The UCB Flier
A publication of
Utah Council of the Blind
For the latest news updates call the Utah Connection 801-299-0670 or 1‑800-273-4569. (You may also leave a message at the end of the announcement.)
Mail correspondence to: UCB, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415. E-mail us at email@example.com.
The UCB Flier is available in large print, Braille, audio CD, as a data (Microsoft Word and a plain text file) CD, and by e-mail. If you would prefer to receive your newsletter in a different format, please call the Utah Connection or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
In This Issue
April Activity................................................................................................ 5
Utah Opera Presents Die Fledermaus........................................................ 6
Work Ability Career Exploration & Job Fair................................................ 7
Scriptures Available at No Cost.................................................................. 8
Driverless Transportation?......................................................................... 9
Community Project Program.................................................................... 11
In Memory................................................................................................ 12
Book Review............................................................................................ 14
For Dog Guide Users............................................................................... 17
Ogden Association of the Blind Seminar.................................................. 18
Ogden Association of the Blind Annual Dinner and Auction..................... 19
February Sing Along and Day of Chocolate............................................. 19
For Sale: Large Cell Perkins Braille Writer............................................... 21
Adaptive Technology Grants.................................................................... 21
Seeking Donated Technology.................................................................. 22
Finding Videos with Audio Descriptions.................................................... 23
They Can’t See, But Blind Hockey Players Can Pass, Shoot and Score.. 25
Introducing New Accessibility Features on Kindle and Fire...................... 40
Navajo Teacher Develops Braille System to Help Visually Impaired Read Tribal Language....................................................................................... 43
Computer Terms...................................................................................... 47
Computer Viruses Going Around.............................................................. 48
General UCB Information......................................................................... 50
Upcoming Board Meetings...................... 51
Note to Braille and Audio Readers
Article links are omitted from these versions for ease of reading, but may be found in the newsletter archived on our website at utahcounciloftheblind.org
Articles and announcements included in this publication are presented for your information and interest. They reflect the opinions of the respective authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the UCB.
February has flown by, and I have been trying to think of what to write about. This seems to be one of those months when not a lot comes to mind, and so I want to take a couple of minutes to remind everyone about the cookbooks that are in process. The first one is one that I have put together based on recipes that I received when I moved out on my own. They have been my go to recipes over the years and were mostly contributed by one of my sisters. I have always had them in print and am excited to have them in braille and all in one place. My family and I are excited that they can be part of the braille literacy program. We hope that everyone that receives them will enjoy them as much as we do.
The other cookbook that we are trying to compile is one by UCB members. I have received a few recipes so far and would love to have more. I hope this will be a fun project for all of us to contribute and learn new and wonderful recipes from each other. If any of you have something you would like to share, please leave a message for me on the Utah Connection or email me at: email@example.com.
This month's activity is being held in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day. This is because Wendy Greenwood, who brought so many fun accessible techie gadgets to our tech fair, has offered to make herself and many of her products available to us on Wednesday, April 18th from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Sandy Ruconich will also be showing the new Braille Orbit, a comparatively inexpensive notetaker costing about $500; and Karl Smith will be with us so that you can try the Victor Trek, an exciting product from Humanware which gives you amazing GPS guidance as you walk or ride around.
We will be having lunch at 12:00 noon followed by lots of fun hands-on stuff to look at. Reservations must be made for lunch by calling the Utah Connection no later than Friday, April 13th. The cost for lunch is $3.00 payable at the door for those who reserve. Otherwise, you can just come at 12:30 for fun and learning.
Finally, we are offering free transportation for anyone in South Davis County or Salt Lake County, and for any others who can access bus, train, or Front Runner to get into Salt Lake. If you need a ride, please leave your name and phone number on the Utah Connection.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Presentation begins promptly at 6:00 p.m.
Opera starts at 7:00 p.m.
The Capitol Theatre
50 W 200 S
Salt Lake City
This year’s offering is Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus and promises to be great fun! It is an operetta with lots of waltzy love tunes and will be performed in English. It is the grand finale of Utah Opera’s 40th anniversary season.
Reservations are required no later than
Monday, May 7. Contact:
Moran Eye Center – 801-585-2213
Utah Connection – 801-299-0670
Online – usuoeducation.org/specialneeds
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
5709 S. 1500 W.
Lunch provided--sponsored by UTBLN.
For more information, contact Thomas Smith at 801-887-0282 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Excellent Affirmative Action Plan activity
SAVE THE DATE:
Fall Work Ability Job Fair
October 2, 2018
Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities by calling 801-526-9240. Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may call the Relay Utah by dialing 711. Spanish Relay Utah: 1-888-346-3162.
The UCB has two copies of the Book of Mormon, one on cd, the other in Braille and a dramatized King James Bible on cassette. These are available at no cost on a first come first served basis to anyone who would like them. If you are interested, please leave your name and phone number on the Utah Connection.
Chinese company shows off passenger drone - Business News - 13 WTHR Indianapolis
A passenger rides in a drone developed by EHang, Inc.
Published: Feb 7th, 2018 - 10:33pm (EST)
LIANYNGANG, China (WTHR) - A Chinese tech company is touting what it calls the first passenger drone, which made its maiden public flight this week.
The company behind the flight, EHang, Inc., says passengers just have to get into the small cabin and fasten their seatbelts and the automated flight system takes over. EHang CEO Derrick Xiong said no other flying vehicles are capable of fully autonomous flying.
The company said the electrically powered drone can carry a single passenger weighing up to 136 pounds on a 23-minute flight at up to 62 miles per hour.
The company says the drone has been tested over a thousand times and is designed to withstand winds of at least 30 miles per hour.
The company is eyeing a broader market for the drone.
"(The drone can) Kind of help people to avoid the traffic on the ground, but also in other applications, we can always think about emergency rescue, or we can transport patients to the hospital, or we can do a tourism, you know, fly from one island to the other," Xiong said.
EHang said the final commercial product could possibly fly into the market within the year. Last year, Dubai announced a plan to cooperate with EHang to develop self-flying taxis to carry people across the city.
We would like to take a moment to let people know about our Community projects program. The program has funds available to those who need help with home repairs, bills, travel expenses for work, and clothing for work. These are a few of the situations where we may be able to assist on a short-term basis. We have also been able to help with hot water heaters, and wood for the elderly. The program is headed by JD Seely, who doing an awesome job for us He has worked very hard to get donations for us from places such as Home Depot, Chick-fil-a, Walmart, and other contributors. At this time, we have LED bulbs and fixtures that may benefit those who have low vision and need more lighting in a room. The fixtures do not have any dome and can use 3 100-watt LED bulbs. If anyone is interested, please let us know. You may contact us at the UCB office or contact Tina Terry via the Utah Connection.
It is likely that if you have been involved with the blindness community during the past 60 years, you most likely met and/or worked with Marianne Fisher formerly known as Cleta Johnson. Besides her more than twenty years as a voice in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Marianne was a teacher of the blind as well as a rehabilitation counsellor. It is because of these many years of serving blind people that I write to share the news of her passing.
I know she was a young teacher of the blind when she came to teach me braille. Unfortunately, I was denied this service by the state because of my youth. Marianne was an excellent braille reader and teacher. Many of you probably benefited from her service as a vocational rehabilitation counsellor. She often stated that her number of closures were the highest in the agency. Marianne was my counsellor when I was asked to start a braille transcription business because of the lack of this service in the state. She loved people with sight loss. She belonged to both the UCB as well as the NFB from time to time. She was an exceptional dog guide user, which helped her live independently most of her life. I feel certain I do not know of all of her accomplishments, but I do know that she ran her own business of medical transcriptionists. She loved genealogy, music, and writing. One of the hymns she wrote is published in the hymn book for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Marianne volunteered a great deal of her time speaking about blindness and its challenges. Usually, when she spoke, she also sang. She was also a great story teller. My favorite story she told on herself took place on one of her many genealogy research trips. Apparently, Marianne was in Heber after doing some genealogy research on a very hot July day. She and her mother stopped to buy a drink and an ice cream cone. The day was so hot that as soon as she had her drink and ice cream cone placed in her hands, the ice cream began to drip on her genealogy papers. In reflex to save the papers, she tossed the ice cream cone out the window. Being totally blind she had no idea that just outside of the window was a policeman. The ice cream splattered all over his shiny shoes and pant cuffs. Without hesitation, the policeman wrote her a $300 ticket for littering. She had to go to court to fight the ticket. Funny thing, I can't remember if she had to pay the fine or not. However, the most important thing to Marianne was that she saved her precious genealogy. It would have been something to have seen that policeman's face when the ice cream hit him.
Marianne leaves no family, but she leaves a legacy of helping a great number of people with sight loss as well as a memorable example to everyone who knew her.
By Tom Mitchell
“NLS description: Spaceman: an astronaut's unlikely journey to unlock the secrets of the universe
by Mike Massimino
Read by Bill Wallace.
An astronaut chronicles his life and the journey to his career. Discusses his growing up in New York, figuring out how to achieve his dreams of working for NASA, his initial medical disqualification due to his eyesight, and his eventual training. Includes anecdotes of the other astronauts he has met over the years. 2018.
What! Another space book? Yes. I admit I love space books. I've read several during last year, and I haven't mentioned any of them because they haven't been that great. But this one is. And in my opinion, the NLS description doesn't even come close to doing it justice.
Mike Massimino, I think, is an unusual astronaut who is more interested in people than engineering, even though he has a Ph.D. in human engineering. This book has very little, if any, technical detail of how the shuttle works, and no boring discussion of scientific theory.
Massimino talks mostly about having a dream of flying the shuttle, how he began to feel it could never happen, then his realization of how he could make it happen, and what it was like for a basically shy man, often unsure of his own abilities, to make that dream come true, anyway. He was initially disqualified because of his poor eyesight, but after researching the latest information about his eye problem, he learned the proper way to make his eyes work, and achieved getting 20-20 vision. He is not what I think of as a typical astronaut who knew how to get there all the time. He talks about the many mistakes he made in trying to make his way to NASA and about the mistakes he made after he got there.
In discussing his two flights, he doesn't go into prolonged detail about his flights, what happened when he reach space, and then next, and then next, but about the over-all feel of flying in space and what he learned about the earth as he flew. In describing that view, he talks more about what it made him feel rather than trying to describe what he saw. And by the time you finish reading what he says, he makes you feel an appreciation of the earth, and his thankfulness for this earth that God has created for us.
I could go on and on about this book, but suffice it to say that this is a truly human book about his life and about his work as an astronaut. It's a book worth reading, and one I literally couldn't put down once I started it. In fact, I became annoyed when I got interrupted to do things that had to be done right then while I was reading it. This book is a must-read.
Greatest Paws on Earth is an independent group of people interested in guide dogs and issues concerning them. They meet each month on the 3rd Thursday via conference call to talk about a different topic in which dog guide users may be interested.
On April 18, we will be discussing good grooming and perhaps pick up some information we didn't know or have forgotten. And in May, we will visit the vet.
For more information on the organization contact its president, Sandy England, at email@example.com . The call-in number is 800-835-8395, access code 1623768.
On March 22, the Ogden Association of the Blind will be holding its last training seminar at Roads to Independence at 1:00 p.m. the subject is geared to those seeking employment. Those who attend will learn how to write a resume, how to dress for an interview, how to find jobs and more. to make a reservation to attend call Mary at 801-392-2652.
The Ogden Association of the Blind is holding its annual fund raiser on Friday, April 13, at the Hope Center in Roy, 5051 S. 2000 W., Roy. Dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by a live auction at 7:15. Adults are $20 and children under 12 are $10. Dinner will include spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and dessert. Entertainment includes music and a comedian. to make reservations for this great night of good and entertainment call Mary at 801-392-2652. We look forward to supporting the work of the OAB.
The UCB February activity was one of a kind. Sandra Ruconich once again shared her marvelous talent as she played for everyone to sing oldies but goodies. Not all of us were as outstanding as others, as we sang along. Even though the result was not prize winning, it was loads of fun. Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates followed with a presentation on making chocolates and building a business. There were lots of samples and even more goodies to buy. No one went away without a chocolate fix.
Play dough was passed out and prizes were awarded for categories such as the most recognizable, the longest, the most flat, and the most unique sculptures. Volunteer scouts acted as judges. It is worth mentioning that there is some real talent in the hands of the members. It is unfortunate that play dough is not lasting, because some of the work was really exceptional.
Members of the UCB brought homemade soup to serve for lunch along with French bread. Dessert was chocolate, of course. A big thanks for taco soup, enchilada soup and cream-of-cauliflower soup. The best part of the event is the opportunity to interact with great friends.
There is now available one of those rare large cell Perkins Braille Writers for only $300. These special braillers are particularly good for those who have difficulty feeling the regular dots produced by an average braille writer. If you have an interest, please call 801-292-1156. This machine is refurbished and is manual.
Just a reminder that the UCB offers small grants to help purchase expensive adaptive technology for people with sight loss. The grant is up to $500. It is important to remember that you must be able to pay 25% of the cost of the item. If the technology is $500 you must be able to pay $125 of the cost. The applications are easily filled out online or in print. If you need something like a victor stream, an adapted computer, a talking clock, a Pen Friend or other device to help you deal with sight loss call the Utah Connection and leave your name and contact info, and an application will be sent to you. There are limited funds, so hurry so you do not miss out.
The UCB is seeking outstanding students to apply for its scholarships. There is also a need to nominate outstanding volunteers to be recognized for all the good things they do to help people who are losing sight. If you need a scholarship application or wish to nominate an outstanding volunteer, leave your contact information on the Utah Connection.
If you find that you can no longer use your adaptive technology, the UCB is asking that you consider donating it to the UCB to be placed with someone who can use it and may not be able to afford their own. You can receive a tax deduction for your donation plus you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped someone else. The UCB is appreciative of any donations. CCTV's, magnifiers, talking devices, braille writers, etc. Thank you for thinking of the UCB when you wish to make someone a gift of your old technology.
From the New York Times
Q. I am blind, and I do not subscribe to any streaming video services at the moment. How would you suggest I determine, quickly, whether a good percentage of the original content and current popular third-party content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for starters, is audio-described and/or dubbed?
A. A good place to start is the Audio Description Project page on the website of the American Council of the Blind. The page, optimized for screen-reader software, has a running list of streaming services that offer videos with “audio descriptions” — added narration about scenes, characters, costumes and more — for people who cannot see what is happening. The list, which is updated regularly, is available at www.acb.org/adp/streaming.html.
According to the council, Netflix has more than “500 audio-described TV series, documentaries, original programming and children’s shows in the U.S.A.,” including most of the company’s original productions, like “House of Cards.” Although you must be a member to get access to Netflix’s full list of current videos with audio descriptions, the council’s site has compiled its own alphabetized list of audio-described Netflix content at www.acb.org/adp/netflixad.html.
Amazon Prime Video has about 350 movies and TV shows with audio descriptions, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and a number of popular theatrical films. The council’s own tally of Amazon Prime shows is at www.acb.org/adp/amazonad.html.
The Audio Description Project page notes several other streaming services and broadcast shows that are accessible, including Apple’s iTunes Store for purchased and rented video. The WatchABC app for mobile devices and some set-top boxes has audio-described content.
Some other video services have been slow to add audio descriptions, but as technology enables more accessibility with television, expect to hear of more available content. For the curious, sample clips with audio description can be found on YouTube.
Article Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/devil-may-care-were-going-to-go-play-the-fellowship-and-thrill-of-blind-hockey/2018/02/05/578a7d48-fcb3-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?utm_term=.58055d5a6083
The skate-safe rubber-matted hallway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington fills quickly on a Sunday morning in January. People hurry in carrying hockey sticks; bulging bags of gear line the walls. At first glance, it looks like any other weekend at an ice rink. But there are harnessed guide dogs calmly navigating through the crowd, some skaters are wearing sunglasses or making their way with white canes, and people are including their names in greetings: “Hi, it’s Matt.” “Hi, it’s Karen.” They’re all here to try, or help others try, a sport new to the Washington region, and to the country: blind hockey.
The Washington Wheelers Blind Hockey Club is hosting today’s event, which includes a group skate and a demonstration game, to increase awareness and recruit players. Once everyone has the right gear, Wheelers players and several volunteers join about 20 newcomers of all ages on the ice. Some tentative skaters take the right-angled arms or gloved hands proffered to them; others carry canes into the rink and tap the wall as they go. Club co-founder Craig Fitzpatrick, 41, wearing a Wheelers jacket and a USA Hockey baseball cap, stops next to a boy in orange snow pants standing uncertainly near the door. “Come on the ice with me,” Fitzpatrick says, swiveling backward and reaching out, so the boy can hold his hands. He pushes off, gently gaining speed until the boy’s strides grow longer and more confident. Player Emily Molchan, 24, skates with Remington, her 4-year-old Labrador retriever, who slides around the ice wearing protective bootees.
Tina Butera, a pediatric ophthalmologist and club co-founder, watches in a white Wheelers sweatshirt. “There’s a blind person skating with their seeing-eye dog,” she muses aloud to no one in particular. “What’s your excuse today?”
Canadians have played organized blind hockey for over 40 years; in French, it’s called “hockey sonore,” meaning hockey played by sound. But blind hockey — players range from legally blind (or 20/200 corrected vision) to entirely blind — has been officially organized in the United States only since 2014. Kevin Shanley, of New Paltz, N.Y., a 39-year-old engineering professor who has been legally blind since age 6, co-founded the first organization, the New York Nightshade, four years ago; Fitzpatrick calls him “our George Washington.”
Matt Morrow, sport director for the International Blind Ice Hockey Federation as well as the executive director of the Canadian Blind Hockey Association, estimates there are about 100 players in the States, about 50 of whom are still learning, but the game is growing quickly here. According to Morrow, there are now nine American groups: the Wheelers, established in February 2016; a newer D.C.-area group, the Washington Elite, which is run by the Blinded Veterans Association; two teams in New York; and teams in Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Hartford, Conn., and, as of last month, Denver. (The Wheelers partnered with the BVA during the 2016-17 season, but they are now separate organizations. The Elite, which receives some funding from a Department of Veterans Affairs grant, practices in Alexandria at the Mount Vernon RECenter and, like the Wheelers, hosts introductory programs and regional events.) Canada, by comparison, has about 125 players and seven programs, according to Morrow; names include the Calgary Seeing Ice Dogs and the Vancouver Eclipse.
In both countries, the local organizations offer training and scrimmages but don’t usually compete against one another. Players, however, can attend regional and national tournaments in either country. National events in the United States include the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival, scheduled for April in West Dundee, Ill., and the Blind Hockey Summit, which took place last fall near Pittsburgh. And Canadian and American organizers are working toward a four-nation tournament by 2020.
Blind hockey looks a lot like standard hockey: Players swoosh down the ice, passing a puck with the goal of slinging it into a net. But it sounds very different. The adapted puck — a hollow metal canister filled with ball bearings, which is nearly twice the size of a regular rubber puck — rattles across the surface, clanging like a bunch of cowbells when a hard shot sends it into the boards. Skaters find the puck by listening for it. “It’s loud!” Butera says. “It’s so simple, it’s genius.”
Before play begins, teammates guide goalies — who typically have the least vision on the team — to their nets, which are about a foot lower than regulation to minimize high shots goalies can’t hear coming (the puck doesn’t make much noise in the air). Players have to complete one pass before taking shots on net, which helps alert the goalie and other defenders to an approaching puck. A referee also uses a special electronic whistle to signal when the pass has been completed and the team is eligible to score. Jerseys are in bright, high-contrast colors so those with contrast sensitivities can differentiate teams (white jerseys are not permitted because they blend in too easily with the ice). No checking is allowed.
“People don’t understand how blind people can play hockey,” says Wheelers Coach Nick Albicocco, 35, who is sighted. It’s the sound, he says, that helps players adapt: “The game of hockey by its nature is a confined space. Because you have boards and you have glass, it already confines the sound. You’re not in the wide open, you’re not losing sound.”
“It’s when the puck stops that I don’t know where it is,” says goalie Doug Goist, 49, of Alexandria, who lost his vision completely to retinitis pigmentosa. “All I hear are the skates sloshing around — shh, shh, shh — so I know roughly where [the skaters are], on the left side or right side or in front of me. And I can hear people whacking their sticks on the ice, which means pass it to me.”
Kevin Brown describes how sound helps him as a defensive player. “When the goalie talks, he’s focused on that one place, in the crease, all the time. He’s always my 6 o’clock. So, if I think I am going northeast but I’m going east-west, and the goalie chirps, then I’m thinking, ‘Oh! That wall’s coming up faster than I thought.’”
When those unfamiliar with ice hockey hear about blind players, they’re often surprised. “People think it’s a dangerous sport to begin with, so it’s not something they think blind people can do,” says Eileen Brown, Kevin’s wife. But players like to prove doubters wrong. “When I told my eye doctor I was thinking about playing hockey, he said, ‘Absolutely not,’” Fitzpatrick says. “And I said, ‘I am absolutely going to do it after you said that.’”
The Wheelers’ logo nods slyly at the perception of danger. It features a man on a motorcycle, wearing a helmet with a solid visor. His hockey stick is behind him while his seeing-eye dog perches in the sidecar. Fitzpatrick — an Air Force veteran and CEO of a technology company whose vision loss stems from Stargardt disease, a form of macular degeneration — calls it an inside joke. “Low-vision people tend to have a wicked sense of humor about our lot in life,” he says. “Devil-may-care, we’re going to go play.”
Diana McCown’s preteen sons, Nate and Aiden, both have albinism, often associated with vision loss. They have been playing with the Wheelers for a little over a year, and they fly around the ice during the group skate until their mother calls them off. How do they feel out there? “Happy,” says Nate. “Happy,” agrees Aiden. “I like ice.”
McCown, 44, of Takoma Park saw information about a blind hockey event on a D.C.-based albinism-focused online group. “I really thought it was going to be a one-time thing,” she says. But after the first practice, she says, Nate told her, “‘Mom, I’m going to go to school tomorrow and I’m going to tell all my friends I’m a hockey player.’ And it takes your breath away, right? And one of the pieces I try to build in my kids is try to own who they are, and if they want to go play ice hockey and they can’t see a darn thing, then let them go play hockey.”
Other young Wheelers include another player with albinism, Tyrese Springer, 17, a high school wrestler who travels to practices from Catonsville, Md., near Baltimore, and Caleigh Griffiths, 19, of Chesapeake, Va., who attends Old Dominion University. An experienced skater who grew up playing with sighted teammates, Griffiths has familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, which causes progressive vision loss. She says blind hockey is easier “because everyone else is pretty much at the same sighted level that I am, so it’s not like I’m fighting to be where everyone else is.” Predicts Shanley, who is also the blind hockey representative for USA Hockey: “Give it five years, and we are going to have a bunch of kids’ teams.”
But even players who didn’t come early to the sport love it. Goist, who is a program manager for IT services projects at National Industries for the Blind, met Fitzpatrick in a bar one evening. “He started mentioning blind hockey and I just started laughing for like two minutes. Because it was beyond my understanding of how that would work,” Goist says. Though he agreed to come to an introductory event, he had no intention of participating. “I just wanted to see what it was about and support it,” he says. Nevertheless, he found himself in goal, wearing pads and skates. He’s still there.
Brown, who is 46 and from Falls Church, had played and coached many sports — including soccer, basketball and football — but had no ice hockey experience before he started skating with the Wheelers. The director of marketing for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Brown has cone-rod dystrophy, a degenerative condition, and now only has light perception. His vision had worsened in 2016, around the same time he found out about the Wheelers. “My philosophy in life is, I’m not afraid to fail, I’m afraid not to try,” he says. “So, coming out was exciting, and I did a little skating, and the next morning they said, ‘You want to come out and play in a hockey practice?’ And I said, ‘Hey, there must be a higher power telling me to come out here.’ And I’ve loved it ever since.”
Kettler and Arlington County donate ice time to the Wheelers, and a nonprofit called Leveling the Playing Field offers gear — so players don’t have to pay to participate unless they travel to competitions. Fitzpatrick’s goal for the Wheelers, which is also a nonprofit, is to raise money to hold more events, buy supplemental gear and support travel. “The only real way to experience the whole blind hockey deal is to be part of these competitions also,” he says. “Otherwise, you’re just practicing every week.” Brown traveled to the Blind Hockey Summit in 2017, playing in six games in a weekend. “It was a blast,” he says. “So personally motivating and humbling at the same time.”
At the Wheelers’ weekly practices, there are usually seven to 10 blind players of varying ages and skill levels. This means that during scrimmages, sighted players often fill in for still-developing blind skaters; Fitzpatrick would like the program to grow enough for scrimmages to consistently be five-on-five, and blind on blind. “That’s kind of the benchmark for when you realize that your program has grown and become sustainable,” he says.
Mainly, though, Fitzpatrick wants more visually impaired people to experience what hockey has to offer. “It’s turned me around, big time,” he says, a sentiment echoed by other players.
“I can’t get enough of it,” says Brown. “You get a lot of people that have similar challenges, and for an hour and a half on the ice you forget all those challenges.”
Playing hockey upends assumptions about blindness, says Molchan, who has Stargardt disease. “People think that blind people can’t do things, but they really can,” she says. “There’s nothing a blind person can’t do. Except maybe see.”
It’s time for the demonstration game, and the new skaters and their families line the bleachers, listening attentively as an announcer reads the rules over the loudspeaker. Emily Molchan’s dog waits with her at the door, tail wagging, apparently ready to head back onto the ice. She hands his harness to Diana McCown, and skates out, wearing a red Wheelers jersey.
There are 24 players, including 10 sighted players who will fill in but won’t take shots. Teams wear yellow and red. Goist is in one net. In the other is Ian Cohen, 28, a sighted volunteer and client services director of Leveling the Playing Field; he pulls a knit stocking cap over his helmet to act as a blindfold.
Albicocco, serving as referee, hoists the puck and rattles it. The McCown brothers, starting at center for opposing teams, face each other as the puck drops, clattering onto the ice. Immediately, the air is filled with sound. Sticks clack, skates shoosh, and the puck clanks into the boards, creating a racket that echoes. When players make long passes, the puck doesn’t jangle as much, but then — wham! — Springer knocks it, and it rattles across the ice. Players shout at each other — “Here!” or “Center!” — and Albicocco’s electronic whistle trills, signaling that a pass has been completed. Cohen, in net, gets ready for a shot.
Aiden McCown, wearing No. 4 for the yellow team, scores. His teammates crowd around, embracing him and cheering. The crowd cheers, too. But the celebration lasts only a moment. Then, the rattle of the puck cracks the air. It’s time to play on.
After the game, the players, cheeks ruddy, file out past a clapping audience. Brown, who scored to help propel the yellow team to a 2-0 victory, reflects on the day. “The fact that I scored a goal is so infrequent, and it doesn’t happen a lot with a blind defenseman,” he says. “But the highlight of the day was when we were taking the picture. Craig and I were standing in the front and there was a young man behind us, probably early teens. And he said, ‘Mom, Dad, this is so much fun. I want to do it again.’”
We have been making steady improvements to the accessibility of our Kindle e-books and the Kindle reading experience. Earlier this year we added support for ALT text for images to Kindle e-books, which we made available to blind and low vision customers on Kindle for PC and on Fire OS with VoiceView. Today we are delighted to announce support for accessible math equations.
Customers can use the 2017.4 release of the popular open source NVDA screen reader to read math equations in Kindle e-books. NVDA is able to parse equations encoded in MathML, allowing customers to navigate within those math equations as well as review them via Nemeth math codes on a connected braille display. Publisher provided ALT text for math equations is also supported, and is available to blind and low vision customers using NVDA, as well as via the VoiceView screen reader on Fire Tablets. Already hundreds of Kindle e-Books are available with accessible math equations.
In the past few months we’ve also added a number of text rendering features to Kindle book reading across many of our reading surfaces. On Kindle e-Readers, iOS, Fire OS, Android, and PC customers can choose the OpenDyslexic font, adjust page margins, adjust line spacing, and select right ragged text rendering. On the all-new Kindle Oasis, as well as current releases of Kindle reader on iOS, FireOS, and Android, customers can choose from a number of font boldness options, increasing the weight of any font used within the Kindle e-book. Also available on the all-new Kindle Oasis is a Large Display option to increase the size of the user interface on several key screens, and Invert Black and White for customers who prefer white text and graphics on a black background. Invert Black and White applies to the entire user interface as well as e-book content. See the full list of Kindle accessibility features on our Kindle Accessibility page.
Additionally, we have updated the gesture language for our VoiceView customers on Fire Tablets, introducing a host of new features, paired with new and improved gestures for using them. VoiceView customers have consistently asked us to go beyond the stock Android screen reader gestures, and now all existing VoiceView customers on our 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7thgeneration Tablets are receiving a free, over-the-air update to Fire OS 5.6.0, which includes the new VoiceView gestures. The new gestures/features include the Stop Speech command (two-finger single-tap), Turn Screen Curtain On/Off (three-finger triple-tap) and the new Learn Mode for gesture practice (four-finger double-tap). These are all described on our CS help page “Guide to VoiceView Screen Reader for Fire Tablet”.
It remains Day 1 for accessibility at Amazon and we will continue to refine these experiences for all customers across our product lineup. Let us know how you are using Kindle e-Books at firstname.lastname@example.org, and how you are using the VoiceView screen reader at email@example.com; we’d love to hear from you.
FARMINGTON — As Carol Begay Green's index finger moved along the Navajo braille code she developed, she read aloud a story about a boy and his monkey.
Green, a teacher of the blind and visually impaired for the Farmington Municipal School District, has developed a braille code for the Navajo language.
Braille is a system of raised dots that enables people who are blind or visually impaired to read and write through touch, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.
The Navajo braille code Green developed uses English Braille – with the absence of the letters f, p, q, r, u and v – and with the addition of a prefix code for the vowels a, e, i and o.
There is also code to instruct the reader to pronounce vowels as eight plain, high tone, plain nasal or high tone and nasal.
"The advantage of having this code for the reader is that they can distinguish and pronounce everything properly," Green said.
Green, who is born for Tó'aheedlííníí (Water Flow Together Clan), was raised in Michigan but visited her parental grandparents in Lukachukai, Arizona.
She learned basic words in the Navajo language from her grandparents and the exposure instilled a lifelong interest in further learning the language.
During Green's junior year in college, she transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and graduated from there in 1991.
Before joining the Farmington Municipal School District in 2010, she taught at Red Mesa Elementary School in Red Mesa, Arizona and at Nataani Nez Elementary School in Shiprock.
Green developed vision problems as a child and eventually lost sight in her left eye at 13.
Cataract surgery in her right eye in 2000 led to further decline in her vision and, in 2009, she learned how to read and write braille.
Since she wanted to continue learning how to speak, read and write Navajo, she asked the Braille Authority of North America in 2013 if a braille code for Navajo was available.
When she found out there was none, she began working on one. To her knowledge, her work resulted in the first code for Navajo.
Another reason Green, who has a National Certification in Unified English Braille, developed the Navajo braille code was to provide the opportunity for blind and visually impaired Navajo students to learn about their traditional language.
With the Navajo language being taught in schools, and in some cases, a requirement for students to apply for scholarships, Green wanted blind or visually impaired students to have fair opportunity.
"I thought if I am going to develop it for myself, then I might as well share it so these children have that opportunity. The same as their peers," she said.
In a resolution passed by the Navajo Nation Board of Education in October 2015, the Navajo braille code was adopted to teach blind and visually impaired tribal members Navajo.
Green continues to share information about the code at various conferences and in presentations across the country.
One of Green's students in Farmington is a Navajo girl who is learning English braille.
"She is just learning braille. As she moves in her progress, she might want to take the Navajo language in junior high and high school. That will be an option to her now," Green said.
State-of-the-art: Any computer you can't afford.
Obsolete: Any computer you own.
Microsecond: The time it takes for your state-of-the-art computer to become obsolete.
GUI (pronounced "gooey"): What your computer becomes after spilling your coffee on it.
Keyboard: The standard way to generate computer errors.
Mouse: An advanced input device to make computer errors easier to generate.
Floppy: The state of your wallet after purchasing a computer.
Portable Computer: A device invented to force businessmen to work at home, on vacation, and on business trips.
Disk Crash: A typical computer response to any critical deadline.
System Update: A quick method of trashing ALL of your software.
Politically Correct virus: Never calls itself a "virus", but instead refers to itself as an "electronic microorganism."
Government Economist virus: Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine.
New World Order virus: Probably harmless, but it makes a lot of people really mad just thinking about it.
Bureaucrat virus: Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which does practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most important part of your computer.
Oedipus Rex virus: Your computer becomes obsessed with marrying its own motherboard.
Elvis virus: Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy, then self-destructs.
Donni Mitchell volunteers in the UCB Office at DSBVI, 250 N 1950 W, Salt Lake City, UT, from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. If you wish to make a purchase, we recomend you give her a call at 801-520-3766 to be sure she is there when you visit to purchase cab coupons, t-shirts, screwdriver/hammers, 20/20 pens, signature guides, or measuring cups and spoons.
The UCB maintains a listserv to keep our computer users up-to-date on interesting information as it comes along and to help facilitate an open dialogue between our members. To join the UCB Listserv, send a blank email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a request to verify your wish to subscribe. Just reply without changing or adding to the message.
We are always looking for articles, book reviews, or interesting tidbits of information from our readers or other interested persons. The deadline for submitting items for publication is the 1st of the month, e.g. the deadline for the May newsletter is April 1st. You may e-mail any articles you wish to submit to our editor, TerriLynne Pomeroy, at email@example.com, or send Braille or print to UCB Newsletter, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415; please allow extra time for processing Braille or print.
If you have questions or concerns for any board member or to be placed on the agenda of a board meeting, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and you will receive a timely reply.
Members are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Board of Directors. These are typically held the fourth Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the DSBVI Board Room (in the southeast corner of the building), except as noted.
· Monday, April 23, 2018
· Monday, May 28, 2018
· Monday, June 25, 2018