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News Weekly Information Update

Updated every Friday, the Weekly Information Update provides important blindness and disability-related information and updates to MCB consumers.
7/20/2018
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Updated on Friday, July 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.

There are 8 updates this week:

1. On Wednesday, July 18th, MCB’s Community Services account 4110-1000 received a significant increase in the budget that was released by the joint Conference Committee, which was adopted by both the House and Senate. This account is funded at $6.7M, which is $2.49M, or 59%, above the Governor’s original proposal. The increase consists of two components. The first is the $1.55 million needed to allocate Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Social Rehabilitation (SR) funds accordingly. The second had four different earmarks: not less than $300,000 shall be expended for assistive technology services; provided further, that not less than $350,000 shall be expended for the Talking Information Center to provide human voiced broadcasts of local news, articles and items of interest to visually impaired and otherwise disabled listeners; provided further, that not less than $250,000 shall be expended on the Talking Information Center, the Audible Local Ledger, the Audio Journal, the Berkshire Talking Chronicle, the Lowell Association of the Blind, and Radio Valley Eye; and provided further, that no less than $40,000 shall be expended for the Lowell Association for the Blind for transportation provision expenses. The final step in this six month process is the Governor now has 10 days from July 19th to review the budget voted on July 18th and take action to either approve or veto it. The Governor may approve or veto the entire budget, veto or reduce specific line items, veto outside sections or submit changes as an amendment to the budget for further consideration by the Legislature. The legislature may override the Governor's actions. All of the above must be finished by the end of this month.  After this process is complete, the budget is finalized and is commonly referred to as the "General Appropriations Act" for the upcoming fiscal year. MCB would like to thank the many advocates and stakeholders who worked very hard over many months to make this outcome possible.   Assuming the Governor doesn’t veto this increase, MCB will be in a very good financial place moving forward.

2. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities would like to invite you to the 28th Anniversary Celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), scheduled for Tuesday, July 24th, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at Boston City Hall Plaza. ADA Celebration Day is a yearly celebration of the signing of the ADA. It is held in Boston around the last week of July. This free event is for children families, and individuals of all abilities. It is wheelchair accessible, scent-free, and ASL and CART will be provided. There will be food, music, T-shirt giveaways, a resource fair, gathering with friends, and a fun-filled day. To request an accommodation, please call 617-635-3682 or email disability@boston.gov by July 10th. You can also learn more by visiting www.boston.gov/disability.

3. Two days later, on Thursday, July 26th, American Marshall Memorial Fellows Gary C. Norman, Esq. L.L.M. (MMF ‘08) and Kerry Thompson, Ed.M. (MMF ‘14) from the German Marshall Fund of the United States will co-host an event to celebrate the signing of the ADA, the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 10th  Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This, which is titled, “The Promise and Realities of Disability Rights,” event will celebrate the achievements of the ADA since the Act was first signed by President H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. Boston’s distinguished disability leaders, activists, and guests will reflect on disability rights progress and the future of disability rights in today’s global community. This event will take place at the Non Profit Center, 89 South Street in Boston. There will be a breakfast at 9:30 AM, followed by the program from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. ASL interpretation and CART will be provided. You can register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-the-americans-with-disabilities-act-ada-the-promise-and-realities-of-disability-rights-tickets-47897685266?aff=efbeventtix. This event is being sponsored by Silent Rhythms Dance, a local non profit that was established as a dance program to create accessible dance opportunities for people who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Blind/Low-Vision.

4. On behalf of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s (BEP) United States Currency Raised Tactile Feature (RTF) Project, MITRE, a non-profit organization, will be conducting testing on the latest RTF prototype. The Carroll Center for the Blind is assisting with this research study and is seeking blind participants. BEP recently developed a “Raised Tactile Feature” (RTF) for U.S. banknotes. RTF provides the function of being able to detect the denomination of U.S. banknotes by means of touch. BEP is looking for participants who are totally blind or who have little useful vision to provide feedback on a potential raised tactile feature for future U.S. currency. The study will help determine which tactile features may be the most effective in providing a means of assisting blind and visually impaired individuals in denominating U.S. paper currency. Each participant will be assigned an individualized appointment time, lasting approximately 60 minutes. It will be your responsibility to arrange your own transportation to and from the Carroll Center in Newton, and to be on time for your appointment. You will work individually with a researcher during your appointment time. If you are selected, you will be scheduled for a specific 60-minute time period on one of the following three days: Tuesday, July 24th; Wednesday, July 25th; or Thursday, July 26th. All sessions will take place in the Rachel Rosenbaum Technology Center Building at The Carroll Center for the Blind, 770 Centre Street in Newton. Selected participants will receive a $75.00 check from MITRE by mail a few weeks after the study concludes. If you believe you qualify based upon your blindness, you must send an email to Bruce Howell at bruce.howell@carroll.org. Your email must include: your full name, including your first and last name; and the best phone number to reach you (The Carroll Center will call you to conduct a brief screening session to determine your eligibility to participate, and to schedule an appointment if you do qualify). You can also call Bruce at 617-969-6200, extension 210 and learn more by visiting www.carroll.org.

5. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA) invites you to their next Feeling for Form tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 5th, starting at 1:00 PM. The August tour will focus on Renaissance art from Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Much of the time will be spent exploring a gallery that primarily shows sculpture and ceramics by artists such as Donatello and Della Robbia. Some work can be explored directly through touch, other artwork through description and tactile materials and a bit of music. For more information, to RSVP, or to request a tour, please contact Hannah Goodwin at 617-369-3189 or hgoodwin@mfa.org. The MFA also wants to remind you that you may request a tour at any time. They give tours whenever the Museum is open. It helps to have a little notice, but they always try to meet any and all requests. You may request for yourself or a group. Also, if there is a collection you would like to visit, or theme you would like to suggest, please do!

6. The Schlesinger Group is conducting research and is looking for patients with Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). The research consists of national telephone and web interviews, starting on Monday, July 30th and continuing through Friday, August 10th. The Schlesinger Group is looking for patients between the ages of 18 and 60, who have been diagnosed with NMOSD, and are currently being treated by a doctor. Participants will be paid $125.00 for their 60-minute web and telephone interview. If you’re interested, please send an email to Patient.Research@SchlesingerGroup.com with your name, state of residence and telephone number.

7. The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) will hold its free Annual Summer Luncheon on Saturday August 4th at the Fours Restaurant located at 166 Canal Street in Boston. The Restaurant is a two minute walk from the North Station MBTA station. Come and be part of an ABC summer tradition. The luncheon will include a variety of hot sandwiches, entrees and a cash bar will be available. The sit-down Lunch will be served at 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM. Joining everyone at 2:00 PM will be WBZ's talk radio host, entertainer, and trivia expert Morgan White Jr. You have heard his trivia game on the radio, but this is your chance to test your knowledge live. Morgan's style and wit make him a unique and interesting individual. Morgan will have many prizes to reward you for your knowledge. ABC's Summer luncheon is free to the blind community, family and friends. Bring a group of your friends and have some fun. Please be sure to make a reservation and let ABC know the number of guests in your party. Register by emailing president@blindcitizens.org or calling 781-961-1023 and be sure to include your telephone number in your email reservation. Children 15 or under require ABC’s prior permission to attend and must be accompanied by a parent. If you are using The RIDE, please ask to arrive at noon and pick up at 3:30 PM. If you do not have access to email, you can still attend without a reservation. Additional information about the luncheon can be obtained at www.blindcitizens.org.

8. The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) will be presenting the 24th season of Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common with a production of Richard III, which started on Wednesday, July 18th and will continue through Sunday, August 5th. Shakespeare’s searing drama, Richard III, chronicles the ruthless ascension of a king and the devastation he leaves in his wake as he gains power over the realm. Featuring stage, film, and television actor, Faran Tahir as Richard III. Performance hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 PM; Sundays at 7:00 PM; and a special matinee performance at 3:00 PM on Saturday, August 4th. Audio Described Performance date will be on Saturday, August 4th at 3:00 PM (rain date is Sunday, August 5th at 7:00 PM). ASL dates will be announced soon. Headsets and Braille playbill will be made available for patrons who are blind and have low vision. Patrons are also encouraged to participate in a backstage tactile tour 90 minutes before curtain (space is limited; first-come, first served). All performances are FREE and open to the public and will take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common. More information can be obtained at www.commshakes.org or by calling 617-426-0863.

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

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind 

MCB provides the highest quality rehabilitation and social services to Massachusetts residents who are blind, leading to their independence and full community participation.

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