East Bay Center for the Blind


Summer 2012
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

Editor's Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome to the Summer issue of "Keeping in Touch". The first day of summer has been windy and blustery. Here's hoping we have more beautiful weather soon!

We open this issue with Jan Santos's lively and informative General Manager's Letter. After our Upcoming Events and Center Announcements, the Center's Senior Computer Instructor, Leah Gardner, announces a workshop on the Victor Reader Stream Q and A. We give information about Envision's free national talking prescription reader program for consumers and pharmacies. Peter Pardini tells us about the California Council of the Blind's Bay Area Mutt Strut fundraiser. Preston Moses writes about his recent trip to the Czech Republic and Germany. Josephine McDoal offers us a recipe for the bread of life. Grace Rodriguez closes this issue with a moving remembrance of Center member Melva Hall, complete with Melva's recipe for her famous Snickerdoodles.

As usual, I look forward to member contributions to this newsletter. Please contact me by email at ebcb@pacbell.net, or by phone at 510-843-6935. Enjoy your summer!

General Manager's Letter

Dear Friends:

I'm pleased to be the bearer of good news! The Berkeley Adult School is going to continue our classes in the Fall. We'll be having Ceramics, Exercise and Movement, and Music Appreciation/Chorus through the Adult School. Check with us at the Center for specific starting dates for each class.

EBCB is collaborating with BORP (Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program) for some outings over the summer. We started in May with a trip to the Marshall Store in Tomales to feast on oysters, (their specialty), and other delicious lunch items. Our meal was served outdoors beside the water, which was a real treat. On July 9th we'll be going with BORP for a bring-your-own picnic at Lake chabot and on August 20th to Arden wood Farm.

This past Saturday, EBCB had another wonderful bake sale fundraiser. Members and supporters made delicious baked goodies and tasty casseroles to purchase for our eating pleasure. It was great to be able to eat and help fund our Center at the same time! Our Ceramics class contributed special items for us to buy for gifts to others and for ourselves--again, a fine way to support the Center and have the bonus of lovely gifts. Thanks to all of you who worked so hard, and bought your fill. Because of you we cleared over $1000!

Speaking of wonderful people and hard workers, I'm sad to report the passing of Melva Hall, a long-time and very active member of our Center. Melva was a very kind and talented person, who worked hard for EBCB. She always contributed much in the way of baked goods, crafts and ceramics for our fundraisers, and took a very active part in other Center activities and projects. She was a great role model for blind people and the community at large. We learned both from her skills and through her humanity.

Melva's example of dedication is the tradition we need to continue in order for EBCB to survive and thrive. Our bake sale was a great start to our summer of what must be a time to focus on fundraising activity and planning. Due to the state of the economy, our monthly income from our investment has been reduced by some six hundred dollars, which is adding considerable hardship to our already limited financial status. Our classes, social events and outings are reminders of why it is important to seek more funding, so we can keep our Center going. We need ideas and work from each and all to continue EBCB. Several of us are working to find possible foundations, organizations and individual donors to help supplement our funds. Soon I will be sending out to you a donation request to pass on to anyone you think might be in a position to lend EBCB whatever support they can, and of course anything you each can do directly or indirectly is most needed and appreciated.

Don't forget that even though many of our classes will not be held until September, you are all welcome to come when the Center is open during the summer. And please, keep those ideas for Center activities and funding coming. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Jan Santos

Upcoming Events

Outings with BORP: The Center has arranged two outings this summer in collaboration with BORP. A trip to Lake Chabot is scheduled for Monday, July 9. A trip to Ardenwood Farm is scheduled for Monday, August 20. Please call the Center for more information.

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, July 28, from 1 to 4 PM. We will discuss the future of the Center, especially what we can do to remedy its shaky financial situation. We will also hear reports from several Center committees. Finally, Peter Pardini will give a short presentation on CCB's Bay Area Mutt Strut fundraiser and play a DVD titled "What Blind Isn't". Lunch costs $10 across the board and will consist of quiche, salad, rolls and dessert. It must be ordered by Wednesday, July 25.

Annual Picnic: The Center's annual picnic will be held on Saturday, August 25, from noon to 4 PM. We will serve hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, beans, melon and ice cream. Lunch costs $10 across the board and must be ordered by Wednesday, August 22.

Oldies Dance: Deejay Mike Gorman is coming back to the Center on Saturday, September 22, from 2 to 6 PM. Mike has thousands of charted songs, and it's always fund to try to stump the deejay -- though that rarely happens! Lunch costs $10 across the board and will consist of fried chicken, potato salad, carrots and celery, rolls and dessert. It must be ordered by Wednesday, September 19.

Center Announcements

Summer Classes:

The Berkeley Adult School is not offering classes at the Center during the summer. Although Music Keyboarding is not an Adult School class, it will not be held during the summer. Classes will resume during the first week in September.

Ceramics resumes on Tuesday, September 4, and will be held from 9:30 AM-1 PM.

Exercise and Movement resumes on Tuesday, September 4, and will be held from 2-3:15 PM.

Music Keyboarding resumes on Thursday, September 6, and will be held from 10-11:30 AM.

Music Appreciation/Chorus resumes on Friday, September 7, and will be held from 1-3 PM.

Center Closures: The Center will be closed on Wednesday, July 4. It will also be closed during the first two weeks in August, and will re-open on Tuesday August 14.

Victor Stream 101

Submitted By: Leah Gardner

Have you ever wondered how the Victor Stream Companion works? How do you listen to files saved on a thumb drive? What is the Soft Pak HumanWare is selling all about? What's the difference between a Stream and a Stratus? On July 25th, between 1-3 Pm, Leah Gardner will answer all the above questions as well as any other queries you raise. The Stream is a digital player that has revolutionized and altered the way visually impaired individuals access audio files. Come prepared with questions for this Victor Stream 101 workshop at the East Bay Center for the Blind. Either email ebcb@pacbell.net or phone 510 843-6935 to reserve your spot. Space is limited. Please RSVP by July 20th. The East Bay Center for the Blind is located at 2928 Adeline Street, just a short walk from the Ashby Bart Station.

Free Accessible Prescription Label Program

En-Vision America, Inc. has announced a new program to aid the blind and visually impaired in obtaining accessible prescriptions. Under its Pharmacy Freedom Program, eligible individuals may obtain a free ScripTalk Station patient reader that will allow them to access their prescription label information. Participating pharmacies attach a small RFID label to each prescription, containing all printed information. This provides a safe, private and independent way for blind and visually impaired people to manage their medication regimen, and helps pharmacies to comply with ADA regulations in serving their patients. Interested individuals may contact En-Vision America to get their free reader and provide pharmacy details. Pharmacies concerned with meeting the needs of their blind and visually impaired patients may also contact the company for more information about the program.

ScripTalk Station is a cutting-edge technological solution for prescription medication information access. It has been adopted by the Veteran's Administration for use in their facilities across the country. ScripTalk utilizes RFID (radio-frequency identification) and TTS (text-to-speech) technologies to allow those individuals who cannot read their prescription labels a way to access the information. It is the only product on the market to provide full label information in a manner that meets ADA, FDCA and HIPAA regulations.

For additional information contact: David Bode En-Vision America 1845 Hovey Ave. Normal, IL 61761 800-890-1180 dbode@envisionamerica.com www.envisionamerica.com

CCB Mutt Strut In San Francisco

Submitted By: Peter Pardini

Calling all runners, walkers, strutters and dog lovers.

Join us for the Second Annual California Council of the Blind "Mutt Strut."

When: Saturday, September 8, 2012 Where: Civic Center Plaza — Across the street from City Hall in San Francisco

What: A 2K/5K Walk/run event for everyone and their Mutts!

Why: Raise Funds and Promote Opportunity, Education, and Equality for Californians with Visual Impairment and support the California Council of the Blind

Registration Fee:

Adult: $25

Children ages 5 to 12 years: $20

Dogs and children under 5: FREE

To register online go to www.ccbnet.org/muttstrut or call 800-221-6359


Check-in 8 to 8:45 AM

Event begins at 9 AM

Vendors, activities and entertainment from 9:30 AM to Noon

For more information about the Mutt Strut in San Francisco, contact Peter Pardini at peter.pardini@ccbnet.org or 415-990-9202

If you would like to volunteer at the Mutt Strut contact Lisa Cushman at crysania@sbcglobal.net or 510-276-7104

My Trip to the Czech Republic and Germany

Submitted By: Preston Moses

I started my trip on Friday, April 20, 2012, from San Francisco Airport, where I met my friends Hilary and Eugene. We flew Economy Class to Amsterdam, which was a nine-hour flight. It was crowded; there was no room to move around on the plane, and I spilled red wine all over myself. Although we were served two meals.

We landed in Amsterdam and were treated less than favorably. No one met our group at the airport. Our flight to Prague was not announced, so we missed it and had to wait three hours for another one. Other flights, however, were announced. Hilary, one of our guides, tried in vain to get help, but there was no one to escort us to our next flight. She could not understand why KLM personnel wouldn't apologize for our missing flight. Instead, they blamed us for missing it. They just didn't seem to care about disabled people. Hilary said she didn't see any wheelchir users. Finally, we found a helpful person to escort us to our flight.

When we arrived in Prague, a worried Viking river cruise representative met us. We spent the night at the Prague Hilton Hotel.

The next day we toured Prague, which was quite enjoyable. We embarked on a river boat called the Shueman, which was a wonderful experience. We had complementary wine with our dinner, and the food was excellent.

We learned a lot of history about the Czech Republic, which was formerly part of Czechoslovakia, where it is said people were punished by being tossed out of windows if they didn't follow the rules. That was supposedly happening as far back as the 14th century.

We next traveled to Dresden, Germany, and enjoyed good German food. We took a boat ride in a rowboat, and in Berlin we had our pictures taken at Check Point Charley. We learned about a man who tried to climb the Berlin Wall in 1969 and who, after being shot, was allowed to bleed to death for an hour.

We left early in the morning on Monday and headed to the airport in Berlin, where we caught a flight to Paris. From there, we flew home. Because of a language barrier on Air France, we were concerned about missing our flights. We all had to connect with different flights going in various directions. Eugene and I had to connect with a flight to San Francisco.

However, I did enjoy the flight home. The flight attendants were courteous. Unfortunately, my luggage wound up in Lincoln, Nebraska, but nevertheless arrived in San Francisco undamaged two days later. (By the way, when we arrived in Prague, Mercedes and Jim found themselves with no luggage for two days.)

The river cruise was wonderful, but arriving and returning was extremely stressful. If I travel overseas again, I will go on a trip that is at least fifteen days long, rather than ten. Jet lag is a problem when the body clock is subject to such a traumatic change.

To get from one gate to another in Europe, one must go through security multiple times and take all metalic objects—such as keys, watches and wallets—out of one's pockets.

If you plan to travel, my advice to people with disabilities is to be prepared for less than adequate treatment overseas. It would be prudent to take an extra change of clothes in your carry-on bag, in case of misplaced or lost luggage. Always keep your passport current, and bring an extra copy, in case it gets lost or stolen. Never, under any circumstances, leave your passport in your checked-through luggage. Carry it with you at all times when traveling.

The bottom line is to remember to try to keep a positive attitude when you travel, but also remember to be prepared for stress and mishaps. I enjoyed the trip overall, but plan to travel more often in the U.S. from now on.


Reprinted from Guideposts, December 2011

Submitted By: Josephine McDoal

2 cups good thoughts
1 cup of kind deeds
1 cup of consideration of others
2 cups of sacrifice for others
2 cups of forgiveness
2 well-beaten faults

Mix the above thoroughly and add tears, joy, sorrow and sympathy. Flavor with little gifts of love, fold in 4 cups of prayer, and faith, to enliven other ingredients, and raise the temperature to great heights of character. After pouring all of this into your daily life, bake well with the heat of some human kindness. Serve with a smile anytime, anywhere, anyplace, and it will satisfy the hunger of starved souls.


Hold a grudge, and you'll slowly poison yourself with toxic thoughts. Instead, learn to forgive, lose the anger, and set yourself free!


We regret to announce the passing of Center member Melva Hall. She died last April at the age of 87. Grace Rodriguez, her dear and long-time friend, offers this rememberance:

Melva Hall was born in the town of Santa Ana, California, on December 26, 1925. Her family moved to the Sacramento area, and there she spent her growing-up years.

Melva began to lose her sight as a young child, and she continued to lose morevision until she had to drop out of high school. Surgery did not help much. As she grew older, her doctor told her that she would eventually lose it all.

Melva met her husband, Robert Hall, when they were working at the California Industries for the Blind. They bought a home in Hayward, California. Robert passed away in 1991.

Melva learned braille all on her own; she even learned braille music, because she loved music, and she played the organ and the accordion. She also played the melodica. Melva sang in the Center chorus for several years. She played the role of Ado Annie Carnes in the Center's production of "oklahoma" and sang the solo number "I Cain't Say No".

Melva was very active in her church; she sang in the choir, and she prepared refreshments for their coffee hour and socials.

Melva was also a long-time member of the East Bay Center for the Blind, and she participated fully in several classes. She especially enjoyed the craft classes, and she won prizes for her ceramic pieces. Her beadwork was beautiful, and she shared her skills with us, and we made some nice Christmas decorations.

Melva contributed a great deal to the Center's annual bake sale with her wonderful cakes and cookies. Her coconut pound cake was always extremely popular. How I loved her snickerdoodles! They are still my favorite cookie.

Melva was a very confident person; she believed in blind people, and she reached out to all people. She sent out a monthly taped inspirational magazine of her own creation which contained poetry, stories and music, which cheered shut-ins and other lonely people. Melva had many friends. She possessed a great sense of humor, and she was an inspiration to all who knew her.

Melva and her faithful guide dog were a great team. They had no difficulty traveling on planes, buses or cars. They enjoyed their long walks together. At one time, they even visited The Holy Land.

Melva and I were indeed long-time friends. We exchanged recipes and had long discussions about books which we both had read and enjoyed. We even often solved the world's problems, and we wondered why the powers that be wouldn't listen to us! She was a blessing in my life.

Melva passed away on April 22, 2012. We here at the Center will miss her and will remember her with love and deep appreciation.


1 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp maple flavoring
2-1/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend and cream well, shortening, sugar, eggs and flavoring. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Combine both mixtures. Roll into balls, and roll each in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.

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:  Steve Fort
First Vice-President:  Lizz Deeff
Second Vice-President:  Anita March
Recording Secretary:  Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary:  Patricia Nash
Treasurer:  Ida Johnson
Directors:  Charlotte Criddell; Dorothy Donaville;
Sandra Fancher; 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.

"To be able to listen -- without presupposing, classifying, improving, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling what is said ... such listening is rare."

--Abraham Maslow