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, September 21st, 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 10 updates this week (including four new updates):

1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would like to remind everyone that September is recognized as National Preparedness Month (NPM), which serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. This 2018 NPM theme will be: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How. The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornados. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas. Thank you for taking time help make America more prepared for emergencies. You can visit to learn more about NPM.

2. The MBTA announced that it is extending the public comment period for their Draft Focus40 plan until Monday, October 22nd. Focus40 is the 25-year investment plan to position the MBTA to meet the needs of the Greater Boston region in 2040. On July 30, 2018 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA released a draft of the Focus40 Plan. The Focus40 Plan will serve as a comprehensive playbook guiding all capital planning initiatives at the MBTA. It will ensure that the MBTA will become the reliable, robust, and resilient transit system the region will require in the future. Additionally, MassDOT released their Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan and is extending the public review period until Wednesday, October 17th. More information is available on the Pedestrian Plan website, and you can submit a comment using this comment form or by sending a letter to MassDOT, Office of Transportation Planning, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 4150, Boston MA 02116.

3. The Perkins Library would like to spread the word about the availability of an important publication that can assist you in becoming an informed voter for the November 6th election. In early October, the Library will be sending out the booklet entitled Information for Massachusetts Voters, which was prepared by Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s Election Division office. This publication that is distributed in regular print to all Massachusetts households will be available in braille, large print, and in audio on a returnable digital cartridge from the Perkins Library. If you have received this publication in the past, there is no need to request it again, as it will be sent automatically to you in the format you received last time. If you have not received this publication previously, please contact the Perkins Library and let us know your format preference. We will add your name to the subscription list for mailing in early October. To reach the Perkins Library, you can call 617-972-7240 or 800-852-3133. You can also email

4. The National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts (NFBMA) is taking a trip to the organization’s national center in Baltimore, Maryland, from Friday, October 5th through Sunday, October 7th, and you are invited! The group will travel on a luxury motor coach, leaving from the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, at 7:00 A.M. The group will make a stop at the Springfield Chapter House at 910 Liberty Street and arrive in Baltimore sometime in the afternoon. Everyone will return on Sunday afternoon. This is a great opportunity to learn about NFBMA, take advantage of some of NFBMA’s national resources, and get better acquainted with this affiliate. The cost of the trip, which includes lodging, all meals at the national center, and all other activities excluding food during the trip is $30.00 for NFBMA members and $50.00 for non-members. If you are interested in attending, please contact NFBMA Chapter President Amy Ruell to reserve a spot and make payment arrangements by September 26th. Availability is first come, first served. You can reach Amy at and/or by phone at 781-267-4432.

5. The Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council (MASILC) would like to invite you to attend their annual MASILC Independent Living Conference, scheduled for Thursday, September 27th at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Road West in Marlborough. This conference is hosted by the MASILC in collaboration with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and the Independent Living Centers of Massachusetts. This conference, which will run from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, is free for MASILC members and nominees, as well as Massachusetts Independent Living Center staff and board members. There is a $50.00 admission fee for the general public.  Individuals requesting communication access should register as soon as possible. Additional information can be found at or you may also contact Sadie Simone at 508-620-7452 or

6. The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) would like to invite you to participate a Research Study, titled “Communicating Color as Part of a Museum Access Program for Blind/Low Vision Visitors.” This invitation is being extended to MFA visitors who have participated in MFA Feeling for Form as well as potentially new MFA visitors. Study participants are being invited to participate in this study, which is researching the effectiveness of three different methods of communicating color as part of a museum access program for blind/low vision visitors. The study will be held throughout October, by appointment, at The Harvard Semitic Museum during regular museum business hours, Sunday through Friday, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. During the study, in the new “From Stone to Silicone” exhibit, you will have the opportunity to experience casts of three Assyrian reliefs. The study will be conducted by Susan McFarlane, Harvard Master’s Degree candidate in Museum Studies. Study participation will last approximately one hour. You will need to provide your own transportation to and from the museum. Susan will meet you at the front of the museum and guide you to the exhibit, then back to the front at the conclusion of the study. If you are interested in participating, please contact Susan at 856-889-4924 or to learn more about the study. The results of this study are expected to assist museums in preparing future access programs. The MFA thanks you and your time is greatly appreciated.

7. The Disability Law Center (DLC) is soliciting your assistance in completing a 2019 Community Feedback Survey. The DLC is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency in Massachusetts. They are a private, non-profit organization. As the P&A agency, the DLC seeks to make the most impact that it can with limited resources. The DLC does this by using the majority of its resources to monitor and investigate allegations of abuse and neglect where people with disabilities live and receive services. The rest of the DLC’s resources are targeted to promote the rights of people with disabilities through systemic advocacy, training, individual representation, and information and referral. It is not possible for the DLC to provide legal services or direct representation to everyone who calls for assistance. The DLC’s federal grants establish eligibility criteria for its services and require the organization to use funds in a careful manner. The DLC is conducting this survey as one of the ways to help the organization determine if it is addressing the needs of the disability community or if there are emerging trends it should be focusing on. This is part of the DLC’s annual priority setting process. Your feedback is important, and it will shape the direction and focus of DLC’s work. Please complete our survey. It will only take a few minutes. You can access the survey at:

8. The Boston Opera House, located at 539 Washington Street in Boston has announced two Audio Described dates for Hamilton. Audio Described performances, will take place on Sunday, September 23rd at 1:00 PM and then again on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:30 PM. Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now. Tickets can be purchased by visiting, calling 617-259-3448, or emailing You can also learn more by visiting

9. The Emerson Paramount Theater, located at 559 Washington Street in Boston, has announced a special Audio Described date for Hamnet. This performance will take place on Saturday, September 29th at 8:00 PM. William Shakespeare had one son: Hamnet. While William was away working in London, Hamnet died at 11 years old without ever knowing his famous father. How do our dreams impact our families? Do adults really have it all figured out? Or are we blind to what we could have done better until it’s too late? In Hamnet, a tour-de-force performance from a young actor confronts what it means—and what it costs—to be great, and how living in the shadow of that greatness can keep one in the dark. In this moving, meticulous, multimedia wonder, ambition clashes with family responsibilities in a way that rivals the stakes of a great Shakespearean tragedy. Tickets for Hamnet can be purchased by calling 617-824-8400 or by emailing You can also learn more by visiting

10. Hello Basketball Fans! If you’re a Boston Celtics fan, and you just have to know when every game starts, you’re in luck. The Perkins Library, in collaboration with the National Braille Press and the Boston Celtics, have partnered to create schedules in both braille and large print. If you want a copy of your own, feel free to send an email to or call 617-972-7240 and specify your format choice.

Thanks for reading this message and it will updated again on Friday, September 28th.

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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