Winter 2007
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006
Web site:

Editor's Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome to 2007 and the winter issue of EBCB'S newsletter.

As the Center's First Vice-President and Acting General Manager, I would like to thank everyone who made last December's Holiday Party a resounding success. Everything ran smoothly for the 80 members, volunteers and guests who attended the celebration.

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, without whose assistance the party wouldn't have taken place. Thanks to members Manuel and Ruth Arellano for always being available to set up for our events and other gatherings. We very much appreciate the hard work of Dorothy Vallerga, who, along with Barbara Googins, organized and ran the crafts table.

How fortunate we are to have long-time active member Grace Rodriguez, whose unparalleled narrative writing and performance-related talents fill our parties and programs with Holiday spirit. It is also a joy to work with Diana Perry, whose creative approach to music has enhanced and envigorated our chorus.

Special thanks for the professional preparation and hard work of Nancy Nash, who cooked our delicious, hot traditional holiday dinner, ably assisted by her sister Sharon.

A reminder about our upcoming quarterly business meeting (see Upcoming Events), during which we will elect the following officers for the next two-year term. Listed below is the proposed slate submitted by the Nominating Committee, whose members are Patty Nash, Chair; Connie Kelly; Steve Fort; Joyce Ishii and Sandra Fancher.

President, Steve Fort; Second Vice-president, Dorothy Vallerga; Corresponding Secretary, Connie Skeen; and two Directors, Claude Everett and Juanita Macomson.

During the elections nominations will also be accepted from the floor. Please attend this important meeting. Remember that the President of the Center is also its Director until such time as we are able to hire one.

Last month, President Lizz Deeff had major surgery. She is holding her own, despite pain and loss of balance. We wish her well.

Center member Manuel Arellano also had surgery last month, and will have another operation next month. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank the members and friends of the Center who have graciously offered financial donations to help keep our programs afloat. We welcome donations of any amount. The Center's computer lab has had a face lift of sorts. Besides laying new carpeting, we have also purchased four computers and upgraded our screen readers, JAWS and Window-Eyes. I think we now have one of the finest computer labs in the Bay Area for blind students.

It's time to think about ideas for new classes and projects. Please contact the Center with your suggestions. Some possibilities are: reaching out to newly-blinded individuals, expanding our braille-teaching program and offering classes in such areas as daily living skills, cooking and home repairs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks to Connie Kelly, who submitted this issues recipes, and to Grace Rodriguez, who submitted a poem. All contributions to the newsletter are greatly appreciated.

I would like to wish all of you a very happy, healthy and productive New Year. May our Center grow and prosper!

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will be held on Saturday, January 27, from 1 to 4 PM. Members will elect our next President, Second Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary and two Directors. The lunch plate will consist of baked chicken, potatoes, vegetable, salad, roll, ice cream and cookies. Members pay $8; guests $9. Please reserve your lunch plate no later than Wednesday, January 24.

Annual Mardi Gras: Come to the Center's annual New-Orleans-style dinner and dance taking place on Saturday, February 24, from 2 to 6 PM. Dance to the music of Bill Barker and the Resnick Alumni Band. Partake of casoulet (sausage and bean stew), salad, rolls, pudding and cookies. Lunch costs $8 for members and $9 for guests. Please request your dinner by Wednesday, February 21.

Annual Pasta-Bingo Fundraiser: Get rich quick at our Bingo-Pasta Fundraiser, to occur on Saturday, March 24, from 2 to 6 PM. Lasagna, salad and dessert will be yours for $10 across the board! We will hold a raffle and offer prizes. Please order your lunch by Wednesday, March 21.

Computers Anyone?

The Center would like to dispose of its older computers. They are still in good working condition and come with JAWS and Window-Eyes screen readers, OpenBook and Kurzweil optical scanning programs, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and other software. Please contact the Center if you are interested in obtaining a computer. A donation of $50 or more is requested.

Of General Interest

New Resource: The Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco has recently inaugurated the Vision Loss Resource Center. For any questions related to blindness and/or low vision, call 888-400-8933.

Accessible Currency: If you believe U.S. paper currency should be accessible to everyone, and that bill denominations should be distinguishable by size, raised ink, color and/or electronically, please read and sign the online petition, which will soon be submitted to Congress, at

Braille PG&E Bills: PG&E has recently started offering bills in braille. For more information call 800-743-5000.


Submitted by Connie Kelly

Chicken and Sour Cream Enchiladas

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix chicken, sour cream, 1 cup of the cheese, 1/4 cup of the salsa, the cilantro and cumin until well blended. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with remaining 3/4 cup salsa; cover. Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce and tomato just before serving.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Combine flour and cocoa in a small bowl; set aside. Beat together sugar, margarine, cream cheese, egg white, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl; add flour mixture and blend well. Chill dough at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on baking sheets about 1 to 2 inches apart. Press a caramel into each cookie and flatten; top each caramel with a pecan half. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


(Author Unknown)

Submitted by Grace Rodriguez

I've shut the door on yesterday,
Its sorrows and mistakes;
I've locked within its gloomy walls
Past failures and heartaches.

And now I throw the key away
To seek another room;
And furnish it with hopes and smiles
And every Springtime bloom.

No thought shall enter this abode
That has a hint of pain;
And envy, malice and distrust
Shall never entrance gain.

I've shut the door on yesterday,
And thrown the key away;
Tomorrow holds no fear for me,
Since I have found today.

"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." -- Lao-Tzu