April, 2004
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006

Editor's Corner
By Daveed Mandell

Isn't spring a marvelous season? What beautiful weather we've been having here in the Bay Area!

When the Center throws a party, it's definitely memorable. Last month's Mardi Gras was a big hit! "Bush Street Blue" was in great form! The music was fine, the cassoulet delicious, the beer and wine plentiful! The 70 people gathered here seemed to have a great time.

I was pleased that Jerry Fields came to the party. We wish him a speedy recovery from his recent illness.

Although I didn't win even one game, I thought last month's Pasta-Bingo Fundraiser went very well indeed. The pasta casserole was sumptuous, the libations flowed steadily, and some folks actually went home with more money than they brought with them! On the whole, I'm sure that the 55 people who attended the party enjoyed themselves immensely.

While several members contribute time and effort to make Center events happen, it is Lizz Deeff, our dedicated First Vice-President, who has been for years acting as our events cordinator. We appreciate her talent, creativity and hard work. The Center is very lucky to have someone as capable and competent as Lizz, time and time again, has proven herself to be!

Calling all members for contributions to this newsletter! Please e-mail me at, or phone me on 510-665-9260.

Enjoy the weather and the season!

President's Message
By Grant Metcalf

2004 is certainly a busy year for the Center. We're now involved with several projects.

We are glad to have Carl Simmons heading a Low Vision support group, which, we hope, will encourage more people to join the Center.

Since last year we have been working with Rebuilders Together, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley, on a bathroom remodelling project. We plan to widen the doorway of what is now the women's bathroom and move the sink to the back of the room. To do this, we must shorten the men's bathroom by 5 feet. In this way, the bathrooms will be more accessible to users of wheelchairs and walkers.

Additionally, as volunteer workers have time available we hope to upgrade the heating, air vents, and kitchen counter and sink areas. "When will this all happen?" you ask. Good question!

Rebuilders Together works on its projects during what the group calls "Christmas in April". The target date is April 24, when many contractors and construction workers join together, volunteering their time and talents, for special projects such as ours. We supply the materials, and they provide the labor. The work will be done during the targeted weekend, although, some preparation may be necessary during the prior week. We expect classes to be held at their normal times. If any changes in our plans occur, we will phone members to let them know.

We hope that the physical improvements to the Center will make it more convenient and accessible for everyone.

In closing, please remember that this is your Center, and we rely on our members to keep it going. We look forward to your input and assistance.

New Officers

During the Center's January business meeting the membership elected the following officers:

Lizz Deeff, First Vice-President;
Jan Santos, Recording Secretary;
Ida Johnson, Treasurer;and
Ben Deeff, Sandra Fancher, Daveed Mandell, Connie Skeen and Dorothy Vallerga, Directors.

April Business Meeting

The Center's next business meeting will be held on April 24 at the Lion's Center for the Blind, located at 3834 Opal St. in Oakland. We plan to begin remodeling the East Bay Center's bathrooms that weekend, so the facility will be off limits. The Center will provide a bag lunch for $7. We'll give you the choices of sandwiches when you call to order your lunch.

Proposed By-Laws Amendment
By Dorothy Vallerga

During our January business meeting, the following amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws was proposed:

"Section 2.3: Term of Office.
Following the end of the second sentence, add the following: ...and shall not be eligible to any Board position for one year. Submitted January 24, 2004."

Section 2.3 reads as follows:

"Term of Office. Officers shall be elected for a term of two (2) years and directors shall be elected for a term of one (1) year. No person shall be elected to the same position for more than two (2) consecutive terms. Partial terms shall not count in determining eligibility."

During its February meeting, The Board of Directors appointed the following people to the Constitution and By-Laws Committee: Dorothy Vallerga, Chair, Daveed Mandell and Steve Fort.

After reviewing section 2.3 and its proposed amendment, the committee recommended that no change to the By-Laws should be made at this time. During our April business meeting, members will vote to decide whether further action is needed.

Title VII Seniors Group

On Thursday, April 8, during the Title VII seniors discussion group, Wendell Evers will bring with him a guest speaker. Dorothy Hensen is a lawyer who specializes in wills, power of attorney and health issues. Please come join us. The group meets on the second Thursday of every month from 1 PM to 3 PM.

Low Vision Support Group

The Center has established a support group for people who have become newly blind, or have low vision. It meets every Thursday, from 10 AM to noon. The group discusses issues such as daily living skills, grapples with the nitty-gritty of learning to live with blindness, and shares information about equipment and services that enhance the quality of life of blind people. The Center welcomes participation of newly-blinded people in the community and their family members. Please feel free to offer suggestions for topics and issues the group might consider discussing. To find out more about the new low vision support group, please phone Carl Simmons on 925-376-3965, or Dennis Skeen on 510-532-7687.

Recorded Books

Thanks to a local store in Berkeley that has recently closed, the Center has received some 500 commercial audio books, mostly abridged, recorded on cassettes and CDs. The Center has added these books to its lending library. We are grateful to Lynne Laird who arranged for the books to be donated to us.

Cassette Duplicator

Thanks to a donation from Katrina McCurdy, and her late husband Will, the Center is the proud owner of a monaural cassette duplicator. We will now be able to copy two-track cassettes rapidly, as well as erase tapes quickly.

Children's Art

Several members of the Center's ceramics class have been making tiles for the art program at Children's Hospital in Oakland. While waiting in the Emergency Room and other areas of the hospital, the children undertake various art projects, one of which is painting the tiles contributed by members of Ruth O'Day's class, which meets Tuesday mornings from 10 AM to noon.

Upcoming Events

If you watched the audio-described movie "Sister Act" with us at the Center last year, you won't want to miss the May 22 screening of "Sister Act II", from 1 PM to 4 PM. We'll eat lunch before viewing the movie, and don't forget the popcorn!. Please call to reserve a plate for $5 by Wednesday, May 19.

For all those sweet-talkin' folks out there, our June 26 Bake Sale, from noon to 5 PM, might be just the ticket! Come indulge in a world of sugar treats! Sample a dazzling array of cakes, pies, cookies, muffins, breads and other tempting confections. While you're at it, how about digging out that favorite recipe and baking some delicacies to sell! During the day, the Center's chorus will entertain us, and we'll serve lunch, too. Order a plate for $3 by Wednesday, June 23.

General Announcements

Please note that the Center will be closed on April 9 for Good Friday. It will also be closed for Memorial Day, on Monday, May 31.

Classes are continuing at their normal times. Please consult the schedule we sent you with last December's newsletter, if you're interested in taking part in a specific class. New participants are always welcome!

Transcription Service

If you have need of material to be transcribed into braille from print or from print into braille, please contact Patty Nash by phone on 510-521-2042, or via e-mail at Reasonable rates.

"Good, better and best must not rest until your good is better and your better is best."

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