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
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 email@example.com or call us at 877-630-7190.
Comcast Makes TV More Accessible
Comcast recently announced it 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 will be made available to all Comcast X1 digital subscribers in coming weeks.
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 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.
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. Please consider joining us at the KCB annual state convention (see convention information elseware on this page) on November 21-22 to hear an update from Larry. Those interested in more information about the project and/or following its progress should also listen to an interview with Larry on the September 5 edition of 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.
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