Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Fall 2012



by Ms. Terry Eason
Executive Director, Low Vision Center

We bid you hello from EyePower!  Did you miss our newsletter?  We have lots to share with you but we regret that limited funds keep us from producing more frequent issues of EyePower.

We begin by thanking all who responded to our fundraising campaigns.  We are truly grateful for your generosity.  In these tough economic times, our donations and grants have fallen short of our needs.  So we ask if you have not yet made your tax-deductible donation to the Low Vision Center, please use the envelope included in this newsletter.  It is never too late to help us keep helping those who struggle with vision loss.

We have much gratitude to express in this issue.  We want to give our special thanks to Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia, our beloved Vice President Soo-z Stein and the Stein family, and supporter and fellow provider of low vision assistance, Scott Holden of Vision Support.  They have made outstanding efforts to support the Low Vision Center this past year.  We are grateful to you all!

We also feature a piece about another of our devoted board members, Stan Cohen.

Additionally, we offer some digital player tips and tricks.  We provide you with information on news radio services and audio magazine articles.  There is information about the Assistive Technology Fund that may help some with the purchase of new technology.  We hope these ideas will assist you in your daily living.  Please consider using some of the excellent free services that are available to you.

Finally, we say farewell to two dear friends of LVC, Clair George and Josephine Carter.  The LVC family does truly miss them!

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Let Us Introduce You To - Stanley E. Cohen:

Stan Cohen is a journalist who began his career as a student spending 4 years working on The Cornell Daily Sun.  Graduating in 1941 from Cornell, Stan received a Masters degree in Journalism the following year from Columbia University.  Stan continued as a journalist for over 50 years, 49 of those years with Advertising Age.  There Stan was the business coordinator reporting on consumer issues and an expert on the rise of consumerism under the leadership of Ralph Nader.

But Stan's business career was not his only interest.  Suffering with low vision for many years, Stan found his way to the board of the Low Vision Center.  In this post Stan has acted as a catalyst to drive our organization in the direction of advocacy, making us go beyond our narrow scope of one-on-one to see how the business world affected those struggling with visual impairment.  LVC surveys and research into local business are due to Stan's influence.  We thank him for having the foresight to assist LVC to think outside of the box.

In addition Stan has supported LVC with generous donations and has called on friends and colleagues to help in LVC fundraising efforts.  Stan even had donations in lieu of gifts made to LVC to celebrate his 90th birthday!  Thanks, Stan, from all of us at LVC for your generous contributions to our center!

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Digital Player Tips and Tricks:

If you participate in the TALKING BOOK program and use a Digital Talking Book Player supplied by the program, the following tips from the Maryland State Library for the Blind may interest you.

The batteries of digital players that go unused for months at a time will eventually lose their ability to retain a charge.  If you plan to store your player for an extended period, the player should be left plugged in, or plugged in intermittently.  If this is not an option, the player can be returned to the library and re-sent to you when needed.

Many of you are aware that some USB drives did not work with the digital player.  A recent upgrade to the player has fixed this problem so nearly all USB drives should work.  However, USB drives use about 30% more battery power, so you may need to charge your player more frequently.

The upgrade can be downloaded from BARD, or you can contact Shelia Smith at fssmith@lbph.lib.md.us or call 410-230-2433 for assistance.

(Reprinted with permission from Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.)

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News Radio for the Visually Impaired:

If you are looking for an alternative to the Washington Ear or live outside the Ear's broadcast range, you may want to know about the Radio Reading Network of Maryland.  It helps blind and visually impaired people keep up to date and involved in the world by offering current news as diverse as editorials, comic pages and supermarket sales.  Volunteers broadcast The Sun, New York Times, Washington Post, Afro-American, Wall Street Journal, Jewish Times and various County papers.  Among the magazines read regularly are Time, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Fortune.

The programs are broadcast on sub-carriers of WBJC-FM in Baltimore, WFWM-FM in Frostburg and WESM-FM in Princess Anne.  You need a special radio receiver, which qualified people can lease from the network.  Local governments,, corporations, and individual donors provide major funding for the service.

For more information, visit the web site at www.radioreadingnetwork.org or call 410-779-4969.

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Audio Anthology of Magazine Articles:

Available free to participants in the Talking Book program, Choice Magazine Listening is an audio anthology of recent magazine articles.  Each quarterly issue contains about 12 hours of unabridged articles selected by the editors from about 100 print periodicals.  You can download the latest issue from the BARD web site nlsbard.loc.gov or you can sign up to get Choice Magazine Listening on physical media at the CML web site www.choicemagazinelistening.org or by calling 1-888-724-6423.

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Assistive Technology Fund(ATF):

The Association of Blind Citizens operates a fund that provides financial resources to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software.  Products covered must have a minimum retail of $200 and a maximum of $6,000.  Persons eligible for assistance must have an income of less than $50,000 and cash assets of less than $20,000.

Applicants may submit one request per calendar year for one of two periods per year (June 30 and December 31).  All applications must be submitted by email and only U.S. residents who are legally blind qualify.  For more information about the ATF the link is blindcitizens.org/assistive tech.htm

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Used Equipment:

Did you know that the Low Vision Center continues to collect gently used low vision equipment?  We take these devices and share them with folks who might not otherwise be able to get equipment.  Please consider giving your no longer needed CCTVs, magnifiers and the like to LVC.  As we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we are happy to provide a donation letter for your income tax purposes.

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Farewell to Special Clients:

Occasionally we grow to know clients who frequently use our center (something we welcome all to do!).  This is the case with two unique folks suffering with the same eye condition.  Clair George was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.  Yet that was just one of his endearing qualities.  He had a marvelous sense of humor and a kind and generous heart.  Sadly he passed away in August of 2011.  In addition, Josephine Hill Carter, a real estate broker and local legend, passed away in October 2011.  Although they did not know each other, they both shared a love of reading yet suffered with severe macular degeneration.  Both Clair and Joe realized the value of the Low Vision Center, came often to see what new tools might assist them as they continued living with MD, and both were generous supporters of our center.  We express our deepest sympathy to their loved ones.  They are truly missed by all of us at LVC.

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An Evening to Remember:

We want to give our special thanks to our friend, supporter and fellow provider of low vision assistance, Scott Holden of Vision Support, 301-388-2040.  Scott Holden's one man show "An Open Letter to my Wife's Next Husband: A Comic Look at the Life and Times of a Kid from Cleveland,," performed in July at the Quotidian Theater, was a sold out event with all of the proceeds being donated to the Low Vision Center!

All in attendance can attest to Scott's comedic talents and fantastic storytelling ability.  It was an hour and a half of recollection, a nostalgic reflection of his life in which we could all reminisce, told with humor and love.  And remember to call Scott if you are looking for new CCTV equipment - 301-388-2040!

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Your Support:

There are many ways to contribute to the Low Vision Center (LVC).  Have you considered a legacy gift?  You can do this by leaving funds to the LVC in your will.  This would enable your money to continue to help those struggling with visual impairments long after you are gone.  Talk to your attorney or tax advisor regarding a legacy gift.  If you have any questions, please call us at 301-951-4444.

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Our Thanks:

This newsletter would not be complete if we did not offer our thanks to the friends and supporters of the Low Vision Center.  We especially want to thank Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia for their continued support.  Without their grant LVC simply could not exist.  This year we also want to thank our Vice President, Soo-z Stein, for her extremely generous donation.  We thank the Stein family for all that they have done and continue to do for the Low Vision Center.

To our clients who have helped us during our last fundraising efforts with a donation, we thank you.  Your gift, however modest it may be, represents a vote-of-confidence in our work to keep assisting those with low vision to find devices and techniques that keep them functioning.  Our benefactors have made it clear that we must broaden our sources of support.  Since we don't charge for our services, and we aren't supported by any government agency, the best way to demonstrate that the Low Vision Center is valuable is to receive a donation from you, our clients who know our work best.

Donations can be mailed to The Low Vision Center at the address shown below.  If you wish to make a secure donation by credit card, please follow the "donate now" link.  Thank you again for your support!

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"Age swept past me, but I caught up."

-- Jim Harrison

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