A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

August 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 September, 2022 issue: noon, August 15, 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 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.



by Rob Turner

It's no secret that I'm a technology enthusiast. My iPhone, Windows computer, Amazon Alexa, several smart speakers, refreshable braille displays, and amateur radio gadgets help to keep me busy as a retired senior citizen. Anyway, there was a meeting on Zoom scheduled for a time when I would be out of town and wouldn't have access to my home computer. I was debating the best way to store the meeting ID and pass code. There were several options. I could write the information in Notepad and save it as a text file, then transfer it to my Focus 40 braille display. Or I could perhaps email the meeting information to myself so it would appear on my iPhone. Finally, after a while, I remembered my trusty Perkins braille writer. I just wrote the information in braille on one of the IBM punch cards that I've had for more than thirty years. In this case, the low-tech solution turned out to be the simplest choice.

Speaking of technology, individuals attending our meetings on Zoom can now be heard. Mike Keithley used his BrailleSense and our portable public address system to make it happen.

See you at our August meeting, when we will learn about rescue dogs.



by Mike Keithley

"I heard a rumor that of the 400 or so people who attended the ACB convention, half got sick! And some of us took care of them. Omni did, companioning Susan and John glass through their recovery. Atta girl, Omni."

Yes, King, guide dogs deserve kudos. "But I remember how you helped me when I was low."

In the program segment of the July meeting, we had discussions on what went on at the convention, and president Rob Turner put on a demo of how you'd get a ride on Uber. Unfortunately, technology wasn't quite behaving, so the program segment wasn't recorded, but we were blessed with a better interface for people on zoom to be heard over our portable public address system. Next month, Debee Armstrong will be describing her dog rescue activities.

Let's welcome new member Susan Williams from San Jose. She comes to us through the Vista Center. And I'll fix an omission that John Vandervort had a birthday in July, but I forgot to include it. "Don't worry, John, I'm the King and I'll remember next time."

And let's wish happy August birthdays to Bev Clifford and David Hunter.

Don't forget the SVCB picnic on Saturday, September 17. It's at Hellyer County Park and the Sylvandale site. Registration is $20 for SVCB members and $25 for guests, and you can bring money to the August meeting and give it to Victor. See the Picnic Announcement in this newsletter. Also carefully read Debee Armstrong's article in this newsletter detailing how you should schedule your ride with VTA Access.

Please plan to pay your dues either by using PayPal, by paying at the August meeting, or by sending a check to our P.O. Box. Dues are $20. At this time, there are no plans to accept either picnic registrations or dues payments at the picnic.



Compiled by Mike Keithley

Advocacy Update

On an episode of the Advocacy Update, we discussed the ongoing advocacy efforts to make at-home COVID-19 tests more accessible for people who are blind and low vision. Clark is joined by ACB president Dan Spoone, immediate past president Kim Charlson, and Jill Heemsker, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering within the National Institutes of Health.

Note: You can get the Advocacy Update by using the search feature of your podcast player, and use "ACB Advocacy Update" as your search term.

To learn more and order your 12 free, more accessible COVID-19 at home tests, please visit:

Find out more at:


On June 22, 2022, the federal government announced a new initiative to expand the availability of testing options that are more accessible for people who are blind or low vision and who use a smartphone. The tests work with the free Ellume COVID-19 Home Test app for iOS or Android to provide users with audible instructions and test results. Consumers who are blind or have low vision can order the Ellume COVID-19 home Test free of charge by calling 1-800-232-0233, or online at

Each order will include 12 rapid antigen tests and will ship free, while supplies last. More information regarding testing is available at:

(Copy Editor's Note: A little more than a week ago, Vic and I used two of the supposedly "accessible" home tests referred to above. It gives me no pleasure to report that these tests are Not At All accessible! You will still need a sighted person to help you administer them. The federal government is correct in that the phone app does give step-by-step audible instructions using VoiceOver, and you do get an email with the test results, but there is far more involved in the tests than simply using the app. If any of you would like to talk to me about our testing experience, feel free to look me up on your SVCB Membership List and give me a call. I'd be happy to fill you in.)

Who Won the Braille Forum Raffle?

Many thanks to all who participated in the Braille Forum raffle! The winners are as follows: Golden Triangle won the $5,000 grand prize. Kenneth Semien Jr. won $1,000, and Marie Brinas won the $500 prize.

NLS Patron Engagement Section Launches Virtual Programs

As part of its effort to provide services, programs, and resources directly to patrons that will enhance their library experience, NLS's newly formed Patron Engagement Section will be hosting a virtual Monthly BARD Review on Zoom. This program will occur the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Eastern, starting on August 11. Each Review will last for one hour, and will discuss a predetermined topic about a component of BARD usage or a specific BARD product.

To join the August 11 session, go to:

or call in by telephone at 1-669-254-5252 (meeting ID 161 116 1911).

For more information on upcoming Patron Engagement Section programs, visit:

FDA Request for Nominations

On July 1st, the FDA announced a request for nominations for consumer representatives to serve on advisory committees and panels for which vacancies currently exist, or are expected to occur in the near future. The agency seeks to include the views of individuals on its advisory committee regardless of their gender identification, religious affiliation, racial and ethnic identification, or disability status, and encourages nominations of appropriately qualified candidates from all groups.

Nominations should be submitted electronically through the FDA Advisory Committee Membership Nomination Portal by August 15, 2022.

For more information, visit:



Submitted By Mike Keithley

The United States Department of Justice filed in court a multi-million-dollar settlement resolving its lawsuit against Uber Technologies, Inc. The DOJ lawsuit alleged that Uber was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by charging wait-time fees to individuals with disabilities who may need additional time finding and getting into their car. Under the agreement, Uber will compensate riders with disabilities who were charged wait-time fees due to their disability. Additionally, Uber has committed to waving wait-time charges for riders who certify that they, or a person they frequently travel with, have a disability and need additional time to get into their car due to the disability. Read the full press release at:



Submitted by Mike Keithley

Contributed by Abby Tamara

Dear SVCB,

Now that I have had a chance to use the iPad Air for a longer period of time with my graduate studies, I want to express my gratitude again for making it possible with the Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant.

Using the iPad for schoolwork has increased my ability to access materials and read in a more timely manner. The size and portability of the device has also increased my options for studying the material.

I have finished three courses in my curriculum so far, and learned about many aspects of Assistive Technology and its many applications. Some of these areas have included how deaf spaces are designed, with examples from Gallaudet University. Here are some examples of what I have learned.

— Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices, through a wonderful conversation with a man using computer-generated speech that he creates with his toes, with the device connected to Alexa for increased web capabilities, and making voices for computer-generated speech that match individuals needing the voices.

— The creation and use of bionic prosthetics

— Deaf culture and bridging the deaf and hearing worlds, with the use of different types of mice to access computer information

— More information on devices that increase options for individuals with vision impairment and blindness

— Ways of teaching very young non-verbal children how to begin to access information and communicate

— Some new options for individuals with limited mobility

— Principles of universal design (designing for the use of everyone), such as how to make documents accessible for all, and educational models to increase learning for everyone

— Apps that help in ways that decrease stigma associated with some disabilities

— Laws that increase opportunities for all citizens, and

— Assistive technology along the spectrum of no tech, low tech, mid tech, and high technology.

Besides understanding new information, I have become more proficient in writing scholarly papers and researching current subjects in assistive technology.

It was wonderful attending an SVCB meeting again, and seeing everyone, as I continue to limit my social activities due to the pandemic.

I also want to express my deep appreciation for the caring of the committee in being able to help four different individuals with very different needs. I enjoyed hearing the recipients' stories, and learning about their needs.




Resubmitted August 2022 by Mike Keithley

Contributed by Deborah Armstrong

I had a very nice chat with Mary in VTA Access reservations. She has our map and will distribute it to the dispatchers on duty on picnic Saturday. She has also entered it in to the system they use for scheduling rides. She says three days before the picnic, SVCB clients should call her direct line to schedule their rides. She also said that with parks in Santa Clara County, the biggest problem is that clients fail to mention the picnic area or mention the wrong one. It is very important to be precise with the scheduler. However, since she knows about our picnic, scheduling with her is best. Here's her contact info:

Mary Bennett in VTA Access reservations




Submitted by Bev Clifford

Recipe contributed by Suzanne Smith

Taco Salad

From Favorite All-Time Recipes: A Campbell's 75th Anniversary Cookbook


1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 can (11 ounces) Campbell's condensed Nacho Cheese Soup (or Cheddar Cheese Soup)

1 can (16 ounces) pinto beans, drained (or kidney beans)

4 cups torn mixed salad greens

Tortilla chips

Chopped fresh tomato

Garnishes: sliced avocado, sliced pitted ripe olives


In ten-inch skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, and chili powder until beef is brown. Stir to separate meat, and spoon off fat.

Stir in soup and beans, heat to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Arrange salad greens and tortilla chips on serving plates. Top with hot meat mixture, then tomato. Garnish with avocado and black olives as desired. Serve with additional tortilla chips as desired. Makes 4 servings.


EVENT CALENDAR: August to September 2022

Compiled by Mike Keithley


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

Dates are:

August: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

September: 7, 14, 21, 28

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 monthly 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 productions (Golden Gate, Orpheum Theatres, Broadway San Francisco, and Broadway San Jose) 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


Audio described shows by TheatreWorks have resumed with descriptions by Gravity. Pre-register for tickets, which include a free "show talk" 30 minutes before the show, at the TheatreWorks box office at: 650-436-1960 or email: Shows are at the Lucie Stern Theatre or the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

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



August 4, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you want to join this meeting, contact SVCB president Rob Turner.

August 5 and 6 at 8 PM and 7 at 2 PM: NAN AND THE LOWER BODY, TheatreWorks, MVCPA, see notes.

August 15, noon: September SVCB newsletter deadline.

August 20, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: August membership meeting. If possible, arrange your VTA Access pick up before 1 PM. Pay 2023 dues and picnic registration.


September 1, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

September 3, 1 PM: OKLAHOMA, Broadway San Francisco, see AudioVision notes.

September 6, 5:30-7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group meeting.

September 9 and 10 at 8 PM and 11 at 2 PM: HERSEY FELDER CHOPIN IN PARIS, MVCPA, see notes.

September 17, 11 AM to 3 PM: SVCB annual picnic, Hellyer County Park, Sylvandale site; read picnic announcement in this newsletter, plus the resubmitted July 2022 article called Update on Transit to the Picnic.

September 19, noon: October 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,