Legislative Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
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 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.
We had twenty-seven people attend in person at our March membership meeting, and seven were on Zoom. The camaraderie and fellowship I experienced clearly underscore why in-person meetings are important. Even so, the convenience of a virtual meeting can't be ignored, either.
I'm pleased to report that we now have delegates to our upcoming virtual convention to be held Thursday, May 12, through Sunday, May 15. Debee Armstrong will serve as delegate, and Mike Keithley will be our alternate. Frank Welte, our guest speaker, discussed his work at the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind producing tactile maps. The program will be up on our website soon, and I encourage you to check it out if you missed his presentation.
At our meeting, I set up my computer and accessories on a table against the back wall of the auditorium. Without giving it a thought, I sat facing the wall. During the meeting, a volunteer mentioned to Alice that it was very unusual for a speaker not to face the audience. At the time, it seemed perfectly natural to set up facing the wall. It just shows how easily a person who is blind can violate social norms without realizing it. Next time I'll face the audience.
Barring another COVID outbreak, I look forward to seeing you all at our April meeting.
"Hey guys, did you read the President's Message, where President Turner apologized for facing the wall while taming the Zoom link? Well, master used to do that after putting me in the corner."
Oh yes, I remember that from when we had meetings at Monte Vista. And I'd sit there facing the wall, and never thought to take note of what I was doing. Just goes to show that strange things can happen when we're not paying attention.
But like Rob said, the March meeting was well done. Just imagine contacting Frank Welte's MADLAB and arranging a tactile map of your neighborhood! "Even dog parks, though I've never heard of such a thing."
As Rob told us, Debee Armstrong and Mike Keithley were elected to be delegate and alternate delegate respectively to the CCB virtual convention in May. If you have questions, contact either of us, particularly if you have resolutions you want to bring before the convention. And if you have a resolution you want sanctioned by SVCB, bring it to the April meeting for consideration.
And don't forget the CCB virtual convention. You should access
for updates, including programming, pre- and post-convention activities, registration, sponsor and exhibitor opportunities, and so much more! There isn't much here yet, but there will be more soon.
Among these items, you will find the "Candidate's page," where you can read statements from those campaigning for CCB offices, like CCB president. Wanna be CCB president, King? "Nah, that’s for humans, not dogs."
Be on the lookout for the April membership list included with this newsletter.
Let's wish happy April birthdays to Anna Bolino, John McNulty and Dawn Wilcox. We often hear from "Dawn from the north" on our social hours. Join us every Wednesday at 4 PM!
Today, Comcast introduced two new ways for customers to connect through ACP, and both are available to any customer who qualifies, in all the company's service areas. Customers can sign up for "Internet Essentials Plus," which includes 100 Mbps download speeds, a cable modem, and WiFi router, and is free after the government's "ACP credit" is applied. Additionally, Xfinity Internet customers participating in ACP now can add mobile service through "Xfinity Mobile."
For more than a decade, Comcast has been working with trusted community partners, businesses, and government to help millions of low-income households connect to the Internet, and give them the technology they need to participate in the digital world. On February 14, 2022, the world saw how these efforts can produce inspirational results when Llulisa, a "Comcast Internet Essentials" customer who is enrolled in ACP, joined government leaders at the White House to tell her story about achieving her goal of being the first in her family to go to college.
Llulisa is just one example of millions of people across the country benefiting from access to the Internet through programs like ACP which offer a $30/month discount on Internet service ($75/month on Tribal lands). Any "Xfinity Internet" or "Internet Essentials" customer who qualifies can use it to save money on their Internet bill. Comcast's expanded ACP offers include:
Internet Essentials Plus
"Internet Essentials Plus" is a new tier of service for Comcast's "hallmark digital equity program" that is available in all Comcast service areas to any customer who qualifies. It offers twice the download speed—up to 100 Mbps—of the traditional Internet Essentials service, which has a 50 Mbps download speed. "Internet Essentials Plus" is available for $29.95/month to new customers who qualify. Existing "Internet Essentials" customers can upgrade to this new, faster tier at any time. Customers who subscribe to "Internet Essentials Plus" and enroll in ACP will effectively get broadband for free after the $30/month government discount is applied.
Comcast's top-rated "Xfinity Mobile" service, which includes 5G, is now available to customers enrolled in ACP, giving them the ability to save money on their connectivity needs, inside and out of the home. "Internet Essentials" customers can use their $30/month ACP discount to pay for both "Xfinity Internet" and "Xfinity Mobile" service. For example, an "Internet Essentials" customer (paying $9.95/month) can add one line of Unlimited on "Xfinity Mobile" ($45/month) for $24.95/month after applying the ACP discount.
Xfinity Mobile" has no line access or activation fees, and comes with unlimited talk and text, so customers only pay for cellular data. Customers can mix and match between two straightforward plans on "Xfinity Mobile" with 5G included, (Unlimited or By the Gig), and pair these mobile plans with any tier of Internet service to provide ultimate flexibility. They can also switch back and forth between (Unlimited and By the Gig) mobile plans at any time. In addition, "Xfinity" Mobile devices automatically connect to millions of "Xfinity" WiFi hotspots across the country to reduce customers' dependence on cellular and save money.
Signing up for ACP
New and existing "Xfinity Internet" or "Internet Essentials" customers can visit
or call 844-389-4681 for more information, to determine eligibility, and to sign up.
Customers can also call to speak to a dedicated ACP Enrollment and Support Center that is available from 8 AM to 12 AM daily, with multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.
ACB Applauds DOJ's Guidance on Web Access and the ADA
On March 18, the Department of Justice published guidance on web accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It explains how state and local governments (entities covered by ADA Title II), and businesses open to the public (entities covered by ADA Title III), can make sure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities as required by the ADA. The guidance discusses a range of topics, including the importance of web accessibility, barriers that inaccessible websites can create for people with disabilities, when the ADA requires web content to be accessible, and tips on making web content accessible. The press release is available at
or call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).
Leadership Conference Survey
Many thanks to all who attended ACB's 2022 Virtual D.C. Leadership Conference. We would like you to participate in a brief satisfaction survey. This will greatly assist us in improving the quality of our conferences and events. You can take the survey at
Did you attend this year's virtual legislative seminar? Were you able to meet with your senators, representatives, and/or legislative aides? We're looking for blog posts reflecting your experiences with advocacy. Send them to email@example.com.
ACB Furry-Tails, Presented by Sunday Edition and GDUI
There have been so many memorable moments and people in the American Council of the Blind over the last 60 years, but there have also been so many Furry Skilled Professionals who live in our hearts and memories. Sunday Edition is partnering with GDUI for a program to recognize some of these amazing guides. This year in Omaha during the national convention, join us as we remember and honor these wonderful dogs and their handlers.
How Furry-Tails will work: Sunday Edition will collect nominations from now through May 15th. Then a committee from GDUI and Sunday Edition will select 10 Furry-Tail recipients to be awarded at the convention. A paw-shaped plaque will be awarded to the handler or representative of the handler, and a testimonial will be placed on the Furry-Tails webpage that will be created for this awesome program. Pictures and video testimonials will be recorded for the program, and the handlers will have the opportunity to address the program attendees to remember their special furry professionals. Additionally, Sunday Edition will highlight the awardees on the weekly program in August.
Submissions should include: A written testimonial of 500 to 750 words, including the story of said furry professional with anecdotes and accomplishments. Please include any memorable moments from the life of the nominee. Who is the handler, and who will represent the handler and nominee at convention. A bright and clear picture of the nominee and one of the team, and any folks who wish to share stories and memories of the nominee.
Please send your nominations to SundayEditionAC@gmail.com, and put "Furry-Tails Nominee" in the subject line. As we celebrate 60 memorable years of ACB, let's celebrate the furry members who have added so much to our great community. Look for more information on Furry-Tails in the national convention program, and announcements on Sunday Edition. We look forward to brushing through the submissions, and presenting these amazing stories for ACB members at convention.
Rice University Seeks Adults with Central Vision Loss for Research Study
Rice University seeks adults with central vision loss (preferably due to age-related macular degeneration) to participate in a research study. The goal of this study is to learn how people use vision and hearing when they experience the world, particularly when they make judgments about collisions with obstacles in the environment.
Study participants will be asked to perform tasks using computer displays of moving environments including virtual reality, and to complete surveys. Participants must meet eligibility requirements for the study, which will be determined by screening tests.
Participation will consist of several sessions, each between about 1 and 2 hours, in addition to a hearing exam and an eye exam. Each participant will receive up to $300, plus up to $60 for parking/transportation.
The research project will be conducted in Sewall Hall at Rice University, Houston, Texas. The hearing exam will take place at UTHealth in Houston. The eye exam will take place at Retina Consultants of Texas in Bellaire.
This research study has been reviewed and approved by Rice University Institutional Review Board. If you have concerns regarding this study or questions regarding your rights as a study participant, please contact Compliance Administrator-IRB at Rice University via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone (713) 348-3586.
If you are interested in participating, or would like more information, contact study personnel at VRLab@rice.edu, or (713) 348-2432, provide your email address or phone number, and mention this announcement.
Pixium Vision Seeks Those with Dry AMD
Pixium Vision, a high-tech startup company in Paris, is developing ways to potentially restore vision of patients who have dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They are currently conducting clinical trials in Europe, as well as three sites in the U.S. located at UPMC-Pittsburgh, Bascom Palmer-Miami, and Stanford-Palo Alto.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) provides Talking Book Topics (TBT) for patrons to use in selecting books. It is produced every two months in large print and audio formats. Many of you who subscribe to Talking Book Topics in large print may have noticed you did not receive an issue for January-February. Due to significant and worsening supply-chain issues and worldwide paper shortages, the large-print edition of Talking Book Topics for January-February 2022 was not printed. The US Government Publishing Office (GPO) has informed NLS that these problems are expected to continue through the end of 2022, and likely into 2023.
NLS is extremely concerned about the impact the large print TBT shortage will have on patrons who depend on it to select books. (It should not affect patrons who already receive Talking Book Topics as an audio magazine, or those who receive Braille Book Review.) We cannot simply switch all large print users to the audio version because the producer would not be able to handle such a large increase. Here are the options currently available for accessing Talking Book Topics. We realize these may not be ideal, but we will all work together to make the best of a bad situation.
1. Online—if you have internet access, or have family members who do, Talking Book Topics is available online at
2. Talking Book Topics on audio cartridge—NLS has created the January-February 2022 issue as DB 106440. It is a Talking Book loaded onto a cartridge along with your regular books. Call or email your local library to request it.
3. BARD—those of you who use BARD to download books can also download the audio version of Talking Book Topics. On the BARD Main page, go to Find Magazines and Other Materials. In the box labeled Magazines by Titles, select Talking Book Topics from the drop-down menu and click G.
4. Braille Book Review—if you can read braille, you may subscribe to Braille Book Review. It lists both braille and Talking Books but has shorter descriptions than TBT. It is also available online and on BARD.
5. NFB Newsline®—Talking Book Topics is available to Newsline users. Newsline uses synthesized speech to read a variety of newspapers and periodicals. It is accessible by telephone, online, through mobile app, and by other methods. Contact your local library to sign up.
Meanwhile, NLS is working on more alternatives, and we will share them as they become available.
It's 1955, and Dot must decide if she wants to be declared the ideal married woman—assessed by her skill with an iron, and ability to set a table—or if it’s better to do what’s right than play by the rules. This light and clever comedy pokes wicked fun at the feminine rules of yesteryear, and will have you in stitches the whole time.
The play opens to in-person audiences only. For this show, we will be hosting two post-show discussions featuring the cast and director answering your questions about the play. If you'd like to be there for one of these special events, get your tickets for either Sunday, April 10 at 2pm or Saturday, April 16 at 3pm. This show is included for Mainstage Subscribers.
Proof of vaccination is required. Masking is encouraged but not required.
The following recipe was submitted by Suzanne Smith, and comes from a cookbook called Fast and Healthy Ways to Cook Vegetables, from Storey Publishing. Since the Easter Bunny will be coming to visit us soon, and bunnies love their carrots, Suzanne thought this recipe would be perfect.
3 eggs, beaten
1 pound carrots, cooked and mashed
2 cups grated cheese (your choice)
3 to 4 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons milk
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients together. Bake in a greased 1-quart casserole for 45-50 minutes (cover for the first 20 minutes). Makes 6 servings.
Notes: This is a meatless main dish, and is very easy. For a healthy meal in a dish, add cooked bulgur (cracked whole wheat), which is available in natural food stores and sometimes in supermarkets. Bulgur gives a nice, nutty flavor and texture, and adds the nutritional values of whole grain.
Irish Soda Bread
I, your trusty-dusty copy editor, submitted this recipe, which is a bit late for St. Patrick's Day when I usually make it, but is so delicious that I thought perhaps some of you might want to try it for next year, or whenever you feel the blarney comin' upon ya. I didn't make it this time for that special Irish holiday, but I plan to remedy that situation by mixing up a batch soon, to go with the corned beef that Vic bought a while ago but hasn't yet cooked. And it'll taste just as good, even if I'm not wearin' the green!
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening (I use butter if I have no shortening around)
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
3/4 cup sour milk (3/4 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar added to 3/4 cup milk, and allowed to sit for at least 5 minutes)
In a large bowl, add dry ingredients (flour through sugar), and stir to combine. Cut in the shortening, then add the raisins and caraway seeds, and stir to mix. Pour in the sour milk, and knead the mixture a moment until it forms a bread-like dough. Shape into a loaf about 3/4-inch thick, and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Set pan on a rack to cool slightly, and cut into slices or wedges.
Notes: This bread is particularly good when warmed, but is also delightful at room temperature. I find it magical to watch this mixture become a bread dough, even without yeast!
SVCB members and Vista Center clients should use Discount Code BC27 when ordering. Performances take place at The Tabard THEATRE, 29 North San Pedro Street, San Jose. The phrase "On Demand" means that the show can be viewed by services like Comcast.
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 email@example.com.
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 available at:
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