A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

May 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 June, 2023 issue: noon, May 22, 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 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

I've had a chance to reflect on the California Council of the Blind convention that was held in Sacramento from Friday March 31 through Sunday April 2. This convention was unique in at least three ways. To begin with, it was the first one to be both in-person and accessible through Zoom and ACB media. Zoom participants were able to address the in-person audience. For the first time in seven years, there were contested elections; meaning that more than one candidate ran for a position. Most importantly, our goody bags had more items than ever before, and I've been attending conventions for over fifty years. Of course, I write that last sentence, with tongue-in-cheek. There were 94 in-person attendees and more than 50 people who attended on Zoom. Now that most committees and statewide affiliates conduct their business and programs over Zoom prior to the convention, there is more time to visit exhibits or just relax and socialize. If you have never been to a CCB convention, I encourage you to give it a try. Newcomers are always welcomed.

Come to our May meeting to learn about birds and their songs, presented by our own Susan Glass. Remember that after the in-person meeting, there will be a celebration of life for John Vandervort.

Meanwhile, get outdoors and enjoy this pleasant Spring weather.



By Mike Keithley

"Hey guys, it's getting nice and warm. Find your local dog park and see friends you haven't hung with since fall. Access:"

Well, King, what about humans who can't access that service? "Tell them to get the LabTab conversion package. Guaranteed to convert any human to doghood, despite what El-ahrairah says."

Let's wish happy May birthdays to Anna Bolino, John McNulty, John Glass, Susan Glass, and Dawn Wilcox. "Hey there, you mentioned them last month! That's like a second birthday; don't I get one?" Yes, if I'm still confused when yours comes around. "I'll hold you to that. Besides, I'm keeping tabs on all SVCB dogs, especially the converted ones." Don't think LabTab is all that good? "Ask Fairy Woddog."

Now to get to business. Carol Silveria writes:

"There will be a celebration of life for John Vandervort after the SVCB May meeting. I have been letting people know that it will begin around 2:00 pm. That way those who want to have their Subway lunch can still do so. After the service, we will have some light refreshments. We are planning a program that will include an open mike for those who wish to speak. John died on Monday, March 6, 2023." So don't forget to make your VTA ride accordingly.

We had a great convention report at our virtual April meeting. Rob Turner produced an audio collage of events, and you can hear it at:

We need your opinion on whether we should continue with in-person meetings on odd-numbered months and virtual meetings in even-numbered months. The Board will discuss this issue at its June meeting. Contact any Board member with your opinion.


TIDBITS May 2023

Compiled by Mike Keithley

-Tell Us What You Think about the ADP Website

The Audio Description Project team wants to know what you love and what you'd change about our website and social media. We're here for you, so let us know how we're doing by taking a short survey at:

Thanks in advance. We can't wait to hear from you as we continue to make the ADP even better!

-Stepping Out With ACB: 2023 ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk

It's time to get ready for the 15th annual ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk! Our goal is to raise at least $62,000 for ACB and its affiliates this year in celebration of ACB's 62nd Anniversary. The Walk will take place during ACB's 2023 convention, but you can still participate in the Walk even if you are unable to attend in person. ACB Walk participants have many opportunities to win gift cards! Gift cards will be distributed to the 62nd person to register for the Walk, the first team to reach $6,200 in donations, and the first person to receive 62 donations. Register for the Walk, create or join a team, or make a donation. If you need assistance registering or making a donation, call ACB's Minnesota office at:

(612) 332-3242.

As in previous years, affiliate and committee teams can designate up to 50% of their Walk donations to be contributed to their treasuries. For questions, contact Walk committee chair Donna Brown by phone at:

(304) 940-0292 or by email at:

-Acadia National Park Internship

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine wants young people who identify as having a disability to apply for a YES (Youth Empowerment Stewards) internship opportunity to make the park more accessible, equitable and inclusive for all visitors. This 20-week internship through Conservation Legacy includes on-site housing, professional development opportunities and an AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion. Learn more and apply at:

Friends of Acadia Summit Steward Program | Youth Development

-Research Study on Cognition

The Neuroplasticity and Development Lab at Johns Hopkins University is seeking participants for an MRI research study on cognition. We study how the brain adapts in the absence of vision and supports audition, touch, braille reading and language. To answer this question, we use neuroimaging to compare the brains of individuals with different life histories: adults who grew up with vision, those who were born blind, and those who became blind later in life.

To qualify, you must be a healthy totally blind adult with at most minimal light perception who has been blind from birth, and is currently between 18 and 70 years of age and with no neurological disabilities. Participants must complete a pre-screening interview to see whether they qualify. To learn more, call the lab at:

(410) 870-9895 or send an email to:

-HumanWare Braille Displays Now Part of Microsoft's Designed for Surface Program

HumanWare recently announced that its braille displays are now recognized as an inclusive technology in the Designed for Surface (DFS) program. Enhancements to the Windows 11 Narrator now support a wider range of braille displays, including three 20-cell and 40-cell braille displays from HumanWare designed for Surface. For more information, visit:

-TD Accessibility Tool Now Online

TD Bank Group recently launched a new innovative accessibility tool to create more inclusive and accessible user experiences. The new tool, designed as a browser plug-in, gives accommodation controls back to the user enabling them to personalize their online experience without using overlays that can impact usability.

Some of the accessibility preferences users will be able to choose from include reading guides, adjustable font size, dark mode, a dyslexia-friendly font, bionic reading and monochrome mode. The tool is explicitly designed to co-exist with other assistive technologies, such as standalone screen magnification software – a feature not currently prioritized by other online accessibility tools in the market. Read the full press release at:

-AV Study

Transportation is a huge barrier for people with physical and developmental disabilities. Widespread availability of autonomous vehicles (AVs) could boost the U.S. economy by hundreds of billions of dollars by bringing more people with disabilities into the workforce, according to a new study. Learn more in this article at:

Autonomous cars could help millions of disabled Americans find jobs, study finds

-Help Shape the Future of Accessible VR Music Concerts for Individuals with Visual Impairments!

The Department of Informatics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology is conducting a research study on making virtual reality (VR) music concerts accessible for people with visual impairments. If you are over 18 and visually impaired, we invite you to participate in our online survey and share your thoughts, needs, and experiences. Your insights will help us design and develop a prototype to make VR music concerts more accessible in the future. To take the survey, visit:

-ACB's Virginia Office Move

ACB's Virginia office is moving! ACB's new office address is:

225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 660

Alexandria, VA 22314

-ACB Applauds ScripTalk Talking Label Pilot at Wegmans

ACB is pleased to share the announcement of the "ScripTalk" Talking Prescription Label pilot program, at Wegmans Food Markets. Wegmans is offering the ScripTalk system that allows blind or low vision patients the ability to audibly hear important prescription label information, ensuring their medication independence and safety. The chain will offer the service at five of its New York locations. Learn more by reading our press release at:

If you'd like this service added to your Wegmans or want more information about ScripTalk, call En-Vision America at:


-City of Chicago Held in Violation of the ADA

A federal judge in Chicago held the City of Chicago liable for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide accessible pedestrian signals at signalized intersections throughout the city to those who are blind or have low vision. ACB of Metro Chicago, an Illinois Council of the Blind chapter, filed the suit in 2019 alleging discrimination against blind and low vision individuals by the city. Read the full DOJ press release at:

-Make Your Hotel Reservations Now!

Make your hotel reservations for the 2023 ACB Conference and convention today! Room rates at the Renaissance are $98 per night double occupancy (with an additional $10 charge for up to four people), plus tax, which is currently 15%. To make reservations online, visit:

For telephone reservations, call:

(800) 468-3571

This is a central reservations number, so be sure to indicate you are with the American Council of the Blind 2023 conference and convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, IL.

Rooms must be reserved by June 8th to guarantee the convention rate. Book now so you don't forget!

-Public Service Announcement on Uncontrolled Dogs

Don't you wish pet owners would understand how important it is to keep their dogs on leash and under control?

You can help them understand! Share GDUI's new audio Public Service Announcement with your local media! And share the announcement yourself with family and friends on all the social media you visit! Access:

We encourage you to share our audio message widely. The more people who understand how important it is to control their dogs, the safer all of us will be!

-DCMP Nominated for Webby Award

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) has been a leader in the field of media accessibility for over 30 years. DCMP develops and adapts new technologies to create and distribute educational media for students with disabilities and their teachers and parents. In partnership with top content creators, DCMP streams fully accessible media through its targeted distribution to schools. The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Established in 1996, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), a 2,000+ member judging body. DCMP's work has been singled out by IADAS as one of the five best in the world in the category of Websites and Mobile Sites – Accessible Technology. Vote for DCMP to win The Webby People's Voice Award at:

-Brand New Mom Seeks Your Advice

I am Daisy Russell Kadlik, and I am a brand-new blind mom. When I first became pregnant and was searching for resources for blind parents, I found support groups and a handful of podcasts and articles here and there, but nothing as comprehensive as I'd like. There is no manual for parenting, but I am writing a book full of tricks and techniques I learn as I go, and learn from parents like you. If you are willing to answer some interview questions and share your own insights about topics such as travel, healthcare, safety, feeding, diaper changing, socializing, and organization, please send me your email address. I appreciate your insight and assistance with this project. I plan to gather as many perspectives as possible to give other blind parents a resource full of tried-and-true techniques and tools. If you contribute to this book, you will be credited in the acknowledgements. Contact me via email:



By Susan Glass

This year, the California Council of the Blind launched its first-ever hybrid convention. Since the outbreak of the COVID epidemic in 2020, we've held our conventions virtually. But this year beginning in early March, we held several pre-convention meetings on the Zoom platform. Then from Friday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2, we met in person at the Arden West Hilton Hotel in Sacramento California. We also broadcast our general sessions over Zoom, thus allowing those who couldn't be present to participate. 94 people registered for the live convention, and many joined us online. If you attended our SVCB April meeting, you got to enjoy Rob Turner's beautifully edited audio excerpts from the general sessions. I'll add a few details here and borrow extensively from the excellent convention report prepared by Margie Donovan and Olivia Ostergard, for the Golden State Guide Dog Handlers Affiliate as well.

Speaking of GSGDHI, we held our first program session over Zoom immediately following our business meeting. We featured 3 guest panelists, all of whom were guide dog puppy raisers. They shared their experiences raising and socializing puppies and discussed highs and lows: saying goodbye to dogs returning to campus for training, welcoming new pups into their homes, coping with challenging puppy behaviors, rejoicing when their pups became guides or breeders. All on the call enjoyed an animated discussion.

At the live convention in Sacramento, GSGDHI organized a meet and greet between attendees and their dogs, and members of the Sacramento Puppy Raising Club who also volunteered their time in the relieving area. We spent a delightful hour and a half allowing our guides to socialize with the raisers and their dogs. The raisers were both teens and adults, and to one person, they said how gratified they felt to watch guide dogs working with their handlers.

Another pre-convention activity that was lots of fun was the Creative Writing Workshop sponsored by CCB's Publications Committee. Indeed, calling it a workshop was a misnomer, as we had far too much fun listening to Sara Harris, Lisa Presley Thomas, and others read us stories based on memories from their childhoods.

Delegate Report from Margie Donovan:

On Friday afternoon, I attended a luncheon where a representative of "Democracy Live" spoke. All voters have one thing in common: we lack information about the candidates and issues appearing on their ballots. With Live Ballot, you get your personal, interactive ballot, and the information needed to be prepared on Election Day. Live ballot also offers an accessible voter information guide based on zip codes. These guides are the same as the printed guides we receive in the mail from the Voter Registration Office.

OmniBallot Portal is an electronic, fully accessible vote-by-mail, absentee, UOCAVA and sample ballot solution. It offers secure, accessible remote balloting for all voters, including those with disabilities, and people living abroad or serving in the military.

Friday evening began with a dinner and a live performance of Country of the Blind, which was performed by members of the ACB Capitol chapter.

The second general session began with a Zoom presentation from Deb Cook-Lewis, President of ACB. Deb has only been in this role since Immediate Past President Dan Spoone stepped into the role as acting ACB Executive Director.

Deb highlighted the accessible currency rally, which was held at Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. This was held during the ACB Legislative Seminar. Despite the pouring rain on rally day, they had a great turnout. A letter was read from Harriet Tubman's family, in support of accessible currency and having a woman on the 20-dollar bill. Following the rally, the participants marched to the United States Mint.

The first tactile currency will be released in 2026, when the new 10-dollar bill is produced. ACB's first resolution on currency was presented in the early 70's. It has taken over 50 years to get accessible paper currency in the United States.

Deb discussed the many committees which ACB has. She intends to sign up for all their email lists so that she can learn more about the affiliates. Deb also noted the legislative imperatives for 2023. There are four imperatives, which include:

— the Medical Device Non-Visual Accessibility Act,

— the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act,

— the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act,

— and the Exercise and Fitness for All Ages Act.

Deb concluded her remarks by inviting everyone to the ACB National Convention in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Jeff Thom and Regina Brink gave a legislative update. We have two bills this year: AB1518, and AB410—scooter signage. Regina also gave a presentation about Cal Fresh. She is hoping to get some changes in the program. Currently, Cal Fresh considers roommates' incomes, and she is hoping to get this changed.

CCB elections: The full slate from the nominating committee was elected to the Board of Directors. Sara Harris was re-elected as First Vice President, and Steve Bauer as Secretary. Directors elected were Christy Crespin, Joe Green, Pam Metz, and Penny Valdovinos.

The elections were followed by remembrances. (The following list may not include all the people who have passed away within the last year) John Vandervort; Loraine Brown's husband, James Brown (Jim); Elizabeth Klein (Liz); Susan Hood; Steve Fort; and Albert Contreras.

Delegate Report from Olivia Ostergard:

Saturday: The morning began with a wonderful breakfast, "A Cup of Joe," with Joe Green, CCB Membership Committee Chair. We discussed several ways we could reach out to lost members and recruit new ones, everything from phone calls, an 800 number, and post cards with chapter/affiliate information. Another suggestion was to create a public service announcement (PSA) for TV/Radio stations to alert Californians that we're here, and to explain how family and friends can contact us when someone they care about is losing vision or has been newly diagnosed.

The first session was comprised of the Department of Rehabilitation's panel, and primarily dealt with our older blind OIB program. Joe Xavier, DOR's Executive Director, reported on some of the changes coming down the pike. DOR will be working with the newly formed California Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABOVEI), which will streamline the work that needs to be done by pooling all those agencies statewide that serve us.

Laura Rasmussen from Washington, DC, outlined some of DOR's new procedures, such as their new Client Liaison, a sort of go-between connecting the counselor and the client. Next was Anita Arron, Executive Director of the California Agency on Aging, who talked about some of the efforts in adhering to the MASTER PLAN designated by Governor Newsom. Their ten-year program attempts to open wide the doors for older Californians to benefit from everything that DOR, the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and other agencies have to offer.

We also heard from Shelena Heber, one of their Board Members, who is Director of the Valley Center for the Blind (VCB) in Fresno. Before lunch, Jamie Gibson Barrows gave a report on how VCB is leading the way in employment of blind and visually impaired individuals with their telemarketing training program. So far, they've been quite successful.

At our CLUA Luncheon (California Library Users of America) led by President Pam Metz, we heard from Mike Marlin, Executive Librarian for our Sacramento Regional Talking Book Library. He informed us of their continued development in obtaining the newest Victor Stream Readers, and in supporting those who use the cartridge readers.

The afternoon session was highlighted by Sharon Giovinazzo, San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind's new CEO, who livened things up with her presentation. Sounds like things are beginning to move and groove!

The evening's Banquet, always a delight, was graced by Kenneth Simians, Chair of ACB's committees which give out the Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) First-Timer's Award and the JP Morgan Chase Fellowship Award. They will be choosing several applicants for a wonderful leadership experience at this year's ACB convention in Schaumburg, Illinois. Kenneth encouraged us to continue the great work that we've been doing and reach out to garner new folks.

I guess the after party was okay. I didn't go. So, if you were there, jump in and give your feedback.

Margie Donovan:

Sunday Business Meeting: Thirteen resolutions were read and passed. Lisa Presley-Thomas gave the treasurer's report. Our total assets are around $650,000. The following accounts are restricted accounts and invested: Ellen Murphy, Newell Perry, Mannino, and the Lillie Perry Foundation Fund. Due to the volatility of the market, these accounts are down. Lisa works closely with our investor, Donna Andrews, to minimize risk.

At the beginning of the Sunday morning session there was one constitutional change, which removed the term limits for the position of CCB's treasurer.



Submitted by Suzanne Smith

Crunchy Mixed Vegetable Bake

Recipe from The Heart Cookbook: The Pampered Chef

1 can (ten-and-three-fourths ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup mayonnaise

1 garlic clove (pressed)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

3 packages (16 ounces each) frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower blend (or other mixed vegetables)

1 can (2.8 ounces) French-fried onion rings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In medium bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise, garlic, and pepper. Mix well. Stir in cheese. Place vegetable blend in greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Spoon soup mixture over vegetables. Toss to evenly coat. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with onion rings. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until onion rings are golden. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.

Strawberry Raisin Muffins

Recipe from Muffins, cupcakes, by Larry Rosenberg

2 (12 cup) muffin pans

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. (If using shiny pans, preheat oven to 325.)

Grease and flour muffin tins, or line with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, strawberries, raisins, and butter. In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into strawberry mixture, until just moistened. (Batter will be thick. Do not overmix.) Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning out. Makes 24 muffins.

Hint: Try icing these muffins with cream cheese icing.

Note: These muffins go well with brunch or with fruit salad. They have a lovely, pinkish hue from the addition of the strawberries. You can substitute unsweetened frozen strawberries for the fresh berries, but be sure to drain them well, and pat them dry with paper towels before using.


EVENT CALENDAR: May through June 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:

May 10, 17, 24, and 31

June 7, 14, 21, and 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.

2. Tabard Theatre Shows

To order tickets, call the Tabard box office at:

408-679-2330 and speak to Marilyn Watts, or visit:

Events take place at The Tabard Theatre, 29 North San Pedro Street, San Jose.

For monthly information about these events, see the Upcoming Tabard Theatre Events article in each SVCB newsletter.

(Copy Editor's note: I didn't receive an email from Tabard Theatre with event information in time to submit an article to this newsletter. My apologies.)

The phrase "On Demand" means that the show can be viewed by services like Comcast.

3. Shows Described by AudioVision Bay Area

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:


May: Healthy Vision Month

May 20, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB monthly meeting, in person.

May 21, 1 PM: 1776 with descriptions by AudioVision Bay Area, SJCPA, See notes.

May 22, noon: June SVCB newsletter deadline.

June: Vision Research month

June 1, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you want to join this meeting, contact SVCB president Rob Turner.

June 6, 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:

June 11, 1 PM: BOOK OF MORMON with descriptions by AudioVision Bay Area, SF Golden Gate, see notes.

June 17, 9:30 AM to 12 PM: June virtual SVCB meeting. Finalize picnic plans.

June 19, noon: July SVCB newsletter deadline.

June 27: Helen Keller Day.

June 30: ACB conference and convention tours begin.

June 30 and July 1 at 8 PM, and Jul 2 at 2 PM: STEAL MAGNOLIAS, with descriptions by Gravity, 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,