The 41st annual Kentucky Council of the Blind conference and convention will be November 21 - 23 at the Ramada Inn North, 1041 Zorn Avenue in Louisville.
KCB conventions are always packed with exhibits, workshops and programs, food and fun and friends; this year will feature many new and exciting events.
Room rates at the Ramada are $72 a night plus tax. Included with your room are free wi-fi and free breakfast. Call the Ramada at 502-897-5101 to make reservations; be sure to let them know you are with the Kentucky Council of the Blind to receive our discounted rate.
The Conference and Convention Committee is completing plans for the weekend; pre-registration information will be mailed in mid-October.
NEW KCB Chapter
It's official! The Support Alliance of the Visually Impaired (SAVI) is KCB's newest chapter.
The KCB Board voted to approve SAVI's application at its September 15 meeting. SAVI is based in Owensboro, and joins with 19 members. Rick Boggess is the President of the new group.
Top News Stories
Free Currency Readers Available in September
In early July, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) announced that, as an interim measure in advance of issuing tactile-enhanced Federal Reserve notes, it will begin providing the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier free to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals in two phases. On September 2, 2014, in partnership with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) the BEP will initiate a four-month pilot program where NLS patrons can pre-order a currency reader. During this phase eligible NLS patrons can call 1-888-NLS-READ or the Kentucky Talking BookLibrary at 800-372-2968 to request a unit. Beginning on January 2, 2015, Currency readers will be widely available to all U.S. citizens, and persons residing legally in the U.S., who are blind or visually impaired. Individuals who are not NLS patrons must submit an application, signed by a competent authority, certifying eligibility. Click here for more information about the program.
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.
More People to beServed by OFB
On September 2 Executive Director Allison Flanagan announced that categories 2 and 3 are now open at the Office for the Blind. This means that services will now be provided for all applicants requesting services except those in category 4 which is comprised of individuals with nonsignificant disabilities. Opening categories 2 and 3 will allow OFB to serve approximately 67 people who have not been receiving services. If you or someone you know has been waiting for services from OFB, but have been unable to receive those services because of the lack of funds to serve these categories, please note that it may now be possible to obtain those services. Individuals who have not applied for service or who are uncertain about their status are encouraged to contact their counselor.
This is very good news, and we hope that OFB will be able to continue this level of service to clients throughout the state.
Low-cost Refreshable Device to be Available in 2016
On August 27, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) announced that it joined eighteen other non-profit organizations to form the Transforming Braille Project in 2012. Since that time This international consortium has been exploring options for creating a low-cost refreshable braille display.
As a result of these efforts, Orbit Research LLC and the Transforming Braille Group LLC recently announced an agreement to produce a low-cost stand-alone 20-cell refreshable braille display for $300 which will significantly reduce the cost of bringing refreshable braille displays to those in other countries and will provide libraries in developed countries with a viable alternative to hard copy braille. The display, which will work through USB and Bluetooth connectivity, is not intended to compete with refreshable braille displays already on the market. The new display will be unveiled at CSUN (California State University, Northridge Center on Disabilities Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference) in 2016.
Larry Skutchan, CEO of Transforming Braille Group LLC and Technology Project Manager at APH, expressed the hope that this more affordable display will lead to increased literacy since it will permit widespread distribution of materials in electronic format which can be displayed and read in braille. Those interested in more information about the project and/or following its progress should listen to this week's interview with Larry on Sound Prints and click here for additional information on the project.
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.
Convention Sessions Archived on ACB Radio
Many sessions from the 2014 ACB National Convention in Las Vegas were broadcast live on ACB Radio. To view a list of archived sessions from 2014 and previous years, "Click here.
Meet the Kentucky Council of the Blind
Welcome to the website of the Kentucky Council of the Blind.
KCB is a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. KCB has hundreds of blind, visually impaired, and sighted members throughout the Commonwealth.
KCB is the leading nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of the blind and visually impaired in Kentucky. KCB works for equality and independence for all people with vision loss. KCB advocates for quality education for blind children and youth, expanded training and job opportunities for visually impaired adults, improved services for seniors over age 60 who are just losing their vision, and better public transportation for people who cannot drive.
KCB supports issues that touch all blind and visually impaired people, such as:
Positive change in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
Accessible money, identifiable by touch
Accessible websites that work with speech, large print, and braille displays
Audible traffic signals and detectable warnings for pedestrian safety for everyone
Spoken emergency warnings and video description on television
Talking menus and other features to make cell phones, DVD players and other technology accessible to people who cannot read the screen
Accessible textbooks in braille, large print and electronic formats for blind and visually impaired students