The Palmetto Blind
The Voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
60th Anniversary Cake Cutting Ceremony – Left to right: Ed Bible, Federation Center Chairman; Frank Coppel, President Emeritus NFB of SC and Federation Center Chairman; and Jennifer Bazer, President NFB of SC
The PALMETTO BLIND, published twice a year in digital format, large print, and Braille, by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. David Houck, Editor. The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is chartered under the laws of the state of South Carolina to promote the spiritual, social, and economic well-being of all blind South Carolinians. The state organization is an affiliate of the nation’s oldest and largest organization of the blind – the National Federation of the Blind.
The PALMETTO BLIND is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and is available free of charge to any member in digital format, large print, or Braille. Other subscribers are encouraged. If readers desire to do so, donations to cover the annual subscription cost of $10.00 per year may be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and sent to: Valerie Warrington, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. Upon request, we can email a color photo version in a pdf format. This version is not useful to adaptive technology like JAWS or Guide. Braille or large print copies may be retained for personal libraries. A special thank you goes to Shannon Cook who proofreads the Palmetto Blind.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 2021 NFB National Convention – Stronger Together by David Houck
5 60th Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina – Stronger Together In Unity by David Houck
9 2021 NFB of SC Convention Resolutions by Valerie Warrington, Resolutions Committee Chair
11 Post-Convention Response from TBS Director Kristin White
12 New NFB of SC PSA Available by Jennifer Bazer
12 60th Anniversary of the Federation Center of the Blind A Tremendous Success by David Houck
13 Special Events Promote Center’s 60th Anniversary by Dominic Calabrese
13 Governor Henry McMaster Proclaims October 15th White Cane Safety Day
16 Rocky Bottom Christmas Board Retreat by Jennifer Bazer
17 January 8, 2022 Statewide Seminar, A Focus on “Perseverance” by David Houck
18 Recipe for Sheet-Pan Sausage and Peppers by Melanie Torrance
19 Recipe for Coconut Panna Cotta by Patricia Jenkins
19 Recipe for Shepherd’s Pie by Roger Webb
20 A Shot in the Dark by Patricia Jenkins, Happy Retired Teacher
20 Why Do We Need the NFB by Marty McKenzie
20 PRESIDENT’S PONDERINGS by Jennifer Bazer
21 From the Editor’s Desk by David Houck
22 Final Thought
NFB PLEDGE: I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind; to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.
ONE MINUTE MESSAGE: The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.
2021 NFB National Convention – Stronger Together
By David Houck
Editor’s Note: For greater detail regarding the NFB 2021 National Convention, please reference the August/September Braille Monitor.
For the second year in a row, our National Federation of the Blind national convention took place anywhere and everywhere via the Zoom platform. Delegates registered in advance of the event, and there were many events to attend. On opening day, Tuesday, July 6th, the agenda focused on over fifty committee and division meetings. Topics ranged widely from rehabilitation conferences to assistive technology to career opportunities, all showcased at the annual career fair. Additionally, many groups, including the National Parents of Blind Children and National association of Guide Dog Users, met for annual business sessions. There was much to choose from in a one day session.
The same can be said for the Wednesday, July 7th session. The highlight of the day was the NFB Board of Directors Meeting at 2:00 p.m. There was a moment of silence for Federationists who passed away during the previous year. The Nominating Committee slate of officers up for election was announced. Joe Ruffalo of New Jersey announced that, after 20 years of service, he was stepping down from the NFB Board of Directors but not stepping away from the Federation. James Gashel of Hawaii reported that he was resigning from the NFB Board of Directors. Gashel has served the Federation since the days of our NFB Founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek’s presidency. It was announced that the 2022 NFB national convention will take place between July 5 and 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the 2023 national convention will take place between July 1 and 6 in Houston, Texas. Room rates will be $105 per night for both conventions. A variety of convention arrangements were also discussed. The 2021 NFB Scholarship Class was presented during the board meeting. The next blind driver challenge will be for a blind person to set the land speed record by a blind driver. This will be accomplished by a former drag racer Dan Parker, who became blind resulting from injuries he sustained in a drag race accident. Attendees could also access various exhibits, the Presidential Suite, a virtual tour of the Jernigan Institute, and the usual wide array of committee and division meetings throughout the day.
On Thursday, July 8th, there were more committee and division meetings. The NFB Independence Market was open for attendees to purchase tactile aids, talking products, Braille devices and accessories, , literature, and much more. The opening General Session took place at 7:00 p.m., beginning with the annual celebration of freedom, roll call of states, and a Maryland historic review from the host affiliate. Kristopher Crawley, a member of the Columbia Chapter of the NFB of SC, gave the invocation at the beginning of the Opening Session. As a Moslem husband and father, this gesture by the national organization was a way to model and embrace how to welcome members of diverse backgrounds in the National Federation of the Blind. President Jennifer Bazer represented South Carolina well during the Roll Call of States. The last item on the agenda was a prerecorded interview between President Riccobono and U.S. Congressional Representative Kweisi Mfume. Rep. Mfume has a long history of support regarding issues and legislation affecting the blind.
On Friday, July 9th, from 10:00 a.m. until noon, the NFB of South Carolina met for the annual caucus, presided over by President Bazer. The caucus was held jointly on Zoom and the Federation Center of the Blind, where the Summer Teen Program was also being held. There was much interaction between the in-person and the Zoom participants.
At 2:00 p.m. the next General Session of the convention took place. Dan Frye, a former NFB of SC member, gave the invocation. The Presidential Report by Mark Riccobono focused on overcoming blindness discrimination issues. In fact, Amazon will work with the NFB to make employment more accessible for blind people. Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, reported on including the blind in future transportation plans. Gerard Quinn, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, spoke on how the organized blind movement can work on beneficial programs for the blind across the globe. Eve Hill, a partner at Brown, Goldstein, and Levy, addressed transforming advocacy into voting equality, saying, “Vote as if your life depended upon it.” Jena Griswold, Colorado Secretary of State, recounted how Colorado uses blind leadership to raise expectations for the blind so that they can “live the life they want.” Bradley Tusk, CEO and co-founder at Tusk Philanthropies, furthered the effort to work together to increase the right to vote with equality.
The third General session began at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. The NFB Survivors Task Force reported on efforts to transform the Federation on behalf of those affected by sexual misconduct. Policy and training development for the Federation was made possible by conducting a history, review, and recommendation process for the Code of Conduct.
Randi Strunk, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota and the National Federation of the Blind Sports and Recreation Division, spoke on transforming Federation spirit into personal progress by encouraging challenges, fun, and fitness among the blind.
The next presenter, Monique Coleman, who currently works as a TVI, serves as the President of VISTAS Education Partners, and who founded the National Homework Hotline, reinforced that blind mentors make a difference in the lives of blind students. Successful Transitions has been doing this in South Carolina by pioneering mentorship programs.
Sina Bahram, the founder and president of Prime Access Consulting; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina encouraged accessibility to the widest audience, all disabilities, to everyone! Jose Gaztambide, CEO, GoodMaps; Louisville, Kentucky came out of the American Printing House by developing indoor navigation venues for the blind. This will begin at the NFB Jernigan Institute. It’s like google maps for indoors!
Next on the agenda was an accessibility panel by its Moderator: Chancey Fleet, President, Assistive Technology Trainers Division of the NFB; Brooklyn, New York, and panelist which included Eve Anderson, Senior Director of Accessibility, Google; Mountain View, California; Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft; Redmond, Washington; Sarah Herrlinger, Senior Director, Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Apple; Cupertino California: Peter Korn, and Director, Accessibility at Amazon Lab126, Amazon; Seattle, Washington. Various aspects of technology development and their processes were discussed. This includes interaction between these technology companies as well with the blind. This was an inside look into innovation in braille technology.
Next, Suman Kanuganti, CEO, Personal AI; San Diego, California discussed the future innovations in artificial intelligence anticipating your needs and interacting with you on a personal level.
Saturday’s General Session IV included the NFB financial report and national funding efforts. The election of NFB board members were as follows:
Norma Crosby Secretary and Board Positions
1 Denise Evont.IL
2 Everette Bacon UT
3 Marcie Carpenter WA
4 Ever Lee Hairston CA
5 Tracy Soforenko VA
6 Terri Rupp NV
Sixteen NFB Resolutions passed which included
- Establishing a Safe Fund in dealing with survivors;
- Supporting the Medical Device Nonvisual Access Act;
- Suppression of rights of voters with disabilities;
- Advancing employment of the blind in military service;
- Use of overlays to make websites accessible to the blind;
- Interference by Postal Service untimely delivery with NLS talking book services;
- Due process for owners with guide dogs being repossessed;
- Ability One’s non-profit not to have discrimination in employment against the blind using screen reader software;
- Eye doctors unwilling to notify the blind of rehab services;
- Accsesible ballots for the blind;
- Department of Transportation air carrier access act regarding guide dogs;
- Accessible technology for federal employees and applicants who are blind and
the Veterans Affairs to accept certification by the National Blindness Certification Board;
- Digital accessibility of conferences for the blind;
- Protect pedestrians crossing bicycle lanes and floating bus stops;
- Kiosk accessibility at Veterans Affairs medical facilities; and
- Disrespectful and misleading business practices with Accessa B.
The Next General Session included the following items: Anil Lewis, Executive Director for Blindness Initiatives, National Federation of the Blind; Baltimore, Maryland, spoke on everyone working together to find solutions during the recent pandemic. John Paré, Jr., Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy, National Federation of the Blind; Baltimore, Maryland, addressed accomplishing the impossible until it is complete. He also reflected upon where we were historically, where we are today and where we are headed into the future. The Honorable Tammy Duckworth, United States Senate, Illinois was interviewed by Mark Riccobono. As a wheelchair user, she knows difficulties the disabled have to deal with. Accessibility is the key. She cited the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind is a good example on employing the blind. You are equal no matter what you or others think. Colin Wong, Co-Chair, National Federation of the Blind Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Phoenix, Arizona moderated a panel reviewing strength through diversity in the organized blind movement. The panelists included: Tasnim Alshuli, Chairperson, NFB Blind Muslim Group; Tucson, Arizona; Doula Jarboe, President, Colorado Association of the Blind, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind; Denver, Colorado; Sanho Steele-Louchart, Chairperson, NFB LGBT Group; Norman, Oklahoma; and Priscilla Yeung, Manager of Senior Programs, Society for the Blind; Sacramento, California.
The Saturday evening Banquet attracted groups of blind people gathering together anywhere and everywhere to enjoy each other’s company along with a good dinner while listening in on the Banquet session on ZOOM. The NFB of SC hosted a banquet party at the Federation Center of the Blind catered by Olive Garden. South Carolina was one of only a few banquet parties that the convention dropped in on via Zoom. The first door prize was the only one called for South Carolina and Glenda Culick of the Rock Hill Chapter won a $100 gift card! Ever Lee Hairston gave the invocation. She was one of our recent NFB of SC convention national representatives. Pam Allen was the Master of Ceremonies. Mark Riccobono gave a brilliant Banquet address. He spoke of the unfinished work of raising expectations by working together to achieve full security, opportunity and equality among the blind. He also recounted how the Federation in the 1950’s and 60’s changed the acceptance of the black blind community into every aspect of the NFB. It was the realization that there must be inclusion for all blind people. Three individuals and three organizations received Jacob Bolotin Awards ranging from $5,000 to $20,000in recognition of their innovative work with the blind. Ray Kurzweil spoke of his partnership and progress in work with the blind. The Scholarship recipients received scholarship awards ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 with each one having an additional $3,000 from other sources being added to their initial scholarship amount. This completed the Banquet, after some announcements, a final door prize of $2,021 cash was given away. Each person, regardless of how they attended, took away a great deal of important information to digest and to share. The convention will be in New Orleans in 2022 and in Houston in 2023. It will be a tremendous boost to be able to meet once again in person at the National Federation of the Blind Family Reunion.
60th Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
Stronger Together In Unity
By David Houck
On Thursday afternoon, August 19, convention delegates arrived early to prepare for our hybrid in-person and virtual 65th annual convention. Convention supplies, gift bags, goodie bags, exhibit materials, registration materials, sound system and online ZOOM systems, along with print, braille, electronic and audio accessible agendas began to accumulate at the newly renovated North Charleston Hotel.
Beginning early on Friday morning, the Exhibit Hall was set up featuring the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, Belvedere Chapter, NFB of SC, Senior Blind Division, NFB of SC, Spartanburg Chapter, NFB of SC, Anderson Chapter, NFB of SC, Ashley Abraham, Children’s Books, Johnathan Nelson, 6-24kmc Essentials, LLC, South Carolina Talking Book Services, South Carolina Assistive Technology Program, Humanware, Vispero, South Carolina Lions Clubs, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, and the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. Over 115 delegates participated in-person and 70 virtually over ZOOM which included outside states like Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, California, Vermont, Missouri, and Colorado.
Local Scouts to assist convention attendees
Ed Bible presides over At Large Chapter
Registration was also set up by 8 a.m. Charleston area Boy Scouts were on hand throughout the convention to lend assistance wherever needed. The day’s agenda was full of division and committee meetings including the Blind Merchants, the SC Association of Blind Students, the NFB of SC Board, the Senior Division, Computer Science and Technology Division, Resolutions Committee, and the Sports and Recreation Division. There was something to peak everyone’s interest.
All of this was followed by a wonderful Reception and dinner accompanied by the Push Band. The reception hall was packed; there was much fellowship and dancing. The SC Association of Blind Students hosted a Monte Carlo night that began after the reception and ended at midnight. On Saturday morning, the At Large Chapter met in person for the first time since its creation. Breakfast was available, as part of the convention registration fee, that included eggs, muffins, pasteries, bacon, hash browns, assorted fruit, coffee and tea. Convention goers could get the breakfast in the back of the meeting room both Saturday and Sunday mornings before the first session got underway.
NFBSC President Jennifer Bazer , NFB Representative
Mayor Pro Tempore Ron Brinson, North Charleston
Scott LaBarre, NFB National Representative
Being punctual as the Federation usually is, NFB of SC President Jennifer Bazer gaveled the convention to order at 8:00 a.m. sharp. The first $100 door prize was won by Rachael Alexander of the Lee County Chapter. The welcome to the city of North Charleston and reading of a proclamation was done by, Ron Brinson, Member North Charleston City Council, Chair of the Finance Committee and Mayor Pro Tempore. The NFB National Report was given by Scott LaBarre, President, of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado who was our convention national representative. He stressed the importance of keeping up on Federation news nationally through a multitude of online means and publications. The July NFB Convention was very successful and heard by thousands all across the nation and globe. In fact, several states were involved virtually during our state convention and they actively participated. The July 5-10, 2022 NFB Convention will be held at the New Orleans Marriott. Cost is $105 per room plus tax. Due to several challenges, a Code of Ethics was established and is revised periodically to establish the NFB as a safe place where molestation survivors can be heard, believed and comforted. The fact that recently blind people can work at Amazon with assistive devices was announced and that kiosks in McDonalds are becoming accessible is demonstrative of the hard work of the Federation. A Pre-Authorized Contribution (PAC) Report revealed that South Carolina ranks number twelve in the nation in contributions. Delegates were advised to obtain a PAC form or go online to nfb.org/pac to sign up or increase your monthly PAC giving to help build the Federation.
Commissioner Darline Graham, SC Commission for the Blind
Kayleigh Joiner, NFB of Texas
Darline Graham, Commissioner of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind spoke concerning many renovations needed at the Commission for comfort of staff and consumers, updating financial procedures, etc. She gave an update on the Business Enterprise Program (Blind Licensed Vendor Program). $849,000 in relief and restoration payments have already been paid with another $144,000 to be issued in the BEP Program. Consumer virtual training went on for quite some time during the pandemic but as of July, onsite training begins again. A “Bee Keeping” operation may be keeping consumers busy at the Commission. The Rocky Bottom Summer Teen Program conclusion was successful. Call service job opportunities available. There is ongoing staff training, HR department recruiting efforts, and two new SCCB Board members added. Board members include: Dr. Judy Johnson – Chair, 2nd; Catherine Olker, 3rd; Mary Sonksen – Secretary, 4th; Peter Smith – Vice Chair, 6th; and Susan John, 7th Congressional District. Board seats for Districts 1 and 5 are vacant. The Commission even looks to revamp its web site. Commissioner Graham also took questions from the audience.
David Rebocho leads “YMCA” on a Fit Break
Kristin White, TBS Director
Next, everyone took a Fit Break led by David Rebocho, President, Sports and Rec Division. Participants moved to “YMCA.”
The next agenda item was Turning Obstacles into Opportunities by Kayleigh Joiner, Assistant Program Coordinator, National Federation of the Blind of Texas. While she had learned and accomplished much since her first NFB convention in Atlanta in 2007, growing up being forced to strain to read large print made her determined to learn braille on her own, She attended both the Colorado Center for the Blind and the Louisiana Center for the Blind where many blindness skills were sharpened. This determination in stride with Federation philosophy guided her to success.
Kristin White, Director of SC Talking Book Services noted that several NFB of SC members are involved with the library’s activities. They are Shannon Cook who chairs the Talking Books Service advisory Council and Loretta Green and Marty McKenzie who both sit on the State Library Board. Technologies continue to develop for the blind. Talking book cartridges can now hold up to 15 books at a time. Patrons can select the ones they want on their cartridge. The Library has developed a mobile reading studio. The seasonal reading programs continue on and children’s books are being produced in braille.
Simple and Smart Independence with the SuperSense App which has You Covered by Shane Lowe, SuperSense Community Manager. It scans, magnifies, reads bar codes, reads documents, etc. It is fast and reliable.
Jennifer Bazer gave the NFB of SC Report. We are turning obstacles into opportunities. This included pandemic adjustments from in-person to ZOOM meetings, a virtual talent show which brought in over $4000, a Rocky Bottom online auction that raised $9000, online registration for membership dues and state convention registration, virtual movie nights and game nights. We continue to be a work in progress. We need to streamline and/or combine committees when feasible. The PSA’s need to be more inclusive and representative of the overall membership. Other divisions that have been requested are an Association of Guide Dog Users and a Communities of Faith Division.
The afternoon session got underway at 2:00 p.m. with Road Blocks or Stepping Stones, by Regina Mitchell, NFB of Nevada board member and scholarship chair. Early on, Ms. Mitchell dreamed of becoming a Chef. She traveled extensively, working at the Culinary Academy where she received a British Fellowship. She even worked with celebrity chefs. She also did team building cooking for Fortune 500 companies. In 2012 she lost her sight. Although she pursued an undergraduate degree, she was not knowledgeable of blindness skills. She began working with blind mentors including Scott LaBarre and graduated from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She taught cooking from a Master Chef’s point of view. During the pandemic, she took to ZOOM to share her culinary knowledge, but had to be much more descriptive. Her efforts earned her recognition, resulting in an article on the front page of the L. A. Times. She was subsequently interviewed by CNN.
As the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Derique Simon spoke on topics that committee has tackled since it began. A great question to pose is exploring the difference between how others see you versus how you see yourself. The objective is to break down the barriers that exist between us. DEI strives to get everyone to realize that we are all very similar, with a few differences that get attention.
Next we heard Ten Essential Tips for Blind & Socially Savvy Networkers, Eileen Rivera Ley, Master Trainer, Blind Savvy, USA from Baltimore, MD. You find good contacts by meeting new people at social gatherings to gain confidence which gets you through challenges to become successful. Do not wait for someone to approach you, approach them first. Get to know them and see how the situation can be used to support what you are involved with. You can get help, donations for a project, etc. Keep their cards for a contact list. Take notes. Ask open ended questions like, “Tell me about…” Always follow up on your contact. Use Linked In and other social media platforms to your advantage.
A second fit break by David Rebocho to the Hokey Pokey.
We then heard “Launch Your Way to Success”, Summer Teen Report, Student, Staff and Intern Presentations. Several Summer Teen students and counselors spoke of their four week experience at the Federation Center of the Blind, culminating in a final week at Rocky Bottom. Many innovative activities took place covering technology and self-defense, just for a few examples. They also gained valuable experience in a real-life scenario by prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning up when they made the dinner for the Columbia Chapter meeting in July. At Rocky Bottom for instance, they went kayaking.
Logan Stenzel, Board Member, National Association of Blind Students
Marty McKenzie, Statewide Vision Consultant
Next was “Students Staying Strong Together” by Logan Stenzel, Board Member, National Association of Blind Students and Treasurer, Minnesota Association of Blind Students. He stated that blind students must advocate for themselvesin college, or whatever level of education they find themselves. Positivity and optimism are essential. He suggests that students Get involved with their state and national student division to build a support network.
The next item was “Blessings from Adversity, Creating a Successful Future,” by Svetlana Ehlers, Student and Member NFB of Missouri. Being born in Armenia, times were hard. She advises we learn Adversity verses Resiliency through
- Confidence to get you through challenges to become successful.
- Determination which helps you to overcome challenges.
- Faith in Jesus Christ let your challenges increase your faith.
Next we had Marty McKenzie update us on the Department of Education. He stated that braille and large print textbooks should be on time, and they are. The 2021 Technology Olympics was cancelled due to Covid. The Braille Challenge was also cut due to Covid. They monitor Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) to see how many there are and will have in the future. They are in good standing with the current number of TVI. This includes 26 Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Instructors.
Shannon Cook, NFB of SC Scholarship Chair, introduces the 2021 Scholarship Class
Steve Cook receives Donald C. Capps Award from David Houck
Speaking of education, Shannon Cook introduced the NFB of SC 2021 Scholarship Class. Matthew Duffell Hoffman received scholarships totaling $1,750; Andrew Adams received scholarships totaling $1,700 and Casey Rose received scholarships totaling, $2,925. These were distributed at the Saturday evening Banquet. Over $6,000 was raised in scholarship funds from chapters, divisions and individuals.
At the Saturday evening Banquet the dinner was fine which included a salad, pork tenderloin, baby carrots, mashed potatoes and tiramisu for dessert. Our National NFB Representative, Scott LaBarre, was our keynote speaker. Key points he made are as follows: We are a Federation family. We need to review where we are and where we are going. We create different ways to get things done because of the NFB. While increased negative attitudes about blindness arise from time to time, we need to overcome our own fears not to become a failure. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Next was the presentation of convention sponsors to speak before the delegates as $6,000 was raised to help defray the cost of the $25,000 state convention.
Then the scholarship recipients were granted their scholarships by Shannon Cook. This was followed by Steve Cook being presented with the Donald C. Capps Award for his extensive involvement in the Federation and in service to blind South Carolinians. The Educator of the Year Award was presented by Marty McKenzie to Alicia Meador Otte for her love of educating blind children. In just thirty minutes, the convention delegates, in person, online, and from other states raised $10,000 for NFB of SC programs and convention costs. It was an outstanding demonstration of Federation faith!
The Sunday morning session began with a devotional and memorial service hosted by Dorothy Barksdale. Aside from the singing of hymns, there was a recognition of Federation members who had passed since our last convention. In fact, during the banquet fundraiser, many of the contributions were made in memory of a beloved Federationist who had passed.
On Sunday, NFB of SC elections were held with the following being re-elected for a two year term: Loretta Green from District 1, Derique Simon from District 3, Linda Dizzley from District 5, Isaiah Nelson from the first At Large position and Ed Bible from the second At Large position.
Larry Warrington (monitoring ZOOM) & his wife, Valerie Warrington, NFB of SC & RBRCCB Treasurer
Abigail Rackley, USC MSW Intern at the Federation Center of the Blind
As is our usual custom, Valerie Warrington, Treasurer of the NFB of SC and RBRCCB, read the financial reports of the state organization, Successful Transitions and Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind. Then, switching hats, as Resolutions Committee Chair, she read the four resolutions which were passed by the convention and are printed following this convention article. Resolutions become the policy of the NFB of SC for the upcoming year. Another Fit Break by David Rebocho featured the “Macarena”. President Jennifer Bazer spoke about looking for members showing an interest in serving on various Federation committees. Leaders who will follow through are needed. These positions are opportunities for service.
The Rocky Bottom Report featured the Chairman, Thom Spittle who reviewed camp operations. Shelley Coppel and Shannon Cook reviewed last year’s Senior Camps which were virtual, and this year’s hopes to return to in-person attendance at RBRCCB. Jennifer Bazer spoke of the success of children’s camps which were in person this year. The second week was a culmination of a five week Summer Teen Program with the first four weeks being held at the Federation Center of the Blind in Columbia.
David Houck and Board Chairman Ed Bible gave the Federation Center report. Our four blind certified assistive technology instructors handle 50 blind students annually. This program is in its 25th year. Our Public Relations Consultant Dominic Calabrese has accomplished much in his first year of service at the Federation Center in the areas of public service announcements, interviews, editorials, foundation funding, a White Cane Awareness Governor’s proclamation at the state House, to name a few. Abagail Rackley, an intern for the Center, receiving her Masters of Social Work at USC will help us develop a Directory of Blindness Services in South Carolina as they change over time. Barry Chavis was praised for his many renovation services provided to the Center. October 15, 2021 between 12 noon and 2 p.m. will be our Open House celebration of 60 years of service. Tours of the Center, refreshments, a sound-slide presentation and much more including a 60th anniversary booklet was only a part of the festivities.
Scott LaBarre did a great job as “PAC Man,” encouraging everyone to sign up to support the National Organization. As the final door prizes were called out, everyone anticipated the 2022 North Charleston Convention next August and the New Orleans Convention in July 2022. Much was learned during this convention which will be shared with other blind South Carolinians to better their quality of life. It was truly a great convention! We thank all who had a part in making this convention such a success and Jennifer Bazer did an excellent job in presiding.
2021 NFB of SC Convention Resolutions
By Valerie Warrington, Resolutions Committee Chair
Resolution 2021-01: Regarding Access to Electronic Health Records
WHEREAS, electronic health records are becoming more prevalent in our daily lives; and
WHEREAS, these records are not always accessible by blind South Carolinians; and
WHEREAS, Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, electronic medical records must already be accessible, yet many health care providers in South Carolina still maintain electronic platforms which are not accessible to the blind and low vision; and
WHEREAS, lack of accessibility to electronic health records places the health, independence and right to privacy of the blind at risk; and
WHEREAS, it is essential that blind South Carolinians have full accessibility to electronic health records in order to establish independence and improve their health, well-being and overall quality of life and maintain their right to privacy: Now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty second day of August, 2021, that this organization call upon the South Carolina State Legislature to amend the Physicians’ Patient Records Act to require medical providers to adopt policies that ensure electronic health records platforms are fully accessible to blind individuals.
Resolution 2021-02: Regarding Requiring Minimum Standards for the Training of Blind Individuals Provided Through the South Carolina Commission for the Blind
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness does not define one’s potential and that, if given the proper training and technology, a blind individual can fully compete with sighted peers; and
WHEREAS, a blind individual is more likely to succeed in employment with at least a basic knowledge of Braille, technology, independent living skills, and orientation and mobility; and
WHEREAS, one of the purposes of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) is to address barriers to employment for blind individuals by providing adequate training and guidance about current technology; and WHEREAS, the amount and level of training can vary widely for each SCCB Client, depending on the SCCB counselor’s knowledge and understanding about blindness; and
WHEREAS, clients may wait months or years before they can obtain training in basic skills; and
WHEREAS, although clients have the right to exercise informed choice about where to receive training, they are not always made aware of this right and are sometimes forced to receive training that does not adequately address their blindness needs; and
WHEREAS, clients are often discouraged by their counselors from attending out-of-state training centers, even if the in-state agency does not meet the needs of the clients’ employment goals: Now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina convention assembled this twenty-second day of August, 2021, that this organization urge the South Carolina Commission for the Blind to establish a recommended list of client pre-employment skills necessary to support employment, and that during the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) process, clients must be provided the opportunity to accept or reject offers of training for these skills. Key employment skills which may be included on a recommended list of pre-employment skills list might include: training in contracted braille; training in basic computer skills; effectively operating a smart phone; preparing a variety of meals and safely storing food; performing independent living skills including using a variety of home appliances; training in basic mobility skills including crossing different types of intersections and including lighted intersections; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a client must agree that they have been offered satisfactory opportunities to learn all these pre-employment skills before their case may be closed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a client must be informed in writing that only after they agree that these pre-employment skills have been offered and completed, their case may be closed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if services required to be provided to meet the pre-employment skills are not readily available in time to address a client’s disability needs, for example, if Braille or orientation and mobility training are unavailable for multiple months, then the SCCB counselor must identify and fund alternative sources of those services, or demonstrate to the client that those services are not available from alternative sources; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all clients shall be informed and provided with information about training centers outside of South Carolina, including the training centers operated by the National Federation of the Blind, in order for clients to examine and evaluate which center adequately addresses their blindness pre-employment needs.
Resolution 2021-03: Regarding Knowledge Competency and Uniformity of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors Employed by the South Carolina Commission for the Blind
Whereas, the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) serves blind individuals of all ages in the state of South Carolina; and
Whereas, not all blind individuals are considered experts on their vocational rehabilitation rights as listed in Section 103 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
Whereas, it is the expectation that vocational rehabilitation counselors hired by SCCB be both qualified and knowledgeable regarding all services provided to clients; and
Whereas, not all clients currently receive appropriate and/or adequate information pertaining to the services available to them by SCCB according to the aforementioned law; and
Whereas, clients currently served by SCCB receive widely varied information, depending largely on who currently serves as their vocational rehabilitation counselor: Now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty-second day of August, 2021 that SCCB implement practices to better train all current and future vocational rehabilitation counselors, as well as those who internally shift from serving one client population to another, regarding what services clients are entitled to receive in order to establish uniformity of disseminated information; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SCCB’s vocational rehabilitation counselors be required to prove their consistent knowledge competency by way of quarterly, mandatory assessments; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SCCB create a uniform curriculum that can be provided to clients in order to both increase client knowledge surrounding the rights denoted in the aforementioned law and better foster an environment that cultivates strong self-advocates.
Resolution 2021-04 Regarding the dropping of JAWS by Richland School District One
Whereas students and teachers who are blind use screen reading software to complete their work; and
Whereas the leading screen reading software currently in use worldwide is JAWS for Windows; and
Whereas a significant role of the education system is to prepare students to enter the work force; and
Whereas the South Carolina Commission for the Blind and other rehabilitation agencies tend to provide JAWS for Windows for their consumers entering the work force; and
Whereas the administration of Richland School District One has ruled that JAWS For Windows cannot be used in its schools by either staff or students because several features pose a risk to its privacy policies; and
Whereas any of these features can be disabled at the Network level; and
Whereas JAWS is currently deployed at all levels of government, including the most secure networks, and
Whereas the alternative access methods allowed by Richland One’s administration are either limited in functionality (Windows Narrator) or Open source (NVDA) and provide a far greater risk to network security than JAWS: Now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty second day of August, 2021, that this organization call upon the Administration of Richland School District One to abolish this policy and consult with experts who understand JAWS to assist them in resolving their security concerns to allow their blind staff and students to utilize the most effective product for their accessibility needs.
Post-Convention Response From TBS Director Kristin White
I wanted to send you a very special thank you and congratulations on a wonderful convention this past weekend! You all did a truly phenomenal job of providing an information-filled as well as business-oriented event. There was so much available that I could not keep up with everything. However, I think we got some very beneficial feedback through in-person networking and by having a presence in the exhibit area that could not have been gleaned in any other setting.
Let me apologize to those members of our Advisory Committee that I did not mention by name in my address. I plan to do so publicly on Facebook and at their October meeting. I had an earlier version of my speech in front of me that did not list everyone’s name and drew a blank at the microphone. It was a faux pas that I readily admit and hope to rectify today. Please feel free to give me any other feedback of which you think I should be aware and any information that you would like for me to follow up on immediately or to include in next year’s address.
Again, thank you all so much for everything that you do for and with TBS. Please reach out to me at any time with questions, concerns, comments and/or suggestions. I am always here for and available to you.
Director of Talking Book Services
New NFB of SC PSA Available
By Jennifer Bazer
Below, you will find our newest PSA. I want to thank WISTV in Columbia for the production of this video.
We are working on an audio description of the video. While individuals are speaking, photos are being shown of our affiliate.
We will use this video with geofencing and our PR committee will use it for getting the word out about our organization.
Any one is welcome to use this video. We will have it added to our website and a thirty second video will be used to capture someone’s attention.
If you have ideas of places, organizations, businesses, people that we should market, please let us know. https://youtu.be/NagMRuRHGdo
60th Anniversary of the Federation Center of the Blind A Tremendous Success
By David Houck
As seen in the cover photo, a beautiful cake cutting ceremony took place with Ed Bible, Frank Coppel and Jennifer Bazer doing the honors. This 60th anniversary event took place on October 15, 2021, six decades since the Center’s dedication on October 15, 1961. It took months to put together a remembrance booklet highlighting our history, sponsors, the Governor’s Proclamation, and several testimonials. Catering was provided by Blue Marlin Catering and a sound-slide presentation was developed in power point including the song “Live the Life You Want.” And displayed on a 55 inch TV.
Sound-slide presentation including music of “Live the Life You Want”
Blue Marlin Signature Catering
Although Gary David from WVOC was planning to MC the event, he was diagnosed with COVID. Donald Capps’ son Craig Capps was honored to step in and MC the event; because, his dad established the Federation Center. Over fifty people attended; most were Federation members.
NFB of SC President Jennifer Bazer Addresses the Attendees
Center Chairman Ed Bible Recounts his Center experiences
SC Commission for the Blind Commissioner Darline Graham and Training Director Kisa Grate took time to attend the celebration. Donna Early made the cake and was also in attendance. Thanks goes out to Carolyn Phillips, Carolyn Jackson, Catherine Williams, Isaiah Nelson, Barry Chavis, and others who worked hard to make this event such a success. Dominic Calabrese sent out several articles to local and regional papers across the state, extolling the virtues of the Federation Center’s long history.
A diverse range of Federationists were present including Marshall Tucker and SC District 32 Lions Governor, Jim Barbaree. The lounge area in the meeting hall underwent a major transformation in time for the Open House event. A big thank you also goes to Thom Spittle, Melanie Torrance and Shelley Coppel for covering the braille and technology exhibit tables.
During the past four years under the direction of Chairman Ed Bible, the Federation Center’s interior has been remodeled. Barry Chavis was vital in overseeing these renovations. No debt was incurred during these renovations, as has been the long-held practice of the Center. I would be remiss if I did not thank Dondra and Ashton Bible for facilitating our technology upgrades.
Dominic Calabrese, left, stands with longtime Federationist Marshall Tucker
President Jennifer Bazer, left, stands next to Jim Barbaree, Lions Club SC Governor, District 32
Special Events Promote Center’s 60th Anniversary
By Dominic Calabrese
As a prelude to the Federation Center’s milestone 60th anniversary on Friday, October 15, Lt. Governor Pam Evette presented NFB of SC President Jennifer Bazer with a special proclamation from Governor Henry McMaster and the Center was showcased on WVOC’s top-rated morning newscast on October 12.
Held at the State Capitol, President Bazer was joined at the proclamation ceremony by former NFB of SC President Frank Coppel, Center Board Chair Ed Bible and his wife Julie, Drew Robinton, Bruce Sexton, Elizabeth Rouse, Anna Price and Matthew Duffell-Hoffman.
The Lt. Governor praised the achievements of blind South Carolinians while also saluting the Center on its 60th anniversary. She further expressed interest in assisting the NFB of SC in any way she could.
Earlier, Ed Bible called in to WVOC Radio’s popular morning newscast and discussed the Center’s accomplishments with co-host Gary David. This past spring, Mr. David recorded several public service announcements about both the Center and the NFB of SC, which continue to air.
The Center marked 60 years of outstanding service to the blind community with a festive Open House from Noon to 2 PM on the actual anniversary date of October 15. Highlights included remarks from guest speakers; braille and technology demonstrations; tasty food and refreshments from Blue Marlin Signature Catering; and a delicious anniversary cake. All were invited to join us!
Federationists at Proclamation Presentation
NFB of SC President Jennifer Bazer Displays White Cane Proclamation With Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette at State House
Governor Henry McMaster Proclaims October 15 as White Cane Safety Day
As part of the 1972 SC Model White Cane Law, which was a 20 year forerunner of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Governor of South Carolina annually proclaims White Cane Safety Day each October 15. This year the proclamation includes wording about the Federation Center of the Blind’s 60th anniversary. It was included in the large print and Braille remembrance booklets, however, we are including it below for your review.
State of South Carolina
WHEREAS, the white cane, which every blind citizen of South Carolina has the right to carry, demonstrates and symbolizes the ability to achieve a full and independent life and the capacity to work productively in competitive employment; and
WHEREAS, by allowing every blind person to move freely and safely from place to place, the white cane makes it possible for the blind to fully participate in and contribute to our society and to live the lives they want; and
WHEREAS, every citizen should be aware that the law requires that motorists and cyclists exercise appropriate caution when approaching a blind person carrying a white cane; and
WHEREAS, South Carolina state law also calls upon employers, both public and private, to be aware of and utilize the employment skills of our blind citizens by recognizing their worth as individuals and their productive capacities; and
Whereas, the Federation Center of the Blind, in Columbia, , was established by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina sixty years ago on October 15, 1961 as an educational, training and recreational center for the blind of the Palmetto State offering a positive philosophy on blindness, assistive technology training, Braille transcription and other valued services as determined by blind South Carolinians, enhancing the purpose of the White Cane Law; and
WHEREAS, the state of South Carolina, through its public agencies and with the cooperative assistance of the National Federation of the blind of South Carolinians, enhancing the purpose of the White Cane Law: and
WHEREAS, the State of South Carolina through its public agencies and with the cooperative assistance of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, can and should facilitate the expansion of employment opportunities for greater acceptance of blind persons in the competitive labor market.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Henry McMaster, Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2021, as
WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY
Throughout the state and encourage our schools, colleges, and universities to offer full opportunities for training the blind persons; employers and the public to utilize the available skills of competent blind persons and to open new opportunities for the blind in our rapidly changing society; and all citizens to recognize the white cane as a tool of independence for blind pedestrians on our streets and highways.
State of South Carolina
Rocky Bottom Christmas Board Retreat
By Jennifer Bazer
Rocky Bottom Board
Christmas tree with gifts
NFB of SC Board
(Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the December 6, 2021 Positive Note.)
The Rocky Bottom and NFB of SC boards met on Saturday December 4 during our annual Christmas board retreat at Rocky Bottom. The Rocky Bottom board began sharply at 10:00 A.M. We heard about improvements and renovations that occurred during 2021 from Successful Transitions, The Salem Lions and Gwen Ellenburg. All benefactors discussed their plans for 2022. We appreciate Gwen and the Salem Lions for visiting during the board meeting. We will continue to look at grants for Rocky Bottom. To make up some of the difference this year from last year with the online auction, we will auction off the remaining items that did not sell during the online auction. If you have items you wish to contribute to the auction at the statewide seminar to benefit Rocky Bottom, please label them auction and mail or take to the center, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. We understand the famous lemon pound cakes will return to the auction along with other yummy treats.
The NFB of SC board meeting started at 2:00 PM. We discussed our statewide seminar which will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2022 from 10:00 A.M. until 4:00 PM Eastern. Ike Nelson will provide our meal which will be covered by the affiliate, and therefore, no charge for those attending. This event will be streamed and not viewed on zoom. This means that you can listen, but unfortunately due to our auction and other events that day, you will not be able to interact with the in-person attendees. Please call David Houck at the center if you plan to attend in person. I am hoping chapters, divisions and committees will provide updates and even interactive programming.
The board voted not to have a chartered bus to new Orleans. We will explore airline options as we did in 2019 to Vegas. Amtrack options will be explored. It is very important to assist members to attend national and state conventions within the chapter.
The board voted to send Anna Price and Elizabeth Rouse to Washington seminar since only two representatives from SC could attend in person. They are the co-chairs of the legislative and advocacy committee. We will have a group participate in meetings via zoom that same week.
We will be forming a committee to review constitutions on the state and chapter and division level. We will have someone from the national office to give us some tips and guidance.
We also discussed forming a guide dog division in our affiliate. Raul, president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users will be visiting us at our statewide seminar to kick off this division and give us support.
We discussed the importance of leaders including chapter presidents, division presidents, and board members to attend most meetings including Palmetto Connects, board meetings and state and national conventions. There were 14 out of 15 NFB of SC board members in attendance in person or through zoom. Thank you to those who were attending and participating. Your input is welcome and valued. We will continue to take role during Palmetto Connects, board meetings and other events. It is important that our leaders lead by example as the affiliate has voted you as our leaders.
The next Rocky bottom and NFB of SC board meetings will be held during statewide seminar from 12:15 PM until 1:45 PM. Each board meeting will last about 45 minutes.
Thank you to all of you who attended this year’s Christmas board retreat. The kitchen crew of Lenora Robertson, Glenda Culick and Trent Tetter was appreciated and excellent! Thank you to Thom Spittle who made sure everyone was comfortable during their stay. Thank you to all of you who attended in person and through zoom. Together we are stronger. Let’s go build the NFB of SC!
January 8, 2022 Statewide Seminar, A Focus on “perseverance”
By David Houck
Everything was set for the January 8, 2022 Statewide Seminar to take place at the Federation Center of the Blind. However, as time neared, the current COVID variant was rapidly spreading throughout the state. Even the Center staff was not immune. Therefore, the in person and ZOOM meeting quickly moved to 100% on ZOOM. Upwards of 80 attended the statewide seminar.
At 10:00 sharp, Jennifer Bazer brought the meeting to order with the theme song, ’Aint No stopping Us Now.’ This was followed by the NFB Pledge and NFB One Minute Message. Then there was the Welcome and some Announcements.
Through a democratic process, nominations were made for the NFB of SC word of the year. Several votes took place. Perseverance was selected by the membership as the 2022 Word of the Year.
David Rebocho led an exercise Fit Break to “Good Vibrations.”
A WIS video PSA promoting the NFB of SC was played for the Seminar audience.
The next item presented was “You Say”, sung by Brianna Shirley; a song about lifting people up when they are not strong.
Members recounted why they need the Federation and why the Federation needs them. This included Elizabeth Rouse, who began to be in the Federation and Student Division at the national level. She went on to the Louisiana Center for the Blind before coming to SC. Andrew Adams, newly blind, learned about the NFB at the SC Commission for the Blind where he then joined the Federation because they knew his daily struggles with blindness. Christopher Crawley began ten years ago at the SC Commission for the Blind. Jennifer Kennedy was instrumental in his joining the NFB. The brotherhood and sisterhood network is very important. Tomecki Williams, NFB of SC Lancaster Chapter President, learned that the interaction and cooperation among members benefits us all. Jerry Johnson had leadership skills in various areas of the state. He likes to read braille and sing. He is glad blind people cannot be denied insurance.
NAGDU (National Association of Guide Dog Users) President Raul Gallegos addressed the purpose of the division. He encouraged an SC division of NAGDU to be initiated. He expounded on the individual’s rights and laws affecting guide dogs and their handlers.
The second Fit Break was to “Shut Up and Dance.”
Gift card door prizes were drawn and awarded throughout the seminar to ZOOM participants.
While ZOOM attendees ate their virtual lunch, the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors met. The board reviewed the 2022 schedule. $500 will be set aside to assist chapters with gas expenses for those who need the help to be able to make the trip to RBRCCB. The Salem Lions is looking for new mattresses to replace older ones. Ellenburg Lodge roof extensions are keeping water from draining back toward the building. Hot water heater capacity was increased with the purchase of larger tanks.
This was followed by an NFB of SC state board meeting. . A Leadership Seminar will be held for NFB of SC, RBRCCB, and Federation Center boards with a chapter and division President Leadership Seminar to be held separately. March 26 and April 9 are suggested dates. The leadership seminars will be heldin person at the Federation Center. State convention registration fees will be the same as last year. ($85 adults, $55 students, & $25 children). Sponsorships will help meet our goal. It was proposed that after July 31 the fees will be $100 adults, $60 students and $30 children. The deadline for dues to be paid to be a member in good standing and the deadline cut off for voting were discussed. The discussion took longer than expected; therefore, the board decided to table the discussion until a special meeting of the board is held to decide on the details. President Bazer requested the need for travel agents to find the lowest rates to fly to the NFB convention. NFB convention delegate is Jennifer Bazer and Valerie Warrington the alternate delegate. The NFB of SC pledged $500 each to White Cane, tenBroek and Jernigan funds last year and again this year. The second quarter board meeting is scheduled for April 9 with a Tuesday or Thursday at 8 p.m. being an alternate. These meetings are open to all.
A third Fit Break was conducted to “Fancy Like”.
Jamie Allison demonstrated her clogging abilities. She has acquired these impressive dancing skills in the past few years.
Frank Coppel presented PAC (Pre Authorized Contributions) and SUN (Shares Unlimited in the NFB) which are two great ways to support the NFB nationally. A total of 130 SUN Share pledges were pledged during the meeting. Pledges are due by January 31. Consider signing up or increasing your support! Remember, as members, we do not pay national dues.
A parade of Divisions and Committees was presented by the Chairs or Presidents, making folks aware of its purpose. NFB of SC President Jennifer Bazer had some final thoughts in conclusion of the Statewide Seminar about our word for 2022, Perseverance.
Sheet-Pan Sausage and Peppers
By Melanie Torrance
A low carb option to make as temperatures fall. Heat up the oven for a “Sheet Pan Supper”
Makes: 4 servings
Total Carbohydrates: 10 grams per serving
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 pound bell peppers (a mix of colors is nice), cored, seeded, and sliced
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound Italian sausage (chicken, pork, or turkey; mild or spicy as you prefer)
1/3 cup sliced pepperoncini, plus a couple spoonfuls of the pickling liquid from the jar (optional)
A few parsley leaves (also optional)
Preheat the broiler.
Put the peppers and onions on a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Score the sausages (do this by making 4 or so half-inch slits along the curved side of each sausage). You don’t want to cut all the way through them; this just helps them straighten out and also not explode under the broiler. Tuck the sausages in among the peppers and onions and make sure they make contact with the bottom of the pan.
Broil 6 inches from the heat (in my oven this is the second rack down) until everything is browning and the sausages are cooked through, around 15 minutes. Rotate the pan once to brown everything evenly.
Top with the pepperoncini, pepperoncini juice, and parsley, then serve.
Recipe for Coconut Panna Cotta
By Patricia Jenkins
13.5 oz can of coconut milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavor
1 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin
In a sauce pan, whisk the milk, sugar, and gelatin. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Place sauce pan on low until the milk is heated (not boiling). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into 4 small desert bowls. Let mixture sit in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Optional: Place your favorite berries on top of the gelled mixture. Sprinkle coconut over the fruit.
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
By Roger Webb
Three to four medium potatoes
1 garlic clove
One medium onion
One green or yellow bell pepper
Half a cup of water
1 + Half cups of milk
Quarter cup of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of butter
One bouillon Cube
1 lb. of lean ground beef
One teaspoon of dried thyme
One tablespoon of chili powder
One cup of whole kernel corn
One egg beaten
Peel and cut potatoes into cubes, boil until soft. Drain in colander, place in mixing bowl. Blend with butter and milk, Mayo is optional. Add salt and white pepper to taste, set aside . Prior to placing the mashed potatoes over the hamburger meat mixture add in the one beaten egg, Dice onions, garlic clove, bell peppers into small pieces.
In a large sauté pan melt butter, sautéed onions and garlic clove for 2 minutes. add the one lb of hamburger meat Brown over medium heat until done and then drain any excess fat. Take the flour and sprinkle over hamburger meat adding the half a cup of milk then the dried thyme and chili powder. Mix well. Take the one bouillon Cube add to quarter cup water stir and then add to meet mixture. Stir in remaining corn and bell peppers. Spoon into a 9 by 13 casserole dish. Place mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture in casserole dish. Preheat oven to 375° bake for 30 minutes
Optional, After plating garnish with cheese, sour cream or chives or bacon
A Shot in the Dark
By Patricia Jenkins, Happy Retired Teacher
Have you ever faced a huge challenge? My knowledge of Oregon was minimum. Further, no one I knew lived there. Yet I accepted the offer to go for Guide Dog training. Yes, I could have accepted an offer closer to home. But when I heard that it was free, my answer was an affirmative “Yes!”. As my husband stood by the check-in whispering goodbye, I felt like a kindergartener on the first day of school. I strongly desired to run into his arms to go back home.
While staff whirled me through each airport, I felt eerily awkward. Yet, I didn’t trust my dysfunctional eyes on this first trip as a blind passenger. Anxious and afraid, I arrived at the facility. As soon as I opened the door my work began with little breaks. However, I met warm and inviting souls. it was all worth the challenge. Hope is a blessing for me. Be encouraged to face challenges. A shot in the dark may hit the target!
Why do We Need the NFB
By Marty McKenzie
I have spent years considering this question and I developed an answer during the 1990’s that I still hold to today. I joined the Columbia Chapter of the NFB of SC in 1992 after meeting folks like Parnell Diggs, Chris Danielsen, David Bundy, Tim Cox, Lucy Cox and others who were members of the organization during that time. While I never knew that I benefitted directly from the work of the NFB at that point in my life, I learned that every blind person has benefitted from the work of this organization even if they have never joined a chapter or attended a local meeting. I need the NFB because of the family of other blind folks that I can learn from, associate with and work with on a regular basis to improve, and enhance the lives of blind people.
Anne Smith and I discussed the NFB while I completed my internship under her. While I do not always agree with every policy or the way that NFB does things, it is all for the greater good of blind people and I do believe in that! Anne said, “There are people who need the NFB and there are people that the NFB needs.” She also stated that, in order to change something, one must become a part of it. I have since revised my opinion in that we all need the NFB. However, There are folks that the NFB needs more than they need the organization.
While we may not agree on every issue and we may not like the way things are done, it is important that the NFB never pushes away the talent within its ranks over differences of opinion.
By Jennifer Bazer
New year! New Beginning! New you in 2022! How will you write the book in 2022? There are 365 blank pages. What will you create? What will you write in your book? What will your title be?
The NFB of SC also embarks on a new chapter, a new beginning. How will we write our story in 2022 for our affiliate? What do we wish to accomplish? To build? To create? To change? How will we be the best we can be?
Since my participation in Run for God, one word has chosen me each year. I do not make resolutions, instead, choose one word for the entire year. I focus on that one word with affirmations, stories, quotes,, I actively make that one word a part of all that I do.
In 2021, we brought this same concept to the NFB of SC. Last year, the affiliate chose the word unity. To unite, come together. The affiliate has made great strides in focusing on that word during 2021. Are we where we want to be with unity, probably not? Are we further than we were in 2020 with unity, absolutely. We have come together twice a month for Palmetto Connects where 50 to 60 members participate to learn about the happenings in our affiliate. We used zoom to invite others into our chapters, our divisions and our committees where that wasn’t possible before the pandemic as traveling made it difficult to attend multiple functions. We united at the state convention last August with nearly 125 individuals attending in person and 75 individuals participating virtually. We united to send cards during times of loss or times of blessing through the We Care Committee. We assisted each other in completing online membership forms, helping those who are not tech savvy. We are a work in progress with being united, but we are steps ahead of a year ago.
The NFB of SC chose perseverance as its 2022 word. We will persist no matter the challenges, no matter the obstacles. We will endure until there is a solution. We will remain steadfast in our philosophy. We are determined to be active members in the affiliate by attending board meetings, Palmetto Connects, chapter, Division and committee meetings, national and state conventions. Our grit will help us conquer our roadblocks. If we encounter the word “No”, we are going to remember “Next Opportunity.” If we fail, it is our “first attempt in learning” and we will persist and try again. Let’s go build the Federation with perseverance!
As we look forward in 2022, there is no room for the rear view mirror. We will strive to look ahead to the possibilities, to growth, to respect, to trust, to commitment, to building people up. Through dedication and perseverance, In January of 2022, we formed the SC Association of Guide Dog users and the SC Communities in Faith Divisions. We are committed to the NFB positive philosophy. We are thinking outside of the box to develop fundraising ideas for the affiliate, for our divisions and chapters. We are working as committees to do the work of the Federation. We are working hard to get as many people as possible to the national convention in New Orleans in July and the state convention in North Charleston in August. We persevere to engage with our congress to pass legislation. We unite and strive to bring money to our affiliate through grants, contracts and funders.
Will you join us as part of our family, our team, to work together to build the Palmetto affiliate through positive NFB philosophy
From the Editor’s Desk
By David Houck
In the late 1950’s there was no permanent structure where the blind could meet. There was no specific place where the blind could take collective action to affect the quality of life for all blind South Carolinians. The blind had few jobs and most were low paying ones. Others worked in dilapidated workshops making a pittance. It was often said when the SC Department of Public Welfare which directed services for the blind, that there was, “nothing well nor fair about the Department of Public Welfare.” Donald Capps saw the need for a place where the blind could meet. By October 15, 1961 property was secured, plans were drawn up and a building was erected and dedicated. There was a meeting room, a braille library, a braille switchboard for job training, a small office and a kitchen.
On Friday, October 15, 2021, the Federation Center of the Blind celebrated its 60th anniversary. In lieu of Gary David of WVOC having COVID, Craig Capps was proud to stand in as Master of Ceremonies for the event. His late father, Donald Capps founded the Center six decades ago. Jennifer Bazer, NFB of SC President addressed the audience concerning the next 60 years and what that might bring for the blind of the Palmetto State. Frank Coppel, former NFB of SC President and Center Chairman recounted the progress the Center has made over the years. Ed Bible, current Center Board Chairman recounted the ongoing renovation of the Center from floor to ceiling, its technology upgrades and potential future. A 60th anniversary cake provided by Donna Earley, was cut by these three Federation leaders. Exhibits demonstrating a power point presentation with the NFB song, “Live the Life You Want,” playing in the background, a flat screen CCTV, a braille typeset Emboss It, Thom Spittle demonstrating assistive computer technology, Shelley Coppel demonstrating braille and Melanie Torrance demonstrating talking in home medical devices brought out a few of the services the Center provides.
Sixty years later the Federation Center has three offices, a braille room, a computer lab, a training room and a large meeting hall with a complete kitchen and a board room. A special thank you goes out to all who had a hand in our renovation upgrades like Barry Chavis, Ike Nelson, Carolyn Phillips, Carolyn Jackson, Catherine Williams, Ashton, and Dondra Bible to name a few. Many of these and others also had a hand in the 60th anniversary celebration event. Over 50 attended the event and enjoyed the day as Blue Marlin Signature Catering catered the festivities.
Both corporate and individual sponsors helped defray the cost of the event by raising $7,165. From this point on, training will continue, advocacy will benefit the blind, renovations will go forward and how the Center is used will determine further upgrades in technology and the operation of our facilities. Let’s continue to build the Federation!
As a final note, we are saddened to see SC Talking Books Services Director Kristin White leaving to accept the position as Director of Georgia’s Talking Book Services. Chris Yates is the Interim Director of SC TBS until another Director can be located and hired. We wish you well Kristin White in your new position in Georgia!
Thanksgiving is a unique holiday that makes us stop and offer gratitude to God in that all we have comes from Him. It is also a time of traveling to see family, cooking, eating too much (which is the primary reason for New Year’s resolutions), football, and feeding the homeless and the troops abroad.
Christmas is a day set aside to remember the birth of Christ, Christmas Carols, plays, music, shopping, gift giving (remembering Christ giving His life to save ours), happy children, Christmas dinner and desserts, etc.
New Year’s Day means sleeping in after watching fireworks, while the old year goes out and the new one comes in. Football playoffs, making resolutions (like turning over a new leaf), hoping that this year will be much better than the last one was, and realizing that gratitude is what makes the difference in how we are perceived and how we treat others.
Although these are special holidays to bring to remembrance specific thoughts, these events should be celebrated in our hearts every day.
Giving A Dream – One of the great satisfactions in life is having the opportunity to assist others. Consider making a gift to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina to continue turning our dreams into reality. A gift to the NFB of SC is not merely a donation to an organization; it provides resources that will directly ensure a brighter future for all blind people.
Seize the Future – The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina has special giving opportunities that will benefit the giver as well as the NFB of SC. Of course the largest benefit to the donor is the satisfaction of knowing that your gift is leading a legacy of opportunity. However, gifts may be structured to provide more.
- Helping the NFB of SC fulfill its mission
- Realizing income tax savings through a charitable donation
- Making capital gain tax savings on contributions of appreciated assets
- Providing retained payments for the life of a donor or beneficiary
- Eliminating or lowering federal estate tax in certain situations
- Reducing estate settlement costs
NFB of SC programs are dynamic:
- Making the study of literacy and technology a real possibility for blind children and adults
- Providing hope and training for seniors losing vision
- Promoting state and local programs to help blind people become first class citizens
- Educating the public about blind people’s true potential
- Advancing technology helpful to the blind
- Creating a state and national library on the progress of blindness
- Training and inspiring professionals working with the blind
- Providing critical information to parents of blind children
- Mentoring blind job seekers. Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB of SC dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. 803-254-3777 firstname.lastname@example.org or nfbofsc.org.
Honors and Remembrances
Support the blind of South Carolina by Honoring or Memorializing a Loved One
Please apply my gift to:
_____National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
_____Rocky Bottom Retreat & Conference Center of the Blind
_____Federation Center of the Blind
Send check payable to the one you chose, address and mail to:
____________________________ (organization name) 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205
- To Honor Someone Special:
I am donating $_____ in honor of ____________________________ who lives at______________________________________________ (address)
Please acknowledge me with a copy of this honorary letter:
My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)
- OR To Memorialize Someone Special:
I am donating $_____ in memory of __________________________.
Please send letter to next of kin:_____________________________
who resides at ___________________________________________
Please acknowledge me with a copy of this memorial letter:
My Name _______________________________________________
My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)
For more information regarding these organizations of the blind contact: email@example.com or call 803-254-3777 for brochures.