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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.
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Updated on Friday, January 12th, 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 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, all Massachusetts Commission for the Blind offices will be closed on Monday, January 15th. MCB is proud to join in the celebration of the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MCB would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that January is National Braille Literacy Month. January was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the system of raised dots. Although it has been more than 175 years since the first book was published in Braille, millions of people who are blind or have low vision are communicating more effectively with its use today. Braille literacy has allowed these individuals to read and write for themselves with independence and freedom.

January is also National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which presents a perfect opportunity to learn more about glaucoma, a leading cause of vision loss that affects more than three million people in the United States. Glaucoma is often called “the sneak thief of sight” for good reason: Many people are unaware that glaucoma has few symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Early treatment for glaucoma can usually (but not always) slow the progression of the disease. However, as of yet, there is no cure for glaucoma. Because glaucoma has no obvious initial symptoms, a comprehensive dilated eye exam is critical to detect early glaucoma changes. People who are over the age of 40 should have a dilated eye examination from an ophthalmologist or optometrist at least every two years. African Americans; people who are over the age of 35 and have a family history of glaucoma; and everyone over the age of 60 or older should schedule a comprehensive eye examination every year.

The Carrol Center for the Blind would like to invite you to join Bob McGillivray, Certified Low Vision Therapist and Director of Low Vision Services, for a series of free seminars on devices, techniques and best practices for those struggling with new vision loss as well as those with existing low vision. 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 and delivers low vision assessments, demonstrations and trainings to school-aged students, seniors and employees. Seminars begin at 10:30 AM with a 45-minute presentation followed by questions and answers. The first session will be held on Friday, February 2nd and the topic will be “Let your Light Shine”. Finding the right lighting can improve your vision. Pick up tips, tricks, techniques and lighting resources to help with daily living and reading tasks. This seminar is illuminating! The second session will be held on Friday, March 2nd and the topic will be “eBooks: Reading Made Easier. Kindle, iPad or tablet—they won’t discriminate. Bob will teach you low vision approaches and techniques so you’ll be able to jump right back into your favorite novel, news site, etc. Finally, on Friday, April 6th, the topic will be “Help is in Your Computer”. Learn simple low vision strategies for using your desktop or laptop computer. Built-in and add-on options will be demonstrated. You can RSVP by contacting Maureen Foley at 800-852-3131 or 617-969-6200, Ext. 225. You can also email Maureen at and learn more by visiting

The Carroll Center for the Blind will once again be hosting the 18th Annual New England Regional Braille Challenge at their Newton campus on Saturday, March 3rd from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM. This qualifying event, which has a registration deadline of February 3rd, is open to all braille students in grades 1-12 throughout New England. Winners from the Regional Braille Challenge will be celebrated at a Braille Literacy Expo on Saturday, April 7th that will be open to the public. Students, professionals and families will be able to learn about Braille, engage in hands on braille literacy activities and celebrate our winners during the Expo. Lastly, students can also participate in the Braille Brush-Up Day, scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Advanced registration is required by Friday, January 26th. To sign-up, please submit your completed registration from by visiting to Monica Grochowski, at or call 617-969-6200, ext. 204. You can also learn more by visiting

In June, 2016, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) filed a motion in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to require the U.S. Department of the Treasury to act judiciously and expeditiously in order to release accessible currency by December 31, 2020. The petition to the court followed a Treasury update stating that it would not have accessible currency until as late as 2026, thirteen years past the initial timeline set forth by the court in ACB v. Paulson. The Department of the Treasury claimed that the delay was not due to making currency accessible, but rather over concerns about counterfeiting advancements. On the morning of October 19, 2017, ACB presented oral arguments before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia regarding the extensive delays in implementing accessible tactile currency. During the hearing, the government gave little cause to its earlier argument that they had made meaningful access available through the e-currency readers. On December 26, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court must make a new determination as to whether all currency must be made accessible by 2026. The government is now attempting to delay implementation of the tactile feature on all currency denominations until the 2030’s. In this connection, as part of ACB’s case for the next phase of court activity, ACB wishes to hear from both its members and non-members, expressing their real-life problems in dealing with paper currency. ACB is particularly interested in your difficulties and challenges when using currency in a public environment, such as when shopping at a store, receiving change from a teller, or riding in a taxi. ACB would like to gather your firsthand experiences, mishaps, near misses, or “horror stories”. ACB would also like to hear of any difficulties people are having when using, or trying to use, the external talking currency reader supplied by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in a public setting. ACB is asking that you provide the organization with this information in written form via email. Your individual comments will be reviewed by ACB staff, and then be sent to its attorney. ACB’s attorney will review your written comments, and if appropriate, he will format these accounts that strengthen the case into affidavits for your signature. These signed affidavits will then be filed with the Court. Individuals wishing to provide statements for the Court on issues and concerns with lack of accessible currency may send your statements to Feel free to call ACB’s national office with questions at 202-467-5081. ACB believes that your individual real life stories will be critically important in attempting to persuade the Court to set a firm deadline of 2026 for making all currency accessible. ACB looks forward to hearing from as many of you as possible.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) also has a great opportunity for students who are legally blind to earn a scholarship, whether you are going to a technical college, an entering freshman, undergraduate or a graduate student. Over $45,000 in scholarships are awarded to students each year. To be eligible, you need to be legally blind in both eyes, maintain a 3.3 GPA, and be involved in your school/local community. As a scholarship winner, you will experience firsthand ACB’s national conference and convention in July, where you will meet other students who share the same life experiences, create lasting friendships, and network with individuals who understand what you are going through and can help you with your journey. The application, which can be accessed by visiting, has a February 15th deadline. For more information, please contact Dee Theien in the ACB national office at 612-332-3242 or 800-866-3242. You can also learn more by visiting

The next Perkins School for the Blind’s Library Without Walls presentation will be taking place over the telephone on Tuesday, January 16th from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Library Without Walls is a program at the Perkins Library where patrons can join in a presentation or book club by telephone. The January 16th presentation will feature a book discussion with New York Times Best Selling author Barbara Shapiro on her book The Muralist, a thrilling fictional novel of art, history, love, and politics that traces the life and mysterious disappearance of a brilliant young artist on the eve of World War II. To register for this presentation or get the upcoming schedule, please call the Library Without Walls voice mailbox at 617-972-7852.

The Boston Opera House, located at 539 Washington Street, has announced a special Audio Described performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, scheduled for Sunday, February 4th at 1:00 PM. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine’s marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them. In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, the Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island, not knowing what is in store for them. Description will be performed by Laura Willis. Tickets start at $45.00 and can be purchased by calling 617-259-3448 or emailing You can also learn more by visiting

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, January 19th.

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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