Updated on Friday, September 23rd, 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.
MCB would like to take the opportunity to invite you to their annual White Cane Safety Day, which will be held at the Massachusetts State House on Monday, October 17, 2016, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. International White Cane Day, which is on October 15th, celebrates the independence of white canes and raise public awareness of the White Cane Law. In 1931, the Lions Club began promoting the use of white canes as a national identification program. Today, the white cane is a symbol of independence for individuals with blindness. Massachusetts White Cane Law states that all motorists, when they see a pedestrian who is using a white cane or guide dog at a street crossing, must come to a complete stop. The October 17th event will feature vision professionals, white cane and guide dog users, family members, friends, orientation and mobility specialists, and representatives from the Lions Club and Bay State Council of the Blind. For more information about this event, please call Meg Robertson at 617-626-7581.
Today's commercially available GPS leaves a traveler within a 30-50 feet radius of their destination, which is a micro-navigation challenge often referred to by people in the visually impaired community as the "last 50 feet of frustration." Despite accessible smartphones and navigation app improvements, pedestrians who are visually impaired still face challenges when navigating to public transportation. On Tuesday, September 20th, the Perkins School for the Blind released its first-ever mobile app, BlindWays, a free iPhone app designed to help people who are blind or visually better access public transportation via crowdsourced landmark clues and provide predictive bus arrival information. Supported by cloud computing services, BlindWays has the potential to be scaled up and adapted for bus systems anywhere in the world. Perkins is introducing this solution first on MBTA routes. BlindWays is available for download from the Apple App Store. For more information about BlindWays, please visit www.perkins.org/BlindWays.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had announced the test of Emergency Alert System and needs your feedback. When the FCC last conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System in 2011, it determined that the system fell well short of meeting the needs of Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, blind, or low-vision. In the intervening time, the FCC has implemented a new set of technical rules intended to ensure that all Americans receive the information they need to seek shelter and safety in the face of an imminent emergency, such as a tornado. In order to assess the implementation of these improvements, the FCC and FEMA will conduct a new test over television and radio on September 28th at 2:20 PM. However, the FCC cannot, by itself, effectively assess the nationwide implementation of the test for all Americans who are blind or have low vision. Thus, the FCC wants to hear from you about your experience with the test. They are putting together a simple form on their website that will ask for your contact information (to determine geographical region), the source to which you were listening (broadcast TV, cable, radio, satellite), any complications you may have experienced, and specific feedback on your experience. The FCC particularly hopes to learn whether the audio is clear, distinct, and informative. The FCC also needs to know whether the text crawl is broadcast with sufficient contrast, whether the text is large enough to see, and whether the crawl moves at an effective and understandable speed for viewers with low vision. For those with both usable vision and hearing, the FCC is further interested in whether the text and audio have parity. The FCC also wants to know whether Spanish-language channels broadcast a Spanish-language alert. For a day or two after the test on September 28th, you can provide your feedback at https://www.fcc.gov/general/public-safety-support-center.
Do you have an Apple product that you wish you could utilize better? Did you recently obtain the iPhone 7? If so, the Carroll Center for the Blind can help! They offer training on built-in accessibility features such as Zoom (a screen magnification application) and Voiceover (a screen reader application) which make these devices attractive to consumers with low or no vision. Instruction is available for the MacBook and iMac computers, iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The Carroll Center also provides training to professionals who work with children and adults who are visually impaired. To learn more, or to register, please call Maureen Foley at 617-969-6200 x225. You can also visit www.carroll.org for additional information.
The Disability Law Center and the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities would like to invite you to an Employment and Benefits Training, scheduled for Friday, September 30th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway in Cambridge. At this training, you will learn about avoiding problems with SSI/SSDI if you go back to work, your rights when applying for a job, and getting the accommodations you need to work. Opening remarks will be offered by Michael Muehe, Executive Director of the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Christine Griffin, Executive Director of the Disability Law Center. This event is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP and request accommodations by September 23rd to www.dlc-ma.org or 617-723-8455, extension 123. CART will also be provided.
The Worcester Talking Book Library recently announced their fall 2016 series of free adaptive technology training workshops. These four workshops will take place in the computer lab at the Worcester Public Library on Saturdays. The first workshop, scheduled for Saturday, September 24th from 9:45 AM to 11:45 AM, will focus on inserting tables and pictures into Word documents. This session will cover table navigation, adding and deleting columns and rows, importing tables from Excel, basic formatting issues, inserting and resizing pictures, adding descriptive text to pictures, and key differences between versions of Office. The remaining three Saturday dates are October 15, November 5, and December 10. The times of these workshops will be communicated to you in subsequent messages and the choice of topics will be based on participant demand. Please remember to bring a pair of personal headphones so you can work on one of the lab computers. To register for these workshops, as well as seek any additional information, please contact Jim Izatt at email@example.com or 508-799-1621. Additional information can also be obtained at www.talkingbook.mywpl.org.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and the Boston Elections Department invite you to an ADA Title II Civic Engagement Event, titled “Getting Involved in Local Government”, scheduled for Tuesday, September 27th, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This event will take place at Boston City Hall, 5th Floor in Boston. Are you registered to vote? Do you know who your City Councilor is? Attend this event to find out. You will be welcomed by Mayor Walsh and City Officials, see ADA accessibility upgrades in City Hall, find your City Councilor and Polling Place, register to vote, learn about early voting, and see accessibility features and try the Automark. This event is wheelchair accessible and scent free. ASL and CART will also be provided. For accommodations requests and to learn more about this event, please visit www.boston.gov/disability.
The Worcester Public Library would like to invite you to their Community Conversations, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 28th at 6:00 PM and Saturday, October 1st at 10:00 AM in the Saxe Room at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square in Worcester. As a part of their strategic planning process, the Board of Directors of the Worcester Public Library is seeking assistance from the community, as it considers options for future programs and services. The planning process will result in a written strategic plan, which will serve as the library’s guide over the next five years. These Community Conversations are open to all and refreshments will be served. Please contact Linnea Sheldon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-799-1654 for more information.
The Boston Opera House, located at 539 Washington Street in Boston, has announced the dates for Open Captioned and Audio Described performances of Jersey Boys. The 2006 Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi. This is the true story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! Jersey Boys features their hit song “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The date for the Open Captioned performance, by c2, is Saturday October 8th at 2:00 PM. Sunday, October 9th at 1:00 PM is the Audio Described performance date and time. Description will be done by Laura Willis. Tickets for both shows start at $44.00 and can be purchased at www.ADABoston@BroadwayInBoston.com. You can also learn more about Jersey Boys at www.bostonoperahouse.com.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA) invites you to their next Feeling For Form tour of “Memories: How the art people make and leave behind shapes historical memory”, scheduled for Sunday, October 2nd from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. This is a multisensory tour that explores art from different collections. Scent, sound and touch are all part of this tour. Feeling For Form is a program that provides tours for visitors of all ages who are blind or have low vision. A Feeling for Form is an opportunity to tour the collections through tactile exploration of selected sculpture and furniture, and through verbal description, tactile graphics, and other materials for artworks that cannot be touched. Trained Museum volunteers and Access staff lead these tours. There is no fee for this program. Pre-registration, which closes on Wednesday, September 28th, is required for all tours. For more information or to request a tour, contact Hannah Goodwin at 617-369-3189 or email@example.com.
Are you a football fan? Is your favorite team the New England Patriots? If so, you can obtain a copy of the 2016 season schedule from the Perkins Library in either large print or braille. To request your copy, send an email to: Library@perkins.org or call 617-972-7240. Go Pats!
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This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.