The UCB Flier

A publication of

Utah Council of the Blind

May 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

President's Message.................................................................................. 2

Upcoming May and June Activities............................................................. 3

Latest Calendar with Updates.................................................................... 4

To Become a Better Cook, Sharpen Your Senses..................................... 5

A Measurable Improvement in STEM Access for the Blind........................ 9

Scientists Create New Material That May Lead to Self-Healing Electronics................................................................................................ 11

ACB Welcomes Reintroduction of Medicare Demonstration Bill............... 13

Protecting Medicaid For Utah Residents with Disabilities......................... 14

What is Medicaid................................................................................... 14

Why is Medicaid so important for individuals with disabilities?.............. 15

How do Medicaid services help children with disabilities?.................... 15

How do Medicaid investments impact Utah residents with disabilities & Easterseals?......................................................................................... 16

How do block grant & per capita proposals jeopardize critical services?.............................................................................................................. 16

Easter Seals position on Medicaid reform:............................................ 17

General UCB Information......................................................................... 17

Upcoming Board Meetings.................................................................... 18

Braille Reading for Fun........................................................................... 19

2017 REGISTRATION FORM............................................................... 20



President's Message

Greetings UCB Friends,

I want to start by thanking TerriLynne Pomeroy and her committee for the outstanding technology fair they put together. Learning and exploring technology is so great. This particular event was great because we got to see so much technology all in one place.

If you are thinking of joining us for the national convention, you will see an entire exhibit hall full of technology. SO COOL!

I also want to thank all those who helped with the annual Easter egg hunt. Kira Larken was such an addition with her fantastic balloon animals, the Pioneers with the egg hunt experience for young and old, as well as the hotdog lunch. Cindy Knolls' and Patricia Beaman's bunny booboos were handed out to all the egg hunters. You all helped make it a spring spectacular.

A life lesson for me I wanted to share--as you know, it takes a big experience for me to learn something profound. So, here it is: For spring break this past month, my family and I decided we did not get enough snow. So, we went to visit my brother-in-law who is a ski instructor. We spent a couple of days skiing the slopes at Big Sky in Montana. I have not skied for a few years, and I was definitely anxious. I guess it was just the thought of flying down the hill at mock speed and the possibility of losing focus and crashing into any number of obstacles, trees, flags, signs, other skiers. Well, the time came for me to strap my feet to the giant tooth picks and give it a go. There are different methods to skiing as a blind person My brother-in-law chose the method of horse and buggy, he being the horse and I being the buggy. He would hold onto one end of two long bamboo poles and I would hold onto the other. As he would navigate faster and faster our way down the snow-covered mountain I would hold on for dear life and try not to lose focus as to which way he was pulling the poles to signal which way I was to make a turn. The first time down the death trap, as you can imagine, was a little rough. I was pretty much terrified and, have to admit, scared for my life. On that first trip down the mountain, I only fell once. But, I will tell you, I was amazed that I was still alive. When asked if I wanted to do it again, I actually agreed. In fact, by the end of the ski trip, I was skiing all over the Big Sky Mountain and urging my brother-in-law to go faster. As I look back, I marvel at the change in comfort level from the first time down the mountain to the last. I have decided that it is all about just doing it!

You see, each time down the mountain, I became more comfortable with the feel of the poles, the slight bumps on the trails, and the slope of the mountain. By just doing it over and over, I was able to go from complete fear to grand adventure!

In our lives, we have scary things that we are asked to do, take a new bus route, start a new class, or take on a new job. Whatever it is, if we just go and do it, each repeated step we take will become more comfortable.

Until next time,
Anna Jeffery,
UCB President

Upcoming May and June Activities

Join us at DSBVI, 250 N 1950 W, Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 20, for games and lunch. Games will begin at around 10 a.m. and lunch will be about noon, depending on how much fun we are having with games. Right?

The cost for lunch is only $5.00, and the UCB needs to receive your money by Wednesday, May 17.

On Saturday, June 10, we will be taking a trip to the Seaquest Aquarium, 1201 N Hill Field Rd #1072 (Layton Hills Mall) in Layton. The aquarium opens at 10:00 a.m. The UCB will participate in a field trip beginning at that time. You can stay as long as you wish if you are traveling on your own. It is important that you bring a sighted guide for this activity. This aquarium sounds like a lot of fun! There are a number of activities, some included with the cost of admission, and some for an additional fee. Free activities include interacting with birds and fish, as well as participating in special shows. Extra fees are charged for those who wish to snorkel with stingrays and sharks or have a pedicure by the fish. Snorkeling requires you to bring your own swimsuit and towel and costs about $40. The pedicure is approximately $15. These activities require that you call and reserve your special time to participate. The phone number is 801-544-4938. Be sure to tell them that you will be there with the Utah Council of the Blind.

The cost for admission will be $6.00 if you arrive on time and enter with the group to participate in the field trip. If you are late, you will be required to pay the usual entry fee, which is substantially higher and may miss the special guided field trip. If you wish to buy any tokens which will allow you to feed animals, the tokens will be $2 for each token if you purchase them from a UCB leader. If you buy them on your own, they are $2.50. The tokens are used in the gift shop, as well as to purchase food for the birds and the fish. Lunch will be on your own. If you intend to participate, the UCB needs to receive your $6.00 per person by June 5. There are limited spaces available, and they will be reserved on a first come, first served basis, so get you money in early. Transportation may be available, depending on the need. If you have a special need to get to this activity, leave your name and number on the Utah Connection, and we will be in touch.

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.

·       Monday, May 8, 7 pm, Beauty and the Beast with the OAB at the Ziegfeld Theater, 3934 South Washington Blvd, Ogden. For more information call the OAB at 385-206-8820.

·       Wednesday, May 10, 6:00 p.m. Utah Opera dress rehearsal of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Capitol Theater, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City. For reservations, call Ann at 801-585-2213 by May 8.

·       Wednesday, May 17, deadline for payment for games day lunch.

·       Saturday, May 20, 10 am to 1 pm, Games and Lunch at DSBVI

·       Monday, May 22, 3:30 pm, UCB Board meeting, DSBVI Board Room

·       Monday, June 5, deadline for payments for Seaquest Aquarium

·       Saturday, June 10, 10:00 am, Seaquest Aquarium

·       Monday, June 26, 3:30 pm, UCB Board meeting, DSBVI Board Room.

To Become a Better Cook, Sharpen Your Senses

Kate McDermott describes it as “the sizzle-whump.”

It’s the sound a pie makes when it’s perfectly baked, said Ms. McDermott, the author of “Art of the Pie.”

The “sizzle” is the sound of hot butter cooking the flour in the crust, melding it into a crisp, golden lid. The “whump” is the sound of the thickened filling bumping against the top crust as it bubbles at a steady pace.

“I call it the heartbeat of the pie,” she said.

Ms. McDermott, who is 63 and lives in Port Angeles, Washington, leads intensive baking seminars across the country. But before she became a pie coach, she was a professional musician. “I experience the world primarily through sound,” she said. “I’ve been listening to pies since I started baking them.”

Any experienced cook knows that there is much more to cooking than just taste. There is touch (tapping the top of a pie to make sure it is completely firm), smell (inhaling the changing scents of the crust as it bakes), sound (listening to its heartbeat) and sight (watching for the juices to turn thick).

Learn to use all five senses in the kitchen and you’ll become a better cook—especially if you sharpen the ones that are less associated with cooking: hearing, touch and smell.

Cooks with visual impairments, who cannot see the golden brown of a pie crust or the shine of perfectly scrambled eggs, know this better than anyone. The cook and writer Christine Ha, 37, said that touch has become her primary guide in the kitchen since she began losing her sight soon after starting college.

“It’s like my fingertips have become my eyes,” she said. “I can learn so much more by touch than I would have thought.”

Ms. Ha, who lives in Houston, learned to cook only after she could no longer see. Like about 90 percent of visually impaired people, she is not completely blind: She can see some light and color, and describes her view of the world as “like looking into a steamy mirror.” All the more impressive, then, that in 2012 she won the third season of the frenetic television cooking competition “Master Chef.”

She started cooking with her late mother’s deep-fried spring rolls, reverse-engineering them through touch and hearing as well as taste and smell. Her fingers test the pliability of the wrappers; she listens for the sound the bubbling oil makes when she throws in a bit of filling to test its heat; she taps the frying rolls with tongs to test whether the shells are crisp and blistered.

David Linden, a neurobiologist at Johns Hopkins University and the author of the book “Touch,” confirmed that the fingertips become more sensitive in people who are blind from birth and in those who learn to read Braille. “Hearing and touch become more acute in the absence of sight,” he said. The part of the brain dedicated to gathering information from the eyes actually shrinks in size, while the parts that receive signals from the ears and touch-sensitive nerve endings grow larger.

Dr. Linden said, however, there is no comparable adaptation for people who lose their ability to taste and smell, a condition called anosmia. “People who become anosmic are much more likely to stop cooking and eating than people who become deaf or blind,” he said; anosmics are also at much greater risk for depression and suicide. “The shared experience of food seems to be one of the things that makes us human.”

Kate Crohan, who teaches cooking at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, said that culinary education for the blind often relies on heating prepared foods in microwaves—a safe and practical option, but one that eliminates much of the sensory experience. Ms. Crohan, 68, has been blind since birth, but she took over the family kitchen when she was 11, after her mother’s death, cooking for her father and five siblings. She has been cooking without sight for so long that she is entirely comfortable around sharp knives, boiling water and raw ingredients.

“An organized kitchen is more than half the battle,” said Ms. Crohan, who has memorized the location and shape of key ingredients like baking soda, flour and onions. “I don’t waste a lot of time finding things.”

These workarounds can be useful to any cook. Many of the important cues in any kitchen have nothing to do with sight or taste: distinguishing the sound of a boil versus a simmer; knowing the feel of a rare steak versus a medium-well one; biting into pasta as it cooks to catch the brief, perfect moment between chewy and soft.

For most of human history, children learned those cues simply by being near the stove. But today, unless they spend a lot of time in a kitchen, their sensory cooking skills may be limited to listening for the moment when the microwave popcorn stops popping. Those children grow up to be cooks who focus on reading and rereading recipes, often at the expense of paying attention to the stove.

But recipes are inherently limited when it comes to sensory information. An instruction like “simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until thickened” can produce endlessly different results. The recipe doesn’t know what your stove considers “low” heat. It doesn’t know what your pan is made of. It doesn’t know what “thickened” looks like to you.

That’s why the best cooks learn to work not just with their minds and their taste buds, but also with all their senses.

The cooking teacher James Peterson uses a chicken breast to teach students how to feel for doneness, because it has thick and thin areas. “As it cooks in the skillet, keep your fingers moving from the thin part to the thick,” he said. “You’ll be able to feel how the heat gradually moves through the meat.”

Edna Lewis, the doyenne of American Southern cooking, taught that listening to a cake is the best way to know when it’s done. A cake that is still baking makes little bubbling and ticking sounds, but a finished cake goes quiet.

The chef Justin Smillie of Upland in Manhattan built the short rib dish that made him famous by seeking not a certain flavor, but a certain "mouthfeel". “I knew how to get the flavor where I wanted it,” he said. “But the texture was the challenge.”

Like any chef, he knew how to braise a collagen-rich cut of meat to make it meltingly tender and umami-rich. But he wanted more: the crust of a steak and, for good measure, the juiciness of prime rib. Eventually, by steaming the meat in big pieces and applying a coat of cracked peppercorns, he reached his goal. (According to Dr. Linden, this quest makes sense: The most universally liked "mouthfeel" across human cultures is a crispy crust around a soft interior, like Middle Eastern falafel, Japanese tempura, Italian arancini, Indian samosas and French fries.)

In Mr. Smillie’s thrice-roasted chicken recipe (cooked first on the stovetop, then in the oven, then back to the stove to be baisted in butter), all three steps move the dish toward a particular "mouthfeel" as well as flavor. Well before the cooking begins, the chicken is brined (for juicy flesh), then air-dried in the refrigerator (for crisp skin). All along the way, Mr. Smillie is touching, listening, sniffing, prodding: paying attention to all the cues that make the dish transcend the category of “roast chicken.”

“Sensory cooking is the opposite of technique,” Mr. Smillie said. “The formulas you learn in culinary school won’t make you a chef, but cooking with all your senses will.”

A multisensory approach to food is not only practical, but also all the rage. Ever since the chef Heston Blumenthal put headphones on his guests so they could listen to his dish Sound of the Sea while they ate it, and Grant Achatz served a deep breath of lavender-scented air at Alinea (it arrived at the table trapped in a pillow), chefs have been trying to create dishes that challenge our assumptions about how we experience food.

The most recent multisensory development is the connection between food and autonomous sensory meridian response, or A.S.M.R. A newly defined sensory state, A.S.M.R. is a kind of pleasurable shivering or tingling that spreads along the scalp, upper back and shoulders in response to soothing repetitive sounds. Originally, these included soft whispering, pages turning or having one’s hair brushed.

Now, A.S.M.R. devotees have discovered food. Video series like Silently Cooking and Peaceful Cuisine have no talking, no music, nothing to distract from the sounds of cooking: the rasp of a knife shaving chocolate, the rhythmic scrape of a whisk whipping egg whites, the glug-glug of olive oil pouring into a pan. Even eating sounds have A.S.M.R. devotees, especially if it involves chewing candy and whispering at the same time.

A.S.M.R. may provide a pleasurable new way for Ms. McDermott to experience pie. She learned that she had celiac disease in 2006 and can no longer eat most of the pies she teaches others to make (though she has devised a gluten-free crust recipe). When a particularly beautiful specimen comes out of the oven, she said she appreciated it nonetheless.

“It doesn’t matter if I can’t eat this pie,” she said. “I can see it, I can smell it, I can touch it. The only sense I can’t have for it is taste.”

A Measurable Improvement in STEM Access for the Blind

Two MIT graduate students have developed a device that provides better access to STEM materials for the blind and low-vision community.

How would you learn geometry without seeing the shapes? How would you calculate Pythagoras’ lengths without seeing the measurements? MIT graduate students Pranay Jain and Anshul Singhal asked these questions, seeking to address the fact that most blind students drop out of math and science after 8th grade because content becomes unavailable and the laboratory becomes inaccessible.

About 75 percent of the blind and low-vision (BLV) community is unemployed in the United States and is significantly underrepresented in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Jain and Singhal, PhD candidates in Course 2 (mechanical engineering) at MIT, co-founded Squirrel Devices to tackle this problem. Their first instrument aims to make geometry’s continuous shapes and lengths measurable with a plastic sliding caliper that enables BLV students to read measurements in Braille, as one would on a regular ruler.

Jain and Singhal are not new to the assistive technology community; the two worked on a Refreshable Braille Display in their undergraduate years at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. The team reflects, “One has a lot of questions when first interacting with the community. We wondered about using phrases like ‘take a look at this!’ or holding our hands out for a handshake. Would they care about the color of the device?” The answer is, yes, of course they care! BLV students may not be able to see color, but like any 13-year old, they know the connotations of pink or blue. As a result, Squirrel Devices chose a bright yellow for the caliper.

Many BLV students also asked for a talking, digital measuring instrument. But Jain and Singhal knew that they wanted a mechanical solution, one that wouldn’t be as prone to electronic failure, or as expensive. “We were repeatedly reminded that education is increasingly becoming digital, but you can’t listen to a diagram, can you?” notes Jain.

The MIT community has helped push Squirrel Devices forward. The team received support from the IDEAS Global Challenge, the annual innovation, service, and social entrepreneurship competition run by the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center. “IDEAS’ support was critical — the network, coaching, training, and the application process itself — all were very useful. It forced us to create a business plan, prototypes, posters, and get feedback from the judges. We got further along the process than we would have on our own, and were plugged into a community of people who truly care,” states Jain. They also cited Paul Parravano, co-director of MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations, as a source of inspiration and motivation. He has blindness and was the first user to test the device and give feedback. The late professor Seth Teller was crucial in helping the team find the right partners, and they have taken advantage of the various maker-spaces on campus.

Squirrel Devices has achieved revolutionary impact without reliance on cutting-edge 21st-century technology. Unsurprisingly, the device has been an immediate hit with their users. They have already sold thousands of units since last year, in partnership with the National Braille Press, and received the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation in recognition of their thoughtful integration of Braille with existing tools to open up new opportunities for BLV students. “The use-case always surprises us,” says Jain. “A student we gave the device to immediately measured the length of his finger — a thing we take for granted.” One teacher, who had previously wondered how students who had yet to grasp fractions could use the caliper, called the team to tell them how thanks to it, her students are becoming fluent in fractions. Another teacher was glad her students now had a way to accurately measure liquids in a graduated cylinder.

The success of the caliper has built excitement for Squirrel Devices’ next instrument, the Tactile Protractor, which is currently under development.

Article Link:

Scientists Create New Material That May Lead to Self-Healing Electronics

By Catalin Cimpanu
April 9, 2017

Scientists have developed a new type of material that could be used in the future to create self-healing electronics, such as smart phones, batteries, speakers, robotics, and others.

The new material, which doesn't have a name as of yet, is transparent, stretches up to 50 times its size, conducts ions to generate current, and stitches itself together in about a day, at room temperature, after being completely torn apart. New material repairs itself in about a day.

The new material is the work of Ph.D. Chao Wang, from the University of California, Riverside, who's been working on it for the past two years. The material has been called an artificial muscle, albeit is not intended for medical applications. The reason it's been called this is because it responds and moves to electrical signals, just like a real muscle.

At the chemical level, this material is a combination between an ionic salt and a stretchable polymer (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene), which stays together thanks to fluid-like type of bond called an ion-dipole interaction.

Researcher initially wanted to make a self-healing battery. Wang says he started working on this material being inspired by X-Men character Wolverine, wanting to create a self-healing lithium ion battery that could repair itself when dropped and damaged.

His research advanced as he realized the material is highly transparent and could be used for other purposes, such as a smart phone's screen. In the real world, LG G Flex smart phones come with a self-healing cover that repairs itself from knife attacks, but unlike Wang's material, it doesn't conduct electric signals.

Wang's research will take this type of material to the next level, allowing manufacturers to employ it for more than covers. Currently, Wang's team is testing the material in high-humidity environments, wanting to see how water affects the self-repair operations.

The scientist showed his most recent studies this past week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. To watch a video of Dr. Wang presenting his work and answering questions from the press, you can go online to:

ACB Welcomes Reintroduction of Medicare Demonstration Bill

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2017 — The American Council of the Blind (ACB) commends Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) on reintroduction of the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low-Vision Devices Act of 2017 (H.R. 2050). This legislation will establish a national demonstration/research project tasked with identifying the impact to Medicare and Medicare recipients who are prescribed low-vision devices over a certain threshold cost.

“As more and more older Americans encounter significant vision loss, it’s critical that government seek out pathways that can sustain independence in the home,” said Kim Charlson, president of ACB. “The more we can sustain independence for daily living, the less reliant individuals with significant vision loss will be on more costly alternatives like assistive living.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ruled almost a decade ago, through an eye-glasses exclusion, that Medicare would no longer cover low-vision devices. The rule raised great concerns among blindness advocates, who argue the significant rise in visual disability among the Baby Boomer generation requires measures that will help them age in place, rather than find themselves on a pathway toward costly care-giving services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through its Vision Health Initiative, has identified blindness and vision loss as a serious health concern for the United States over the next three decades.

“Through this demonstration, eligible participants could be prescribed assistive low-vision devices through a licensed eye care physician,” said Eric Bridges, ACB executive director. “These are the types of devices that might be too costly for someone on Social Security, but the kind of things that could have dramatic improvements in their daily life, like being able to read their mail, keep track of their medications, or fill out important forms with personal information.”

As Congress seeks out ways to improve health care costs, ACB urges the House of Representatives to support H.R. 2050, and move toward expanding greater independence for the millions of older Americans with severe vision loss. To learn more about this important issue, visit (

The American Council of the Blind is the nation’s leading consumer grassroots organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. ACB strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. Learn more at

Protecting Medicaid For Utah Residents with Disabilities

A statement from Easter Seals

What is Medicaid

Medicaid provides critical, often life-saving, health care, long-term services and community supports to millions of children and adults living with disabilities. Created in 1965, Medicaid is jointly funded by states and the federal government. States design their Medicaid programs to provide federally mandated services in addition to services or special populations that are a priority in the state. Federally-mandated services are directed to both children and adults based on specific eligibility criteria and include hospital services, home health care, laboratory and x-ray services, and nursing home care. States must also provide Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment services for eligible children. States may also offer optional services, including prescription drugs, dental care, hearing aids, and physical and other therapy services which are particularly important to eligible individuals with disabilities. Medicaid covered nearly 70 million Americans during 2016, including children, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities and low income seniors.

Why is Medicaid so important for individuals with disabilities?

Individuals with disabilities, especially those with chronic health conditions, can require medical and long-term care to maintain their health, independence and well-being. Medicaid is the largest payer for long-term care for all Americans and, often, the sole source of health and long-term care for many individuals with disabilities.

One in seven Medicaid enrollees (or about 10.4 million Americans) is an individual with disabilities. Medicaid services such as attendant care, home health, adult day and prevocational services help individuals with disabilities remain in their home and communities and live productive lives. Some states offer Medicaid Buy-In programs that allow individuals with disabilities who are working to retain their needed health care coverage while earning above the regular Medicaid income limits. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was the only available insurance program that included the benefits that people with disabilities needed to support their health.

How do Medicaid services help children with disabilities?

Millions of individuals with disabilities benefit from the health care and community-based supports available through Medicaid. June was born with a condition eventually diagnosed as Hirschsprung’s Disease. The Utah toddler also has an untreatable brain disease, heart defects (requiring open heart surgery), serious motor/cognitive/speech delays, severe allergies, atopic dermatitis, and hearing and vision issues, which resulted in numerous surgeries and procedures her first two years. Both her parents worked to complete advanced degrees, but June’s health resulted in substantial financial challenges for the family. Her condition required regular travel to the children’s hospital, home medical supplies, increased daycare costs, among other expenses, that placed extra financial burdens on the family. Thanks to Medicaid, June accessed what she needed in treatment and services, which were provided by Easterseals in Utah. Medicaid enables people to be assisted with serious medical conditions, and her parents believe their daughter is alive and has a better life because of Medicaid.

How do Medicaid investments impact Utah residents with disabilities & Easterseals?

In Utah, 12% of Utah Medicaid enrollees (or 41,600) are individuals with disabilities. Utah provides home and community-based services through a Medicaid waiver program that provides eligible Utah residents with disabilities with access to services to help them remain in their home and community rather than higher-cost, less-favorable institutional care. Utah received an estimated $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2017 in return for providing specific benefits and protections to eligible Utah residents, including individuals with disabilities. The Utah Department of Health provides essential services and supports to individuals with disabilities through a network of Medicaid community providers, including Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain located in Utah. Easterseals is a national provider of Medicaid services for individuals with disabilities.

How do block grant & per capita proposals jeopardize critical services?

Congressional proposals to convert Medicaid financing from an entitlement program into a state block grant or per capita allotment program would dramatically alter the program and negatively impact individuals with disabilities who meet the program’s eligibility. The current Medicaid structure entitles eligible individuals to core services and, in turn, guarantees states to federal matching payments with no cap to meet program needs of eligible residents.

The block grant proposal would shift Medicaid program costs to states and put Medicaid beneficiaries, including individuals with disabilities, at risk for services. Under a block grant, federal Medicaid funding to states would be capped, eliminating the current entitlement structure that allows federal funding to respond to changing program needs, such as recessions, epidemics or disasters. This lack of federal funding flexibility would be passed on to states, who, based on their own financial restrictions, may be forced to limit or end current services to reduce costs. A block grant would also likely end the federal core service components that are required in turn for the federal match.

The per capita proposal would limit the federal government’s reimbursement to states based on a per-enrollee amount. If state Medicaid costs per enrollee increase, due to health care inflation, epidemic or other health circumstance, these costs would shift solely to states given the federal reimbursement is capped. Reductions in critical services to individuals with disabilities and other Medicaid beneficiaries or higher program premiums would be likely cost-reduction strategies, especially for states that have limited revenue flexibility.

Easter Seals position on Medicaid reform:

Easterseals respectfully asks Congress to protect Medicaid for people with disabilities by:

·       Opposing proposals that remove Medicaid’s guarantee of services to eligible populations;

·       Opposing proposals that convert Medicaid to block grant or per capita financing;

·       Maintaining Medicaid’s current structure that guarantees states a federal funding formula match, based on eligibility costs, without a federal cap;

·       Ensuring Medicaid reform doesn’t shift costs to individuals or reduce services; and

·       Advancing policies that allow more Medicaid services to be delivered in home and community-based settings.

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, May 22, 2017

·       Monday, June 26, 2017

·       Monday, July 31, 2017

The UCB Flier is available in large print, Braille, audio cassette tape, 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.

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.


Braille Reading for Fun

A Summer Reading Program

presented by

Utah Council of the Blind


Join us as we promote Braille Literacy for Utah children in grades K through 4.


For every 20 braille books read together with a parent or guardian, the child will receive his/her favorite dual vision book to own; the more books read, the more books earned.


Each child who successfully completes the program by reading at least 20 books will also receive a day pass to Lagoon for themself and their parent/guardian.


Register on or before May 15, 2017

Limited to 20 participants, so register early

Call or Text: Anna Jeffery at 801-654-3772 or email


Many dual vision books are available through the Utah State Library Division for the Blind and Disabled. Call 801-715-6789 for more information.


We also encourage you to participate in:

Seedlings Braille Books for Children's

2017 Book Angel Program for V-I Children



Braille Reading for Fun

A Summer Reading Program

presented by

Utah Council of the Blind


Child's Name:

Parent/Guardian Name:

Phone Number:

Email address:

Home address:

Grade just completed:



Utah Council of the Blind                                                                         FREE MATTER

1301 W 500 S                                                                                         FOR THE BLIND

Woods Cross UT 84087-2224                                                                AND DISABLED