East Bay Center for the Blind


Fall 2013
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006
E-Mail: ebcb@pacbell.net,
Web site: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org

A Point for Dialogue

Editor's Corner

By Maureen Schulz

Our last issue of the newsletter featured a very thoughtful article written by Daveed Mandell, in which he describes the many ways our Center functions as an informal support network for its members. As a center independent of the Department of Rehabilitation and run mostly by blind people, we hold a unique place in the local blindness community that gives us the chance to help and learn from each other and to make our own decisions about Center priorities, as he points out. His article has stimulated some discussion that I think is worth addressing here.

As for myself, I must say that I find it quite refreshing to be part of the Center community where I do not have to explain or make light of challenges I deal with in what, let's face it, is actually an incredibly sight-centered world, in which blindness-related needs are often ignored or are reluctantly addressed only after much advocacy. Like many blind people, to give an example, I work in an office where I am the only blind person. I feel accepted by my sighted colleagues, as long as my disability stays in the background, so to speak; as long as I address accessibility issues very cautiously, preferably without alienating anyone. There are times when I feel that only a blind person "really gets it" and understands what those challenges are like. And that's when I feel Center members can really be a source of strength for each other.

But does this imply, then, that sighted members are not valued equally? Some members are asking this legitimate question. When blind people are expressing their anger or frustrations, and want a group that expresses their concerns first, what does that say about their view of sighted people? Put another way, as one sighted person said to me quite succinctly once: "Do I have to apologize to you for being sighted? And if so, what am I being accused of?"

Let's also not forget that for some the division between blind and sighted is not nearly as clear-cut, as it is for those of us who have been blind all our lives. What they physically see from day to day, perhaps even from moment to moment, may vary greatly. Who should they identify with? Are they blind, sighted, or somewhere in between? They were part of the sighted community once; now they try to identify with those that are blind, but is it really a good fit? And what is it like when they feel as if they might be the target of our frustrations with the sighted world, however justified these may be?

As I write this, I realize that there is so much truth in all these versions of reality, and nothing I can say can easily settle these differences or make them smaller. What I do hope is that we can make room to keep talking to each other about them; and, if at all possible, to hear each other out.

President's Message

By Anita March

Hello, everyone!

It's a busy fall season at the East Bay Center for the Blind with many events planned and classes in session.

At the October business meeting, some of our members will share what they are doing and what they enjoy about the classes or workshops they are taking. We will also be electing members to serve on the Nominating Committee which presents a slate of new officers for the January 2014 Center elections, and e will of course also take nominations from the floor at the January business meeting. After the October business meeting adjourns, we will enjoy a delicious ham dinner.

November brings the Harvest Festival with crafts and yummy food for sale. Chili and garlic bread make for a perfect cold day lunch.

December brings our very popular Holiday luncheon, complete with a festive turkey dinner. The highlight of our Holiday festivities will be the raffle ticket drawing for $500, first prize; $250, second prize; and a wonderful large basket full of goodies for men and women. This drawing is the biggest fundraising event of the year, and we need your help in selling and purchasing tickets so we can fund Center activities and events. Raffle tickets cost $2 each, or $10 for a book of six tickets. Call the Center at 510-843-6935 for more information, and thanks for making this a successful event. YOU make the difference!

Wishing you all the best of the Season!


Submitted By: Leah Gardner

(The following is an announcement about BART construction near the Ashby station that will affect those using public transportation to attend Center events) BART is launching a sidewalk and driveway improvement project at Ashby station continuing through the end of the year. These improvements will require the temporary relocation of some bus stops. The project will take place in several phases; I will list those that are relevant:

Phase 2: Temporarily relocate the bus stop to Martin Luther King Way to replace a section of sidewalk along Martin Luther King Way as well as to resurface asphalt on the road that accesses the station.

Phase 3: Replace a section of sidewalk along Martin Luther King Way.

Phase 4: Temporarily relocate Bus Stop to Ashby Avenue to replace another section of sidewalk along Martin Luther King Way and resurface asphalt at another section of the road.

Phase 5: Replace a section of sidewalk along Ashby Avenue.

Phase 6 and 7: Resurface and waterproof sidewalk along Adeline Street. (For complete details, see www.bart.gov.)

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next Quarterly Business Meeting will take place on Saturday, October 26, from 1 to 4 PM. Those present will elect three members of the Nominating Committee, which will offer a suggested slate of officers during the Center's January 2013 elections. (Two other committee members will be elected by the Board.) Lunch will consist of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, Waldorf salad, roll and pie. The meal costs $10 across the board, and must be reserved no later than Wednesday, October 23.

Annual Harvest Festival: The Center's annual Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday, November 23, from noon to 4 PM. We will be selling holiday craft items and baked goods. Please contact the Center if you plan to bring your favorite handmade ornaments or other wares to sell, or if you wish to contribute your most tempting and tasty treats. Lunch will consist of chili, garlic bread and relish plate. The meal costs $6 across the board, and must be reserved no later than Wednesday, November 20.

Annual Holiday Party: The Center's annual Holiday Party will take place on Saturday, December 14, from noon to 4 PM. The Center will serve a traditional turkey dinner. Lunch costs $5 for those members who pay their 2014 dues before or on the day of the party. Otherwise, the cost for guests and members who don't pay their dues is $10. The Center will sell craft items. Lunch must be reserved no later than Wednesday, December 11; however, remember to reserve your lunch as soon as possible, as our space is limited. Reservations will be closed as soon as all spaces are filled, even if that occurs prior to December 11.

Center Announcements

Book Club Selections: November: The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks; December: The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. The book club meets on the first Friday of each month from 10 to 11:30 AM.

Writing Club: The Writing Club meets on the third Friday of each month from 10 to 11:30 AM.

Dues Reminder: 2014 dues are now due and payable. Please remit your $10 to the Center as soon as possible. If you pay your dues on or before December 14, the date of our Holiday Party, your meal will cost $5. Otherwise, the cost for guests and members who don't pay their dues is $10.

Center Closures: The Center will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Wednesday, November 27, through Friday, November 29. It will re-open on Tuesday, December 3. The Center will be closed for the Winter Holiday from Tuesday, December 24, through Friday, January 3. It will re-open on Tuesday, January 7.

Candy Orders: Charlotte Criddell is now taking orders for boxes of See's Candy. Charlotte's email address is ccriddell@sbcglobal.net, and her phone number is 510-632-0917. Orders must be received by Saturday, November 17.

The following 1-lb. boxes and/or cans, and gift certificates, are available for $17.50 each: soft center chocolates, assorted chocolates, bridge mix, milk chocolates, dark chocolates, nuts and chews, Victorian Toffee, Almond Royale, and Toffeettes. An 8-oz. box of assorted peppermints or molasses chips costs $8.75. A 1-lb. box of assorted truffles costs $19.90. A 12-oz. can of fancy mixed nuts costs $9.60. A 24-oz. box of peanut brittle costs $17.10. A box of eight awesome bars (walnut squares, nutty chewies or chocolate-covered peanut brittle) costs $9.80. A 21-oz. box of thirty lollipops (assorted, chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla or Cafe au lait) costs $16.75.

Microsoft Launches New Program for Assistive Technology Users

If you have questions about PC accessibility features, or would like to know if your PC is optimized for accessibility, you can contact Microsoft Accessibility Support at 1-800-936-5900. Their agents can even remotely log into your PC to correct settings or fix issues you may have. This service is free of charge and available to all Windows users.

Two Unique Web Sites for Your Consideration

Submitted By: Robert Acosta

Dear members of The East Bay Center for the Blind,

I remember your great work so very well, as I served for 15 years as the President of the California Council of the Blind and visited the Center many times for good fun and socializing.

I want to introduce you to two wonderful web sites which you can reach on your computer. They are as follows: www.accessibleworld.org and www.radiooutofthepast.org.

Accessible World was founded by my dear, dear friend the Late Patricia price. Pat served as the Secretary of The American Council of the Blind, and for many years she was on their Board of Directors. In 2005, she called to ask me to help her with the programming on this site. I agreed, and what an exciting life I am having. Sadly, pat passed away on February 1, 2009.

Accessible World was created not just to serve disabled persons, but everyone in this world. Pat took accessibility very seriously, and we have tried to make the site fully accessible to all.

You take part on our web sites by using a computer headset/microphone. You enter one of our site's virtual "rooms" and follow the prompts. You download, install and run our simple software and reenter the room. Put your name in the user name field and tab once and enter and you should be able to speak to us by holding down the control key and letting it up to listen.

Some do not have microphones so they can text chat by hitting f8, writing down their comments or questions and hitting enter. We can read your comments by hitting f9 and arrowing up and down. F7 allows you to find out who is in the room and f6 let's you read our newswires.

Now, you ask, what is actually on this site? We have a number of virtual rooms. You find them by hitting h until you hear conference rooms and then start tabbing.

We have The Pat price Room where we hold "Tek Talk" every Monday evening at 5 PM. As you can imagine, we talk technology pertinent to blind persons.

Our "Book Nook" Room is where we hold book discussions for such programs as "Novel Ideas" and "Worlds of Books", and Our "Books and Beyond" Room is where interviews are conducted with authors and other famous persons. We also have The "Empowerment Zone" and talk about self-help books.

Our "Guide Dog users" Room is self-explanatory. It is where guide dog users get together at least once monthly on the second Wednesday on the program "You and Your Guide Dog." We have a Mystery Book Discussion Group, and Our History buffs meet the first Tuesday of each month.

Our second site www.radiooutofthepast.org is for old-time-radio users. At certain times during the week, we get together at 5 PM to discuss OTR and to play broadcasts. We meet in The Bertelsen Room on that site. Then there is "Joanie's Corner," a musical program held in The "Joanie's Corner" Room at 1 PM Pacific time each Tuesday. They play the sweetest music this side of Heaven.

All of our programs are recorded and archived for people to download, and Our virtual rooms are available 24/7 for you to use to get together with your friends or to attend our meetings. Each month, we send out a calendar of events.

If you wish to contact me with any comments or questions, please write to Robert Acosta boacosta@pacbell.net

I want to conclude by congratulating all of you for your great work for The East Bay Center for the Blind. You are courageous people who have chosen not to sit at home due to your blindness, but to get out and have fun!

My Camping Trip with BORP

Submitted By: Preston Moses

I would like to share my camping experience at Lake Del Valle in Livermore.

On Friday, July 12, we met at the Ed Roberts campus for our camping trip. We took the BORP van and arrived about an hour and a half later. We learned to pitch a tent and to unfold sleeping bags. Then we had a nice dinner of burritos, salad and beans, and finally we enjoyed Smores and marshmallows over a campfire.

We got up the next morning for a continental breakfast, and then went on a nice hour-long boat ride on the lake. After lunch, we went to the lake and hung out for a while. We then came back to enjoy homemade ice cream and cobbler, and Later after a pasta dinner, we took a nature walk and learned about mystery animal sounds.

We awoke the next morning, folded our tents and sleeping bags and left camp that afternoon. I had a wonderful time with lovely people and enjoying nature. I would encourage anybody to take part in the BORP camping trip next year. You will have a lot of fun!

Carry S. Carter's Pound Cake Recipe

1 pound of butter (salted)
3 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups of all-purpose flour
7 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon rum flavor
1/4 cup of milk

Leave eggs and butter unrefrigerated overnight. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, gradually add the eggs. Then gradually add flour, then add the three flavors, beat slightly, then add milk. Beat thoroughly, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Use desired baking pan, e.g., loaf pan, tube pan, Bundt cake pan, etc. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees and bake for approximately 1 hour. Insert a small knife into the cake. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done. Otherwise, cook for one minute at a time more until cake is done.

Let the cake cool and place on desired cake plate, right side up.

Mission Statement

The mission of the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is to develop quality programs and services for blind and visually impaired people by providing a safe and supportive environment, while encouraging one another through leadership, interaction and the sharing of information, resources and skills. The center's activities enhance independence, dignity and self-determination. As a self-governing organization of primarily blind and visually impaired persons, the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is committed to remaining a living, working foundation of strength, as we participate in the larger community in all areas of our daily lives.

Center Officers and Directors

General Manager: Jan Santos
President: Anita March
First Vice-President: Liz Deeff
Second Vice-President: Steve Fort
Recording Secretary: Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary: Patricia Nash
Treasurer: Ida Johnson
Directors: Dorothy Donaville; Claude Everett; Katrina McCurdy; Grace Rodriguez; Connie Skeen


If you or a friend would like to remember the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., in your will, you can do so by employing the following language: "I give, devise, and bequeath unto the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $___ (or ___) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
-- Mark Twain