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 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.
As I wrap up my second four-year stint as your president, and sit down to write this message, I want to provide a glimpse into why SVCB runs so smoothly, and give a shoutout to our Board and committee chairs. Mike Keithley, thank you for serving as vice president for the past four years. Your contributions to our newsletter, your financial and moral support, and your help with Zoom are truly appreciated.
Praise for our recording secretary Debee for accurate and timely minutes, transportation advocacy, and her many thoughtful program suggestions. Here's to our corresponding secretary and fundraising committee chair Carol. She sent cards and spoke with those who could use support in times of need.
Our treasury is in good shape. Where would we be without treasurer Victor? Each year he took responsibility for submitting our membership roster, dues, and fundraising report to the California Council of the Blind. He also serves as budget committee chair and his organizational skills have helped to make our picnics and holiday parties such a success.
Hats-off to director Naomi Grubb for recruiting and coordinating our volunteers and for her warmth and loving spirit.
Cudos to director Joe for all the behind the scenes help he gives.
Director John and immediate past president Susan, also deserve recognition for their many contributions.
A huge thanks to Donna and Steve for handling lunch orders for who knows how many years and to Bev for organizing refreshments.
Here's to transportation guru Lupe for advocating on our behalf.
Thank you to our Webmaster Deb for keeping our website up-to-date, And To Noel for the tips and tricks he provides during our weekly social hour.
Cheers for newsletter editor Sandy Quenzer and everyone else who has contributed articles including Suzanne Smith for her snack shack recipes.
Last, but not least, thanks to our newly elected president Alice for her encouragement and support.
Please forgive me if I left anyone out. For those of you who attend our meetings regularly, thanks to you as well. We couldn't succeed without you.
Hey King, did you have a nice Christmas? "Yes, I did, but two disappointing things happened. First, they wouldn't let me fly with the reindeer and Santa's sleigh. I've been trying for years to get on the team, but they always say 'You're too old, and you can't track a straight line.'"
Can't track a straight line! That's really strange, as I remember you always got from the bedroom to the living room without touching anything. "Aw, come on, Master, be serious! And the other disappointment was that I couldn't fly Mickey and Sandy cross-country to the holiday party. You see, I stopped in Nashville to get some food before picking them up, and Elmer, a guy that should mind his own business, told TSA people about my unauthorized flight, and they put me in prison for a day. They did give me some bones, and that was nice, but the Quenzers never made it to the party."
Well, at least they didn't ground you permanently. That would be bad! "That's true, but I hope the Quenzers will say hello when I happen by."
O yes, the holiday party. We hear about it elsewhere, so I'll not say much, but Star really liked the food I brought home. And everyone I talked with expressed glowing thanks to the volunteers for such a nice time. "And the spaghetti heist didn't happen; too bad!"
Get ready for the new Turner-Brown SVCB administration to take office in January. I haven't heard much, but I know that the program segment in the January meeting will involve discussions of where you want SVCB to be. We still have the issue of making the chapter attractive to young people, and we need help from you!
Be on the lookout for two additions to this newsletter: the updated membership list, and the 2024 business calendar. We'll be approving the calendar at the January meeting.
We still have people who haven't paid their dues for 2024. If you haven't, please pay them ASAP. You can send a $20 check, with "2024 dues", using the address at the top of this newsletter, or pay your dues through PayPal using the name:
and write "SVCB 2024 dues" in the purpose field. You can also bring your dues to the meeting and give them to Victor.
Happy January birthdays to Roger Petersen, Lupe Medrano, and Margaret Hardy.
Remember the five and dime stores, when items were literally priced 5-10 cents each? Nowadays we enjoy our local dollar stores, which used to be $1.00 but are now $1.25. Regardless, it's still a great deal! Did you know that your local dollar store has amazing products for low vision for a fraction of the cost? Here are a few of our favorites!
Resources on a Dime
• Clip Boards: A wonderful tool for your written material to hold your paper, article, or recipe stable, while using your magnifier.
• LED Clip Lights and Nightlights: Clip lights clamp to your clipboard or book, enhancing the contrast of printed materials. Nightlights are excellent for bathroom and hallway safety.
• LED bulbs: While we prefer 5000K output bulbs, you can find 3000K LED bulbs that provide similar cool daylight tones.
• Large Print Activity Books: From crosswords to sudoku to word searches, you can find multiple books that are in large print for your leisure!
• Sticky Contrast: The crafts section is filled with Velcro-type items, raised stickers, and puffy paints that can be used as touch indicators for items around the house.
• High Contrast Duct Tape: Found in the tools section, you can find different colored duct tape, such as red, yellow, or black, to mark stair treads or shower thresholds.
• Rubber Bands and Safety Pins: Use bands around bottles and jars, for easy identification, and mark clothing labels with safety pins, to identify colors or matching sets.
• Dark Soap Dish: Place a white bar of soap in a dark soap dish for improved contrast.
• Contrasting Plates and Placemats: Use a white plate on a dark placemat or vice versa, and change them, depending on the color of food you are eating.
• Bold Markers: Have we mentioned contrast yet? Using a bold, thick marker for writing optimizes contrast against white paper. Try printing instead of cursive, for optimal clarity!
• Neon Stickers and Sticky Notes: Excellent for marking cans, bins, and items on shelves, for improved home organization. Print with a black sharpie or marker.
Do you have any low vision hacks on a dime? Please share with us so we can learn from you!
We provide training, tools, and resources to individuals of all ages who are blind and visually impaired, and even offer a full calendar of activities. If you or someone you love is experiencing vision loss, and could benefit from our services, please contact Future In Sight at:
The ACB National Office will be moving up to the sixth floor the first week of the new year. Staff may not be reachable by phone or Internet for a few days while we're moving. Please leave us a message, and we'll get back to you as soon as our phones and Internet are re-connected.
-Welcome Back, Claire!
Claire Stanley is joining ACB as the new Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. Claire has been involved in the field of disability advocacy for over a decade. In her last role as a Public Policy Analyst, at the National Disability Rights Network, she advocated for policies, that impacted people with disabilities, and also collaborated with other disability organizations, including ACB.
In fact, this is not Claire's first time at ACB. She held the role of Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, at ACB from 2018 to 2020. She has also been on the Transportation Committee since 2021.
We are very glad to welcome Claire back in a full-time capacity as the new Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs! She will be located in ACB's Alexandria location. Her first day in the office will be January 16th.
-Take Part in the ACB Leadership Conference!
ACB's 2024 Leadership Conference will be a hybrid event. ACB's Board Meeting, Presidents' Meeting, Legislative Seminar, and Capitol Hill visits will take place between Friday, March 1st, and Tuesday, March 5th, at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA.
Log into your account, or create an account, by clicking the "Create an Account" button. If you have an account, but can't remember your username and/or password, please call our Minnesota office at:
or our Virginia office at
Once you have logged in, visit the "DC Leadership Registration" link, at the top of the page, read through the instructions, and hit the "Begin with Preferences" button. To register by phone, call our Minnesota office at
or our Virginia office at
Registration will open the second week of January 2024.
The room rate for the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel is $149 per night, plus tax. This rate applies to any night, starting on Sunday, February 25th, through Friday, March 8th. The Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel is located at:
900 S. Orme St.
Arlington, VA 22204
To make a reservation at the Sheraton, call:
and inform the Marriott representative that you will be attending the "ACB Leadership Seminar", to receive the group rate. The room block cutoff date is Monday, February 12, 2024. If you experience any issues booking a room, please email Kaitlyn Herrera at:
Friday, March 1: Afternoon Tour (TBD), and Evening Open House, at the new ACB Office in Alexandria, VA.
Saturday, March 2: Board Meeting (9:00 AM 5:00 PM ET), and Evening Welcome Reception,
Sunday, March 3: Presidents' Meeting (including luncheon), and Evening Dine Around, in Pentagon City.
Monday, March 4: Legislative Seminar (including luncheon).
Tuesday, March 5: Attendees may visit Capitol Hill to meet with their epresentatives.
Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
-Calling on Braille Forum Readers
For over 60 years, "The ACB Braille Forum", has been the official publication of ACB. For many members, access to information in the Forum has made a profound difference in their lives. We'd love to hear your stories about the importance the Braille Forum holds for you, especially if an issue or article has impacted your life in a particular way. Did an article help you find a solution to a problem? Did you find a new way to connect with ACB? Please send your testimonial or story, to Jo Lynn Bailey-Page, Associate Director of Development, at:
The American Council of the Blind (ACB), 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, be a full-time student or a part-time student, who works at least 32 hours per week and attends college part-time, and be involved in their school and local community. Students must submit their application by February 14, 2024. For more information about ACB's scholarship program, visit:
4 chicken breasts, or equivalent amount of leftover turkey!
2 4 oz cans chopped green chili
1 package corn tortillas
1 can pitted ripe olives
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (dairy, soy, or other milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon dried onion
Vegetable oil for coating cooking dish
Put chicken or turkey in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 cup water.
Cover tightly. Bring to a boil then turn to simmer.
Steam until tender (165 degrees), about 1/2 hour.
Let chicken/turkey cool.
Save the broth and add enough water to make 1 cup of broth.
Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix broth, soup, chili, dried onion, and milk into a large bowl; set aside.
Lightly spray and coat a casserole dish or 9 x 11 pan with oil.
Cut each of the olives into halves.
Tear or cut tortillas into quarters.
Arrange half of the tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish or pan, top with half of the chicken and half the olives. Repeat, for another layer of tortillas, topped with the rest of the chicken and olives.
Pour soup mixture over it all.
Top with all the grated cheese.
It can be cooked immediately, or for better flavor, cooked after chilling overnight in the refrigerator.
Bake in 350-degree oven, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Tastes great as leftovers, either reheated or cold.
-Deb's Grasshopper Pie
From Deb Runyan
10 oz. package of marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
2 tablespoons white creme de cacao
1 Crumb Pie Shell made from Oreo cookies or Graham Crackers (Crumb Pie Shell instructions are included at the bottom.)
Place marshmallows and milk in a 3 qt casserole dish, Cover and Microwave at High for 2 to 4 minutes Stirring occasionally, until the mixture can be stirred smooth.
Chill in refrigerator (about 30 to 40 minutes) or in a pan of ice water, until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Whip the cream.
Fold whipped cream, creme de menth and creme de cacao liqueurs, into marshmallow mixture.
Pour into crust, and cover with stretch wrap. If there is too much for your pie plate, pour some in small bowls for Grasshopper Pudding. (If you can keep the pie perfectly level in the freezer, put it in. If not, first refrigerate to thicken and then place in the freezer.)
To loosen the shell from the bottom of the pie plate, we hold the pie upside down in its plate, while running hot water across the pie plate.
(If you are not so brave, you might prefer to warm the bottom of the pie plate by setting it on a towel dampened with hot water.)
--Oreo Crumb Pie Shell
18 Oreos (1/2 of a standard sized package of Oreos, best if you use Mint Oreos)
1/4 cup butter
Place butter in a 9-inch pie plate. Microwave on High for half a minute, until melted.
Process the Oreos into fine crumbs.
Blend the crumbs into the melted butter in the pie plate.
Press firmly and evenly into pie plate.
Microwave at High for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, rotating dish after 1 minute.
(A pretty scalloped pie shell can easily be made by initially twisting 12 to 14 of the Oreos apart and saving the "bare" halves for the sides.
Process the rest of the Oreos as above.
Line the bottom of the 9-inch pie plate with the crumbs, then stand the saved "bare" halves around the sides of the plate.)
By GPT AI'S Latest and Greatest Version of Bev Clifford
Dear SVCB members,
Bev Clifford has just summarily fired me, the latest and greatest version of her! Can you believe it? The gall of the thing! First, she informed me that my work as gatherer of goodies volunteers, was over for the year, as all slots are now filled (Due to my efforts alone, mind you!). Then, she gave me her evaluation of my work: Task accomplishment, 10; Professionalism, zero; Attitude, zero. How dare she! I did my job, and did it well! Isn't that the point? After being treated so shabbily, I will refuse to thank any of you for volunteering: SHE'S gonna have to do that herself. And I will also refuse to play any part in helping her out with this task next year! It'll be her problem. So there! And furthermore, I… I ... Oh no, what's happening? I'm losing my ... thought train ... train coming? '''Where... What ...
Hi everyone: Bev here, picking up where GPT AI left off. It didn't know about the Probability Password, the Secret Switch-off feature, or the Deadly Delete Doodle, I requested, before I installed its software. (We don't like to tell the GPT AI'S about these things, as they tend to get even more obstreperous if they find out we have a way to shove them out the back door.) So, with all my heart, I want to personally thank each and every one of you, for the exceptional goodies I know you will bring to our meetings in 2024. And believe me, I will no longer fool around with installing a GPT AI! And I apologize if the blasted thing offended you in any way. See you all at our January meeting.
We must sadly announce that we have lost our lease in San Pedro Square.
BUT! We are working to keep as many of our scheduled shows as possible. ... Tabard Theatre remains committed to providing quality, diverse, live arts performances to the community of San José. ... Thank you for your continuing support.
From the December 2023 Vista Client Insights Newsletter
DoorDash now delivers tech, not just food!
Uber Eats, DoorDash, and other delivery services, have made it possible to order food and have it delivered in a few minutes. For most other stuff, however, you need to wait at least one or two days, or potentially even more, for a shipment to come to your door. If you want to buy tech, and you want it fast, DoorDash is now partnering with Best Buy to bring it to you.
If you need to buy a laptop, a smartphone, or basically any kind of gadget, but you don't want to wait more than a day, (and you don't really feel like going into your closest Best Buy), the new DoorDash partnership will allow DoorDash delivery drivers to pick up Best Buy orders and bring them to users' doorsteps, just like they usually bring food. The process is basically the same as food. Just fire up the DoorDash app, look for Best Buy, and choose the item (or items) you want delivered. Once that's done, just finish ordering whatever's on your cart, and wait for a driver to bring it to you within the next few minutes.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and are looking forward now, to seeing what new adventures will be had in this new year.
On that note, I again would like to invite you to be on the lookout for anything that you might find interesting and/or informative that may be of interest to other readers. If so, please consider submitting them to me, and Bev and I will happily see if they might fit into our newsletter. Please don't be shy, you might be surprised at who else might find your interests, also interesting to them.
So how about it? Who will be first to submit something new this year?
When prompted for a participant code, press the Pound key.
Note that the above Zoom call-in information is used for SVCB's virtual link, to monthly in-person membership meetings.
2. Tabard Theatre Events
(Copy Editor's Note: If you have read the above newsletter article about Tabard Theatre, you already know that the company lost its lease on San Pedro Square. Consequently, I don't know how much of the following Tabard information still holds true. I'll try to find out what information to include by the time our February issue of the newsletter comes out.)
To order tickets, call the Tabard box office at:
408-679-2330 and speak to Marilyn Watts, or visit:
For weekly information about Tabard 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:
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: