Wednesday, August 3, 2022

August Blind Coloradan


Blind Coloradoan Blog

August 1, 2022

Writer, Aggregator: Kevan Worley.
Contributors: Dan Burke & Erin Daley. With assistance from Lisa Bonderson, National Federation Of The Blind Of Colorado, and President, Jessica Beecham. Email,

Here is what you need to know

From the aggregator: By popular demand, we will blog the Blind Coloradan more frequently with fewer articles. We hope you will read and share. In this issue, we spotlight our work on the 16th Street Mall project, a fine article from our Boulder Chapter President, and a National Convention presentation from the Blind History Lady.

First, please participate in our NFBCO 6 Dot Dash. This fabulous, fun, family fundraiser will happen Saturday morning, September 10, at the Colorado Center for the Blind. We thank some fantastic sponsors, Vanda Pharmaceutical, Blackstone Consulting Inc., Comcast, LaBarre Law, and others. We will be spotlighting these great organizations in upcoming blogs. We thank them for supporting our NFBCO and CCB youth education programs. You can register to participate in the 6 Dot Dash.

Advocacy Matters

More than two years ago, NFBCO led the effort to ensure that the new 16th street mall would be accessible to everyone. We received the following report on the latest work from Dan Burke.

It’s the 32nd anniversary of President George H. W. Bush signing the ADA into law, and about 20 members of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, including instructors and students from the Colorado Center for the Blind, celebrated with a bit of good advocacy on Denver’s 16th Street Mall this morning. We put canes and shoes on a mock-up of the granite pavers planners hope to install on the mall as part of the nearly 3-year reconstruction of the project, whose preliminary phases are already underway.

This is the latest activity resulting from the NFB’s nearly three years of involvement and advocacy regarding the redesign and reconstruction of the mall. The idea of a mock-up of the proposed design for the border of the transit and pedestrian areas, which will be curbless, was first put forward in our earliest meetings with the City of Denver, the Downtown Association, and RTD.

The four-decade-old mall needs a lot of maintenance both below and above ground. For the above-ground part, the redesign that will mean the removal of the curbs along the transit pathway where the mall shuttles run is the part that matters most to us in the NFB of Colorado, and indeed other blind mall visitors, as well as those with other disabilities. The question the mock-up was intended to help answer, in our minds, is will the border between the pedestrian area and the lanes where the shuttles drive be distinct enough tactilely to our canes and feet to alert us that we are at the edge.

This first focus group for blind mall users was hosted by PCL Construction in partnership with the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The planners gave us a sneak peek at a mock-up of the granite pavers they hope to use. The idea we tested was a border of rougher granite pavers along the shuttle driving area, beyond which is a slight slope down to the drain pan (a shallow gutter), which would carry away rain and snowmelt.

Image of blind people checking out the new design of 6th street mall
Planners collected feedback from all of the focus group participants. This first of three focus groups were intended to give blind folks the chance to test the design materials. The next focus group on August 10 will bring in other groups, and a final public look will happen later next month.

We commend the mall project planners for listening and responding to our advocacy. Mall planners gave us the mock-up we asked for today, and it served the purpose we all wanted – to determine if the border pavers would be detectable enough for blind mall users. This is NFB advocacy at its best.

Disability Pride and the ADA

Reflections on access from the human hand on the harness

From the aggregator: Maryann Migloirelli has served as the long-time president of our Boulder chapter. She also works for the state of Colorado. Prior to the 32nd anniversary of the ADA, Maryann was asked to write an article for the agency newsletter. Here it is.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was and still is groundbreaking legislation granting people with disabilities access to public accommodations. Most countries in the world do not have this kind of access written into their laws.

For me, as a woman who is blind and uses a guide dog, access opens many doors that used to be closed, whether intentionally or not. My colleges needed to make textbooks and classroom activities, including exams accessible since I was unable to see the print. Restaurants and other public places need to accommodate my guide dog as long as he is clean and well-behaved when visiting them. If websites aren’t screen reader friendly, I will not be able to conduct business or use them as all the sighted world does. Without these and many other requirements, the world would be a very small and limited place for me and many of my coworkers and friends, as it is in countries where disability inclusion is not part of everyday life.

When most people see Braille in public places they think, “That’s cool,” or “How do they read that,” or “that’s for the people who can’t see,” and all these thoughts are correct. Having Braille in public places makes life more accessible just like having alt-text on pictures, graphics that are properly labeled, and links with real words and proper coding for screen readers makes the internet usable.

Colorado has taken huge steps forward thanks to the passage and implementation of House Bill 21-1110, which requires that all state and local government websites be made fully accessible both internal and customer-facing by July of 2024. This matters for many reasons. Because the internal websites will be made accessible, more people with disabilities can pursue government jobs that used to be inaccessible to them. Building accessibility into customer-facing sites will give many people access to information and government services that were inaccessible, most recently up-to-date Covid19 information and testing.

While all of this is awesome and commendable, there are still times and places where the ADA applies, but people make the illegal choice to deny access. As a person who chooses to travel with a guide dog, I spend much of my time educating the public on the access laws for my dog. Simply put my dog is welcome almost everywhere everyone can go. My guide dog and I have traveled on planes, trains, buses, and cruise ships with minimal fuss and maximum enjoyment. The one transportation option that still gives us trouble is ride services, namely Lyft and Uber. While I have taken hundreds of rides using both services, I still encounter refusals almost on a weekly basis from drivers who believe that they don’t need to take my dog in their cars. There are several ways these denials happen. Sometimes drivers see my dog when they pull up. And then they just drive away and cancel the ride. Other times they pull up, and when I walk up to their car, they give excuses for why my dog can’t ride in their car. Some drivers don’t even bother with the excuses, they just say that they won’t take my dog and drive off. With any of the drivers who at least stop I try politely to educate them about Lyft and Uber policies and about the laws they are violating with their behavior, but their choices are their own, and they aren’t really punished for the violations.

Although much has been made more accessible in America thanks to the ADA and accompanying legislation, we still have plenty to do to ensure inclusivity for everyone. Join me, and together we can make Colorado and America a more accessible place for all.

The Blind History lady speaks at the 2022 convention of the National Federation of The Blind in New Orleans

From the aggregator: In upcoming blogs, we will feature reflections from our colleagues who attended the 2022 national convention. Peggy Chong, the blind history lady, posted this on Colorado Talk. Her presentation was so thoughtful and dynamic that we wanted you to see this post and hope you will listen to her presentation. It is important that we remember our history.

On Sunday, July 10, 2022 I had the pleasure of addressing the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in support of the proposed project to launch a “History of the Blind Movement Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. In my presentation, I touched on several states. I thought you would like to listen to the speech.

Here is a link to the audio of my presentation, approximately 20 minutes in length.

Here is a notice we received from Maryann Migliorelli

August audio described events in the metro area

August 7 Sponge Bob Square Pants - Boulder Dinner Theatre (BDTStage).

Tickets: 303-449-6000.

$45 discounted tickets are on sale on 8/2/22.

Tour at 11:00 A.M. shows at noon.

August 13 Meow Wolf audio described tour

$35 tickets on sale. Purchase for 10:00 AM and notify the tour desk of reserving audio described tour spots.

Arrival at 10:00 A.M. tour at 10:30 A.M.

August 20 Phamaly Theatre Company presents Rocky Horror show interactive—Su Teatro

Tickets: 303-563-0005

Screen reader users call the box office for tickets. Tickets $40 Prop bags $5

Tour 6:30 P.M. show 7:30 P.M.

August 24-27:  Reelabilities Film Festival at the Jewish Community Center Mizel Center for Arts and Culture. 





Box Office Contact Information

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm & 1 hour before in-person screenings

Phone: 303.316.6360 Email:

Please expect a response within 1-2 business days.

If you require an Audio Description device, please enter AUDIO as a discount code when purchasing your tickets.

Tier One: $5, Tier Two: $10, Tier Three: $15

August 28 Phamaly Theatre Company presents Rocky Horror show not interactive—Su Teatro

Tickets: 303-563-0005

Screen reader users call the box office for tickets. Tickets $40

Tour 11:00 A.M. show 2:00 P.M.

Forward always forward!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

May Blind Coloradan


Blind Coloradoan Blog

May 16, 2022

Writer, Aggregator: Kevan Worley.
Contributors: Dan Burke & Erin Daley. With assistance from Lisa Bonderson.

 National Federation Of The Blind Of Colorado, President, Jessica Beecham. Email,

Dear Reader,

We are a little late for mothers day. But I would suggest that mothers deserve the whole month of May. We honor the mothers of our movement. We also reflect on our work to ensure that mothers have the legal right to raise their children.

So much is happening in the land of the federation and the community. So let's get started.

We invite members and nonmembers to listen to the presidential release live or recorded with so much happening. We also urge the reading of our national publication, The Braille Monitor. If you are getting ready for the national convention in person or through the virtual convention experience, you will want to read The Monitor, check all of our social media and listen to the presidential release.



Special Note!

People who are blind, low vision, and families in the Poudre Valley are warmly invited to the Red Robin at 701 E Harmony Rd, Tuesday evening, May 24 at 5:30 pm. Come break bread and share ideas with NFBCO. For info, call 303-929-2369. If you know blind people, teachers of the visually impaired, or parents of blind children, pass it along. 

NFBCO Colorado springs chapter would like to recognize the great work of Arise Beyond Barriers! Working with people with disabilities is what drives their social and recreational program for this community. The N Circle building is a hub of activity, including the NFB Springs Chapter meeting held on the 2nd Saturday morning of the month. Except for September 10, the chapter and many Arise Beyond Barriers folks will participate in the NFB 6 dot dash. Arise Beyond Barriers even has interns from Colorado School For The Deaf and The Blind working on their website. Congratulations!

Super cool tactile bulletin board captures a student's attention in the School for the Blind. Tina, the CSDB Braillist, creates this art. Thanks to Robin Teuting for the Photo.

[Photo: student explores a tactile bulletin board with gigantic multi-colored and multi-shaped flowers.]


Tactile Art Piece of many different Flowers


MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! May Learning Box

When: May 22, 2022 (2:00 to 3:00)

Where: Virtual, A Zoom link will be provided upon registration

How can you tell what your money is when you can't see it? You sure don't want to put a twenty-dollar bill into the soda machine! Coins are easy to identify tactually. Paper money, not so much. So, let's learn how to identify paper currency. We can fold it in certain ways. But how do we know for sure what bill is what when a clerk at a store hands us change for $8?

Some apps can be used on an iPhone to identify paper money. There is also an I bill, a pocket-sized device that can be used to identify paper currency. The U.S. Treasury distributes the IBill free to blind Americans for purposes of accessibility. The Colorado Talking Book Library distributes them, and for this Learning Box, you can get your free device! So, during this month's activity, students will learn how to use the IBill device to identify your cash!.

Register here for this month's Learning Box on identifying and organizing money.

The registration deadline is Sunday, May 15. To receive your free IBill from the Colorado Talking Book Library, we will contact you to gather the information they require for you to qualify. Understandably everyone can get just one free IBill.

This educational activity is developed and presented by The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, the Colorado Center for the Blind, and the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. It is free of charge for all participants, but please visit our donation page if you would like to donate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Anahit LaBarre

Michelle Chacon


Being a Call Center Agent

By Julia Zanon


How many of us cringe when we think about call centers or telemarketing? Indeed, in the past, it seemed to be the job blind people were steered into without considering other options, interests, or skills. However, especially with so many business services being provided remotely, there is a need for well-trained and professional customer service agents. Perhaps we could take a fresh look at virtual services as an attractive career.

Kat Hanks, a millennial who lives in Denver, places a high value on making sure the donors who call her are treated with respect and courtesy. Kat works for ARC Thrift Store call center part-time and arranges for the pickup of large items donated to the thrift store. She described her job as making sure the donor understands what the organization can accept as a donation, how to label and place the item for easy pickup, and schedules a pickup date. She said it feels good to provide clear information and successfully arrange for the donation. Kat has been working as a Call Center Agent for 5-1/2 years. She and seven other agents take incoming calls from donors, and she likes her job.

Before she got this job, she had been a silverware roller for a cafeteria, but that job was eliminated, so she needed to find a new job. With Help from her DVR vocational counselor, Kat learned how to work in a call center customer service environment and found that she was very good at this job. Team EEI provided the training she needed to do this work. She learned how to listen to her computer Jaws screen reading software through one side of her headset, listen to her customer on the other side of the headset, and speak clearly through a microphone. It requires computer skills and good listening concentration to do this job successfully. She explained that it could get very challenging when donors call her when there is a lot of background noise, such as construction or other noises, but she handles these challenges with grace and works hard to ensure a successful call. Her goal for this job is to be able to work full-time.

When I asked Kat about what she had wanted to do when she was in high school, she laughed and said that she was not thinking about work at that time. She was unsure what she wanted to do and chose to attend the  Independence training program at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Kat graduated from the CCB and proudly rang her graduation bell for me during the interview. She was so proud of this accomplishment that she even took the bell to work with her.

Being a seriously committed chocolate lover, Kat said that her dream job would be to work in a chocolate factory. She lives on her own and hopes someday to adopt a cat, specifically a Maine Coon breed. Of course, the cat would be named "Chocolate."

And finally, Kat wanted to express her appreciation for the great quality and variety of helpful information she has learned as a member of the NFBCO Aurora Chapter. She said that the Aurora Chapter promotes independence, and the members are so family-oriented and really care about each other.



Is there life for the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind of Colorado

By Kevan Worley

Most readers know that the Business Enterprise Program offers training, placement, and support for people who are blind wanting to become licensed entrepreneurs. These businesses are typically on state and federal properties and focus principally on service contracts such as food service, micro-markets, vending machine operations, and potentially other enterprises. Over the years, Colorado has proudly boasted one of the most successful programs of its type in the nation. It is a complex program that attempts to marry rehabilitation, free enterprise, and social program. For this program to thrive, an authentic culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and respectful communication between all parties is a must. Our March and April blogs carried stories about this program's struggles over the last two years.

 NFBCO passed a significate and wide-ranging resolution at our 2020 state convention addressing a number of the challenges plaguing the program and calling for specific action. The affiliate acted upon the resolution in several ways. One of which was to bring our concerns and suggested solutions to the director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, CDLE, Joe Borella. Those meetings brought about little change.

Going into the spring of 2020 and beyond, the Business Enterprise Program became even more mired in conflict between licensed operators and program management.

Recognizing that all of us faced extraordinary and difficult times during the pandemic. Still, the program became paralyzed and directionless. The long-time program manager left the program under a cloud. Active participation between operators and agency, a cornerstone of this federal/state program, lacked vigor, energy, and commitment. Real active participation was "advisory" at best and little more than lip service at its worst.

Although some progress toward developing new BEP locations occurred, that progress continued work that had begun in earnest by the agency and operators before 2020.

Over the last two years, the program has lost 4, four respected frontline employees. When exiting the program, these highly qualified, caring staff members told us that they could not do their jobs in a regime of oppressive top-down management and the inflammatory and never-ending confrontation between agency management and operators. Note: One of these staff members resigned in the last few weeks. She is the only blind staff member any of us can recall working at the BEP. She is the only trainer in recent memory who has had a 100% success rate. 

The operators worked closely with the Division Of Vocational Rehabilitation, CDLE staff, and others to fix what was quickly becoming a broken program. This past summer, operators and state licensing agencies engaged in a mediation effort. It was clear that some did not participate in a good faith effort.

On Tuesday, May 3, we received an email of resignation from Mr. Troy Larson expressing his displeasure in a 2-page email diatribe faulting the operators and applauding his actions over the past 16 months. We took no joy in program manager Larson's resignation. That said, it's clear that we have now gone through one of the most painful and unproductive periods in the history of our program. It seems clear to this observer that the program leaders, operators, and management are ready to declare a new day. It is a time to reset expectations, behaviors, and consequences.

The program has been suffering the fallout of the past two years as we work under the burden of limited staffing, recruit and hire staff,  develop the budget for the next fiscal year, and work together to find our next qualified Business Enterprise Program Manager. Operators have called upon the agency to avoid the mistake made in 2020, not allowing their elected committee to play a significate role in the hiring process. Operators have called upon the agency to conduct a nationwide search for a new program manager rather than limiting the pool of applicants to Colorado only. We know that there are fewer people seeking employment. We understand that the agency has the flexibility to open the position nationwide. We know that finding a candidate who possesses the range of skills, experience, and understanding of this complicated program will very likely require a national search. The manager must understand blindness, business, state agency process, and fiscal control and have genuine respect for the capacity of blind people. This new manager must not come to the job with preconceived notions and a limited understanding of accessible technologies and frontline operators' demanding hours and tasks.

We know that the current stance of the state's human resources people is not to recruit out of state if they can find applicants who meet the minimum qualifications. We hope that the agency will have learned that trying to fill a position without a national search and with only limited active participation from the operators has not worked. The job is far too complex for someone who barely meets the minimum qualifications. We think that operators and the agency will find an appropriate manager, and the program can get back to the business of finally acting to implement HB 16-1048. It is time to promulgate a new set of state regulations that recognize the modern era. The current regs are from 2008.

We should mention the extraordinary work being done by our staff who have remained. There seems to be a fresh air of possibilities blowing through the program. The jury is out, but we must have hope for a program too long in controversy and disrepair.



From the aggregator: we have been asked to carry the following announcement. Many of us have found this product to be beneficial. Ironically, last week I spoke with a member who had recently spent time in the hospital because he got his blood pressure meds mixed up. He told me he needed a different system for safety. I suggested scripttalk. Here is the announcement.

Many pharmacies today provide some type of accessible prescription label. Unfortunately, not many people are using them. En-Vision America needs to hear from you! Even if your pharmacy does NOT offer ScripTalk, they will help you get set up with the option your pharmacy provides.

1.         Reach out to En-Vision America by calling 800-890-1180 or emailing

2.         Tell them what pharmacy you use

3.         Let them do the rest! They will help you get set up with the option that is provided OR they will contact your pharmacy to see if they will provide ScripTalk to you.

4.         ALL of these options are FREE to you

It is common that your pharmacy staff will not be aware of the options available. En-Vision America will take the frustration out of getting set up!



Resignation of super intendent

From the aggregator: We received the following announcement from Diane Taylor, Manager of Community Relations, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Dear CSDB Staff, Families, and Community,

We are reaching out to share some information regarding the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind leadership. After 2 ½ years as superintendent of the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Dr. Nancy E. Benham has announced her immediate resignation. On behalf of the Board, we wish Dr. Benham the best in her new endeavors, and we are committed to the future at CSDB.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved Tera Wilkins as the CSDB interim superintendent. Tera currently serves as the Director of CSDB Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. The Board's decision to name Tera as interim was an easy one. As Director of CSDB Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Tera has demonstrated strong leadership with good instincts. She is strategic, empathetic, and collaborative - all skills will serve CSDB well in this next chapter.

We look forward to working with you in these next steps.


Braille French Quarter Guide

From the aggregator: Are you ready for The Big Easy? Pre-registration for NFB national convention in New Orleans ends on May 31. To learn about the possibility of financial assistance sources for the convention, visit your chapter or division president. Make those hotel reservations today and join us for the party and the possibilities found at the world's largest gathering of blind people July 6-10. I am sure you will want to enjoy all the meetings, spirited discussions, exhibits, a banquet address from President Riccobono, and all of the fun New Orleans offers. Especially the food!

 Maria Morais has compiled a street guide and a list of historic landmarks, restaurants, and jazz clubs in the French Quarter. This Braille or print collection is available for $5 bucks. The entire amount goes towards blind kids' literacy programs. For more information or to place an order,  email Please help spread the word!



Free Webinar! Tips and Tricks for a More Enjoyable OCR Experience

We received the following from the genius. Thank you, Curtis Chong.  

Below please find an announcement from Freedom Scientific about a free webinar on May 26 at 10:00 am. Mountain Time. Users of the JAWS screen reading program for Windows may not know that JAWS is a powerful print-reading program in its own right compared to products such as Kurzweil 1000 or OpenBook. Anyone interested is free to register for the below event.

When: May 26 at 12:00 pm Eastern (U.S. and Canada)

Vispero Presenters: Mike Wood and Michelle Williams

 If you currently own an OCR (optical character recognition) product or are in the market for one, this session is for you. Join Mike and Michelle as they share helpful tips from experienced users and show them in action with our scanning products. Hear how material management and specific features can contribute to a more accurate, enjoyable OCR experience.


          Identifying when a combo (magnifier/OCR) product vs. OCR only product is preferable

          Managing print materials for accurate scanning

          Using product features for better results

Register on Zoom

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

Reflections After Mother's Day

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Human beings have a long history of valuing their moms. One of the earliest known annual tributes to motherhood occurred in ancient Greece, where people held spring festivals in honor of Rhea, the goddess of fertility and generation. Today, Mother's Day is celebrated around the world throughout the year. Besides the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Samoa, Georgia, Australia, and Thailand have set aside official holidays to show respect for the mothers in their nations.


In the United States, Mother's Day began after the Civil War with a peacemaker named Ann Jarvis. Eager to foster community between mothers who had suffered incredible losses on both sides of the war, Ann Jarvis helped to establish "Mother's Friendship Day" in 1868. Her daughter, Anna Reeves Jarvis, built on the legacy by creating the official holiday. The first modern American Mother's Day was celebrated in 1908. President Woodrow Wilson placed the holiday on the second Sunday in May and signed it into law in 1914.

A century later, Mother's Day has become a tremendous commercial event, an outcome Anna Reeves Jarvis fought hard against when she set up the original holiday. Around 122 million phone calls are made on Mother's Day, more than on any other day of the year. The holiday ranks third in flower sales after Christmas and Hanukkah. About one-fourth of the plants and flowers purchased in the United States annually are bought for Mother's Day. According to the National Restaurant Association, about 87 million adults dined out on the second Sunday in May of 2018, and roughly 4.4 billion dollars were spent on lunches and dinners. Another 4.6 billion dollars were spent on jewelry. On average, shoppers spend $180 on Mother's Day gifts. The most popular gifts are greeting cards. Every Mother's Day, approximately 152 million cards are mailed.

With so much commercial hype and social pressure surrounding the holiday, Mother's Day can often lead to resentment and disappointment. Some moms are missing children who have left the nest or passed away. Some are estranged from their children. Some women long to be mothers but haven't been blessed with that chance, and some are grieving the loss of their own mothers. Many moms are deep in the trenches, worn out by crayons and carpools, and wanting a day off more than they want a dinner out or a bouquet of flowers.

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed on Mother's Day, I could identify with the women's feelings who posted. Some rejoiced, mourned, raged, and others simply prayed for bedtime. As a woman who has battled infertility, as a daughter who had her share of conflict with her own mother and who now grieves the resolutions death has forever stolen, and as a mom who has spent eleven challenging and wonderful years raising a child, I could relate to all of their raw and rightful emotions.

I began thinking about how dealing with Mother's Day and life, in general, has a lot to do with letting go of preset expectations.

I had to do exactly that on Mother's Day and the day after. My daughter had asked her dad to help her fix a holiday brunch for me. We'd bought bacon and eggs and fresh raspberries and strawberries at the store Saturday night. But by Sunday morning, our little girl had a fever, a sore throat, a headache, and an upset tummy. We went out to dinner once she felt better, which made her a little sad, but it suited me fine. Plans change.

Monday came, and my daughter still felt slightly weak and feverish. At lunchtime, she asked me to make the bacon and scrambled eggs for her that was supposed to be on the menu for my Mother's Day brunch. I didn't mind cooking bacon and eggs. But I was starting to feel exasperated--no, downright hacked off--because, although my kid wasn't quite over the bug that had zapped her on Mother's Day, she was definitely playing up her delicate condition, so I would wait on her. I'd been fetching and carrying cold drinks, headache and tummy medicine, and pillows all morning. The crowning moment came as I washed the lunch dishes, and she called for yet another glass of ice water. Annoyed, I asked her if I were her mom or the maid.

"I just fixed you my Mother's Day brunch," I reminded her.

"But it's not Mother's Day anymore," she snipped in that tone that makes moms of tweens go from zero to livid in less than a nanosecond.

Biting my tongue, I went back to washing dishes. Then I started putting things in perspective. The brunch didn't really matter. What matters is that I have a thriving child who, although she hasn't always learned to be empathetic, is kind and caring most of the time. I spent many a Mother's Day grieving my empty arms, which are now blessedly full. Conflicts come and go, but I have much to rejoice about.

My daughter eventually revived her brunch plans. She peeled herself off the couch in the middle of the afternoon and shooed me out of the kitchen. From the sounds I heard as she got busy making my snack, I guessed the feast would consist of a strawberry Poptart®, some fresh berries, and a strip of packaged fruit leather. Not exactly bacon and eggs, but who cared? She told me the scrambled eggs I had fixed for her were delicious.




From the aggregator: I heard so much buzz about the Meow Wolf exhibit. I don't know what it is, but we are always happy to read about accessible exhibits. We would love to have one of our readers provide their commentary after attending this. We know that much work goes into making the dream of accessibility a reality.

We look forward to a time when accessibility will be the standard and always available, but these folks seem to be making a wonderful start.

The second Saturday of every month at 10 am @ Convergence Station

● Tours offer expert guides describing key visuals

● Designed to enhance touch exploration and interactive play elements of

Convergence Station

● No additional cost beyond exhibition tickets

Denver, CO (May 3, 2022) - Meow Wolf Denver has created a groundbreaking two-hour Audio Description Tour, Highlights of the Convergence. Travelers who want or need a guided experience can explore the Convergence through the descriptive narration of expert guides, detailing key visual elements and actions that someone with limited vision might not observe. This complimentary Audio Description Tour is designed specifically for audience members who are blind or have low vision, allowing for a more inclusive experience of the exhibition by means of description, storytelling, touch exploration, and play.

Led by the Meow Wolf QDOT Tour Team, the Audio Description tours feature a guide describing the visuals of the exhibit, invited touch exploration of select pieces, guidance with interactive elements like the Rocket Car and Snurtle, and a light introduction to the citizens, lore, and narrative of the Converged Worlds.

"It just had so much to offer, like the tactile feeling of the floor, the wheel, being able to touch the organ, and just all the exploration," said Melissa F., one of the tour participants. "We all have different levels of sight here…there was just so much to immerse yourself in, for all different levels of vision. It was just very interactive."

The projects are intended for all visitors to enjoy through cross-ability play and exploration. To help develop the best experience possible for all guests, Meow Wolf partnered with Artful Access, a Denver-based organization with over 60 combined years of experience bringing direct knowledge, skills, and advocacy in the areas of arts and accessibility. Meow Wolf offers a variety of supportive services and accessibility options when you visit Denver's Convergence Station, including sensory kits at the coat check desk for travelers with light and noise sensitivity.

About Meow Wolf

Recognized in Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies (2022 and 2020), Meow Wolf is a Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment company that creates immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. The company's first location in Santa Fe opened in 2016. It showcased the award-winning international sensation, House Of Eternal Return, where two million visitors have now discovered a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits. In 2019, Meow Wolf expanded beyond Santa Fe and opened Kaleidoscape, the world's first artist-driven ride at Elitch Gardens in Denver. Meow Wolf opened their second permanent installation, Omega Mart, at AREA15 in Las Vegas, and their third permanent installation in Denver opened in September 2021, Convergence Station. Meow Wolf is proud to be the only certified B-Corporation in the themed entertainment industry, with a team dedicated to social impact and building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Press Contact

Erin Barnes

Public Relations Manager, Meow Wolf | 720-369-4305 (cell)

Forward, always forward!

Monday, April 18, 2022

April Blind Coloradoan

Blind Coloradoan Blog

April 15, 2022

Writer, Aggregator: Kevan Worley.
Contributors: Dan Burke & Erin Daley. With assistance from Lisa Bonderson National Federation Of The Blind Of Colorado, President, Jessica Beecham. Email,

Here is what you need to know-


From the Western Slope to the Eastern Planes and throughout the Front Range, our National Federation Of The Blind Of Colorado is in action. According to our President, Jessica Beecham, “Our Colorado Center For The Blind programs are stable and robust. FAST Saturdays, Learning Box program, and marketing efforts to promote our expanding youth programs are in high gear. Committees are working hard on the resolutions passed at recent conventions, including  Accessible 16th Street Mall, and changing attitudes and approaches to blind customers by transportation network companies. Our transportation committee, ably chaired by Gary Van Dorn is working with Denver International Airport to create safer pickup protocols. Our chapters are on the move with social events, fundraisers, informative seminars, and person-to-person outreach to members and non-members who may need our help, support, and love. The student Network 22 event held with Colorado Association of Blind Students and NFBCO Project Literacy on March 26th was a smashing success, in person, at our center, and over zoom. More than a dozen scholars from across the state have applied for state and national scholarships. Colorado Association of Guide Dog Users is working on a project to educate offices and facilities providing health care on access for blind people who use guide dogs. And we continue to work with valued partners, The Anchor Center, Colorado School For The Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Talking Book Library, the city of Littleton, independent living centers, Comcast, the public utility commission, and numerous teachers and parents of visually impaired students. Plans are well underway for our next NFBCO 6 dot-dash to be held on Saturday, September 10th.  If you would like to be involved in one of our signature events contact NFBCO 6 Dot Dash, Cody Bair. And don’t forget about the Wild West Golf Tournament on Monday, August 22nd. Contact, Wild West President Paul Sandoval at Our affiliate advocacy and legal efforts on behalf of blind people continue to be a major part of our civil rights movement.”

Jessica continued, “our Parents of Blind Children Division, our Blind Merchants, Sports and Rec division, Blind Parents Division and other groups have all had running starts, over the first quarter of 2022, reaching toward our goal of true equality of opportunity. I congratulate you all, keep up the great work and feel free to contact your President at I believe what we say is true, “Together with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality” This is what we are doing in 2022. Read more about what we are doing in this Blind Coloradan Blog.”


Dan Parker, a Blind Man, Breaks Driving Speed Record

From the aggregator: This is a longer lead article than we usually post. Some of our dear readers have likely seen this, from the Press Room at Whether you have or haven't, this is a feat worth celebrating.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (April 5, 2022): Dan Parker, a blind racecar driver, achieved the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the “Fastest Speed for a Car Driven Blindfolded” on Thursday, March 31. Parker set a new speed record of 211.043 miles per hour on the runway at Spaceport America in his custom-built Corvette, which included an innovative audio guidance system designed to his specifications. The previous record was held by Mike Newman of the United Kingdom, who achieved a speed of 200.51 miles per hour in 2014. Parker went blind as the result of a racing accident that took place ten years before, on March 31, 2012, and graduated from the Louisiana Center for the Blind seven years ago on March 31 as well. The record attempt was made as part of the acceleration of the National Federation of the Blind’s Blind Driver Challenge™ — an initiative that aims to call attention to the importance of breaking barriers in mobility and to demonstrate the incredible achievements of blind people. It was sponsored by San Francisco-based zero-emission self-driving company Cruise and certified by Guinness World Records official Michael Empric.

The effort built on the inaugural Blind Driver Challenge event that took place on January 29, 2011, when Mark Riccobono, now President of the National Federation of the Blind, independently operated a modified Ford Escape hybrid on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Mr. Riccobono navigated the course’s turns and steered the car around dynamic obstacles by following haptic prompts generated by input from the vehicle’s GPS, cameras, and LIDAR sensors.

“Our Daytona Blind Driver Challenge demonstration changed the perceptions of blindness held by society, including the perceptions that we ourselves held as blind people,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “It further demonstrated to the world that the expertise of the blind is critical to the development of nonvisual vehicle interfaces. NFB member Dan Parker has now raised the expectations of blind people even higher by independently driving a vehicle faster than any blind person has done before, proving that the combination of accessible technology and our own capacity allows blind people to safely operate motor vehicles even at high speed. This demonstration reinforces our determination to work with Cruise and other partners to make cars that can be operated independently by blind people on America’s roadways a reality. Transportation is a critical barrier faced by blind people across the nation and we seek the increased availability of all transportation options in order to successfully live the lives we want.”

“With the help of my Federation family, my outstanding pit crew, and our partners at Cruise, I am proud to bring the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for fastest speed for a car driven blindfolded to America,” said Dan Parker. “We have not only demonstrated that a blind person can operate a vehicle safely, but that we can do it at over two hundred miles per hour. We hope this success inspires blind people and shows the world the potential of modern technology like self-driving cars to help the blind break barriers in everyday mobility and beyond.”


Mountains and Planes announces April 21st emergency preparedness evening seminar over zoom

From the president of our at large Mountains and Planes chapter Renae Anderson we have this announcement

Over the past few years, Colorado has experienced many wildfires, blizzards, floods, and other unexpected emergencies.  What is one to do if you have a disability, especially blindness if you need to evacuate?  The Mountains & Plains At Large Chapter NFBCO is hosting a chapter seminar on “Emergency Preparedness.”  Martha Mason, former director of SW Independent Living Center in Durango will be discussing with us ways to be prepared before the emergency happens.

Everyone is welcome on April 21, 2022, at 7 pm. Make sure you mark the date so you will not only be better prepared for the next emergency but will have an opportunity to win an emergency kit.  Hope to see you there!


Minding the space

By Julia Zanon

Dear reader, you will recognize Julia Zanon as a regular contributor to this newsletter. We want to thank her for this very timely, tender, and challenging article. Julia’s grace and her pointed observations make her one of our most effective members of the Colorado Center For The Blind Board of Directors.

I was listening to the news this morning and the announcer was describing yet another violent shooting resulting from road rage. This story was followed by an update about the Will Smith/Chris Rock incident at the Academy Awards, describing how Chris Rock had chosen not to press charges against Will Smith for the on-screen slap and how Will Smith has now apologized for his moment of violent reaction. Interviews with people who know Will Smith have commented that his reaction seemed so out of character.  There seem to be so many more news stories about people reacting with violence now, as if something has happened to the collective anger threshold. When I visit with friends and family, it seems, that they often relate stories about having been wounded by harsh words from others and how they are struggling to keep their own emotions in check. 

Perhaps, the unintended outcome of more than two years of overwhelming stress from COVID 19, unemployment, global warming, deadly weather events, increased homelessness, and worldwide suffering has shifted our sense of safety and security and now there is a realization of vulnerability that was not there before the pandemic. It is easy to feel patient, generous, and kind when one is secure and there is no fear of loss or injury, or worse.  It is so uncanny how the fight or flight reflexes quickly kick in when we feel threatened.   

When I pause to reflect on my own behavior over the past year, I recognize my own struggle with self-monitoring my anger. I am horrified by the times I have lost my temper, missing my usual empathy and compassion.  I also realized how often fear had entered my vocabulary: fear of getting sick, fear of dying, fear of strangers, fear of the weather, fear of leaving my house, fear of failing, fear of the unknown. At first, I thought it was just because I had spent so much time alone during the worst of the pandemic. However, I think it is more than that. I feel more vulnerable now than before the pandemic. How and what could I do to regain confidence and freedom and shift the grip of fear into a healthier mindful awareness?

I have found that a key component of overcoming fear is to replace it with what is already true and known. It is as simple as remembering past experiences when I chose to face what seemed frightening at the time, and after pushing through the fear, experiencing success. As a blind person, I have learned to overcome and live with a certain level of vulnerability, leaning into resilience, acceptance, and courage. How could I have forgotten that pushing through a moment of hesitation is not difficult? The moment of fear is replaced with knowing that I can do whatever it is that caused me to pause. Let’s call it self-confidence fitness, staying strong by remembering and reliving past success.      

Another key to reducing the fear has to do with what I call “Minding the Space.” Imagine that events that occur throughout the day are the stimulus and how you react or respond to these events are the response. The phone rings and you answer the call. Your stomach growls and you find some food. We all make hundreds of choices throughout the day without realizing that between the stimulus and response, there is a space, and we make a choice in the space. Most of the time, we are not conscious of this process and in the absence of fear or anxiety, it is easy to make rational, logical choices. You give yourself time to check the caller ID before answering the call and you think about healthy food choices before grabbing a snack.  

For me, when I am living with constant fear or anxiety, my fight or flight reactivity wants to take over and I forget to take a moment in that space between stimulus and response to make a wise choice. This is where anger and frustration show up. Being aware of the space between stimulus and response and remembering the self-reliant person who knows how to overcome the fear create the possibility of regaining confidence in a world that feels less stable. I also recognize that others who lose their temper are probably feeling vulnerable and that understanding and having empathy can make a big difference.            

This is the quote I find most useful:

“Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lie our freedom and power” (author unknown)

One additional and very important resource for me has been to stay connected with the support provided by the NFB. Whether it is attending a chapter meeting, reading the Blind Coloradoan, reading an article from the Braille Monitor, talking with friends, learning about technology and resources, or meeting new blind people, the connection is present and reminds me that we are stronger together and that I am not alone. People say the world is different, but I am not sure the world is different. I know that I feel different as a result of events from the past few years and that staying connected and supporting each other is more important than ever. 

A culture of crisis. A historical perspective

By Kevan Worley

“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” -American philosopher George Santayana

Let me preface this article by saying that I have been an operator in and observer of the Colorado Business Enterprise Program for 30 years. For almost 2 decades I served as President of the National Association Of Blind Merchants. I served as the chair of the Colorado elected Committee Of Blind Operators for 18 years. And I have been privileged and proud to have built businesses that have thrived due to The Business Enterprise Program and the positive culture of The National Federation of the Blind. It is in fact a company or organization's culture that creates true value and progress. There have been times in the history of the Business Enterprise Program of Colorado in which a crisis of leadership and lack of an inclusive culture has brought this program to the brink of demise.

Howard Stevenson, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University has observed that, “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

This morning, the Blind History Lady, Peggy Chong emailed me a 1958 letter from the leaders of our affiliate to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. tenBroek, the first president of NFB was a constitutional scholar of national regard. The correspondence detailed the effort of the agency for the blind to make blind vendors wards of the state and to ensure that they would be considered employees of the agency much like the employees of the sheltered workshop. At that time, the state rehabilitation agency managed a sheltered workshop. The state paid blind workers a pittance. Note (in the early 1960’s the advocacy of The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado brought about the disillusion of the sheltered workshop) In 1958 vendors succeeded in getting opinions from the attorney general and the Colorado court system ensuring that blind vendors were, not wards of the state and were not by federal and state law agency employees. The operators had the right to be responsible for their own workman's compensation, taxes, and all other duties commensurate with private sector entrepreneurs. The letter also points out that the director of the agency for the blind had submitted his resignation citing the conflict caused by blind operators as the reason for his resignation. 

History shows that in succeeding years the Colorado Business Enterprise Program began to thrive. More lucrative opportunities were secured through a positive level of active participation between new agency management and blind vendors. There was a culture of respect and resilience.

“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.” – Vern Dosch CEO at National Information Solutions Cooperative

In the middle part of the first decade of this century, a culture of conflict and confrontation again reared its ugly head. Threatening the health and vitality of the program. Following a procession of program directors who brought respect and understanding of blindness and business acumen combined with operators and agency staff working closely to sustain and build a vibrant culture. The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation that housed the program determined to hire a manager with little experience and a dismissive attitude toward staff and blind vendors. Phone calls from blind operators were not promptly returned. Emails from the new program manager of condescension and dismissal became the rule. Suggestions from operators for blindness training by the new manager were mocked. Committee meetings were fraught with mutual disrespect, mistrust, accusation, and anger. Ideas offered by operators and staff with significant experience in blindness and business were rejected out of hand. This toxic culture led to an immediate decline in program revenue and new business opportunities. Both operators and staff felt the disrespect and disenfranchisement. The despair was palpable. The culture became unsustainable.

“If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.” - John Mackey, Whole Foods

At a 2007 annual meeting of operators and staff, a glowing summary of the financial health of the program was detailed. However, within months Dr. Ken Schmidt, DVR Director of Field Operations, called an emergency meeting of the blind business operators. Dr. Schmidt brought bleak financial news. The documents that had been provided at the annual meeting were wrong. The program was, essentially bankrupt. Blind vendors were shocked and dismayed. They had suffered enough. It was no exaggeration to suggest that a familial culture of hard work, opportunity, and joy had been replaced by one of tyranny. What operators did not know at the time was that frontline program staff had also suffered enough abuse and disregard. Operators took action. Demanding the dismissal of the program manager. They were finally heard by the Governor's office, members of the General Assembly, and the Department of Human Services which housed the program at that time. The program manager was dismissed. The agency and operators we able to renew a culture of trust and transparency. Over the next few years, the program was revitalized. Revenues were up and new locations were secured.  Innovative ideas were honored, and the program became one of the very best in the country.

Any observer of the program over the past 2 and a half years has to have been aware of numerous disagreements between operators and the program. Many operators contend that the department seems to spend time interpreting regulations in ways that consistently disadvantage vendors.  We wrote about only one issue of importance to operators in the March blog. Frankly, that article just scratched the surface of the tension and turmoil.  There seems to be no good guys in this picture. But clearly, that is not the case. There are many engaged in the work of this program weather operator, operator employees, program partners, agency personnel, and others who are truly committed to a program that works as intended. The problems that now besiege the BEP are too many to enumerate here. It has to be recognized that the pandemic and our current world of trials have to have played a part in the current culture of disfunction. Well-intended people are struggling everywhere. This program is no exception. However, the question has to be asked, have we reached another crisis moment in the culture of the Business Enterprise Program? One time-honored truth about the program is that it thrives when all parties understand its complexity. It is more than a series of laws, policies, and regulations. It is a program designed to empower human beings. At its best, it balances social programs with free enterprise. There is no other program that attempts to do this in quite the way the Randolph Sheppard Act envisions. History proves that when this program has relied less on dotting i’s and crossing t’s and more on honor, collaboration, and humility the program thrives. In the excellent book, From Good to Great by James E. Collins, he said, “When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at, and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent and that it mattered.”

― Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't


Randolph Sheppard has a podcast?

We received the following from Pipi Adams. Pipi is the president of our Colorado Association of Blind Merchants.

Please check out the We R Randolph-Sheppard podcast.  In this month's episode, Nicky Gacos and Terry Smith discuss the history of the Kennelly Amendments and the impact that vending at the interstate rest areas has had on the lives of blind entrepreneurs.  You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts or click on the link below.


FAST/Learning Box

From the aggregator: In this month's lead article President Beecham mentioned the energetic work of our youth programs. Below is a flyer spotlighting both our FAST, Fun Activities and Skills Training, and our innovative Learning Box series. 


When: April 23, 2022 (12:00 PM to 2:00PM)

Where: Colorado Center for the Blind (2233 W Shepperd Ave., Littleton, CO 80120)

We’re combining FAST and Learning Box again this month for an all in-person Saturday afternoon of fun and learning! We have two activities planned for students: learning about planting and playing goalball. Students will get to do both.

Ann Cunningham will teach about the life stages of a lima bean, from germination to a full-grown plant. She will have tactile pictures and plants in several stages of growth that students will explore. Then students will plant seeds in a small planter box. They will also have an option to take home lima beans and necessary supplies for planting more.

Of course, there will be Goalball in the gym, and everyone gets to play! Do we have to say that goalball is a lot of fun? But it also offers the lessons of any team sport - teamwork, collaboration, and communication.

For Parents:

Parents of blind children and blind parents will collaborate on making fun snacks for all the kids. Members of the Blind Parents Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado will lead the activity by teaching their sighted fellow parents safe and effective nonvisual techniques in the kitchen. These are techniques parents can then teach to their own children in order to help foster greater age-appropriate independence.

 For Young Children:

We invite all members of the Blind Parents Division to attend with their little ones. Our younger participants can plant lima beans. Afterwards, they can spend time with friends, playing various games, such as Red Light, Green Light. One of our blind parents will read a braille story to the children. Supervision and snacks will be provided.

 Click the link below to register your student by April 20.

If you have any further questions, please contact Anahit Labarre, or 303-778-1130,,223


Boulder Valley Chapter held an iPhone knowledge swap event in early March

Curtis Chong and Boulder Valley President Maryann Migliorelli tell us that it was well attended and highly productive. Fortunately for you, dear reader. There is a recording. Here is the link. Tell us what you think.


Free Internet & Discounted Mobile Service Through Affordable Connectivity Program

We received the following from Comcast:

Comcast is participating in the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and recently introduced two new ACP-focused offers giving consumers new choices to take full advantage of the up to $30/month credit. 

          Internet Essentials Plus – To provide more options for Internet Essentials (IE) customers, Comcast is introducing a new, faster tier of home broadband service which will be fully covered by the ACP credit and has twice the download speed of the original IE service. Internet Essentials Plus will offer download speeds up to 100 Mbps (10 Mbps upload) for $29.95/month. Existing IE customers can upgrade to this tier anytime, and new customers can sign up for the service regardless of whether they participate in ACP. Internet Essentials Plus customers who enroll in ACP will have their broadband service charges completely covered by the $30/month government credit.

          Xfinity Mobile – Comcast’s top-rated Xfinity Mobile service is now available to customers participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, giving them the ability to save even more money on their connectivity needs both at home and on-the-go. Internet Essentials customers can use their $30/month ACP discount to pay for both Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Mobile service.

Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people nationwide to the Internet at home, most for the first time. New and existing Xfinity Internet or Internet Essentials customers can visit or call 844-389-4681 for more information, to determine eligibility, and sign up.

We in the NFBCO wish for each of you a restful, worshipful celebration of faith and family during this season of Easter, Passover, and Ramadan.

That’s all she wrote. Forward, Always Forward!