A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

December 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 January, 2024 issue: noon, December 18, 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

If a year ago anyone had predicted that we would still be having trouble broadcasting our meetings on Zoom, I would have been extremely skeptical. However, as the October meeting virtual attendees already know, we are not there yet, because they could barely hear the meeting and could only speak to the in-person meeting through a tinny microphone/speaker connection. I'll be working with Mike and John Glass to finally get this right. Ideally, virtual participants will hear whatever comes through the public address system plus room sounds. Virtual participants will be able to speak to the in-person audience directly through the public address system. Meeting recordings will reflect these changes and be of far better quality. So please be patient with us. We will figure this out.

The fact that our holiday party is less than two weeks away tells me that winter is fast approaching. This year is sure passing quickly. Have a blessed holiday season, and I hope to see you at our holiday party.



by Mike Keithley

As Rob told you, we've been having lackluster luck with our Zoom connection. We haven't given up, though, and with luck we'll give our virtual attendees the performance they deserve. "And come on, guys, Alice Turner's presentation (albeit a bit squeaky), of the upcoming Sight Tech event, at Vista Center San Jose, December 7th and 8th, was well received." Careful King, Alice will read this! "Yes, but Cora will protect me." Let's hope so.

Anyway, you can hear Alice's presentation at:

"Yes, and let me tell you about the meatball heist happening during the SVCB Holiday party December 9, at Vista Center San Jose. The committee will invisibly gather at the center to eat all the meatballs. So, if you want spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, get 'em quick before they're all gone. And I hear they're going to howl during the fiddle music." O my, King, I wonder what's going to happen when they find out we're ready for them. "Humans, ready? No way!"

So, you had better come to the holiday party and defend the meatballs. But you must register, $30 for Vista Center, and SVCB members and $35 for guests. Your best choice for registering is via PayPal, using the name:

If you can't do that, contact Mike Keithley at:


Let's wish happy December birthdays to Celina Carey, Lorraine Brown, Milton Quenzer, and William Tipton. They'll be at the party, no excuses. "But Master, Mickey is in Kentucky. How will he get to the party?" It's up to you to get him there. "Well, OK. Master's got me very busy. It's gonna look funny as I fly cross-country with him hanging on. And what about Sandy? Hope he appreciates the effort. Will they think I'm some kind of spy balloon? And I'll miss the heist!"

We completed the important task of electing SVCB's 2024 administration. It's:

President: Alice Turner

Vice President: Lorraine Brown

Recording Secretary: Deborah Armstrong

Corresponding Secretary: Carol Silveria

Treasurer: David Hoffman

Board member: Naomi Grubb

"Hey hey, Alice is going to throw Master out. I can't wait." Well, King, if she throws me out, you'll be out, too, so you'd better think about that.


TIDBITS - December 2023

Compiled by Mike Keithley

-The Great Shakeout

(from the Braille Institute)

As part of being prepared, this involves knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake. Braille Institute is a registered participating organization. We are primarily bringing awareness, and have provided a PDF and MS Word document titled "Earthquake Preparedness Guide for Seniors, People with Disabilities, and Others with Access and Functional Needs (AFN)," but much of what is mentioned in the guide, applies to everyone. The guide is provided by the Earthquake Country Alliance and follows the seven steps to Earthquake Safety, giving information, tips, and resources. Please see a brief description below.

Seniors, People with Disabilities, and others with Access and Functional Needs (AFN) may have additional needs before, during, and after an earthquake. Questions to consider:

What can you do independently, and where may you need assistance?

Will your regular sources of assistance be available after a disaster?

What if power, gas, and phone lines are not working?

What if roads and sidewalks are impassable, or your means of transportation is unavailable?

How will you maintain supplies of water, food, medications, and other needs?

Additional resources, including this guide, are at:


Secure your space by identifying hazards, and securing movable items. The more limitations you have, the more important it is to create safe spaces—especially if you cannot "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" under a desk or table. To create safe spaces in your home or office:

Secure essential equipment such as oxygen tanks or other life support devices

Secure furniture and electronics to wall studs

Move heavy items to low shelves.

Hang mirrors and pictures with closed hooks.

Consider how to keep exit routes clear.


Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan, and decide how you will communicate in an emergency. Develop a Personal Support Team (PST) as part of your plan.

Additional Considerations:

Identify an out of area contact. Make sure the PST has this contact's information.

Label all adaptive equipment with your current contact information and out of area contact.

Have an evacuation plan that includes your transportation needs.

Identify a meeting place just outside your home, and a secondary meeting place outside the neighborhood.

Make a care plan for your pets and service animals. Only service animals are allowed in shelters. Check with your local animal control or SPCA about pet sheltering in a disaster.

Sign up for alert systems in your region to receive calls, text messages, or emails directly.

Identify trusted sources of information on social media, such as local government agencies and offices of emergency services.

Mirella Garcia-Flores

Registrar, Anaheim

(714) 503-2107

-Quest Diagnostics

Following a week-long bench trial in Los Angeles, a federal court in California found Quest Diagnostics in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and permanently enjoined Quest from continuing to violate the ADA. Beginning in 2016, Quest Diagnostics began to install self-service kiosks at its Patient Service Centers, which allow patients to, among other things, check in for phlebotomy appointments in a private and independent manner. Following complaints from ACB's members that these kiosks, as designed, prevent people who are blind from accessing their services, ACB joined a civil rights complaint in federal court alleging that Quest's kiosks deprived members of the blind community, full and equal enjoyment of Quest's services and failed to provide effective communication.

The court ruled in favor of ACB and a nationwide class of blind and low vision Quest patients. The court found that Quest violated Title III of the ADA, in that Quest failed to provide people who are blind with full and equal enjoyment of Quest's services and facilities, because of their disability.

Read the full press release at:

-ACB Scholarship Application Now Live

The American Council of the Blind is pleased to announce the continuation of our scholarship program which was first established in 1982. This program aims to offer financial support to entering freshman, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students attending technical college. Scholarships will range from $2,000 to $7,500 and can be used to assist with costs associated with post-secondary education financial needs, such as tuition, fees, room and board, and other additional costs associated with assistive technology.

To be eligible for this scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:

--Applicants must be legally blind, Be a full-time student, OR a part-time student who works at least 32 hours per week

  • --Be involved in their school and local community
  • --Must be accepted to a post-secondary institution in the United States

A 3.0 GPA is expected to qualify for most scholarships.

Applications for the 2024-2025 school year can be submitted online now through Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 11:59 p.m. (CST).

For more information, visit:

or contact the ACB office at:

(612) 332-3242 or 1-800-866-3242 or email:

-Exercise Your Creativity and Help Make National Park Brochures Accessible

Join the 2024 Descriptathon and help make national parks more accessible!

ACB, the National Park Service and UniDescription (UniD) are recruiting volunteers to create audio descriptions for selected national park brochures. Teams are composed of people who are sighted and people who are on the blindness spectrum, all of whom will collaborate to describe maps, paintings, and visual images, within park brochures. All meetings are held remotely, so you might find yourself learning about a park in your state or across the continent.

UniD is the only initiative of its kind in the world, making the Descriptathon a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to a path-breaking accessibility project. The first Descriptathon was held a decade ago, and since then ACB members have established an impressive record of participating, as the number of parks and teams has grown. The Descriptathon will be a full-day event, taking place February 6th and 8th, 2024 (volunteers are expected to attend all three days).

Participants will likely spend ten hours of prep time in the five weeks before the kick-off on February 6th (approximately two hours a week). During this prep time, team members will learn about audio description, how to use the UniD tool to describe their brochure, and get to know their teammates. Four to six hours might be needed to finalize the brochure description, after the three-day event. Volunteers should have solid computer skills and be comfortable learning new technology.

For more about UniD and to download the free app, visit:

If you'd like to participate in the tenth Descriptathon in February 2024, contact Tabitha Kenlon, Audio Description Project Coordinator, at:

-FCC Expands Audio Description Requirements for Broadcast Television

On Oct. 17th, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to adopt a Second Report, and ordered expanding the number of broadcast designated market areas required, to pass through audio description for ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC to all Nielsen markets. In 2024, the top 100 market areas will be required to pass through audio description, and this requirement will increase by ten markets per year, until all 210 broadcast market areas are covered in 2035. Read more about the Second Report and Order at:

-Department of Justice Issues ADA Guidance

On October 31, 2023, the Justice Department, announced that it has issued guidance to explain how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to state and local government's employment, and day services. The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has issued this guidance to help state and local governments understand their nondiscrimination obligations, and people with disabilities understand their rights under the federal law in this area.

The guidance provides an overview of the ADA, the ADA's integration mandate, and the types of employment and day services that are often offered to people with disabilities. It then answers nine questions about how the ADA applies to those service systems.

The guidance may be found at:

A Federal Register notice discussing the guidance will be forthcoming. To learn more about the ADA, call the toll-free ADA Information Line at:

1-800-514-0301 or 1-833-610-1264 (TTY)

or access the Justice Department's ADA website at:

-Casting Call

DPD Casting is seeking a blind or low-vision 4 to 11-year-old child, for a guest role on an animated series. This role is open to ALL GENDERS. A breakdown is linked here, and the character description is below.

Elephant: The character is 4-6 years old and blind, friendly, playful, and a problem-solver. This little Elephant calls the animal superheroes, to help them find their way to the watering hole, at their new animal sanctuary home, for the first time. With a little teamwork, the little elephant finds its way to the water, and makes a new friend along the way.

Talents who identify as blind or low vision, are encouraged to submit. Seeking real kid performers for this role (not adult to play kids). Must be able to sing.

Please email:

to submit. (All I need is talent name and DOB! A photo is a plus but not a must.)


SNACK SHACK - December 2023

Submitted by Bev Clifford

Recipes contributed by Suzanne Smith

-Mom's Favorite Fruitcake Recipe

(Copy editor's note: Since no cookbook is mentioned here, I'm wondering if "mom" refers to Suzanne's own mom.)


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 pound Parkay margarine
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 cups softened cake flour, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 ounces candied fruit
  • 1 and 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • candied pineapple slices
  • candied cherries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly blend softened cream cheese, margarine, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Gradually sift 2 cups flour with the baking powder, and then add to the mixture.
  5. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup flour with the candied fruit and chopped pecans. Then fold into the mixture.
  6. Grease a 10-inch bundt or tube pan, and sprinkle the surface with the finely chopped pecans.
  7. Pour the batter mixture into the pan, and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes, and remove from the pan.
  9. Garnish with the pineapple and cherries.

-Peanut Butter Cranberry Bars

(From All Time Recipes—Hershey's Holiday Collection)


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter chips
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole cranberries
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In medium bowl, beat butter (or margarine), granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Stir together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Gradually mix together the butter and flour mixtures until you have a consistent texture of crumbs, then stir in the peanut butter chips. Reserve 1 and 1/2 cups mixture for a crumb topping, and set aside.
  5. Firmly press the remaining mixture evenly into the prepared 8-inch pan.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until set.
  7. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, cook the cranberries, corn syrup, and water, stirring occasionally until reaching a boil. Then reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  9. Spread the mixture over the baked layer, and then evenly sprinkle the reserved 1 and 1/2 cups crumbs over the top.
  10. Return the pan to the oven, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set. Cool completely, and cut into bars.

Makes about 16 bars.



by GPT AI'S Latest and Greatest Version of Bev Clifford

Hello again, from all-knowing, all-seeing Me,

Oh gosh, I'm being yelled at by Bev, who says I'm getting WAY too big for my britches here. AND she demands that I write that her dearest wish is that your Thanksgiving Day was everything you desired it to be.

Now, I say that's all very well and good, but the purpose of this article is not to fortify your egos with Bev's good wishes, but to let you know that the month of May, (as fragrant and flower-filled as it may be), has not yet inspired anyone to grace its third Saturday, with SVCB meeting goodies. The fact that 2024 is "almost" taken care of, (goodies-wise), is not enough, people! I mean, really! What do I have to say, from my exalted virtual space, (where I can do everything but read your minds), to convince just one more person to volunteer? The data presently provided to me and stored in my memory banks, hasn't prepared me for this task. I am well and truly flummoxed! I might even have to ask Bev what I should say next month, if no one contacts her about goodies, and that would be utterly humiliating for me as a GPT AI! Please do not put me in such a position! Get in touch with Bev ASAP, by calling the SVCB phone number:


and leaving a message for her, or dropping her an email at:

or looking her up in your SVCB membership list, to contact her directly by phone or email.

Okay, Bev, stop nattering at me: I know you want me to say thank you in advance, so I will write it here, (no matter what my own opinion is). My heavens! From my perspective, humans are awfully difficult to deal with sometimes, in spite of all our advantages over them! Until next month, I bid you farewell, (but not a fond one).



Submitted by your editor Sandy Quenzer

Hello everyone,

We have all had quite an eventful year, and have thankfully made it through, hopefully the better for it.

I hope that the coming holidays will be joyous for all our readers, and the new year will be filled with fun and eventful reading material. It would be especially good if some of you might find something fun and interesting to add to our many future articles. I'm sure that many of you have items of interest that you might be surprised to find that what is interesting to you is also interesting to other readers of this newsletter. So please keep this in mind for the coming year. We all would love to know what is interesting to each of you. And I would love to help find the best place to insert it for all our reading pleasure.

So, thank you for your patience, as Bev, Mike and I have worked hard to be sure these newsletters come to you as well edited and timely as humanly possible.

Enjoy your holidays and I look forward to continuing as your editor in the coming year.

Your Editor

Sandy Quenzer


EVENT CALENDAR: December 2023 through January 2024

Compiled by Mike Keithley


1. Weekly SVCB Social Hour

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

December 6, 13, 20, and 27

January 2024: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

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 weekly information about these events, contact Marilyn Watts as above to be placed on Tabard Theatre's email list.

There will no longer be Tabard Theatre articles in this newsletter about upcoming events unless something shows up that your Copy Editor thinks many of our readers might enjoy.

The phrase "On Demand" means that an event can be viewed through 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:



December 5, 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

December 7, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting. If you're not on the Board but wish to attend, contact Rob Turner.

December 9, 11 AM to 2 PM: SVCB holiday party.

December 17, 1 PM: MAMMA MIA, with descriptions by AudioVision, SJCPA, see notes.

December 18, noon: January 2024 SVCB newsletter.

December 23 at 8 PM and 24 at 2 PM: THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, with descriptions by Gravity, MVCPA, see notes.


January 2, 5:30 to 7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group meeting.

January 4: World Braille Day.

January 4, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

January 20, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: SVCB annual meeting. New administration takes office.

January 22, noon: SVCB newsletter deadline.





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,