The UCB Flier

A publication of

Utah Council of the Blind

July 2017

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

In This Issue

IMPORTANT DATE TO NOTE:  SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 UCB ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING................................................................. 2

2017 ELECTIONS CALL FOR NOMINATIONS...................................... 2

BYLAW AMENDMENTS......................................................................... 3

President's Message.................................................................................. 4

Upcoming Event......................................................................................... 5

Latest Calendar with Updates.................................................................... 5

UTA Announces Volunteer Driver Program in Davis and Weber Counties. 5

New Transportation Program..................................................................... 6

Health Tidbit............................................................................................... 7

A Day at Seaquest..................................................................................... 7

Inside the Burgeoning World of Audio Description, a Game-Changer in Accessible TV............................................................................................. 8

These Gorgeous Designer Gowns Are Made by Blind Dressmakers....... 10

Narrated Videos, Taped and CD Books Now Available to You................. 14

Ceramic Class.......................................................................................... 14

General UCB Information......................................................................... 15

Upcoming Board Meetings.................................................................... 15


The Annual Business Meeting of the Utah Council of the Blind will be held at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 250 N 1950 W, Salt Lake City, UT at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Reservations are required so that we can have enough food for everyone. Please call the Utah Connection or email with your name, the names of others in your party, and your telephone number no later than Monday, September 11th. When you make your reservation, please indicate whether or not each person in your party is a member of the UCB, whether you use large print or braille, any dietary restrictions you or a member of your party may have, and if you will need a listening device or any other accommodation.

Membership Verification: In order to vote at the annual business meeting a member’s dues for 2017 must be paid no later than September 9, 2017. If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact our Membership Chair, Aunilie Hathaway, at (801) 244-5505 or via e-mail at


During this year’s annual business meeting, we will be electing the president, secretary, and four 2-year board members. As specified in the UCB Bylaws: "Any qualified member of the organization wishing to run for a position on the Board of Directors may notify a member of the Committee by submitting an approximately 200‑word written statement concerning his/her qualifications and vision for the future of the organization, which will be distributed to the membership." Please note that it is the intent of this by‑law that the statement is from the nominee; it is not intended to be an expression of anyone else’s opinion of the candidate. (200 words are approximately two medium paragraphs.) "In order to be eligible for election a person must have been a member of the organization for not less than six months and have been active on a committee. In addition, the president and vice president must be legally blind.

Nominating Committee: We are pleased to announce that the Nominating Committee chair for this year is Leslie Gertsch; her committee members are Cordie Weed and Kira Larkin. Anyone who wishes to run for one of these positions, please send your statement to:

Utah Council of the Blind
Nominating Committee
PO Box 1415
Bountiful UT 84011-1415
or by e-mail to

Your statements of intent to run must be received on or before July 27, 2017 in order to allow time for the statements to be prepared to be printed in the September newsletter. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Leslie at (801) 292-1156.


Proposed Bylaws amendments must be submitted to:

Utah Council of the Blind
PO Box 1415
Bountiful UT 84011-1415
or by e-mail to

Proposals must be received on or before July 27, 2017 in order for them to be prepared to be published in the September newsletter.

President's Message

Dear UCB members and friends,

I hope this message finds all of you enjoying your long summer days, finding ways to stay cool while still enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

I love this time of year. For me, it means spending more time with my kids doing things that we love. One thing we love to do is to build a campfire at the end of a busy day, then talking about the day, telling stories and most of all roasting marshmallows together. Have you ever roasted marshmallows? It is not easy; it takes time, attention, and patience. If you get the marshmallow too close to the flame or the coals, it burns right up (not my favorite kind of marshmallow). If you don't get the marshmallow close enough, well, you have a cold marshmallow. And let's not forget that if the marshmallow gets too hot, it slides right off the stick into the fire. If I'm not paying attention, this happens to me all the time. Okay, here comes the analogy.

I've been thinking about this roasting marshmallow thing and it's kind of like some life experiences. Like learning a new skill such as reading braille or learning a new mobility route or learning a new hobby.

Like the roasting marshmallow, these things take time, attention, and patience. As we exhibit these characteristics we can accomplish crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside marshmallows.

Please check out the rest of this flyer for upcoming events. You are all awesome. Have a great rest of your summer. And enjoy marshmallows.

Anna Jeffery,
President, Utah Council of the Blind

"Action is the foundational key to all success."
-- Pablo Picasso

Upcoming Event

Our August activity is the musical, Nine to Five. We have tickets for the August 19th matinee at Centerville's Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, 525 N 400 W. The matinee runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are only $10 per person, and we have ten available. So, if you would like to see this musical, you should get your money in before the tickets are gone, because when they are gone, they are gone!

Latest Calendar with Updates

Mail checks or money orders for any activities to UCB, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415. They need to reach us by dates given. Unless otherwise noted, classes and activities listed below are held at the Division of Services for the Blind, 250 N 1950 W, Salt Lake City.

·       Saturday, August 5, 3-5 p.m.: Converting Colors to Music, free at Bountiful Arts Center, 90 North Main, Bountiful, transportation is on your own.

·       Saturday, August 19, 2:30-4:30 p.m.: matinee of Nine to Five at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, 525 N 400 W, Centerville


UTA Announces Volunteer Driver Program in Davis and Weber Counties

Thursday, June 8, 2017

UTA, in conjunction with the Davis County Health Department, Weber Human Services and Roads To Independence officially launched a new pilot Volunteer Driver Program in Davis and Weber counties. The program was introduced at a special luncheon at the North Davis Senior Center in Clearfield, where event participants learned more about the pilot from UTA and Davis and Weber county representatives including Roy City Mayor Willard Cragun.

The Volunteer Driver Program is an innovative program designed to provide a unique mobility option to people who need it most. The primary goal of the program is to improve quality of life by assisting eligible seniors and persons with disabilities find modes of transportation. The Volunteer Driver Program allows eligible participants to arrange rides with a driver of their choice. That driver can be either a friend or family member, and the driver can be reimbursed for the mileage cost of the trip. The program provides flexibility for people to schedule transportation in a way that best meets their individual needs.

“For a number of reasons, including neighborhood layout, road conditions, or population density factors, transit can’t serve every location. However, this program helps extend the transit system by providing access to locations not easily served by UTA. We enjoy great collaboration with the local communities in Davis and Weber counties, and we’re grateful for all of their support with this project,” said Eddy Cumins, regional general manager of UTA’s Ogden Business Unit.

For more information on this program and to learn more about eligibility requirements, log on to or contact the following organizations:

·        Davis County Senior Services – (801) 525-5061

·        Weber-Morgan Area Agency on Aging – (801) 625-3770

·        Roads To Independence – (801) 612-3215

·        UTA Coordinated Mobility Department – (801) 287-5333

Funding sources for the Volunteer Driver Program pilot include Proposition 1, a grant from the Federal Transit Administration and for Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities and partner contributions.

New Transportation Program

In the Salt Lake County area, there is a transportation program which serves seniors. It is called the Golden Age Transport Service, and it is free. The service should be listed with either the Department of Aging or the telephone information service. There is no cost to the individual, but it is necessary to make reservations at least 48 hours in advance. For a doctor or something really important, you ought to plan a week in advance and then make a follow up call.

Health Tidbit

One of our clients told us that his eye problems may have originated from the use of tobacco. It seems that nicotine can cause retina problems, dry eye, diabetes with diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. When googling these facts it seems to be true. His sight seems to be affected by it.

A Day at Seaquest

A great big thanks to TerriLynne, who arranged for members to visit the Seaquest Aquarium at the Layton Hills Mall. Everyone was thrilled to be allowed to feel a variety of lizards, snakes, turtles and birds. The guide/instructors described the variety of fish and animals in the numerous rooms. They fed the fish so that they would come up for us to feel. Some fish would come over and nudge your fingers while others blew bubbles around our fingers. Everyone had the opportunity to touch the star fish, a horseshoe crab and a barnacle. The biggest excitement was created when everyone got to feed and touch the stingrays and the sharks. The kids who attended were able to crawl into tubes under the fish which made it appear they were part of the school of fish. Many people took bird food into the aviary and while holding it in their hands sat as birds landed to feast on the treat. Parrots flew to some of our shoulders and talked charmingly. Those with some sight exclaimed at the beauty of the colored fish and marveled at the baby octopus and the bearded lizard. The large tortoise stalked around our feet. His shell had bumps on it so that he could be read like a sheet of braille. The guides were exceptional, using microphones to address the group so that most could hear the descriptions and interesting facts about the different fish or reptiles.

The tour lasted for more than two hours, and then many stayed to play with the animals on their own. The gift shop was a blast, and the kids loved the educational activities scattered about the aquarium. It was truly a memorable activity in which the lack of sight scarcely impeded the interaction with the displays. It is a great place to take the family, especially the kids.

Inside the Burgeoning World of Audio Description, a Game-Changer in Accessible TV

JUNE 15, 2017 8:12 AM

The fifth season of House of Cards begins with a pair of dress shoes padding toward a doorway. They belong to President Frank Underwood, on his way to interrupt a congressional hearing. Most viewers will experience it as a quiet moment—but in this version of the episode, there’s a voice speaking, and it’s not Kevin Spacey’s fourth-wall-breaking narration. “Underwood marches over a gleaming floor in a stately corridor,” it tells us. “Frank puts on a lapel pin.” And just before the opening credits begin—after Frank has arrived on the Senate floor, where he demands those gathered to declare war—the voice interjects once more: it needs us to know that Frank has made eye contact with the viewer, because the assumption is that we won’t be able to see it ourselves.

A record-high 455 scripted television shows aired in 2016, and a 2016 Nielsen report found that Americans are watching an average of five hours of television every single day. But the nation’s 24 million visually impaired citizens can’t easily take part in the defining cultural medium of our age—which is where that second narrator comes in. He’s a voice actor, hired to read a script that fills in the details not conveyed by House of Cards’ dialogue. This is the process of audio description; like its cousin, closed captioning, it can be turned on using the menu of your cable box or streaming device, at least sometimes. (More on that later.)

“It usually takes about a day to write a one-hour show,” says Diane Johnson, president & C.E.O. of an audio description company called Descriptive Video Works. “We are very careful not to speak over dialogue. If there’s too much description, it’s overwhelming. If there’s not enough, our viewers will miss things.” Describing an inherently visual medium requires not only precision, but grace: “I stress as few words as possible,” says Joel Snyder, president of Audio Description Associates. “Describers have to take the time to pick the right words to describe a scene, and to try to do so objectively without attributing your own interpretation to it.” And of course, as Shawn Marsolais, the executive director of the nonprofit Blind Beginnings, says, “If the voice is annoying in any way, it will ruin the show.”

Everything from faint smirks to scene shifts is fair game for audio description. On House of Cards, for example, Marsolais—who is blind—appreciates hearing how Frank is physically reacting to his latest roadblock: “I need to know the facial expression, because it’s all about how manipulative and horrible he is. If they don’t describe that, you’re just going to miss his whole personality.” Writers who work for these companies watch an episode dozens of times to get their descriptions perfectly succinct and vivid, since the narration will be playing over background noise and scoring. Word choice matters more than anything—Underwood moves across a “gleaming floor” rather than a shiny one, for example, and he also “marches” rather than walking.

Without audio description, a television series can be incredibly inaccessible for visually impaired people—especially the moody, dramatic tentpoles of prestige TV, which often feature long, dialogue-free stretches. “When I lived alone, I would have to call someone I knew during a commercial break just to find out what was going on,” says Marsolais. “Did they kiss or not? What happened? It was really frustrating.” Yet unlike closed captioning, which has been widely available since 1980, TV only recently embraced this beneficial art form; Netflix, for example, has been streaming media since 2007, but just added audio description for its original programming in April 2015. “It is much easier to participate in most culture as a deaf person than as a blind person,” says Johnson. According to her, that’s partially because “until very recently, the deaf community has been much better at advocating for themselves, demanding the resources to consume what they can see they’re missing.”

But not being able to consume the same culture as everyone else isn’t just an inconvenience—it keeps visually impaired people separate from their neighbors. “My peers were watching these movies in the theater, and I had to order the movie from the library and watch it a year later,” Marsolais says. “I was so far behind, and it was so frustrating.” In the three decades since Marsolais was a blind child, the world of audio description has expanded vastly, but it’s still not enough. Last year’s best-picture film, Moonlight, for example, still doesn’t have an audio description track; neither does the programming on Amazon, Hulu, Showtime, Sling, and HBO. “The explosion in programming means there’s a lot of that out there,” Snyder says. “You shouldn’t have to wait until a specific date to get the audio-described service. A blind person should be able to experience a show like everyone else.”

Because, of course, in one very important way, we’re all the same: “I’ve heard people say people who are blind don’t watch TV,” Johnson says. “But that’s just not true. Of course they watch TV. Everyone watches TV.”

From The Hear and Now

These Gorgeous Designer Gowns Are Made by Blind Dressmakers

When fashion designer Tish Cox decided to grow her business, she found a factory where blind sewers create garments with impeccable craftsmanship.

Elaina Tillinghast, a 54-year-old seamstress, spends her days in a Dallas clothing factory sewing blouses and gowns for Tish Cox, an up-and-coming American designer who counts Zac Posen and André Leon Talley among her fans. The clothes are made from luxurious, brightly colored silks and are full of unexpected flourishes, like billowy sleeves and ruffles. Tillinghast’s sense of the Cox aesthetic comes entirely through touch: She’s been blind since birth.

When Tillinghast was a child, her parents worried whether she would be able to make her own way in the world when she grew up.

“Mother thought it was her duty to make sure that I could fend for myself should I ever need to,” she tells me. “She taught me sewing, cooking, budgeting, and nearly everything else she could think of.”

Tillinghast emerged a woman with the determination to live life to the fullest. And she has. After getting a degree in computer science, she worked in the call centers of telecom and internet service provider companies. She then had a stint as a massage therapist, helping people with serious physical ailments.

Eight years ago, she landed at the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, an 85-year-old nonprofit devoted to training the visually impaired and getting them jobs. Its cavernous North Texas facility is a hive of activity, where blind workers keep busy labeling, welding, filling bottles with liquid, and answering customer service questions on the phone, among other things.

“With the right amount of education, training, and assistive technology, a blind person can do just about anything a sighted person can,” Lighthouse CEO Hugh McElroy says. “Once you wrap your head around that, things suddenly become possible.”

Of the 7 million Americans that are blind, 30% live below the poverty line, largely because they struggle to find jobs. Most blind people don’t know what they are capable of, so the organization does a lot of outreach, trying to connect them with opportunities to earn money. In the sewing department, workers make between $9 and $20 an hour.

At the Lighthouse, Tillinghast’s creative juices flowed when given a chance to do the detailed stitching for the Tish Cox collection. “It requires a little more mental work,” she says. “You’re not doing the same thing for the next three hours.”

Tillinghast is intimately familiar with each design. Before she starts on a new style, she feels it out with her hands. Then she strategizes about all the steps it will take to create it. “You have to juggle shapes in your mind,” she says. “You work in stages, turning sections inside out to sew, leaving spots open so you can sew them up later. It’s jigsaw puzzle work.”

Tillinghast uses her fingers to measure exactly how wide a hem might need to be: Does it need to be a quarter or half of a finger nail wide? It has taken years for her to fine-tune these skills, starting from her childhood when her mother taught her how to sew by hand. Over time, however, sewing has become second nature.

Tish Cox started working with the Lighthouse a year ago. She was looking for a new factory so she could expand her production. After seven years of growing her business in Texas and building a strong following in the South, she decided it was time to expand nationally. She wanted to keep all her production in Dallas to stay on top of the manufacturing. Her husband encouraged her to check out Lighthouse.

The idea of a blind dressmaker seemed like an impossible concept. Sight seemed crucial to the process of sewing clothing, especially complicated designer pieces that sell for $500 or more. But Cox saw the light—so to speak—when she visited Lighthouse’s facility.

“As you walk into this automation area with all of these crazy sewing machines, you think, surely most of these workers can see,” Cox says. “Then you quickly realize that most of them can’t.”

It was an elaborate military belt created for soldiers to carry around tools on projects that convinced Tish Cox to make her clothes at the Lighthouse. “Every single piece was perfect,” she says. “The belts had a lot of parts to them and involved a lot of detail, but they were sewed perfectly.”

Cox asked McElroy if the Lighthouse was equipped to sew designer fashion garments. He noted that they had never attempted anything like that. “But just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean we can’t do it,” McElroy tells me. “Let’s just sit down and figure it out.”

He brought on a team of experts and designers who were able to figure out how blind people could sew these garments. He also brought in a team of sighted employees who work alongside the blind, doing tasks that require vision. Then, they were off and sewing.

Cox was surprised by how quickly the Lighthouse could start the project. “In six days, the Dallas Lighthouse figured out how to source the fabrics and make 4,000 pieces for me,” she explains. “The beauty of this is that if I need to scale up production, the Lighthouse will be able to accommodate me.”

McElroy purchased sewing machines for the Lighthouse and brought in engineers who know how to adapt equipment for the blind and visually impaired. Safety, he says, is key. There are several guards in place to protect the sewers’ fingers from the needles. There are other adaptations that are specific to sewing Tish Cox garments: Markers help the user gauge distances and know which part they are working on. Employees go through extensive training before they start working on the machines.

“It’s not uncommon to go years without even a small injury,” McElroy says. “Once a person has gotten these skills down, we begin to find ways to improve on the process to make it quicker and more efficient.”

Tillinghast was there from day one. After a three-month course sponsored by the Lighthouse, her days have been filled with making Tish Cox dresses. Right at the start, there were hiccups, as the team struggled to understand how to use the brand-new technology. But after a few weeks, they were churning out beautifully crafted, impeccable garments that would appear in high-end stores and be worn by women attending fancy events.

Tillinghast feels some ownership over the final product. “Tish Cox does not do things that look like they’re off the rack,” she says. “She tries for a more open and freeing shape to her garments.”

For Cox, it was vitally important for her clothes to be well-made. The first surprise, when working with the Lighthouse, was seeing how impeccable the craftsmanship of the products was. But the second surprise was seeing how content the workers at the factory appear to be whenever she’s stopping by for a visit.

“Walking through the Lighthouse is a really moving experience,” Cox says. “These are Americans who want to work, have a real career, and be able to grow. It is the happiest workplace I’ve ever been to in my life.”

Article Link:


Narrated Videos, Taped and CD Books Now Available to You

The UCB has for loan to you many narrated videos with many great old movies which have been professionally narrated. These movies can be borrowed for up to two weeks for your viewing. If you have a VHS machine and would like to borrow a video, The UCB will send you a list of the movies in the collection.

For the readers among you, the UCB also has many cassette books and CD books available for your use. If you wish to borrow one of these, please request a list of the titles, and you are welcome to borrow them for up to two weeks. To request you lists leave your name aand contact information on the Utah Connection listed at the beginning of this newsletter

Ceramic Class

Many of you may not know that the UCB sponsors a Ceramics Class on Wednesdays at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Each person must purchase their project, paints and brushes. A trained teacher and volunteers are there to assist you with painting and completing your project. Many of the participants have entered their work in the State Fair and won blue ribbons. You may find you are an artist even though you cannot see the item you are creating. The projects are quite affordable and consists of things like fountains, clocks, statues and much more. The teacher also frequently has classes where the participants can make clay items free-hand. If you want more information, please leave your name and phone number on the Utah Connection, and someone will call you back.

Note that on July 12 there will be no class.

General UCB Information

We are always looking for articles 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 for our newsletter to our editor, TerriLynne Pomeroy, at, or send Braille or print to UCB Newsletter, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415; please allow extra time for processing Braille or print.

Members are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Board of Directors. These are typically held the fourth Monday of each month at 3:15 p.m. in the DSBVI Board Room (in the southeast corner of the building).

Upcoming Board Meetings

·       Monday, July 31, 2017

·       Monday, August 28, 2017

·       Monday, September 25, 2017

·       Monday, October 23, 2017

·       Monday, November 27, 2017

·       Monday, December 18, 2017

The UCB Flier is available in large print, Braille, audio CD, as a Microsoft Word and a plain text file on 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 and let us know. If you are currently receiving your newsletter on cassette tape, please call and let us know another format you can use.

Disclaimer: 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.


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