Updated on Friday, November 20th, 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.

In observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday, all MCB Offices will be closed on Thursday, November 26th.

MCB would also like to remind everyone that November is National Diabetes Month. With approximately 25 million people living with diabetes diagnosis, and many more undiagnosed, diabetes affects people across the Commonwealth and entire Unites States. Diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It is also one of the leading causes of blindness. MCB urges you to talk to your health care provider about steps you can take to prevent and manage this disease.

Between October and March, MCB will be hosting a series of listening sessions across the Commonwealth. These listening sessions will seek to solicit consumer, provider and community perspectives on the range of services provided by MCB, as well as allow for input and feedback on other topics of importance. MCB is inviting consumers, their families and all key stakeholders to attend sessions nearest them. MCB Commissioner Paul Saner will be on hand to hear your insights. For those individuals unable to attend in person, comments may be submitted in writing to Office of the Commissioner, MCB, 600 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111 or by email to Stephen.Berdos@state.ma.us. There is only one remaining date and location for November. The final November listening session will be held on Monday, November 23rd at the Lowell Association for the Blind, 169 Merrimack Street in Lowell from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Additional dates for the month of January will be released in late December.

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) is inviting you to attend their 2015 BSCB Fall Conference, which will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology, located on the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown. The address for the Grousbeck Center is 55 Beechwood Avenue for RIDE purposes. The cost for the entire day, including lunch, will be $25.00. Registration will begin at 9:00 AM followed by the general session at 9:30 AM. The conference will conclude at 5:00 PM. The theme for this year's conference will be "Information You Can Use.” To register for the conference go to www.acbofma.org/fall-conference or call Jim Denham at 773-330-0803. You may also call Jim if you have questions about the conference or need directions to Perkins. This year’s conference promised to be a day of fun and information sharing.

Are you interested in learning the basic recipe of how tactile learners can access print instructional materials using the APH Refreshabraille and an iPad. If so, the Hadley School for the Blind is presenting “Braille Exchange: Pairing the Refreshabraille and an iPad for a Taste of Classroom Success” on Wednesday, November 25th at 11:00 AM. This "cooking" demo will include an elementary overview of VoiceOver commands used with the Refreshabraille to access text files, navigate audio books and edit PDF’s. It is designed to give beginning "chefs" the tools they need to prepare successful classroom pairings between tactile learners and the technology tools most commonly used in grades K-8. Join Seminars@Hadley as they “whet their appetite” the day before Thanksgiving in the United States! Presenter Pam Winters, resource room teacher and part-time Hadley instructor, will share her expertise and practical experiences with these technologies in the classroom. Hadley instructors, Susan Fisher and Debbie Siegel, will moderate this 60 minute seminar. A question and answer session will be included as part of the hour, which is an audio-only presentation. Space in this seminar is limited. To register, go to www.hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=298. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

The Carroll Center for the Blind will be hosting a technology fair on Tuesday, November 24th from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Don’t miss out on this annual opportunity to try out the latest products and applications, attend workshops and meet manufacturers and local vendors. This technology fair is free and open to consumers, families, friends, and professionals. Registration is not required to attend the fair; however pre-registered attendees will receive event updates and special offers from vendors scheduled to be at the fair. To register and obtain more information, please visit www.carroll.org.

The Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell would like to invite you to their accessible performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”, which is scheduled to run from November 25th to December 20th. The classic film is presented as a golden age radio broadcast, with live actors voicing all the parts, and sound effects performed onstage. Celebrate the holiday season with this timeless story of renewal, Wednesdays through Sundays at varying times; for more information, call 978-654-4678, or visit www.mrt.org/wonderful.

The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) will hold its annual Holiday Luncheon on Saturday, December 5th 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 us 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 you message.

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 and evening 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. There will be an afternoon performance on Sunday, December 6th at 3:00 PM. There will also be an evening performance on Tuesday, December 8th at 7:30 PM. Both concerts will take place in Dwight Hall at the Howe Building. You can learn more at www.perkins.org.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, November 27th.

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