July - August 2007

FCB OFFICERS, 2006 - 2008

Debbie Grubb
4215 17th Ave. W
Bradenton, FL 34205
(941) 749-6178

First Vice President:
Robert Miller
2201 Limerick Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32309
(850) 906-9821

Second Vice President:
John S. Richards, Jr.
939 NE 18th St.
Ocala, FL 34470
(352) 629-4530

Patti Land
6933 Alpert Dr.
Orlando, FL 32810
(407) 521-9047

Membership Secretary:
Linda Jacobson
2915 Circle Ridge Dr.
Orange Park, FL 32065
(904) 272-8405

Recording Secretary:
Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Ave.
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
(727) 937-8631

Immediate Past President:
Paul Edwards
20330 NE 20th Ct.
Miami, FL 33179
(305) 692-9206

Editor of White Cane Bulletin:
Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Ave.
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
(727) 937-8631

Articles for the White Cane Bulletin must be submitted to Sally Benjamin no later than the 20th of the month before it is published. Sally's E-mail is:

If you do not have access to a computer and E-mail, please find someone in your chapter to help send it. We would like to hear from anyone who wants to contribute to our newsletter.

Articles published in The White Cane Bulletin are in compliance with Public Law No. 104197, Copyright Law Amendment of 1996. This law allows authorized entities to distribute copies of previously published non-dramatic literary works in specialized formats, including Braille, audio or digital text that are exclusively for use by Blind people or those with disabilities. Any further distributing of such articles in another than a specialized format is an infringement of copyright.

ARE YOU MOVING? - by Linda Jacobson
VOTE TRUST USA (WEDNESDAY, MAY 16TH, 2007) - Submitted by Debbie Grubb
AWARDS 2007 - by Sally Benjamin
BLIND PEDESTRIANS PLEA (WCTV, FLORIDA, USA, FRIDAY, MAY 18TH, 2007) - by Julie Montanaro (Submitted by Debbie Grubb)
TECH TIPS - by John Richards for the FCB Technology Committee
CHAPTER NEWS - Port St. Lucie Council of the Blind

ARE YOU MOVING? - by Linda Jacobson

If you are moving, please notify me of your new address so you will continue to receive your White Cane Bulletin. Also, if you know of anyone interested in joining FCB and would like to receive the White Cane Bulletin and the Braille Forum, please contact me at (904) 272-8405 or E-mail

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Since last I wrote to you, the Florida Council of the Blind held its 54th Annual Convention. This Convention was packed with opportunities to learn and to have fun. Many of the wonderful workshops and meetings are archived at Thanks to Rachel and Jay Bader and Larry Turnbull for streaming our Convention to the world of ACB Radio. Thanks to William Benjamin and John Richards for working on the sound system. Sally Benjamin, Project Insight Coordinator and President of the Tallahassee Chapter, stepped in as Hotel Coordinator for our 2007 event. All of us who attended this year’s Convention owe Sally a debt of gratitude. She left no stone unturned in making the Convention site welcoming and accessible to participants. This convention marked Sila Miller’s first event as Convention Committee Chair. The event reflected Sila’s charm, style and desire for excellence.

Thanks to Barbara Grill and her fantastic Scholarship Committee. Our recipients this year were especially deserving. FCB can be justifiably proud of our scholarship winners and the fine work of our Scholarship Committee. Congratulations to all of our fine FCB Awards recipients. It is an honor to participate in our Annual Awards Ceremony hosted by Sharon Youngs and learn of the selfless efforts very special men and women make on our behalf as they strive to further the goals of the Florida Council of the Blind.

There were several firsts at this year's Convention. The fine members of the Miami Metro Chapter shared their chartered bus with many of us from around the state. The bus trip was safe, convenient and fun for all of us who took advantage of this opportunity to make the round trip to Tallahassee. Many thanks to Barbara Coleman and Sally Benjamin for coordinating this effort. On Thursday evening, Robert and Sila Miller hosted an old fashioned barbecue in their spacious yard. Robert is a fine chef and he outdid himself for the fantastic event during which everyone ate too much, laughed a lot, spent time with old friends, made new ones, enjoyed fine music and raised money for the Florida Council of the Blind.

Sharon Youngs did her usual excellent job in seeing to it that our Exhibit Hall was populated with innovative and exciting exhibitors. Jim Kracht brought us a delightful musical experience on Saturday evening. Eric and Linda Jacobson expertly handled the FCB Raffle. It was once again my pleasure to be the Program Chair. In August the Convention Committee will formally begin work on the 2008 event to be held in Jacksonville. At our June Presidents’ Meeting, program ideas for this event were discussed. If you have a program idea for the 55th Annual Convention, please feel free to share it with me or with your chapter president.

On Thursday, May 17th, the Project Insight Committee held an exciting training workshop for our Project Insight mentors. I have every confidence that men and women who reach out to us throughout the State of Florida will be referred by Sally Benjamin to vibrant, compassionate and knowledgeable FCB Members with whom to share their innermost thoughts and concerns, hopes and dreams. Many thanks to the Project Insight Committee that is ably co-chaired by Debbie Drylie and Paul Edwards. Thanks to William Benjamin, Chair of the FCB Fundraising Committee, who wrote a grant to the Division of Blind Services that totally covered the expense for this event.

As you know, protecting the right of people with disabilities to cast a secret, independent and verifiable ballot is back on the FCB advocacy front burner. This is now the case because the State of Florida has mandated that voters must use a paper ballot when voting because touch screen systems do not effectively protect votes cast and because they have no way of generating an actual ballot to serve as a record of the vote. This means that the optical scan system will be used throughout the state. Voters mark their ballot and it is placed in a computerized machine that will tally and store the ballot information. In case of equipment malfunction, however, the paper ballots are also stored for recounts and backup. Touch screen systems, or DRE's as they are also called, will no longer be used in Florida after 2012. Many counties plan to allow people with disabilities to use the touch screen systems until that time. We in FCB feel that if these machines are not suitable for other voters, that they are not suitable for us. Besides that, it is crucial that our ballots look like everyone else's. There is a ballot marking system called the AutoMark. It is not a voting system but a ballot marking device. It works with a keypad like the touch screen systems; but after the ballot information is collected, it actually mechanically marks the paper ballot. The paper ballot is then fed into the optical scan voting system and counted and stored like the ballots of every other voter. Paul Edwards, Jesus Garcia and I are working with the Florida Voters Coalition to guarantee that we will have the opportunity to vote independently and use the same equipment as every other voter in the state. Although this coalition, headed by Dan McCrea, has won its ultimate victory, the members have committed themselves to the precept that people with disabilities will not be left behind. Dan McCrea voiced this truth to those of us attending the Town Meeting at our Convention. As of this writing, the Voters Coalition and the Florida Council of the Blind are endeavoring to set up a teleconference with representatives from the Governor's office to discuss this issue. Mr. McCrea has already spoken to Governor Crist about our right to cast a vote like other Florida citizens and has the Governor's verbal commitment that we will not be forgotten as the new law that protects the sanctity of the vote in the state is enforced.

Another issue on which FCB is busily working is the creation of a task force to study the implementation of a seamless statewide system of transportation. A few days ago, we received correspondence from Governor Crist's office telling us that my letter to him regarding this subject has been sent on to the Department of Transportation. A meeting with a contact in this office will take place within the next several days. I also forwarded a copy of this letter to Governor Crist to Lieutenant Governor Kottkamp. When Lieutenant Governor Kottkamp served in the Florida legislature, the late Joel Pincus and I worked with him to pass Scanner's Law, the Florida Guide Dog Protection Law. I reminded the Lieutenant Governor of this fruitful relationship and asked him to assist us once again as we endeavor to improve transportation options for people in this state who do not drive due to age, illness, disability or poverty.

In my letter to Lieutenant Governor Kottkamp, I also asked that he assist us to expedite a fair and inclusive process to be used in working with the Commissioner of Education to appoint the next director of the Division of Blind Services. Governor Crist has not yet appointed the Commissioner of Education. There is now an Acting Commissioner of Education. This further complicates the issue and makes it even more crucial that a fair and inclusive process for interviewing and recommending candidates for the directorship of the Division of Blind Services be employed.

During FCB's Annual Legislative Seminar, Rep. Dennis Baxley spoke to us about the ongoing work of the Vision Caucus that he created and chaired, about his son who is visually impaired and about his bid for the Senate seat in his district that had been vacated by the Senator who had been appointed to a position in Governor Crist’s office. Rep. Baxley pledged his ongoing support of the issues of people who are blind and visually impaired should he be elected to the Florida Senate. Unfortunately for us, Rep. Baxley lost the election. He has been a tremendous resource to the Florida Council of the Blind. Within the next few days, we will call on Rep. Baxley once again to formally introduce us to the new Chair of the Vision Caucus. Rep. Dennis Baxley is a true friend to Florida's citizens who are blind and visually impaired. Even though he no longer holds a seat in the Florida Legislature, we will continue to call upon him as we plan strategy in carrying forth the work of the issues that effect us. I pledge to you that we will continue to work with the Vision Caucus and that we will build a fruitful working relationship with its new Chair.

During the Legislative Seminar, we presented Rep. Dennis Baxley with our prestigious Legislative Award. I can think of no legislator who has ever deserved it more. FCB will also miss Rep. Baxley's assistant, Debbie Dennis, who has so flawlessly facilitated our work with the Representative.

Approximately 25 FCB members will be representing you at the 2007 Convention of the American Council of the Blind to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. First Vice President Robert Miller will serve as the FCB Delegate. Shelley Justice, President of the Mid-Florida Council of the Blind, will serve as FCB’s Alternate Delegate. I will represent us on the ACB Nominating Committee. The officers that will lead ACB for the next two years will be elected at the 2007 Convention. My next President's Message will bring you news of this important event as will coming issues of "The Braille Forum."

FCB's leadership is dedicated to the goals and mission of our organization. We are also dedicated to hearing what you have to say. One of the best opportunities to be heard is through your Chapter President's participation in our monthly Presidents' Meetings. I am a phone call or an e-mail away. Please take advantage of these avenues to make your voice heard in the organization that wants so much to speak for and with you.

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VOTE TRUST USA (WEDNESDAY, MAY 16TH, 2007) - Submitted by Debbie Grubb

Florida Voters Coalition and Florida Council of the Blind Announce Strategic Alliance
by Florida Voters Coalition

All Voters Deserve Paper Ballots - Voters With Disabilities Must Not Be Left Behind

The Florida Voters Coalition (FVC) and the Florida Council of the Blind (FCB) today announced a strategic alliance calling on Florida state and county officials to provide paper ballots for all voters in all elections. "This is an historic day," said FVC Co-Founder, Dan McCrea, "when those demanding the security of paper ballots and those demanding HAVA compliant accessibility for voters with disabilities speak with one unified voice. Listen up, state and county officials. No voter should be left behind, especially in the name of equality. That is simply absurd. It's time to scrap your DREs and replace them with non-tabulating ballot marking devices, providing all voters paper ballots - no exceptions."

"No exception needed or wanted for voters with disabilities," said Paul Edwards, former President of the American Council of the Blind, speaking for the Florida Council of the Blind, the state-wide chapter. "The very purpose of HAVA Section 301 was to provide an equal opportunity to voters with disabilities. 'Equal' doesn't only apply to the ability to cast a private and independent ballot - something precious to blind and other disabled voters - it also applies to the ability to cast a secure ballot. Only optical scan paper ballot systems are secure in Florida today. Florida's newly passed legislation requires paper ballots for everyone then provides an exception for voters with disabilities. Until 2012, counties can choose to provide us paperless electronic DREs. Our message today is, NO THANK YOU. We don't want them and should not be forced to use them. Paperless electronic DRE voting systems are fit for no one."

"For years," McCrea said, "proponents of paperless electronic DRE voting systems have claimed that their systems are the only solution for voters with disabilities. That's just not true. Non-tabulating ballot marking devices provide superior touchscreen, audio, tactile, sip-and-puff, and other interface facilities to allow voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent vote, and they are HAVA compliant. But unlike failed DRE systems, they allow all voters to vote on one uniform, paper-ballot-based, secure voting system. Surely that is the intent of both federal and state law."

McCrea cited the federal Election Assistance Commission's (EAC) July 20, 2005, EAC Advisory 2005-004: How to determine if a voting system is compliant with Section 301(a) - a gap analysis between 2002 Voting System Standards and the requirements of Section 301(a), which states on Page 4, subparagraph (7), "Section 301(a)(3)(B) contemplates that an accessible voting system can include a direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities. This advisory should not be read to preclude the innovation and use of accessible voting systems other than DREs for the purposes of meeting this requirement."

"Please note," said McCrea, "that this EAC advisory is focused on accessibility - not security. It is two years old and during that time, we've seen the last shreds of voter confidence in the security of DRE systems completely collapse. Sarasota's 18,000 lost votes in the November 2006 federal Congressional District 13 race was just one well-publicized example."

"Florida's paperless electronic DRE voting systems lost over 100,000 votes just in the November 2006 election," McCrea said. "No one should be relegated to vote on that junk."

"Federal legislation pending in Congress is just another in the long string of reasons that counties should decide to scrap DRE's in favor of a uniform, all paper ballot system," said McCrea. "Under the lead bill, H.R. 811, counties could not retro-fit paper rolls to their existing DREs and will likely find the equipment unable to pass new testing provisions called for in the bill meaning counties will have to scrap it even before the 2012 deadline already set in Florida legislation. The good news is that the federal bill appropriates more than a billion dollars in new money to pay for the necessary changes," McCrea added.

"We have our annual state-wide conference in Tallahassee this week," said Edwards, "and we're delighted that the Florida Voters Coalition will be joining us and participating. This is a model for the rest of the country and how cool is it that Florida is leading the way! Now it's up to Florida's officials - especially at the county level - to Go All The Way and make sure voters with disabilities are not left behind."

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Barbara Levan Brown was born on March 27th in Florence, South Carolina. Her father was a government construction worker and had to move his family frequently to work at different job sites. At age 11, Barbara went to live with her Aunt Margaret, whom she lovingly refers to as "Gangster Grandma," so she wouldn't have to change schools and move so much. "My aunt got her nickname because at age 72, she adopted two special needs teenage children," Barbara explains.

At 23, Barbara was enjoying a blooming career - working in New York as a psychiatric nurse in a mental health facility for severely handicapped people. Her vision loss was total and sudden, caused by an accident. Barbara attributes her ability to cope with this devastating loss to God. She says "working in a place like that I saw others who were so much worse off than I was. I knew as long as my mind was intact I could handle any thing." Barbara recalls her first assignment at that New York Mental Health Facility was to teach two blind ladies how to feed themselves. "I wrapped a strip of Velcro around their wrists, attached a spoon to it and gently guided their hand to their mouth. You know, some of those people didn't even know if you put a pill or something sweet into their mouths" Barbara says.

Barbara's family had a much more difficult time adjusting to her loss than she did. Barbara recalls, "my father thought blind people went into a home and just sat on the porch." Needing a change, Barbara moved to Jacksonville, Florida, after losing her eyesight, to stay with her father for a while. That is where Barbara met her father's neighbor's son, David. They married and recently celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary, on her birthday, no less. Barbara and David have two sons, one daughter, four grandsons and two granddaughters.

In the early 80s, Barbara’s neighbor, Mike Taylor, a blind Veteran from Orange Park, introduced Barbara to Jean Knutsen. “He told me, you need to meet some other blind people and get out,” Barbara remembers. The ladies attended a monthly crafts class together and soon decided to try to organize a blindness group. Jean invited Paul Edwards and Doug Hall to come speak to them about forming a chapter. Doug and Paul explained that they only needed 6 members to charter a new affiliate. Barbara says she told Jean, "well, you have a husband, I have a husband and we know 2 other ladies so there's our six." Thus, the Clay County Chapter was born, with Jean serving as President and Barbara as Vice President. Barbara says Jean agreed to attend all the state functions since she didn’t have young children to care for and Barbara agreed to attend national functions since they were only once a year. Now, 24 ACB Conventions later, all but two of these folks are still FCB Members. Barbara proudly says she’s only missed two National Conventions since then.

Barbara stayed home raising her children until her middle child was a senior in high school and the youngest was in the 8th grade. She then decided to return to school and received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Behavioral Medicine. Barbara currently works in drug and alcohol counseling and in January received her official Florida certification as a Mental Health Professional. She took some time off from school where she was pursuing a Master's Degree in Varying Exceptionalities to care for her ailing father. Barbara’s dad passed away last year and now she is back on the quest for that Master's Degree with gusto.

Barbara currently serves as First Vice President of the Jacksonville chapter and is their Immediate past President. She also held the office of 2nd Vice President of FCB in the mid 90s and chaired the FCB Employment Committee. Additionally, she served for several years on both the Constitution and By-Laws and Publicity Committees. Barbara has been involved with Project Insight since its inception as a peer counselor and was a proud representative of FCB to Washington D.C.'s Legislative Seminar for three years.

"One of my goals is to provide in depth, one-on-one counseling to retired people with differing disabilities. I want to make sure they are treated with the dignity they deserve" says Barbara. "I'm a real softy for seniors and children. I have trouble seeing a need, knowing I can help to meet it and not doing so."

Barbara's hobbies include traveling, reading and volunteering. "I'd love to explore Egypt," Barbara says. Barbara is also active with other organizations such as her local Transportation Disadvantaged Commission and VisitAbility, a group who advocates to home builders to build new homes with accessibility in mind. She is a helper at heart and a gentle soul who deeply cares for her fellow humans, especially those who are disabled or disadvantaged. Thank you, Barbara, for helping, counseling, advocating and contributing so much over the years. And, thank you for sharing your story with me!

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The Florida Council of the Blind, Inc. (FCB) announced the recipients of the Scholarship Awards during the 2007 Convention in Tallahassee.

FCB awarded $6,500 among four recipients. More than thirty applications were received this year. The Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision (FCCLV) awarded two $750 scholarships.

Christine Anne Difato, 23, of St. Augustine was awarded the Gayle M. Krause-Edwards Scholarship. This is the top scholarship with a $2,000 award and is presented to an outstanding blind student who exhibits academic and leadership excellence and who plans to pursue a college degree.

Christine won an Academic Bright Futures Scholarship and a New College Foundation Scholarship to attend New College of Florida, located in Sarasota. New College is the state honors college of Florida. She received her bachelors with dual degrees in International Studies and History. After graduation, Christine applied for and received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English to visually-impaired students in the former East Germany. She has been accepted to the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, and will be pursuing a Master's Degree in International Relations with an emphasis on ethnic conflict resolution. She plans to return to the U.S. for doctoral studies in order to become a college professor.

The recipient of the 2007 Terry Blessing Scholarship is Gathary Jean McKinley, 22, of Palmetto Bay. This award is $2,000. After graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Gathary, 23, entered Miami-Dade Community College majoring in Foreign Language. She is able to Braille in English, Spanish and French. Currently, Gathary is studying Italian and her goal is to be a translator or interpreter.

Barry H. Hyde of Daytona Beach is the recipient of the Timothy Turpin Career Enhancement Scholarship. This award is $1,500. Mr. Hyde graduated from Embry-Riddle University, on May 7th, with a Master's Degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Aviation Safety and Aviation Operations. He will continue his education at North Central University in the Business Administration doctoral program.

Mr. Hyde was blinded in a plane crash in 1998 and, since that time, has been recognized numerous times for his academic and leadership achievements. He plans to use his degree to work in aviation management or to become a full-time professor at Embry-Riddle University.

The recipient of the $750 scholarship is Nickey Lewin of Miramar. This scholarship is awarded annually to a part-time student. Mr. Lewin is attending Trinity International University majoring in Psychology in the Master's program. This summer, he plans to begin his internship in Mental Health Counseling Psychology, which is a step toward completing the process of becoming a licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida.

Mr. Lewin is afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind. He has been employed with the Broward County Health Department since 1993. Currently, he serves as an Operation Management Consultant responsible for supervising 8 employees. His long-term goal is to work as a counselor with people who are infected with HIV/AIDS.

The Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision Announces 2007 Scholarship Winners.

Michael Andrew Hall of Lutz, 22, graduated from Gaither High School. After graduation, he entered the University of South Florida majoring in Religious Studies. Upon completion of the bachelors program, he plans to continue studies either at a seminary or a post-graduate program at a state university. Michael’s current long-range goal is to be a full-time minister. A retinal scar caused Michael’s blindness.

Rachel Shepherd, 22, of Englewood, graduated from Lemon Bay High School and Manatee Community College. Rachel is afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa. She currently is attending the University of South Florida at the Sarasota campus. After graduation, she plans to obtain a Master's Degree either in Social Work or Criminology. Her long-term goal is to go to law school and pursue a career as a prosecuting attorney.

For more information about the Florida Council of the Blind, Inc. Scholarship Programs, please contact 1-800-267-4448 or e-mail

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AWARDS 2007 - by Sally Benjamin

As chair of the Awards committee this past year, I would like to thank you for letting me have a part in choosing people to receive awards. It was a very hard decision in some cases, and if it were left up to me I would give each person who was nominated something. However, that is not the way it works so I had to make choices. I am proud that FCB (scratch can) honors these people each year for the hard work and time they put into making our organization what it is today. I hope that in the future we will all nominate someone so that many more can share in the joy of receiving an award. Please take the time to submit names of those who work so hard for FCB to the committee. Below is a list of all the Award Winners for this year.

Dolly Gamble
Rita Princivalli

William Ferrell Humanitarian "Just Bill" Award
Nancy Burgess-Hall

Cook Chapter Award
Debbie Downey

W. A. Ouzts Award
Jesus Garcia

R. Henry P. Johnson Award
Barbara Grill

Legislative Award
Representative Dennis Baxley

Clay Chapter
Frances Bingen

Halifax Chapter Awards
1. Daniel Grau
2. Zenna Hogsbro
3. Central Florida Puppy Raisers

Tallahassee Chapter Award
Wanda Stokley

Mobility Award
Joe Florence

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Our recent Convention held here in Tallahassee is filled with so many memories for me - some of which I'd like to share with you. I am at a loss as to how to adequately express my gratitude to all those people who helped in so many ways. A convention is something that takes team work, and a lot of it. I believe our 2007 Convention was one of our best and I'm humbled and proud to have been a part of it all.

The memory of our own Membership Secretary, Linda Jacobson, "Mable" tending bar at the Thursday night barbeque, will bring me joy for a long time to come! Linda is one of those people who's laughter is contagious and she always has such a good attitude no matter what comes her way. Little Miss Hannah, Cheryl Edwards' daughter, helped out cleaning up, showing folks around and being her sweet precious self. Cheryl and Paul, I know you are both so very proud of her!

Turn the page to a quite funny memory of Bill Freeman and I, down on our knees in the Registration Room, unbundling hundreds of Raffle tickets which were first put into Linda and Eric Jacobson's rolling cart. Later, those almost 8,000 tickets had to be transferred into a CLEAN garbage can to insure they could be adequately mixed up. All the while, Bill was good-naturedly lecturing the TCB chapter for continuing to sell tickets and messing up his accounting. Meanwhile, I was proudly showing off my rubber band bracelets! Linda, that cart might come up missing if you don't keep your "bad eye" on it! I smile when I recall Miss Lorean Henry from Miami-Metro dancing her way up the isle to claim her $1,000 raffle ticket prize! You go, girl!

A treasured and poignant memory is of watching my friend, Todd Bowen and his new dog, Annie, working together. Annie is Todd's first dog guide and he is a great handler. As everyone knows, Conventions are a real challenge for the most seasoned of teams. Annie behaved perfectly and Todd is so proud. What a team they are! It brought tears to my eyes. I felt a bit of sadness and nostalgia during the Saturday afternoon Town Hall Meeting while FCB was bidding a public farewell to Craig Kiser and thanking him for his leadership of The Division of Blind Services. There is a bit of anxiety over the change in leadership along with the hope for a bright future for DBS.

There were the usual panics of getting everything in place, to meetings on time and even a couple of lost purses but when returned to their owners, those purses had everything in them. A humbling memory, was witnessing the selfless generosity of Lee Stallworth purchasing Banquet Tickets for some who weren't financially able to come otherwise. He tries to be so tough. I love you, Lee!

Other patchwork memory squares include: watching people gnaw on leftover ribs in the hotel suite; singing happy birthday to one of our own, Charles Hill at the Banquet; the joy of finally meeting our President's husband, Frela, and running my fingers through his beard; you're one of us now, Frela! Visiting with folks from Gainesville and feeling so glad to have them at Convention with us again; we missed you! Reconnecting with a long-lost school friend, Spencer Morton, President of the Alachua Chapter, and basking in his accomplishments - feeling pride in a childhood friend growing up into such a fine man; welcome Mr. Morton! Experiencing the poignancy of Sally Benjamin's tears of gratitude when accepting her President's Special Award. I heard Nancy Burgess-Hall cried when she received her Bill Ferrell Humanitarian Award, too, but I was busy with Registration and missed it.

Speaking of Awards, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly state that I miss our Awards meals all together as a family. I want them back. What say you, Members of FCB? Let us hear from you on this important issue.

A manic memory of 2:00 AM, up, too wired to sleep, cutting a few eyelashes and bangs while making names for the Door Prize Drawing Hat - guess you live and learn. You can bet that next year, if we are fortunate enough to have Door Prizes, I'll leave a blank space between those names! Debbie, could they have been much smaller? Another funny is of playing alarm clock for my buddy, whom I shall not name to help keep him awake during Meetings! Yeah, you know who you are! ("Smile")

This FCB is a family and it makes my heart swell with love and pride to share these recollections with you. I have been allowed to grow and develop while working for our organization and I appreciate that opportunity. I used to be very quiet and shy. Yes, it's true, no matter what Robert says. There is room for our newer family members to grow and develop as well. Come forward, Newbys, and let us mentor you so you too can gain experience, self-confidence and develop your talents. As our esteemed President, Debbie Grubb, said at the Sunday morning Annual Business Meeting, "in true FCB fashion, every voice will be heard." Thanks again to one and all for helping to make my memory quilt and for being a part of our FCB family!

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BLIND PEDESTRIANS PLEA (WCTV, FLORIDA, USA, FRIDAY, MAY 18TH, 2007) - by Julie Montanaro (Submitted by Debbie Grubb)

Reporter: Julie Montanaro
Email Address:

There was a close call for a couple of blind pedestrians crossing North Monroe Street in Tallahassee Friday, and they tell us it happens all the time.

Sally Benjamin and Larry Turnbull tried to cross North Monroe Street Friday morning, only to find the chirping signal that's designed to help them wasn't working properly. When they finally did cross, they didn't make it to the other side before the light changed and our videographer literally had to throw up his hand as drivers hit the gas.

"I didn't know that there was a truck in the middle of the road that was going to hit me if the cameraman hadn't put his hand up and said "Stop." It's scary," Benjamin said.

"You're pretty much taking your life in your hands," Turnbull added.

We talked with several blind and visually-impaired people this morning and all have had close calls with cars. Some have even been hit by them, including Debbie Grubb, President of the Florida Council of the Blind.

"I gave my guide dog the forward command and the lady accelerated just as I got in front of the car and knocked me to the ground. I skinned up my hands and knees."

"I had one at John Knox and Monroe," said Toni King, "where the car actually knocked my cane out of my hand."

Cassandra Jessie, a visually-impaired student at FSU, says she says a prayer every time she steps off the curb.

"I say, Lord, come with me across this street."

They're asking motorists to keep their eyes open, be patient and be especially careful when turning right on red.

"When you're turning right, you're naturally looking to the left and for us, that's when it's time to step off the curb and you won't see us," King said.

The Florida Council of the Blind is hosting its state Convention in Tallahassee this week and while crossing safety isn't on the agenda, it's always a topic of conversation, Benjamin says.

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O.K. - I'll be the first to admit that our travel tales on the trail to Tallahassee aren't as exciting or adventuresome as the ones that the Tally group have experienced on their ways to past FCB Conventions. But since they didn't have to travel to the last Convention, someone has to fill the void. First of all, we would like to thank them for their "Southern hospitality" and all the hard work they put into making the Convention such a fun and interesting session. We would like to commend all of the Tallahassee chapter for a job well done.

The road to Tallahassee was a very delightful experience. Living in the more southern part of the Peninsular Florida, everything here is flat and tropical. As we got closer to our destination, the car started to work a little harder as we traveled up and down the rolling hills. The sound of the automatic transmission shifting is virtually unheard of in our area, where the only hills are those created by the sanitation departments at our landfills. This was really spectacular.

Along the way, Gary asked me if it was raining as he heard a lot of pitter pat on the windshield. Actually it was pitter splat as we headed north on the turnpike through the middle of Love Bug country. Trying to keep the windshield clean used up all the liquid in the sprayer and eventually my visibility was similar to that of someone with ripe cataracts.

Once we destinated, our quest was to find a car wash. Mission accomplished, we were ready to enjoy what Tallahassee had to offer. We had the opportunity to find a really fabulous steakhouse - and when I say find - I mean it. We rode up and down Monroe St. trying to locate this restaurant which was within "walking distance" of the Convention hotel.

Located north of the interstate intersection tucked behind a few hotels, "adjacent the Tallahassee Inn" that no longer exists, we found Marie Livingstone's Steakhouse. The food was super and the atmosphere delightful.

When we were leaving, a multi-generational family was coming in the door. A young lad laid his eyes on Dr. John, our 94-pound yellow lab SEGDI graduate and asked his grandfather if that was a "horsy." He was answered with a polite, "no that is a dog." The little boy exclaimed, "it's a really big one!" We laughed so hard that we had to sit on the porch's wrought iron benches to catch our breaths! Could you imagine if he came across Harley??!!

We, the PSLCB delegation, would like to thank the Tallahassee Chapter and all the Officers and Members of FCB for a great Convention. Looking forward to Jacksonville in 2008!!

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TECH TIPS - by John Richards for the FCB Technology Committee

(Portions of this article were taken from PC World, May, 2007 Edition)

Free Antivirus Programs

What is a virus? How can viruses harm your computer?

A computer virus is simply a program written to cause a computer to perform a specific task. That task can be as harmless as causing the CD-rom drawer to open for know apparent reason. On the other hand, the virus could contain malicious code, causing pertinent system files to be deleted. This could ultimately cause a system crash. At that point, you would be unable to boot up your system.

Antivirus programs are written to combat harmful code that may find its way to your hard drive. Below are a couple of free anti-virus programs for your use.

Avast is a free antivirus program that works with Windows XP and also Windows Vista.

Avast includes more than seven different varieties of shields, safe-surfing tools and real-time virus protection for your OS and Outlook. After installing, this program updates automatically.

AVG Anti-Virus works with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

After downloading and installing AVG, it will scan and update automatically.

Recently, the software client used for the chat rooms has changed. This change has resulted in the chat rooms in some cases to become unusable. We will inform you when this issue is resolved.

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CHAPTER NEWS - Mid-Florida Council of the Blind - by Jay Bader

MFCB has continued to stay busy with various issues in the Orlando metropolitan area. To follow-up on what was noted in a previous Chapter News, some of our Members were involved in 2 annual walks, the Southeastern Guide Dogs' Walk-A-Thon and Lighthouse Central Florida's Sight & Sole Walk. The SEGD Walk-A-Thon has raised over $245,000 for the school. LCF's Sight & Sole Walk raised over $80,000 which helps them continue to serve adults and children with severe vision impairment and blindness in the Orlando area community.

During the Spring of 2007, MFCB has participated in the continued meetings of Central Florida Advocates for Accessible Public Rights of Way (CFA). The panel is making progress as there is a definite possibility that at least one Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) recommended for an intersection in Orange County may have a minimum 2 of its 4 corners equipped with APS. The installation has not begun yet, and it is the goal of CFA to have all 4 corners with APS, but the 2 discussed at this point by Orange County DOT Engineers would be closest to Lynx bus lines. In the words of Dianne Ketts of LCF, who is chair of this panel, "While the process isn’t complete until installation and I am reluctant to count it as a success until that time, I think that things are headed on the right path. Our committee will be able to learn a lot from seeing this process through and I’m happy that they are keeping me (us) in the loop!"

Also, MFCB is keeping in contact with the Supervisors of Elections in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties regarding the upcoming transition from DRE voting machines to ones that will tie into optical-scan systems. While those of us who worked so hard in getting accessible voting a reality in our area were disappointed with the decisions made for a voter-verifiable paper trail (VVPAT), we understand the reasons for it to proceed. MFCB will work as closely as possible with the Supervisors of Elections in our area for a better solution that best meets the needs of all disabled for accessible voting.

Two other important matters MFCB has been, and will be involved with, are helping in the maintenance of the Subregional Talking Book Library in Orlando, and participation in the Florida delegation at the 2007 ACB National Convention. MFCB President Shelley Justice, Recording Secretary Larry Turnbull and Immediate Past President Rachel Bader will be among those attending in Minneapolis and they are looking forward to an interesting Convention.

Plans are already being made for White Cane Safety Day in the Orlando area. MFCB is proud to be working with the National Federation of the Blind-Greater Orlando Chapter (NFB-GOC), as well as Lighthouse Central Florida and Blind Veterans Administration, for another successful event. More on this will be in our next Chapter News.

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Pepsi Cola Chicken

1 whole Chicken cut up (or Pieces if you prefer)
1 12 oz. bottle of Ketchup
1 12 oz. can Pepsi Cola

Place Chicken in pan on top of stove. Pour Ketchup and Pepsi Cola over it. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Creamed Spinach

3 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream - may be low-fat
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. onion, minced
1/4 c. water
20 oz. frozen spinach, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1) Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan on Med-Low heat. Stir in flour and salt until creamed together. Stir in milk a little at a time. Increase the heat to Medium. Constantly stir with a whisk until mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
2) Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a 2-quart saucepan over Medium heat, add onions and cook until transparent. Add spinach and water to pan, lower the heat and cover. Stir several times until spinach is almost completely cooked. When spinach is almost done, add white sauce, sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir well and simmer until completely blended. Serves 6.

Cafe Mocha Latte

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 cups strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup whiskey (optional)

Heat half and half in a saucepan over medium heat (do not boil.) Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, next three ingredients, and, if desired whiskey. Serve warm or over ice. Makes 4 cups.

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Alachua: Patti Land
Brevard: Paul Edwards
Clay: Patti Land
Greater Miami: Linda Jacobson
Halifax: Paul Edwards
Inter-County: Debbie Grubb
Jacksonville: John Richards
Miami Metro: John Richards
Mid-Florida: Robert Miller
Palm Beach: Linda Jacobson
Pensacola: John Richards
Pinellas: Robert Miller
PSLCB: Sharon Youngs
Sarasota: Linda Jacobson
Tallahassee: Sharon Youngs
Tampa: Debbie Grubb
Venice: Paul Edwards

The following Special Interest chapters only meet during Convention:

CCTB (Coalition for the Concerns of the Totally Blind): Patti Land
FCBS (Florida Coalition of Blind Students): Jesus Garcia
FCCLV (Florida Council of Citizens with Low Vision): Robert Miller
RSVF (Randolph Shepherd Vendors of Florida): Paul Edwards

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Project Insight: 1-800-267-4448

Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services: 1-800-226-6075

Division of Blind Services (Tallahassee State Headquarters): 1-800-342-1828

American Council of The Blind: 1-800-424-8666
(available only 3:00 to 5:30 PM EST Monday-Friday)

ACB's Legislative Hotline: 1-800-424-8666
(Evenings 8:00 PM - 12:00 Midnight EST
Weekends 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM only)

A T & T Disability Services: 1-800-872-3883
Press 00 and speak with your long distance carrier

BellSouth Disability Services: 780-2273 from anywhere

Social Security: 1-800-772-1213
24-hour voice and touch tone accessible

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