A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

March 2023

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 April, 2023 issue: noon, March 20, 2023

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, 3-9 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 message, it's a very windy day. The wind is literally howling at my window, and our mobile home is even shaking a little. Hope the power stays on.

As you probably know by now, I'm a big fan of accessible technology, especially devices that provide verbal feedback. We've got talking devices in almost every room of our house. Every so often, one of these devices reacts in a way that is totally unexpected and occasionally very funny. In June of 2021, SVCB chose to donate an Echo Show 8 second generation to a California Council of the Blind auction, that had to be postponed because their non-profit tax status was suspended. It has been here at my house ever since, and I finally couldn't resist the temptation to open it up and give it a try. I'll donate a newer model of equal or greater value when CCB holds its next auction. I was very curious to try its object recognition feature. I started with a bottle of Pinot-Noir. I had a real belly laugh when the Echo Show stated that it was an "autobiography of Buffalo Bill." I had another big laugh when I tried it again and was told "He has risen." Something religious? Something suggestive? There were several other outrageous responses that made me laugh, but I can't remember them all just now.

Currently there is lots of talk about Chat GPT. I haven't tried it yet, but even though Chat GPT is supposed to be very smart, I bet it will surprise someone with something outrageously funny before too long.

Remember our March meeting will be both in-person and on Zoom. I look forward to seeing you then.



by Mike Keithley

Sad news!—The Tabard Theatre is closing! SVCB and Vista Center members have been attending the Tabard for many years. I remember when I went there to hear the presentation of The Miracle Worker. And Tabard still provides the Saturday matinee pre-show for visually impaired people, where we can examine costumes and props plus meet the actors. Talk to Bev Clifford, you'll get a laugh-full!

(Copy Editor's Note: For further information about Tabard's closing, see Bev Clifford's article "Difficult News from Tabard Theatre", posted below "Tabard's Upcoming Show.")

John Vandervort will very much appreciate your company. He's struggling with cancer. Just say "hello."

As our program, Alice Turner introduced Chris Lam, an IT instructor at Vista Center San Jose. Chris described how he managed to transition from sighted to low vision, how he hung in there, and the support he got. So, when you're at Vista Center, look Chris up!

Let's wish happy March birthdays to no one. Really, this is getting bad! "Well, I'm glad to have a birthday in March. Just sing me a song and give me a balloon." Bang! "Why not keep track of dog birthdays and report them. They're more important, anyway." We don't have a chance around you, do we, King. "No, you don't, so there!"

Three important things came out of the February business meeting.

SVCB will be acquiring our own 501 (C3) profit tax status. When this happens, SVCB will no longer be under the CCB tax-exempt umbrella, and can once again raise money. Then Carol Silveria will have something to do!

A delegate and an alternate delegate were elected for the upcoming CCB convention. Rob Turner is delegate, and Debee Armstrong is alternate delegate. Rob is also SVCB's delegate for the Nominating Committee.

We will be trying a new picnic site for our September picnic. It will be "Martial Cottle County Park" in San Jose. It's a park like "Hellyer," but is a little closer to many of us, plus signage is better, so there's less confusion for VTA Access drivers. Victor Clifford has researched picnic sites in this park, and told us that they are not as isolated as Sylvandale, but quite satisfactory in his view. This park is part of a working farm, and there are tours: we might try to hire a docent if there's interest. We will secure a site, and begin planning for a new adventure!

Don't forget to register for the CCB convention. Information is in the February Membership Corner column.



by Victor Clifford

SVCB donated $200 this month to Mr. Sayed's GoFundMe.

At this time, $54,486 has been raised of a $1,000 goal, with 766 donors.

Mr Sayed is still staying in Motel 6. He has a caregiver that checks on him every day. He still adamant to change his clothes saying "he don't want to get confused with the stuff he put in his pockets." He's still asking for his Burger King every day, but he gets Biryani, pasta and other stuff too.

He knows that because of you all he's able to stay in the motel for a long period of time and is thankful for all the help he received.


TIDBITS March 2023

Compiled by Mike Keithley

--Longmore Institute on Disability: Accessible Arts Programming for Blind/Low Vision Community

Dear fellow blindness organization,

I'm writing to share about a listserv that my organization manages on behalf of a volunteer group called the Blind Posse, which advocates for access to art museums and arts programming for blind and low vision people.

Once a month, we send a listing of programs and events that our partnering Bay Area museums are offering with specific guided description tours and talks intended for blind and low vision attendees. For example, recent programs included a descriptive tour of the DeYoung Museum's Ramses Pharaoh exhibit, and a guided description of "Color Trip: Yoshida Hodaka's Modern Prints," and more—all free programs. The December newsletter is at:

About half of the programs are online, so we enthusiastically encourage those outside of the Bay Area to join us—the more blind and low vision attendees, the more the museums will continue to invest in this shift for more accessible programs! If you would like to begin receiving the once-a-month email with invitations for these free online programs, subscribe at the above link.

Thank you for your time and support.

--ADP Awards

Help ACB's Audio Description Project (ADP) recognize outstanding contributions to the field of audio description by submitting your nomination for the 2023 ADP Awards! The call for nominations ends on Friday, May 5, 2023, with winners announced during the 2023 ACB convention. Find more information about the awards, including how to submit your nomination, at:

--2023 BADIE Contest

The Benefits of Audio Description In Education (BADIE) contest, brought to you by ACB's Audio Description Project and Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), wants students to experience media with audio description and describe what they've experienced!

Participants from ages 7-21 have the chance to win prizes for themselves and their teachers by selecting an audio-described film or video from the more than 6,000 educational titles available through DCMP, and submitting an evaluation of its use of audio description. To register for the contest, find guidelines and prize information, learn how audio description is created, and get tips for writing a good review, visit:

The deadline for contest entries is March 17, 2023.

--Join the Audio Description Project Discussion List

If you like to be entertained and informed, the ACB Audio Description Project (ADP) discussion list is for you! It's a great way to keep up with everything in the world of audio description (also known as AD), which includes movies, live theatre, museums, educational videos, national parks, and much more. You'll get updates on the latest films, TV and streaming series, events, and attractions that are providing AD; announcements of AD news; and invitations to share your AD experiences with the ADP advocacy team. You can choose whether to receive each message posted to the list individually or as a weekly digest. Simply send a blank email to:

with "Subscribe" in the subject line, and you're in!

--Where to Find Oscar Nominees with Audio Description

If you're a movie fan, you probably can't wait to watch the Oscars on ABC. To help you get ready, ACB's Audio Description Project has compiled a list of nominated films and where to find the ones with audio description. The 95th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC and broadcast to more than 200 territories worldwide. Until the big night, grab your popcorn and choose your own winners! For the list of nominees, and where to watch them with audio description, visit:

--New Educational Series Features Guide Dogs in Action

Maine's Pine Tree Guide Dog Users recently launched a free educational series for students and others that provides information and materials about how blind people and guide dogs work together as a team, and how guide dogs use a variety of skills to safely guide their partners. All materials are available free from the Educational Corner at:

The series includes a supplemental document for teachers and other presenters; a professionally designed poster and handout of a guide dog team using five different skills; and a two-module lesson plan and worksheet for grades 2-3.

--Spoken Rx Tutorials

Hadley has launched a new series of tutorial workshops on prescription management. The video workshops demonstrate the benefits of Spoken Rx®, a proprietary audio prescription label solution available for free on the CVS Pharmacy app, which allows patients to have their prescription information read aloud in English or Spanish. The 7-part series, available on Hadley's website and through the mail, is available to anyone with visual impairment. Learn more by visiting:

--On the ACB Advocacy Update

Clark and Swatha bring ACB Executive Director Eric Bridges and ACB President Dan Spoone back to map out the year ahead at the American Council of the Blind. Topics we cover include the Leadership Conference and Legislative Seminar in March, the Annual Conference and Convention in July, and the Fall Audio Description Awards Gala. You can subscribe to the ACB Advocacy Update using your Victor stream.

--ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program

Have you signed up for ACB's Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program, or increased your monthly donation since the end of the 2022 Conference and Convention? If not, you might want to consider doing it by March 12. You could win a $250 Amazon gift card!

Sign up by donating a minimum of $10 a month, or increase what you're already giving by at least five dollars per month.

Up to 50 percent of what you donate can go back to an affiliate of your choice.

What a great fundraiser! Call:

888-999-3190, or email

by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 12. Leave your name, phone number, and/or email address, and we'll get back to you.

The drawing will take place after we've processed your information and received your first payment. Start calling now! We'll be waiting to hear from you.

--Dear Provider Letter

ACB, along with legal counsel, has created a Dear Provider Letter for blind and low vision individuals to use in health care settings like doctor's offices and hospitals. The letter was created in response to the challenges experienced by our members and the broader community that were brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access more information about the letter at:

If you are encountering inaccessible healthcare technology, patient information, or have had a negative patient experience related to being blind or low vision, please share it with ACB's advocacy team by emailing:

--GDB Summer Camp Program

Save the date for the 2023 Guide Dogs for the Blind's summer camp program! Get ready for a weeklong deep dive into what it would be like to live and work with a guide dog. Mark your calendars for July 2023 and discover what it means to be ready for a guide dog, experience hands-on fun and unique activities with dogs, why your O&M skills are so important for a successful partnership with a guide dog, make new friends, and have a whole lot of camp fun!

Camp GDB will be held July 24-28, 2023, for transition-age youth ages 14-17 who are blind or have low vision. Camp will be held at the Hull Foundation and Learning Center in Sandy, Oregon, which is seven miles from our Oregon Guide Dogs for the Blind's training campus.

Please visit the Youth Programs Page at:

where you will find the 2023 Camp GDB Participant Application form.

The deadline to submit your application is April 1, 2023, and GDB recommends you apply early as summer programs are popular and fill up quickly.

--Spanish-Language Website for NLS Patrons

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) at the Library of Congress rolled out its Spanish-language website to broaden access to its programs and services for Hispanic communities across the United States. Those curious about NLS can learn how to apply for service and find information about the benefits of service, all en español, by visiting:

For current Spanish-speaking patrons, discovering the newest books in Spanish audio and braille formats is easier than ever. The site in Spanish features 24 different pages containing resources, application information, technical assistance, and book search tools. The Spanish-language roll-out coincides with the 4th anniversary of the US joining the landmark Marrakesh Treaty that is helping the NLS to significantly expand its collection of Spanish-language materials, which currently boasts more than 8,000 books and magazines for all ages.


TRANSPORTATION REPORT March 2023: Understanding the Three-Quarter Mile Rule

by Deborah Armstrong

Many of us riding paratransit know, that at least in Santa Clara County, if you live further than three quarters of a mile from a VTA bus stop you must pay $16 for a paratransit ride. If you live closer to that bus stop, your fare is only $4. Here's the reasoning behind that rule:

Paratransit is an outgrowth of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities law, enacted in 1990. As a civil rights law, the ADA's purpose was to provide equal treatment and access to public facilities for all disabled persons. This means if a building doesn't have a ramp, and it's a public facility, it is in violation of that law since all disabled folks cannot climb stairs.

For public transportation, it means that if a bus is not accessible, an alternative needs to be provided, so that all disabled folk can access public transit.

Accessibility is broadly defined. For example, if your access to the stop is blocked by an unsafe intersection or the lack of sidewalks, then you can be eligible for paratransit. But if a bus doesn't run in a particular area, the ADA does not apply. This is because ADA gives us access to existing public services, and if an area has no public transportation, then nothing exists there for which access is required.

Our own Lupe Medrano, in a recent conversation with Ron Brooks (a well-known transportation advocate), asked whether a transportation agency had the right to relocate a bus stop even when it impacted riders' access to paratransit. Mr. Brooks himself, a former member of SVCB, was speaking on an ACB community call about the legal aspects of eligibility.  In fact, he told his audience, it is not only legal, but our paratransit service, VTA access, would not need to provide transportation at all under the law, if a client lived in an area far from a bus stop. By charging $16, our paratransit agency actually goes above and beyond the law to provide this service to clients.

However, we still can advocate for more buses and more stops, and clients who need these are encouraged to complain directly to VTA's customer service. They do not pay attention to a complaint from a single person, but all complaints are logged, and the more they hear from us, the more likely they are to add stops and routes when requested.

As unfortunate as all this is, we know that federal rulings could potentially expand legislation to require that public transportation become a right for all, regardless of where they live and whether they have a disability. So, talk to your local, state, and national representatives about these restrictions. Perhaps one day we will see more funding for public transportation, if we take democracy in to our hands and advocate for our needs.



Submitted by Bev Clifford

We are thrilled to finally announce our next show, "Once". An award-winning musical, directed by Tabard's own Jonathan Rhys Williams, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglovà and book by Enda Walsh. This show is a celebration of music, love, and storytelling. Our amazing multi-talented cast of actor-musicians will not only portray the characters in the play, but will also provide the instrumentals, which will include guitar, mandolin, ukulele, piano, accordion, violin, cello, and bass.

The show opens Friday, March 10, and plays through Sunday, April 2. We hope you will join us for this uniquely theatrical experience that will move you to laughter, to tears, and to a deep understanding of the particular joy of joining together in song.

This show is included for Main Stage subscribers. Masks are encouraged but not required. Vaccination is no longer required.



Submitted by Bev Clifford

Dear Tabard Friends and Family,

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that The Tabard Theatre Company will be closing its doors on April 2.  After three years of battling increasing costs, decreasing ticket sales, and the on-going effects of a global pandemic, we are simply no longer able to make ends meet, and therefore will be unable to complete the current season.  We remain very excited about our upcoming production of "Once", which will play as planned, March 10 through April 2. This 8-time Tony™-winning celebration of life through music and storytelling will be our swan song.  In addition to this final mainstage offering, all of our currently scheduled events and concerts will go forward as planned through the end of March.

Our Box Office staff will be reaching out to subscribers and single ticket holders for "Othello" and "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang" about your options.

Over the 22-year history of this organization, The Tabard Theatre Company has meant a lot to many of you as artists, technicians, volunteers, staff, and of course as subscribers, donors and patrons. We thank everyone who has supported us over the past two decades, and particularly through these very challenging last three years.

As always, I'll see you at the theatre.

Jonathan Rhys Williams

Executive Artistic Director

The Tabard Theatre Company


SNACK SHACK March 2023

Submitted by Bev Clifford

Recipes contributed by Suzanne Smith, from the Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns Cookbook

-Red Devil Hot Dogs

Suzanne tried this recipe for the first time on this past Valentine's Day, served it over hot rice, and thought it was really good.

1 pound hot dogs (approximately 8)

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion and garlic until soft. Add remaining ingredients except hot dogs. Cook until bubbly and hot. Slice hot dogs lengthwise, and place in a casserole dish. Pour sauce over hot dogs, and bake or broil until really hot. Toast buns, and enjoy.

-Best Potato Casserole

1 pound hash brown potatoes

2 cans cream of chicken soup

8 ounces sour cream

1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup potato chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in 9 by 13 pan sprayed with Pam or greased with oil or butter. Crush potato chips over mixture. Cover with foil, and cook for approximately one hour.


EVENT CALENDAR: March through April, 2023

Compiled by Mike Keithley


1. Weekly SVCB Social Hour

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

March 9, 16, 23, and 30

Apr 6, 13, 20, and 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 monthly in-person membership meetings.

2. 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.

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: or visit:

4. TheatreWorks

Audio described shows by TheatreWorks have resumed with descriptions by "Gravity." Pre-register for tickets that 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:

5. San Francisco LightHouse

To hear weekly events at the San Francisco LightHouse, call:


6. 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:

7. 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:

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:

510-843-4398, or visit:



March 7, 5:30 to 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:

March 10 through 14: ACB Affiliate Presidents' Meeting and Legislative Seminar. Capitol Hill Day is Tuesday March 14. See Tidbits article in this newsletter.

March 10 through April 2: "ONCE", Tabard Theatre, see notes. Special pre-show for the visually impaired on March 11 at 2:15 PM.

March 12, 1 PM: "SIX", with descriptions by AudioVision Bay Area, Broadway SF, see notes.

March 13 through 17: 38th Annual CSUN Conference, for details, visit

March 18, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: In-person SVCB Membership meeting.

March 20, noon: April SVCB newsletter deadline.

March 26, 1 PM: "PRETTY WOMAN", with descriptions by AudioVision Bay Area, SJCPA, see notes.

March 31 through April 2: CCB Conference and Convention. See Membership Corner in this newsletter.

March 31 at 8 PM, April 1 at 8 PM and April 2 at 2 PM: "FANNIE", with descriptions by "Gravity", "MVCPA", (see notes).


April 4, 5:30-7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group meeting.

April 6, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you want to join this meeting, contact SVCB president Rob Turner.

April 15, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB virtual membership meeting. See Zoom information above.

April 17, noon: May SVCB newsletter deadline.

April 28 and 29 at 8 PM and 30 at 2 PM: "A DISTINCT SOCIETY", with descriptions by "Gravity", "TheatreWorks MVCPA", see notes.





CONSTITUTION: Roger Petersen,


DATABASE: Vic Clifford,



GOODIES: Bev Clifford,



PRESIDENT: Rob Turner,

PROGRAM: Susan Glass,




TREASURER: Vic Clifford, (acting)

VICE PRESIDENT: Mike Keithley,

WEBSITE: Deb Runyan,