2015 KCB Membership Dues Due
If you haven't already paid your 2015 kCB dues, and if you are not already a KCB life member, it is time to pay those 2015 dues. KCB dues are $8 for one year, or $40 for a life membership. If you paid dues at the November convention, or if you are a life member or a member of either the SAVI or Next Generation chapters, you are all set; you do not owe 2015 dues.
But if you haven't paid dues yet, and if you are not a life member or a paid-in-full member of SAVI or Next Generation, we would love to have you as a member of KCB. Dues can be paid at any chapter event. Or you can pay dues by check or credit card; make check payable to KCB and mail to: Kentucky Council of the Blind, 148 Vernon Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206. To pay by credit card, call us at 502-895-4598 and have your credit card number handy.
Thanks so much for your participation.
ACB Provides Links to Accessible IRS Resources
It's the time of year when taxpayers prepare to file their tax returns. ACB has created a webpage with links to lots of accessible forms and information from the IRS. Click here to visit the web page.
People who are unable to complete their tax returns because of a physical disability or are age 60 or older may get assistance through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. You can find a nearby VITA or TCE location by calling 1-800-906-9887.
Greater Louisville Council Offers Friday Night Activities
GLCB is combining its Tuesday and Friday night activities into one weekly Friday night activity using the following schedule: 3:30 to 6:00, Education and Technology; 6:15, dinner; 7-10, games and crafts. Bingo will continue to be from 7-10 on the second Friday with that slot being used for craft and games on the other Fridays. Dinner will be $5 on craft and game nights while pizza will be $5 (for up to 3 slices, additional slices $2 each) and bingo will be $2. (Doors open at 3.) Those interested in participating should call 502-895-4598 for the latest information and to registrer. All activities are held at United Crescent Hill Ministries, 150 South State Street, Louisville. Please join us for lots of sharing and fun!
Follow the KY Legislature
The Ky State Legislature is currently in the midddle of its 30-day session. Click here to visit the Legislature's Home Page which contains updated information about bills, legislative meeting schedules, and contact information.
There are several phone numbers for those wishing to contact their legislators. Call the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181 to offer your feedback or opinion on any issue. Those who prefer to offer their feedback in Spanish can call the General Assembly's Spanish Line at (866) 840-6574. Citizens with hearing impairments can use the TTY Message Line at (800) 896-0305. A taped message containing information on the daily schedule for legislative committee meetings is available by calling the Legislative Calendar Line at (800) 633-9650.
Two New Chapters Receive Charters
The Kentucky Council of the Blind presented charters to two new chapters at its 41st annual convention which was held November 21-22 at the Ramada Inn on Zorn Avenue in Louisville. The Support Alliance of the Visually Impaired (SAVI) was approved at the September KCB Board meeting. SAVI is based in Owensboro, and joins with 20 members. Rick Boggess is the President of the new group which meets on the second Tuesday of each month at Wing Avenue Baptist Church in Owensboro.
KCB Next Generation (for those under 40) also recieved its charter. The KCB Board voted to approve the chapter's application at its October 20 meeting. Joey Couch is the President of the new group.
ACB Braille Forum and ACB Reports in Apple Store
The ACB Braille Forum and ACB Reports podcasts are now available in the iTunes store.In the iTunes store you can search for Braille Forum and you will see the rss feed appear and then you can subscribe to it. You can alsosearch for acb reports and that feed will appear as well.
If you have the iPhone 6 or 6 + you can double tap on the podcasts icon and search for either braille forum or acb reports and find the podcasts.
Top News Stories
AccessNote Now Available fore Android
According to the February 2015 issue of Accessworld, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has released the AccessNote notetaker for the Android platform which is available free to all users thanks to generous support from the Motorola Mobility Foundation. This notetaking app, previously only available on the iOS platform, has been designed to take advantage of Android's built in screen reader, TalkBack. The app also has many keyboard shortcuts which makes it easy to use with many wireless Bluetooth keyboards.
AccessNote for Android includes all of the features found in the iOS version plus some new features. Features added to the Android version include the ability to create custom folders, a custom spell check system, the ability to import rich text documents (RTF) and more.
AccessNote is availabel free to those using IOS and Android devices and may be downloaded/installed by visiting the appropriate stores.
FCC Updating List of Nonbroadcast Networks Subject to Video Description Requirements
Current FCC rules require multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems (such as cable and satellite providers) that serve 50,000 or more subscribers to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter (about four hours per week) during prime time or children's programming on each of the top five nonbroadcast networks. Every three years The FCC updates the list of top five nonbroadcast networks that are subject to these requirements. Since July 1, 2012 USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS were required to meet these standards.
On January 7, 2015, the FCC's Media Bureau announced the top 10 nonbroadcast networks based on 2013-2014 ratings: USA Network, ESPN, Turner Network Television (TNT), TBS Network, History, Disney Channel, Fox News Channel, Nickelodeon, A&E Network, and FX.
A nonbroadcast network may request an exemption within 30 days after publication of the Public Notice if it believes it does not air at least 50 hours of prime time programming that is not live or near-live (recorded less than 24 hours before its first airing) per calendar quarter. On January 28, 2015, ESPN requested an exemption.
The Media Bureau will evaluate requests for exemption and announce the list of top five nonbroadcast networks that will be subject to the video description requirements beginning July 1, 2015. . For example, if ESPN is excluded and no other network files a request for exemption, the top five nonbroadcast networks would be USA, TNT, TBS, History, and the Disney Channel.
For further information, contact Maria Mullarkey at (202) 418-2120 or Maria.Mullarkey@fcc.gov.
CVS Health Expands Acccessible Label Options
On January 5 CVS announced that it will begin using the ScripAbility prescription accessibility system to expand its mail order offerings to its CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to the ScripTalk talking prescription labels which they began offering in March 2014, CVS will be able to generate braile and large print labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com.
The ScripTalk talking labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print. The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. Members can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label..
The latest announcement is the result of collaboration between CVS Health, the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and several CVS/caremark members.
Members can request a product from the ScripAbility suite by contacting Caremark's call center at 800-552-8159 or 800-450-3755. To inquire about the readers required to read the ScripTalk labels contact Envision America at 800-890-1180.
ACB Mini Mall Now Open
It's the Latest! It's the greatest! It's the all-new ACB Mini Mall, and it's open for business. Grab your credit card and come right on over to the ACB Mini Mall. You don't need a car; you don't need paratransit; you don't have to wait for a cab or a bus. You don't even have to get dressed to go shopping. Just click here to visit the ACB home page" or click here to go directly to the Mini Mall webpage" AND START SHOPPING!!!
Several shops are now open in the Mini Mall. Browse the ACB Logo Shop, ACB Radio Wave, and the Cane Kiosk and more. More shops are coming soon, and more products will be added every day.
Some products in the Mini Mall ship "Free Matter for the Blind" while others are eligible for combined shipping. For most items that do not ship free matter, the first item ships for $6.00 and each subsequent item is $2.00. Shipping charges may be more for very large or bulky packages. Shipping will not be charged at check-out; rather, it will appear as a second charge to your credit card so that we may ensure that you pay the lowest amount possible.
Tell all your friends about the Mini Mall. Remember that every purchase supports the good work of the American Council of the Blind.
Have questions, comments, or suggestions, or wish to place an order by phone? Email the Mini Mall at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877-630-7190.
TalkingGuide Now Available to Comcast Customers
Comcast is making the TV viewing experience more accessible to its visually impaired cable customers who subscribe to its X1 digital service. The Talking Guide will read out channel listings and program descriptions in a lifelike electronic voice. As a result, visually impaired Comcast subscribers will be able to independently access onscreen information already available to sighted viewers. This will make it easier to change to desired channels, locate favorite programs, and program digital video recorders. Since the cloud-based system operates on the cable provider's data network, users will not have to get new equipmentg. This new feature is now available to all Comcast X1 digital subscribers. Click here for additional information including a short video demonstration.
According to Comcast, the talking guide is the first offered by any cable company in the United States. It was developed in response to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 which requires cable companies to start offering audible menus to make onscreen commands usable by people who have vision problems. The American Council of the Blind was one of the groups which worke to help insure passage of this legislation.
Free Currency Reader Program Expands
As of January 2, 2015, Currency readers are now available to all U.S. citizens and persons residing legally in the U.S., who are blind or visually impaired. Individuals must submit an application. NLS patrons who check the appropriate box on the application do not need to provide any additional documentation. In fact, patrons of the Kentucky Talking Book Library who are unable to download or complete the application may call 800-372-2968 to request that a staff member fill out an application on their behalf. Those who are not NLS patrons may provide copies of documentation of their visual problem from any federal, state or local agency or have the application signed by a competent certifying authority. click here for more information about the program and to download the application.
It should also be noted that EyeNote® for IOS and the IDEAL Currency Reader ®for Android are availabel free to those using these devices and can be downloaded/installed by visiting the appropriate stores. The Bureau of engraving and Printing hopes to begin circulating tactual currency by 2020.
Structured Agreement Announced With WellPoint
Attorneys Linda Dardarian and Lainey Feingold, who have successfully negotiated structured agreements with a number of companies in recent years, recently announced that another agreement has been reached with WellPoint, a company that owns Anthem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield operations across the United States. Under the settlement all WellPoint companies have agreed to provide insurance information in braille, large print, audio and electronic formats. They've also redesigned their websites and mobile applications to be accessible. To find out if your state is covered "Click here."
Members can request the alternative formats by calling the number on the back of their health insurance card, or any other number they use to reach a WellPoint company.
To provide feedback about your experiences with the new program call 510-548-5062 or email Lainey Feingold at LF@LFLegal.com.