Archive for October, 2009

Dwindling donations end anti-addiction ministry at county jail

By Terry Vau Dell © Chico Enterprise-Record, California — Though legally blind, Linda Vazquez has helped many Butte County inmates gain the inner-vision to escape often chronic addictions to drugs and alcohol. For the past five years, she has been taking a special bus for the disabled from her home in Oroville to the county jail and court, as part of a jail ministry program she set up through the Salvation Army. But with public donations slowing to a trickle for local charities during the current economic downturn, the unpaid volunteer has announced that she will have to stop her one-woman crusade on Nov. 1…. READ ARTICLE

Convention for the Blind in Fresno

© KMPH-TV, Fresno — The California Council of the Blind was founded here in Fresno, and Friday they celebrated their 75th anniversary. Organizers say the city of Fresno has come a long way in helping those with vision loss, but there is still progress to be made…. READ ARTICLE

Examining Gene Therapy as Treatment for Blindness

By Ira Flatow © NPR News — Reporting in The Lancet, doctors found success in treating Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a rare type of blindness, with gene therapy. Study author Katherine High explains how injecting a gene-carrying virus into the eye has improved vision in a handful of patients…. READ ARTICLE

Volunteers raise future guide dogs

By Connie Midey © The Arizona Republic, Phoenix — Raising a puppy properly requires substantial time, energy and heart – raising one to assist a blind person even more so. Yet Sandi Alsworth has opened her home and her arms to 23 of the little guys, usually when they’re 8 to 10 weeks old, and a year or so after their arrival she has had to say goodbye to each. The latest canine resident of her Mesa home is Fodi, a yellow Labrador retriever. Sometime after his first birthday, he’ll travel to Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, Calif., for advanced training before being placed with a person whose vision is impaired. And Alsworth will miss him, just as she has the other adoptive members of her household before Fodi…. READ ARTICLE

‘High Contrast’ opening at Gallery at Clovernook

By Shauna Steigerwald © The Enquirer, Cincinnati — “High Contrast,” the next exhibit at The Gallery at Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in North College Hill, will feature artwork for people with visual impairments by 15 local artists. The exhibit will run from Nov. 6 through 27, with an artists’ reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6. Featured artists include Farron Allen, Julie Baker, Jymi Bolden, Jeff Casto, Saad Ghosn, Kevin Harris, Eunshin Khang, Carol Newsome, Jamie Oberschlake, Cheryl Pannabecker, Cathy Quimby, Brandi Sanchez, Lisa Scherra, Thom Shaw and Kim Taylor…. READ ARTICLE

Hadley School for the Blind Wins RSA Commissioner’s Award …

PRWeb, Winnetka, IL — The Hadley School for the Blind has received the prestigious Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner’s Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Education and Training. Hadley also received a $500,000 grant ($100,000 per year for five years) from the RSA to continue its successful distance education braille courses for blindness professionals. The RSA award recognizes programs that support the state-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, honoring excellence in effective partnering among state agency, educational and federal leaders. It was given in recognition of the Hadley School’s ongoing commitment to braille instruction and the teaching and training the school provides to ensure that individuals who are blind have the braille education necessary to be contributing members of society. Hadley currently offers 13 different braille courses – 10 for tactile learners and 3 for sighted individuals – taught by 14 braille instructors…. READ PRESS RELEASE

Matthew is shipshape for broadcasting

By Lesley Quinn © The Evening Times, Scotland — Young Matthew Ward has been making waves with his self-produced podcast for a Glasgow tourist attraction. Matthew, a pupil at the Visual Impairment Unit at Rosshall Academy, spent a week on work experience at the Tall Ship Glenlee recording interviews with volunteers and staff using his Braillenote machine. He then wrote and recorded his own script about the Glenlee exhibit…. READ ARTICLE

Mom helps parents of visually impaired youngsters

By Daniel Beekman © Bronx Times Reporter, New York — Jeannette Christie of Throggs Neck is the woman behind NYC NAPVI, a support group for parents of children with visual impairments. She works out of the New York Institute for Special Education on Pelham Parkway and has escorted children to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Daniel Beekman It was 2003. Jeannette Christie of Throggs Neck had to choose. Go to work in Manhattan or escort her legally blind son to a performance at the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE) on Pelham Parkway. Christie chose Thomas and her world changed. At the performance, she met National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) executive director Susan LaVenture. Christie quit her job to launch a NAPVI chapter in NYC. NYC NAPVI helps parents find information and resources; Christie offers leadership, support and training. Her business cards wait in eye clinics around the city for shell-shocked parents to grab…. READ ARTICLE

Voting Gets Easier For Disabled, But Problems Remain

By Joseph Shapiro © NPR Health — On Election Day last year, the Government Accountability Office sent investigators to 720 polling places around the country to see if people in wheelchairs, or who were blind deaf or had other disabilities, could easily cast a ballot. The results were mixed. There was some barriers, from the parking lot to the voting booth, in more than two-thirds of the polling places. But it turns out this was a significant improvement over what GAO investigators had found when it did a similar survey in 2000. The findings prompted us to call Jim Dickson, an activist who’s taught a lot of people about the problem of polling places that often exclude people with various disabilities. Dickson, with the American Association of People with Disabilities, knows a lot about this because of his own advocacy, and because he’s got personal experience. He’s a blind man and, for years, he had to rely on others to help him fill out a ballot…. READ ARTICLE

Regents hear cost-cutting plans; vote scheduled for this afternoon

BY STACI HUPP, JASON CLAYWORTH, BRIAN MORELLI AND GUNNAR OLSON © Des Moines Register … In addition, plans were laid out by Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, the Iowa Braille School and the Iowa School for the Deaf School for the Blind. The Vinton school must cut $546,374. Some positions will remain open and there will be a reduction in employees, although Clancy didn’t specifically mention how many jobs would be eliminated. The plan also includes temporary leaves for some employees and faculty. Clancy acknowledged that not all groups of employees will share equally in the cuts, saying the reason depends on complicated agreements. In total personnel costs will be reduced by $344,378, he said. The school will also cut $203,047 from operational costs including deferring purchases of furniture and vehicles and limits to travel. Nine students live on the school’s campus. The school’s focus is largely to provide more outreach and to largely provide short-term services on campus, Clancy said. “Our goal is to put more of those services out regionally and into their home communities, which we are accomplishing,” Clancy said…. READ ARTICLE