March Bulletin

Greetings Fellow Federationists,

The National Federation of the Blind Applauds Senate Introduction of TEACH Act
Senator Warren, Hatch and Elizabeth Warren,Introduced the Technology, Education, Accessibility in Colleges and Education.

As we all know, the National Federation of the Blind is The oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. On Friday, February 28, 2014, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced TEACH) Act (S. 2060). The TEACH Act, which is the result of collaboration between the NFB and the Association of American Publishers, and which has been endorsed by eleven other organizations of and for people with disabilities, will create accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies used by institutions of higher education. The introduction of the bill was announced during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing focusing on college access and success for students with disabilities.

A companion bill, H.R. 3505, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) on November 15, 2013. The bills have the same text, making it easier for Congress to pass this simple solution to an outrageous problem.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Every day, blind college students face frustration and despair in the pursuit of their education because of inaccessible technology. E-readers, Web content, mobile applications, and learning management systems are integral to the twenty-first-century college experience, and students with disabilities are being needlessly left behind. No student can be expected to succeed in college if he or she is denied access to critical course material. Schools and manufacturers must embrace readily available accessibility solutions so that all students can benefit from educational technology, and the guidelines established by the TEACH Act will make it clear how manufacturers and institutions of higher education can best serve students with disabilities. These guidelines are long overdue, and we applaud Senators Warren and Hatch for introducing this critical bill.”

Senator Warren said in a statement: “It’s critically important that university services and course materials remain accessible to students with disabilities as technology advances and changes the way we communicate and learn. I’m pleased to join Senator Hatch to introduce the TEACH Act, which would help promote the use of educational technologies that meet the needs of all students.”

Senator Hatch said: “Technological advances have increased educational opportunities for everyone but especially for students with disabilities. However, in order to benefit from these new technologies students need to be able to access them. The TEACH Act promotes the development of guidelines to assist educational institutions in selecting and offering course materials and services that students of all abilities can benefit from, and as someone who helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m proud to support it.”

Taxi Magic Testers Needed in San Francisco and Los Angeles

Contact Tim Elder, Member, Board of Directors, National Federation of the Blind of California, if you want to help give feedback and names of users to help us with testing. Would you be interested in helping out in the next few months? If you’re interested in providing feedback or participating in user testing, please fill out this survey:

Taxi Magic VoiceOver Testing Survey

Ideally, we’re looking for users to download and use development versions of our app and take a few rides to provide feedback to us. We would provide you Magic Credits for the test rides and this could be done on your own time.

Let me know if this would be of interest to you. We really appreciate the help in improving our apps! And feel free to pass this survey along to anyone else you know who may be interested! Feel free to contact at with any questions.

Action in Congress-
I am happy to report that Congressman Vargas has signed onto HR 164 Space Available. Also Congressman McNerney has co sponsored HR 831 Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities. Way to go gang!

Dance with Me for!
The National Federation of the Blind
Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter “Fund Raiser”

 When: Sunday June 8, 2014 (Adults only)
Where: Elks Riverside Lodge #643 6166 Brockton Ave., Riverside, CA 92506
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Donation: $12.00 per ticket if purchased before event and $15.00 at the door day of the event.
Contact Person: Pamela Chase
Cell 951-532-6525
About the Event: The afternoon promises to be fun! Swing dance to THE JIMMY DRAPER BAND. Drawings throughout the afternoon. Gifts included surprise baskets, Assistive Technology, Vendor OVAC Inc. 50/50, and a $25.00 Best Buy gift card and much more. Don’t miss out! Come and have some fun!!!

DIRECTIONS: Please complete form below. Make donations payable to the -NFB Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter. Please give form and donation to a Chapter Member or you can mail the form and donation to:

NFB Riverside San Bernardino Chapter
ATT. Pamela Chase
1865 Taylor Ave.
Corona, CA 92882


Full Name: _____________________________________________________________

Address:  ______________________________________________________________

City, State, Zip: _________________________________________________________

Phone: _______________________________________

Email Address:__________________________________________________________

Name of person who told you about the event: ________________________________


Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575


Greetings Fellow Federationists,

“If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy”. Thomas Jefferson

Washington Seminar 2014
Even Thomas Jefferson would have opposed sub-minimum wages for disabled persons. This past week hundreds of members of the National Federation of the Blind roamed the halls of congress to visit representatives to ask for their support for HR 831 Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013, HR 3505 The Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH Act) and seeking a sponsor the Air Carrier Technology Accessibility Act.
The California delegation broke up into four teams and visited all fifty four representatives and senators from our state. This year, many of us had the opportunity to meet with our representatives who were in town for the State of the Union address by President Obama. The national office will be updating us with the responses that we received. To stay informed go to and read about the highlights of the 2014 Washington Seminar.

Chemistry Camp 2014
Applications are being accepted for a three day accessible science experience. We are looking for blind high school students ages 14-18 who have a desire to learn about how a blind person can study science. During this exciting and busy three day experience, students will get to learn how blind and visually impaired people use chemistry in their careers. If you know of any blind and visually impaired high school students, please have them contact Angela Fowler at 530) 902-0987 or email her at

Accessible Tax Forms
The IRS has made tax forms and other products available to taxpayers with disabilities. Please help us to spread the word about these services which are available at

Job Opportunities for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TVI’s)
There are several open positions for teachers of the blind and visually impaired in California. As you know, there is a shortage of teachers with the expertise of Braille instruction and/ or orientation and mobility. If you know of a qualified TVI, please contact Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Benito County Office of Education, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, and the Orange County Office of Education.

San Francisco State University and California State University Los Angeles TVI programs have received a federal grant to assist applicants with financial support for this fall. Please help locate applicants for the programs at San Francisco State University and California State University, Los Angeles. Check with recent college graduates, paraprofessionals who enjoy working with students with visual impairments, individuals who are seeking a fulfilling career change, and other general/special ed teachers who wish to add VI credential.

The Program in Visual Impairments at San Francisco State University is accepting applications for Fall 2014 semester.
If you know of anyone seeking a rewarding professional career and would like to become a TVI, please refer them to the following websites for more information. Program in Visual Impairments

Application requirements

How to Apply

National Federation of the Blind Commends Microsoft and GW Micro for Groundbreaking Accessibility Partnership
During the Washington Seminar Californians discussed the issues blind people face in dealing with technology that is not accessible. Recently, GW Micro and the Microsoft Corporation announced a partnership to make Window-Eyes, a screen reading software program, available for free to users of Microsoft Office 2010 or higher. More details about this groundbreaking offer are available at

Announcing the 2014 Microsoft Disability Scholarship Fund
We are excited to share details of the new Microsoft Disability Scholarship Fund targeting students with disabilities entering college in the fall. This is a new initiative from Microsoft and the Disability Employee Resource Group (ERG), built in partnership with Seattle Foundation. The scholarship website is open to applications until March 15th. Contact:
Disability Employee Resource Group
Microsoft Corporation

NFB Scholarship Application Deadline March 31, 2014
The NFB Scholarship Program invites blind students who will attend college in Fall 2014 to apply for a scholarship. The National Federation of the Blind offers 30 awards, worth from $3,000 up to $12,000, plus assistance for the 30 winners to attend the July 2014 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. For full information and the online application form, go to

Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575


Michael Couey Memorial Fund

Dear Friends:

I am writing this with a very heavy heart. This morning, at 5:39 A.M., our
beloved leader and friend, Michael Couey, quietly passed away in Sacramento,
California. He died as a result of cardiac arrest. Mike was hospitalized on
Sunday morning and never recovered.

If you wish to express your condolences and support to Cat, below is a link
to the Michael Couey Memorial Fund.

Mike and Cat have been staunch supporters and organizers in the California
affiliate for many years. Mike has helped to organize many chapters and
served on the NFB Corp Team back in the early 80′s. He was at every state
and national convention that he could get to over the last forty years. He
greeted many, many new people as they entered the convention hall for the
first time and made sure that they felt welcome and met other
Federationists. He then became lifelong friends with all that he met.

Please join me in remembering Mike Couey.

Mary Willows


Greetings Fellow Federationists,

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.”- anonymous

First Annual Crab Feed
Happy New Year! We are starting off 2014 hitting the ground running. The Davis Canes & Tails Chapter is hosting a Crab Feed to beat all crab feeds on January 5. Everyone is invited to attend an evening of fun and food. We will be serving all you can eat crab, salad, bread, and enjoy musical entertainment from a live band. In addition, there will be a raffle for a round trip ticket on United Airlines. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online by going to or by phone by calling Therese Retherford (707) 290-1517 or Lisa Hilas (415) 606-8775.

At-Large Chapter
The purpose of the At-Large Chapter is to give blind people the opportunity to attend a regular monthly chapter meeting if they live in a location where there is not an in-person meeting. Every month on the second Thursday at 7 p.m. the At-Large Chapter meets by conference call to discuss current issues dealing with blindness in the state of California. We invite everyone to attend the call and ask that you encourage any blind people you know who do not attend regular meetings to give it a try. The conference all in number is 712) 432-0175 and the code is 184220. This month we will talk about the 2014 Washington Seminar agenda topics.

To All Chapter Presidents
On the second Monday of each month all Chapter Presidents come together on a conference call to talk about issues concerning leadership; fundraising; and planning agendas. This informal meeting will be chaired each month by one of our members of the Board of Directors. This month Rick Watson, President Davis-Canes and Tails Chapter, will facilitate the discussion concerning ways to bring more members to the state convention in October. Rick attended his first NFB meeting at a state convention and has never looked back. He shares his passion for our organization with all the chapter presidents. Please join him on January 13 at 7 p.m. The dial-in number is 605-475-4700. The access code is 405682#.

2014 Chemistry Camp
Would you like to learn how blind people tackle the very visual subject of organic chemistry successfully? Do you have a general love for science? Do you want to learn how you can do chemistry as a blind person just as successfully as your sighted peers? Do you want to apply the chemistry you learned to food such as olive oil? Are you interested in how blind professionals use science in their careers every day? Then the 2014 California Chemistry Camp is for you!

Come join Accessible Science for an Educational, exciting, and Fun-Filled weekend of hands-on science!

When: Friday, May 2, 2014 through Sunday, May 4, 2014.
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp near Napa, California.
Who: Up to fifteen blind high school students ages 14-18 will be selected to participate.
Cost: There is no cost to apply for the program.

We hope to see you this spring at Enchanted Hills!
If you have any questions, contact:
Angela Fowler
Director of planning, Accessible Science

Phone: 530-902-0987

Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575


Greetings Fellow Federationists,

“May peace be your gift at holiday time and your blessing all year through”- anonymous

Join us to celebrate the New Year and the promise of hopeful resolutions for positive growth in 2014. The newly organized Davis Canes and Tails Chapter warmly invites everyone to attend an event which will bring community members and federation leaders together to celebrate our accomplishments.

Featuring live music “The Rhythm Method Band”. Tickets are available for $40 each if purchased before December 15, 2013. All tickets purchased after December 15, 2013 will be $50 each. Tickets will not be available at the door. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone.
Terese Retherford (707) 290-1517
Lisa Hilas (415) 606-8775
Purchase tickets online at

Washington Seminar 2014
Once again, California federation members are preparing for a trek to Washington D.C. to introduce ourselves and our mission to members of the House of Representatives and Senate. We will be making appointments with members of the 113th congress first session on January 28, 29, and 30, 2014. We would like to ask anyone who has contacts with local representatives to call the home office and recommend that the representative schedule time to meet our advocates.

Amongst the topics we will discuss are the TEACH Act (H.R. 3505) introduced by Congressman Joe Petri and The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 (H.R.831) introduced by Gregg Harper.

The TEACH Act stands for Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act will direct the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to develop accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies in institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Blind college students must be equipped to compete on the basis of equality which means having access to text books and research materials.

H.R. 831 will repeal section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and phase out the discriminatory practice of paying disabled workers less than the federal minimum wage. There are many examples of individuals with significant disabilities who, when provided the proper training and support, have acquired a competitive job skill to earn at least minimum wage. Very few, if any, disabled or nondisabled individuals acquire a competitive job skill through performing menial tasks in sheltered, segregated, subminimum-wage work environments.

At-Large Chapter Meeting
The At-Large Chapter will meet on the second Thursday of each month. In December the meeting will be held on December 12 at 7 p.m. The purpose of the At-Large Chapter is to give those who cannot attend regular monthly meetings an opportunity to stay connected and up-to-date with the latest issues concerning blind people in California and across the nation. The call in number is 712) 432-0175. The passcode is 184220#.

Dr. Marc Maurer Announces His Retirement
The following is taken from a message sent by Dr. Fredric Schroeder, first vice-president, National Federation of the Blind: “As you know, Dr. Marc Maurer has been our national president since 1986. He has served as president longer than any of our previous presidents and has guided us through a period of unprecedented growth and change. It was under Dr. Maurer’s leadership that we established the Jernigan Institute and all of the programs that have been so successful in demonstrating the truth of our assertion that given proper opportunity and training, blind people can live and work as others. In particular we have developed many programs designed to provide blind children and youth with the skills and confidence they need to compete fully in their education and to develop their life ambitions. We have conducted the Youth Slam, Science Academy, and more recently the BELL programs.

In the area of technology under Dr. Maurer’s leadership we developed the KNFB Reader Mobile allowing blind people to have immediate access to print with nothing more than a cell phone and special software. And then there was the Blind Driver Challenge. There is no question that lack of access to reliable transportation remains a major barrier for blind people.
Yet, the Blind Driver Challenge showed that we could develop the technology to enable a blind person to drive a car, not simply sit passively in a car that drives itself.

These are the expressions of Dr.Maurer’s leadership. Yet at the heart of his leadership is his spirit and his belief in every blind person. He has inspired and encouraged us, faced the most difficult challenges with resolution and strength, and he has kept us together, and never let us waiver in our belief in our own right to live normal, productive lives.

On Saturday afternoon Dr. Maurer told the board that it is his intention to not seek reelection to the presidency next summer at our national convention. He feels the time is right to transition to the next president, the next individual who can lead us for a quarter century or more. Dr. Maurer is in good health and believes that it is important that he step down from the presidency while he is able to assist with the transition. Dr.
Maurer told the board that he, Dr. Maurer, plans to support Mr.
Mark Riccobono as the next president of the National Federation of the Blind.

Mr. Riccobono presently serves as the Executive Director of the Jernigan Institute. He is an accomplished individual with the strength and wisdom to assume the serious responsibility of leading our movement. He has brought to his work the imagination and competency we demand from our president.
We are truly fortunate that within the Federation we have individuals who are able and willing to give all they have to furthering our move toward true equality. The demands of the NFB presidency are unimaginable. We require our leader to give all of his time, all of his imagination, and all of his personal reserve of judgment to leading our organization. This is what Dr. Maurer has done for the past 27 and a half years, and it is what Mark Riccobono will do for the time of his presidency.

The transition brings to an end one chapter in our history and what a glorious chapter it has been. We cannot face the loss of Dr.Maurer’s leadership without a sense of sadness; but the transition to a new president is not just the absence of what we had before. The transition heralds a new chapter in our history and with it, new opportunities-the chance to take all that has come before and build something bigger and more powerful than we have ever known.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Maurer for his leadership, his friendship and his faithful devotion to our cause; and please join me in wishing Mark Riccobono the very best as he seeks to take the foundation that is all that has come before and build upon it the next great chapter in our history.”

Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 462-8575