National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

Live the life you want! Changing what it means to be blind!



March 2017

National Federation of The Blind

Of Alabama

Joy Harris, President

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, AL 35126

Home: (205)520-9979

Cell: (205)515-5220

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of The Focus. Your interest, articles and feedback makes this a very exciting newsletter. The NFB is moving forward and there is nothing quite like being a member in Alabama!

Gail Smith, Co-Editor

[email protected]

Gerald Yeager, Co-Editor

[email protected]

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March 2017 The Focus

NFBA Year in Review

By Joy Harris

President, National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

With the year 2016 behind us, it is time to reflect on the activities that have taken place in the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama.

We started the year by reorganizing our National Association of Blind Students of Alabama. To jumpstart this, we held a meeting in Montgomery Alabama. A number of students and members of the board of the NFBA were in attendance. Students had lunch, participated in some fun activities such as Name that Tune and then got down to business. A proposed Constitution was read and approved. Then elections were held and Anna Walsh was elected as President. Other officers were also elected and the student division was in full swing.

At the end of January Members of the NFBA headed to Washington DC to attend the Washington Seminar. Members left Birmingham and headed to DC even though there was a snowstorm that shut down Washington for a couple days. Our members attended the great gathering in meeting to discuss the issues that would be presented to the members of Congress in the next two days. Cindy Jones again did a great job in making our appointments and organizing this yearly activity for our Alabama affiliate. After that our whole Affiliate was in full swing finalizing the Activities which would be held at our Annual State Convention which was held at the Holiday Inn, Mobile Alabama, on March 4-6 2016. It was a jam packed weekend full of informative seminars and guest speakers. Our National Representative was Ever Lee Hairston NFB board member from Los Angeles, California. Ever Lee brought us a report from our National office and presented on Saturday afternoon “My Journey from the Tar Hills to the Hollywood Hills”. This presentation was about a book she had written about her life. She also gave a rousing banquet address at our annual Saturday evening Banquet.

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March 2017 The Focus

In the month of May our second annual Living with Vision Loss event was held in Jasper Alabama. There was over 100 people present and about 30 Vendors displaying many Aids and Devices and also Vendors talked with participants about services that were available for blind and low vision persons in Alabama. I want to thank the Northwest Chapter in Jasper for all of their hard work in putting on this event.

The Structure Discovery Committee consisting of representatives from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind and Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama was active throughout the year. We had a number of committee meetings and a number of job interviews to ensure that we obtained the most extraordinary staff to teach the Structure Discovery method. The name of the Structured Discovery Center is Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind. The Structured Discovery program is under the direction of Jessica Edmiston Director of the Birmingham Regional Center AIDB and Cindy Jones Yeager, Coordinator. Jessica spent tireless hours with other staff in the process of remodeling the building to make sure it met the needs of our SD program for both staff and students. I also want to recognize Dr. John Mascia, President of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind for his belief and passion for this type of training. He wanted blind people to have the choice of what training they would receive. I am proud to say that we have begun our first Structure discovery class of five students. The classes began in October. We have a long way to go but we are determined to make this training program one of the best in the country.

The first week in July about 60 members attended the National Federation of the blind convention in Orlando Florida. Our NFB National conventions are full of seminars, general sessions, and recreational activities, with the highlight of the week being our annual banquet. Their so many activities at our NFB Convention it would take hours to describe them all.

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March 2017 The Focus

In October 2016, we held a White Cane Safety day in Birmingham Alabama. About 30 members attended. We held this activity across from City Hall in Birmingham. We walked around with our canes, passed out literature and talked to the public about the important role of the White cane. The day was sunny and bright and our members had a great time.

During all of this year our Local chapters have been doing many fundraisers, from selling raffle tickets to pecans. They were also involved in many events educating the public about blindness and talking about the NFB of Alabama. I want to thank all of the local chapters and Divisions for all of their hard work this year.

At this time, we are working on our State convention for 2017 in Huntsville Alabama. This will be held at the Huntsville Marriott on March 10-12, 2017. I want to thank the members of the Rocket City Chapter for all of their work so far. More information about the convention will be coming out soon.

In closing, I want to thank all of our members for their hard work in the affiliate this year. The NFB of Alabama is truly a family and is always willing to answer the call when help is needed. I am excited about the activities we will be participating in this coming year. I look forward to seeing all of you at the Huntsville convention. As our National President says “with love, hope and determination we can make our dreams come true”

Joy Harris, President NFBA

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March 2017 The Focus

President, Joy Harris Hopes to See All of You At

The 2017 Annual State Convention Of the

National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

When: March 10, 11 & 12, 2017

Where: Marriott Huntsville

5 Tranquility Base

Huntsville, AL 35801

Phone: 256-830-2222

Please make your own hotel reservations by February 22, 2017. State you are with the NfB of Alabama for the room rates of $109 per night plus taxes. After this date, rooms will be available on a first come first serve basis. Rates may CHANGE!

Who: Everyone is welcome to join us. You may pre-register by downloading a form from NFBAL.org.

Mail your form and payment by March 3, 2017.

Prices:

Pre-convention Registration $20

Pre-convention Banquet $30

At convention Registration $25

At convention Banquet $35.

Prices:

Italian Pasta Buffett lunch Saturday. Noon, March 11, $15.

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March 2017 The Focus

Tour of the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center on Friday, March 10, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM. $18

Mail Convention Registration to:

Joy Harris

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, Alabama 35126

2017 State Convention Chairperson:

Larry Povinelli (703) 969-6476

Exhibits:

Jeffrey Wilson (256) 589-2096

Door prizes:

Brandy Wood (205) 563-6169

The 2017 NFBA Convention will kick off on Friday afternoon,

March 10, 2017. The afternoon will feature two informative seminars. The first is a Diabetic Nutrition Seminar beginning at 1:30 pm until 3:00 pm. This seminar will be filled with a wealth of knowledge on diabetes. The presenter will be Lois Williams from Huntsville. The second is a Technology Seminar from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Come join us to learn the latest in accessible technology. Presenters will be Jeff Wilson, Dezman Jackson and Brandy Wood.

The Alabama Association of Blind Merchants will hold their annual business meeting Friday, March 10, 4:30 pm.

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March 2017 The Focus

The Alabama Association of Blind Students will hold their annual business meeting Friday, March 10, at 4:30pm.

Friday evening, March 10, 2017 there will be an exciting BINGO

Fundraiser, with an opportunity to win terrific prizes from 8:00 until

10:00 p.m. The Cost: $10 (1 Bingo Card) -- $15 (2 Bingo Cards.)

Snacks and a Cash Bar will be available. Please come enjoy the fun and fellowship!

On Saturday, March 11, 2017 we will hear from many outstanding speakers throughout the day, including our National Representative, Scott LaBarre. Their topics will include issues that affect the Blind in Alabama and across the nation.

Saturday evening, March 11, the highlight of the convention is our Banquet. You don’t want to miss this fantastic evening with your Federation family. There will be a great meal and an inspiring banquet address given by Scott LaBarre. Make your plans to join us!

On Sunday morning, March 12, 2017, our National Federation of the Blind of Alabama State Convention will conclude with our annual business meeting.

Come join us in Huntsville for the 2017 NFBA Convention!

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March 2017 The Focus

NFBA Annual State Convention Registration Form

Marriott Huntsville

5 Tranquility Base - Huntsville, AL 35801

Phone: (256) 830-2222

March 10, 11 & 12, 2017

Your Name:___________________________________________________________________

Street Address:____________________________________________Apt/Lot:______________

City: ___________________________________State: _________ Zip: ___________________

Phone Number: Home: ________________ Cell: _________________ Work: ______________

Please print your Email address: ___________________________________________________

How would you like your agenda? Braille _______Print_______ Email:_______

How Many Total

Registration $20 ($25 after 03/03/17) _________ $___________

Banquet $30 ($35 after 03/03/17) _________ $___________

Vegetarian: Yes _____

Italian Pasta Lunch Buffet on Saturday Noon $15 _________ $___________

Tour of the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center

on Friday 11:30 AM – 1:00PM $18 _________ $___________

TOTAL $_____________

Please check all seminars you are planning to attend on Friday, March 10, 2017

Diabetes: 1:30 until 3:00 p.m. _________

Technology: 3:00 until 4:30 p.m. ________

Several registrations may be combined on one check in the same envelope, if needed. Make checks payable to: NFB of Alabama. Send completed forms, check or money order DEADLINE by 03/03/17 to:

Joy Harris

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, AL 35126

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Huntsville! Make your plans now!

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March 2017 The Focus

One Deed At A Time

By Allen Harris

The Federation has been Built one deed at a time, and by individual Federationists. I became a member of the Federation in 1969, and it has, without a doubt, been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have forty-seven years of benefiting from the organization and helping to build it everywhere I have ever lived. One of the very first things Joy and I investigated was our Local Alabama Chapter; this really assisted with all of the challenges which one encounters when moving to a new State or Community.

Back in the Day, likely the early seventies there was a document circulating

throughout the Federation titled, "Some One Else Will Do It". (this is not

the actual title but does represent the idea.) Whenever something needed to be done, arranging transportation, making certain that we had our Local

Chapter together, Fund Raising, Calling Committees, Legislation activities

and so many more responsibilities many of us said "Someone else will do

it!!!” Often there were individuals who were willing to take on all of the

work or at a minimum most of it. While we have always found a way to keep our Federation moving forward and improving on behalf of blind persons, we haven’t nearly achieved the outcome we could have if everyone did "something”. Certainly, we have different skills, resources and time to donate to our Federation and that makes us like every other organization with which I am familiar. However, I believe that there is not one of us who can’t do more to strengthen our Federation. If you think of the things that have improved for the blind you will know the Federation and its members were responsible. When you hear of a case of discrimination based on blindness, you will see that the Federation is right plum in the middle. Furthermore, we will stay until blind individuals have fairness and

justice. When you think of barriers and continued challenges for blind

persons, I think of legal exemptions which allow certain government protected workplaces to pay (sub-minimum wages) to the blind and other

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March 2017 The Focus

persons with disabilities, the NFB is the Only Organization of the Blind working diligently to get Congress to eliminate this despicable and harmful practice. In other words, the Federation is our Organization and it will be as effective for blind persons as "you and I" make it. This means that each must begin to do more to build and strengthen our Federation. This means that each of us can find something we can do to be a more active member of the NFB.

Finally, and perhaps in my opinion, the most important thing we need to

“do, is forget" "someone will do it". This is a weak excuse for not participating and perhaps cause a blind person to be beaten down by our failure to do more. The next time we are planning a project, fund raising or any of the full range of work, think of what YOU can do. So many of our members have been held back by discrimination and it is our responsibility to see that this practice is eliminated.

"Live The Life You Want"

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Alabama Blind Merchants on the Move

By Barbara Manuel

The Blind Merchants of Alabama said good-bye to 2016, with several of our members attending the BLAST conference in Chicago, Il. The event was held this past spring and as usual, there was tons of information and several new products to sample. Every aspect of the vending world was present. The NFB national Merchants Division also met at the January 2017 Washington Seminar. Las Vegas will host the NAMA gathering next on April 19-21. Our BLAST Conference will take place on September 12-15 in Nashville, TN.

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March 2017 The Focus

3/11/17

NFB FAMILY FEUD

Come out and cheer on your favorite NFB family team as they compete for a chance to bust open a football shaped piñata. Trivia questions may stem from but are not excluded to the following categories: NFB, sports, music, and entertainment. Hotdogs, chips and drinks will be provided. Hope to see you at the 50 yard line!!

$5.00 admission

Including meal ticket

$3.00 meal ticket only

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Need 4 teams of 5 people

────

Teams will pay a $25.00 participation fee

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Proceeds will go to help support the Alabama Association of Blind Students

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FOCUS on Seniors

By Carol Braithwaite

Are you over age 50? Are you blind or starting to lose your vision and wondering how other people like you handle problems you have not had to worry about in the past? If so, you are not alone. All over Alabama there are people like you.

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March 2017 The Focus

The National Federation of the Blind of Alabama is with you! We want to open lines of communication throughout the state to help each other find some solutions that really work so we can live the lives we want. Some top concerns for all seniors are:

o Personal safety

o Maintaining good health

o Financial security

o Becoming or staying independent

o Access to the community of your choice

o Inclusion in the community of your choice (family, worship setting, community events, voting process….to name a few)

We who have lost or are losing vision have a few more concerns specific to us, too. See if you want help with any of the following challenges or can offer help to other seniors with any of them:

o Overcoming isolation and misunderstanding

o Maintaining a positive attitude about your condition

o Finding good training for using a cane or guide dog for travel

o reading and writing Braille

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March 2017 The Focus

o using high tech devices like a computer or cell phone

o keeping your home safe and organized

o gaining and keeping a job

o understanding services offered by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

o finding affordable resources for getting a computer or cell phone

o learning about how NFB can help you

o learning about how you can help other blind people through supporting the NFB

As you read these checklists, consider the ones that matter to you. If you check even one of them, your NFB affiliate is with you! We seniors all have at least ONE check. We want to help each other with becoming empowered to increase our personal freedom to live the lives we want.

The best way to start is through a statewide network by using the telephone. A dozen NFB members from Mobile, Birmingham, Northwest Alabama, Southwest Alabama chapters have met twice on a chat line call—once on January 17 and again on February 16. The purpose of these meetings has been to find out the level of enthusiasm for starting a Senior Division for our Alabama NFB affiliate. Interest is high, and we plan to meet again on Thursday evening, March 16 at 7 PM. We meet for an hour. The next meeting will be a planning session for having an organizational meeting in April, at which time we will elect officers and approve a constitution for the division.

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March 2017 The Focus

We want as many interested people as possible on the call on March 16. Here’s how to connect with the group:

o Phone number: (712) 432-6430

o You will hear some recorded instructions. When you are told to enter your meeting code,

o Dial: 7537

o Say your name once the call goes through. The group on the line will all hear you and respond.

Thank you, Barbara Manuel, NFB member of Montgomery chapter, for making the chat line available to our group each month.

Carol Braithwaite, NFB Magic City Chapter board member and state membership chairman, will moderate the phone call. We will discuss which of your concerns you want to talk about in future monthly phone discussions. We will also discuss forming a statewide NFB Senior Division. Members from each chapter in the state have agreed to contact seniors in their areas as needed. They are.

Tameka Williams, Mobile

Tony Nixon, Southwest Alabama Chapter

Vince Armstrong, Talladega Chapter

Robert Kelly, Montgomery Chapter

Vivian Hawkins, Barbara Runner, Mary Ring, Magic City Chapter

John Black, Northwest Alabama Chapter

Larry Povinelli, Rocket City Chapter

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March 2017 The Focus

If you have questions about participating in this effort to help each other with mutual concerns, contact Carol Braithwaite at (205) 903-8520 or at [email protected] See you on March 16th!

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Mobile Chapter Update

Hi NFB of AL:

The Mobile Chapter is vibrant and well. Since the 2016 state convention the Mobile family has had several exciting things occur. First, we have continued to have fund raisers to help assist our members to the 2017 state convention being held in Huntsville, AL. Our fund raiser activities have included snack bag sales, a half and half raffle, casino trips, and a Mother’s Day basket raffle. We are continuing to plan more fund raisers until the very month of state convention in order to ensure that every member who wishes to attend will be assisted. Second, we participated in a 5K run that was held in August by the local Lion’s Club. We gave out water and cheered the runners on as they crossed the finish line. In addition, our vice president Minnie Walker spoke about blindness and set up a table for NFB literature at this event. In September, Minnie Walker also set up a table with NFB literature at a local community resource fair hosted by the Independent Living Center of Mobile. We adopted two children as our annual Christmas gift to our blind youth at our local regional school.

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March 2017 The Focus

We also have a few chapter cheers. We are proud to say that we have had one of our members, Barbara Manuel, complete training at the Louisiana Center for the blind. She returned to our Mobile family on November 18 and we are looking forward to the new and heightened level of energy and determination that LCB has stimulated in her. We have also had one of our members, Jessica Williams, received an Alabama Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) scholarship, recognizing her for her scholastic achievements. Another member, Vendrick Tilley, completed his training for the BEP program in June and was awarded a vending route in the month of September. Last but not least, our newest member of the Mobile family has joined us!!! Baby girl Maziah Tilley was born on the morning of October 7, 2016 weighing 6 lbs. and 13 oz. We send special thanks to NFB of Alabama for the calls, texts, cards, and gifts. We are looking forward to seeing all of our members at the state convention.

Sincerely yours in the movement,

Tamika Williams, Mobile Chapter President

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Greetings from the Greater Rocket City Chapter in Huntsville

We like to think of ourselves a small but diverse group, because we come from many backgrounds & experiences.

Our offices are:

President: Lakeesha Acklin

1st VP: Terry Matney

Treasure: Larry Povinelli

Secretary: Sue Povinelli

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Board Member:

Charles Araund

Our goal is bridging the gap and bringing awareness to the community about blindness. We are building relationships with other community base groups such as: The Shriners, Space & Rocket Center, & ThePaceSetters. We had four members of our Chapter that attended the Adult Space Program, that will be giving their experiences of the camp at the March State Convention. We are in the process of developing a new logo for our group, to add the new logo of our organization and as well as a fundraiser. These are just a few of the things we are in the process of working on at this current moment. Thank you for taking a moment out of schedule to read about The Greater Rocket City Chapter.

Lakeesha/President

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The NFB of Alabama Montgomery Chapter

The NFB Montgomery Chapter meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in room 8. You are welcome to join us just dial 712-432-6430 press # until you get to the prompts, press 1 then 8 and # Say your name and you are in the meeting.

Our officers for 2017 are as follows:

President Robert Kelly Jr.

Secretary Wendy Dial

Treasurer Parmie Similton

Board members are:

Bonnie Billingsley

Clara Bradford

Daisy Fan

Al-azzeh

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The Northwest Alabama Chapter

The Northwest Chapter meets in Jasper at the Jasper Civic Center

on the second Monday of each month at 11:30 AM. You are welcome to join us!

We will be found at most community activities passing out literature and educating the community on issues pertaining to the blind.

Also, we find ways to fundraise while having a good time. At most fundraising events you will find us making and selling cotton candy. Some of our members have perfected the art of making cotton candy and now they have earned royal titles. Now we have our very own Cotton Candy Queen, Cotton Candy Princess and The Cotton Candy King. It always turns out to be a sweet fundraiser!

President: John Black

Vice President: Gail Smith

Treasurer: Donald Smith

Secretary: Sharon Sampson

Board Member: Earlene Watson

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NFB of Alabama List of Chapters

We would be glad to have you attend. Please feel free to give our Chapter Presidents a call for further information.

Birmingham Chapter - Magic City

President: Cindy Jones

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205-328-3989

[email protected]

The Birmingham chapter meets on the 1st Saturday of every month from 11am until 1pm at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Regional Office. The AIDB regional office is located at 220 34th St South, Birmingham Alabama.

Huntsville Chapter - Greater Rocket City

President: Lakeesha Acklin

(256) 325-4120

[email protected]

The Huntsville chapter meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm at the Huntsville Regional Office of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB). The Huntsville Regional Office of AIDB is located at 600 Saint Clair Avenue, Southwest, Suite #2, Huntsville, Alabama 35801. The office is located down the street from the Huntsville Main Library. For more details, visit our chapter's website at www.nfbhuntsville.org. We hope to see you at a meeting very soon.

Mobile Chapter

President: Tamika Williams

[email protected]

The Mobile chapter meets on the 1st Saturday of every month at the Mobile Regional Library. Mobile Regional Library is located at 5555 Grelot Road, Mobile, AL 36609

Montgomery Chapter

President: Robert Kelly JR

(334)224-2403

[email protected]

The Montgomery chapter meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month VIA Telephone

The call-in number for meetings is 712-432-6340

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once you call in press pound twice, then press 1, then press 8, then press pound

Jasper Chapter - Northwest Alabama

John Black, President

(205) 384-1666

[email protected]

The Northwest Chapter meets at the Jasper Civic Center on the second Monday of each month. Meeting time is 11:30 AM.

Address:

Jasper Civic Center

204 19th Street East

Jasper, AL 35501

Tuscaloosa Chapter – Southwest Alabama

President, Toney Nixon

1804 Old Springhill Rd

Demopolis, AL 36732

334.507.4240

[email protected]

For information about time and place of monthly chapter meetings, please contact President, Toney Nixon.

Talladega Chapter

President: Vincent Armstrong

(256)493-3811

The Talladega chapter meets on the second Saturday of every month at the Spring Street Recreational Center. It is located at 502 Spring Street South, Talladega, Alabama 35160

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My Journey to LCB

By Barbara Manuel

On March 7, 2016, I started a much-desired journey in my life. For several years, I’ve wanted to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind’s Structured Discovery Program in Rustin, Louisiana. At the closure of Alabama’s NFB Affiliate state conference, I hit the road for LCB. All bags packed and loaded in the vehicle, my family and I had sights focused on Louisiana. I arrived at the center the following morning without my cane. Can you imagine, my very first words were, “Do you have a cane that I can get?” While rushing from the conference and half way to Rustin, I realized that my cane was in Alabama. Afterward, I was given a brief intake and was told the more formal one would take place on the next day.

After I moved into the apartment, went to the store and got settled in, my family left. The journey was on!

During the next 8 and one-half months, I was pulled out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. In my independent living class I had to create several meals from scratch and make a meal for eight using a formal setting. A few weeks later I served chicken murphy, California blend veggies, spinach salad, focaccia bread, Italian cream cheese cake, and golden glow punch for my meal for forty. After this, I completed this class and had two hours to devote to my tech class. Jack Mendez is the instructor and he’s super nice, but he does not cut any corners. He and I have had an interesting journey. The very first day of class he determined that I did not listen very well and that I needed to slow down! Yes, he was right on both counts. Gratefully, I am learning how to change for the better. I’ve enhanced my computer skills tremendously. Now creating power point presentations and working with excel is no longer foreign to me.

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March 2017 The Focus

Learning how to scan, upload and maintain inventory with my bar code scanner will assist me in the workplace.

Thanks to James, the braille class has aided me toward becoming a proficient brail reader and now I’m reading about thirty to forty words per minute.

The shop class really pushed me beyond my comfort spot. We used a hand drill, a drill press, a radial arm saw, band saw, table saw, router, and a sander. Mr. J. Darnell taught us how to install a dead bolt lock, a two-sided lock with key, how to clean a dryer filter, to install washer hoses and how to mark a circuit breaker box. The goal was to give us tools so that we can take care of small jobs around the house ourselves and achieve greater independence. Mr. James worked with students on their final project. I created two male jewelry boxes with designs burned onto them.

Cardinal directions were not in my vocabulary until I walked into the center. Navigating throughout the building was a major challenge because the instructors never used right or left. I was told to go out of the office and turn north, go down to the east hall and find the last office on the south side of the hall. At this time, I wondered, what have I gotten myself into? After a while, north, south east and west was second nature to me. We learned how to safely cross streets, find business addresses, how to locate residences, how to travel on busses independently and how to navigate malls efficiently. Toward the end of my training, drop routes were the word of the day. This happens when you are driven around town for several minutes, going in and out of parking lots, down several streets in order to get the student confused about the drive. Then you are dropped off and expected to find your way back to the center. Three of these are assigned and luckily, I always found my way home!! I chose Hot Springs Arkansas for my out of town trip. While there, I took a tour of the city, went out to lunch at a restaurant that was assigned to me by Marco, my instructor. Also, I had an opportunity to attend the Arkansas’ NFB state conference, which was a treat as well. At days’ end, it was time to pamper myself with a massage at the

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March 2017 The Focus

hotel. My final requirement of the travel class was to walk a 10-K solo around the city. This mission was accomplished today as I write this. I’m feeling super pumped right now!!

If you can believe it, I’ve played paint ball, gone white water rafting, rock climbed, rode horses, and attended the State Fair and …. Zip lined!!!

All of my training and entertainment took place under sleep shades.

I am so grateful to Rehabilitation Services of Alabama for affording me this training. The Louisiana Center for the Blind has given me new skills and enhanced those I already used. I’ve taken back my independence and now know without a doubt that I can live a more fulfilled life and face challenges head on. The Center is changing lives, one student at a time.

Barbara Ringing Graduation the Bell Barbara horseback riding

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Barbara rock climbing

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Fixing Satellites and Rockets

By Susan K. Povinelli

As a child of the 1960’s I remember watching the first moon walk in July, 1969. Neil Armstrong and buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 mission, landed the Moon Rover, took their first steps on the moon, and collected moon rocks to be studied here on earth. I always loved learning about the space program and the science behind it. I always wondered what it would be like to do a space mission. I never got the chance as a child to attend Space Camp since it wasn’t founded until 1982. Space Camp was the brain child of the famous rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun. He wanted a camp for kids to study science modeled after the space program. Von Braun wanted children to become excited about space exploration and to consider becoming an astronaut. Since 1990 the U. S. Space and Rocket Center has offered a

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Space Camp for visually impaired/blind children ages 10-18, called (SCIVIS). The camp offers blind children the opportunity to participate in space shuttle missions, underwater astronaut training, high rope courses, and other highly physical activities offered at Space Camp. SCIVIS was started after a visually impaired adult applied for Space Camp and was denied because of his blindness. The founder and director of space camp, ED Buckbee, decided to end the discrimination of the blind by creating a week-long program for blind children. The entire space camp was retro-fitted to meet the needs of the blind. This year they offered an adult academy the weekend after SCIVIS. So, when the opportunity arose to attend an Adult Space Academy, my husband, two other blind friends and I jumped at the chance to go.

We arrived at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, checked in and got fitted for our flight suits, got settled into our bunks, and reported in to start our weekend long mission and to meet the rest of our crew members of team Challenger. The crew consisted of both blind and sighted professionals, from all over the United States, ranging from the age of 19 to 70. We then proceeded to our pre-briefing where we learned about the history of NASA, mission of the shuttle program and life aboard the International Space Station. The team of twelve broke up into three groups of four and then proceeded to Mission Control, Enterprise Orbiter and the International Space Station simulators for our orientation and training. Our team was to accomplish two missions in the next 48 hours. During the first mission I was assigned the role of Commander of the International Space Station with a crew of 3. Our mission was to conduct vital space experiments such as, making slime, discovering effects of salt on various chemical compounds or determining the effect of circular motion on your vision and inner ear balance. Also, we needed to maintain the International Space Station and keep it in orbit. The mission went smoothly without any anomaly. I received my flight plan and experiment instructions in braille so I could keep track of my crew’s progress during the mission.

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March 2017 The Focus

The next mission, I was assigned to the orbiter as the Second Mission Specialist. My mission was to take a spacewalk and replace a malfunctioning antenna on a satellite. Our blind Commander, Terry (Buzz) Matney, and his sighted pilot successfully ejected the shuttle into earth’s orbit. the First Mission Specialist and I crawled back down the ladder to mid-ship to conduct our physical, taking our blood pressure and temperature) to make sure we were fit to conduct our upcoming mission. After we were determined to be fit for this mission, we prepared to put on our space suits. I stripped off my flight suit and I put on my space pants. (It reminded me of those heavy snow pants I wore as a child in Michigan; one size too big and suspenders holding them up.) I then put on an ice vest to help keep me cool. (Remember we are in Alabama and the temperature outside was near 90 degrees. Over the vest, I wore the suit jacket which zipped up the back, Then I put on my “snoopy ears” (communication device), then the instructor connected my communication device to my space suit, I slipped into my moon boots (which were four times too big for my tiny feet), placed on the ever-stylish space helmet with the visor, and finally slip on my gloves and I was ready to start my mission. I turned right toward the three-foot-wide tube that led to the cargo bay. I crawled on my hands and knees the ten feet to the opening with the ladder going upward to the cargo bay. As I was climbing upward, it reminded me of my childhood when I had to climb up into the silo every day to throw corn silage down for our family’s cows. (Who would have known that I would use that skill as an astronaut?) Once I reached the top of the ladder, I crawled on my hands and knees across the cargo bay to the next ladder, which would lead me down to the next level of the cargo bay towards the hatch to outer space. I somehow gracefully turned myself around and proceeded to climb down without losing my boots. Once at this level, the instructor assisted me to shimmy into the hanging harness and attach me to the upper cable. I leaned against his back and got into my “peter pan” flying mode to work my way out towards the satellite. Meanwhile Mission Specialist 1 was dressed and climbed into his basket and was capturing the satellite for repair. I pulled myself along the

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March 2017 The Focus

endless cable toward the satellite. I had learned in my training sessions if my tether cord was too long, I would wrap it around myself, the spare antenna, and the guide wire. But I never really perfected that so I was always getting myself untangled from something during the mission. I finally got to my position near the satellite and pulled myself into a standing position, and let me tell you that is no easy feat. You’ve got an extra ten pounds of gear to pull upward while fighting the harness resistance, as your snoopy ears dropped downward into your eyes. Somehow, I accomplished that. Mission Specialist 1 had already removed the malfunctioning antenna and handed it to me. I then returned back to my “peter pan” mode. I then togged and pulled myself along the guide wire towards the good antenna which was positioned on the outer wall half way back to the cargo bay hatch. As I was pulling my way toward the antenna, I somehow tangled myself up in the tether causing me to spin several times while trying to get myself out of that mess. Thank goodness, I didn’t need to call Houston and tell them “Houston, we have a problem.” Once I got myself out of that mess, I found the good antenna, pull it out of its slot and replace it with the bad antenna. The slot was inside a hole in a post just outside of my reach, about 18 inches below me. (On the practice run, I had luckily tied my tether around the antenna and I had pulled it out of its slot, so I knew where it was and the technique to get it back in.) In order to replace it, I had to hold the round part of the antenna while lining up the rod to the hole, and then slide the rod into the slot, meanwhile you are twisting and turning from the tether. Boy that was really challenging. I had learned that if I slide the rod along the one inch post, I could find the hole and slide it in.) Remember I have no useable vision so I had to perfect the non-visual technique to accomplish this task.) , meanwhile I was becoming overheated and worrying about my space boots falling off and becoming space junk. The instructor was afraid I would get overheated and they would have to rescue me, so I was directed to let that bad antenna become space junk, I dropped it with a loud clang and returned back to the satellite with the good antenna. I had to get myself upright again. Once I accomplished that maneuver, I handed Mission Specialist One the new antenna and he put it into place. Now, I had to

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March 2017 The Focus

reach the satellite and reset the program. I gingerly poked the tip of my oversized boot along the edge of the cargo bay looking for my perch. Once I found it with my foot, I carefully moved one foot toward the perch, trying to determine the size and dimension of the perch, did I tell you it was a 4 by 4-inch T-beam, about 3 feet long, and 12 feet above earth. Boy what I would have done for a white cane, to check out the lay of the land, but somehow, I forgot it in the shuttle. What a stupid move. But thinking about it, I’m not sure how useful it would be in zero gravity. So, as I crept out onto my perch in my oversized boots, looking for a satellite off to my right, I crept slowly into position. I finally found that satellite and turned it to the proper instrument panel. My husband, who happened to be the Mission Control Communicator for this mission, was providing me step by step instructions on how to re-set the satellite through my snoopy ears. He first would tell me which switch panel to look at and which one of the two dozen or so switches to flip. Thank goodness for braille labels on the numerous switches and keypads, I was able to reset that satellite and prepare it for its way back into space. I slowly inched my way back to the shuttle along my perch, got into “peter pan” mode and pulled myself wearily back to the cargo hatch. As I was making my final approach toward the hatch, my oversized boot fell off and then I lost the other one just inside the cargo bay. Thank goodness, I was rid of them. After I had removed the harness with the help of the instructor, I retraced my steps or, should I say, I crawled my way back to the ladder in my socking feet to return to mid ship to remove this extremely hot suit. Meanwhile back in the cockpit, our ever-capable Commander and pilot smoothly landed the shuttle. Mission was accomplished successfully.

Later that day we built our model rockets for launching the next morning. We were asked to name our rockets, so I, in typical NFB fashion, named it “Slam that.” I asked Larry to write “Braille Rocks” on one of the fins and then I put various stickers on the missile body. If I had planned ahead, I could have made braille labels for it. The next morning, we all climbed excitedly unto the bus which would take us to the launching

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March 2017 The Focus

pad. Each brightly decorated rocket was placed into position for launch. As I waited my turn to launch my rocket, I watched the others’ rockets blast off. You could hear the whistling sound of the rocket leaving the launch pad, the popping of the nose cone separating from the missile body and the snap of the parachute deploying. Several rockets didn’t deploy their parachutes and crashed into the ground with a thud, many went into the “Hall of Fame” woods never to be retrieved again. I was hoping that my rocket would not suffer that fate, so I could take it home and use it as a display at our upcoming state convention. My turn came, and I was excited to hit the button which would launch my rocket into the atmosphere. It sizzled upward, then I heard the pop of the nose cone separating and another snap as the parachute deployed. All was not well, “Houston, we have a problem”, the parachute cord did not stay attached, so my missile body crashed separately to the ground, as my nose cone gracefully floated toward the earth. Luckily for me, both pieces didn’t land in the “Hall of Fame” woods, so I could recover it. My rocket body didn’t receive any damage when crashing, all fins were attached and whole. I guess you could say it was a successful mission because I had a whole rocket to take home.

We were also trained on several simulators. The first was the Multiple Access Trainer. This trainer simulated the wild tossing and turning of the space capsule of the Mercury (Apollo 11) mission. The sensation was like that which would have been experienced by the astronauts as the capsule entered into earth’s orbit to land in the sea. The chair would twist you randomly around all three axis. Boy that was a wild ride. My favorite was the 1/6 chair, which simulated moon walking. The 1/6 chair allowed you to bounce upward about 4 or 5 feet, bunny hop sideways, and backward. I kept my chair under control and didn’t bounce too high or too hard and fall off the moon. There were two other simulators of which I was not going to try because of my extreme dislike for falling. But my husband did experience them both. The Space Shot, which simulated the sensation like you would have felt during the launch of the Saturn 5 rocket. He really

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March 2017 The Focus

enjoyed that and did it twice. The G-force Accelerator simulated the 3 Gs pushing on your body caused from the centrifugal force to test your strength. He was surprise how much of the amount of pressure he felt from the G-force upon his face and chest.

I am so glad that I was able to successfully earn my flight wings and be able to “Live the Life I Want.” I think the next trip I take will be more down to earth. I think I will cruise to South America, lay on the beach, soak up the sun, and drink umbrella drinks with a great braille book. Bring it on!

Sue in the International Space Station Sue holding the rocket she built and flew at Space Camp

reading the instruments using braille

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March 2017 The Focus

Sue working on the antenna outside the orbiter Sue wearing her space suit before she goes out

she is tethered to simulate Sue flying in orbit to do her work on the antenna outside the orbiter

Finally, the last picture is Team Challenger. This was our team for the weekend. We had 12 participants on the team and one Space Camp leader from the Space and Rocket Center. The leader was also featured in the photo. Sue talks about the makeup of the team in her article.

The Space Camp took place September 30 through October 2, 2016.

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March 2017 The Focus

Visiting the Past: A Trip to Selma

By Susan k. Povinelli

On March 7, 1965, over 600 civil rights marchers gathered to march in order to gain voting rights for African Americans in Alabama. As the protesters marched across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were violently attacked by state troopers and deputies who were in opposition of the march. Two days later, Martin Luther King Jr. orchestrated a second march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they stopped, prayed and then marched back to the church where they began. Then these civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge, Frank M. Johnson, Jr., ruled in favor of the demonstrators and approved the march to Montgomery. On Sunday, March 21, over 3000 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

My husband and I, along with a neighbor went to see the movie “Selma” re-enacting this event. My neighbor stated he was stationed in Selma in the late 50’s before the march. He asked us if we wanted to visit Selma to see the bridge where the march had taken place. Since we were scheduled to attend a NFB state board meeting the following weekend in Montgomery, AL, we thought it would be a very interesting side trip for us and the other chapter members who attended the board meeting to visit Selma, which is 55 miles west of Montgomery.

Many individuals might ask why I, as a Caucasian blind woman, would bother to visit a historical civil rights landmark that she couldn’t see. Well, the reason is the Civil Rights movement played a significant part in the organized blind movement. Or on the other hand, since 1940 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) had been fighting discrimination towards the

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March 2017 The Focus

blind. Our founder Jacobus tenBroek played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement. However, many of our members may not know that Dr. tenBroek’s legal scholarship helped to set the stage for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. His legal scholarship on the interpretation and application of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution changed the way that American courts analyzed discrimination cases. He developed the analysis that is used by American courts today to determine if a law improperly discriminates by including or excluding a class of people. One of the most significant applications was that of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation by race in the public schools was unconstitutional because the "separate but equal" doctrine failed to meet the requirements of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The blind, as with African Americans, are discriminated against as a class. Although the blind haven’t had to endure the violent treatment imposed on African Americans; the blind have endured our share of discrimination, under the guise of kindness and safety. We were not subjected to tear gas, but we have had to endure the stifling attitudes of the perception the blind could not live, independently, productively and successfully. We faced our hoses wrapped in barb wire in the form of continuous lack of access to electronic information. We endured the billy clubs of discrimination in hiring, which keep the blind from meaningful and productive employment. These are some of the tools of discrimination used by well-meaning individuals to keep the blind from the lives we want to live.

Over the last 30 years, I have endured my share of discrimination and passively protested in the form of conducting public awareness campaigns to change individuals’ attitude about blindness. I, like many of the marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, will not be remembered for my part in assisting future blind generations to achieve the lives they want. We all

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March 2017 The Focus

have a bridge to cross. We don’t know what awaits us at the other end. Will we be allowed to pass unharmed or will we have to endure the pains of marching towards the life we want to live. Sometimes like those marchers at Selma who had to stop, pray and return back to re-group to await legal authority to continue their march on another day, we in the NFB know that we will eventually achieve our goals for equal access to electronic information and full employment.

These are the reasons I went to Selma to look upon a bridge I could not physically see, but have crossed many times.

Note: Here is a great article on our founder, Jacobus tenBroek— : “Who Was Jacobus tenBroek?”, Braille Monitor, May 2006. https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm06/bm0605/bm060503.htm

Selma Bridge 1965 Selma Bridge 2015

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March 2017 The Focus

Apple Core

(Access Note)

By Susan K. Povinelli

I have tried various note apps and my favorite is Access Note by the American Foundation for the Blind. This app was designed to be used with Voice Over and a wireless keyboard. The app opens to the home page; they call "All Notes". Let us explore this screen. Starting at the top left of the screen, flick right once to "Add" button, flick right again, and you will find the "sink" button. If you flick right one more time you will be in the search field. Below the search box, you will see a list of all of your notes. Now move to the bottom left corner, you will find the "setting” button, flick right to the "favorite" button and then right once more and you will find the "Help" button.

To create a new note, double tap on the "Add" button. A blank page will appear. Let us explore this screen. Starting in the upper left hand corner, you will find “All Notes back” button, flick right and you will move to the file header; flick right again, you come to the “action” button; flick right once again to the “review off”; and flick right once more you are in the text box. Now let us return back to explore the "Action" button. Double tap on the "Action" button and the following options will appear: find in note; toggle to favorite; email as text; email as attachment; Print; Rename; delete; and cancel. Press “cancel” and return back to the empty page.

To name the note, double tap on the "Action" button. Then Flick down to the “rename” option and double tap. This will cause an edit box to appear now type in your title and press return. You have return back to the body of your note. Now type your note. Once you are finish, Press the "back" button and it will save your document and return to the "All Note” page. To open the document, flick down until you find the document in the menu and double tap to open. If you flick right from the “Action” button, you will find the "Review Off" button. Double tap this button and it will allow you to review

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your document without worry about changing it accidently. Double tap the “Review On” button and it will turn review off.

I would like to take a few minutes and talk about navigating thru the document and editing. One thing I can't get use to is the cursor movement and editing. Depending on which way you are moving thru a document will determine which side of the letter you are editing. If you are cursing using the left arrow, then the letters is typing will be before the character and after if you are cursoring with the right arrow. Hold down the "option" key and the right or left key and you will move one word at a time. If you want to highlight a word, then hold down the shift key and “option” key and the right arrow. It will highlight the word. You can copy by Use the rotor gesture to rotate until you hear “edit”, then flick up or down until you hear copy or cut, then double tap this will put the highlighted text in the copy buffer. Then navigate where you want it in your document and then use the rotor gesture to move to the “edit” and then flick up or down until you hear “paste”, double tap to paste.

Sometimes it is a pain to move your hands from the keyboard to gesture on the screen. You can navigate using the keyboard. Press the right and left arrows at the same time, you turn on quick navigation. You can turn “Quick Nav” off by pressing the right and left arrows together again. When you are in this mode, you will be able to move between elements, such as the buttons. If you press the right arrow, you are performing right flick and the left arrow performs a left flick. You need to have “Quick Nav” off to move inside your text. You perform a rotor gesture by pressing the up arrow and the right arrow to rotate clockwise. Continue these key strokes until you hear “edit” then press the right arrow to get to copy, cut or paste. Press the up and down arrows to double tap. Now let’s say you want to send this note to a friend. Double tap on the "action" button and double tap on email as text. This will open the email program and place the message in the body of the text. Now double tap in the "to" field, type in the email address or select it from your contact list. Then double tap "send" button. If you want to

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delete your note, open the desire note and then double tap the "action" button and select “delete”. It will ask you if you want to delete the note. Press okay.

I would also recommend you read the user manual provided under the "help". I found this very useful.

<<< >>>

Recipes from the NFB of Alabama Montgomery Chapter

APPETIZER

Heavenly Fruit Dip

1 (3 ¾ ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 ½ cups of half and half

1 tablespoon of sugar

½ teaspoon rum extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

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March 2017 The Focus

Combine ingredients in small bowl; beat with rotary beater or lowest speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Makes about 3 cups. Serve as a dip with fresh fruit or as a dressing over fruit salad.

< >

BEVERAGE

Easy Party Punch

1 package cherry Kool-Aid

1 package raspberry Kool-Aid

2 cups of sugar

2 quarts of water

1 (46 ounce) can of unsweetened pineapple juice

2 quarts of ginger ale

Combine first 5 ingredients; chill. When ready to serve, pour mixture into a punch bowl; stir in ginger ale. Makes 50 punch cup servings.

< >

SALAD

Crispy Green Salad

4 cups of assorted salad greens

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March 2017 The Focus

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup cauliflower pieces

½ bell pepper sliced

½ small cucumber sliced

Choice of dressing. Makes 6 servings

< >

POULTRY

Chinese Browned Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts cut in half

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Line a baking pan with foil place chicken on foil skin side up. Combine remaining ingredients and brush chicken with mixture. Bake at 350 for 1hour basting occasionally with the butter mixture and pan juices. Makes 4 servings.

< >

COOKIES

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March 2017 The Focus

Easy Kid’s Cookies

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine softened

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

Cream sugar and butter in mixer bowl. Add flour and baking soda. Stir in oats. Roll into I inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet and press slightly. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

<<< >>>

I Don't Want To Go To Church!

A mother went to wake her son for church one Sunday morning. When she knocked on his door, he said, "I'm not going!"

"Why not?" asked his mother.

"I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me. Two, I don't like them."

His mother replied, "I'll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One, you're 47 years old. Two, you're the pastor!"

< >

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March 2017 The Focus

The $20 and the $1 Joke

Two well-worn bills arrived at the Federal Reserve Bank to be retired - a twenty and a one. As they traveled down the conveyor belt, they struck up a conversation. The twenty reminisced about the interesting life he had, traveling all over the country. "I've been to the finest restaurants, Broadway shows, Las Vegas , Atlantic City ," he said. "I even want on a Caribbean cruise. Where have you been?"

"Oh," said the one dollar bill, "I've been to the Methodist church, the Episcopal church, the Lutheran church."

"What's a church?" asked the twenty.

< >

Heaven Joke

A man died and went to The Judgment, they told him, “Before you meet with God, I should tell you — we’ve looked over your life, and to be honest you really didn’t do anything particularly good or bad. We’re not really sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can help us make a decision?” The newly arrived soul thought for a moment and replied, “Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a person who was being harassed by a group of thugs. So, I pulled over, got out a bat, and went up to the leader of the thugs. He was a big, muscular guy with a ring pierced through his lip. Well, I tore the ring out of his lip, and told him he and his gang had better stop bothering this guy or they would have to deal with me!” “Wow that’s impressive, “When did this happen?” “About three minutes ago,” came the reply.

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March 2017 The Focus

Rest Stop Joke

I was coming back from visiting my son in my Miami and I stopped at a rest stop to use the bathroom. I just sat down on the toilet when I heard a voice coming from the stall next to mine, “Hey! How’s it going?” Although I was quite surprised, and I wasn’t in the habit of conversing to the people next to me in the stall, I nevertheless answered him, “I’m fine” I said “thanks for asking.” “What are you doing?” Asked the same voice. To be honest I was a bit taken aback by the brazenness of this fellow, but I would never ignore anyone so I calmly answered, “I’m relieving myself.” Then I heard the same voice again, “I’m going to have to call you back, some smart-aleck is answering all of my questions.”

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Links to the PDF version of the March 2017 Focus: click here:  


 The Focus           

Alabama’s Blind Community at a Glance

March 2017

National Federation of The Blind

Of Alabama

Joy Harris, President

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, AL 35126

Home: (205)520-9979

Cell: (205)515-5220

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of The Focus. Your interest, articles and feedback makes this a very exciting newsletter. The NFB is moving forward and there is nothing quite like being a member in Alabama!

Gail Smith, Co-Editor

[email protected]

Gerald Yeager, Co-Editor

[email protected]

NFBA Year in Review

By Joy Harris

President, National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

With the year 2016 behind us, it is time to reflect on the activities that have taken place in the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama. 

We started the year by reorganizing our National Association of Blind Students of Alabama.  To jumpstart this, we held a meeting in Montgomery Alabama.  A number of students and members of the board of the NFBA were in attendance.  Students had lunch, participated in some fun activities such as Name that Tune and then got down to business.  A proposed Constitution was read and approved.  Then elections were held and Anna Walsh was elected as President.  Other officers were also elected and the student division was in full swing. 

At the end of January Members of the NFBA headed to Washington DC to attend the Washington Seminar.  Members left Birmingham and headed to DC even though there was a snowstorm that shut down Washington for a couple days.  Our members attended the great gathering in meeting to discuss the issues that would be presented to the members of Congress in the next two days.  Cindy Jones again did a great job in making our appointments and organizing this yearly activity for our Alabama affiliate.  After that our whole Affiliate was in full swing finalizing the Activities which would be held at our Annual State Convention which was held at the Holiday Inn, Mobile Alabama, on March 4-6 2016.  It was a jam packed weekend full of informative seminars and guest speakers.  Our National Representative was Ever Lee Hairston NFB board member from Los Angeles, California.  Ever Lee brought us a report from our National office and presented on Saturday afternoon “My Journey from the Tar Hills to the Hollywood Hills”.  This presentation was about a book she had written about her life.  She also gave a rousing banquet address at our annual Saturday evening Banquet. 

In the month of May our second annual Living with Vision Loss event was held in Jasper Alabama.  There was over 100 people present and about 30 Vendors displaying many Aids and Devices and also Vendors talked with participants about services that were available for blind and low vision persons in Alabama.  I want to thank the Northwest Chapter in Jasper for all of their hard work in putting on this event.

The Structure Discovery Committee consisting of representatives from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind and Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama was active throughout the year.  We had a number of committee meetings and a number of job interviews to ensure that we obtained the most extraordinary staff to teach the Structure Discovery method.  The name of the Structured Discovery Center is Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind. The Structured Discovery program is under the direction of Jessica Edmiston Director of the Birmingham Regional Center AIDB and Cindy Jones Yeager, Coordinator.  Jessica spent tireless hours with other staff in the process of remodeling the building to make sure it met the needs of our SD program for both staff and students.  I also want to recognize Dr. John Mascia, President of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind for his belief and passion for this type of training.  He wanted blind people to have the choice of what training they would receive.  I am proud to say that we have begun our first Structure discovery class of five students.  The classes began in October.  We have a long way to go but we are determined to make this training program one of the best in the country.

The first week in July about 60 members attended the National Federation of the blind convention in Orlando Florida.  Our NFB National conventions are full of seminars, general sessions, and recreational activities, with the highlight of the week being our annual banquet.  Their so many activities at our NFB Convention it would take hours to describe them all. 

In October 2016, we held a White Cane Safety day in Birmingham Alabama.  About 30 members attended.  We held this activity across from City Hall in Birmingham.  We walked around with our canes, passed out literature and talked to the public about the important role of the White cane.  The day was sunny and bright and our members had a great time. 

During all of this year our Local chapters have been doing many fundraisers, from selling raffle tickets to pecans.  They were also involved in many events educating the public about blindness and talking about the NFB of Alabama.  I want to thank all of the local chapters and Divisions for all of their hard work this year. 

At this time, we are working on our State convention for 2017 in Huntsville Alabama.  This will be held at the Huntsville Marriott on March 10-12, 2017.  I want to thank the members of the Rocket City Chapter for all of their work so far.  More information about the convention will be coming out soon.

In closing, I want to thank all of our members for their hard work in the affiliate this year.  The NFB of Alabama is truly a family and is always willing to answer the call when help is needed.  I am excited about the activities we will be participating in this coming year.  I look forward to seeing all of you at the Huntsville convention.  As our National President says “with love, hope and determination we can make our dreams come true”

Joy Harris, President NFBA

<<< >>>

President, Joy Harris Hopes to See All of You At

The 2017 Annual State Convention Of the

National Federation of the Blind of Alabama

When:                  March 10, 11 & 12, 2017

Where:                 Marriott Huntsville

                    5 Tranquility Base

                    Huntsville, AL 35801

                    Phone: 256-830-2222

Please make your own hotel reservations by February 22, 2017. State you are with the NfB of Alabama for the room rates of $109 per night plus taxes. After this date, rooms will be available on a first come first serve basis. Rates may CHANGE!

Who:     Everyone is welcome to join us. You may pre-register by downloading a form from NFBAL.org.

Mail your form and payment by March 3, 2017.

Prices:  

Pre-convention  Registration $20

Pre-convention  Banquet $30

At convention Registration $25

At convention Banquet $35.

Prices:

Italian Pasta Buffett lunch Saturday. Noon, March 11, $15.

Tour of the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center on Friday, March 10, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.  $18

Mail Convention Registration to:              

Joy Harris

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, Alabama 35126

2017 State Convention Chairperson:

Larry Povinelli (703) 969-6476

Exhibits:

Jeffrey Wilson (256) 589-2096

Door prizes:

Brandy Wood (205) 563-6169

The 2017 NFBA Convention will kick off on Friday afternoon,

March 10, 2017. The afternoon will feature two informative seminars. 

The first is a Diabetic Nutrition Seminar beginning at 1:30 pm until 3:00 pm. This seminar will be filled with a wealth of knowledge on diabetes. The presenter will be Lois Williams from Huntsville.

The second is a Technology Seminar from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Come join us to learn the latest in accessible technology.  Presenters will be Jeff Wilson, Dezman Jackson and Brandy Wood.

The Alabama Association of Blind Merchants will hold their annual business meeting Friday, March 10, 4:30 pm.

The Alabama Association of Blind Students will hold their annual  business meeting Friday, March 10, at 4:30pm.

Friday evening, March 10, 2017 there will be an exciting BINGO

Fundraiser, with an opportunity to win terrific prizes from 8:00 until

10:00 p.m.  The Cost: $10 (1 Bingo Card) -- $15 (2 Bingo Cards.)

Snacks and a Cash Bar will be available.  Please come enjoy the fun and fellowship!

On Saturday, March 11, 2017 we will hear from many outstanding speakers throughout the day, including our National Representative, Scott LaBarre. Their topics will include issues that affect the Blind in Alabama and across the nation. 

Saturday evening, March 11, the highlight of the convention is our Banquet. You don’t want to miss this fantastic evening with your Federation family.  There will be a great meal and an inspiring banquet address given by Scott LaBarre. Make your plans to join us! 

On Sunday morning, March 12, 2017, our National Federation of the Blind of Alabama State Convention will conclude with our annual business meeting.

Come join us in Huntsville for the 2017 NFBA Convention!

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NFBA Annual State Convention Registration Form

Marriott Huntsville

5 Tranquility Base - Huntsville, AL 35801

Phone: (256) 830-2222

March 10, 11 & 12, 2017

Your Name:___________________________________________________________________

Street  Address:____________________________________________Apt/Lot:______________

City: ___________________________________State: _________  Zip: ___________________

Phone Number: Home: ________________ Cell: _________________ Work: ______________

Please print your Email address: ___________________________________________________

How would you like your agenda?  Braille _______Print_______  Email:_______

  How Many            Total

Registration $20 ($25 after 03/03/17)                                      _________       $___________

Banquet $30 ($35 after 03/03/17)                                _________       $___________

Vegetarian: Yes _____

Italian Pasta Lunch Buffet on Saturday Noon $15                              _________          $___________

Tour of the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center

     on Friday 11:30 AM – 1:00PM $18                                     _________          $___________

TOTAL                                   $_____________

Please check all seminars you are planning to attend on Friday, March 10, 2017

Diabetes: 1:30 until 3:00 p.m. _________

Technology: 3:00 until 4:30 p.m. ________

Several registrations may be combined on one check in the same envelope, if needed. Make checks payable to:  NFB of Alabama.   Send completed forms, check or money order DEADLINE by 03/03/17 to:

Joy Harris

5209 Sterling Glen Drive

Pinson, AL 35126

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Huntsville! Make your plans now!

One Deed At A Time

By Allen Harris

The Federation has been Built one deed at a time, and by individual Federationists.  I became a member of the Federation in 1969, and it has, without a doubt, been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have forty-seven years of benefiting from the organization and helping to build it everywhere I have ever lived.  One of the very first things Joy and I investigated was our Local Alabama Chapter; this really assisted with all of the challenges which one encounters when moving to a new State or Community.

Back in the Day, likely the early seventies there was a document circulating

throughout the Federation titled, "Some One Else Will Do It". (this is not

the actual title but does represent the idea.) Whenever something needed to be done, arranging transportation, making certain that we had our Local

Chapter together, Fund Raising, Calling Committees, Legislation activities

and so many more responsibilities many of us said "Someone else will do

it!!!”  Often there were individuals who were willing to take on all of the

work or at a minimum most of it.  While we have always found a way to keep our Federation moving forward and improving on behalf of blind persons, we haven’t nearly achieved the outcome we could have if everyone did "something”.  Certainly, we have different skills, resources and time to donate to our Federation and that makes us like every other organization with which I am familiar.  However, I believe that there is not one of us who can’t do more to strengthen our Federation.  If you think of the things that have improved for the blind you will know the Federation and its members were responsible.  When you hear of a case of discrimination based on blindness, you will see that the Federation is right plum in the middle.  Furthermore, we will stay until blind individuals have fairness and

justice.  When you think of barriers and continued challenges for blind

persons, I think of legal exemptions which allow certain government protected workplaces to pay (sub-minimum wages) to the blind and other persons with disabilities, the NFB is the Only Organization of the Blind working diligently to get Congress to eliminate this despicable and harmful practice. In other words, the Federation is our Organization and it will be as effective for blind persons as "you and I" make it. This means that each must begin to do more to build and strengthen our Federation.  This means that each of us can find something we can do to be a more active member of the NFB.

Finally, and perhaps in my opinion, the most important thing we need to

“do, is forget" "someone will do it". This is a weak excuse for not participating and perhaps cause a blind person to be beaten down by our failure to do more.  The next time we are planning a project, fund raising or any of the full range of work, think of what YOU can do. So many of our members have been held back by discrimination and it is our responsibility to see that this practice is eliminated.

"Live The Life You Want"

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Alabama Blind Merchants on the Move

By Barbara Manuel

The Blind Merchants of Alabama said good-bye to 2016, with several of our members attending the BLAST conference in Chicago, Il. The event was held this past spring and as usual, there was tons of information and several new products to sample. Every aspect of the vending world was present.  The NFB national Merchants Division also met at the January 2017 Washington Seminar.  Las Vegas will host the NAMA gathering next on April 19-21.  Our BLAST Conference will take place on September 12-15 in Nashville, TN.

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3/11/17

NFB FAMILY FEUD

Come out and cheer on your favorite NFB family team as they compete for a chance to bust open a football shaped piñata. Trivia questions may stem from but are not excluded to the following categories: NFB, sports, music, and entertainment. Hotdogs, chips and drinks will be provided. Hope to see you at the 50 yard line!!

                $5.00 admission

Including meal ticket

$3.00 meal ticket only

────

Need 4 teams of 5 people

────

Teams will pay a $25.00 participation fee

────

Proceeds will go to help support the Alabama Association of Blind Students

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FOCUS on Seniors

By Carol Braithwaite

Are you over age 50? Are you blind or starting to lose your vision and wondering how other people like you handle problems you have not had to worry about in the past? If so, you are not alone. All over Alabama there are people like you.

The National Federation of the Blind of Alabama is with you! We want to open lines of communication throughout the state to help each other find some solutions that really work so we can live the lives we want. Some top concerns for all seniors are:

o   Personal safety

o   Maintaining good health

o   Financial security

o   Becoming or staying independent

o   Access to the community of your choice

o   Inclusion in the community of your choice (family, worship setting, community events, voting process….to name                                                 a few)

We who have lost or are losing vision have a few more concerns specific to us, too.  See if you want help with any of the following challenges or can offer help to other seniors with any of them:

o   Overcoming isolation and misunderstanding

o   Maintaining a positive attitude about your condition

o   Finding good training for

 using a cane or guide dog for travel

o   reading and writing Braille

o   using high tech devices like a computer or cell phone

o   keeping your home safe and organized 

o   gaining and keeping a job

o   understanding services offered by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind           

o   finding affordable resources for getting a computer or cell phone

o   learning about how NFB can help you

o   learning about how you can help other blind people through supporting the NFB

As you read these checklists, consider the ones that matter to you. If you check even one of them, your NFB affiliate is with you! We seniors all have at least ONE check. We want to help each other with becoming empowered to increase our personal freedom to live the lives we want. 

The best way to start is through a statewide network by using the telephone. A dozen NFB members from Mobile, Birmingham, Northwest Alabama, Southwest Alabama chapters have met twice on a chat line call—once on January 17 and again on February 16. The purpose of these meetings has been to find out the level of enthusiasm for starting a Senior Division for our Alabama NFB affiliate. Interest is high, and we plan to meet again on Thursday evening, March 16 at 7 PM. We meet for an hour. The next meeting will be a planning session for having an organizational meeting in April, at which time we will elect officers and approve a constitution for the division.

We want as many interested people as possible on the call on March 16. Here’s how to connect with the group:

                o             Phone number: (712) 432-6430

                o             You will hear some recorded instructions. When you are told to enter your meeting code,

                o             Dial: 7537

                o             Say your name once the call goes through. The group on the line will all hear you and respond.

Thank you, Barbara Manuel, NFB member of Montgomery chapter, for making the chat line available to our group each month.

Carol Braithwaite, NFB Magic City Chapter board member and state membership chairman, will moderate the phone call. We will discuss which of your concerns you want to talk about in future monthly phone discussions. We will also discuss forming a statewide NFB Senior Division. Members from each chapter in the state have agreed to contact seniors in their areas as needed. They are.

Tameka Williams, Mobile

Tony Nixon, Southwest Alabama Chapter

Vince Armstrong, Talladega Chapter

Robert Kelly, Montgomery Chapter

Vivian Hawkins, Barbara Runner, Mary Ring, Magic City Chapter

John Black, Northwest Alabama Chapter

Larry Povinelli, Rocket City Chapter

If you have questions about participating in this effort to help each other with mutual concerns, contact Carol Braithwaite at (205) 903-8520 or at [email protected]. See you on March 16th!

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Mobile Chapter Update

Hi NFB of AL:

The Mobile Chapter is vibrant and well.  Since the 2016 state convention the Mobile family has had several exciting things occur.       First, we have continued to have fund raisers to help assist our members to the 2017 state convention being held in Huntsville, AL. Our fund raiser activities have included snack bag sales, a half and half raffle, casino trips, and a Mother’s Day basket raffle.  We are continuing to plan more fund raisers until the very month of state convention in order to ensure that every member who wishes to attend will be assisted. Second, we participated in a 5K run that was held in August by the local Lion’s Club. We gave out water and cheered the runners on as they crossed the finish line. In addition, our vice president Minnie Walker spoke about blindness and set up a table for NFB literature at this event.  In September, Minnie Walker also set up a table with NFB literature at a local community resource fair hosted by the Independent Living Center of Mobile. We adopted two children as our annual Christmas gift to our blind youth at our local regional school.

We also have a few chapter cheers. We are proud to say that we have had one of our members, Barbara Manuel, complete training at the Louisiana Center for the blind. She returned to our Mobile family on November 18 and we are looking forward to the new and heightened level of energy and determination that LCB has stimulated in her. We have also had one of our members, Jessica Williams, received an Alabama Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) scholarship, recognizing her for her scholastic achievements. Another member, Vendrick Tilley, completed his training for the BEP program in June and was awarded a vending route in the month of September. Last but not least, our newest member of the Mobile family has joined us!!! Baby girl Maziah Tilley was born on the morning of October 7, 2016 weighing 6 lbs. and 13 oz. We send special thanks to NFB of Alabama for the calls, texts, cards, and gifts. We are looking forward to seeing all of our members at the state convention.

Sincerely yours in the movement,

Tamika Williams,  Mobile Chapter President       

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Greetings from the Greater Rocket City Chapter in Huntsville

We like to think of ourselves a small but diverse group, because we come from many backgrounds & experiences.

Our offices are:

President: Lakeesha Acklin

1st VP: Terry Matney

Treasure: Larry Povinelli

Secretary: Sue Povinelli 

Board Member:

Charles Araund

  Our goal is bridging the gap and bringing awareness to the community about blindness. We are building relationships with other community base groups such as: The Shriners, Space & Rocket Center, & ThePaceSetters. We had four members of our Chapter that attended the Adult  Space Program, that will be giving their experiences  of the camp at the March State Convention. We are in the process of developing a new logo for our group, to add the new logo of our organization and as well as a fundraiser.  These are just a few of the things we are in the process of working on at this current moment. Thank you for taking a moment out of schedule to read about The Greater Rocket City Chapter.

Lakeesha/President

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The NFB of Alabama Montgomery Chapter

The NFB Montgomery Chapter meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in room 8. You are welcome to join us just dial 712-432-6430 press # until you get to the prompts, press 1 then 8 and # Say your name and you are in the meeting.

Our officers for 2017 are as follows: 

President Robert Kelly Jr.

Secretary Wendy Dial

Treasurer Parmie Similton

Board members are:

Bonnie Billingsley

Clara Bradford

Daisy Fan

Al-azzeh

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The Northwest Alabama Chapter

The Northwest Chapter meets in Jasper at the Jasper Civic Center

on the second Monday of each month at 11:30 AM. You are welcome to join us!

We will be found at most community activities passing out literature and educating the community on issues pertaining to the blind.

Also, we find ways to fundraise while having a good time. At most fundraising events you will find us making and selling cotton candy. Some of our members have perfected the art of making cotton candy and now they have earned royal titles. Now we have our very own Cotton Candy Queen, Cotton Candy Princess and The Cotton Candy King. It always turns out to be a sweet fundraiser!

President: John Black

Vice President: Gail Smith

Treasurer: Donald Smith

Secretary: Sharon Sampson

Board Member: Earlene Watson

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NFB of Alabama List of Chapters

We would be glad to have you attend. Please feel free to give our Chapter Presidents a call for further information.

Birmingham Chapter - Magic City

President: Cindy Jones

205-328-3989

[email protected]

The Birmingham chapter meets on the 1st Saturday of every month from 11am until 1pm at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Regional Office. The AIDB regional office is located at 220 34th St South, Birmingham Alabama.

Huntsville Chapter - Greater Rocket City

 President: Lakeesha Acklin

(256) 325-4120

[email protected]

The Huntsville chapter meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm at the Huntsville Regional Office of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB). The Huntsville Regional Office of AIDB is located at 600 Saint Clair Avenue, Southwest, Suite #2, Huntsville, Alabama 35801. The office is located down the street from the Huntsville Main Library. For more details, visit our chapter's website at www.nfbhuntsville.org. We hope to see you at a meeting very soon.

Mobile Chapter

President: Tamika Williams

[email protected]

The Mobile chapter meets on the 1st Saturday of every month at the Mobile Regional Library. Mobile Regional Library is located at 5555 Grelot Road, Mobile, AL 36609

Montgomery Chapter

President: Robert Kelly JR

(334)224-2403

[email protected]

The Montgomery chapter meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month VIA Telephone

The call-in number for meetings is 712-432-6340

once you call in press pound twice, then press 1, then press 8, then press pound

Jasper Chapter - Northwest Alabama

John Black, President

(205) 384-1666

[email protected]

The Northwest Chapter meets at the Jasper Civic Center on the second Monday of each month. Meeting time is 11:30 AM.

Address:

Jasper Civic Center

204 19th Street East

Jasper, AL 35501

Tuscaloosa Chapter – Southwest Alabama

President, Toney Nixon

1804 Old Springhill Rd

Demopolis, AL 36732

334.507.4240

[email protected]

For information about time and place of monthly chapter meetings, please contact President, Toney Nixon.

Talladega Chapter

President: Vincent Armstrong

(256)493-3811

The Talladega chapter meets on the second Saturday of every month at the Spring Street Recreational Center. It is located at 502 Spring Street South, Talladega, Alabama 35160

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My Journey to LCB

By Barbara Manuel

On March 7, 2016, I started a much-desired journey in my life. For several years, I’ve wanted to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind’s Structured Discovery Program in Rustin, Louisiana. At the closure of Alabama’s NFB Affiliate state conference, I hit the road for LCB. All bags packed and loaded in the vehicle, my family and I had sights focused on Louisiana. I arrived at the center the following morning without my cane. Can you imagine, my very first words were, “Do you have a cane that I can get?”  While rushing from the conference and half way to Rustin, I realized that my cane was in Alabama. Afterward, I was given a brief intake and was told the more formal one would take place on the next day.

After I moved into the apartment, went to the store and got settled in, my family left. The journey was on!

During the next 8 and one-half months, I was pulled out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. In my independent living class I had to create several meals from scratch and make a meal for eight using a formal setting. A few weeks later I served chicken murphy, California blend veggies, spinach salad, focaccia bread, Italian cream cheese cake, and golden glow punch for my meal for forty.  After this, I completed this class and had two hours to devote to my tech class. Jack Mendez is the instructor and he’s super nice, but he does not cut any corners. He and I have had an interesting journey. The very first day of class he determined that I did not listen very well and that I needed to slow down! Yes, he was right on both counts. Gratefully, I am learning how to change for the better. I’ve enhanced my computer skills tremendously. Now creating power point presentations and working with excel is no longer foreign to me.

Learning how to scan, upload and maintain inventory with my bar code scanner will assist me in the workplace.

Thanks to James, the braille class has aided me toward becoming a proficient brail reader and now I’m reading about thirty to forty words per minute.

The shop class really pushed me beyond my comfort spot. We used a hand drill, a drill press, a radial arm saw, band saw, table saw, router, and a sander. Mr. J. Darnell taught us how to install a dead bolt lock, a two-sided lock with key, how to clean a dryer filter, to install washer hoses and how to mark a circuit breaker box. The goal was to give us tools so that we can take care of small jobs around the house ourselves and achieve greater independence. Mr. James worked with students on their final project. I created two male jewelry boxes with designs burned onto them.

Cardinal directions were not in my vocabulary until I walked into the center. Navigating throughout the building was a major challenge because the instructors never used right or left. I was told to go out of the office and turn north, go down to the east hall and find the last office on the south side of the hall. At this time, I wondered, what have I gotten myself into? After a while, north, south east and west was second nature to me. We learned how to safely cross streets, find business addresses, how to locate residences, how to travel on busses independently and how to navigate malls efficiently. Toward the end of my training, drop routes were the word of the day. This happens when you are driven around town for several minutes, going in and out of parking lots, down several streets in order to get the student confused about the drive. Then you are dropped off and expected to find your way back to the center. Three of these are assigned and luckily, I always found my way home!! I chose Hot Springs Arkansas for my out of town trip. While there, I took a tour of the city, went out to lunch at a restaurant that was assigned to me by Marco, my instructor. Also, I had an opportunity to attend the Arkansas’ NFB state conference, which was a treat as well. At days’ end, it was time to pamper myself with a massage at the hotel. My final requirement of the travel class was to walk a 10-K solo around the city. This mission was accomplished today as I write this. I’m feeling super pumped right now!!  

If you can believe it, I’ve played paint ball, gone white water rafting, rock climbed, rode horses, and attended the State Fair and …. Zip lined!!!

All of my training and entertainment took place under sleep shades.

I am so grateful to Rehabilitation Services of Alabama for affording me this training. The Louisiana Center for the Blind has given me new skills and enhanced those I already used. I’ve taken back my independence and now know without a doubt that I can live a more fulfilled life and face challenges head on. The Center is changing lives, one student at a time.

Barbara Ringing Graduation the Bell     Barbara horseback riding

Barbara rock climbing

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Fixing Satellites and Rockets

By Susan K. Povinelli

As a child of the 1960’s I remember watching the first moon walk in July, 1969.  Neil Armstrong and buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 mission, landed the Moon Rover, took their first steps on the moon, and collected moon rocks to be studied here on earth. I always loved learning about the space program and the science behind it.  I always wondered what it would be like to do a space mission.  I never got the chance as a child to attend Space Camp since it wasn’t founded until 1982.   Space Camp was the brain child of the famous rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun.  He wanted a camp for kids to study science modeled after the space program. Von Braun wanted children to become excited about space exploration and to consider becoming an astronaut.  Since 1990 the U. S. Space and Rocket Center has offered a Space Camp for visually impaired/blind children ages 10-18, called (SCIVIS). The camp offers blind children the opportunity to participate in space shuttle missions, underwater astronaut training, high rope courses, and other highly physical activities offered at Space Camp.  SCIVIS was started after a visually impaired adult applied for Space Camp and was denied because of his blindness.  The founder and director of space camp, ED Buckbee, decided to end the discrimination of the blind by creating a week-long program for blind children.  The entire space camp was retro-fitted to meet the needs of the blind.  This year they offered an adult academy the weekend after SCIVIS.  So, when the opportunity arose to attend an Adult Space Academy, my husband, two other blind friends and I jumped at the chance to go. 

We arrived at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, checked in and got fitted for our flight suits, got settled into our bunks, and reported in to start our weekend long mission and to meet the rest of our crew members of team Challenger.  The crew consisted of both blind and sighted professionals, from all over the United States, ranging from the age of 19 to 70.  We then proceeded to our pre-briefing where we learned about the history of NASA, mission of the shuttle program and life aboard the International Space Station.  The team of twelve broke up into three groups of four and then proceeded to Mission Control, Enterprise Orbiter and the International Space Station simulators for our orientation and training.  Our team was to accomplish two missions in the next 48 hours.  During the first mission I was assigned the role of Commander of the International Space Station with a crew of 3.  Our mission was to conduct vital space experiments such as, making slime, discovering effects of salt on various chemical compounds or determining the effect of circular motion on your vision and inner ear balance.   Also, we needed to maintain the International Space Station and keep it in orbit.  The mission went smoothly without any anomaly. I received my flight plan and experiment instructions in braille so I could keep track of my crew’s progress during the mission. 

The next mission, I was assigned to the orbiter as the Second Mission Specialist.  My mission was to take a spacewalk and replace a malfunctioning antenna on a satellite.   Our blind Commander, Terry (Buzz) Matney, and his sighted pilot successfully ejected the shuttle into earth’s orbit.  the First Mission Specialist and I crawled back down the ladder to mid-ship to conduct our physical, taking our blood pressure and temperature) to make sure we were fit to conduct our upcoming mission.  After we were determined to be fit for this mission, we prepared to put on our space suits.  I stripped off my flight suit and I put on my space pants. (It reminded me of those heavy snow pants I wore as a child in Michigan; one size too big and suspenders holding them up.) I then put on an ice vest to help keep me cool.  (Remember we are in Alabama and the temperature outside was near 90 degrees.  Over the vest, I wore the suit jacket which zipped up the back, Then I put on my “snoopy ears” (communication device), then the instructor connected my communication device to my space suit, I slipped into my moon boots (which were four times too big for my tiny feet), placed on the ever-stylish space helmet with the visor, and finally slip on my gloves and I was ready to start my mission.  I turned right toward the three-foot-wide tube that led to the cargo bay.  I crawled on my hands and knees the ten feet to the opening with the ladder going upward to the cargo bay.  As I was climbing upward, it reminded me of my childhood when I had to climb up into the silo every day to throw corn silage down for our family’s cows.  (Who would have known that I would use that skill as an astronaut?)  Once I reached the top of the ladder, I crawled on my hands and knees across the cargo bay to the next ladder, which would lead me down to the next level of the cargo bay towards the hatch to outer space.  I somehow gracefully turned myself around and proceeded to climb down without losing my boots.  Once at this level, the instructor assisted me to shimmy into the hanging harness and attach me to the upper cable.  I leaned against his back and got into my “peter pan” flying mode to work my way out towards the satellite.  Meanwhile Mission Specialist 1 was dressed and climbed into his basket and was capturing the satellite for repair.  I pulled myself along the endless cable toward the satellite.  I had learned in my training sessions if my tether cord was too long, I would wrap it around myself, the spare antenna, and the guide wire. But I never really perfected that so I was always getting myself untangled from something during the mission.  I finally got to my position near the satellite and pulled myself into a standing position, and let me tell you that is no easy feat.  You’ve got an extra ten pounds of gear to pull upward while fighting the harness resistance, as your snoopy ears dropped downward into your eyes.  Somehow, I accomplished that.  Mission Specialist 1 had already removed the malfunctioning antenna and handed it to me.  I then returned back to my “peter pan” mode.  I then togged and pulled myself along the guide wire towards the good antenna which was positioned on the outer wall half way back to the cargo bay hatch.  As I was pulling my way toward the antenna, I somehow tangled myself up in the tether causing me to spin several times while trying to get myself out of that mess.  Thank goodness, I didn’t need to call Houston and tell them “Houston, we have a problem.”  Once I got myself out of that mess, I found the good antenna, pull it out of its slot and replace it with the bad antenna.  The slot was inside a hole in a post just outside of my reach, about 18 inches below me.  (On the practice run, I had luckily tied my tether around the antenna and I had pulled it out of its slot, so I knew where it was and the technique to get it back in.)  In order to replace it, I had to hold the round part of the antenna while lining up the rod to the hole, and then slide the rod into the slot, meanwhile you are twisting and turning from the tether. Boy that was really challenging.  I had learned that if I slide the rod along the one inch post, I could find the hole and slide it in.) Remember I have no useable vision so I had to perfect the non-visual technique to accomplish this task.) , meanwhile I was becoming overheated and worrying about my space boots falling off and becoming space junk.  The instructor was afraid I would get overheated and they would have to rescue me, so I was directed to let that bad antenna become space junk, I dropped it with a loud clang and returned back to the satellite with the good antenna.  I had to get myself upright again.   Once I accomplished that maneuver, I handed Mission Specialist One the new antenna and he put it into place.   Now, I had to reach the satellite and reset the program.  I gingerly poked the tip of my oversized boot along the edge of the cargo bay looking for my perch.  Once I found it with my foot, I carefully moved one foot toward the perch, trying to determine the size and dimension of the perch, did I tell you it was a 4 by 4-inch T-beam, about 3 feet long, and 12 feet above earth.  Boy what I would have done for a white cane, to check out the lay of the land, but somehow, I forgot it in the shuttle.  What a stupid move.  But thinking about it, I’m not sure how useful it would be in zero gravity.  So, as I crept out onto my perch in my oversized boots, looking for a satellite off to my right, I crept slowly into position.  I finally found that satellite and turned it to the proper instrument panel.  My husband, who happened to be the Mission Control Communicator for this mission, was providing me step by step instructions on how to re-set the satellite through my snoopy ears.  He first would tell me which switch panel to look at and which one of the two dozen or so switches to flip.  Thank goodness for braille labels on the numerous switches and keypads, I was able to reset that satellite and prepare it for its way back into space.    I slowly inched my way back to the shuttle along my perch, got into “peter pan” mode and pulled myself wearily back to the cargo hatch.    As I was making my final approach toward the hatch, my oversized boot fell off and then I lost the other one just inside the cargo bay.  Thank goodness, I was rid of them.  After I had removed the harness with the help of the instructor, I retraced my steps or, should I say, I crawled my way back to the ladder in my socking feet to return to mid ship to remove this extremely hot suit.   Meanwhile back in the cockpit, our ever-capable Commander and pilot smoothly landed the shuttle.  Mission was accomplished successfully. 

Later that day we built our model rockets for launching the next morning.  We were asked to name our rockets, so I, in typical NFB fashion, named it “Slam that.”  I asked Larry to write “Braille Rocks” on one of the fins and then I put various stickers on the missile body.  If I had planned ahead, I could have made braille labels for it.  The next morning, we all climbed excitedly unto the bus which would take us to the launching pad.  Each brightly decorated rocket was placed into position for launch.  As I waited my turn to launch my rocket, I watched the others’ rockets blast off.  You could hear the whistling sound of the rocket leaving the launch pad, the popping of the nose cone separating from the missile body and the snap of the parachute deploying.  Several rockets didn’t deploy their parachutes and crashed into the ground with a thud, many went into the “Hall of Fame” woods never to be retrieved again.  I was hoping that my rocket would not suffer that fate, so I could take it home and use it as a display at our upcoming state convention.  My turn came, and I was excited to hit the button which would launch my rocket into the atmosphere.  It sizzled upward, then I heard the pop of the nose cone separating and another snap as the parachute deployed.  All was not well, “Houston, we have a problem”, the parachute cord did not stay attached, so my missile body crashed separately to the ground, as my nose cone gracefully floated toward the earth.  Luckily for me, both pieces didn’t land in the “Hall of Fame” woods, so I could recover it.  My rocket body didn’t receive any damage when crashing, all fins were attached and whole.  I guess you could say it was a successful mission because I had a whole rocket to take home.

We were also trained on several simulators.  The first was the Multiple Access Trainer.  This trainer simulated the wild tossing and turning of the space capsule of the Mercury (Apollo 11) mission. The sensation was like that which would have been experienced by the astronauts as the capsule entered into earth’s orbit to land in the sea.  The chair would twist you randomly around all three axis.  Boy that was a wild ride. My favorite was the 1/6 chair, which simulated moon walking.  The 1/6 chair allowed you to bounce upward about 4 or 5 feet, bunny hop sideways, and backward.  I kept my chair under control and didn’t bounce too high or too hard and fall off the moon.  There were two other simulators of which I was not going to try because of my extreme dislike for falling.   But my husband did experience them both.  The Space Shot, which simulated the sensation like you would have felt during the launch of the Saturn 5 rocket.  He really enjoyed that and did it twice.   The G-force Accelerator simulated the 3 Gs pushing on your body caused from the centrifugal force to test your strength.   He was surprise how much of the amount of pressure he felt from the G-force upon his face and chest. 

            I am so glad that I was able to successfully earn my flight wings and be able to “Live the Life I Want.”  I think the next trip I take will be more down to earth.  I think I will cruise to South America, lay on the beach, soak up the sun, and drink umbrella drinks with a great braille book.  Bring it on!

                         Sue in the International Space Station          Sue holding the rocket she built and flew at Space Camp

reading the instruments using braille

       Sue working on the antenna outside the orbiter                          Sue wearing her space suit before she goes out

she is tethered to simulate Sue flying in orbit                              to do her work on the antenna outside the orbiter

Finally, the last picture is Team Challenger. This was our team for the weekend.  We had 12 participants on the team and one Space Camp leader from the Space and Rocket Center. The leader was also featured in the photo. Sue talks about the makeup of the team in her article.

The Space Camp took place September 30 through October 2, 2016.

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Visiting the Past: A Trip to Selma

By Susan k. Povinelli

On March 7, 1965, over 600 civil rights marchers gathered to march in order to gain voting rights for African Americans in Alabama.  As the protesters marched across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were violently attacked by state troopers and deputies who were in opposition of the march.  Two days later, Martin Luther King Jr. orchestrated a second march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they stopped, prayed and then marched back to the church where they began.  Then these civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge, Frank M. Johnson, Jr., ruled in favor of the demonstrators and approved the march to Montgomery. On Sunday, March 21, over 3000 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

My husband and I, along with a neighbor went to see the movie “Selma” re-enacting this event.  My neighbor stated he was stationed in Selma in the late 50’s before the march.  He asked us if we wanted to visit Selma to see the bridge where the march had taken place.  Since we were scheduled to attend a NFB state board meeting the following weekend in Montgomery, AL, we thought it would be a very interesting side trip for us and the other chapter members who attended the board meeting to visit Selma, which is 55 miles west of Montgomery.

Many individuals might ask why I, as a Caucasian blind woman, would bother to visit a historical civil rights landmark that she couldn’t see. Well, the reason is the Civil Rights movement played a significant part in the organized blind movement. Or on the other hand, since 1940 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) had been fighting discrimination towards the blind. Our founder Jacobus tenBroek played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement. However, many of our members may not know that Dr. tenBroek’s legal scholarship helped to set the stage for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  His legal scholarship on the interpretation and application of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution changed the way that American courts analyzed discrimination cases. He developed the analysis that is used by American courts today to determine if a law improperly discriminates by including or excluding a class of people. One of the most significant applications was that of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation by race in the public schools was unconstitutional because the "separate but equal" doctrine failed to meet the requirements of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

   The blind, as with African Americans, are discriminated against as a class.  Although the blind haven’t had to endure the violent treatment imposed on African Americans; the blind have endured our share of discrimination, under the guise of kindness and safety. We were not subjected to tear gas, but we have had to endure the stifling attitudes of the perception the blind could not live, independently, productively and successfully.  We faced our hoses wrapped in barb wire in the form of continuous lack of access to electronic information.  We endured the billy clubs of discrimination in hiring, which keep the blind from meaningful and productive employment. These are some of the tools of discrimination used by well-meaning individuals to keep the blind from the lives we want to live.

Over the last 30 years, I have endured my share of discrimination and passively protested in the form of conducting public awareness campaigns to change individuals’ attitude about blindness.  I, like many of the marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, will not be remembered for my part in assisting future blind generations to achieve the lives they want.  We all have a bridge to cross.  We don’t know what awaits us at the other end.  Will we be allowed to pass unharmed or will we have to endure the pains of marching towards the life we want to live.  Sometimes like those marchers at Selma who had to stop, pray and return back to re-group to await legal authority to continue their march on another day, we in the NFB know that we will eventually achieve our goals for equal access to electronic information and full employment.

These are the reasons I went to Selma to look upon a bridge I could not physically see, but have crossed many times.

Note:  Here is a great article on our founder, Jacobus tenBroek—  : “Who Was Jacobus tenBroek?”, Braille Monitor, May 2006. https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm06/bm0605/bm060503.htm

        Selma Bridge 1965                                 Selma Bridge 2015

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Apple Core

(Access Note)

By Susan K. Povinelli

   I have tried various note apps and my favorite is Access Note by the American Foundation for the Blind.  This app was designed to be used with Voice Over and a wireless keyboard.  The app opens to the home page; they call "All Notes".  Let us explore this screen.  Starting at the top left of the screen, flick right once to "Add" button, flick right again, and you will find the "sink" button. If you flick right one more time you will be in the search field.    Below the search box, you will see a list of all of your notes.  Now move to the bottom left corner, you will find the "setting” button, flick right to the "favorite" button and then right once more and you will find the "Help" button.

To create a new note, double tap on the "Add" button.      A blank page will appear.  Let us explore this screen.  Starting in the upper left hand corner, you will find “All Notes back” button, flick right and you will move to the file header; flick right again, you come to the “action” button; flick right once again to the “review off”; and flick right once more you are in the text box.  Now let us return back to explore the "Action" button. Double tap on the "Action" button and the following options will appear: find in note; toggle to favorite; email as text; email as attachment; Print; Rename; delete; and cancel.  Press “cancel” and return back to the empty page.

To name the note, double tap on the "Action" button. Then Flick down to the “rename” option and double tap.  This will cause an edit box to appear now type in your title and press return. You have return back to the body of your note.  Now type your note.  Once you are finish, Press the "back" button and it will save your document and return to the "All Note” page. To open the document, flick down until you find the document in the menu and double tap to open.  If you flick right from the “Action” button, you will find the "Review Off" button.  Double tap this button and it will allow you to review your document without worry about changing it accidently.  Double tap the “Review On” button and it will turn review off.

I would like to take a few minutes and talk about navigating thru the document and editing.  One thing I can't get use to is the cursor movement and editing.  Depending on which way you are moving thru a document will determine which side of the letter you are editing.  If you are cursing using the left arrow, then the letters is typing will be before the character and after if you are cursoring with the right arrow.  Hold down the "option" key and the right or left key and you will move one word at a time.  If you want to highlight a word, then hold down the shift key and “option” key and the right arrow.  It will highlight the word. You can copy by Use the rotor gesture to rotate until you hear “edit”, then flick up or down until you hear copy or cut, then double tap this will put the highlighted text in the copy buffer.  Then navigate where you want it in your document and then use the rotor gesture to move to the “edit” and then flick up or down until you hear “paste”, double tap to paste.

Sometimes it is a pain to move your hands from the keyboard to gesture on the screen.  You can navigate using the keyboard.  Press the right and left arrows at the same time, you turn on quick navigation.  You can turn “Quick Nav” off by pressing the right and left arrows together again.  When you are in this mode, you will be able to move between elements, such as the buttons.  If you press the right arrow, you are performing right flick and the left arrow performs a left flick.  You need to have “Quick Nav” off to move inside your text.  You perform a rotor gesture by pressing the up arrow and the right arrow to rotate clockwise.  Continue these key strokes until you hear “edit” then press the right arrow to get to copy, cut or paste. Press the up and down arrows to double tap.  Now let’s say you want to send this note to a friend.  Double tap on the "action" button and double tap    on email as text.  This will open the email program and place the message in the body of the text. Now double tap in the "to" field, type in the email address or select it from your contact list.  Then double tap "send" button.  If you want to delete your note, open the desire note and then double tap the "action" button and select “delete”.  It will ask you if you want to delete the note.  Press okay.

I would also recommend you read the user manual provided under the "help". I found this very useful.

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Recipes from the NFB of Alabama Montgomery Chapter

APPETIZER

Heavenly Fruit Dip

1 (3 ¾ ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 ½ cups of half and half

1 tablespoon of sugar

½ teaspoon rum extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in small bowl; beat with rotary beater or lowest speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Makes about 3 cups. Serve as a dip with fresh fruit or as a dressing over fruit salad.

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BEVERAGE

Easy Party Punch

1 package cherry Kool-Aid

1 package raspberry Kool-Aid

2 cups of sugar

2 quarts of water

1 (46 ounce) can of unsweetened pineapple juice

2 quarts of ginger ale

Combine first 5 ingredients; chill. When ready to serve, pour mixture into a punch bowl; stir in ginger ale.  Makes 50 punch cup servings.

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SALAD

Crispy Green Salad

4 cups of assorted salad greens

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup cauliflower pieces

½  bell pepper sliced

½ small cucumber sliced

Choice of dressing. Makes 6 servings

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POULTRY

Chinese Browned Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts cut in half

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Line a baking pan with foil place chicken on foil skin side up. Combine remaining ingredients and brush chicken with mixture. Bake at 350 for 1hour basting occasionally with the butter mixture and pan juices. Makes 4 servings.

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COOKIES

Easy Kid’s Cookies

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine softened

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

Cream sugar and butter in mixer bowl. Add flour and baking soda. Stir in oats. Roll into I inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet and press slightly. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

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I Don't Want To Go To Church!

A mother went to wake her son for church one Sunday morning. When she knocked on his door, he said, "I'm not going!"

"Why not?" asked his mother.

"I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me. Two, I don't like them."

His mother replied, "I'll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One, you're 47 years old. Two, you're the pastor!"

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The $20 and the $1 Joke

Two well-worn bills arrived at the Federal Reserve Bank to be retired - a twenty and a one. As they traveled down the conveyor belt, they struck up a conversation. The twenty reminisced about the interesting life he had, traveling all over the country. "I've been to the finest restaurants, Broadway shows, Las Vegas , Atlantic City ," he said. "I even want on a Caribbean cruise. Where have you been?"

"Oh," said the one dollar bill, "I've been to the Methodist church, the Episcopal church, the Lutheran church."

"What's a church?" asked the twenty.

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Heaven Joke

A man died and went to The Judgment, they told him, “Before you meet with God, I should tell you — we’ve looked over your life, and to be honest you really didn’t do anything particularly good or bad. We’re not really sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can help us make a decision?” The newly arrived soul thought for a moment and replied, “Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a person who was being harassed by a group of thugs. So, I pulled over, got out a bat, and went up to the leader of the thugs. He was a big, muscular guy with a ring pierced through his lip. Well, I tore the ring out of his lip, and told him he and his gang had better stop bothering this guy or they would have to deal with me!” “Wow that’s impressive, “When did this happen?” “About three minutes ago,” came the reply.

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Rest Stop Joke

I was coming back from visiting my son in my Miami and I stopped at a rest stop to use the bathroom. I just sat down on the toilet when I heard a voice coming from the stall next to mine, “Hey! How’s it going?” Although I was quite surprised, and I wasn’t in the habit of conversing to the people next to me in the stall, I nevertheless answered him, “I’m fine” I said “thanks for asking.” “What are you doing?” Asked the same voice. To be honest I was a bit taken aback by the brazenness of this fellow, but I would never ignore anyone so I calmly answered, “I’m relieving myself.” Then I heard the same voice again, “I’m going to have to call you back, some smart-aleck is answering all of my questions.”

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