Updated on Friday, December 2, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System by calling 617-626-7660. You may also call 800-392-6450 and say either “tape” or “telephone tape” into the speech recognition menu. Lastly, this weekly update is also available on "Newsline," the accessible newspaper service by pressing number 2, the local Channel, and in the "Massachusetts Commission for the Blind" section of “Newsline”. This update is produced by Wayne Levy.

The Holidays are here and the Comcast Team has some good cheer to share: Hairspray Live! on NBC. Comcast wants you to enjoy Hairspray Live! on NBC with your entire family – including anyone who is blind, vision impaired, Deaf or hard of hearing. That’s why Comcast is providing closed captions as well as video description to bring the holiday event of the season to life for everyone. Video description will be available in every local NBC market where SAP (Second Audio Program) audio feeds are available. You can't stop the beat! Get ready to shimmy and shake to NBC's star-studded musical event of the year. Hairspray Live! on December 7th at 8:00 PM on NBC—and presented with video description and closed captions. You can learn more at http://www.nbc.com/hairspray-live.

The Carroll Center for the Blind invites you to join them on Saturday, December 3rd, at 11:00 AM for a presentation on “Gift Giving ideas for persons with Vision Loss”. This presentation, which will take place at 770 Centre Street in Newton, will be hosted by Bob McGillivray, Certified Low Vision Therapist. Bob began his career as a Research Engineer at the Carroll Center in 1970 working on research projects involving the first generation CCTV video magnifiers and night vision devices. Today, Bob oversees low vision services to rehabilitation students, and provides Assistive Technology Assessments for school-aged students with low vision, Senior Vision Assessments to determine the low vision potential of the elderly and non-working clients and Vision Use in Employment Assessments so individuals with vision loss can remain independent on the job. You can learn more about this lecture at www.carroll.org.

Understanding the roles of vision rehabilitation professionals is an important part of adjusting to low vision. The Orientation and Mobility Specialist is a vital member of the vision rehabilitation team, and mobility instruction is often necessary to maintain safety and independence.

We invite you to join the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Seminars@Hadley on Thursday, December 15th at 7:00 PM for “The Orientation and Mobility Specialist: Your Advocate for Greater Independence”. Join JoAnne Chalom, COMS, Ed.S., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, as she discusses the critical role that orientation and mobility plays in the vision rehabilitation process. Ed Haines, Hadley Instructor and member of the Seminars@Hadley team, will moderate this 60-minute discussion. A question and answer session will be included as part of the seminar, which is an audio-only presentation. Space in this seminar is limited. To register, go to www.hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=346. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

The next Museum of Fine Arts Feeling for Form tour will take place on Sunday, December 4th, from 1:00 to 2:30 PM. The theme for the December tour is “Winter Traditions”. This is a multisensory tour that explores art reflecting this theme. There is also the choice of an introductory Sculpture tour that visits three to four collections in the Museum through touch. If you wish to sign up, please be sure to say which tour you will be attending, the Winter Traditions tour or the Introductory Sculpture tour. To register, please email Hannah Goodwin at hgoodwin@mfa.org, or call 617-369-3189 to reserve your place.

The Perkins School for the Blind is ushering in December with two Holiday Concerts, featuring Perkins student musicians. Join students, families, and faculty at Perkins for a festive afternoon of music sung by the Perkins Student Chorus and Chamber Singers, featuring traditional and popular carols, barbershop music and classical pieces as well as arrangements sung in Spanish, Hebrew and Latin. Soloists will be accompanied by the Perkins Orchestra and Handbell Ensemble. Festive cookies and cider will be served after the performance, which is FREE and wheelchair accessible. There will be an afternoon performance on Sunday, December 4th at 3:00 PM. There will also be an evening performance on Tuesday, December 6th at 7:30 PM. Both concerts will take place in Dwight Hall at the Howe Building. You can learn more at www.perkins.org.

The next Perkins School for the Blind’s Library Without Walls presentation will be taking place over the telephone on Tuesday, December 6th from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Library Without Walls is a program at the Perkins Library where patrons can join in a presentation or book club by telephone. The December topic will be, “Cooking in The Dark”. Where you don't need sight to cook dinner tonight! Blind hosts Dale Campbell and Cheryl Cummings will join us to share their recipe for cooking with confidence. Their Cooking in the Dark podcast is broadcast over ACB radio and a number of reading services throughout the country, this program continues to inspire vision impaired listeners to lace up their aprons, grab their spatulas and battle it out in the kitchen. To register for this presentation or get the upcoming schedule, please call the Library Without Walls voice mailbox at 617-972-7852.

The Massachusetts Association for Parents of the Visually Impaired (MAPVI) is inviting you to their Annual Holiday Party, featuring Ben Rudnick & Friends 15th Annual Holiday Extravaganza Concert. This event is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street in Arlington, from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM. This event cost is $5.00 for all MAPVI members, and free for kids. For non-members, ticket price is $7.00 per person, both adults and kids. Please note that there will be a pizza party after the show at Not Your Average Joe’s, 645 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington (approximately a 5-minute walk from the theater). The pizza party after the concert is included in your ticket price. MAPVI will be offering pizza, drinks and dessert at Not Your Average Joe’s, but you can place your own orders as well. Parking is available directly across the street from the Regent Theatre. The theater and restaurant are both wheelchair accessible. Please RSVP by December 6th by contacting Amber Bobnar at amber@bobnar.com or 617-923-1241. Payment for the concert can be made through PayPal and must be received by 12/6/16 in order to get MAPVI’s discounted rate. If you miss this date you can still attend, but will have to pay full price for your tickets. You can also learn more at www.mapvi.org.

The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) will hold its annual Holiday Luncheon on Saturday, December 17th at the Fours Restaurant, located at 166 Canal Street in Boston. The Restaurant is a short walk from the MBTA’s North Station. The expanded luncheon menu will include a variety of choices sure to please all. A cash bar will be available so that you may enjoy your favorite adult beverage. The party will begin at 12:00 PM and end at 3:00 PM. Come and join us for a great lunch and be part of a traditional Yankee Swap. If you wish to participate in the Yankee Swap, you must bring a wrapped gift, valued at $10.00. ABC's holiday luncheon is free to the blind community. Bring your friends and be part of this traditional holiday event. Please be sure to notify ABC regarding who will be attending and the number of guests in your party. Children under the age of 14 must receive specific approval from ABC to attend this event. If you are using the Ride, ask for a 12:00 PM arrival and a 3:00 PM departure. Register by emailing president@blindcitizens.org or by calling 781-961-1023 and be sure to leave your name, a telephone number, and the number of people in your message.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus has made the staff at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute honorary elves. He has asked them to help him send letters in Braille to very young blind boys and girls (those under the age of 10) in the United States who are blind this Christmas season. Between now and December 16th, parents, relatives and friends can go to www.nfb.org and fill out a Santa Braille Letter request form, which can also be printed and faxed to 410-685-2340. Each braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy (for sighted relatives to read). Requests for letters must include the writer’s name, the child’s name, birthday, gender, mailing address, a telephone number, and email address in case Santa’s helpers at NFB have questions. Braille literacy is the key to success and opportunity for the blind, but unfortunately too few children who are blind are learning it today. This program is a fun way for children who are blind to practice their braille skills while receiving a holiday greeting from Santa himself. Additional information about this program can be found at www.nfb.org.

Get ready to bid! Get ready to buy! Get ready to support the 2016 American Council of the Blind Holiday Auction, coming to you live on Sunday, December 4th, from 7:00 PM to midnight, or until all items are sold. The auction is packed with incredible technology, jewelry, home-baked treats, music boxes, crafts and collectibles. Some items include: Amazon Fire TV Sticks; An Amazon Echo; Beats Mixr professional-quality headphones; A SunLabz solar-powered backpack; and a flash drive filled with 19,000 old-time radio shows, historical and sports broadcasts and much more. Originating from the iHeartMedia studios in Louisville, Kentucky, the auction will be live-streamed on five ACB RADIO channels and on ACB Radio's Audio Now telephone service; listen on your computer, through the ACB Link iPhone app, or on your telephone. All proceeds benefit ACB Radio. Grab your credit card and head right over to the electronic ACB Mini Mall. You don’t need a car; you don’t need paratransit; you don’t have to wait for a cab or a bus. You don’t even have to get dressed to go shopping. Just go to ACB’s home page at www.acb.org or directly to the Mini Mall at https://mall.acb.org/. Some products in the Mini Mall ship “Free Matter for the Blind”, while others are eligible for combined shipping. Tell your friends about the Mini Mall. Remember that every purchase supports the good work of the American Council of the Blind. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or wish to place an order by phone, you can email the Mini Mall at acbstore@acb.org or call 877-630-7190.

National Braille Press (NBP) will be once again offering braille holiday card, which has a simple, but elegant message. Wish your colleagues, friends, and family Peace and goodwill with NBP’s unique print/braille holiday cards. The front has the word “peace” in dark blue and in braille, as an elegant dove – olive branch in its beak – glides above. Inside reads “Peace on earth and goodwill towards all.” Forget about traditional Hallmark cards. Send a card that shows you to be a lover of braille and a person of impeccable taste! Sending out cards where print and braille stand side by side, as equals, conveys a powerful message. You can order these holiday cards by visiting www.nbp.org.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, December 9th.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.