Ann Arbor Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind

The Ann Arbor Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind meets from 12:00 to 3:00 P.M. on the second Saturday of each month at Pizza Pinos. The restaurant is located at 221 W. Liberty Ann Arbor, MI 48104. For further information call (517) 482-1800.

Braille Translator Technologies

NFBTRANS is an open source braille translator (BT). Due to a collaboration for the common good of blind people, NFBTRANS has been updated (the updated version is known as WinBT 2.0) to be compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit computers. The bad news is that NFBTRANS still does not translate HTML, Daisy, or Microsoft Word Files. (Check out the braille translator by John Boyer, part of the Braille Blaster project, that will translate HTML, XML, DAISY, or Word documents requiring little or no expertise.)

The NFBTRANS software is not officially supported by the National Federation of the Blind. Those interested may find support and stay informed by subscribing to the ProgrammingBlind listserve.

Click here for the Updated version.
Click here for the WinBT installer.
Click here for the zipped files.

Downloading Books from the NLS Catalog

You may already know that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped maintains a complete catalog of all audio and Braille books in its collection, but did you know that BARD users can initiate downloads directly from this catalog? Be sure to use the Voyager interface (rather than the text interface) to search. Enter your search terms, and then select the quick limits option "NLS Digital Talking Books," which will limit the results of your search to books available to download. When you find a book you're interested in, click the title to get the brief record, and find the link that says "downloadable talking book." Clicking this link will take you to the BARD page where you will be required to enter your username and password for the download to begin. This feature is helpful for readers who want more control and flexibility in their searches than the BARD search pages currently offer; or, those who want more information about a book than the BARD listings provide.

Older Michiganians Day 2011

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Almost 800 older persons and advocates from across the state will converge on the State Capitol on June 15, from 9:50 am to 2:00 pm, to celebrate our growing senior population and urge elected officials to make policies and budget decisions that are senior-friendly.

The theme for this fourth annual rally, Older Michiganians Day 2011, is The Senior WAVE – We Advocate, Vote, and Enrich Communities. Older Michiganians Day is named for the state law that earmarks state funding for older adult services and establishes the Commission on Services to the Aging and the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA). The OSA and Commission oversee the network of sixteen Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). The state law makes approximately $30 million in state funds available for home delivered meals, adult day care, volunteer programs and other services each fiscal year.

Contact Ann Langford for more information and free tickets to this event by email at alangford@aaa1b.com or by phone at (248) 262-1282.

Living with Low Vision Group

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Join the Living with Low Vision group each month at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Each meeting features a guest speaker or an activity for individuals with low vision. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. If you have questions, contact Gale Oren at (734) 763-9468 or goren@umich.edu.

Healthy Vision Month: Vision Screenings & More for All Ages

Vision ScreeningsVision Screenings Come to the Downtown library on Sunday, May 22, 1 - 4 PM for vision screenings. The screenings are available at no charge for all ages: babies through adults. At 1 PM, enjoy opening remarks by Dr. John Barletta of Huron Ophthalmology. At 2 PM, co-authors Madison and Malia will read their short story, “The Blind Porcupine”. The sisters were born blind and now have sight thanks to cornea tissue donors and the efforts of the Michigan Eye-Bank. At 3 PM, meet Paws With A Cause® Assistance Dogs. The Healthy Vision Month programs above are cosponsored by the Ann Arbor Host Lions Club, Michigan Eye-Bank and University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library.

Braille and Talking Book Computer Club

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On Saturday, May 7 the BTBL Computer Club will meet to discuss using accessible GPS. Representatives from AT Guys will demonstrate some of the latest GPS receivers available today. The BTBL Computer Club meets from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm in the BTBL public service area on the first floor of the Library of Michigan across from the elevators. If you are unable to make it to Lansing for this meeting, and wish to join the discussion, you may access the BTBL Opal Online Meeting room by using this link. You may use any username you like, and leave the password field blank. If you have questions, contact Scott Norris at (517) 373-5516 or norriss5@michigan.gov.

Did You know....?

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...That hundreds of federal tax forms are available from IRS.gov for sight impaired people? One way to find the publications on the IRS site is by clicking on the word accessibility at the bottom of the IRS home page. If a physical disability prevents a taxpayer from completing their tax return, they may get assistance from an IRS office or through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Taxpayers can call 1-800-906-9887 for more information. Publication 907 explains the tax implications of certain disabilities and other issues.

April is Fair Housing Month!

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The Federal Fair Housing Act protects citizens against discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, disability, familial status, religion, and sex. Housing discrimination often comes with “a smile and a handshake.” While commonly experienced, discrimination can be subtle, friendly and often difficult to pin down. The Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan works to ensure that citizens are living where they would like and not where others say they should. If you have any reason to believe that you have been the victim of housing discrimination, you can call the Fair Housing Center at (877) 979-FAIR to discuss the situation.

Many Ways of Seeing

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The Detroit Institute of Art presents Many Ways of Seeing: Artwork by Blind and Visually Impaired Children and Youth from the Detroit Area. The exhibit will take place at the Walter Gibbs Gallery from April 8 to 15. The DIA Learning and Interpretation Department, in collaboration with the UM School of Art and Design, recently began an art-making program for students in Detroit Public Schools and Lincoln Park Public Schools who are blind or visually impaired. This exhibit presents the local blind and visually impaired youth’s work, shedding light on the many ways of seeing that exist.

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