Braille Monitor                                             June 2015

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News from the Federation Family

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB resolutions committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2015 National Convention the resolutions committee meeting will be held on Monday, July 6. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. If passed by the convention, these resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Riccobono or to me by June 18, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you send a resolution to me by email and do not receive a response acknowledging your email in two or three days, please call or send it again. If you miss the deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, <nfbmd@earthlink.net>; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, MD 21045.

National Association of Blind Veterans Meeting at Convention:
The National Association of Blind Veterans will hold its annual meeting and reception on July 6 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Salon 1, second level. The reception will start promptly at 5 p.m. and close at 7 p.m. A light snack and soft drinks are provided along with some door prize drawings. This is an opportunity for all veterans attending to gather and meet fellow veterans in a social environment and have a good time. We will start our meeting promptly at 7 p.m., closing at 10 p.m. This is our more formal meeting, where we will conduct the division’s business, hold elections, make or adjust division policies, give assignments for the color guard detail, and prepare for our veterans celebration on opening session day. We will also have a number of interested vendors presenting equipment that the VA issues, including prosthetics, and a chance to ask the vendor questions about the equipment. We look forward to seeing you there!

Paul Gabias Honored for Twenty-Five Years of Service
Associate Professor Paul Gabias was honored by the University of British Columbia Okanagan in April of 2015 for twenty-five years of service. He is an associate professor of psychology, and his keen insights and observations have been a welcomed addition to this magazine for decades. His accomplishments are one small part of this man’s exemplary life as a husband, father, and teacher. The Braille Monitor extends our most sincere congratulations to Dr. Gabias for this well-deserved recognition.

LEGOLAND Florida Convention Discount:
Federationists planning to attend the national convention will have an opportunity for some additional fun down in Florida. LEGOLAND Florida has signed an agreement with the NFB offering a special discount on park tickets for NFB members. Purchase one adult ticket, and you can get one general admission ticket free! This offer is good for one-day park admission, two-day park admission, one-day waterpark combo, or two-day waterpark combo tickets. General admission tickets can be redeemed for an adult (ages thirteen to fifty-nine), child (ages three to twelve), or senior (ages sixty and up) for admission to LEGOLAND Florida. The code needed to receive this discount will be given out at the national convention in the suites and at the information desk. Enjoy!

Blind Professionals Sought by Human Services Division:
The Human Services Division of the National Federation of the Blind is looking for blind professionals in the following occupations: massage, physical, speech, occupational, music, art, drama, genetics and other therapists. We are also seeking life coaches, school guidance counselors, and any other professionals who fall under the Human Services umbrella (please forgive me if I left out a profession). Our goal is to conduct an educational panel at the division’s meeting during our National Convention. Please feel free to share this email with individuals who may be interested in being a part of this educational panel. Anyone interested please contact: Merry C. Schoch LCSW (Division President) at email address: <merrys@verizon.net> or call (813) 625-1850.

How to Pay for Your Hotel Stay in Orlando
Here is some advice about paying for your hotel stay: every year at our national convention we have serious trouble with use of debit cards or cash payments at hotel check-in, and, having worked to solve these problems for years, I can tell you they can nearly ruin the convention week for those experiencing them. Planning to attend our national convention should therefore include thinking seriously about how to pay the hotel, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to avoid using cash or a debit card as your payment method. Doing so may seem convenient, but you should not do so. If you do not have a credit card of your own to use, prevail upon a close friend or family member to let you use one just for convention. Here’s why:

If you are paying in actual currency, most hotels will want enough cash up front at check-in to cover your room and tax charges for the entire stay, plus a one-time advance incidentals deposit to cover meals, telephone calls, internet service, and other things you may charge to your room. The unused portion of the incidentals deposit may be returned at check-out or by mail after departure. Understand, however, that, if your incidentals charges exceed the incidentals deposit credited, you are responsible for payment of the full balance at checkout. The total can end up being a very large sum indeed.

If you use a debit card, however, you are really at a potentially painful disadvantage. The hotel will put a hold on money in your bank account linked to the debit card to cover the estimated balance of your stay—that is, for the entire week’s room and tax charges plus a one-time incidentals deposit to cover meals, movies, and so on charged to your room. You should be aware that the hold can therefore be a considerable amount of money and that you will not have access to that amount for any other purchases or payments with your card. (Hotels sometimes also put authorizations on credit cards, by the way, but those are not often a problem unless they exceed your card’s credit limit.)

Holds can remain in effect for three to five days or even a week after you check out. If you have pre-authorized payments from your bank account, for example your monthly mortgage payment, or if you try to make a purchase with your debit card and it's refused, the hold from the hotel can cause you trouble or result in very large overdraft fees for payments you thought you had money in your account to cover. I have seen this hit some of our members in the form of hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees.

This means that, if you use a debit card, you would have to be certain you have a high enough balance in your checking account when you come to convention to cover any debit card holds. This is a perilous practice since charges may exceed your estimate by a considerable amount. (Some frequent travelers even open a separate checking account used only for debits like these.) Remember, a hold is going to be placed on your debit card regardless of how you end up paying the bill, and the hold is not necessarily released right away, even if you pay with a credit card or cash when you check out of the hotel.

Planning ahead in this area can ensure an untroubled week at convention, leaving you free to enjoy fully the world’s largest and most exciting meeting of the blind. See you as usual in the lobby at check-in—using a credit card, I hope.

Musicians Needed:
Are you an accomplished rock guitarist, bassist, or drummer who will be attending the NFB National Convention in Orlando this year? Would you like to contribute to the convention in a meaningful, memorable way? If so, I need to hear from you. I have been asked to direct a band for a special performance at our seventy-fifth anniversary convention and need these instrumentalists to make it a quality performance. If you would like more information, please contact Marion Gwizdala by email at <Blind411@verizon.net> or give me a call at (813) 626-2789.

A Bargain from the Ohio Association of Blind Students:
In the spirit of our seventy-fifth convention the Ohio Association of Blind Students is taking on its biggest fundraising project ever. Take a chance on some fabulous gift card prizes to franchises like iTunes, Chipotle, and Bath and Bodyworks while supporting Ohio students young and old (well, maybe not that old).  Proceeds from the drawing will be split fifty-fifty between the Ohio Association of Blind Students and the fund for Ohio's 4th BELL Program in 2016.

Tickets will be sold one for $1 or six for $5.  There are three payment methods from which to choose.  They are:

1.  Pay online using our PayPal account.  Once your payment is received, you will be sent an email from the Ohio Association of Blind Students Gmail account containing your ticket numbers.  The link you will need is: <https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted
_button_id=6FW5ZC8G45T8E
>

2.  Pay with a check.  If using this method, please contact OABS treasurer Emily Pennington so she will know to expect your check and can give you the address.  Her email is <emilypennington@fuse.net>.  You will be sent an email containing your ticket numbers and confirmation that your check has been delivered.

3.  Pay with cash in Orlando.  Several OABS board members will be available to sell tickets.  Using this method will get you a Brailled ticket stub instead of an electronic record of your ticket numbers.

Be sure to hold onto your ticket(s) for later reference. Winners will be announced after the buying period ends on July 15 by listserv and then contacted for their addresses.  If you have any questions, feel free to email president Kaiti Shelton at <kaiti.shelton@gmail.com> or treasurer Emily Pennington at <emilypennington@fuse.net>.

The Ohio Association of Blind Students thanks you in advance for the support of our division and the Ohio BELL Program.  With your help we can build the Federation and change what it means to be blind for students in Ohio!

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Sir Duncan Watson Dies:
On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, Sir Duncan Watson died following a short illness. He was the second president of the World Blind Union, serving from 1988 until 1992, and had served as chair and vice president of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. He participated in some meetings in our Baltimore offices which helped to establish the work of the Federation to bring organizations of the blind and agencies for the blind together in the US. This was the time of the Joint Organizational Effort committee. Dr. Jernigan was the principal behind the effort, but Sir Duncan helped occasionally. As a long-time supporter of the RNIB Talking Book service, he said: "I've been using Talking Books since I lost my sight at sixteen. They were on big records then and didn't play for long, but now I've just heard Alastair Campbell's The Blair Years on two CDs. It really gives you a window on the world."

Perkins Brailler Repair Service:
Bring your Perkins Brailler back to life. The Selective Doctor, Inc. specializes in the repair of Perkins Braillers. Repairs for Braillers are $65 for labor on a manual Perkins Brailler, plus the cost of parts. You can send your Brailler to The Selective Doctor, Inc., PO Box 571, Manchester, Maryland 21102 via the US postal service. Free Matter shipping is accepted. It is recommended that you insure it, but it is not necessary if you prefer not to. After the repair of the Brailler, The Selective Doctor, Inc. will send it back to you with the invoice and will insure it for $400, which presently is $6.75, and this will be added to your invoice. For more information, please call (410) 668-1143 or email <braillerrepair@yahoo.com>. You can also check out the website at: <www.selectivedoctor.com>.


NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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