Updated on Friday, March 27th, 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 this opportunity to remind you about the 9-1-1 Silent Call Feature. The feature is a unique program in the Massachusetts Enhanced 9-1-1 system that allows a caller who is unable to verbally communicate their emergency over the phone to receive the appropriate response. If you need to call 9-1-1 and you are unable to speak for any reason, such as a physical disability, impairing medical condition (like choking), domestic violence or home invasion, follow these simple steps using a touch tone wire line telephone or a cell phone: First, dial 9-1-1. Once the call is answered, indicate your need by pressing the appropriate number on your telephone. If you need police, press 1. If you need fire, press 2. If you need an ambulance, press 3. The 9-1-1 Dispatcher may ask questions that require yes or no answers. Press 4 for yes and 5 for no. You can learn more about this feature at www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/state-911.

The MBTA would like to inform riders of the T (Red and Orange Lines) of a station closing update. Starting on Saturday, April 11th, and continuing through Sunday, April12th, the Franklin Street entrance of the Downtown Crossing stop will be temporarily closed due to construction. Customers desiring to enter and exit at Downtown Crossing should instead utilize entrances and exits on Summer, Chauncy, and Arch Streets. Customers desiring elevator access should note that Elevator 891 will be closed during this construction. If exiting, travel down the concourse to use the elevator through the glass doors and to the left of the CharlieCard Store. This elevator will take you to the lobby of 101 Arch Street. If boarding, travel to 101 Arch Street, take the elevator in the back left corner of the lobby to the concourse, and then take a right to find the Oak Grove-bound platform ahead. For additional updates, please visit www.mbta.com.

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) is seeking your assistance! It has been approximately nine months since the American Council of the Blind (ACB) announced the settlement with Walgreens and the Talking Pill Reminder product in neighborhood Walgreens locations. ACB is looking to hear from BSCB members about the how things have gone during the past nine months. If BSCB members have experiences to share, either positive or negative, BSCB would like to hear about them. How was your customer service experience? Did the staff know about the Talking Pill Reminder? Did the device work for you? Were there any issues that made it difficult for you to use the Talking Pill Reminder device? Please email your feedback to Kim Charlson at kcharlson@acb.org. Kim will use this information in a follow-up report back to the company after nine months of implementation.

The Massachusetts Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired (MAPVI), along with the Perkins School for the Blind, is happy to bring you a Beeping Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 28th at 10:30 AM. The rain date is March 29th. Families will meet at the Grousbeck Center on the Perkins campus in Watertown for snacks, crafts, and then walk over to the playground for the egg hunt. If there is still snow on the ground (and we hope there won’t be), there is an indoor alternative. This event is free for all families. To learn more, you can contact Amber Bobnar at 617-923-1241 or amber@wonderbaby.org. You can also visit www.mapvi.org for additional information.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce that they are accepting applications for the 2015 NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship. AAPD is offering four scholarships, which can be used for the spring, summer, or fall semesters of 2015, to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities who are pursuing communication or media-related degrees. Each recipient will receive $5,625 for the tuition and fees at their college or university. Students will need to provide AAPD the following items to apply for the scholarship: a completed 2015 NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship application (which can be download from the AAPD website here); an updated copy of your resume; a copy of your transcript; a letter of recommendation from a professor, academic advisor, or mentor; and two 300-350 word essays answering two questions. The first question is, “What inspired you to pursue a communications/media related degree?” The second question is, “How will you use your degree to positively impact the disability community?” All applications and supporting materials should be emailed to scholarship@aapd.com by 5:00PM on Friday, April 24, 2015 in an accessible format. You can also learn more about this opportunity at www.aapd.com.

The Carroll Center for the Blind and MCB are pleased to announce the 2015 Carroll Awards, which recognizes outstanding employees in the workforce throughout Massachusetts who are blind or visually impaired and their employers. If you know of a blind or visually impaired person who demonstrates the highest degree of excellence as an employee or is successfully self-employed, we invite you to nominate him/her. Nominations, which must be submitted before April 10, 2015, may come from any source, but must be confirmed and approved by the candidate’s employer and others who know their work. Visit www.carroll.org for more information about the Carroll Awards and to complete an online application.

The Museum of Science Boston would like to invite you to attend a sighted guides tour of their “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed”, the largest exhibition of its kind in the United States. This exhibit uncovers the rise and eventual decline of this majestic civilization — including its social, natural, and spiritual realms — through never-before-seen artifacts, hands-on activities, multimedia components, and re-created environments. These tours will be available between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM on the following dates: Saturday, March 28th; Wednesday, April 8th; Thursday, April 9th; and Saturday, April 11th. Tours are free of charge but pre-registration is required. Registration closes one week before each event. For more information or to register, please contact Nora Nagle, Accessibility Coordinator, at 617-589-3102 or nngale@mos.org.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) recently announced that the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Eric Bridges and ACB against four taxicab companies in the District of Columbia (DC) for discriminatory practices against visually impaired individuals accompanied by service animals. The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the DC, alleges that Yellow Cab of DC, Grand Cab, Elite Cab, and Pleasant Taxi all engaged in discriminatory practices when their drivers failed to pick up Eric Bridges, an ACB employee and member, who was hailing a cab with his service dog, General. This discriminatory treatment is all too common for blind and low vision passengers who use service animals. As soon as taxi drivers see the service animal, they frequently drive by or refuse to pick up the passenger outright. Taxicab companies are prohibited under federal and state law from discriminating on the basis of a disability such as blindness. Drivers are explicitly prohibited from refusing to pick up passengers with service animals. The complaint is based on only four incidents caught on camera by WUSA Channel 9 in a report on discrimination by taxicabs in the District of Columbia. Among other remedies, the lawsuit seeks to establish an annual random testing protocol for taxicabs in the District of Columbia. It cites recent operations run by the DC Taxicab Commission, the Anonymous Riders Program, which revealed systemic discrimination against blind individuals with service animals in the District. Pillsbury became involved in the case through the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. To learn more, copies of the complaint are available online at: www.washlaw.org.

The Carroll Center for the Blind will be hosting their 3rd Annual Canines for Carroll Dog Walk and Family Fair on Sunday, April 26, 2015, starting at 10:00 AM. There are two canine walking routes – a one mile walk and a two-mile walk. Both walks wind their way through the beautiful neighborhood streets of Newton, beginning and ending at the Carroll Center. Service dogs belonging to individuals who are blind and visually impaired and friends will lead the walk. Don’t feel like walking? A Family Fair at the end will keep kids busy while the grownups catch up after the long winter. Activities will include a photo booth, face painting, blind putting tee, beep ball batting practice, children’s obstacle course, guide dog demonstrations, and K9 police demonstrations. You can register and find out more information about the walk at www.firstgiving.com/1564/2015_canine_walk.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, April 3rd.


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