* President's Message

* Membership Corner

* Fund-Raising Report

* Last Call to Register for Picnic

* Good News from Kaiser Permanente in San Jose

* * Snack Shack

* Tidbits

* Event Calendar



by Susan Glass

Come one, come all, to the Northern California CCB Regional Meeting.

When: Saturday, September 29, from 10 AM to 3 Pm.

Where: San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Who: Any and all members of Northern California Ccb chapters.

What is the purpose of the gathering: To focus on CCB's mission in Northern California. Issues to be discussed include: senior solutions, transportation, technology, needs of newly blinded people, fund-raising, advocacy, and reaching younger members. We'll begin the morning with a keynote address delivered by CCB President Judy Wilkinson. We will also hear from and interact with CCB's CEO Paul Shane. We'll discuss strengths in our respective chapters as well as challenges that we face, and we'll create action plans for our future.

We are still planning transportation and food logistics, and will share that information as soon as we have it. Meanwhile, if you think you would be interested in attending the regional meeting, please let me know by either calling our SVCB number 1-888-652-5333 to leave me a message, or by dropping me an email at Or you can look me up in our SVCB Membership List to contact me directly.



by Mike Keithley

King writes: "So how's it sniffin'? Early in July, Master took the bus to Grants Pass Oregon to visit Mickey and Sandy Quenzer; and I got to see Burke and Chelsea, their dogs big and tiny. The bus was Greyhound, the fan belt broke just outside of Redding, and the driver tried to get back to town but burned out the engine--lots of smoke and trouble for him. So for two hours, Master (with perhaps 30 other people) was stranded on the roadside at 12:30 AM until another bus arrived. It turned out to be a relaxed, peaceful time, with a cooling breeze lifting earth's heat, people quietly coming and going, cigarettes and quiet conversation, and the bus' turn signals slowly clicking away.

"On his trip home, there was much worry about being delayed by that fire that closed Highway 5 for a time, and there was a 30-minute delay at 3 AM but no one seemed upset.

"And then master and Star bought a new Ford Escape, taking four hours to do it, and ending up at Triple A to adjust insurance. There he played around with the key and started the horn honking. That person can do better than that! So he presses a button, horn stops! Yes Master, you can do better!"

OK King, enough! Everybody's bored. How am I going to recover this column?

"Well at least four SVCB people went to the ACB convention in Saint Louis." Yes, they did, and reported on happenings during the July business meeting. This year, events covered by ACB Radio were archived, and you can hear the coverage as MP3 on your Stream by entering "ACBRadio Convention" into the Title Search box.

Our July program featured a wide-ranging discussion on using online services like InstaCart (Rob Turner) and DoorDash (John Glass). You can hear it at

Let's welcome Irene Barker, Elaine Bernal (who is returning after a long hiatus), and Julio Saucedo to SVCB. And let's wish happy August birthdays to Bev Clifford, Charlie Stein, Claudia Gulasch, Margie Saenz, and David Hunter. Come to the picnic and wish them a happy birthday.

This year's picnic looks to be a quiet affair, with a chance to socialize to your heart's content. Details are elsewhere, so please register.



by Michelle McGrew

Thanks to our Fund-Raising Committee member, Carol Silveria, for filling in for me at our July meeting. My husband, both dogs, and I headed out for our church’s annual camping trip to Lake Siskiyou the day before the meeting. We enjoyed our much-needed, week-long vacation!

Thanks to all who got tickets for our 50/50 raffle at our July meeting! We sold $89 in tickets, so SVCB and our winner each received $44.50. Congratulations to our lucky winner, Alice Turner!

Join us at our August picnic for great food, fun, and a special raffle! Some very nice prizes have been donated for this event: a Starbucks gift card, a Wilson voice recorder, a Pair of accessible walkie-talkies (batteries and chargers included), a Nokia N82 cell phone with Talkx screen reader and KNFB reader on it (to be used as a stand-alone reading device), and a pair of tickets for Tabard Theatre’s production of "Another Roll of the Dice." Raffle tickets are $1 each or $5 for six.

Also, we still have the Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Monitoring System (with case and instructions). As I said in my last report, we’d love to find a home for it. If you are interested in this item, please contact me by calling 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 A donation for this item would be appreciated.

Our July Cookies of the Month fund-raiser, benefiting our tech grant, featured Sugar Cookies baked by Diane Wetzel (a client at the Blind Center) and John Stolp. You can find the recipe for these cookies in the “Snack Shack” column of this issue of the newsletter. So far, we sold 42 bags of Sugar Cookies (15 at our meeting and 33 at the Blind Center). Plus, we sold more lemon cookies at the Blind Center in late June, so altogether since my last report, we raised another $60 for our tech grant! Thanks to all of our supporters!

We won’t have cookies for sale at our picnic, but we’ll resume our sales at our September meeting. If you would like to volunteer to bake cookies for this fundraiser, please contact me as listed above, and let me know if you have a preferred month.

I will place our order for next year's large print/braille calendars some time in August. These calendars are great to share with others! They will again cost $9 each. I am now taking orders, and plan to have them in time for the September meeting. To reserve yours, please contact me as listed above.

We are still selling our various snack items throughout the summer. For $1 each, you may select from the following options: bags of Welch's Fruit Snacks (2.2-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. Note: If you wish to purchase any of these items at the picnic, you must order them in advance. Please contact me as listed above.

See you at the August picnic!



by Susan Glass

This year's SVCB picnic is 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 guests. 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. Our transportation chair Lupe Medrano has been in touch with Access personnel to insure that they know where to drop off and pick up SVCB clients.

The chapter is providing hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs. To register, contact  Victor Clifford, and be sure to tell him what food you want. And while you're chatting with Vic, please check with Bev Clifford to find out what appetizers, beverages, and desserts we still need. This year our raffle will be our picnic's only organized activity, with no games scheduled. Plan on a leisurely afternoon visiting with SVCB friends.



by Bev Clifford

For several years, EnVision America has been trying to convince Kaiser Permanente that their product, ScripTalk (a playback unit that audibly reads a person all the information on their prescription labels) would be beneficial to its blind and visually impaired patients. Not long after Vic and I signed up for the Kaiser Senior Advantage program, I began a phone campaign to encourage Kaiser to seriously consider ScripTalk—and that's making a long story short: there were many calls to many departments before I finally reached someone who was willing to listen to and take notes on what I had to say. However, whether because of their ongoing communication with EnVision America, or possibly spurred on by my insistent nagging, I received a call near the beginning of 2017 informing me that my next prescriptions would arrive with a ScripTalk unit that would read the information that a mail-order pharmacist would record on a little label on the bottom of each prescription bottle or box. I was thrilled! And I made a special call to their pharmacy department thanking Kaiser fervently for finally seeing the light.

In January of 2018, I became a member of Kaiser San Jose's Member Patient Advisory Council (MPAC), which meets once a month to glean important input from and listen to the concerns of patients on any and all issues, whether trivial or serious, surrounding their Kaiser facility here, so that patients and Kaiser staff can work together to address them. During my intake interview, I made it clear that my major reason for joining this committee was to advocate for people with disabilities, particularly (of course) those of us who are blind and visually impaired, and that I was especially interested in speaking with pharmacy representatives. For although I was extremely grateful for Kaiser's adoption of ScripTalk, I knew they could do more. I was aware that EnVision America also offers braille labeling on prescription containers (a fact that would be vital to the deaf-blind community), plus they have developed an iPhone app called ScripView that enables VoiceOver to read a specific kind of label affixed to the little instruction booklet that comes with each prescription, therefore allowing visually impaired patients with large print capability to read the information on prescription containers as well.

Just last month, when I received the agenda for our upcoming MPAC meeting, I saw that people from Pharmacy would be attending. And fortunately for me, I was in a position to demonstrate not only the ScripTalk unit, but also the braille labeling and the iPhone app, reason being that before I returned to Kaiser I was under AETNA's medical insurance, and AETNA had agreed to implement all three of EnVision America's options, wherez at that time Kaiser hadn't agreed to any of them. When I was asked which option I wanted, I requested them all, so that when the time came I could show somebody at Kaiser how they all worked. And now, at last, that time had arrived.

So I happily packed up my ScripTalk unit, an old AETNA prescription bottle with the braille label, the little instruction booklet to be used with the ScripView iPhone app (that I had just downloaded that morning), and off I went to the meeting. The other MPAC members and the assembled staff seemed impressed with the products—most of them had never heard about or seen them—and after the meeting one of the pharmacists came to my table to get a better look at the bottle with the braille label. I was pleased with my demonstration except for the iPhone app, which had worked (although slowly) that morning, but which I couldn't guarantee would work properly at the meeting. But at least I was able to explin the concept, showing them the app, and then turning up the volume to the max so they could listen to how VoiceOver can read the prescription information from the history of the labels it had previously scanned this morning. Then I went home and forgot about it all.

That meeting was about two weeks ago. And just two days ago, I received a call from one of the Volunteer Coordinators we work with, who was delighted to spread the news that Kaiser San Jose's mail-order pharmacy has just ordered the braille printer they need to emboss braille labels for prescription bottles, and that when I refill my next prescriptions, the bottles/boxes will have braille on them! And if they'll do this for me, that means that any other San Jose Kaiser patient who wants braille on their bottles can get it, too. Hallelujah! I'm not sure if every walk-in pharmacy will have a braille printer quite yet, and I have no idea whether Kaiser will implement the large-print option in the future, but this is a good start. Hooray for advocacy!



Mrs. Sohn's Sugar Cookies

Submitted by Michelle McGrew

A few months ago, Diane Wetzel and I were discussing cookie recipes. She said she had a family recipe for Sugar Cookies that makes a lot of cookies. She said if she could find it, she would share it with me. I remembered, too, that she had offered to bake cookies sometime for our funraiser. So, when she found the recipe, I invited her to bake July’s Cookies of the Month for us. These are a favorite cookie of hers, and now mine, too! Diane, thanks for baking the cookies and for sharing the recipe with us!

1.5 lb butter

3 lb confectioners sugar

9 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

5 lb flour

Cream butter and sugar. Dissolve baking soda in milk. Combine all ingredients. Roll out very thin and cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper about an inch apart. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Watch cookies carefully so they don’t overbake and burn! Cool on wire racks. May be iced and decorated if desired.

Note: The recipe says it makes about 500 cookies, but the actual number of cookies you'll get will depend on how thin you roll the dough and on the size of the cookies. Also remember that the thinner you roll the dough, the more delicate the cookie will be.



by Mike Keithley

Guide Dog Users, Inc. Publishes Handbook to Help People Who Are Blind Decide If the Guide Dog Lifestyle is Right for Them

Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI), the largest membership and advocacy organization representing guide dog handlers in the United States, is pleased to announce the recent publication of a revised handbook for perspective guide dog users which shares comprehensive information about acquiring and using a guide dog for safe and independent travel.

The guide, 90 pages in length, and available in e-book and print formats, "A Handbook for the Prospective Guide Dog Handler," 4th Edition, updates a GDUI publication called "Making Impressions," which GDUI members wrote and published a quarter of a century ago. The original manual assisted countless guide dog users with applying for, training with, and adjusting to working with guide dogs. Many of those original readers are now working successfully with a third, fourth, or even an eighth or tenth guide dog. Realizing how well their original publication had served guide dog users all over the country and beyond, GDUI has spent the past several years updating the manual to reflect changes in guide dog training methodologies, growth in the community of guide dog users, changes in the number of schools now available to provide training and dogs, and evolving attitudes among the public concerning acceptance of guide dogs as reliable and respected aids for blind and visually impaired people who choose dogs for independent travel.

The informative handbook answers questions not only for the prospective guide dog team, but also for families of people who are blind, blindness rehabilitation professionals and educators, and the general public.

Part One, Section One sets the stage with heartfelt accounts from many guide dog users who can speak with authority about the guide dog lifestyle which pairs humans and canines in a relationship, unlike few others, that involves a 24-hour daily bond between dogs and their owners. Then, the handbook covers the whole process of deciding whether a guide dog is the right choice for mobility and safety, choosing and applying to a training program, learning to become a guide dog handler, returning home, and spending the next several years bonding with a dog who is likely to become an indispensable assistant and treasured companion.

The manual outlines the indispensable support that an organization like GDUI can provide to guide dog users during times when their partnership can pose uniquely stressful challenges, for example when a guide dog team experiences denial of transit in a taxicab, or exclusion from a restaurant or other public venue, when a treasured guide dog becomes ill or passes away, or when family or friends don't understand how the team functions safely and independently.

GDUI encourages readers and members to share the handbook with family, friends, colleagues, blindness and disability advocacy organizations, and other guide and service dog handlers.

"A Handbook for the Prospective Guide Dog Handler" is available as an E-book and in print from, Smashwords, and other online sellers. Visit this link for further information and to explore options for purchase:


EVENT CALENDAR: August-September 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 TheatresggeaTickets 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



Aug 3 and 4 at 8 PM and 5 at 2 PM: TheatreWorks, WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS, Lucie Stern, descriptions by the Visual Voice.

Aug 7, 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

Aug 9, 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.

Aug 18: Picnic in lieu of monthly meeting.

Aug 21, Let’s Talk Low Vision, Emerging Treatments for Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy,  712-432-3447 with ID ⠼⠁⠙⠑⠉⠉⠚⠲

Aug 24, noon: September SVCB newsletter deadline.

Aug 25, 2 PM: LES MISÉRABLES, Orpheum Theatre, AudioVision, see notes.

Aug 26, 1:30 to 3 PM: Ye Olde Towne Band free concert, Shoup Park, 400 University Avenue, Los Altos.

Sep 4, 5:30 to 7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group.

Sep 6, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

Sep 14-30: ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE, Tabard Theatre (see notes).

Sep 15, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Monthly meeting. Announce Nominating Committee, informally consider amendments for Constitution or Bylaws, begin planning for Braille Literacy Month, and remind members to acquire prizes for holiday party.

Sep 21, noon: October newsletter deadline.

Sep 22, 2 PM: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Orepheum Theatre, description by AudioVision, see notes.

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