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Archive for December, 2009
The LightHouse will be closing at 3 p.m. today, December 24, 2009. We will re-open on January 4th for regular business hours. Happy holidays and a very Happy New Year to all our clients, colleagues and friends!
The Obamas invite persons with disabilities to apply for the White House Fellows program applicants with disabilities.December 23, 2009
President Obama and Mrs. Obama would like your help to encourage talented leaders with disabilities to apply to the White House Fellows program. President Obama and Mrs. Obama would like to encourage talented leaders with disabilities to apply to the White House Fellows program. The White House Fellowship is one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Each year, 11-19 exceptional young men and women are selected to spend a year in Washington, D.C. to gain first-hand experience in the process of governing the nation at the highest levels of the Federal government.
Candidates need to be promising young leaders who are excelling early in their careers and are committed to leadership and public service. Thus, this is not for students but rather for individuals already into their careers.
The deadline is February 1, 2010. Visit the website to learn more and apply.
Back by popular demand… the LightHouse is bringing back dance classes starting in January 2010 on Thursday evenings. Every month will feature a different dance style. Gene Russo, the instructor, has a versatile range of expertise from the traditional ballroom styles like the Tango to Latin styles like Salsa!
The class is for all levels so you are welcome even if you have two left feet or have been featured on the television show Dancing with the Stars. We encourage you to come in a group, but no partner is required. Everyone will be rotating around to build a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. There is a monthly tuition for each month, and scholarships are available.
January’s theme: The Nightclub 2-Step
When: Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
January 7th, 14th, and 28th
Where: The LightHouse, 214 Van Ness Avenue
For more info contact Philip from the LightHouse.
Call 415-694-7372 or email email@example.com
December 11, 2009
JOB TITLE: AccessWorld and Technology Information Editor
SALARY: $55,570 – $69,463
DEPARTMENT: AFB TECH
LOCATION: Huntington, WV
PURPOSE: Take lead responsibility for editing AccessWorld and developing
technology content on AFB’s web site.
1. Serves as editor in chief for AccessWorld, AFB’s technology magazine for
people who are blind or visually impaired, with lead responsibility for
establishing and monitoring editorial policy and vision, writing and
acquiring content, overseeing copy-editing and production tasks, and
coordinating staff editorial advisory group. Collaborates in AccessWorld
annual budget development and monitors ongoing expenses to ensure budget
2. Develops and recommends strategic plans and activities for AFB
technology-related content areas and features on the web.
3. Keeps abreast of current and emerging technologies and writes and
presents on topics as they relate to visual impairment and accessibility.
Serves as a spokesperson for AFB on technology access issues and trends.
4. Conducts product evaluations of assistive and mainstream technologies,
writes in-depth evaluations for publication, and recommends and arranges for
the evaluation of products of significance by AFB technology staff and
outside writers. Collaborates with other AFB staff for the production and
timely publication of materials online, and oversees the work of outside
vendors such as copyeditors, XML coders, and authors in the process of
5. Provides expertise and oversight for AFB’s technology product and Small
Visual Display project (SVD) databases, collects and reviews data on
products for the databases, coordinates work of other AFB staff in keeping
the database current, and identifies and develops other publications and
services related to the data or functionality of the databases.
6. Maintains relationships with potential advertisers, manufacturers and
distributors of products, and professional organizations to explore
opportunities for collaboration and funding sources and to promote business
development in such areas as the sale of advertising space, expansion of
site licenses and web linkages, and use of AFB material by outside
7. In collaboration with the vice president and director, works with Resource Development to seek funding for the development of new technology offerings on the web.
8. Performs other duties and special projects, as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required. Outstanding writing and communication skills and the demonstrated ability to work closely with authors and vendors to develop and efficiently edit documents. Minimum of 3-5 years of experience developing, using, researching, or studying access technology. Highly developed project management skills are essential. Knowledge of online publishing procedures and trends
Company Website: http://www.afb.org/
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Interested parties, please email a Cover Letter, Resume, and Salary Requirements to the Human Resources Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for receipt of these materials is January 8, 2010.
We are officially kicking off the Mega Self Defense Program at the LightHouse. This series of workshops was developed specifically for people with a visual impairment. How would you ensure your safety from an attacker if you are unable to get away swiftly? What laws and issues affect and protect you? Learn the physical techniques and discuss topics that pertain to you and your safety. Check out the attached flyer or the information below.
Come to the next workshop on Saturday December 19th from 3pm to 6pm
Mega Self-Defense Workshops
The LightHouse is proud to host The Mega Program: Self-Defense for the Visually Impaired. This program was developed specifically for the visually impaired. It began in London, England, and has been featured on the BBC radio program InTouch. Every workshop will cover physical techniques along with discussion of laws and self-defense theory that specifically affect the blind/visually impaired community.
The series of workshops will cover:
Threat Recognition – Mental State – Body Posturing – Tonal Indication
Substance Abuse – Threat Analysis – How serious is the threat?
Threat Response – The Law – Common Sense in self-defense
Involvements with the police – Witness Statement
Recording an Incident – How do people perceive you?
How do you want people to perceive you?
Principles of aggressive behavior – Physical self-defense techniques
When: Saturday, December 19th, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: The LightHouse, 214 Van Ness Avenue
Cost: There is a suggested donation of $5
For more info contact Philip from the LightHouse.
Call 415-694-7372 or
Have you been confused by job posts that say they are “open to Schedule A applicants” or give specific details related to Schedule A?
A brief intro from the guide The ABCs of Schedule A Hiring for Applicants with Disabilities is below.
There are many advantages to working for the federal government. Federal employees serve in a wide variety of exciting jobs, earn good wages, receive medical benefits, and make a difference through public service! The federal government hires people in many different fields, from accounting to public affairs, health care to law enforcement, and everything in between.
For so many, however, the steps to getting a federal job seem numerous and difficult. This does not have to be the case. There are many different paths to federal employment, and for individuals with disabilities, one of those paths is the Schedule A hiring authority.
So what is Schedule A? Schedule A is an excepted service hiring authority available to federal agencies to hire and/or to promote individuals with disabilities without competing the job. Utilizing the Schedule A hiring authority to fill a vacancy allows federal agencies to avoid using the traditional, and sometimes lengthy, competitive hiring process. You are eligible for a Schedule A appointment if you are a person with a severe physical or mental disability, and meet the qualifications of the job in question. There are no specific definitions as to what qualifies as a “severe mental or physical disability” under Schedule A, so federal agencies are free to interpret the requirements broadly.
Want more information? Read on! This guide provides answers to most of your questions about using Schedule A to get through the federal hiring process.
JOBS NOW! SF is a simple program created by the City of San Francisco which provides Federal stimulus funds to businesses to hire local residents. Working together, the City and local businesses can put at least 2,000 San Franciscans back to work between May 2009 and September 2010.
This program puts unemployed and underemployed parents into good jobs, and pays the employers the cost of their wages through September 30, 2010.
Signing up is easy! If you think that you might be eligible, call us at 1-877-JOB1NOW to set up an appointment or drop into a one-stop center today.
What are the eligibility requirements?
Unemployed and underemployed San Francisco parents are eligible for the program. If you are a CalWORKs participant, you are eligible for the program. If you are working or were recently working, and your income in the past month was less than 200% of the federal poverty level, you are eligible. In addition, you must live in San Francisco, have a minor child under the age of 18, and show proof of right to work.
Register to get work through JOBS NOW!
From Richard Rueda:
Hello fellow Goalball fans. I was just notified by the administration at the California School for the Blind (CSB) that we have the green light to go forth with using the CSB gym starting Sunday’s in January 2010. Both CSB and USABA are to be thanked for assisting us all in providing a gym and insurance to make this happen. So in 2010 be sure to support CSB’s 150th birthday celebration and Parents and Friends fundraisers to support student field trips and USABA for it’s support of the blind community in competitive sports development.
Here’s a few things to know:
Unless persons strongly object, I’d like to go for Sunday Goalball development and practice on the first and third Sunday of each month. When a fifth Sunday is calendared on any given month, we can practice then too. Therefore the first few Sundays that we will be playing will be January 3rd, 17th, 31st, February 7th, and 21st.
It is required for all who intend to play, assist in the development and/or coach the Goalball practice to be a current paid USABA member. You may be asked to have documented proof of this at any given practice. Please know that this is being done for insurance and liability coverage. To become a member of USABA or to renew your annual membership, please use this website (www.usaba.org)
There are numerous walking and transit options to CSB, which is located at 500 Walnut Ave. It’s a short 12 minute walk from the Fremont BART station. It’s a three minute bus ride on AC Transit lines #99 and #217, or a $6 taxi ride. Both east bay and Outreach Paratransit service this location.
Please bring your own padding and gear. I have two Goalballs in fair condition that we can use.
Please share this Goalball announcement with others who may wish to join in the fun, development and practices.
Contact Richard Rueda at email@example.com
By David Kravets
Wired News, December 11, 2009
A broad swath of American enterprise ranging from major software makers to motion picture and music companies are joining forces to oppose a new international treaty that would make books more accessible to the blind.
On Monday, dozens of nations will meet in Geneva to consider adopting the WIPO Treaty for Sharing Accessible Formats of Copyrighted Works for Persons Who are Blind or Have other Reading Disabilities. The proposal before a subcommittee of the roughly 180 World Intellectual Property Organization members would sanction the cross- border sharing of DRM-protected digitized books that tens of thousands of blind and visually disabled people read with devices and tools like the Pac Mate, Book Port and Victor Reader.
“This treaty would be the first one that is not done for the copyright owner, but for the user of the works – for the blind to make a copyrighted work accessible,” says Manon Ress, a policy analyst at Knowledge Ecology International, a Washington, D.C.-based human rights lobby that helped spearhead the proposal.
But that prospect doesn’t sit well with American business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest lobby representing 3 million businesses, argues that the plan being proposed by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay, “raises a number of serious concerns,” chief among them the specter that the treaty would spawn a rash of internet book piracy.
The treaty also creates a bad precedent by loosening copyright restrictions, instead of tightening them as every previous copyright treaty has done, said Brad Huther, a chamber director. Huther concluded in a Dec. 2 letter to the U.S. Copyright office that the international community “should not engage in pursuing a copyright- exemption based paradigm.”
Echoing that concern, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry of America told the Copyright Office last month that such a treaty would “begin to dismantle the existing global treaty structure of copyright law, through the adoption of an international instrument at odds with existing, longstanding and well- settled norms.”
The proposal before the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights could free up thousands of book titles to millions of blind people in WIPO-member nations – without payment to the publisher.
Many WIPO nations, most in the industrialized world including England, the United States and Canada, have copyright exemptions that usually allow non-profit companies to market copyrighted works without permission. They scan and digitize books into the so-called universal Daisy format, which includes features like narration and digitized Braille.
The Daisy Corp. Consortium, a Swiss-based international agency, controls formatting worldwide and has some 100 companies under its direction across the globe. The largest catalog rests in the United States, in which three non-profits, including the Library of Congress, host some half million digital titles produced by federal grants and donations.
As it now stands, none of the nations may allow persons outside their borders to access these works, which are usually doled out for little or no charge. The treaty seeks to free up the cross-border sharing of the books for the blind.
“People who oppose copyright exemptions oppose exemptions on principle that there should be no exemptions of copyright law,” says George Kerscher, Daisy’s general secretary. “They should have sole right and discretion to do what they want with their intellectual property. To a great extent, the opposition to the treaty is based on that principle. ”
To receive any reading materials, the blind and disabled must prove their condition, he said. In the United States, Knowledge Ecology International estimates about 5 percent of published books have been transformed to the Daisy format.
Google is the only major U.S. corporation to side with the blind in the international tussle. In filings with the Copyright Office, the company called for American copyright holders to see past their doctrinal opposition to weakening copyright protections.
“We are concerned that some of the comments are simply stating opposition to a larger agenda of limitations and exceptions,” (.pdf) Google’s chief copyright officer, William Paltry, wrote this month. “We believe this is an unproductive approach to solving what is a discrete, long-standing problem that affects a group that needs and deserves the protections of the international community.”
Not surprisingly, U.S. book publishers are the harshest critics of the proposal. The Association of American Publishers, which represents about 300 publishers large and small, argue the treaty is not necessary. The publishers suggest the blind and disabled should pay for their materials — the only way the market for such products could flourish.
“Under the proposed draft treaty, where it appears that privileged copies could be made even where accessible versions were commercially available, copyright owners would have understandable doubts about the wisdom of investing in the production of accessible versions for the market,” the association’s vice president, Allan Adler, wrote the Copyright Office on Dec. 4.
“Under these circumstances, publishers not unreasonably hesitate and wonder whether they can expect such a market to flourish when potential customers would still have the option of relying upon a statutory exception to get an accessible version of a work without having to pay for it,” Adler added.
Dan Burke, a 52-year-old blind man from Montana and a self-described “book worm,” does not agree with the publishers.
Burke, a victim of a retinal disease that blinded him decades ago, often acquires books and poems at Bookshare, an online nonprofit offering about 60,000 titles in exchange for $50 in annual dues and other volunteer work. Burke says none of the rank-and-file commercially available e-readers, including the Kindle, are adequately equipped for the blind.
“You have to be able to see to use these, to turn the machine on and navigate menus,” says Burke.
Amazon, however, said this week that it would soon produce a blind- accessible Kindle, one with an audible menu and large font for the visually impaired.
But Amazon, the Kindle’s maker, gives book authors the option of disabling the read-aloud function, notes Burke, a board member for the National Federation of the Blind, which supports the treaty. The Authors Guild, an advocacy group for writers, argued earlier this year that reading a book aloud counts as an unauthorized public performance.
“Information is what we want. Information is the power to become economically viable members of society,” Burke said. “This is a world in which if you don’t have money you usually don’t have access.”
Sendero Group would like to encourage and recognize independent travel exploits by blind people as exemplified by the book about Mike May, Crashing Through by Robert Kurson. A portion of every Sendero GPS sale will go into an annual scholarship fund to be awarded to the applicant with the most impressive travel adventure for the year.
The first application period closed February 15, 2009. Fill out the application form below to express your interest and to receive further instructions.
We anticipate a $2,500 award for one person. This may change depending upon the quality, quantity and/or cosponsors of applicants.
The Crashing Through award is open to applicants from any country. The funds can be used for, school, technology, travel or whatever the winner chooses. Sendero has the option to use any of the stories and related materials submitted by any applicant.
We are looking for independent travel. Travel with sighted friends, colleagues or family is fine as long as the blind applicant is demonstrating independent travel, a leader rather than a follower. In other words, a cruise would not be rated highly in terms of independence.
We want to hear how the applicant’s orientation and mobility tools and techniques are used. It doesn’t matter if one is using a cane or a dog but more about what one is doing, sailing, hiking, exploring a city and the like. Use of GPS is not required but will weigh in the applicants favor if used.
Independence, innovation and uniqueness are the qualities we will be looking for when we evaluate applications. Documenting the travel through photos and/or audio recordings will be very helpful. This documentation along with the written travel story should be the bulk of the scholarship submission. Strong composition skills will be necessary to convey the travel story best.
Please spread the word so photos, audio and a journal can be captured on any upcoming trips. If a trip isn’t planned before the February 2009 deadline, start planning for next summer and the 2010 Crashing Through award.
There are three components to your Crashing Through travel story submission
1. The essay about your adventure. (50pts) You should address the following questions: Where did you go? Who did you go with? Why was this trip significant for you personally, and for people you met? What did you learn about yourself? How do you think this adventure will affect your future? 50 points will be awarded depending on how your essay addresses these questions as well as the following items.
* Use of alternative travel tools and techniques
* Uniqueness of your adventure
* Difficulty of adventure
* Degree of independence from sighted assistance, solo to group travel
* Composition quality of essay
2. Multimedia files, to include images, audio, and video. (25pts)
3. Quality of References, two references are required, at least one from a teacher, (25pts). Note that your references account for one quarter of the total points. Your letters of reference should answer all of the following questions:
* How do you know this person? What is your relationship to them?
* What did this person do during the time that you have known them that makes them stand out from the rest?
* Comment on this person’s O&M skills and spirit of adventure
* Where do you see this person in five years?
* What shared personality traits do you see between this person and the characters in either Crashing Through or A Sense of the World?
The award selection committee so far includes: Mike May, Robert Kurson, Bryan Bashin, Jerry Kuns and Jennifer May from Crashing Through and Jason Roberts author of A Sense of the World. Applicants would do well to read both of these books before submitting an essay.
To begin the application process, visit Sendero Group