November Minute Message

Fellow Federationists, Congratulations to Us. Congratulations to us on our spectacular Golden Anniversary Convention. We had a record attendance of 401 people who registered. We had at least 24 new members which demonstrates that we are a growing, vibrant organization. Many people helped to make this convention special. I appreciate your efforts very much. An audio version of the Presidential Report will be on shortly. You can also read the five resolutions that were passed by the convention under Current Advocacy Issues on the website. Be looking on the website under Success Stories to learn how John Pare, Nikki Jackson and Gabe Cazares describe how they are living the lives they want. John is a community activist, Nikki acted in a community play and Gabe was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic Convention. Don’t miss the next issue of the Braille Spectator which will contain many other convention highlights. I thought you would like to read the below note from the ten Broek Library that appeared in the November 1st issue of Imagineering Our Future. “Here is what the Braille Monitor had to say about the founding of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind and the subsequent formation of the first state-wide organization of the blind in Maryland in 1966: A NEW CHAPTER HAS BEEN FORMED. In August 1965 another group of blind people gathered together to form a new chapter of the blind. In October 1965 they organized under the leadership of their new President, Mr. Ned Graham, Jr. The other officers elected were, Vice President -- John McCraw; Recording Secretary -- Nancina Thompson; Corresponding Secretary -- Muriel Spriggs, and Treasurer -- Willie Thompson. The Greater Baltimore Chapter, as the new chapter will be known, meets once a month, on the third Saturday of each month. Their first meetings were held at the "Anna Mae Hunter Home for the Blind" on Eutaw Street, but due to the increased membership, will start meeting on April 16, 1966, at the Douglas Memorial Church on Lafayette and Madison Streets. The membership at the present time of the Greater Baltimore Chapter reaches approximately 25 persons. With the forming of this new chapter, the blind in Maryland hope to promote more legislation and welfare for all the blind of the State. Radio and television appeals have been made to increase the membership of the new chapter. The one quality needed to be a member is that the person be interested in the welfare of the blind. MARYLAND BLIND PASS NEW MILESTONE. Under the guidance of Mr. John Nagle, N. F. B. representative in Washington, the Blind in Maryland have come to the place where it was felt necessary to set up a state organization. At a dinner meeting at the Francis Scott Key Restaurant on March 5, 1966, representatives from the Maryland Council of the Blind, Inc. and representatives from the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind, met with Mr. Nagle and formed a state organization. The following Officers were appointed at this meeting: President Mr. Albert Balducci, President of the Md. Council Vice-President Mr. Ned Graham, Jr., President of the Greater Baltimore Chapter Secretary Mrs. Louise Snyder Treasurer Mrs. Marjorie Flack Prior to this time the blind have only had one chapter, the Maryland Council of the Blind, Inc. so there was no need of a State Office. However, with the application to the Maryland Council for a Chapter Charter came the need for a State Office. The functions of the State will be to set up the Constitution to govern the two chapters and to issue charters to the two chapters now in operation, to work securing more chapters throughout the State as well as promote much needed legislation. The new charter to the State will be issued by the National Federation of the Blind at the N.F.B. Convention in Louisville, Kentucky to be held in July. The new State Office and Board will be known as "The Free State Federation of the Blind" and the Board will consist of two members from each chapter as officers with two more members from each chapter as board members. The Free State Federation will in turn issue the charters to each chapter.” May we have as much or more success in the next 50 years as we had since 1966. Newsline Expands with Two New Maryland Papers. When you go to the heading newspapers in your state you will find two new Maryland daily newspapers. The first is the Capital Gazette which covers Annapolis and other Ann Arundel County cities and towns and much of the General Assembly work when it is in session. The second newspaper, Herald-Mail covers Hagerstown and additional cities and towns in Washington County. It is exciting to have new opportunities to find the local news. Stories in these newspapers cannot be found on radio or television. If you have not yet signed up for Newsline get your local chapter president to help you or go to . LBPH can also help you sign up for NFB Newsline. Video of Maryland BELL Programs. Take a moment to watch and listen to our video of the three 2016 BELL programs. Since this is a YouTube video it cannot capture everything that we did in each program. It is meant to catch the attention of parents of future students, donors, etc. Go to Blind Voter Survey. As you know, in Maryland we have been working on accessible voting problems for years. It is especially important for blind voters in Maryland to complete this survey, since we have a segregated ballot. Please read Charlie Brown’s message below and take action. “The Help America Vote Act establishes a legal right for each blind and low vision voter to be allowed to cast an independent and private ballot. We need to know whether this opportunity was provided to you when you cast your ballot in the 2016 Presidential election. How was your overall voting experience this time? For instance, was accessible voting equipment available for your use? Were poll workers able to explain how to use it? Were any problems resolved? If things went well, we need to know that. We also need to know if your voting experience was not satisfactory. That is why we need you and other blind and low vision voters to complete our brief survey on the 2016 blind voter experience. The survey results will help us work to improve the voting process in future elections. We urge you to complete the survey now, while your experience is still fresh. Please also encourage others to complete the survey. The survey links are on the NFB home page,, and the deadline for responses is November 29th.” Santa’s Helpers will provide Braille Letters! Please help us spread the word that children under the age of 10 can received a Braille letter from Santa Claus. Fill out a Santa Braille request form by going to: a Santa Braille Letter request form. Get requests in no later than December 16. Housing Opportunities. Habitat America offers affordable, accessible apartments for seniors, the disabled and people on limited incomes. These apartments are available throughout Maryland. For further information go to You can search the website for the city or county of interest. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving! Dates to Keep in Mind. November 29, 2016. Deadline for completing Blind Voter Survey. December 1, 2016. Diabetes Conference Call, 7 pm. Call 641-715-3272. The access code is 720125#. January 5, 2017. Diabetes Conference Call, 7 pm. Call 641-715-3272. The access code is 720125#. January 19, 2017. Day in Annapolis. January 30, 2017. Washington Seminar Meeting. February 2, 2017. Visit the Maryland Delegation in D.C. March 10, 2017 Basket Bingo, The Lodge, Catonsville, MD August 19, 2017. Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, Maryland. November 10-12, 2017. Annual State Convention, Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson, Maryland.