The September 2018 SVCB in Touch newsletter <>

Sat, Sep 1, 2018 at 2:52 PM


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

EDITOR: Susan Glass,
COPY EDITOR: Beverly Clifford,
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042
DEADLINE: for the October, 2018 issue: noon, September 21
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.


* President's Message
* Membership Corner
* Fund-Raising Report
* Goodies Chair Goes Walk-About
* Snack Shack
* Tidbits
* Event Calendar

by Susan Glass

It's hard to believe that we've crossed into the final month of summer. Our days of late are cool and smoky, and my heart goes out to the many firefighters battling in what promises to be the worst fire season on record. Let's send positive energy and prayers out to them, and to their families, and to the many Californians whose lives have been torn by fire.

If you weren't able to attend SVCB's August 18 picnic, you missed a fun (if small and quiet) gathering. Mike gives you most of the details in his "Membership Corner," although he forgot to mention Noel Runyan's vibrating nerf rifle and target, which afforded us a rousing, calorie-burning good time following our munching and chatting. You're a great teacher, Noel. Please bring us more sports. I'm game for more target practice, and more of Rob Turner's Audible Darts, too. I join Mike in thanking Naomi and her wonderful volunteers, Vic and Bev for shopping and readying tables and coordinating details, and their son-in-law Cody for his magic at the barbecue.

In the August edition of In Touch, you read about our Northern Californian Regional CCB Gathering, to be held on Saturday, September 29 at the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind. You also read an announcement about this event in the most recent California Connection. Several northern California chapter presidents have now held two planning meetings, and I am able to share some updates with you. What follows is our tentative agenda. I'd like to thank Frank Welte, whose notes I drew from extensively here.

The meeting will begin at 10 AM on September 29 in the Multi-Purpose Room of the San Francisco LightHouse. We'll start with an icebreaker activity such as inviting each participant to share something about himself or herself that most people in the group would be surprised to learn. This activity will be followed by a keynote presentation from CCB President Judy Wilkinson, and/or CCB CEO Paul Shane, about the CCB vision, mission, and the Major Gifts Ramp Up Campaign. The presentation will not exceed one hour.

Next, we'll invite representatives from each chapter to share what they perceive as their chapter's successes and challenges. Some of us will scribe or take notes so that we can determine what challenges and strengths our chapters have in common.

Lunch comes next, and our tentative plan is to order food from Subway. We'll also be looking into procuring morning refreshments from Starbucks.

After lunch we'll break into four groups, and each group will be tasked with coming up with a plan for local implementation of one of the four CCB strategic initiatives: advocacy, serving people new to vision loss, serving blind and vision impaired seniors, and transportation and technology. 

Each plan should include ideas for cooperative activities by chapters in the region. We should also look for ways to involve more young people in our organization.

Our meeting will adjourn at 3 PM. A number of you have already expressed interest in attending, and I'm delighted. It can be difficult for all of us to attend the annual CCB convention. Local regional gatherings such as the one that we're convening on September 29 will allow more of us to participate actively in CCB. Active participation will ensure that it is a more effective member-driven, inclusive democracy.

Gabe Griffith and I are charged with registering attendees for the regional gathering. The registration fee, which also assures you a lunch, is $10. If you plan to attend, please bring your $10 to our September 15 meeting, or mail a check to P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042. Please write "CCB Regional Gathering" on your check's memo line.

There are several transportation options for commuting to and from the LightHouse. You can take CalTrain to San Francisco, and then a bus or cab to the LightHouse. Or you can catch BART, which will drop you at a stop directly across from the LightHouse. If enough members are attending, we might consider chipping in together for a Lyft ride, or for a limo. As I learn about more specific commute information, I will make it available in our September phone tree and through our mailing list. So, please come represent SVCB on September 29.

by Mike Keithley

This year our August picnic was a small, quiet affair, with 33 people attending. But there were some nice raffle prizes: I got a Starbucks card with its "Starbucks" in braille. And someone got a pair of accessible walkie-talkies"pretty nice! (I should know, I contributed them.) And the Yerba Buena picnic site, which I found to be very pleasant, was right next to a wedding!

Many thanks to Victor and the volunteers Naomi garnered for us. Everybody had a good time, and the hamburger and hot dog I ate were especially good. "And they would have been better if you'd given me some!" Perhaps, King, but that experiment had to wait, sorry!

I got to wondering how old SVCB newsletters described picnics, but I was dismayed to find that there are no newsletters before 1997. Back then picnics were more potluck affairs, and were the basis for many of the recipes published in the 2007 SVCB cookbook.

We've heard that Roger Petersen hasn't been feeling well. Episodes of floating blood clots, which were very serious 10 years ago, have reappeared. But he told me the other day that things are calming down, only now he has more pills to take.

Be sure to contact President Susan Glass to sign up for the regional chapter meeting on September 29. See above in this newsletter for more information, including an agenda. This is your chance to meet people in other Bay Area CCB chapters, especially from the East Bay.

Let's wish happy September birthdays to Mike Keithley and Donald Reelfs. "And don't forget me! I love singing Happy Birthday to myself." King, you were saying that in the June column; how many time have we got to do this. "Always!"

by Michelle McGrew

Thanks to all who got tickets for our raffle featuring donated prizes at our August picnic! Prizes included a $25 Starbucks gift card, various electronic devices, various picnic-related items, and a pair of tickets for Tabard Theatre's production of "Another Roll of the Dice." Congratulations to our winners: Mike, John V., Suzanne, Kathy H., Irene, Sam, and volunteers Mary and Trina! We raised $158!

Save the dates and spread the word! Please join us at our next fund-raising event at Marie Callender's (751 East El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087) any time Monday, October 22 through Tuesday, October 23, 2018 (11 AM-8 PM) for a meal, dessert or snack, or even to purchase a pie to take home! Please call 408-245-3710 to make reservations if you have a party of 6 or more. Present one of our fund-raising event flyers to your server, and Marie Callender's will donate 20% of each purchase (excluding alcohol, tax, and tip) to SVCB's technology grant program! We'll have flyers at the September and October meetings, or you can download and print the required flyer by visiting (should be posted by early September). Marie Callender's will not have extra copies, and we will not receive credit for your purchases if your party does not have a flyer.

At our September meeting, we're having an auction! Please stay tuned to the Phone Tree to learn what items are up for bid!

Dawn Wilcox will be baking Almond Cookies for our September Cookies of the Month fundraiser, to benefit our tech grant. Each bag of cookies will sell for $1. If you would like to volunteer to bake cookies for this fundraiser, 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 Let me know if you have a preferred month.

I am now taking orders for next year's large print/braille calendar featuring artwork by blind and visually impaired people of all ages. I have ordered 55 calendars, and expect them to arrive in time for the September meeting. Remember, these are great to share with others! This year, they will cost $10 each (sorry, prices went up, so we need to charge a little more). 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. To order in advance, please contact me as listed above.

See you at the September meeting!

by Bev Clifford

Yeah, you read the title correctly: At the end of September I'll be going a-roaming all over the country with my husband Vic for 9 weeks, to see new places and familiar faces, and to eat loads of amazing goodies all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back again. But that doesn't mean that I will be shirking my goodyish duties by forgetting y'all and how hungry you are, especially come the third Saturday of each month. Two early birds have already made sure that you will have delicious snacks for the January and June 2019 SVCB meetings, but as always, we need to fill in all the other monthly slots. We're an easy-to-please bunch, and we're willing to try just about anything you come up with, sweet or savory. But FYI: I suggest four or five dozen of something, and if those somethings happen to be sweet, do add a bit of fruit for those who are avoiding sugar. Or you could surprise us with a savory breakfast casserole of some sort: Go for it! 

To volunteer to bring snacks to one of our 2019 meetings, and to assure that you get the month you prefer, you can call our SVCB phone number and leave me a message at 1-888-652-5333, drop me an email at goodies%svbc_cc, or look me up in our SVCB Membership List and contact me directly. (Caution: DO NOT call me directly starting in October, as there will be no one available to answer my home phone"unless there's an invisible gremlin in my house that I don't know about.) Thanks in advance for your much-appreciated contributions. 


Strawberry Salad
Submitted by Suzanne Smith

This recipe comes from Cowpasture Cooking, a cookbook put out by First State Bank of Texas.

1-1/2 cups boiling water
2 small packages or 1 large package strawberry or strawberry banana Jello
1 cup sour cream
1 package (16-ounce) frozen strawberries, thawed
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
Peanuts (optional garnish)

Add boiling water to Jello and dissolve. Add strawberries and pineapple. Pour half of mixture in buttered dish and chill until firm. Spread sour cream over firm mixture and let set. Add rest of mixture and chill until firm. May sprinkle with chopped peanuts if desired.

Optional: May slice in squares and serve on lettuce or plate as a delicious salad. Goes well with any meat.

S'mores Pieces Cookies
Submitted by Suzanne Smith

This is the recipe for the cookies I brought to our SVCB picnic. I found the recipe on a package of Hershey's S'mores Baking Pieces (Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips, Graham Cookie Pieces, and Mini Marshmallows) that I found at Smart and Final.

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cup (7-ounce package) Hershey's S'mores Baking Pieces, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat until thoroughly blended. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually blend into butter mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup Baking Pieces. Stir remaining pieces into cookie dough. Drop dough by heaping teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Randomly push reserved baking pieces into tops of unbaked cookies. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet; cool completely on wire rack. Makes about 32 cookies.

Compiled by Mike Keithley

Medi-Cal benefits communications:

If you are applying for or are receiving Medi-Cal benefits, and are having a problem receiving communications in braille or another alternative format regarding your Medi-Cal application or benefits, Disability Rights Advocates is interested in speaking to you about this issue. Please call Sachiko Riddle at (510) 665-8644, or email her at

Microsoft Disabilities Answer Desk Through Be My Eyes

We hope you've had the opportunity to use our Specialized Help feature and call the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk. It is important to us at Be My Eyes that the feature continues to be a helpful and efficient solution to any technical issues.

Microsoft has been pleased to offer you this extended customer support"so much that they are now expanding their opening hours. You may now call the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk through Be My Eyes Specialized Help 24/7! This means whenever you need technical assistance with your Microsoft product or service, a Microsoft agent will be ready to help you out.

EVENT CALENDAR: September to October 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


Sep 4, 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

Sep 6, 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.

Sep 14 to Oct 7: ANOTHER ROLL OF THE DICE, Tabard Theatre (see notes).

Sep 14 and 15, 8 PM and 16 at 2 PM: NATIVE GARDEN, descriptions by the Visual Voice, TheatreWorks MVCPA.

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 18, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision, Traveling with Low Vision, 712-432-3447 with ID code 145330.

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, Shoup Park, 400 University Avenue, Los Altos.

October: Employment of People with Disabilities Awareness Month.

Oct 2, 5:30 to 7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group.

Oct 4, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

Oct 15: Blind Americans Equality Day, formally White Cane Safety day.

Oct 16, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision, Lighting and Eye Protection.

Oct 20, 9 AM to 1 PM: SVCB Membership Meeting: Formally consider Constitution and Bylaws amendments.

Oct 23 through Nov 18: THE EMPORER'S CLUB, Tabard Theatre, see notes.

Oct 26, noon: November SVCB newsletter deadline. Distribute fall membership list, publish slate of 2019 SVCB candidates.