The June, 2018 SVCB In Touch newsletter <>

Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 6:24 PM


Newsletter of the
A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind
June 2018

EDITOR: Susan Glass,
COPY EDITOR: Beverly Clifford,
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042
DEADLINE: for the July, 2018 issue: noon, June 22 
VOLUNTEERS: Naomi Grubb,
MEMBERSHIP: Mike Keithley,
LEGISLATION: Mike Keithley,
PHONE: 888-652-5333
Legislative Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
CALIFORNIA CONNECTION: 800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
WASHINGTON CONNECTION: 800-424-8666, 3-9 PM and weekends

DISCLAIMER: This publication contains announcements from the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind and is also a forum for opinions relating to blindness issues. Signed articles reflect the views, and research, of their authors.

STATUS: SVCB is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization under the California Council of the Blind.

CHANGES OF ADDRESS: Contact Mike Keithley,

MEETING LOCATION: SVCB's monthly meetings are held in the community room of the Monte Vista Terrace Apts. at 1101 Grant Road, Mountain View. Meetings run 9:30 AM to 1 PM the third Saturday of the month and are open to all. Monte Vista Terrace is one block from the intersection of Grant Road and El Camino Real and is accessible by bus #22.

In THIS Issue

* President's Message
* Membership Corner
* Fundraising Report
* California Parks Project Update
* Snack Shack
* Tidbits
* Event Calendar

by Susan Glass

If you missed Judy Wilkinson's presentation at our May membership meeting, I hope that you'll listen to the recording. Her dedication to CCB and her grasp of the issues that we face is stellar. She was informative, warm, and engaging. As she enumerated CCB's accomplishments and challenges, I felt proud that SVCB is part of the CCB family. I also realized that we have opportunities to do much, much more for CCB. Several of our chapter members have excellent legislative knowledge (Alice, Mike, Rob, and Roger to name a few), and it's a pleasure to follow their lead when they alert us to issues that need our attention. This year alone, they've educated us about AB1865, Ab3200, SB1396, and AB3223. Need some hints as to what each bill is about? Think protecting guide dogs against attacks, helping SSI and SSDI recipients, helping our community stay abreast of the best in technology, and safeguarding braille literacy and library services. We needn't feel intimidated if we can't find time to address all of these issues. We can pick our favorite issue, learn who our local legislators are, visit them in their home offices, phone them, or write to them about the issue or piece of legislation that's most on our minds. If more of us in our chapter want to learn how to do this, we can dedicate one of our monthly programs to the process. Please let me or anyone else on the Board know if you'd be interested in such a program.

It goes without saying that SVCB and CCB aren't just about legislation. Think of our core values: equal access to all that life offers, such as education, affordable housing, employment, recreation, transportation, technology, health care, the ballot box, worship, friendship, it's an endless list. Every one of us, just by living our lives, conveys something to the world about what it means to be blind.

Writing this article makes me realize how little I know about the community services and activities in which we are all engaged. We've shared our hobby interests, but I don't know if we've ever talked about the other communities in which we're active. Might this be a future program topic?

During her May conversation with us, Judy said that CCB is organizing a series of regional chapter meetings, the purpose of which is to help us stay connected throughout the state, thereby furthering our common interests and goals. The proposed date for the Bay Area regional meeting is Saturday, September 29. The chapters involved would be Contra Costa, San Francisco, Bay View, Silicon Valley, and I know I'm forgetting at least one if not two others. The suggested meeting place is the San Francisco LightHouse, but details are still being worked out. Obviously, it won't be possible for every person in every chapter to attend, but it would be nice if SVCB had a good showing. We'll discuss this at future meetings, but I wanted to plant the idea in our minds now.

by Mike Keithley

Not much to report this month. I hear that Alice Turner is recovering nicely, and the day will soon come when she can't say "broken Alice."

CCB president Judy Wilkinson was our program speaker in May, and she was well received. You can hear her presentation at

Get ready for the picnic! It's on Saturday, August 18 at Hellyer Community Park in San Jose, and our picnic site is called Yerba Buena. Registration is $20 for SVCB/CCB members, and $25 for guest. The address of the park is 985 Hellyer Ave. It is accessible by VTA Access and bus lines, and Access will not be required to pay for parking. We will be inviting people from the San Francisco chapter to join us.

The chapter is providing hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegie burgers. Register at the June meeting by talking to Victor Clifford, and be sure to tell him what food you want. We will be including info in the upcoming June Phone Tree for people to contact if you want to bring beverages, appetizers, or desserts.

Let's wish happy June birthdays to Ken Carey, Elmer Chapson, Victor Clifford, Allen Jones, Alice Turner, and Art Takahara. We'll do that with a song at our June meeting: come join us!

by Michelle McGrew

Thanks to all who got tickets for our raffle featuring donated items at our May meeting! Prizes included two purses, a conch shell, a six-foot audio extension cable, a Potato Express Microwave Cooker, a cloth grocery bag, and a microwave popcorn popper. Our winners were Mike Keithley, Kannie Loomis, Susan Glass, Roger Petersen, and Judy Wilkinson. Thanks to all who donated prizes and to those who purchased tickets. We raised $88!

Join us at our June meeting for another auction! Items up for bid include a Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Monitoring System (with case and instructions), a basket crocheted by me, a rolling suitcase, and two duffel bags.

Our May Cookies of the Month fund-raiser benefiting our tech grant featured Cappuccino Royale Cookies, baked by Lorraine Brown. (The recipe for these cookies was featured in the "Snack Shack" column of our July, 2016 newsletter.) As of this writing, we sold 54 bags of Lorraine's cookies (36 at our meeting and 18 at the Blind Center), plus we sold the remaining 22 bags of cookies baked by Bev from last month at the Blind Center. Thanks to all of our supporters! So far, altogether, we raised $76! And we expect to sell the remaining 9 bags of Lorraine's cookies by the end of May.

For June, Suzanne Smith will be baking lemon cookies. Each bag of cookies will sell for $1. If you would like to volunteer to bake cookies this year for this fund-raiser, please call 888-652-5333 (leave a message to be forwarded to me, or look me up on our Membership List to call me directly), or send email to

Our chocolate supply is in transition. I expect that by the end of May or the beginning of June, we will be sold out of Meltaways. We will restock our candy bars and Meltaways in the Fall once the weather begins to cool down. In the meantime, choose one of our other snacks for $1 each! You may purchase bags of Welch's Fruit Snacks (2.25-oz bags of chewy fruit-flavored candies), Kirkland Nut Bars (contains a sprinkle of salt and a little chocolate), or as part of our Summertime Snack Sale, nut mix with cranberries or with chocolate. To place an order for nut bars, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, or either nut mix, please contact me as listed above.

Hope to see you at the June meeting.

by Susan Glass

In the Winter 2018 issue of the BC, Jamie Gibson-Barrows published an article about visiting Yosemite National Park along with several other members of the Fresno and Yosemite Gateway chapters of CCB. What made their visit unique was the park's audio-described UniD brochure and accompanying ranger-led tour. Jamie and her companions were some of the first to enjoy an opportunity that will soon be available to all blind and visually impaired Californians in any of the state's national parks. Four entities, (The University of Hawaii, The American Council of the Blind, Google, and the California Parks Service), are collaborating on this accessibility effort. The project got started when Dr. Brett Oppegaard, Thomas Conway, and Megan Conway (all from the University of Hawaii Manoa College of Social Sciences) obtained a grant from Google for the purpose of creating audio-described versions of park brochures for all national parks. The audio versions would be available as MP3 downloads, and also as UniD apps to be used on an iPhone. In cooperation with ACB and CCB, blind and visually impaired Californians are testing the UniD app in California's national parks. The Fresno and Yosemite Gateway chapters were the first CCB groups to test the app in November of 2017. Then on Friday, April 27, 2018, the Silicon Valley and San Francisco chapters had the opportunity to try the app at Muir Woods National Monument. Here is the second installment of our California parks experience.

Before proceeding further, I'd like to thank my colleague Noel Runyan for his excellent notes and collaboration on this article.

Nine members of the Silicon Valley chapter and seven members of the San Francisco chapter participated in the Muir Woods outing. We met at the Manzanita parking lot at the intersection of Highways 1 and 101, where we were greeted by Richard De La O, Accessibility Program Manager at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA); Thomas Conway, University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies; and Michael Faw, Accessibility and Exhibits Specialist at the GGNRA. We loaded and tested two apps on our phones: the UniD app for the Muir Woods Park brochure, and the National Parks Service (NPS) Golden Gate app for descriptions of sites within Muir Woods Park itself. The NPS app utilizes Bluetooth signals to trigger points of interest descriptions as you walk through the park. Currently, wayside description triggering works only for Apple phones, and not yet for Android. It was necessary to load our apps in advance because there is no cell phone access within the park.

With phones now ready, we boarded a shuttle for the ten minute drive into the park, where we were greeted by Todd, an enthusiastic ranger who clearly loved his work and the opportunity to introduce visually impaired visitors to the wonders of the park.

Todd, Richard, Michael, and Tom each shepherded a small group of us on a park walkabout. The formerly-paved walking paths are being replaced with wooden sidewalks that float above the ground to protect the delicate roots of the redwood trees. Near the park entrance is an incredible topographical map of Muir Woods, with every trail, lookout point, stream, and road labeled in braille, and assigned its own texture. Frank Welte and other employees of the San Francisco LightHouse were consultants for developing this map, and it was fascinating to hear him describe how the map was first made in clay, and how leather, beads, and other objects were used to create the various textures for what ultimately became a metal structure. We walked around and around it, exploring every looping, switchback-laden path. The park is huge, and the map conveys its size and its meandering spread.

The weather that day was cool with partial sunlight, skittering clouds, and a companionable stream, reminding us that it seldom gets very warm in this redwood rain forest. One personal highlight was an SVCB chapter member giving a big hug to a San Francisco friend as they stood together inside the burnt-out trunk of a redwood tree. Another highlight was exploring a braille-labeled redwood tree ring that dated the tree's beginnings back to before the common era (BCE). Our walk was a collage experience as we moved between real time connections with each other and nature, and the rich information provided by our phone apps. NPS wayside and site descriptions of artwork on plaques was wonderful, with color and motion of plants and animals included.

After lunch, we met for an hour with park staff to provide feedback on usability of both apps. Our feedback was collected in written surveys, and will help fine-tune the apps.

Generally, we would advise folks to take time to listen to the Muir Woods wayside descriptions before visiting the park. They would also find the UniD app an interesting and accessible way to find out about all the California parks.

In closing, we express our appreciation to Michael Faw, Richard De La O, Thomas Conway, and Todd, as well as to sighted volunteers and family members who accompanied us. We also thank Dan Spoone, first Vice President of ACB, and Jo Lynn Bailey-Page, ACB Grants Manager, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to support and promote the parks project. ACB provided each chapter with $250 to offset costs of the Muir Woods excursion. So onward to our next park.

Snack Shack

Spring Fruit Cobbler
Submitted by Suzanne Smith


6 cups peaches, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt


1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons transfat-free margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut fruit into bite-sized pieces. Lightly grease a baking dish. Mix the filling gently, and distribute evenly in the baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for the topping. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk, margarine, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, and stir. Spoon topping over filling, leaving spaces for the juices to bubble up.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned, checking at 30 minutes so as not to overbake. Makes 8 servings.

compiled by Mike Keithley

Learning Ally Scholarships

Each year Learning Ally members who are completing undergraduate or graduate degrees and who are blind or visually impaired are eligible to apply for our Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award (SAA) scholarship program in recognition of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

Scholarships range from $2,000 to $6,000, and are awarded to the top six students who are chosen by a national selection committee, based on the student's academic achievements, educational achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

We are accepting applications now through June 30th. Winners will be notified of awards in early 2019.

Apply today at

EVENT CALENDAR: June through July, 2018
compiled by Mike Keithley


Tabard Theatre shows: To order tickets, call the Tabard box office at 408-679-2330 and speak to Marilyn Watts, or visit SVCB members and Blind Center clients should use Discount Code BC27 when ordering. Performances take place at The Tabard THEATRE, 29 North San Pedro Street, San Jose.

Shows described by AudioVision: For all San Francisco productions (Golden Gate and Orpheum theatres), tickets are generally on sale four weeks before the production opens. To charge tickets and reserve receivers, call 888-746-1799 (SHN Theaters), or fax your order to 415-581-2121 and ask for AudioVision tickets. If you have any questions, please email

The monthly "Let's Talk Low Vision" conferences from CCLVI can be accessed as podcasts at

Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors: Departs every Sunday at noon from Pier 40 in San Francisco. Call 415-281-0212 for information and reservations, or visit

Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP): BORP believes that everyone should have access to the unique challenges that outdoor recreation provides, and makes every effort to accommodate each person's needs, including providing transportation and volunteer support. For event listings, call Lori Gray at 510-843-4398, or visit


June: Vision Research Month.

June 5, 5:30 to 7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group. Call-in: 605-715-4920; ID: 2776167. For questions, call Lori Scharff at 516-887-1336, or

June 7, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you're not on the Board but wish to attend this meeting, please contact President Susan Glass.

June 7-24: Tabard Theatre, LOVE LETTERS, see notes.

June 16, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Monthly SVCB meeting. Finalize picnic plans. Remind members to acquire prizes.

June 16, 2 PM: AudioVision, THE HUMANS, Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, see notes.

June 19, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision, Clinical Trials and Low Vision, 712-432-3447 with ID 145330.

June 22, noon: July newsletter deadline.

June 24, 1:30 to 3 PM: Ye Olde Towne Band free concert, Shoup Park, 400 University Avenue, Los Altos.

June 27: Helen Keller Day.

June 29 and 30 at 8 PM, and Jul 1 at 2 PM: TheatreWorks, FINKS, described by the Visual Voice, MVCPA.

June 29 to Jul 6: ACB Conference and Convention, Union Station Hotel, 1820 Market Street, Saint Louis, Missouri, 60123;. Reservations: 314-231-1234.

Jul 12, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

Jul 14, 2 PM: THE SCHOOL OF ROCK, Orpheum Theatre, described by AudioVision, see notes.

Jul 21, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Monthly meeting. Begin plans for White Cane Safety Day and Employment of People with Disabilities Awareness Month, appoint Holiday Party Committee chair.

Jul 27, noon: August newsletter deadline.

Jul 29, 1:30 to 3 PM: Ye Olde Towne Band free concert.