January 2018 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:

Happy New Year to all! I hope it will be a happy and successful year for each of us individually and for the Federation as well.

Annapolis Begins

The 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly began on January 10. As usual, we visited all 188 Delegates and Senators during the first full week of the session. Many thanks to the 60 people who attended this function. This year we hope to restore the secret ballot to disabled voters; establish a remote access information service for deaf-blind individuals; strengthen enforcement of accessibility procurement requirements and protect the $250,000 appropriation in the Governor’s budget for the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA) to Education, Public Information, and Commerce. You may read the fact sheets about each Annapolis issue online.

Washington Issues

On January 30, Maryland will join Federationists from throughout the country on Capitol Hill to let Congress know about the priorities for blind Americans. The four issues that we will discuss are: opposition to HR 620 ADA Education and Reform Act; Ratification of the Marakesh Treaty; Cosponsorship and passage of HR 1734 Access Technology Affordability Act; and Cosponsorship and passage of companion bills S 2138/HR 1772 Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act. You may read the Washington Seminar fact sheets online.

Basket Bingo is coming

Would you like to win over $4,000 in prizes? Would you like to play 23 games of BINGO? Snacks and raffles will also be available. Buy your tickets early because we always sell out.

We are busy arranging and filling baskets. We need financial contributions to help with these purchases. Please let us know whether you would like to sponsor a basket for $100. All contributions of any amount are welcome.

Rideshare testing reporting is easier than ever

If you use a service animal, or, ride with someone who does, don’t forget to let NFB know your experiences when using Uber or Lyft. Ashley Alvey is the new NFBMD coordinator for this project. She reports that it is very easy to fill out the survey during or after your trip by using the NFB Connect App on your smart phone. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. On the top left corner of the screen, you will find a button that says, Menu button. Double tap Menu.
  2. After double tapping on menu, at the top left corner of the screen, you will see Home.
  3. Swipe to the right once and you will see Fast Facts. Double tap Fast Facts.
  4. You will swipe right until you see, Rideshare Survey. Double tap Rideshare Survey.
  5. Lastly, swipe to the right. When you see First Name, this is where the form begins and this is where you put in the information for the survey.

If you have any questions, contact Ashley by email.

Do you feel lucky?

The NFBMD spring raffle is underway. During the month of May, you have the opportunity to win $50 Sunday through Friday, or $100 on Saturday. Purchase a 3-digit number raffle ticket for $5. You will be the only one who has this number. Between now and February 10, you may request a specific number from Melissa Riccobono and pay the $5. You might want to request your birthday, your anniversary, or some other significant number. After February 10, tickets will be available from chapter presidents and you will not necessarily be able to get the specific number you want. If you want to buy or sell tickets, please contact Melissa Riccobono by email. Help us sell all 1,00 tickets!

New fundraiser for BELL

Once again, we will be holding three Braille Enrichment, Literacy, and Learning (BELL) academies in Maryland. To raise money for these programs, there will be a recital and sing-along starring Melissa Riccobono. This afternoon of music will take place on Sunday, March 25 at 3:00 pm at the Jernigan Institute. Tickets will be $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Stay tuned for more information.

A Sad Note

Ken Canterbery, who was a member of the Board of Directors in the 1990’s and one of the early Presidents of the Baltimore County Chapter died on January 9, 2018. If anyone wishes to send a sympathy card to his wife, Gloria, contact me (Sharon Maneki) directly and I will provide you with her address.

Important Dates for 2018

  • January 29th – Meeting in Washington DC at the Holiday Inn at the Capitol.
  • January 30th – Visit to Maryland Congressional Delegation in Washington.
  • February 1st – National Braille Readers are Leaders contest ends.
  • February 3rd – Regional Braille Challenge for K-12 students at the Maryland School for the Blind.
  • March 9th – Basket Bingo at The Lodge, 2832 9 Mile Circle, Catonsville, MD.
  • March 24th – Board of Directors Meeting, 9:30am. Location to be Announced.
  • March 25th – Recital and Sing-A-Long, benefiting BELL Academy, Jernigan Institute, 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD.
  • March 31st – Deadline for National Scholarship Applications.
  • April 15th – Deadline for NFBMD Scholarship Applications.
  • June 2nd – Board of Directors Meeting. Location to be announced.
  • July 3-8th – NFB National Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • August 4th – Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, MD.
  • November 9-11th – Annual State Convention, Carousel Hotel, Ocean City, MD.