Legislative Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
800-424-8666, 3-9 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.
I'm writing this message on the Monday before Thanksgiving. We are getting ready to head down to San Diego to celebrate the holiday with relatives. I'll keep this short because there is still so much to do before we leave. The predicted weather for San Diego on Thanksgiving Day is clear with temperatures in the mid-seventies.
I thoroughly enjoyed Debee Armstrong's presentation on rescue dogs at our November meeting. It was a glimpse into how the various pet rescue organizations work together. Clearly Debee has a passion to find the right match for each dog she works with. The recording of her talk should be posted on our website by the time you read this. Give it a listen if you are so inclined. Thanks for electing me to another term as your president. It's my fourth and final term so someone else will have to take the gavel in 2024.
I look forward to seeing you at our holiday party.
Individual items within articles, i.e., Mike Keithley's "Tidbits", will be identified with a double hyphen, for easier access. This is instead of stars which are already used to identify each article. Any other suggestions pertaining to this would be considered.
In future, to respect copywrite laws, if the source of articles has a copywrite requirement, we will only supply the resource link for the article. However, if you have acquired copywrite permissions, we will be more than happy to publish them.
IT'S PARTY TIME! Yes, that's right. Our holiday party is Saturday, December 10 at Vista Center San Jose from 11 AM to 3 PM. We'll have Italian food at 12 PM from Maggianos, John Glass' old time radio show at 1 PM and the chance to meet people you haven't seen for ages!
The food caterer is Maggianos, and will be spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce, chicken Parmesan, Caesar salad, rolls, and small desserts. There will also be lots of pie donated by Marie Calendars.
Registration is $30 for SVCB, Vista and CCB members and $35 for guests. The deadline to register is Monday, December 5.
We had a very nice 35th anniversary meeting with cake donated by Lupe Medrano and remembrances. "Unfortunately, the recording isn't good due to master not muting himself in Zoom." O King, how could you! That's supposed to be secret! "Well like they say, secrets are shouted from the rooftops." Yeah, I'm really sorry about that.
And there was a ceremony, emceed by David Hoffman, introducing the kingship of Victor Clifford, who has done so much for SVCB. May he reign forever! Be sure to read Deb Runyan's write-up, with pictures, on our website at:
To hear more tasty bits, be sure to renew your SVCB membership for 2023. They're $20 or $10 for CCB life members. Send then to the address at the top of this newsletter or use Paypal with the name email@example.com.
SVCB's 2023 administration was elected:
President: Rob Turner, 4th term
Vice President: Mike Keithley, 4th term
Recording Secretary: Deborah Armstrong, 1st term
Corresponding Secretary: Carol Silveria, 2nd term
Treasurer: David Hoffman, 1st term. Victor Clifford will continue as Operating Treasurer until the tax-exempt status of CCB is re-instated.
--ACB Action Alert: Rideshare Guide Dog Denial Survey
ACB and our affiliate Guide Dog Users, Inc. are conducting a survey to collect information from guide dog users who've been denied rides by rideshare drivers due to the presence of their guide dog. We will send the survey data to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), per their recommendation, to draw attention to this frustrating civil rights violation and highlight the severity of this ongoing problem.
The survey opened November 2nd and will remain open until the end of the year. During this time, we ask that you fill out this survey each time you are denied a ride by a driver. Submit the form as many times as you have denials. If you wish to submit responses over email or phone, contact ACB's Advocacy team at either:
The American Council of the Blind offers educational scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $7,500 for entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate students, and students attending technical college. This program awards students with scholarships to help with educational financial needs such as tuition, fees, room and board, and assistive technology.
To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants need to be legally blind, maintain a 3.0 GPA to be eligible for most scholarships, be a full-time student or a part-time student who works at least 32 hours per week, and be involved in their school and local community. Students must submit their application by February 14th, 2023.
For more information about ACB's scholarship program, visit ACB's Scholarship page. Learn more about ACB's 2022 scholarship recipients through a series of videos on our YouTube page.
--2022 ACB Convention Podcasts and Edited Videos Now Available
The podcasts of the hybrid general sessions from the 2022 ACB conference and convention in Omaha, Neb. are now available. All presentations that were not heard on the live webinar and ACB Media feed are in these recordings, including the insightful presentation made by Marc Workman, CEO of the World Blind Union.
Breakout sessions from the ACB business meetings on July 11 & 13 will be available soon. We will publish a searchable cross reference of all sessions after all podcasts are published. And that's not all! The edited video versions of the 2022 ACB Conference and Convention General Sessions and the Banquet Keynote by Judy Heumann are now available on ACB's YouTube channel. The entire program that was presented at general sessions are in these videos free of technical glitches. Visit the 2022 ACB Convention YouTube Playlist:
The HTML for November/December is already up. Other versions will be posted as they become available. There are several different versions of TBT on this page. The HTML version allows the user to make adjustments in type size and contrast using the accessibility tools on the right side of the page. Also available are an accessible PDF version, and different sections (children, adults, Spanish) of the magazine for those who want a hard copy but don't want to print the whole issue. The final link takes you to the audio version on BARD.
--NBP Seeks Applications for Touch of Genius Prize
The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is taking applications for the 2023 year! Applications are due January 13, 2023.
The Touch of Genius Prize was developed to inspire entrepreneurs, educators, or inventors to continue the promotion of braille and tactile literacy for blind and deafblind people worldwide. This prize can be granted for innovative and accessible computer software applications, tactile hardware, or curriculum that promotes braille and/or tactile literacy.
Full application details and more information can be found at:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Arkansas have the highest rates in the country of people reporting blindness or difficulty seeing. It also found 38% of Americans don't have an eye doctor and 63% don't have vision insurance, despite 70% of people needing prescription glasses. 1 in 10 Americans haven't been to the eye doctor in 6+ years, 58% have refractive errors (blurred vision, nearsightedness, etc.) States with the best patient-to-doctor ratios: Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Montana, the worst patient-to-doctor ratios: Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
--Markey, Eshoo Introduce Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act
On Nov. 17, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Once passed, this legislation would update existing regulations to ensure people who are blind, low vision, and DeafBlind, may access the accessible video content of their choosing, from the video service provider of their choosing, and use the video conferencing service of their choosing.
--ACB is Hiring: Audio Description Project Coordinator
The Audio Description Project Coordinator is key to the success of ACB's Audio Description Project (ADP). ADP works to promote and advocate for the use of high-quality audio description in television, movies, performing arts, museums, educational materials and other venues where the presentation of visual media is critical to the understanding and appreciation of the content.
ADP sponsors a broad range of activities designed to build awareness of audio description among the general public as well as its principal users, people who are blind or have low vision.
This position is full-time and can be performed remotely. Learn more about this position by visiting:
Each year, ACB's partner, "Concept 2", conducts a Holiday Challenge to raise money for charitable organizations. This year, ACB is one of five organizations selected to benefit from the "Concept 2" Holiday Challenge, due to the work of ACB members to make the "Concept 2" Erg Data application more accessible for people who are blind and low vision.
The challenge runs from November 24 to December 24. That's 31 days total.
To participate in the "Concept 2" Holiday Challenge, individuals will need to create a free account in the "Concept 2" Log Book. Once an account is created, you will be able to join the Holiday Challenge and select ACB as your charity of choice. Then, workout this holiday season and record the meters that you row, bike and ski, in the "Concept 2" Log Book, through entering your workouts manually, or by connecting your smartphone via the Erg Data application wirelessly to a Concept 2 rowing machine, bike or ski erg. More info on the logistics of the challenge can be found here:
--Accessible Insulin Pump Task Force Joint Statement
The inaccessibility of insulin pumps is an international issue facing people living with sight loss and diabetes around the world.
As part of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Accessible Insulin Pump Task Force is working with stakeholders and allies across North America to advocate for accessible insulin pumps and glucose monitors. The task force is a collaboration between the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to ensure people who are blind or partially sighted can use their insulin pumps safely and independently to manage their diabetes.
Learn more by reading the Accessible Insulin Pump Task Force Joint Statement at:
The ACB Media team has been working diligently to prepare the information for the cartridge. If you ordered the 2022 convention cartridge on the convention registration form, you should receive it by the end of November. If you didn't pre-order the cartridge, it's not too late!
The cartridge includes all general sessions, the ACB banquet, ACB primetime evening events, special-interest and committee programming, presentations from our sponsors and other business partners, our exhibitors' channel, and many of our audio-described tours. For just $45, all this programming will come to you on a cartridge or a thumb drive. Got questions? Call our Brooklyn Center office at:
--When the Air Is an Orchestra
"It is October, fall is falling, and Susan Glass sets her morning coffee down on her patio, anticipating the flutter of feathers. She is awaiting the arrival of the golden-crowned sparrows from Alaska, which will keep her company through the winter.
"My listening to birds when the sun comes up, is what sunrise is to you," says Glass, who was born blind. "I just love following those sounds around."
Susan Glass is a member of the American Council of the Blind. Read about her passion for nature and poetry in this article:
"Roots of American Culture: A Cross-Country Visit with Living Treasures of Folk & Traditional Arts" is a documentary film by the National Endowment for the Arts that looks into the lives of highly accomplished folk and traditional practitioners and highlights their most treasured traditions and artistic practices. The artists and creators featured in this documentary are integral to ensuring our country's vibrant diversity of cultures--music, dance, crafts, and oral expression--and making them available to generations to come.
Access the audio described video, available with captions at:
How about a door-to-door ride that works like Uber and Lyft but is even cheaper than paratransit? It sounds too good to be true, and for some of us, it is. But if you live, work or just enjoy recreation in the city of Cupertino, you can sign up for "Via", a rideshare service sponsored by the city. "Via" also goes to the Sunnyvale CalTrain station and Kaiser Santa Clara.
More and more cities are sponsoring "micro transit" for all riders. It's good for the environment and increases the use of local businesses. "Via" is one of the companies competing in this market, so if you travel, you'll want to investigate what city-wide rideshare options are available. Plans are being formed to expand "Via" to Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, so encourage your local city councils to consider adding this service.
To use "Via", you need to create an account using your smartphone or tablet. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, you can also call customer service and get help setting up that account. Each ride costs $3.50 for any user, or $1.75 if you have a certified disability. A parking placard, guide dog ID, or anything else official that identifies you as disabled will work, and a picture of that identification can be emailed to customer service.
Rides are not scheduled in advance. When you need a ride, you can call customer service with your location or fire up the app on your phone. The app is fully accessible and knows your starting location based on where you are, currently. It asks you to find your destination on the map, but you can actually type or dictate your destination's address, or add it to your favorites. Once an address is on your favorites, when you schedule rides, you can simply select it from a list.
If you are not flagged in the system as disabled, you'll be asked to walk to a pickup point which is nearby. If, however, you have a disability flag added on to your account, the system will provide door-to-door service.
You can also bring an additional passenger for a fee, and sometimes you will share rides with other passengers.
If you have some vision or sighted help, you can schedule rides to locations, or be picked up from locations that don't have addresses associated with them, such as a park. You need to tap the particular area on the map. This is the only part of the app that isn't accessible with speech or Braille. If you are calling customer service for a ride, you will need a starting location's address and destination address.
Your credit card is billed immediately when you arrive at your destination, and the app invites you to fund a tip with a list of percentages you could potentially pay.
My experiences with "Via" have been super positive. Buses are quiet and roomy. They arrive within a minute of me requesting a ride, and the door-to-door service was enabled once they had my proof of disability. The same few drivers perform this service every day so they know the city well and all like my guide dog, since I work in Cupertino. I now have improved access to this city's dining and shopping opportunities. I also volunteer at the Cupertino public library and enjoy the Apple store on the Apple campus, so for me this new service has been really great.
All the information about "Via" in Cupertino is located here:
Attention! The Sierra Regional Ski for Light 3 Day Winter Event will be March 4th - 6th.
Dear Ski for Light Skiers and those who prefer Snowshoes, The Skier Application for our 3 Day 2023 Winter Event is online and waiting for you!
2023 3-DAY SKI EVENT FOR ADULTS
The 2023 SRSFL three-day cross-country ski event will be held in Truckee, CA Saturday, March 4, 2023 - Monday March 6, 2023. Lodging will be at the Best Western Hotel in Truckee, CA. Skiing will be at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, Truckee, CA. Cost: $290 (INCLUDES equipment rental), $200 if you bring your own skis or snowshoes. These fees include 2 nights lodging (double occupancy), in Truckee, breakfasts and dinners, and trail passes for all three days.
Note: Add $200 if you wish a private room. You are on your own for lunches in Truckee.
Tahoe Donner has a lunch menu, which does include vegetarian items. For those coming from out of town, Friday, March 3, 2023, lodging will be at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 10745 Gold Center Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, Phone:
The cost is an additional $70 double $140 single (includes continental breakfast).
SRSFL will hold an informal meet and greet from 6 to 8 PM with a salad and pizza dinner. We will depart at 7:15 AM Saturday, March 4th from the Fairfield Inn for Tahoe Donner Cross Country.
This year our Skier Application Form is an online form! There is nothing to download. Simply go to our Skier webpage on our website:
Submitted by Sandy Quenzer for Lisa Quan Per Bev Clifford December 2022
Note: Because two of these recipes are from a website with copywrite permissions requirements, we are only able to include the website links for them, which you are welcome to use to access them. (See editor's Note)
--Thanksgiving Foragers Pie: Wild Mushrooms, Herb Gravy, and Sweet Potato Mash in A Flakey Spelt Crust
Preparation time: 30 minutes; cooking time 2 hours
Tools needed: large pot, baking sheet, foil, sauce pan, heat tolerant spoon, spatula, large knife, teaspoon
4 large garnet yams or sweet potatoes, boiled or steamed with skin on
4 oz butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1. Bring a large pot of water to boiling and carefully add the yams. Boil or steam for 45 minutes until a fork can go in, but still somewhat firm. Carefully remove from heat and drain in a colander. Rinse or soak in cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside until cool to the touch. This can be done the day before and stored in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees conventional. Do not use convection setting or it will burn. You will need 2 racks for 2 baking sheets.
3. Slice each yam into 6 to 8 pieces.
4. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over med-low heat until just melted. Be careful that it does not burn. Add the half brown sugar and half coconut sugar to melted butter and mix. Continue adding the rest until it is a paste. It should be moist and not dry, but no liquid should be in the pan. If you need more sugar, keep adding until it is a thick paste. Remove from heat.
5. Place about 1 tsp of sugar mixture on to each piece of yam. Spread it a bit so it covers most of the yam. Smaller pieces will get less and larger pieces will get more. Redistribute as necessary until all the pieces have sugar.
6. Place yams in oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Check at 45 minutes. The sugar should be caramelized, but not burned. When done, remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer to a serving dish. Best served when warm.
Note: You can do up through Step 6 ahead of time, even a day before, and just cover and place in the refrigerator. If you don't have room, then you can just do step 1 ahead. Not recommended to make the sugar/butter mixture ahead of time, as you want it warm.
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.
3. Shows Described by AudioVision Bay Area (formerly 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:
8. 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: