East Bay Center for the Blind


Winter 2011
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

Happy New Year to all our members and friends, and welcome to 2011! In this issue of "Keeping in Touch", you will find the usual information about classes and upcoming Center events. The Nominating Committee announces its suggested slate of officers to be presented at the Center's January quarterly business meeting. We give you a brief Social Security update for 2011. Preston Moses writes about his recent trip to Greece. Sandra Kramford offers a recipe for Zucchini Cookies. Rounding out the issue is a whole host of announcements on various products and services.

As always, we welcome your contributions to this newsletter. Send them via email to ebcb@pacbell.net, and put "For Newsletter" in the Subject line. Send braille or audio copy to the Center, and add "Attention: Newsletter Editor" to the Center's address.

President's Letter

Dear Friends:

The Center brought 2010 to a close with a wonderful holiday party. There was good food, great friends and an outstanding raffle. Thanks to all who helped with the party, and a special thank-you to the committee that made the raffle happen. Dorothy Donaville, Sandra Fancher, Anita March, Ida Johnson and Sandra Kramford put together a fabulous first prize of a $300 culinary basket and gathered many other great prizes. They clearly had much fun working together, and were very creative and cooperative in sharing the various tasks at hand.

Our thanks to all of you who donated prizes, helped sell tickets and bought raffle tickets. Together you all raised $2010 for the Center. Good job, everyone!

Thanks to Whole Foods in Berkeley for its donation of five $20 gift cards. The Center also thanks Trader Joe's in Berkeley for donating a $50 gift bag. Special thanks go to the Center's electrician, David Gabriel, who generously donated two hours of labor time, valued at $150, plus $25 worth of materials.

On another happy note, we're continuing our outreach efforts to the community, to make our Center activities known, increase our membership and find additional volunteers. When Anita March, Jeff March and I visited the West Berkeley Senior Center last November, we were well received by the staff and attendees. We have plans to continue outreach to senior centers, the Orientation Center for the Blind and other community groups in the coming months. If you would like to help with these outreach visits, or have suggestions for other organizations and places to contact, please let me know.

I also plan to work more in the coming months with our various Center committees to re-focus our goals and activities, so please let me know your particular interests and ideas. Watching the raffle committee in action was a fine reminder of what great things can be accomplished for the Center, at the same time folks are having fun.

Speaking of participation, remember we will have elections at our business meeting on January 22. You can nominate people from the floor as well as consider the recommendations presented by the Nominating Committee. And do keep in mind that though the board and officers are essential, equally important is the role that the rest of you play in carrying out the work of the Center.

As most of you know, I am termed out as President of the Board. I look forward to working with the newly-elected President and all of you in my role as Director in being responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Center. I hope that 2011 will be a year of growth, fun and many good things for EBCB and for each and every one of you. We have a good community through our Center, so let's enjoy and help each other to have a happy 2011.

Jan Santos

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, January 22, from 1 to 4 PM. Members will elect the following officers: President, Second Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary and three Directors. Please attend the meeting and participate in the elections. Nominations are always welcome from the floor. Lunch will consist of chili, cornbread, salad and pudding. The meal costs $10 across the board, and must be ordered by 3 PM on Wednesday, January 19. Orders will not be taken after that time.

Annual Mardi Gras: The Center's annual Mardi Gras will take place on Saturday, February 26, from 2 to 6 PM. Bill Barker's band will entertain members and guests. As for food, the menu has yet to be determined, but it's sure to be delicious! The meal costs $10 across the board, and must be ordered by 3 PM on Wednesday, February 23. Orders will not be taken after that time.

Annual Pasta-Bingo Fundraiser: The Center's annual Pasta-Bingo Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, March 26, from noon to 4 PM. The menu has yet to be determined. The meal costs $10 across the board, and must be ordered by 3 PM on Wednesday, March 23. Orders will not be taken after that time.

From the Nominating Committee

By Lizz Deeff, Chair

The Nominating Committee will present a slate of officers at the Center's upcoming business meeting on Saturday, January 22. The slate is as follows: President, Connie Kelley; Second Vice-President, Steve Fort; Corresponding Secretary, Patricia Nash; Director, Charlotte Criddell; Director, Sandra Fancher; Director, Connie Skeen. Nominations are always welcome from the floor.

Thanks to the other members of the Nominating Committee: Connie Kelley, Sandra Fancher, Ida Johnson and Grace Rodriguez.

2011 Social Security

The Social Security Administration recently announced that there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients for 2011. A COLA is determined by the increase of the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined (2008) to last year (2010). There was no increase in that period and, therefore, there will be no increase in Social Security benefits. The COLA increase in Social Security benefits determines the increase in the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount. Since there was no COLA determined for 2011, the SGA amount will remain at $1,640. The amount for the Trial Work Period remains at the 2010 level of $720.

Accessible Packaging Information

Horizons for the Blind has recently launched www.directionsforme.org, a new Internet-based service that makes consumer packaging information available in an accessible online format for people who are blind, visually impaired, or have trouble reading the small print on packages or labels. The site includes over 300,000 products in food, health and beauty and general merchandise. Users can find information about preparation directions, nutrition facts, ingredients, allergy/drug interaction warnings and more.

Got a Sweet Tooth?

Sweet Tooth offers a selection of edible treats, including fudge, lollipops, clusters, peanut butter cups, solid chocolate novelties from 250 different molds, including guide dogs, and braille chocolate bars. Available braille greetings on chocolate bars include Happy Birthday, Love You, Have a Nice Day, Thank You, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. They weigh 4-1/2 ounces and can be made in milk, dark or white chocolate. They are bagged in cellophane and tied with ribbons. For more information, contact Sweet Tooth at 585-544-1853, or send e-mail to judydavis12@rochester.rr.com.

Low Vision Support Group

The Center for Independent Living is offering a monthly Living with Vision Loss support group, beginning on Tuesday, January 25, from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. Subjects to be covered include adjusting to vision loss, family adjustment, employment issues and goals, benefits and discrimination. For more information, call Armando Garcia at 510-841-4776, extension 3123, or email him at agarcia@cilberkeley.org.

My Trip to Greece

Submitted By: Preston Moses

My trip to Greece began on Monday, November 1, 2010. I met my friends Lyn, Mike, and Eugene at LAX. We boarded our plane at 10 PM and took off for London. We changed planes to fly to Athens. The flight time was around 13 hours.

We arrived in Athens on Wednesday at 1 AM and reached our hotel about an hour later. We spent the day relaxing at the hotel and ate dinner that evening at the Hard Rock Cafe,

On Thursday, we went on a long tour of the Acropolis, which means "high city". To get to the top of the Acropolis, one must climb uphill for perhaps a thousand feet. Along this hill are several groups of steps. For instance, we would climb three steps and then up the hill a few feet, and then five more steps. It took us about an hour to reach the top. At many of Europe's historical sites, there are no railings attached to the stairs. Blind tourists must have guides.

This rewarding tour of the Acropolis is not for people who aren't in good shape. It is also tiring because of jet lag and a 10-hour time change. Given the warm weather, one must drink water during the long uphill climb.

On Friday, we boarded a cruise ship for Ephesus, which is located in Turkey, where we learned about Paul's speech to the Ephesians. The following day, we went to the island where it's believed John wrote Revelations, near a cave which was too steep and dangerous for us to negotiate, especially because it was close to nightfall.

The next day, we went to Crete and visited another island on which there are houses built on cliffs. A tram takes tourists down the mountain after a strenuous uphill hike. We next went to Delphi, out in the country, where we learned about the history of Greek mythology. We then ate a nice lunch.

We returned to our hotel in Athens where we started our journey. The next day, we rested and ate again at the Hard Rock Café.

On Wednesday, November 10, we spent about 16 hours flying back to Oakland via London and LA. Because of tail winds, our westward flight was somewhat longer than the flight east. When I returned home, I slept a lot. It took me a month or so to get back to a normal sleep pattern.

I believe a good time was had by all of us. For me, at least, this trip to Greece was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Braille Books for Children

Seedlings Braille Books for Children boasts a selection of 1,100 low-cost print-braille books for children from preschool to high school. Some of its newest additions include: "Clifford's Noisy Day," "Are You My Mommy?," "101 Ways to Bug Your Parents," "In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake." Seedlings' Book Angel Program provides two free books each year to children who are visually impaired and live in the U.S. and Canada. Children must register online and include their choice of four books, of which Seedlings will send them two. To register for the 2011 program, or to learn more about selection and pricing, visit www.seedlings.org. You can request a catalog by calling 1-800-777-8552, or e-mailing info@seedlings.org.

Young Blind Detective Novels

Kristie Smith-Armand is a teacher for the visually impaired and an author. She has written three novels in the Adventures of Abby Diamond series. Abby is a detective who happens to be blind. The books are written for children ages 8-13. These books are available through Bookshare, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Kristie also writes a weekly blog for the Dallas Morning News, which focuses mainly on people with a visual impairment who lead productive, active lives. You can visit her web site at www.dotsdottie.com.

Dog Toys and More!

Planet Dog offers an extensive line of organic dog treats, durable Orbee-Tuff® toys and soft, squeaky toys. Peppermint Cranberry Crunch, the newest flavor, combines organic cranberries and pure peppermint extract to offer dogs valuable antioxidants. For the soft and squeaky toy lovers, Planet Dog offers the Naughty or Nice Li'l Buds and the Gingerbread Buddy, each made of super-soft fleece and including a double-bellow squeaker. The Orbee-Tuff® Glow for Good Ball is a bouncy, minty glow-in-the-dark ball. Every Planet Dog product is covered by the company's 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. To review the complete selection of products or make a purchase, visit www.planetdog.com, or call 1-800-381-1516.

Rose's Zucchini Cookies

Submitted By: Sandra Kramford

This recipe is from the Joanne Fluke murder mystery books.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed down
2 sticks butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini (If you don't want green specks, then peel before shredding.)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chip morsels
4 cups flour, packed down when measuring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in middle of oven. Melt butter in microwave, add white sugar & brown sugar and mix well. Add baking soda and stir well. Beat eggs in glass, add to mixture and stir well. Add vanilla and stir. Add shredded zucchini and stir until all is incorporated. Add nuts and chocolate chips and mix. Add flour in 1-cup increments until all is mixed in. Dough will be stiff. If not, chill for half an hour. Drop by teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet that has been sprayed with pam. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Let sit on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then put on rack to cool. Keeps well in covered containers. Makes 8 dozen small, or 5 dozen large cookies.

2011 Class Schedule

Ceramics: Tuesday, 10 AM-noon; Instructor: Michelle Muennig.
Exercise and Movement: Tuesday, 1:45-3 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Davis.
Music Keyboarding: Thursday, 10 AM-noon. Instructor: Diana Perry.
Chorus and Music Appreciation: Friday, 1-3 PM. Instructor: Diana Perry.
Computer Instruction: Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 AM-noon.
Computer Instruction: Friday, 1-2:30 PM. Instructors: Connie Skeen and Jan Santos.
Braille Instruction: Instructor: Patricia Nash. Please call the Center for days and times.

Please call the Center to find out when the Book Club and Writing Club meet. The moderators are Dorothy Donaville and Patricia Nash.

Cleanlogic Commitment

Cleanlogic, maker of skincare products, has made a corporate commitment to people who are blind or visually impaired. Every bottle of Cleanlogic bath and body products includes a braille label to aid in identification. In addition, the company has established the Inspiration Foundation to provide adaptive technology devices and professional opportunities to people who are blind or visually impaired. The Cleanlogic Collection includes body washes, lotions, an assortment of exfoliating bath accessories, and the Soap+Sponge. For more information about Cleanlogic Bath & Body Care, visit cleanlogicbodycare.com, or call 323-938-8868. A video on the Inspiration Foundation is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAGNEaCNDZo.

Flameless Fragrance Alternative

Jywanza Maye is a consultant for Scentsy, a line of decorative ceramic warmers that melt a special wax to fragrance the home. Warmers are available in a variety of styles and colors. Scentsy offers over 80 scents in the wax bars. For more information, visit Jywanza's web site at www.scentsy.com/indy, or call 347-878-6293.

Handmade Bath and Body Products

Charlotte Lang is a blind entrepreneur who makes soaps, bath salts, shower gels, hand soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, lotions, body splashes, lip balms and scented jar candles. In soaps she offers shea butter, olive oil or goat's milk. She can mold the soaps into flowers, animals, nautical items, fantasy themes and basic shapes. Bath products come in 4 or 8 oz. bottles. Scents range from floral such as rose, lavender or honeysuckle, to fruit such as pomegranate, strawberry or cucumber melon to edible such as vanilla, coconut and butterscotch and everything in between. Lip balms are available in a variety of flavors. Candles are 8-ounce jars and have a burn time of up to 50 hours. For more information, e-mail sirius_black@comcast.net, or call 952-236-7517.

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

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

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

Deborah Billups Remembered

We have just learned of the passing of Center member Deborah Billups at age 58. She died Monday, January 10. Deborah is survived by her twin brother Dennis.