Archive for August, 2013

Recipe of the Week – California Chicken

Submitted by Dave Hutchins

Yield: 8 to 9 servings


3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh green bell pepper
3 medium, fresh oranges, peeled and separated into slices


Layer chicken in slow cooker. In separate bowl, combine orange juice, chili sauce, soy sauce, molasses, dry mustard, garlic and onion. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or until chicken is tender but not dry. Stir in chopped green pepper and orange slices. Cover and heat 30 minutes longer.

Reader’s Forum – Week of August 26, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Sally wrote:

In response to Bob Branco’s, “Would you bring your child to church?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!” I would think most intelligent parents would bring some small quiet item for the infant/baby/toddler to entertain himself with. Of course there are always going to be crying babies and it is the parent’s responsibility to take the child out to the vestibule and try and quiet them. Maybe the children are too young to understand God, but “train up a child in the way he should go and he will not stray from it.” A baby at the dinner table doesn’t understand that he is to sit up straight, chew with his mouth closed, and asked to be excused when done eating but if you don’t bring the child up to the dinner table until he is an “appropriate” age, you will have a monster on your hands. The reason parents bring their children to church is so they will get used to it and learn how they are supposed to behave in church. I think it would be absolutely ridiculous to not include your child in your worship service.


Eric wrote:

What are some of the ways you deal with sighted people who grab your arm without asking if you need help? A lot of times I run into people in Los Angeles who are oblivious to the fact that I may go slow, or slower, than usual, thinking they want to help me, but in doing so, they are harassing me. How do you handle aggressive people violating your personal space?


Erin wrote:

Bob, sorry but that is a really selfish opinion. Know why? Because we mothers of young children need church too, and maybe a lot more than you do, since parenting a young child is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting! Yes, we try to keep our Little Ones quiet, buy taking them out means that we have to leave too, especially if they are in that clingy phase and won’t stay in the nursery. I’d ask you next time you hear a baby or toddler in the service to please say a prayer for the weary parents, and then thank God that they are raising the next generation to appreciate church. If you don’t like the noise, maybe you could offer to take a turn sitting in the foyer with the baby, missing the service, so the parents can actually enjoy some spiritual refreshment for once.
I have to add that my husband and I have been raising kids for nearly a decade now, and have never once found someone who was willing to watch our kids for us so that we could go to church and enjoy the service. If we want to attend church, our kids have to come too, because finding someone to watch our kids is difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible.

I’ve been in that lady’s shoes plenty of times, and I Thanked God for the scrap of service I did get to attend, and prayed that my fellow churchgoers would have grace on me and my unhappy baby.


Gerardo wrote:

Responding to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Would You Bring Your Baby to Church? Definitely not! How many times would I accompany my parents to church, and (even worse with my 70% hearing impairment not allowing me to really immerse in the mass) imagine the distractions of small children running around, making baby sounds and the like? I thought why don’t they have some kind of child care in churches?


Beth wrote about what Cheree said about the iPhone:

Congrats on your iPhone success and I have never thought it impossible for a totally blind person to use an I-device. By the same token, the notetakers are still very important. In what other tech circumstance can you find all instructional info on a device in one place, i.e., the device manual? How else can you carry a Braille and speech device in one unit, if that is what you choose to use? Where else can you find an E-mail list where users and staff can interact and help each other with their specialized device, as is true of HIMS? How about the vagaries of Bluetooth, which I understand can be flaky, no problems with the basic notetaker. I cheer the blindness-specific devices, long may they stick around!


Karen wrote:

Hi to all Ziegler readers in Reader’s forum. Here are more reasons you should own a Writer’s companion. If you are writing an essay, article, poem or story there are occasions when you cannot find the right word to suit a topic or thought you are writing about.

This small book can be useful at this time. You can flip through pages looking at many subcategories, to find the right word. I have done this many times and the right word appears to help clarify what I am writing about.

This book can aid students to improve their writing and receive better grades. For writers, this handy book will make your article, poem or story stand out to prospective publishers.

I keep finding new reasons to use this handy little book for articles, stories or poems.

I believe this is a good argument as to why every blind person should learn Braille. It is our literacy and writing phone numbers and addresses and notes for school as well as looking up the spelling and choice of words is important. A Writer’s companion can go anywhere with you in a backpack or tote bag when you are at a library or in school. Seeing you read braille is educational for everyone.

One last note about this book, it makes word usage, clarity and spelling truly accessible.

Thank you for reading.


Mary wrote:

I’m so glad Lynnette Tatum spoke up in favor of using a cane. I started out with fiberglass canes in the 1960s, and had my first one at age fourteen when blind high school students attending public schools in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area had mobility instruction a couple times a week. Later on, it was great to grab my cane and run out to college classes every day. For thirty years, cane in hand, I hurried to the bus stop, day in and day out, and then used it all the time at work. These days I don’t travel as much, but I’m glad to say that I’ve used a graphite cane for over fifteen years and appreciate the roller tip and the new method of sliding it on the ground rather than tapping. As Lynnette says, “I never leave home without it.”


Christine wrote:

In reply to Bob Branco. I have taken a baby to church, and a toddler. As a toddler my daughter was horrible. As I was too embarrassed to keep her with me and I was on my own, I removed her immediately each week and took her to play in the area where the babies and toddlers would come out at a pre-arranged time. Except on special occasions, children and older babies come out of our service once we finish singing hymns, only very tiny babies or visitors might stay in with their older babies or, rarely, toddlers. In our church everyone accepts that sometimes children can’t sit still and nor would they expect them to. I do find this off putting, but I also know from being able to see enough that any child able to speak is too fascinated by my use of a monocular or head mounted binoculars and causes a bit of a whispered nuisance far too much. But why should I be unable to join in if I’m causing the nuisance inadvertently? Trying to acquire words to materials sung on a weekly basis in an accessible format in the type of church I go to isn’t possible – no one can keep it up for more than a week or two before they forget though their hearts are in the right places, their brains’ aren’t.

For various reasons I attend a number of different denominational churches, and sound is far more intrusive in some buildings than in others. I hardly notice the sound of one or two children in a modern building but in one of our churches perhaps built as far back as the 12th century which has fantastic acoustics, even the sound of one baby bounces around the walls and its far more distracting.

On the other hand, I can’t deal with a child in a concert hall at any concert not specifically aimed at children. One cry or sound of a chattering child and my teeth are on edge. I didn’t take my daughter to a concert until she was well into her primary school years and she knew much more about the accepted behavior at concerts than most children as my husband is an audio engineer and we have done a lot of recordings of amateurs and professionals. Bored she was, but she knew better than to speak to me. Now she’s an audio engineer in her own right but has chosen not the concert hall (unless working with her dad as his assistant) but a radio station manager!

I think unless children learn from adults in all situations they won’t learn to attend formal functions at all. We have to give them a bit of leeway – they won’t learn these skills at school any more as I did at boarding school.


Jan wrote:

Regarding whether a baby or toddler should be brought to church, there are two sides to this issue. First of all, it depends on what kind of church it is. As a child, I attended church, probably the same denomination Bob is referring to. This type of church is noted for not having facilities conducive to young children. In those cases, parents shouldn’t bring their kids or should be prepared to take them out if necessary. From the time I was 23 years old, I’ve been attending a different type of church. In all the churches I’ve attended since then, there have been nursery facilities where the children are cared for, given religious instruction if old enough and the parents are able to attend the service knowing that the children are cared for. In two of these churches the nursery workers have been able to see and hear the service while caring for the children, with the help of speaker systems and one-way mirrors.


David wrote:

1. Algebra: No descriptions on any blackboard in any college algebra class was going to help me. I got a reader/tutor and we checked in with the graduate assistant teaching the class from time to time. The TA was, I think, pleased to have the problem go away. I was basically on my own with the reader. I did the same for a predicate calculus and symbolic logic class. Sometimes, you just need to change the playing field, not level it! I did, however, try to take a math placement test but the head of the department was a ditz. A female friend of mine went and he fell over himself getting her the test. Duh. I was also told by a linguistics professor that blind people could not do linguistics. Another genius at LSU, I guess.

2. Man on Bus: No one won here. This guy had some serious problems. I think everyone was at fault some here. It was not an either/or situation. It did remind me of an incident in about 1990 in Philadelphia when the president of the NFB of Pennsylvania would not take a seat on a bus, but wanted to stand like all the other late-comers had to on the bus. They stopped the bus and everyone had to get off and it was a zoo.

3. White Cane: I like using braille. I think it’s neat and exotic and clever. But the cane I feel ties up a hand, is tedious, and a fair, not great, substitute for eyes. But what can I do. If I skip it, I would crash and burn, no bat-echo travel ability.

4. Church: Some denominations, i.e. Episcopal, have a Sunday school running concurrently with services. The parents bring the kids there, and the parents attend services, and the kids come back in just before Communion. I know Catholic churches have cry-rooms. That might be an option. But once when I was in one, the parent gave her six-year-old a coloring book. She had no intention of encouraging the larrikin to attend the priest’s sermon or anything.

5. I am assuming the tandem bikers had usable vision. I’d not think it’d be safe otherwise. It sounds like a very neat journey. Maybe, they’ll write a book. Wish we had tandem biking here in the fall and winter when it’s actually cool enough to ride outside. Louisiana can be blistering in the summer.

6. I think it’s fascinating the NVDA works so well. I have friend who use it. I will soon be using either CASE CATylist of Eclipse for a scoping job and do not think NVDA works with either platform and am doubtful that anyone would enable it. Also, I wish someone would make a simple cheap scanner app. I could just scan my mail and cut and paste it to MSWORD. None of all the bells and whistles than Openbook has that exhaust me. Ditto for Duxbury. It will cost me over $700 to get both software packages upgraded to a 64-bit platform. Yuck.


Deena wrote:

In the Reader’s Forum of the August 5, 2013 edition of the Ziegler Magazine, Kit described about certain phone applications that really fascinated me. I wonder if Kit can answer my following questions to clarify my doubts as to their utility in my particular case.

Presently, I am using Nokia E71 and Nokia E5. Can the Ariadne GPS application be installed on my Nokia E71 and Nokia E5 to give me the same benefits as it does in case of Kin? In other words, is this application compatible with the above said phones?

Is the Look Tell Money Reader local or universal? Does it work only in case America / Dollars or can it be used to identify currency of any country? Is Indian Rupee one of the 20 mentioned currencies that one can identify with the help of the Look Tell Money Reader?

What is TapTapSee and in which areas is it helpful?

How to get those applications and from whom?

If those applications are not compatible with my above said phones, which particular phone can he suggest for me to make best use of those applications?

Kit: please let me hear if you can.

Contributor Kimberly Morrow – With a New Leash on Life Retired Veteran Seeks Public Support to Help Others

Like many other retirees, Doug Olender, 59 and a veteran with 23 years of service, enjoys spending time with Mihwa, his wife of 40 years, and their grandchildren. He also enjoys running the family errands, making the 6 mile trip to WalMart and back several times a week. Like many typical Missourians, Olender travels as much as 22.8 miles per day. But unlike most Missourians, Olender does not drive, so he travels the long distances on foot. He surmises that the exercise is a great benefit in overcoming a past heart attack, Chrohn’s disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. And besides, he knows the routes so well he can do them with his eyes closed.

Olender served eight years in Korea, eight years in Germany, two years in special forces in Fort Bragg, and served as Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics Course Director at Fort Dix. Now, Doug Olender is going blind due to a service-related injury. When his progressive vision loss was diagnosed in 2002, Olender initially felt a bit sorry for himself. “During those first years of declining vision, I stayed at home most of the time, and I gained 75 pounds.” These days, however, feeling sorry for himself is the last thing on Olender’s mind. With 50 pounds now shed and his loyal 3-year-old guide dog by his side, Olender is intent on helping others, and he is asking every fellow Missourian to join in.

Olender discovered early on that life as a blind or visually impaired Veteran isn’t easy. He serves as treasurer of the Blinded Veterans Association Missouri Regional Group. The organization’s total budget is $1480 a year. Yet there are more than 1,200 blind and visually impaired veterans in Missouri. “The only items that are funded are rides to the VA or rides to the doctor,” Olender explains. “And just because you’re blind doesn’t mean you don’t need a social life. But when you are unable to drive, transportation costs are astronomical, and often, it’s difficult just to run basic errands. Being a blinded veteran can be a lonely business. That’s where additional funds would help.”

On Independence Day, 2012, Olender received his own independence in the form of a 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever guide dog named Harry. Olender heard about Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a guide dog school based in Yorktown Heights, NY, from the Veterans Administration. 90 days before obtaining Harry, Olender began going through a rigorous screening process, during which he had to pass extensive medical evaluations, as well as an exhaustive home interview process conducted by the school. Once accepted, Olender was given a class date, at which time he was transported free of charge to the Guiding Eyes facility near Westchester County, NY, a spacious campus and dormitory setting where Olender was matched with Harry and the two of began the intensive 26-day training process. At the end of the program, Olender, Along with twelve other Guiding Eyes graduates, was fully prepared to begin a new life with a specially trained, $45,000 canine partner. As is the case for all Guiding Eyes dog candidates, it didn’t cost Olender a penny. The way Guiding Eyes sees it, the gift of freedom is priceless. And now, Doug and Harry are out to say “thank you” in a very big way.

Helping others comes naturally to Olender, who was voted 1992 all-Europe US military volunteer of the year.
On September 25, 2013, the team of Doug and Harry will begin the 250-mile trek from Clinton, Missouri, to St. Louis, walking the Katy bicycle trails in an effort to raise funds for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and for the Blinded Veterans Association, Missouri Regional Group, and to raise awareness of all the blinded and visually impaired veterans. In total, the out of pocket cost for the walk is $1500. His goal is to raise $10,000 for each organization and help as many veterans as he can.

You can help by donating to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, please send donations using the following website:

All donations by check can be mailed to:
Attn: A Walk for Blindness
Guiding Eyes for the Blind Inc.
611 Granite Springs Road
York Town Heights, New York 10598

To support the Blinded Veterans Association, Missouri Regional Group, please make checks payable to:
Blinded Veterans Association Missouri Regional Group Treasurer, Doug Olender
1906 S.E. 5th Street
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063

Op Ed with Bob Branco – The Best Video Camera for the Blind

Before I describe this outstanding video camera, I want to make it clear that it wasn’t designed for blind people. It just happens to be extremely convenient for the blind to operate; probably the best camera ever manufactured in that regard. This compact video camcorder is the Samsung-164.

If you want to record still photos or small movies, this device has features on it which are easy to find. All you need to do is insert a small video disc inside the camera and point the lens in the direction of what you would like to record. On the opposite end of the lens is the on-off switch. You simply turn the camera on and wait for the disc to load up. Once that happens, you turn the switch one more time to make sure you’re at the beginning of the disc. At the same time, you need to swing the video monitor out at an angle from the camera, because if you could see, you would want to know if you are filming properly. If you’re blind, a sighted person can tell you how good a job you’re doing with your filming. Once you’re absolutely sure that you are ready to record, you press a small, elongated button which is situated alongside the on-off switch, and presto! It is now recording! Most video discs usually last a half-hour to 45 minutes.

Though I am very confident in my ability to take good pictures, there are those who ask me how I do it, given the fact that I have no sight. It doesn’t matter that I can’t see what I’m recording. All I have to do is use my hearing to help me establish my environment. If I need assistance finding a landmark, all someone needs to do is tell me where it is.

My friends and loved ones have seen my video work, and although I have made mistakes from time to time, my video work has been met with some form of amazement. It’s not about my credentials. I am not, and have never been a professional photographer. It’s just that this Samsung camcorder is designed so that a blind person can operate it with no difficulty.

With the rapid change in the development of high video technology, this camcorder, which was on the market in 2006, is outdated. However, I hope there is always a Samsung-164 available on eBay, Craigslist, or any other similar resource, because we as blind people really benefit from it. I can’t think of any other video device that is so easy for us to use.

Feature Writer Ann Chiapetta – Hey, Update Your Website

Have you ever been surfing the web and think you’ve found a website you like, only to find it doesn’t work with a screen reader? I don’t know about you, but it’s even more frustrating when this is discovered after investing a few minutes tabbing through it. I’m not sure where the disconnect is regarding web design and accessibility. The reason I say this is because web standards have become more inclusive in the past five years. Now one can find support and design information on the web from a number of reliable and informative sources. One such source is the University of Minnesota’s website. They hold a high standard in ensuring all students, including those with disabilities can access all UMN services. I find they are a fine example of what inclusive web access is.

They are located at:

Another great resource is the U.S. Access Board’s 508 compliance documentation which can be found at:

So, with all this support, why do website designers still make the mistake of not including accessibility whenever creating a new website?

When I was involved in choosing an open source platform for a non-profit, the first question I asked was how to make it functional and accessible to screen reading software and at the same time be visually appealing. I found the task to be difficult but not impossible. In the end, we got most of our initial needs met and the quirks worked themselves out in time.

My point is this, if someone like me, who is definitely not a programmer, can identify and assist in creating an award winning, accessible and functional website, why can’t the so called “professionals” do it? The answer lies in the lack of awareness. Inclusive design is a fairly new concept to website designers. Many of them have admitted to me that they “forget” to consider that end users like me even attempt to surf the web. One even commented, “Wow, I didn’t know blind people could use computers.”

Additionally, as technology progresses, our responsibility to continue to educate ourselves as blind end users must also increase. This can be frustrating and time consuming. Even so, the burden is ours to bear. If we, as consumers, don’t speak up and educate the very people who design the products we rely upon, who will do it for us? How we each choose to handle this burden is an individual’s choosing. We can choose to boycott a website if it isn’t accessible and it is of no use.

Another choice is to contact the webmaster and tell them what is not accessible and why. I’ve done this on occasion and although it is also time consuming, it has paid off. I choose sites that are important to me, one that I use at least once a week. I take notes on the barriers presented to my screen reader, write them out and send an email. If I cannot do that, then I send a hard copy letter, fax, and sometimes even follow up with a phone call.

So far I’ve convinced a writing website to make a change that increases the functionality and accessibility of the site. I have also been instrumental in educating our regional web services operations in testing the main database and computer I use in the workplace.

What are your successes in making changes on the web? Tell us in the Reader’s Forum.

Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Learning About Accessible Apps for IOS and the Mac on

The built-in apps that come with the iPhone and Mac are very useful, but it’s the hundreds of thousands of other apps that you can get that are the driving force behind people using Apple products. One downside though is that many of the apps that are available are not accessible with Voiceover. So then the question becomes, how do I find out which apps are voiceover friendly and which are not? Simple, visit the Applevis website, and you will likely find an app that fits your needs, and if you don’t you have the option to ask other users if they have suggestions. is a user generated website that is dedicated to informing IOS and Mac users about apps that are accessible with Voiceover. The website offers information about apps in multiple formats. The sections of the website include: Apps, Forum, Blog, Podcasts, Guides, App Deals, and Accessory Guides. Having all these options means that visitors can learn not only about whether an app is accessible, but they may also find a blog post or podcast that gives information on how to use the app.

Browsing the apps that have been posted to the website can be done in multiple ways. One of the most common is to browse by category. Once you’ve chosen a category, you then have the option of filtering your results based on a number of criteria. You may for instance want to only see apps that are free. You also may only want to see apps that have been marked as fully accessible with Voiceover. Having these filters will reduce the number of apps that you have to look through and hopefully point you toward an app that you will choose to download. Another good way to learn about apps that are useful to the blind, is to browse through the list of apps that have been specifically designed for people who are blind or low vision.

The benefit of the website being user generated is that most of the apps have been tested before they are posted to the website. Anyone who has an Applevis account can submit apps, post to the forum, add user guides for apps, and much more. The more users, the more content, and the more apps that the blind will know about.

If you have further questions about the website, feel free to post them in the Reader’s Forum.

Feature Writer Terri Winaught – A History of Internet Radio

From childhood to early adulthood, I loved radio and listened to it constantly. Though I seldom listen to radio these days, I recently found myself wondering how Internet radio got started. Researching that topic then motivated me to do the following series: In this first part, I’ll outline who pioneered Internet radio and how it progressed. In Part Two, I’ll discuss the very different offerings of ACB Radio (American Council of the Blind), and, the latter having been suggested by a Ziegler reader. I’ll conclude by reporting what persons knowledgeable about this topic say about the future of Internet radio.

According to Wikipedia, Internet radio can also be referred to as E-radio, Net radio, Streaming radio, Webcasting, and Web radio. (Streaming refers to uninterrupted information or music which cannot be paused or stopped.)

Whatever you choose to call it, Carl Malamud pioneered Internet radio in 1993 when he broadcast that medium’s first talk show. During his weekly program, Malamud interviewed computer experts. Also in 1993, the band Severe Tire Damage performed the first Internet concert.

In November 1994, a Rolling Stones concert was multicasted on cyberspace along with comments from lead singer Mick Jagger. On November 7th, 1994, WXYC 89.3 FM out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina became the first traditional station in the United States to broadcast on E-radio. Although 91.1 FM out of Atlanta, GA began broadcasting the same day, that fact was not immediately announced.

In 1995, the quality of streamed music improved significantly as a result of “real audio” which enabled the listener to hear music in “real time,” to use the wording of a Time Magazine article. With Real Audio being a free download, companies like Microsoft and Nullsoft made real audio players available, also as free downloads.

In 1996, Edward Lyman introduced, the first Internet station to be legally licensed by both DPI and BMI to broadcast 24 hours a day. That same year, Virgin Radio in London became the first web station to be broadcast in Europe.

As the 1990’s progressed, many new Internet stations began broadcasting, and investors became more interested in this new venture. For example, on July 20, 1999, Yahoo paid $5.7 billion to purchase

Some final points to make about Internet radio are that some stations are web-based only; still others broadcast on AM/FM bands and on the Web, and some are major networks like CBS.

For more information about E-radio, visit Wikipedia or which describes itself as “an unbiased source of information.”

Tell us in Reader’s Forum what Internet stations you listen to and which ones need to increase their accessibility. Also let us know if NFB (The National Federation of the Blind), has an Internet station.

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Gee, That’s Swell Radio!

Ordinarily, I write an iOS app update article that contains several apps I hope you’ll find interesting. This time I’d like to discuss one glorious app – Swell Radio. Swell Radio has its quirks, but it’s very usable. I’ll use the Feedback area to document the issues. It’s currently my App of the Month, though, and here’s why.

Swell Radio plays audio from various sources such as NPR, the BBC, ABC News and a potpourri of others, program after program. It’s an excellent app if you’re exercising, cooking or simply relaxing after a long productive day. It “learns” what programs you like by the minutes you spend listening to a show. Upon opening the app, I briefly heard something about it searching for content. As you know, I am an avid podcast listener and use the Voiceover-friendly iCatcher and Apple’s Podcast apps. In these apps, however, you must manually create a playlist if you want specific shows to play back to back. Swell Radio does the work for you. Granted you don’t know what’s coming next, but you can always use the Forward button to advance to the next track. It’s been great being introduced to new programs as well as hearing those I’ve loved for years in the mix.

The app starts with at least 3 pages of introductory material such as connecting to the usual social media suspects. The only way I found to escape these pages was by doing a three-finger swipe to the left. You’re then taken to the Main Menu, where you can choose from Home, topics, Settings and more. I suggest choosing a topic first. From there you’ll land on the Home screen where a show will begin playing. At the top of the screen there are well-labeled buttons for History, forward, Advanced controls, Track Details and Search. Double-tapping on the Advanced Controls button reveals the all-important playback speed, sleep timer and bookmark options. Make your choices and double-tap on the unlabeled button at the top right. Finally, double-tap on the Advanced Controls button again to close this drop-down list. If you listen to Swell Radio at night and neglect to engage the sleep timer, you might experience some very bizarre dreams. I sure have. Continuing to swipe to the right will reveal options for playback and sharing.

VoiceoverAlert1: While in the Bookmark section, having double-tapped on your desired program, the unlabeled play button is directly underneath the program name. Perform a two-finger tap and hold to open the “button labeling” area; type (or dictate) “Play” and double-tap on the “Save” button.

VoiceoverAlert2: You can search for a program but, frustratingly, Voiceover is unable to read the results.

Wishing you many swell hours of listening.

Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Criminals with a Conscience

Some crime victims suffer for an extended period of time, for others it could be an eternity, but there are some scenarios in which crime victims actually benefit in the long run. Take San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services, a California based organization that was burglarized, only to wind up being bombarded with more donations than they could handle, as an example. It all began on the final night of the month in July, when Executive Director Candy Stallings received a troubling phone call. The caller informed her that the security alarm at the office had been activated, and the police were on their way.

After hanging up, Ms. Stallings decided she was headed for the office too, and arrived shortly after the authorities. Once on the scene, she was notified that the criminals had already come and gone. They had entered through the ceiling, and managed to make off with every computer on the premises. “It was pretty devastating,” Ms. Stallings said. “I thought that we’re never going to recover from this.” Ms. Stallings did recover though, just not in a way that she could have ever imagined. The next sequence of events proved to be stunning, and started just a few hours later.

Once Ms. Stallings returned home, she eventually received another phone call in the middle of the night. Unfathomably, it was the security company again, alerting her that the police were headed back due to another possible invasion. Ms. Stallings returned too, only to find that the criminals really did come back a second time. They successfully fled the scene again, but left some things behind this time. Each one of the six desk top computers had been returned, and one laptop too. If that was not enough, the piece of paper found inside of the laptop might have been the real shocker.

The piece of paper contained a short message expressing deep remorse for the crime, and lauded Ms. Stallings and her nonprofit for the services they provided. They were oblivious to the efforts of the center, even referring to their own actions as sick. “It’s unbelievable,” Ms. Stallings said. “Those persons that came into the office had a change of heart.” The famous note probably would have never been forgotten anyway, but there is absolutely no chance of that because Ms. Stallings plans to frame it in the office.

Although many strangers have never seen the note, they have gotten wind of the story, and the support for the organization that followed has been overwhelming. The offers for donations have come from several angles, eventually becoming too much to keep track of. As a result, Ms. Stallings had to set up a website specifically for donations. Furthermore, the word traveled to sexual assault victims who then reached out to the center for help, and amazingly all of the thanks goes to some criminals who brought on all of this attention.

The note read, “We had no idea what we were taking. Here’s your stuff back. We hope that you can continue making a difference in people’s lives. God bless.”

Lt. Paul Williams, who has been with the San Bernardino Police Department for more than 20 years, said he has never seen anything like it.


Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – College Part 3

I attended my first years of college in the early 1990’s. Let’s rewind a bit. There was no widespread usage of the Internet at that time and Windows was yet to come into our lives. I didn’t get my first email account until 1992 and that was only because we had to have them and we emailed each other on campus. People didn’t have home computers or email addresses on a large scale.

As that first year of college took place, I had other issues to deal with besides the lack of math skills that I possessed. My major was Meteorology. No one was going to stop me from becoming a Meteorologist. I was fixated on this idea and I felt as though there were no other possibilities for me. I took the first Meteorology course and started to get to know the other students involved in the major. I went to the weather center and also started to get to know the professors and staff that worked at the center. I realized that I couldn’t easily see the weather maps that we got into the center. They were printed from a large fax machine. The paper was a dull brown color and the machine burned the images onto the paper. These images were a purple color. This contrast was almost impossible for me to see or read. When the maps were analyzed, we would take colored pencils and color all of the different systems on the map. This was done by using a standard for the different items on the map.

At first, I was able to obtain an electronic magnifier from Services for the Blind. They gave me a unit which would show color to me. At this time, those machines were extremely large and thousands of dollars. The electronic magnifier did help, but, the poor contrast on the maps couldn’t be made better, even if it were magnified many times.

I would explain to my professors that I couldn’t see the maps. This seemed simple to tell someone, I can’t read this, but, they actually didn’t understand this, and, I also learned that they didn’t understand how to help me. I didn’t know what to do at this point and the fact that I was struggling in math only made everything that much worse. The meteorology professors would say, “I will help you”, but when push came to shove, they really didn’t know how to help me. At that time, I was still comfortable with telling people that I couldn’t see and expecting Ms. Waterman to come in and say, “Ok, here are all of the things you can do to help with this situation”. This was a definite transitional period that I needed to go through but at some level, I didn’t have the confidence I needed to effectively communicate my needs. I was also still thinking that there would be someone who would come along and solve the problem.

I had a long conversation with my counselor from Services for the Blind about all of these issues. Over the summer, before my second year of college, she did some research and found some new technology for the weather center. They purchased a new machine to receive the weather maps. This new machine used the latest technology at that time, which printed the maps in clear, black print on good, white paper. This was a blessing for sure! It couldn’t have come at a better time either. I was about to take my next two Meteorology courses, Weather Analysis and Forecasting I and II. I needed to learn how to analyze the maps and give a daily weather briefing to our class. The technology that they purchased helped me to accomplish this goal and do well in both of those classes! So, for the time being, it seemed like the problems were solved.