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The LightHouse Infocus Summer 2009, As I See by Anita Shafer Aaron, Executive Director

The LightHouse Infocus
Summer 2009, Volume 11, Number 2

Thank you for reading this newsletter. As a vital part of the blind and visually impaired community, the LightHouse is dependent on the gifts of our many supporters. Gifts, at any level, are always appreciated and have a positive affect on the community. For information about donating to the LightHouse, please call us at 415-431-1481 or e-mail us at

Youth Internship Program
High Profile Customers Keep AIS Busy
Insights 2009: 20 Years of Creative Vision

As I See It
By Anita Shafer Aaron

Photo: Volunteer Mike Ring works with client Elisa Serafini

The economic downturn has meant for the LightHouse a 20% decrease in funds available for operations, beginning in this current fiscal year and projected to extend at least through 2010. In tough economic times, we focus on shoring up our core programs and services rather than expanding our reach to include the still vast majority of individuals who do not yet know about our programs for living with vision loss or have not yet reached out to avail themselves of them.

To ensure no cuts to services as we trimmed one-fifth of our budget, we have consolidated two satellite locations, merged two camp sessions at Enchanted Hills Camp, reduced the number of printed issues of our constituency newsletter from ten each year to four, placed a freeze on staff salaries and pension contributions and reduced every operating line item in the budget.

As a part of our strategic plan, we are committed to exploring ways to involve each and every one of you in community networks that will engage those of you experiencing vision loss and your sighted counterparts in working together to create a culture of community interdependence for all of us, one neighborhood at a time.

In sum, we’re lean and mean and still here. We need your support more than ever and look forward to working with you to develop a giving strategy that will lead the LightHouse through hard economic times. In this issue of the InFocus you will find glimpses of our youth internship program, examples of how we work with the community to develop alternatives to print publications and a sneak peak at our upcoming Insights Art Exhibition.

We’re still here because you are still here.

The Infocus Newsletter is Changing
To further save paper and counteract the effect printing has on our environment, we are consolidating our InFocus and Lantern newsletters into a single entity. We promise to offer the same coverage of news, events, people and personalities that are significant to our community. Look for this change in the next issue.

To receive these newslettters in their entirety via email, contact

Back-to-school sale at Adaptations

Back-to-school bonanza!

Autumn’s in the air! The weather’s cooling, leaves are falling,  and school is starting.

Here at Adaptations, we have everything you need to get ahead of  the class.  From September 1st through September 30th, all writing  guides, bold-line paper and bold writing pens are 10 percent off!

Perfect for those essay questions and Algebra tests.

But that’s not all…

Bold lines not enough? We’ve also got Braille paper. Get 10 percent off your purchase of Braille paper. With this much paper,  you could pound on that Perkins well into next semester!

Come visit us Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

You can also order by phone at 415-694-7301, or visit our website  at

Sale runs from September 1 through September 30 and applies to all mail, online and in-store sales, while supplies last.

Sale also includes:

Writing Guides

20/20 Pens

UniBall Pens

And a very special sale on 11 X 11.5 Braille paper with free notebook!

NFBC Convention

National Federation of the Blind of California (NFBC) invites you to join a celebration of Braille. Come one, come all!

Main Attractions include: CSB Jazz Ensemble, Exhibit Hall, Bunco, Resolution, and topics to include education rehabilitation and legislation concerning blind Californians.

Date: October 22-25, 2009

Hilton Hotel
39900 Balentine Drive
Newark, CA 94560

(The hotel is accessible from Bart, Airports, Eastbay Para transit, and shuttle.)

Room Rates: $85 per night plus Tax

Convention Registration: $15

To Make Reservations: Pre-register at
or call (510) 490-8390

California delays in-home care cuts

This news was circulated by the CA Foundation of Independent Living Centers. to join theirs lists, see below.

By Susan Ferriss

Published: Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The California Department of Social Services announced Wednesday that it cannot meet a Sept. 1 deadline requiring it drop or cut aid for more than 100,000 people enrolled in the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program.

The announcement – sent to counties that administer the program – was issued a few days after advocates requested that the state delay axing services.

Some of the cuts were approved by the Legislature to solve the budget crisis. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto to add more cuts.

In a letter, advocates said the state still had not clearly instructed counties how to impose the cuts and had not informed any IHSS recipients they were on the list to be dropped or have care reduced.

“Absent these essential services, many of the people subject to the cuts will be at risk of institutionalization – or worse, severe injury or death,” said the letter from California Foundationfor Independent Living Centers and other groups.

The state has estimated it would save $82.1 million between Sept. 1 and next June by dropping some recipients and cutting some services. For each month of delay, the state will lose $8 million in savings, said Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

Social services spokeswoman Lizelda Lopez said the department decided to delay the because of concerns “brought to the department’s attention by a number of interested parties.”

“We need more time” to come up with instructions for counties and adjust the caregiver payroll system, she said.

The IHSS program, funded by federal, state and county money, pays caregivers to help low-income elderly and disabled people whose needs range from intimate personal care to laundry, shopping and help with medications.

Teresa Favuzzi, executive director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, said most IHSS recipients have no idea whether they are candidates for being dropped from the program.

A standard ranking system that social workers use to determine what care recipients merit will serve as the basis for those decisions.

In Marin County, Herschel Ferguson’s caregiver cleans house, does laundry and helps him with other tasks two days a week for a total of 30 hours a month. A local disability rights group told Ferguson, 65, that he’s likely to lose that help.

Ferguson can walk, but he can’t use one arm or read, and he suffers from short-and long-term memory loss.

A serious infection put him into a three-month coma six years ago, and he now gets by on disability payments and with help from the local Center for Independent Living.

Teresa Favuzzi, MSW
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
1029 J Street, Suite 120
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 325-1690 x 313
(916) 325-1695 TDD
(916) 325-1699 FAX
(916) 832-6233 Cell

Access to Food
Access to Readiness
Disability Action Coalition
Disability Health Coalition
Diversity Leadership Institute
Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud
Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities

Boston Globe article on the importance of maintaining audible pedestrian signals.

Yakir Arbib is blind. He is also a promising young pianist who daily negotiates the Green Line and busy urban streets on his way to study at the Berklee College of Music. None of it daunts him, except the congested crossroads at Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street.

The chirping of an audible crossing signal is supposed to alert him and other visually impaired pedestrians when it is safe to cross the traffic-choked street, but for several weeks the signal hasn’t worked.

“I wait for some nice person, or I take a chance,’’ the Israeli native said. “I don’t know how I’m going to get around having to cross that street. I think I’ll have to find a different way.’’

Read the rest here:

SF LightHouse’s Director of Public Policy, Jessie Lorenz, is quoted in the article.

Northern California Entertainment and Recreation Listing August 14, 2009

This listing is compiled by the Vision Loss Resource Center at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is compiled weekly as a service to the blind and visually impaired community of Northern California. If you have meeting or event information that would be appropriate for inclusion in this list please email This list will be updated every Friday. Information for each Friday’s listing must be submitted by the Wednesday prior to publication.  The entertainment and recreation listing are also available on the LightHouse website at:



Audio described movie listings by geographic area:




AMC Bay Street 16:
5614 Shellmond Drive

Now playing in auditorium 5:

“District 9”


Rialto Theatre:
San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito

Now playing

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

“500 Days of Summer”

Separate admission for each show.



AMC Metreon 15:
101 Fourth Street

Now showing in auditorium 8:

“500 Days of Summer”



AMC Cupertino Square 16:

North Wolfe Road & Stevens Creek



Now playing in auditorium 3:

“District 9”


AMC Mercado 20:
311 Mission College Blvd.

Mercado Santa Clara Center

Santa Clara


Now playing in auditorium 8:

“Julie & Julia”



Live Performances described by Visual Voice:

“Tinyard Hill”

Presented by Theater Works

Lucie Stern Theatre

1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto

August 16  2:00pm

The times above are the show times. For descriptions of costumes and set arrive 25 minutes earlier.  Be sure to mention Visual Voice at the box office. 



Live Performance Described by Audiovision:

Presented by SHN

”August: Osage County

Curran Theatre

445 Geary St.

San Francisco

August 29: 2PM

To charge tickets and reserve one of the 20 receivers for the show call 415-551-2027 and request Audiovision tickets.  Tickets can also be purchased at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office, 1192 Market Street, San Francisco. Tickets purchased in person at the Orpheum Box Office have no convenience fee.  The box office is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm. 



Live Performance Described by Audiovision:

Presented by Broadway San Jose


San Jose Center for the Performing Arts

211 W. Almaden Blvd.

San Jose

September 19     2:00pm

Tickets can be purchased at the San Jose Tix Box Office, 150 W. San Carlos Street, San Jose, via phone 408-792-4111 or on the website .  Be sure to ask for Audiovision tickets and reserve a headset.



Live Described Performance:  

Presented by SHN


Orpheum Theatre

1192 Market St.

San Francisco

This show is open ended and has a recorded descriptive sound track.  This means that every performance is accessible.  To charge tickets call 415-551-2027 and request a descriptive headset with your tickets.  Tickets can also be purchased at the box office without the convenience fee.  The box office is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm. 






Free Family Fun Day

Sponsored by:

Support For Families Of Children With Disabilities

August 16    1:00pm-4:00pm

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

3200 California St

San Francisco

This free event is a great opportunity for youth and families to enjoy this accessible facility.  There will be Arts and Crafts facilitated by JCCSF art teachers. Two swim sessions, activities in the Gym, snacks and refreshments.  The roof top playground will be available.  This is a great opportunity to have fun, relax and network with other families.  For reservations contact or call 415-920-5040.



Tandems Across the Bay Bike Club:

The club has several volunteers with tandems and rides on weekends and holidays, from The Fishermen’s Wharf Area.  The easy-going rides are usually across the Golden Gate Bridge and return to San Francisco via Ferry. There is usually a picnic after the ride.  To schedule a ride or just ask questions contact the club at:



Bowling Team Now Forming:

The LightHouse Bowling Team is looking for members who can meet a few hours once a week to bowl together and have a good time. Transportation will be provided from the Lighthouse to the bowling alley.  All skill levels welcome.  If you are interested please call Theresa Navarro at 415-694-7334 or via email:



Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP):

Adventure fitness and recreation are touch phrases for BORP.  BORP believes that everyone should have access to the unique challenges that outdoor recreation provides.  BORP makes every effort to accommodate each person’s needs, including providing transportation and volunteer support. Trips are planned with a wide spectrum of abilities in mind, including wheelchair users, slow walkers, and people with visual impairments. For event listings call Lori Gray at 510-843-4398 or check out the BORP website at



Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors:

Departs every Sunday at noon from Pier 40 in San Francisco. Call 415- 281-0212 for announcements or visit:






Peer To Peer Support Group:

August 22 1:00pm-3:00pm

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

214 Van Ness Avenue

San Francisco

These meetings are casually structured to discuss different aspects of life with a visual impairment. Every individual is visually impaired  



Family Concert:

August 16  2:00pm-3:00pm

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Osher Salon

50 Oak Street

San Francisco

Bring your family to a concert especially for kids.  Ayaka Isono, a concert pianist who lost her vision several years ago, and her musician friends will host.  Listen to the music, touch the instruments, and ask the musicians questions. You don’t need to sit still!  Children of all ages are welcome.  This is a free event but donations will be accepted. To RSVP, please call 510-323-4934



Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Access Days:

December 21                  9:00a.m. to 1:00p.m.

February  27, 2010    6:00p.m. to  8:00 p.m.

De Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

San Francisco

The exhibit offers 50 objects from tomb of King Tut and 80 more from the tombs of his ancestors.  This exhibit illuminates the 18th Dynasty, Egypt’s Golden Age.  These Access days offer smaller crowds and reduced ticket prices.  There will be additional seating as well.  Objects for visitors to touch will be available at both Access Days.  Ticket prices are $18.50 and a limited number of $10.00 tickets for those with financial need.  Contact Tish Brown 415-750-7650 or for applications and more information.



Follow the LightHouse on Facebook and Twitter:

Get daily updates about LightHouse activates, community events, new products and even job postings. If you are not a member of these sites, it is easy to join!  Click on the following links, sign up and you will automatically be connected to LightHouse buzz!










Testimonials about accessible voting machines in the 2008 election.

AAPD and the US Government Accountability Office are looking for testimonials about voting in the 2008 Elections.  The power of real stories from real people is undeniable and will be very important in upcoming conversations about changes in voting technology.

We are particularly interested in stories of people who were able to vote privately and independently for the first time using accessible systems where they exist.

If you or someone you know has a story like this please send it to  as soon as possible.

About the Disability Vote Project
DVP works in a non-partisan manner to eliminate the barriers to voting and, in close collaboration with coalition partners in states around the country, to increase political participation for individuals with disabilities. DVP aims to get people with disabilities registered to vote; strives to educate them on how to get to their polling places and what their rights are at the polling places; and works to make polling places accessible to voters with all disabilities.

Magnifier Mayhem! At the LightHouse store…

 Tired of squinting at those hard-to-read forms and files? Sick of straining at the wavy lines in your textbook? Need a solution? Look no further!

This month at Adaptations, all hand-held Magnifiers are 10 percent off! What you see is what you get with these pocket-size wonders.
Hurry in to Adaptations today! We’re open Monday through Friday 10 A.m. to 5 P.M.

Can’t visit the store? Give us a call at 415-694-7301, or check out our website:

Sale runs from August 1 through August 31st and applies to all mail, online and in-store sales, while supplies last.

214 Van Ness, San Francisco. LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

LightHouse Lantern headlines for August 2009

The Lantern – August 2009
 The Lantern is free to the community we serve: blind and visually impaired individuals and their families and friends.

Donations are always welcome. For information about donating to the LightHouse, please call us at 415-431-1481 or e-mail us at


To subscribe to the Lantenr via email, write to

Photo: The new Louis Braille
Commemorative coin is now available at Adaptations, the LightHouse store! (image shows front and back views of the coin).
This year the United States Mint will offer 2009 Louis Braille Commemorative Coins. These coins will honor the inventor of the Braille System of reading and writing used by the blind and visually impaired. They are released in 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. The new coins were authorized under H.R. 2872 Louis Braille Bicentennial Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act. This legislation provides for the production of up to 400,000 Silver Dollar commemorative coins during 2009. Read more at or visit
In the Lantern:
1. Adaptations to Stock BookSense
2. Magnification Sale at Adaptations
3. Join the LightHouse Bowling Team
4. Free Concert Invites Kids to Engage with Music
5. Californians with Disabilities Can Apply for No-Cost Jitterbug Phone
6. Reading RSS
7. Paratransit Fares Go Up
8. Committee Helps Report Eureka Pedestrian and Transit Concerns
9. Bartimaeus Bible Conference Scheduled for September
10. Martinez Confirmed as ODEP Assistant Secretary
11. Landmark Communications and Video Accessibility
12. Legislation Introduced Access Board Issues Guidance on APS
13. Italian Museum Lets Visitors Experience Art Through Touch
14. Many New Job Openings at the Internal Revenue Service
15. Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, Benefits and Employment Workshops for Summer 2009
16. Swap Shop
17. LightHouse Calendar
Subscribe and read on! Or contact the LightHouse to request  Braille, tape, or disk.