A Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

May 2024

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, 2024 issue: noon, May 20, 2024

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 Alice Turner

We had a well-attended membership meeting in April, over 30 folks in the room, and the following highlights will help us all celebrate the gifts and talents of our SVCB community.

Susan Glass's program on the "Sounds of Spring" captivated us in content, and awed us in the depth of knowledge that Susan has about the amazing birds and other creatures in our back yards and beyond. Every time I hear one of Susan's talks, I think to myself, "Will I remember her words when I hear the next bird call?" Even if I do not remember the name of the bird, the result is that my awareness shifts, and I pay attention to the sounds of nature around me. And that is the best take-away from her talk. We are blessed to have Susan share her passion with us with such grace and humor.

David Hoffman began our series of interviews with members for this year, and we heard from Lorraine Brown. We learned about her family life as a child,and how one moment in time changed her family and her view point on life. The determination demonstrated by her father as she explained his ability to push his wheelchair with only his shoulder muscles stayed with me all day. When Lorraine shared her story and David introduced a few whimsical questions at the end, it showed us all that when David gives you a call to see if you want to be interviewed, know that you are in the best of hands. His ability to bring out a story with compassion and then make us all laugh is surely a talent. Getting a glimpse into Lorraine's past confirmed why I have admired this capable woman for so many years.

Our In Touch newsletter team,Sandy Quenzer, Editor; Bev Clifford, Copy Editor; and Mike Keithley, the person who makes sure all the announcement information is up to date and distributed to us every month—helps us all to stay "in touch" with each other. Remember to send stories and articles to Sandy at If it is an article you’ve found, our editors will list the proper source of the article.

So many talented members are a part of SVCB, and with my focus on gratitude, I will continue to share observations about the people and talents in our community in future issues.

In this issue you will hear from our two delegates for the April CCB Convention, Debee Armstrong and Lorraine Brown. We look forward to their facts and observations, and we thank them for attending the pre-convention sessions and the virtual convention to keep us up to date.

May is so close to the half year mark, so I leave you with the reminder to stay in the moment, smell those roses, listen to the wildlife around you, and give a call to a friend that perhaps you have not spoken to in a while. No time like the present!


TIDBITS - May 2024

Compiled by Mike Keithley

-Meet the 2024 BADIE Essay Contest Winners

The Audio Description Project (ADP) and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) are proud to announce the winners of the 2024 BADIE awards. Celebrating the Benefits of Audio Description in Education, the contest invites students who are blind or have low vision to watch an audio described (AD) video and write an essay evaluating the quality and usefulness of the AD.

This year's winners are:

Grand Prize:

Lyla Duffy, Washington; Review of I Am Ruby Bridges

Seniors (ages 16 to 21):

First place: Charles Johnson, Washington; Review of Little Bighorn: The Native American View

Second place: Cai Tague, California; Review of Vibrations

Third place: Agatha Holloway, Washington; Review of Getting a Job! For Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired: Introduction to Getting a Job!

Juniors (ages 11 to 15):

First place: Avett Maness, Ohio; Review of Chip Taylor Communications Musical Moment

Second place: Errion Gary, Ohio; Review of I Am Ruby Bridges

Third place: Zara Gandhi, Ontario, Canada; Review of It's Okay To Be Smart: How Blind People See With Sound

Sophomores (ages 7 to 10):

First place: Emi Constandache, California; Review of Star Wars, Episode 9

Second place: Deisy Jimenez, Ohio; Review of Mary Fisher

-Thank You from ACB Media!

The American Council of the Blind and ACB Media warmly thank Allyson Bieryla, Science Center Astronomy Lab and Telescope Manager, Harvard University Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and her team at Harvard, as well as the network of volunteers who brought us a once in a lifetime experience of the April 8th total Eclipse of the sun utilizing the LightSound device.

The entire event as it was broadcast on ACB Media 2 and Zoom is now available as a podcast in the ACB Events podcast feed at:

You can also access this podcast with ACB Link, the iOs and Android apps.

This event drew the largest audience in the history of ACB Media/Radio since the eclipse of 2017, which was audio-described on ACB Radio by the ADP Project.

We greatly appreciate the outpouring of thanks and gratitude that we've received since the broadcast. We all owe Harvard a huge debt of gratitude for their commitment to make this total eclipse accessible to us. This device has been in development since the eclipse of 2017, and was originally designed to aid blind students at Harvard with their labs. Harvard distributed over 900 LightSound boxes free of charge to members of our community across the country. We would also like to thank Elliot Richards, the electrical engineer who designed and built the LightSound boxes, for his expert technical assistance.

Thank you for your continued support of ACB Media, and as always, stay tuned!

Rick, Larry, and the entire ACB Media Team



Delegate: Debee Armstrong

Alternate: Lorraine Brown

The 2024 CCB Virtual Conference and Convention began with preconvention activities on March 1, 2024, and continued nearly to the end of the month. Some of the activities included the following:

  • Wednesday, March 6: "A Deep Dive into All Things Zoom," with Debee Armstrong
  • Thursday, March 7: Resolutions Committee
  • Friday, March 8: Inclusive Diversity of California annual business meeting
  • Saturday, March 9: Resolutions Committee meeting; California Library Users of America (CLUA) business meeting; and the CCB Women Program
  • Sunday, March 10: "Getting From Here to There and Back Again," with Daveed Mandel, with a discussion about public transit; Golden State Guide Dog Handlers, Inc. annual business meeting and program
  • Monday, March 11: Mind-stretch
  • Tuesday, March 12: CCB Housing Committee Listening Session
  • Wednesday, March 13: Braille Revival League of California annual business meeting and program
  • Thursday, March 14: Pre-convention Board meeting
  • Friday, March 15: Lighthearted Improv in the Dark
  • Saturday, March 16: Tips for Birding by Ear, with Susan Glass; Untangling Vision Terminology; California Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss annual business meeting and program
  • Sunday, March 17: The Power of the Word, with Cathy Schmitt Whitaker; CAAVL, with Scattergories Saint Patrick's Day Edition
  • Monday, March 18: California Council of Citizens with Low Vision (CCCLV) annual membership meeting
  • Tuesday, March 19: CCB Quizbowl
  • Wednesday, March 20: CCB Credentials Committee meeting
  • Thursday, March 21: Discussion of what book has most profoundly affected your life
  • Monday, March 25: Candidates' Forum of the upcoming CCB election of offices

At various times during the five days of the convention, Rob Turner introduced vignettes of the Hall of Fame History Project to celebrate CCB's 90th anniversary. These included:

Christy Crespin, Mike Keithley, Eugene Lozano Jr, Daveed Mandell, Pamela Hill Metz, Roger Petersen, Mitch Pomerantz, Don Queen, Mary Beth Randall, Jeff Thom, Rob Turner, Frank Welte, and Judy Wilkinson.

The actual 2024 CCB virtual convention began April 3 at 7:30 PM, and ended on April 7 at 1:00 PM with the conclusion of the business meeting.

On Wednesday, the various affiliates introduced themselves and talked a little about their accomplishments. We at SVCB are still the largest chapter.

On Thursday, the technology committee discussed old-time radio, with some great recordings of how the process of editing reel tape operated. It was fascinating to learn about all the cutting and splicing that went in to physically editing tapes.

On Friday afternoon, several panelists from the department of rehabilitation spoke about updates, including their comprehensive trainings in technology now being offered to DOR counselors.

It was also emphasized that if clients need technology to succeed either in school or in a job, they must advocate for that technology and the department is open to providing it.

There was also a panel speaking about research to restore sight to people with macular degeneration.

Friday, April 5, 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM:

Completion of elections.

Treasurer Lisa Presley-Thomas presided over the following:

1. Rememberances: Acknowledgement of fellow CCB members who had passed away over the last year.

2. Governmental Affairs Report, with Alice Turner and Ardis Bazyn, GA Co-Chairs, along with Jeff Thom, Director of Governmental Affairs, and Regina Brink, Deputy Director of Governmental Affairs.

3. CCB elections: The results were the following:

A. Sarah Harris was elected President.

B. When Sarah Harris was elected President, the office of First Vice President became vacant. There was a contested election between Guillermo Robles and Christy Crespin, with Guillermo Robles being elected.

C. Rob Turner was elected Second Vice President.

D. Lisa Presley Thomas was elected Treasurer.

E. Board seats were won by the following:

Director 1: Larry Gassman

Director 2: Regina Brink

Director 3: Nelly Emerson

Director 4: Andrea DeKlotz

Saturday, April 6, 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM:

Secretary Steve Bauer presided over the following presenters:

1. Leslie Spoone, ACB Get Up and Get Moving Campaign

2. Resources for Smart Aging, with Tatiana Fassieux, Education and Training Specialist, California Health Advocates

3. Amy Castro, United Way, was unable to make her presentation, but she did send in her PowerPoint presentation which we received Sunday evening.

Saturday afternoon session, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM:

First Vice-President Sarah Harris presided.

Paratransit Eligibility—Panel Moderator: Board Member Daveed Mandell

The panelists outlined effective strategies for filling out a paratransit eligibility application, and how to get the most from a paratransit agency interview.

Panel participants:

Chenier Derrick: Paratransit Specialist, Handy Ride, Fresno

Christine Fitzgerald: Community Advocate, Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, San Jose

Fiona Hinze: Director of Public Policy, Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco

Saturday's evening session went from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

It was the Awards Recognition Banquet, presided by Andrea DeKlotz and Sarah Harris, Convention Planning Committee Co-Chairs.

The awards presented included the following:

Legislator of the Year Award: Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

Humanitarian Award: Kathy Saychin, Sacramento Paratransit Operations Manager

Publications Award, award for the first-time article: Alaina Thomason for her article "Worst Trip Yet," which appeared in the Winter, 2023 issue of "The Blind Californian".

The award for the Best Written Article: Christy Crespin for "Making That Last Minute Adjustment When A Plan Fails", which appeared in the Fall, 2023 issue of "The Blind Californian".

Community Service Award: Darini and her son, Ali Dobbins

Chapter Of the Year Award: ACB Capital Chapter

Hall Of Fame: Linda Parrell

Sunday, April 7, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM:

President Gabe Griffith presided over the business meeting to conclude the 2024 virtual convention. This meeting included the 2023 Convention Minutes, Treasurer's Report, Newell Perry Report, and voting on proposed resolutions and by-law amendments:

There were three resolutions that were voted on and passed with no dissenting votes:

  • Resolution 2024-01: The resolution had to do with the grocery cart return area (GCRA) at grocery stores not paying attention to keeping such areas safe, especially for people with disabilities coming into the stores. It was brought up when a blind CCB member walked into the open GCRA that had low clearance and was badly injured.
  • Resolution 2024-02: Equitable paratransit services. It said that the CCB "commits to advocate for both the short-term and the long-term changes in paratransit, so that riders can get where they need to go when they need to get there.".
  • Resolution 2024-03: Resolution for appreciation of volunteers. It said that the virtual CCB convention would not have been a success without the assistance of the outstanding volunteers.

The last major item at the convention was the report by the By-laws Committee. There was only one by-law submitted for consideration. The first reading of the proposed by-law had been Wednesday night, and the second reading and debate was to be Saturday night.

The by-law change had to do with spouses and domestic partners not being eligible to serve on the Board of Directors at the same time. Before the debate or vote took place on the by-law, there was a motion to refer it back to the committee, and act on it next year when the committee has had time to look at the issue entirely. After the debate about whether or not to make the referral, the vote was in favor of it.

The 2024 pre-convention audio recordings are available on the website. To listen to the recordings, go to:

Click on the "Past Conference and Convention Audio" link in the "More About CCB" menu.

Click on the "2024 Virtual Conference and Convention Audio Recordings" link in the Past Convention list.

Web Note: or just click on

to get to the list of recordings.



By Alice Turner

The Program Committee is chaired by Susan Glass, and includes Linda MacLeod, Naomi Grubb, Alice Turner, and Mike Keithley. Linda has brought a fresh perspective to speakers and topics for programs, and the team has the following plans for the coming months:

May: Practices in Mindfulness

Linda MacLeod has arranged for Maighna Jain to join us virtually to present a program on mindfulness. Linda, who is an attorney, has attended one of the speaker's sessions, and she found that it focuses on the importance of taking the time to be aware of and live in the present, rather than being regretful about the past or anxious about the future. It has helped Linda tremendously when she is confronted with the often daily stresses of living as a blind or low-vision individual.

June: The Joys of Gardening

We will hear from a speaker about the joys of a scent garden. We are also hoping to hear from our chapter members who have planted and maintained a working garden at Vista San Jose.

July: The Story of the Blind Posse

Stan Yarnell, the self-appointed sheriff of the Blind Posse, will join us in person to tell the story about how he and a group of blind and low vision art enthusiasts have changed the landscape of accessibility in Bay area museums. Their work began in San Francisco, and the Posse is interested in bringing the message of the importance of inclusive art to all Bay Area museums. He publishes The Blind Posse newsletter with updates about events and advocacy.

August: TBD

September: Picnic at Martial Cottle Park

October: The program will be a presentation by the League of Woman Voters.

And beginning at 1 pm that same day, we will have a special afternoon of old-time radio as presented by John Glass. Make sure to mark your calendar to stay for the afternoon following the meeting to enjoy the old-time radio selections from his vast collection.

Note of thanks to the Program Committee for the planning and selection of interesting and informative topics!


SNACK SHACK - May 2024

Submitted by Bev Clifford

Cookie of the Month contributed by Lorraine Brown

Remaining recipe contributed by Suzanne Smith


-Cappuccino Royale Cookies

From Key Lime Pie Murder: A Hanna Swenson Mystery with Recipes, by Joanne Fluke


  • 2 cups melted butter (4 sticks, 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup instant powdered coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or rum extract
  • 3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3 beaten eggs (just whip them in a glass with a fork)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups chocolate chips (either mini or regular)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 5.5 cups flour (do not sift; just pack it down in the measuring cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the middle position.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, microwaveable bowl for 2 or 3 minutes on high, or melt in a saucepan over low heat on the stovetop. Mix in the instant coffee, vanilla, and brandy or rum extract.
  3. Stir until the coffee powder has dissolved. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips, then the nuts (if you're using them). Mix well until the chips and/or nuts are evenly distributed. Add the flour in 1 cup increments, stirring after each addition. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated.
  4. Form walnut-sized dough balls with your fingers. Roll them in a bowl of granulated sugar if you want them sweeter. Place the dough balls on greased cookie sheets, 12 to a pan. Flatten the dough balls with the back of a spatula or the palm of your very clean hand.
  5. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and then put on wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield: 12 to 14 dozen cookies, depending on the size of each dough ball.

They freeze well if you have any left.

Note: If you use coffee crystals instead of powder, you can make this into powder by placing the crystals in a Ziploc bag, and then crushing them with a rolling pin. Also, if children are going to eat some of these cookies, use caffeine-free instant coffee.

-Potato Corn Chowder

Favorite Old-time Recipes from Campbell's: Fabulous One-Dish Recipes


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (14 or 15 ounces) creamed corn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (for garnish)
  • fresh bay leaf (for garnish)


  1. Heat butter in a three-quart saucepan. Add celery and onion, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add potatoes, water, pepper, and bay leaf. Heat till boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Gradually stir in soup, corn, and milk. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.
  4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with bacon, and fresh bay leaf if desired. Makes about 4 1/2 cups, or four side dish servings.


THE END OF AN ERA - May 2024

By Bev Clifford

Beginning with this newsletter, you will no longer find information about Tabard Theatre. Marilyn Watts has stopped sending out weekly emails—it's been quite a while since I've encountered one in my Inbox—and even when I was still receiving them there was seldom anything offered that I thought would be of interest to our newsletter readers. We who have loved Tabard over these many years cherished it for its amazing theatre performances, and occasionally their musical offerings, and these have sadly gone by the wayside. What is left are comedy nights, karaoke nights, jazz nights, blues nights, and otheof non-theatrical items. On a stroll through San Pedro Square a week ago, Vic and I returned to the Tabard Theatre building to see if there was anything posted on its door about what might be happening with Tabard, but we found nothing. So it's anybody's guess if it even exists now as an entity. If any of you are still interested in what Tabard may be offering—if anything—please refer to the Event Calendar notes in any of our past newsletters for contact information. This is truly the end of an era!


EVENT CALENDAR: May through June 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:

May: 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29

June: 5, 12, 19, and 26

Join Zoom Meeting

One tap mobile




Call in Number: 408-638-0968

Meeting ID: 830 0919 6598

Passcode: 222638

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. 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:


(SHN Theaters), or fax your order to:


and ask for AudioVision tickets. If you have any questions, please email:

or visit:

3. 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:


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:

4. San Francisco LightHouse

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


5. 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 at the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) Official website at:

Zoom information is distributed through the ACB Community Schedule email list, or by emailing:

6. Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors

Departs every Sunday at noon from Pier 40 in San Francisco. Call:


for information and reservations, or visit:

7. 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:


or visit:


May: Healthy Vision Month

May 7, 5:30 to 7 PM: Breast Cancer Support Group meeting. Call-in:

605-715-4920; ID: 2776167.

For questions, call Lori Scharff at


or email

May 18, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: May membership meeting.

May 20: June SVCB newsletter deadline.

May 25, 1 PM: FUNNY GIRL, with descriptions by AudioVision of the Bay Area, Broadway SF, see notes.

June: Vision Research Month

June 6, 7 to 9 PM: SVCB Board meeting.

June 15, 9:30 AM to 1 PM: Monthly Meeting. Finalize picnic plans.

June 17: July SVCB newsletter deadline.

June 27: Helen Keller Day.

June 29 at 8 PM and 30 at 2 PM: BEING ALIVE, with descriptions by Gravity, MVCPA, TheatreWorks, see notes.

June 30, 1 PM: PETER PAN, with descriptions by Audio Vision of the Bay Area, SJCPA, see notes.





CONSTITUTION: Roger Petersen,


DATABASE: Vic Clifford,



GOODIES: Bev Clifford,



PRESIDENT: Alice Turner,

PROGRAM: Susan Glass,




TREASURER: David Hoffman,

VICE PRESIDENT: Lorraine Brown,

WEBSITE: Deb Runyan,