A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

June 2022

EDITOR: Sandy Quenzer,

COPY EDITOR: Beverly Clifford,

ADDRESS: Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB), P.O. Box 4116, San Jose, CA 95125

DEADLINE: for the July, 2022 issue: noon, June 20, 2022

VOLUNTEERS: Naomi Grubb,

MEMBERSHIP: Mike Keithley,

LEGISLATION: Mike Keithley,

PHONE: 888-652-5333



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.

CHANGES OF ADDRESS: Contact Victor Clifford,

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.



by Rob Turner

As I write this, it's a hot Spring day and there are lots of birds chirping and tweeting away. Is it my imagination, or are there more birds than usual this Spring?

So far, the feedback for the California Council of the Blind's 2022 virtual convention has been very positive. Of course, we are always looking for ways to improve. See the convention report, submitted by Debee, elsewhere in this issue. One of the presentations was a panel titled "Get Up and Get Moving." It's well known that exercise and good health go together. The idea is to encourage our members to be active physically. Our own Debee Armstrong thoroughly embraced this project by recording a description of eighteen exercises you can do while sitting. She calls it "Office Moves." I applaud Debee for her enthusiasm and for her involvement in this important initiative. Contact her to learn more, or to obtain a link to the recording of "Office Moves."

I look forward to seeing you at our June membership meeting, where the winners of our Barbara Rhodes Assistive Technology grant will be revealed.



by Mike Keithley

Well, the CCB convention is over, and the summer season has begun. Be sure to read Debee Armstrong's convention report in this newsletter. And you can hear the program of our May membership meeting that focused on discussions of convention activities, speculations, and other interesting kibbles. The URL to hear that is:

"Oh yes, and lazy Master didn't contribute to Debee's report, even though he was alternate delegate." Ah, King, that was supposed to be a secret. But that report was so good that I couldn't think of anything to add. "Well, you could have let me put in a bark." Sorry, I didn't think of that. "Sigh!"

And of course, our chapter picnic is September 17, a Saturday. Mark your calendar and plan to come. You’ll be hearing more about the picnic as we get closer to the date.

Let's wish happy June birthdays to Ken Carey, Victor Clifford, Allen Jones, Alice Turner, and Art Takahara. And let's welcome new member Diane Wetzel. She comes to us from Vista Center San Jose. Welcome Diane!

At the end of the Event Calendar, you will notice a list of bigwigs and committee chairs with their email addresses. "Sadly my email address doesn't work on planet Earth."



Compiled by Mike Keithley

Assistive Technology Fund

The Association of Blind Citizens (ATF) operates the Assistive Technology Fund. The association will provide funds to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The ACB Board of Directors believes that this program will allow blind and visually impaired individuals access to technology products that will have a significant impact on improving employment opportunities, increase the level of independence, and enhance their overall quality of life.

The products covered by this program must retail for a minimum of $200, with a maximum retail price of $6,000. Persons eligible to apply for assistance must have a family income of less than $50,000, and cash assets of less than $20,000. If applicants are selected to receive a technology grant, they will be asked to provide proof of income, such as tax or bank records.

Applicants must be legally blind and residents of the United States to qualify for this program. The deadline to submit an application for the current grant period is June 30.

All applications must be submitted by email. For more information, please visit:

Seeking Participants for Transportation Webinar

Hello fellow blind leaders,

The Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition (AVLNC) is putting together several webinars focusing on transportation, particularly as it pertains to the needs of adults who are blind or visually impaired. This series of three webinars will take place on June 15, 21, and 29, 2022. We are currently seeking adult blind folks who can speak of local initiatives they have actively participated in. Specifically, we are looking for folks who can talk about successful initiatives implemented in rural, suburban, and urban environments.

Any ideas and suggestions about speakers would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to email or text me if you are interested in participating and/or if you are aware of significant efforts in your community.


Anisio Correia

Vision Rehabilitation Consultant

404-539-4521 (mobile)

Accessibility Is a Civil Right

Abby Tamara writes: The featured presentation by Lainey Feingold at the 37th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference on YouTube is called the Thursday Featured Presentation by CSUN. Lainey calls the presentation: Accessibility Is a Civil Right: The 2022 CSUN Digital Accessibility Legal Update. Here is the link:

Scholarship Applications Now Open!

Each year, Learning Ally members who are completing undergraduate or graduate degrees, and who are blind or visually impaired, are eligible to apply for our Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award (SAA) scholarship program in recognition of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

Scholarships range from $3,000 to $6,000, and are awarded to the top six students who are chosen by a national selection committee, based on the student's academic achievements, educational achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

We are accepting applications now through the end of the year. Winners will be notified of awards in early 2023. Access:



Submitted by Deborah Armstrong

The California Council of the Blind held its entirely virtual Spring convention throughout the end of April and in the month of May. Though main events occurred on May 12-15, there were also a number of pre- and post-convention activities organized by various committees and affiliates. It is to your advantage to join some of our affiliates to keep abreast of things which interest you, and to support their efforts.

Besides being on Zoom, the main convention streamed on ACB media, making it available to a world-wide audience. It started with ACB President, Dan Spoone, giving an overview of the amazing progress we've made this last year in advocacy, community, and inclusion. Gabe Griffith, our CCB President, also spoke to our progress here in California, and the Nominating Committee listed the officers they'd selected. We also heard from the Credentials and Bylaws Committees. Our own Alice Turner ably spoke, along with others on the Governmental Affairs Committee, explaining our legislative imperatives, and how important it is for us to advocate with our representatives to get these bills passed.

I particularly enjoyed the roll call, where each chapter and affiliate president recorded an introduction to their group and explained what made it special. I am surprised how small the membership of some chapters is. We here in Silicon Valley are one of the largest, most active chapters in the entire state. President Rob Turner's recording truly showed us off!

On Friday, speakers addressed barriers which are becoming more relevant every day: Access to health care, kiosks, transportation, and rehabilitation. In the health care presentation, we learned about one person's struggles with Kaiser, plus plenty of detail provided by Steve Mendelsohn about the legal rights of disabled consumers of medical services. There were also great tips for becoming a good advocate, to get equal treatment in health care and accessible materials.

Stuart Seaborne, from Disability Rights Advocates, Berkley, discussed those inaccessible kiosks ubiquitous in restaurants, downtown areas, health care, stores, and transit stations. ACB has been instrumental in pushing for accessibility to ATMS and fare machines in particular. He outlined areas in which we have legal recourse, and areas, like airline kiosks, where the ADA cannot be used to argue for access.

In the afternoon, Andy Imparato, Executive Director of Disability Rights for California, gave us a big picture look at the landscape for the future of our rights. Some things have improved for us in California, and in other areas, not so much. Technology, in particular, has been both a blessing and a curse to blind folks, according to Andy.

Joe Xavier, Director, Department of Rehabilitation in our Capitol, also spoke about the future. He encouraged us to become adaptable when seeking work. Employment trends include increasing expectation of technology knowledge, more workplace automation, greater willingness to hire disabled workers, and a wider availability of apprenticeships. The three top areas of job growth are health care (which can include everything from fitness trainers to nursing), food preparation (which includes everything from serving and cooking to management), and transportation (including managing and supporting the technology that goes along with it). Remote work, too, is increasing in popularity. Joe emphasized how there are many subtle skills a blind applicant must master to succeed in this new world of work. Being willing to learn new skills as job duties shift is also crucial. Joe had to field some hard questions from our audience, which encouraged rehab to do more for blind job-seekers.

As co-chair of our Transportation Committee, I was particularly grateful to listen to long-time transit advocate, Ron Brooks, as he discussed what the law requires and doesn't require of paratransit. Sadly, in many cases transit services throughout the state are even worse than ours. Some of those issues we complain about, such as transit that stops when the bus doesn't travel to a particular area, are practices which are within the legal rights of transit agencies. Ron is a huge proponent of separating paratransit from the ADA, and making it a legal right for all non-driving consumers.

On Friday evening, we first got to raise our hands and remember friends in CCB who have passed. Many had fond memories of Bernice, but members all over California were also remembered. It was wonderful to hear about all their triumphs and accomplishments. Next, we were instructed on voting, using text messages or by phoning to cast our vote with a volunteer. But all nominated officers were elected by acclimation as no others ran against them.

Also on Friday, Connie Bateman, member of the Advisory Board for the Braille and Talking Book Library, announced that Braille e-readers would begin arriving to our very own regional library in late June or July. She suggests you call your Reader Adviser if you read Braille to get on the list. She also announced how a new books-on-demand program will enable patrons to receive an entire book series on a single cartridge. The library will, in September, also begin loaning Victor Reader Stream devices to patrons, along with wireless hotspot devices for those who do not have internet connectivity to download digital talking books.

Saturday morning, we heard from ACB's Get Up and Get Moving campaign, which encourages us all to engage in physical exercise. The committee spearheading this initiative wants affiliates to form their own programs under their umbrella.

This was followed by a talk on mental health and its particular challenges for the visually impaired. Roque Bucton and Linda Johnson, both experienced peer group leaders, explained how powerful support groups are for helping people feel less isolated, and for finding ways to cope with losing vision. They also talked about working with parents and kids, both sighted and blind, to improve family mental health when a member is newly blinded. 

Next, Billie Louise Benson, long-time O&M instructor and researcher, discussed how there are more challenges today for mobility teachers and students. But she also shared tips for dealing with troublesome street crossings, locating bus stops, and the solutions we can advocate for to make our local areas easier to navigate.

Our own Susan Glass, interviewed by our own Alice Turner, spoke in the afternoon about her love of Braille, growing up and studying, and later teaching literature. She also talked about getting published, and read some of the poetry from her new book. This was followed by a Story Time from Kelly Brakenhoff, who writes books for children.

And we topped off the evening with a virtual banquet. I'd already cooked and eaten our family dinner, but I enjoyed a few great snacks while listening to the wonderful jazz performance by Jason Castenguay, the presentation of five awards, and our informal discussion about our favorite ACB moments.

Sunday closed the convention with its usual business meeting. We had several interesting resolutions. For example, we resolved to have a dialog between Amazon Customer Services and people with disabilities to request better training for Amazon representatives. We resolved to advocate for a law to expand mandatory life and educational skills for K-12 pupils. We resolved, too, that a cover letter should accompany resolutions we send to an external entity, and that an archive should be kept of resolutions. Also resolved was the plan to form a task force to train people on how to make ADA complaints.

Even if you find such meetings tedious, you must acknowledge that no CCB meetings are closed, and every effort is made to democratically represent the entire membership. For example, if more than ten folks raise their hands to object to a motion or candidate, convention rules specify that it be reconsidered, no matter how many of the organization's leadership think it's a great idea.

One thing I love about this convention is that, as a smaller group, everyone gets a chance to comment or ask questions. At the large national convention, there's often not enough time for all raised hands to be acknowledged.

Lots of door prizes were given out, and John Glass and Rob Turner were included in the lucky winners. Recordings will be available on the CCB site where you can listen to audio of past conventions. This was my first time being a delegate, and also being present for the entire convention. It was a super fun and information-packed event. If you've never attended, I encourage you to do so next time.

Note: spelling of names was checked against the agenda at:



Submitted by Evelyn Comstock

The Braille Transcription Project is hosting their first ever Take Away Day, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for you to restock your braille and low vision supplies. We have equipment and supplies which will benefit anyone who is blind or who works with the blind. All items are a suggested donation or totally free! 

Items include:

Perkins braillers; thermoform machines and boxes of thermoform paper; punch and bind machines; a Juliet Pro 60 embosser with cabinet; video magnifiers and CCTVs; a 2-drawer filing cabinet; small tables; wire bins and racks; a metal desk; tools for creating tactile graphics; book pockets and cards; and miscellaneous office supplies.

When: Saturday, June 11, 2022; 9:00am – 1:00pm

Where: Vista Center San Jose, 101 North Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128

RSVP and Questions:



Submitted by Bob Geyer, Staff Volunteer with Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Tech it Out With Vista

Hello Tech Users,

Good news! Videos of recent "Tech it Out with Vista" presentations are now available on Vista's YouTube channel. You can find a link to the YouTube channel on the "Tech it Out with Vista" webpage

Coming up on Tech it Out with Vista:

July 1 – HaptiBraille Communicator, innovation in speech to Braille devices for Deaf Blind individuals



Submitted by Susan Glass

On Sunday, June 12, 2022, at 5:15 PM at the Willow Street Frank Bramhall Park, 1320 Willow St., San Jose, CA 95125, come join us for a special outdoor production of "Romeo and Juliet," including a custom actor Meet and Greet! This is a free modern rendition of the Shakespeare tragedy, as a female couple plays the renowned star-crossed lovers. Rated PG for parental guidance.

In collaborative partnership with Vista Center, the performance on Sunday will include a special pre-show program at 5:45 PM. This is designed for patrons who are blind or have low vision, to meet and greet the actors, learn about their costumes, get acquainted with the venue, and be well-prepared to thoroughly enjoy the show. You will also attend a special Meet and Greet with the Silicon Valley Shakespeare leaders and donors.

Patrons associated with Vista Center are invited to attend a Donors Circle Event to include a presentation from the Resident Dramaturg Doll Piccotto, to provide cultural context on LGBTQ+ representation in Shakespeare. Beginning at 5:45 PM, the actor meet-and-greet for patrons who are blind or have low vision is followed by talks from the Artistic Director Angie Higgins, and the show’s director Tonya Mara. Performance begins at 7:00 PM and ends at 9:00 PM.

Signage will alert Vista Center patrons to a designated seating area.

Please bring picnic food, beverages, and blankets for seating. Chairs will be provided for those who prefer.

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance by contacting Alice Turner at, or call 650-388-0095 by June 5, 2022.



Submitted by Bev Clifford

Tabard Theatre Presents: The Odd Couple

We hope you're ready for some serious laughs, because this cast is seriously funny! Directed for Tabard by Leslie Lloyd, The Odd Couple is an American classic and one of Neil Simon's most beloved plays.

When fastidious Felix Ungar (Jerry Lloyd) finds his marriage on the rocks and his shoes on the street, he turns to his poker buddies for help... and a place to stay. At first, his penchant for polishing seems like the perfect match for Oscar's (John Mannion) perpetually putrid pad, but it isn't too long before the pair prove that opposites don't always attract... but it sure is funny to find out!

The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965, starring Walter Matthau and Art Carney, and has since been turned into a film with Matthau and Jack Lemmon, three different sitcoms—in the 70s and 80s and most recently 2015—as well as an animated cartoon, countless stage productions performed across the country, a gender-swapped version, and a Broadway revival in 2005. 

The show opened on Friday, May 20, and will play through Sunday, June 12. 

Proof of vaccination is required. Masking is encouraged but not required. 

This show is included for Mainstage Subscribers.

(Note from your copy editor: Vic and I saw this show, and it is hysterically funny! And we need a little humor right now, don't we, so I highly recommend that you see it!)



Submitted by Bev Clifford

Recipes from Suzanne Smith

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

This recipe comes from a pamphlet called Strawberry Good Ideas, that Suzanne received about 15 years ago.


Two cups strawberries, crushed

Three tablespoons sugar

One-half cup sour cream

One container (8 ounces) Cool Whip

One-and-a-quarter cups fine Graham Cracker crumbs

One-fourth cup melted butter or margarine


To prepare the pie filling: Combine strawberries and sugar. Stir in sour cream, then fold in whipped topping.

To prepare the crust: Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter or margarine. Press on bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Chill for at least one hour before using.

To assemble the pie: Spoon filling into crust, and chill for about 4 hours, or freeze until firm. Garnish with additional strawberries if desired.

Note: For a change of pace when making the crust, you can substitute chocolate cookies, vanilla wafers, shortbread, or ginger snaps for the Graham Crackers.

Oatmeal Scotchies

This recipe comes from the directions on a package of Nestle's Tollhouse Butterscotch Morsels. These are the cookies Suzanne brought to our last SVCB meeting (May 2022).


One-and-a-quarter cups all-purpose flour

One teaspoon baking soda

One-half teaspoon salt

One-half teaspoon ground cinnamon

One cup (two sticks) butter

Three-fourths cup granulated sugar

Three-fourths cup packed brown sugar

Two large eggs

One teaspoon vanilla extract (or grated peel of one orange)

Three cups quick or old-fashioned oats

One-and-two-thirds cups (11-ounces) package butterscotch-flavored Nestle's Tollhouse Morsels


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to the butter-and-sugar mixture, then gradually stir in oats and butterscotch morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies, or for 9 to 10 minutes for crunchy cookies. Leave on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Note: You can also use a 9 by 13-inch baking pan to make these cookies, cutting them into squares for Oatmeal Scotchie bars, as Suzanne did when she brought them to our meeting. No matter how you decide to bake them, they will be delicious!


EVENT CALENDAR: June to July 2022

Compiled by Mike Keithley


A weekly SVCB Social Hour is scheduled for 4 PM every Wednesday afternoon until forever.

Dates are:

June: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

July: 6, 13, 20, 27

Join Zoom Meeting:

One tap mobile:


Call in number: 408-638-0968

Meeting ID: 739825688

Passcode: 222638

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.

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 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

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:

Zoom information is distributed through the ACB Community Schedule email list, or by emailing:

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


June: Vision research month.

June: Tabard Theatre Presents: THE ODD COUPLE; runs through June 12; see notes.

June 18, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB membership meeting.

June 20, noon: July SVCB newsletter deadline.

June 27: Helen Keller Day.


Friday July 1 through Friday July 8: ACB 61st Annual Conference and Convention, Omaha Hilton. To reserve a room, call 800-445-8667.

July 7, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you want to join this meeting, contact SVCB president Rob Turner.

July 16, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Monthly Meeting. Begin plans for White Cane Safety Day, and Employment of People with Disabilities Awareness month. Appoint Holiday Party Committee chair. Picnic update.

July 18, noon: August SVCB newsletter deadline.





CONSTITUTION: Roger Petersen,


DATABASE: Vic Clifford,



GOODIES: Bev Clifford,



PRESIDENT: Rob Turner,

PROGRAM: Susan Glass,



TECH GRANT: Rob Turner

TREASURER: Vic Clifford,

VICE PRESIDENT: Mike Keithley,

WEB SITE: Deb Runyan,