Newsletter of the
A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind
January 2019

EDITOR: Susan Glass,
COPY EDITOR: Beverly Clifford,
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042
DEADLINE: for the January, 2019 issue: noon, December 26
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,

Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, 101 N. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 1-408-295-4016




* President's Message

* Membership Corner

* SVCB Members Make Braille Map Accessible At Watsonville Nature Center

* Fund-Raising Report

* Apply For A Technology Grant

* Goodies Update

* Tidbits

* Event Calendar



by Susan Glass


I'm writing this column on Wednesday, December 26, the first day of the 12 days of Christmas. May the holidays bring us all peace and a reflective spirit as we prepare for the coming year.


2019 promises exciting changes for SVCB. We will hold our January 19 meeting at our usual Monte Vista Terrace Apartments location. But beginning in February, we will move to our new permanent home at Vista Center San Jose, formerly the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. Yep, this is where we held our recent holiday party, and where two years ago we held a tech grant fund-raiser. Many of us are already regular patrons of the center, whether for Wednesday morning programs, Friday Apple Pie sessions, movies, classes, or outings. From February on, we'll hold all of our monthly meetings free of charge at Vista San Jose. We'll meet in the auditorium, and we'll be able to use the center's excellent sound system. We'll have storage space for our supplies, and we'll be able to display photos and mementos of which we are proud. Vista San Jose is centrally located for most of our members. Its address is 101 North Bascom Avenue, San Jose. It is accessible via Paratransit (VTA Access), and the following paragraphs discuss VTA bus lines providing direct service to and from Vista San Jose.


Bus 61: Good Samaritan Hospital to Sierra and Piedmont via Bascom

Bus 62: Good Samaritan Hospital to Sierra and Piedmont via Union

There are two other bus lines that provide service just a few minutes walk away from the San Carlos/Stevens Creek and Bascom Avenue intersection:

Bus 23: DeAnza College to Alum Rock Transit Center via Stevens Creek 

Bus 323: Downtown San Jose to De Anza College 


Experienced bus riders to and from the facility that people might want to talk to are: Michelle McGrew and Lupe Medrano.


For more details about VTA transportation service, check out:


Our new location will enable us to network with Vista San Jose clients who are not yet members of SVCB. All of us will become more aware of Vista's many programs in San Jose, Palo Alto, and Santa Cruz. I am optimistic that our move will result in our becoming part of a largerafrommore active, and more diverse blind and low vision community.


The Board is currently researching lunch options for our new location, but just in case we don't have something in place by our February 16 membership meeting, we suggest that you plan on bringing your own lunch.


We're still deciding what our January program will be. Watch the Phone Tree for details.




by Mike Keithley


Hey, it's 2019, the event you've been waiting for since it was 2018! "Well master, where are we going with this?" Oh, have a new year's day party, a 2018 chocolate leftover binge or something like that.


I can tell you that the 2018 SVCB holiday party was superb. Over 60 people were there, more than expected, and the Armadillo Willys' food was at its finest. I had both turkey and ham, and those cornbread muffins with honey butter were heavenly! I hear that John Glass' old-time radio show was well received, though I sort of goofed and had to leave the party early.


Many thanks to Alice Turner and the Holiday Committee for a successful event, and we look forward to the 2019 SVCB holiday party, the only one that counts!


It's time to renew your SVCB membership for 2019. Regular dues are $10, and ACB or CCB Life Members are $8. Come to the January membership meeting on the 19th, and give your dues to Victor Clifford. You can also send them to SVCB at SVCB, PO Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042. Be sure to put "membership dues" on the memo line of your check. In fact, you can pay 10 years of SVCB dues if you want to—why not! That's how King does it, but in Welch's fruit snacks, which is why we make so much money from them (ha ha).


So on with 2019! Be on the look-out for new programs this year, and remember to examine the 2019 SVCB calendar that's distributed to members with this newsletter. You'll be voting to accept it at the January meeting.


Let's wish happy January birthdays to Roger Petersen, Lupe Medrano, Margaret Hardy, and Kenneth Hoag. It's Roger's 77th! "That's nice, but mine's 255th." What a braggart, and I'm not sure about your grammar! "Ah shucks."




by Victor Clifford


Bev and Vic Clifford, members of Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) ( were introduced to the City of Watsonville Nature Center, (  in 2018 by Jean and Terry Stone, residents of Pelican Point at Pajaro Dunes. Ranger Cindy Scott took them on such a wonderful bird tour throughout the wetlands and trails that they came back again several months later with two more members of their support group for the blind and visually impaired. Part of the visits included examining the topographical map that shows the entire watershed area—water ways, buildings, streets, etc. Seeing the limitation to those with vision issues, Bev (without sight) and Vic (with sight) offered to prepare braille labels to augment the information presented by the map.


Vic and Bev researched the labelling medium to best use on the map by contacting The LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco. They then prepared test labels and tried them out on an older map to ensure the concept would work. Seeing that the potential to bring pertinent information to those with visual impairments was achievable, they prepared more than one hundred braille labels of various lengths. When ready, they came to the nature center and spent in excess of three hours affixing them where warranted.


Thanks to an introduction from Jean and Terry, there now exists a very valuable asset for the blind and visually impaired community to aid in exploring a beautiful estuary and all its surroundings. SVCB is now exploring how to arrange tours for others who would benefit from visiting the nature center and all that it has to offer.




by Michelle McGrew


Earlier in December while on a long bus ride, I set out to write my Fund-Raising Report with the idea that I would actually get it emailed to our Editor early, before Christmas. But then I remembered that I was planning on baking cookies for January's Cookies of the Month, and I still needed to decide what to bake. So, instead of writing my report, I looked through recipes and pondered my choices. A few days later, I tried working on my report again, still hoping to finish early. I reread my Report from 2018, looking for some inspiration for how to begin. I decided I needed more time to think about it, so set it aside to work on later. We still needed to prepare for an early Christmas gathering, and I was awaiting a call from Garvey's vet.


Now, a week later, the deadline has come and gone. So much has changed in one week! We said our good-byes to Garvey the day after Christmas. He was diagnosed with bronchitis the Saturday before, but it quickly turned to pneumonia, despite receiving antibiotics. We never really knew just how ill he was until the end, and nothing could have prepared us for those final moments. I know this isn't a very uplifting way to begin my report for 2019. But it serves as a reminder to us all to love, charish, and encourage those around us. For together, we make a community of people who help and support one another through whatever challenges may come our way. And for this, I am truly grateful.


I still haven't decided what I'm baking for our January Cookies of the Month, so watch for this announcement in the Phone Tree. The cookies will continue to cost $1 per bag, and the funds we raise will benefit our tech grant.


We're having an auction at our January meeting. We still need to make our final selections, so stay tuned to the Phone Tree to learn what you can bid on.


Our second order of calendars for 2019 arrived earlier than expected! As of this writing, we have 3 calendars still available for purchase. They cost $10 each. You may 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


SVCB is still selling four-ounce bags of Meltaways from Bakers Candies in Nebraska for $4 each. Each bag contains about 13 individually-wrapped chocolates. We have the following flavors available: five kinds of dark chocolate (plain, mint, orange, cherry, and sea salt caramel), six kinds of milk chocolate (plain, mint, peanut butter, raspberry, coconut, and mocha), milk chocolate wrapped caramel, and the assorted (mix of both dark and milk chocolates).


We also have World's Finest Chocolate bars. We have four kinds of milk chocolate: with almonds, caramel, crisp, and plain, and a very limited amount of plain dark chocolate. The World's Finest sell for $1 each. To purchase or help sell candy bars, or to order Meltaways, please contact me as listed above.


Or, choose one of our other options! We're selling bags of nut mix as part of our After-Holiday Sale. These come with either sweetened dried cranberries or with chunks of dark chocolate. You can also purchase Kirkland nut bars (contains a sprinkle of salt and a little chocolate) and bags of Welch's Fruit Snacks (2.2-ounce bags of chewy fruit-flavored candies, in the following flavors: Mixed Fruit, Island Fruit, Apple Orchard Medley, Strawberry, and Berries 'n Cherries). The nut mixes, nut bars, and Welch's Fruit Snacks are all $1 each. To place an order, contact me as listed above.


See you at the January meeting!




by Susan Glass


We are now accepting applications for our 2018-19 Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant. For several years now, this grant has been SVCB's community service project intended to benefit blind and visually impaired individuals who are at least 16 years old, and who live in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and San Mateo Counties. And of course, any SVCB member is eligible to apply. The deadline for submitting a completed application is the last day in February of 2019. The committee will deliberate and select a winner during March and April. The winner will be notified in April, and will receive the award at the May SVCB general membership meeting. The value of this year's grant is $1500. Please help us spread the word, and please apply for the grant yourself if you think you have a technology need that qualifies.


The website link to the application form is:




by Bev Clifford


Happy New Near to you all,


Your roving Goodies Chair has been back in town for almost a month now, and she's back in the saddle and chomping at the bit to begin another year of making sure that we all get our energy kick at each SVCB meeting in 2019. We're doing pretty well with this, but we're still lacking two volunteers for the months of April and November. Any takers? You know by now that you will have our undying gratitude, right? So c'mon, goodies angels, spread your after-Christmas wings and fly to your phone, tablet, or PC and let me know that you're in!—but enjoy a fun and safe New Near's Eve first. You can leave a message for me at 888-652-5333, find me on our Membership List to call me directly, or send email to See you in 2019.




by Mike Keithley


SRSFL ski season, by Betsy Rowell


Hi Skiers,


This is to help you start thinking about the SRSFL ski season. As most of you have already heard, we have fresh snow in the mountains. So that tells me it is time for you ; to reserve your space on the upcoming ski trip. Below you will find the schedule of SRSFL ski trips and more detailed information.


For a skier app, go to, click on Skier Information, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "2019 Skier App." Please let me know if you have any problems.


Saturday day trips and the 3-day event will take place at Tahoe Donner Cross Country in Truckee, California. SRSFL provides transportation from Sacramento.




Day Ski Events for Children and Adults


January 26, 2019: sign up deadline January 19


February 9: sign up deadline February 2


Spring Day Skiing Event, March 30: sign up deadline March 23




Adults: $43 for trail pass and skis, $21 if you bring equipment.


Seniors 60 to 69: $39 for trail pass and skis, $17 if you bring equipment.


Age 70 plus: $27 for skis and trail pass, $5 if you have skis.


Juniors 13 to 17: $39 for trail pass and skis, $17  if you bring your own equipment.


Age 12 and under: $5 for skis and trail pass.




March 9-11, 2019: sign up deadline February 18.


The 2019 SRSFL three-day cross-country ski event will be held in Truckee, CA Saturday, March 9 through Monday, March 11. Lodging will be at the Best Western Hotel in Truckee. Skiing will be at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, Truckee. Cost: $270 (includes equipment rental); $195 if you bring your own skis or snowshoes. For ages 70 or older, the cost will be $145 if you bring your own equipment, and $220 with equipment rental. These fees include 2 nights lodging (double occupancy) in Truckee, breakfasts and dinners, and trail passes for all three days. Note: Add $140 if you wish a private room. You are ; on your own for lunches in Truckee. Tahoe Donner has a lunch menu, which does include vegetarian items.


For those coming from out of town Friday, March 8


Lodging will be at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 10745 Gold Center Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670; Phone: 916-858-8680. The cost is an additional $54 double, $108 single, includes continental breakfast.


SRSFL will hold an informal meet-and-greet from 6 to 8 PM. Please bring $7 for the salad and pizza dinner. We will depart 7:15 AM Saturday, March 10 from the Fairfield Inn for Tahoe Donner Cross Country.


Note: For the 3-day event, a deposit of $50 is due by February 1, 2019. All fees are due by the sign-up deadline of February 18. To receive a refund, cancel on or before February 18. NO refunds after this date. Please make your check out to SRSFL, and mail it with your completed application to the address below.

I look forward to seeing you on the snow. THINK SNOW!


Betsy Rowell

SRSFL Skier Coordinator, 9608 Mira Del Rio Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827. Phone: 916-362-5557. Email:


Use Uber and Lyft Without Needing a Smartphone


GoGo is an automated hotline that lets people use Uber and Lyft without needing a smartphone. Uber and Lyft are available nationally when you use GoGoGrandparent. We'll send you whichever company is cheapest at the time that you make your request for a ride. Their prices are typically up to 40 percent less than the cost of a cab.


Using GoGo is simple: callers call from a number they have registered with us, and hear a menu of options. They can press 1 for a car to be sent to pick them up from their home, 2 for a car to be sent to pick them up where we dropped them off last, or 0 to speak with an operator for a custom pickup location.


Once the car arrives, riders tell the driver where they want to go. After making a request, a car shows up at your door within fifteen minutes, typically less.


To register free of charge, please call 855-464-6872, or visit


AAVL, by Jeff Thom




I am writing in my capacity as president of the ACB affiliate Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL). I write primarily for those who are 50 years and over, and thus fall into one or another of the definitions of senior, but anyone interested is encouraged to participate. ACB has always been active in advocacy for seniors with vision loss, but we all know how much more there is that needs to be accomplished. It is my goal that, eventually, AAVL, like other of our special interest affiliates such as CCLVI, GDUI, and LUA, will lead the way in advocacy in those areas relevant to seniors who are blind or have low vision, whether for seniors suffering recent vision loss or those who have had a vision impairment for some or all of their lives.


In order to make this happen, I encourage all of you to do two things. First, join AAVL. If you want to join AAVL for $15 per year, you may do so by contacting AAVL Treasurer, Kathy Gerhardt, via e-mail at Second, let me know what issues you feel we need to work on and, if you are so inclined, send me a request to join the AAVL policy committee that I will be forming in order to focus on advocacy issues. After all, we can't expect to retain members in AAVL unless the organization deserves your participation. Let's work together for seniors who are blind or have low vision!


Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous 2019.


Jeff Thom



EVENT CALENDAR: January through February, 2019

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




January: Braille Literacy and Glaucoma Awareness Months.


Jan 2: Louis Braille's birthday.

Jan 3, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting, call-in 800-662-6992 with ID code 1184109. If you're not on the Board but wish to attend this meeting, please contact President Susan Glass.


Jan 8, 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


Jan 11 through Feb 3: SNAPSHOTS: A MUSSICAL SCRAPBOOK (see notes).


Jan 15, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision conference; There Are No Strangers: Networking for fun, friends and funds; 712-432-3447 with ID code 145330.


Jan 19, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Annual SVCB membership meeting. New administration takes office, approve Business Calendar.


Jan 25, noon: February newsletter deadline.


February: Eye donor awareness month.


Feb 3, 2 PM: COME FROM AWAY, Golden Gate Theatre, descriptions by AudioVision.


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


Feb 7, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.


Feb 8 and 9 at 8 PM and 10 at 2 PM:  FROST/NIXON, descriptions by The Visual Voice, MVCPA.


Feb 15 through March 10: BEAU JEST (see notes).


Feb 16, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB membership meeting. Approve 2019 budget.

Feb 19, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision conference, ScripTalk.


Feb 22, noon: March newsletter dead