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LOW VISION
CENTER

Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979




EyePower
Spring 2007

News from the Low Vision Center

Contents


EyeView

by Ms. Terry Eason, Executive Director
Low Vision Center

Hello out there!
I am Terry Eason. Many of you know me, as I have been with the Center since 1998.  I have always enjoyed serving you, our clients, and now, as Executive Director, I have taken on the additional tasks of fundraising and other administrative duties.  You are probably wondering where LVC's EyePower has been.  Quite some time has passed since our last issue.  Well, a great deal has been going on here at LVC.

First, Bill Rolle, our former Executive Director, has left us for greener (or should I say creamier) pastures.  Along with his son, Bill has opened two ice cream stores in Frederick, MD.  We miss Bill and wish him well in his new endeavor.

Next, Mrs. Ling Lee has joined LVC.  Ling has come to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  She is retired from National Eye Institute.  Ling works part time and her primary function is meeting your needs.

Ling and I have been focusing on new tasks and duties for the past few months.  Our aim is to expand our services and our Outreach programs to assist the rising number of people with low vision.  We have been writing grant proposals in an attempt to increase our funding to support the needs of these people.  We thank you for your generous response to our Board's fundraising drive and our own direct mail campaign.  Your contributions, support and enthusiasm for our Center are what keep us going.  These new tasks have consumed a great deal of our time, therefore no newsletter.  We now offer you this expanded version of EyePower.

In this issue we have some exciting news about a new type of cell phone that should provide much greater ease of use for people with low vision.  We have a sample to demonstrate at our office for a limited time so please call us for an appointment to arrange to see it.  We have some timely information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, and an ID card that may be beneficial to you.

In addition we will show you how to reduce some of the unwanted mail and telephone calls you receive at home.  We will also introduce you to our newest Board members and volunteer.  There is information on large forms available for your 2006 taxes and a tax tip for your 2007 tax planning.  Last is a list of a few helpful hints that we hope you will find useful.

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Simple Cell Phones:

There is now an alternative to small button and limited screen cell phones.  A company called Great Call has introduced new models of simpler cell phones called Jitterbugs

There are two models, One Touch, which has just three large buttons where a keypad would normally be located.  The second is a Dial model, which has a numeric keypad with large buttons.  The phones have a dial tone that is unique to cell phones.  In addition, the services include an operator, who will assist you with any calls, or help in adding telephone numbers to store on your phone.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, both phones and the services have been tested with good results.  These phones may be beneficial to those with low vision.  We currently have the One Touch model to demonstrate.

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ADA and You:

Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated free directory assistance for disabled subscribers from your telephone provider?  How about the right to have forms, in medical offices for example, provided to you in big print, or assistance by staff, to complete these forms?  For more information, on the myths and facts provided to you by this 1990 Act, you can go to their website http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/pubs/mythfct.txt.

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ID Card:

You can apply for a wallet size I.D. Card from the National Association for Visually Handicapped (NAVH).  It is a helpful item to carry when you travel or any time you might like to alert people that you may need assistance.  Simply contact NAVH by mail, phone or email if you would like to receive a card.  Their information is

NAVH
22 West 21st Street, Sixth Floor
New York, NY  10010

Phone: 212-889-3141 or Email: staff@navh.org.

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Do Not Call Registry:

To eliminate the number of annoying telemarketing calls to your home or cell phone you can register your telephone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry.  To register your number you can either visit the website at www.donotcall.gov or call toll free from your telephone to 1-888-382-1222.  Remember that you must call from the telephone number that you are registering.  Make sure you have your telephone number available if you are registering on the website.

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Opt Out of Junk Mail:

A private organization, the Direct Marketing Association, handles a list to help get your name removed from direct mail marketing lists.  If you want to be added to this removal list, write the association in care of the

Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY  10512

There is an online form at www.thedma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html.  This should help to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive.  We will try to keep you posted on other ways to reduce the unsolicited mail you have coming in and thus reduce the reading task.

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New Volunteer:

We're pleased to welcome Cynthia Walsh to our great group of volunteers who help us so much.  Cynthia will be making follow up calls to those who have called or visited the Center every Monday morning.  Cynthia brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with her, but most importantly she also suffers from Macular Degeneration so she knows first hand what many of you are going through.  If you wish to speak with Cynthia, please call our office on Mondays between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM.

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LVC Board:

The Low Vision Center's Board of Directors is proud to announce it has expanded to include two new members: Ms. Sherry Stein and Dr. Stephen Pappas, Jr.  Our thanks to all of our Board members for their staunch support and continued guidance to our Center as we move forward.

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IRS Tax Documents:

For Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax documents in Braille or large print, visually impaired taxpayers may visit the accessibility page at www.irs.gov/accessibility/index.html for a list of accessible tax products available by download.  They may also order hard-copy Braille and large-print documents by calling the IRS toll-free number at 1-800-829-3676 (1-800-TAX-FORM).  Questions or comments about IRS documents in alternative media should be directed to Maureen Goulder; IRS Alternative Media Center, at 804-916-8850 or by email at maureen.p.goulder@irs.gov.

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Avoid Paying Too Much in Taxes in 2007:

According to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, IRA owners, over age 70 can donate up to $100,000 in 2007 from their IRA, directly to a qualified charity, TAX FREE.  IRA assets remaining after your death are taxed at rates of 75% or more if bequeathed to your children.  Please consider gifting IRA assets to the Low Vision Center.

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Helpful Hints:

  • Talking Microwave Ovens (These are from our own volunteer, Tony Dwyer. Thanks Tony!) It seems that more and more gadgets are becoming verbal.  Microwave ovens that have been specially modified to talk have been available for several years and cost about $400.  Now Hamilton Beach has introduced a midsize talking microwave oven that sells for less than $80.  We haven't seen one of these units here at LVC, but reports from users on the Internet are positive.  One reported drawback of the Hamilton Beach unit is that not all the functions speak -- when you set the cooking time, if you can't read the display, you must count clicks of the selector knob.  If you have a talking microwave and would like to share your thoughts about it with LVC, please let us know.

  • Pre-printed Address Labels: Keeping pre-printed labels with you for use when you are asked to fill out your name and address is a great help for those with low vision.  These labels have many uses including identifying your personal objects such as your magnifiers in case you leave them behind.

  • Screen Enlargement: If you would like to enlarge the size of everything on your screen, Microsoft Windows allows you to do this with a simple procedure.  On a blank portion of your desktop, right click with your mouse.  Left click on PROPERTIES, and then click on the SETTINGS tab at the top of the window.  On the lower left hand side you will see a place that reads SCREEN RESOLUTION.  Slide the indicator to the left toward where it says LESS and then click OK.  Your screen will momentarily turn black while the computer makes the adjustments.  A box will then pop up that reads "your desktop has been reconfigured.  Do you want to keep the settings?"  If you like the new size, click YES and the changes will stay.  If not, click NO.

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End Notes:

Be reminded that our minds and our hearts hold many positive attitudes for which we can be grateful.  These attitudes give birth to good actions and along with grace can bring about achievement.  May this thought assist you as you manage your low vision.

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4905 Del Ray Avenue, Suite 504
Bethesda, MD 20814
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