Legislative Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
CALIFORNIA CONNECTION: 800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
WASHINGTON CONNECTION: 800-424-8666, 3 to 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.
Monthly in-person 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.
Thank you for electing me SVCB president for a third term. I promise to do my very best to serve you for another year.
It seems to me that there was lots of positive energy and enthusiasm at our November meeting. An example of this was Debee Armstrong's offer to read Gail's minutes. Hearing the minutes through synthesized speech, as we've been doing for the past year, was not ideal. Christine Fitzgerald's talk on Bay Area transportation got a good response. What made her speech so compelling was that she could share her personal transportation experiences as someone who uses a wheelchair and has low vision.
We continue to work to improve our Zoom coverage for our membership meetings. A big thank you to Noel and Deb for all their help. We have a way to go, but we are making progress.
I look forward to seeing you at our holiday party on Saturday, December 11.
Happy holiday! "Happy barkaday!" That's right, it's come around again, and the SVCB holiday (error) party is a good start to the season. Remember that December 6 is the cut-off date, and if you plan on coming, you'd better get registered! You know who you are, so we won't belabor the point. But if you show up without registering, you may not get any food! "Maybe" responses aren't helpful. So c'mon, register, be there!
Like Rob said, Christine Fitzgerald's presentation at the November meeting was inspiring. It seems like VTA weighs at least a thousand pounds, and we've got to lift it, somehow. "And don't forget us dogs, we're here to help!" After you finish the turkey, yes. "You gave me turkey once, I don't remember that." Anyway, you can hear the November meeting at:
Last month we published the fall membership list, and some of you weren't on it. Why? Because you didn't register. So if you like your name on our membership list, plus a great newsletter and stellar meetings, register! Dues are $20 per year ($10 for CCB life members), and you can pay through PayPal using firstname.lastname@example.org, or pay by check using the postal address at the top of any newsletter. Put "2022 dues" in the memo line.
Hopefully this newsletter will reach you by December 5, the date for Bernice Kandarian's memorial. Roger writes:
At my request, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, a chapter of the California Council of the Blind and of the American Council of the Blind, presents a celebration of the Life of longtime CCB member Bernice Kandarian, Sunday December 5, at 1 Pm PST.
Join the Zoom Meeting from your computer, smartphone, or regular wireline telephone:
When prompted for a participant code, press the Pound key.
December 5 is Bernice's 75th birthday. She was looking forward to it, so I know she will approve our celebrating it. I hope we will have a group representing all of her family, friends, and associates, so please share this information!
Currently, we still have no news to report concerning CCB's 501C3 tax exempt status. So we are still not able to do any fund-raising. Rest assured, as soon as we get the word that we can fund-raise again, we will.
Even though we cannot give tax credit for donations at this time, our member, Lupe Medrano, was instrumental in acquiring gifts of desserts for SVCB's holiday party. We will be receiving gifts of three pies from Marie Callenders, donuts from Yum Yum Donuts, and cookies from Subway. As corresponding secretary for SVCB, I prepared Thank You notes for the individuals who provided the gifts at each of these businesses.
May all of you have a joyous holiday season and, as always, please keep yourselves safe and well!
Beginning in January 2022, we will hold a monthly book club meeting at Vista Center San Jose. We invite all SVCB members to attend, as well as all Vista clients from everywhere, and every blind, low vision, or sighted friend who'd like to come. Long-time Vista San Jose volunteer Catherine Stewart, and Susan Glass, will co-facilitate the book club discussions. We're wide open to suggested titles and genres: biography, general fiction, science fiction, legal fiction, memoirs, mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, poetry, books for young adults, and fantasy. If you've read something interesting that you think would be fun to read and discuss as a group, please contact Susan Glass using the phone and email provided on our SVCB membership list. Please be sure that the book you recommend is available on BARD. That way we can include as many readers as possible. Our first read was suggested by John Glass. It's Willa Cather's O Pioneers: RC47646. Here is a brief plot synopsis:
"O Pioneers tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish immigrants in the farm country near the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska, at the turn of the 20th century. Alexandra Bergson inherits the family farm when her father dies, and she devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time when other immigrant families are giving up and leaving the prairie. In middle age, when her old flame Carl Linstrum returns to Hanover, Alexandra has a chance for personal happiness."
We have yet to set a January date for our first book club meeting, but it will be live at the Vista San Jose Center as well as on Zoom, and we'll announce our launch date via the phone tree, this newsletter, and the Pony Express, as soon as we know that date. Please begin sending book suggestions now. We're eager to receive them.
Santa here—ho ho ho!—writing to you from the North Pole, where I am busily toiling with my elves to make sure everybody has the merry Christmas they deserve. But in the midst of all this work, I must just take a minute or two to congratulate all the people in your group for assuring that the New Year will bring lots of yummies every month of your 2022 Saturday morning meetings. I'm sure there will be sugar plums a-plenty, and maybe Christmas cakes with marzipan icing, and perhaps a bit of syllabub? Oh, pardon me: I guess those things might be for your holiday party, which you'd better not miss because my spirit will be with you, and I like a lot of fun going on. Anyway, your Goodies Chairperson sent me a note that I should thank you all, so I have. And I'm raising a nice glass of grog to you as I write. You should do the same with your libation of choice, and pat yourselves on the back while you're at it. Now it's back to work for me, making toys. Sorry, the North Pole doesn't specialize in technology. That's the South Pole, where all the nerdy elves toil, so send your notes there—I'm swamped!
P.S. Late-breaking news: The nerdy elves just wired to say, "Fuhget about it, we're swamped, too." Hmmm—must be the supply chain issue. And... Ouch!—Rudolph, that was my toe you just stomped on! Take it easy there, buddy, it's not time to go yet!
ACB Scholarship Program Application Period Is Now Open!
The 2022 ACB Scholarship application is now live. The application period will be open from November 1st, 2021 through February 14th, 2022.
Save the Date for New Year's Eve!
Our second annual Community-Athon will take place December 31, 2021, and we want you to be with us. Here's a way to celebrate all we've done in 2021 as part of our community. This twelve-hour event will include: a focus on different events each hour—entertainment, opportunity to give back to ACB, door prizes, fun, fun, and more fun. This is an event you won't want to miss. Ring in 2022 with your friends in our ACB community! Stay updated on the plans for this big event as they unfold:
Americans with Disabilities Less Likely Than Those Without to Own Some Digital Devices
More than 40 million people in the United States have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But even as majorities of these Americans report having certain technologies, the digital divide between those who have a disability and those who do not remains for some devices. Learn more by visiting:
Forward for Good Verizon and the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) are partnering again to launch the Verizon Forward for Good Challenge
The Challenge supports a diverse community of student innovators in leveraging leading-edge technology, such as 5G, to address pressing social issues in the U.S. in education, climate and environment, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. This initiative is part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon's responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement. Finalist teams will receive access to intensive summer entrepreneurship training with accelerator partner VentureWell, seed funding, and living stipends to bring their solutions to life. All current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a U.S. institution, as well as CGI U alumni who were previously or are currently enrolled in a U.S. institution, are encouraged to apply. Interested in applying? Learn more about the Challenge and register for information sessions to help prepare your application at:
Sunday Edition strives to bring news, informative conversation, and fun to its audience. Anthony Corona, host of Sunday Edition, has been featuring announcements during the show for individuals, committees, and affiliates that would like to highlight their shows, programming, and/or events. If you have an announcement you would like him to share, please send an email to
Once again, The American Council of the Blind's Audio Description Project (ACB-ADP) and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) are co-sponsoring an exciting opportunity for blind and visually impaired young people, ages 7 to 21. This opportunity is The Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE) contest. The young person chooses an audio-described film or video from the more than 6,000 educational titles available through DCMP. Visit
watch the film, and then write an evaluation of its audio description, commenting on the extent to which the description enhanced or detracted from their experience with the film. Contest winners receive first, second, and third place prizes, and the grand prize winner is awarded an iPad Mini, and the chance to read his/her winning essay at the American Council of the Blind's National Conference and Convention. To register for the contest, find guidelines and prize information, learn how audio description is created, and get tips for writing a good review, visit
Note from your copy-editor: This is Deb Runyan's recipe, and it's one of Noel's favorites. He wants to make sure that all of you have access to it in case you need a great way to use holiday leftovers.
4 chicken breasts, or equivalent amount of leftover turkey!
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilis
1 package corn tortillas
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (dairy, soy, or other)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried onion
vegetable oil for coating cooking dish
Put chicken in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Steam until tender (165 degrees) for about 1/2 hour. Let chicken cool. Save the broth, and add enough water to make 1 cup of broth.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix broth, soup, chili, dried onion, and milk in a large bowl; set aside.
Lightly spray and coat a casserole or 9 by 11-inch pan with oil. Tear or cut tortillas into quarters. Arrange half of the tortillas on the bottom of the casserole, and top with half of the chicken. Repeat for another layer of tortillas, topped with the rest of the chicken. Pour soup mixture over all. Top with all the grated cheese.
Cook immediately or, for better flavor, cook after chilling overnight in the refrigerator. Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 1 hour. Tastes great as leftovers, either reheated or cold.
Another note from your copy-editor: If you're new to cooking, remember that if you're using raw turkey rather than cooked, you will need a much longer cooking time. I found that out the hard way the first time I tried to cook turkey parts, thinking it would only take an hour, and learning that supper that night was going to be a lot later than I had expected!
When prompted for a participant code, press the Pound key.
Note that the above call-in information is used for SVCB's virtual link to in-person membership meetings.
San Francisco LightHouse
To hear weekly events at the San Francisco LightHouse, call 415-694-7325.
Let's Talk Low Vision
The monthly Let's Talk Low Vision conferences are held on the third Tuesday of the month at 8:30 PM eastern. Archives are at cclvi.org. Zoom information is distributed through the ACB Community Schedule email list or emailing
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