A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

March 2020

EDITOR: Susan Glass,

COPY EDITOR: Beverly Clifford,

ADDRESS: P.O.  Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042

DEADLINE: for the April, 2020 issue: noon, March 27

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,

Monthly meetings are held at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center (Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired San Jose).  Meetings run 9:30 AM to 1 PM the third Saturday of the month and are open to all.


* President's Message

* Membership Corner

* Fund-Raising Report

* Snack Shack

* Event Calendar


by Rob Turner

For the remainder of these presidential messages, I plan to thank one chapter member for their contribution. This time it's thanks to Donna Sanchez for taking care of our lunch orders with friendly efficiency. Donna, we all appreciate what you do.

Kudos to Lupe Medrano and John Vandervort for their participation in the three-day voter registrar training program. This is a fine example of community participation. No doubt they will have helped many voters by the time the poles close at eight PM on Tuesday March 3. Be sure to vote no matter how you do it.

which is also true for our national organization, ACB. Before each election, ballots, small sheets of paper, are distributed to each eligible voter. To cast a vote for the candidate chosen by the Nominating Committee, the ballot is returned as is. To vote for candidates who run from the floor, voters are instructed to tear off one or more corners of their ballot, depending on how many candidates there are. For example, to vote for the first candidate who ran from the floor, tear off one corner; to vote for the second candidate, tear off two corners, etc. As you can imagine, elections can be lengthy, depending on the number of candidates. Statewide affiliates such as the Golden State Guide Dog Handlers, Inc., and the California Council of Citizens with Low Vision have five votes, regardless of how many members they have. Each affiliate must have at least ten members. Individual chapters with twenty-five members or less have five votes. Larger chapters are apportioned additional votes, up to twenty-five votes, based on their total membership. Consider our chapter. Suppose we end up with sixty-six members. That would give us thirteen votes. 66 minus 25 = 41. 41 divided by 5 = 8. 5 plus 8 = 13. A chapter would need to have one hundred and twenty-five members to have the maximum twenty-five votes. Delegates cast voice votes by roll call.

Alice and I walk to a nearby Japanese restaurant for Sushi once every month or so. We've learned that it's best to get there a half hour before they open in order to get a table right away. It's fun because we get to wait outside and speak with other customers who are also waiting. Naturally, Cora, Alice's guide dog, gets most of the attention. The last time we went, we sat at our usual table with our usual waitress. We placed our order, and expected to wait the accustomed fifteen minutes or so. We were quite taken aback when our order was delivered within two minutes. Naturally, we were both mystified. It turned out that the Sushi chef saw us waiting outside, and since we almost always order the same Sushi, he prepared our order ahead of time. One thing about being blind, there is no anonymity. People notice you, but you don't notice them. Kind of like being a celebrity. See you at our March meeting.


by Mike Keithley

Hey, cool things are happenin'! As you read in Rob's President's Message, Lupe Medrano and John Vandervort completed the voter registrar training program, and will be at Vista San Jose as staff for the voting center. King intends to go there to try out the accessible voting device. "Master voted by mail, chicken!" Lots of luck to Lupe and John!

And we're in for a treat at the March meeting program. We'll have demos of two treadmill-like devices, called sit mills, that CCB hopes to sell in the blind community. These have been long in coming, and we've got a chance to see them! One is self-powered and simple, and the other is motorized and complicated.

The picnic site for SVCB's August picnic has returned to Sylvandale at Hellyer park. At the January meeting, we had chosen Historic Park, but a good site there is fantastically expensive, so the Picnic Committee luckily was able to get Sylvandale.

Let's wish a happy March birthday to Ruth Fisher.

And come to the March meeting!


by Michelle McGrew

Hello, everyone!

Thanks to Carol and Lupe for covering my fund-raising duties while I was traveling. I didn't get to join you all for the February meeting, but Darin and I enjoyed a nice dinner with the East Tennessee Council of the Blind later that day while we visited Knoxville. We spent a week there, playing tourist and exploring the city and surrounding areas. We even went on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Darin and I have begun our preparations to move. As part of these preparations, I will be meeting with the Fund-Raising Committee so we can decide who all will be taking on my various responsibilities. I will keep you posted! In the meantime, here are the monthly updates:

At the time of this writing, I still have one more large print/braille calendar left! The calendar, featuring artwork by blind and visually impaired people of all ages, costs $10. We'd love to find a good home for this last calendar! To reserve this calendar, 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

Thanks to all who donated items for our auction, and thanks to our participants at the February meeting! We auctioned a two quart Pyrex baking dish, a set of four Corningware baking dishes, a cake plate with server, a cheese server paired with a cheese slicer, a set of salad bowls and a set of soup bowls, a cordless headphone system with replacement ear cushions, a Sony wireless speaker, a Sunbeam Safety-Glo warm steam vaporizer, and lots of red placemats. Congratulations to our highest bidders: Mary, Gail, Rob, Lupe, Donna, Mike, and John V. We raised $114!

In March, we'll have a raffle featuring donated items. Prizes include a package of Snake Eggs singing magnets, an Easter basket with handle, an egg poacher (holds 2 eggs), a kitchen towel and dishcloth set, a collection of "happy birthday" gift bags and tags, a clear round glass vase, and two books: _Three _Cups _of _Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (on CD) and _The _Kitchen _God's _Wife by Amy Tan (on cassette). Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six.

Our February Cookies of the Month fund-raiser, benefiting our tech grant, featured Secret Kiss Cookies baked by Suzanne Smith. You can find the recipe for these cookies in the "Snack Shack" column of this newsletter. We sold 29 bags of cookies at our meeting, another 14 bags at the Blind Center the following Wednesday, and I expect to receive funds for the remaining 10 bags of cookies before the end of February. Thanks to all of our supporters! Once all of the funds are collected, we will have raised a total of $53!

March's Cookies of the Month fund-raiser will feature mint-chocolate Cookies baked by Suzanne Smith. The cookies will sell for $1 per bag.

Need more chocolate? Meltaways from Bakers Candies come in four-ounce bags containing about 13 individually-wrapped chocolates, and sell for $4 per bag. These make great Easter gifts, too! I currently have the following flavors available: five kinds of dark chocolate (plain, mint, orange, cherry, and sea salt caramel), six kinds of milk chocolate (plain, peanut butter, coconut, raspberry, mocha, and caramel), and the assorted (mix of both dark and milk chocolates). (Sorry, we're sold out of milk chocolate mint.)

We also have candy bars! We have four kinds of milk chocolate bars (roasted almond, creamy caramel, crispy rice, and plain) and a limited number of dark chocolate with roasted almonds. The candy bars sell for $1 each.

Or, you may choose one of our other snacks! We're selling bags of nut mix as part of our Easter 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, and Strawberry). The nut mixes, Nut Bars, and Welch's Fruit Snacks are all $1 each. To place an order for any of these items or for chocolate, contact me as listed above.

See you at the March meeting!


Suzanne Smith celebrates Spring and Easter in this Snack Shack column. First, enjoy the recipe for her Secret Kiss Cookies, which just happen to be February's Cookie of the Month. Next, enjoy the lighter fare of Angel Hair Pasta. And finally, celebrate your Easter holiday with this delicious Cranberry Ham recipe. Bon Appetit!

Secret Kiss Cookies

Submitted by Suzanne Smith

This recipe comes from Favorite Brand Name Recipe Cookbook.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-3/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 (6-ounce) package Hershey's Kisses (about 36)

Confectioners' sugar

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually add flour and nuts. Beat at low speed until well blended. Chill dough for about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mold approximately 1 tablespoon of dough around an unwrapped chocolate kiss and roll to make a ball. Be sure to cover kiss completely. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until cookies are set but not brown. Cool slightly. Remove to wire rack. While still warm, roll in confectioners' sugar. Cool. Store in tightly covered container. Roll in sugar again before serving, if desired. Makes 36 cookies.

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Tomatoes, and Basil

Submitted by Suzanne Smith

This comes from Simply Perfect Italian Family Favorites (Start to Finish in 30 Minutes) by Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications.

16 fresh asparagus spears

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated angel hair pasta

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2-1/2 cups)

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter (no substitutes)

1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

Trim asparagus. Rinse in cold water. Remove tips. Set tips aside. Bias-slice remaining asparagus stalks into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato and cook about 2 minutes more, stirring offten. Add asparagus stalks, wine, and salt. Cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Add asparagus tips. Cook uncovered, for 1 minute more. Add butter, stirring until melted. Add asparagus mixture and basil to pasta. Toss gently to coat. Transfer mixture to warm serving dish. Makes 3 servings.

Cranberry-Glazed Ham with Sauce

Submitted by Suzanne Smith

This is from Campbell's Fabulous One-Dish Recipes (Favorite All-Time Recipes Series).

5 pound canned ham

3/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce

1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed consomme

1/2 cup applesauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Generous dash allspice

In shallow baking pan, bake ham at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Pour off fat. Score; spread 1/4 cup cranberry sauce over top. Bake 30 minutes more (18 minutes per pound or 140 degrees on meat thermometer). Remove to platter.

In baking pan, combine remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour some sauce over ham. Serve remainder. Makes 8-10 servings.

EVENT CALENDAR: March Through April, 2020

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


Mar 5, 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 Rob Turner.

Mar 9 to 13: 35th annual CSUN Conference at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel in Anaheim California. Visit

Mar 10, 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

Mar 13 through April 5: LOOKING OVER THE PRESIDENT'S SHOULDER, Tabard Theatre, see notes.

Mar 20, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision, Microsoft Accessibility Magnifier and text scaling Part One; call-in: 712-432-3447; Passcode: 145330#

Mar 21, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB monthly meeting. Discuss resolutions for CCB Convention.

Mar 21, 2 PM: THE LAST SHIP; descriptions by AudioVision; see notes.

Mar 27, noon: April newsletter deadline. Distribute spring membership list.

Mar 27, 28, and 29 at 8 PM; THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON; TheatreWorks; Lucie Stern; descriptions by the Visual Voice.

Apr 2, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

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

Apr 11 to 14: 60th California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEbVI) conference at the San Francisco Airport Marriott in Burlingame, CA.

Apr 20, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB monthly meeting.

April 24, 5:30 to 7 PM: Let's Talk Low Vision, Professional Careers

Apr 24 and 25 at 8 PM and 26 at 2 PM: RAGTIME, descriptions by The Visual Voice, TheatreWorks, MVCPA.

Apr 26, noon: May newsletter deadline.

Apr 26, 1 PM: THE BOOK OF MORMON, descriptions by AudioVision, see notes.