A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

October 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 November 2022 issue: noon, October 17, 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

I'm writing this message a couple days after our terrific picnic. Everyone I've spoken with said they had a great time and really enjoyed themselves. As you may know, Victor had major surgery and couldn't be expected to shop for all the perishables, cover the tables, serve food, and handle everything else he used to do. For a time, I wasn't sure if we would be able to have our picnic at all. Fortunately, Victor, despite his health, found volunteers to take care of these tasks. I'm grateful that our picnic didn't need to be canceled and I'm declaring Victor our hero for the month of September. As Hillary Clinton said, "it takes a village." Thanks to all the other volunteers who made our picnic possible. There are too many to name here and I wouldn't want to forget anyone.

Our October guest speaker will be Pete Stahl, a representative from the League of Women Voters. He will summarize the important issues to be decided in the upcoming election on Tuesday November 8. This is not an in-person meeting, it's only virtual. Share the Zoom meeting invitation with family and friends. The larger the audience, the more likely it is that the League of Women Voters will want to speak to us again.



By Noel Runyan "no no, that's Mike Keithley", O dear, what's Noel gonna do?

This month I don't have much to write about. Rob sorta did it for me!

Concerning the great picnic though, I want to apologize for running down the battery in the PA system and forcing Carol Silveria to yell during the prize give away. "If you'd asked me, I could have told you that you left the PA on after testing it." I didn't, so that's that.

I learned that Diane Wetzel, our new member, had a birthday in September which was omitted in last month's column. My apologies! And now let's wish happy October birthdays to John Kanze, Donna Sanchez and Michelle McGrew—they'll love you! And though Michelle is in Tennessee, we still hear from her in meetings through the Zoom connection.

Don't forget that our October meeting is on Zoom, not in-person. The Zoom information for membership meetings and the weekly social hour is always the first item in the Event Calendar. Check out Rob's President's Message.

At the October meeting, the Nominations Committee will be announced. Contact Rob if you want to serve.



Can you believe it's almost October? I sure can't! Already the artistic among us are decking their homes with large arrangements of Autumn leaves, Queen Anne's Lace, and fallen nuts, or filling table cornucopias with dried Indian corn and gourds. Me? I'm just trying to write an article for this newsletter to remind the less artistic among us that goodies time is here! Yup!—You've been off the hook for a year now, but your Goodies Chair is once again fishing for volunteers to bring snacks to our SVCB meetings in 2023. 2023? Can I be that old? Oh well, be that as it may... The month of January has been taken by an extremely conscientious early volunteer, but all of the remaining months (barring September and December) are up for grabs. You all know the drill by now—goodies (either sweet or savory) to feed about four dozen hungry meeting-goers, either concocted in your home kitchens or purchased at your favorite grocery store, and a bit of fruit for those who need it. To sign up, you can call our SVCB phone number (1-888-652-5333) and leave a message for me, drop me an email at, or look me up in our SVCB membership list to contact me directly by phone or email. The earlier you get in touch with me, the greater your chances of getting the month of your choice. Don't be shy! We won't bite (except for happily munching on the goodies you bring), and we will eat most anything! So step right up! I look forward to hearing from you.


TIDBITS: October 2022

Compiled by Mike Keithley

How Alt Text Can Tell the Story of Space

Have you experienced the beauty and awe of the incredible photos taken by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope? The scientists, writers, and educators from the Space Telescope Science Institute want to make space accessible for everyone, and have created vividly detailed alt text for every photo that has been released. These image descriptions can be found in the Webb's First Images Gallery under "Download Options."

Web Note:

Hear Images from the James Web Space Telescope

Experience the beauty of space through soundscapes. Newly released sonifications have mapped data to sound, allowing us to listen to a musical representation of images from the NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. Learn more by visiting:

Web Note: Here is the address for the NASA page which includes information on "Mapping Data to Sound":

Audio Description Problems?

If you would like to contact your local video programming distributor about any issues receiving audio description (also known as Network SAP), please use the Audio Description Project's website to find contact information:

Announcing the 2022 Audio Description People's Choice Award

Make your voice heard at ACB's second annual Audio Description Awards Gala by casting your vote for the new Audio Description People's Choice Award. Visit:

For more information about the 2022 finalists. Voting for this award ends on Monday, October 10th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

To submit your vote, visit: To vote by phone, call: (202) 596-7041.

The People's Choice Award winner will be announced during the gala, taking place virtually on November 29th at 7:30 PM.

Advocacy Grab Bag Back in Session

Congress is back in session, and so is the ACB Advocacy team! On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha provide another round of updates for our listeners. Topics we cover include Rep. Sarbanes' letter to the Department of Justice with over 30 supporting Congressional offices, ACB's accessible at-home COVID test accessibility survey, the Federal Aviation Administration's request for comments on airplane seat dimensions and safety, and an upcoming live event with the James Web Telescope Science Institute on the recent accessible images captured by NASA. We also provide a teaser for ACB's 2nd annual Audio Description Awards Gala. Listen here:

White Cane Safety Day Approaching, Saturday, October 15th

White Cane Safety Day is fast approaching! The Get Up and Get Moving Campaign Committee (GUGM),, would love to hear what everyone has planned for that day! Is your affiliate, chapter or just a group of friends having an event to recognize the White Cane Law? GUGM is planning an event, and we would like to incorporate your event into ours. Reach out to us on our Facebook page at, or reach out to Tom Tobin,, or Koni Sims,

MMS Summer Drawing Winners Are:

Finally, we held our MMS summer drawing, and the winners are Lucy Edmonds and Dianne Devereaux, both from Michigan.

Lucy will receive a $300 Amazon gift card, and Dianne will get one for $200.

Thanks to all of you who participate in our Monthly Monetary Support program. And if you're not already a member but would like to be or would like more information, head to our website:, or call the Minnesota office at: (612) 332-3242. Who knows, you might be the next lucky winner!

Happy shopping, Lucy and Dianne!

The MMS Team

Medicare and You

It's that time again when the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services distributes Medicare and You for the upcoming benefit year. It includes a summary of Medicare benefits, rights, and protections; lists of available health and drug plans, and answers to frequently asked questions about Medicare.

The Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library has braille versions of this publication available. If you have received it from Perkins in previous years, you will be receiving it very soon. If not, and you are interested in a braille copy of Medicare and You, contact Kim Charlson via email at:, and include your mailing address. The book is also available on digital cartridge; email Kim with your name and mailing address.

Nathan Ruggles ADP Audio Description Award

Check out this great article from TribLive about Prime Stage Audio Describer Nathan Ruggles, who received an Achievement in Audio Description for Performing Arts/Organization award in July during ACB's 2022 ADP Audio Description Achievement Awards.

For more information about ACB's 2022 ADP Audio Description Achievement Awards, visit:

Help Make Home Diagnostics Tests More Accessible

ACB is sharing a survey on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Georgia Institute of Technology to receive user feedback on the accessibility of COVID and home diagnostics tests. Whether you have taken a COVID home test or not, your feedback is incredibly valuable to inform this research and improve all future forms of home diagnostic testing.

Please help us gain more equitable access to at-home testing by taking 15-20 minutes to share your thoughts and experiences in response to this survey:

Seeking Older Adults with Macular Degeneration or Glaucoma

Researchers at Georgia Tech want to learn from you about your everyday activities and challenges! Their study consists of questionnaires, which may be completed on paper or online, and an interview. You can complete the interview remotely by phone or video call.

Participants must: Be between the ages of 60-80; Have a diagnosis of macular degeneration OR glaucoma for at least 10 years; Have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses (or unable to see); Have vision loss that affects daily living activities (e.g., reading, cooking, and walking); and Require additional magnification and/or assistive devices (outside of regular reading glasses) to read newspaper print.

If you are interested in participating, contact Elena Remillard at:

For more information on the study, visit:



Submitted by Bev Clifford

Wait Until Dark, written by playwrights Frederick Knott and Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by the talented Rachael Campbell, is Tabard's first show of their 22nd season. It opens Friday, October 21, and plays through Sunday, November 13, just in time for Halloween! This taut psychological thriller was made famous by the film version starring Audrey Hepburn in the lead role, which garnered her a Best Actress nomination.

In the play, Suzy Hendrix is a blind woman who is threatened by a trio of criminals who have conned their way into her apartment looking for a stash of stolen goods. As she discovers their dark intentions, she must work to devise an escape from their clutches, discovering that her blindness just might be the key to her escape. But she and her tormentors must wait until dark to play out the classically chilling conclusion.

This show is recommended for ages 13+ due to language, fear, and some mild adult themes. Tabard is continuing to require proof of vaccination for in-person patrons. Masking is encouraged but not required. As always, you can call their box office at  (408) 679-2330, if you prefer to order by phone rather than online.

Wait Until Dark is included for Mainstage Subscribers, whose subscription includes all six plays of the season. For those patrons who are not planning to attend in person, there is a second subscription tier that includes three of the six plays, which can be live-streamed to be watched at home.


VTA SCUTTLEBUT: October 2022

Submitted By Deborah Armstrong

First, a round of applause for our SVCB member, Lupe Medrano. She faithfully attends VTA's public meetings of the Committee for Mobility and Transportation Access, which now are recorded. Lupe always raises her hand to air our frustrations with paratransit: the long rides, the cramped conditions, the late arrivals and the lack of care for the comfort of guide dogs. Lupe has also recognized how the older vehicles bounce passengers about like cargo, as they originally were in fact cargo vans, and how that frightens seniors with balance issues who may struggle to stay erect in a gyrating seat. She's always ready to advocate for people with diverse disabilities and needs!

Chatting with a driver who has many friendships in the dispatch department, I learned why our rides are longer, and why more of them are multiples—what are sometimes called shared rides. Each morning, I was told, when the first dispatchers arrive, they are confronted with 150 or more "open" rides. An "open" ride is one that's been scheduled but no driver is available to handle the route. Apparently enough vehicles are available, but the driver shortage is drastically cutting paratransit efficiency.

Dispatchers then scramble to move these unassigned rides to already full routes, which means most drivers see new rides added to their schedules. These new rides often take them miles off their original route. This is why it seems like they are crossing the county multiple times and why pick-ups and drop-offs are often not anywhere near each other.

On the happier news front, VTA will be making minor route changes to public transit in October, and major route changes in January. It's good news, because all changes increase the frequency of existing routes and add a few new ones. No busses are going away. However, with schedule changes, it's important to check the VTA website to keep abreast of new bus departure times.

Since paratransit is affected by whether or not a bus runs within 3/4 of a mile from your pick up and drop off locations, the changes increase paratransit availability. For example, with routes that run longer in the evening, start earlier in the morning, or will soon run on weekends, Paratransit riders will also have access to rides during those times. For your specific queries, contacting VTA customer service at: 408-323-2300 is your best bet.

And there's one last piece of good news. VTA has just received a grant to offer extended door-to-door services to low-income disabled and seniors, who need transportation for medical concerns or seeking employment. The service is still in the planning stages, and it's not clear who will actually qualify and how rides will be managed. It mirrors similar projects in other California cities that are already up and running. VTA will be holding community meetings once a plan has been drafted. The grant does not cover transportation for purposes of education, however, neither will you be able to use it to visit friends or go shopping.

I continue to participate on VTA's citizens' advisory committee, where I was appointed to a four-year term. In this role I can continue to advocate for our needs and also keep you updated on the service.



(Gleaned from the Vista Insights October 2022 e-Newsletter)

October 2022

Submitted by Bev Clifford

In honor of White Cane Safety Day, here are some facts about the white cane (courtesy of Perkins News).

1. Yes, it's legal to take a white cane through security at an airport, according to the TSA, but it has to go through the X-ray machine.

2. White canes are white because of George A. Bonham. In 1930, Bonham, president of the Peoria Lions Club (Illinois), watched a man who was blind attempting to cross a street. The man's cane was black and motorists couldn't see it, so Bonham proposed painting the cane white with a red stripe to make it more noticeable. The idea quickly caught on around the country.

3. White canes are going high-tech. Inventors in India, Great Britain, and France have equipped white canes with ultrasonic devices that detect obstacles up to nine feet away. Vibrations in the cane's handle warn users of potential hazards in their path.

4. The standard technique for using a white cane was pioneered in 1944 by Richard E. Hoover, a World War II veteran rehabilitation specialist. His technique of holding a long cane in the center of the body and swinging it back and forth before each step to detect obstacles is still called the "Hoover Method."

5. Most people who are visually impaired don't use a white cane. In fact, only an estimated 2 percent to 8 percent do. The rest rely on their useable vision, a guide dog, or a sighted guide.

7. Unless you're willing to "walk the walk," you can't become a certified Orientation and Mobility specialist. O&M specialists teach white cane technique to people who are blind, but to become certified, you must spend at least 120 hours blindfolded, navigating with a white cane.

8. Today's modern, lightweight canes are usually made from aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber, and can weigh as little as seven ounces. Some white cane users prefer straight canes, which are more durable, while others prefer collapsible canes, which can be folded and stored more easily.

9. White caning can be fun. The Braille Institute sponsors an annual Cane Quest, where youngsters aged 3-12 compete to quickly and safely navigate a route in their community using their white canes. The contest helps kids master proper white cane techniques and encourages independence.

10. In some states, it's illegal for a person who is not legally blind to use a white cane to gain right-of-way while crossing a street. Get caught in Florida, for example, and you'll face second-degree misdemeanor charges and up to 60 days in prison.


SNACK SHACK: October 2022

Submitted by Bev Clifford

(Recipes contributed by Suzanne Smith, from a cookbook called Apple Recipes: Wellspring Classics)

Quick Applesauce Muffins


2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine Bisquick, one-quarter cup sugar, and one teaspoon cinnamon. Add aplesauce, milk, egg, and oil, and beat vigorously for 30 seconds.

Grease muffin pan, and fill each section two-thirds full.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Cool slightly, and remove from pan.

Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon.

Dip tops of muffins in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Makes 12 muffins.

Note: A delicious healthy snack, and great for brunch, too.

Caraway Pork Chops


2 medium onions, thinly sliced

3 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons caraway seeds, divided

6 pork chops, each a half-inch thick

garlic salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer onions and apples in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Drizzle honey on top, and sprinkle with one teaspoon caraway seeds.

Prepare chops by sprinkling them with garlic salt and pepper, and spreading mustard on them.

Place chops on apples, and sprinkle with remaining one teaspoon caraway seeds.

Cover, and bake for one hour.

Makes 6 servings.


EVENT CALENDAR: October to November, 2022

Compiled by Mike Keithley


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

Dates are:

October: 5, 12, 19, and 26

November: 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30

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 Bay Area (formarly AudioVision)

For all San Francisco 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. A webpage with a listing of audio described shows is at:

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



October 6, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you're not on the Board but want to attend this meeting, contact SVCB president Rob Turner.

October 9, 1 PM: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD with descriptions by AudioVision Bay Area; see notes.

October 15: White Cane Safety Day

October 15, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB membership meeting. This is a Zoom meeting.

October 17, noon: November SVCB newsletter deadline. Publish fall membership list.


November 1, 5:30-7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group meeting. Call-in: 605-715-4920; ID: 2776167. For questions, call Lori Scharff at 516-887-1336, or email

November 3, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

November 19, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: 35th anniversary SVCB meeting. Elect 2023 administration.

November 21, noon: December SVCB newsletter deadline.

November 22: BOOK OF MORMON, SJCPA, contact Kristin at Broadway San Jose 669-242-8559 or





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,