry blind.”
Additionally, because of being visually impaired, Lipovsky advises that people should be prepared to address their blindness. “Sighted people will ask about how you will do your paperwork, get to the homes, do repairs,” she said. “Be ready for those questions and have your ducks in a row.”
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I sincerely apologize to everyone for the omission of the Poetry Corner in the last issue. My life was extremely busy during that time, and the deadline slipped right by me. I will try very hard not to let that happen again. Several people mentioned missing the poem. I am truly glad to know that people really read and appreciate the Poetry Corner. I hope you enjoy this one.
Drop a Pebble
by James W. Foley
Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.
Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You've disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.
Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.
Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy ere you dropped that unkind word.
Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.
Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there's gladness still a-swelling, and there's joy circling yet,
And you've rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.
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The Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision (FCCLV) is off to a great start for another year of growth. Under the leadership of our President, Rosanna Lippen, we will continue striving to bring our organization to the attention of citizens with low vision throughout the State of Florida.
In this era of scarce resources, all organizations have to try harder to bring their messages to current and potential members. This year, we added a new clause to the Purpose Statement of the FCCLV Bylaws. The new clause reads as follows:
“To provide advocacy assistance to our members and others in preventing and/or resolving incidents of discrimination, misunderstanding or violation of rights of persons with Low Vision.”
We are committed to advocating for the rights, needs and issues impacting persons with low vision and we support the efforts of FCB in many of its advocacy efforts as well.
We are reaching out to potential members and the public through our new FACEBOOK page – Low Vision Florida Fcclv. For those of you on FACEBOOK, we invite you to search for our new FACEBOOK page and you might even LIKE us.
This is all new to us and we are posting many links on our page. Currently, the focus of our advocacy effort is to raise the public’s awareness of the White Cane Law. FCCLV is one of millions of individuals and organizations on FACEBOOK. But, if we reach people one at a time and are able to convince them to observe the White Cane Law, we feel this effort has been worthwhile.
So, go to our new FACEBOOK page – Low vision Florida Fcclv and look us over. You may even decide to become a member. For membership information, contact Janice Revill at 727 825-0046 or by email at email@example.com
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GOCB has been very busy locally, especially as we wind down 2011. First, our annual membership drive is in its final weeks as this newsletter is published.
Dan Spoone chaired our nominating committee for this year and announced the recommended slate of Officers for 2012. Here’s what they came up with as the slate: President – Sheila Young 1st Vice President – Larry Turnbull 2nd Vice President – Leslie Spoone Recording Secretary – Martha James Treasurer – Bill Freeman Membership Secretary – Jay Bader
We strongly recommend that members attend the November General Meeting. This is the meeting at which we elect officers. As our Immediate Past President, Shelley Justice (now Shelley Sawyer), said last year at this time, “the chapter is only as effective as those Members who participate and support its efforts.”
At the October General Meeting, we were privileged to have Dr. Lorch from Vanda Pharmaceuticals speak about the ongoing sleep study being conducted on blind persons with issues of sleeping and our inner clock. Vanda visited both the ACB and NFB National Conferences and Conventions during the summer regarding this study, and has received much publicity within the blindness community on its importance. Members and Guests asked many questions of the doctor and expressed various opinions. It was truly a learning experience for all who attended.
Through the efforts of 2nd Vice President Leslie Spoone, our chapter was proud to hold a White Cane and Guide Dog Safety Event on October 15th in Baldwin Park. Nearly 30 people, including a few from the NFB chapter, and some few sighted guide volunteers, gathered outside the Publix supermarket for the start of a short walk through the Shopping district of Baldwin Park. Before the walk began, Membership Secretary Jay Bader read a proclamation from President Obama as the day was declared “Blind Americans Equality Day.” Thanks to all who participated in this great day, and GOCB is already planning on working with NFB-GOC in making sure there is plenty of time to insure an even better White Cane Safety Day Event in 2012.
And finally, GOCB Members should take note as to the dates of our next 2 Meetings: Our November 12th meeting is scheduled at our regular meeting place and time. Before our Election of Officers for the next year, there will be a guest speaker who knows a lot about elections to talk with us. On Saturday, December 3rd, GOCB will have its Annual Holiday Luncheon from 11 AM to 2 PM. This year, it will take place at Logan’s Roadhouse.
As this is our last submission for Chapter News before the Holidays, GOCB wishes all a very Happy and Safe Holiday Season, and we will report on our Membership total and Election of Officer results in 2012.
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At the convention in June, the Pinellas Council of the Blind issued a challenge to all of the other chapters and special interest affiliates to match or exceed our donation to FCB. Pinellas donated $100 and some chapters were able to match that or even double it on the spot. The challenge still stands. Please consider donating to FCB. Economic times are bad for all of us and that includes FCB. We need to continue to support our parent organization. I know you will do whatever you can and I thank you for it.
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On Saturday August 27th, at the First Assembly of God Church Complex in the Eagle Nest Cafeteria, SWFCB hosted the FCB Legislative Award Presentation. The event recognized the many accomplishments of Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, covering more then 23 years of service to all of the citizens of the county and especially the disadvantaged.
Mike Ulrich, SWFCB’s President made the presentation that was followed by a brief but direct speech by Commissioner Judah. He pointed out the need for all to communicate with their Federal Representatives concerning matters of national financial concern. Specifically those related to SSDI and transportation. He indicated that while all citizens should be willing to tighten up their financial belts the bulk of the responsibility should not rest on the shoulders of the disadvantaged. His points were well made and well received.
Approximately forty guests were in attendance, representing a wide variety of interests. Organizations, present were:
North Fort Myers Lions Club
Fort Myers Lions Club
Cape Coral Lions Club
The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 94, Lehigh Acres
Blind Veterans Association Florida Regional Group, Southwest District
Talking Books Library of Cape Coral
Lee County Public Library
Lee Tran, the County public transportation system
Visually Impaired Persons Center of Southwest Florida
The guests were treated to a light lunch supplied by the generous contributions of Publix, Winn Dixie and Sweet Bay grocery stores. Cape Coral Sweet Bay supplied the bulk of the refreshments plus catering in the food and helping with its serving. The volunteers of the Eagle Nest Cafeteria also assisted by preparing the room and tables for our guest to enjoy.
The event was very successful, exemplifying SWFCB’s ongoing commitment to “Provide Insight for Blindness” and further inform the public of the blind community’s rightful place in society.
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Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
(Makes 6 servings)
1 3-pound (1.4 kg) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and quartered
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) crushed dried thyme
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) crushed dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) freshly ground pepper
1 quart (1 l) canned no-salt, no-fat chicken broth
1 quart (1 l boiling water
6 ounces (180 g) medium-wide noodles
4 ounces (120 g) button mushrooms, sliced
½ pound (240 g) fresh spinach, well washed and large stems removed
1. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Place in a 5-quart or larger crockery slow cooker. Place the onion, carrot, and parsley around chicken pieces. Sprinkle chicken with thyme, marjoram, and pepper.
2. Add chicken broth, cover, and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
3. When chicken is done, remove from broth and cool for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Discard the onion, carrot, and parsley. Remove and discard the chicken skin and bones. Shred chicken and set aside. Skim off and discard all surface fat from the broth.
4. If cooking on LOW, change setting to HIGH. Add the boiling water, noodles, and mushrooms. Cook until noodles are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and continue to cook until noodles are tender and spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Gently stir in shredded chicken and heat through.
5. Ladle into wide, shallow soup bowls.
285 calories (22% calories from fat), 31 g protein, 7 g total
fat (1.8 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary
fiber, 72 mg cholesterol, 615 mg
potassium, 121 mg sodium
4 lean protein, 1 1/2 carbohydrate (bread/starch)
1 lb. cooked, peeled and cleaned shrimp (fresh or frozen) or 4 cans (4 1/2 or 5 oz. each) shrimp
Thaw frozen shrimp or drain canned shrimp. Cover canned shrimp with ice water and let stand for 5 minutes; drain. Arrange shrimp on ice. Fill small bowl with avocado dip. Provide toothpicks for dipping.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash garlic powder
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons CRISCO all-vegetable shortening or 2 tablespoons CRISCO Stick, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups (about 8 ounces) fresh mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
CRISCO for deep frying
In mixing bowl, combine the flour, cheese, salt, and garlic powder. Stir in the water, melted Crisco, and egg; beat till smooth. Pat the mushrooms dry. Dip mushrooms into batter. Fry, a few mushrooms at a time, in deep Crisco heated to 365ºF. Fry till mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper toweling. Salt lightly and serve immediately.
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Project Insight: 800-267-4448
Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library: 800-226-6075
Division of Blind Services: (Tallahassee) 800-342-1828
American Council of The Blind: 800-424-8666 (available only 3:00 to 5:30 PM EST Monday-Friday)
ACB Legislative Hotline: 800-424-8666 (Evenings 8:00 PM - 12:00 Midnight EST Weekends 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM only)
AT&T Disability Services: 800-872-3883 Press 00 and speak with your long distance carrier or, Florida only 800-982-2891
BellSouth Disability Services: 800-982-2891 from anywhere
Social Security: 800-772-1213 24-hour voice and touch tone accessible
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- THE END -
FLORIDA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
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