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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Please Enjoy This Special Year-End Blind CO Blog

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the phrase Live the Life you want

Writer, aggregator Kevan Worley.Contributing editor Dan Burke.Here is what you need to know

Breaking News! Under the Saying-There is Always Something…-

Debbie MacLeod, Colorado Talking Book Library Director Updated Folks That the CTBL Has Been Closed for a Portion of the Week of December 16.

On Monday, as far as we can piece together, a vehicle sideswiped the guardrail along the north side of the building around 1 pm and then took off. This pushed the gas meter into the building and started leaking gas. Xcel came quickly to shut off the gas. Staff and Volunteers evacuated the building and were sent home. Xcel took off the gas meter and capped the lines. Around 7 pm they were still working on the outside and could smell gas, so the fire department was called to the building. They couldn’t figure why there was so much gas in the building. By 9 pm they said it was safe and all went home.

Since the hit broke a 4” pipe inside the building, those repairs had to be done and were completed December 17. There was still residual gas smell on December 17 which dissipated during the day. Inspection will be done on December 18 and the gas meter will be installed and the HVAC turned back on December 18.

The library has been closed since Monday, December 16 at 1:30 and was still closed on Wednesday the 18th. We hope to reopen December 19 to a warm building.

There is always something and this is the 3rd time since 2003 that a car has run into this building – there must be some kind of building Karma???

Yeehaw and Happy Holidays from the Wild West Chapter.

Chapter President Paul Sandoval:
Yeehaw! It’s almost Christmas again in these parts. And we are so happy for all the time we have spent with you. Our fundraisers, meet and greets, and picnic would be pretty lame without some friends to liven it up! We have more coming after this Holliday season but more to come about that later! Merry Christmas and Happy new year from all of us in the Wild West!

You Want This! You Know You Do.

Joanne Franklin, Chair of the holiday basket raffle, says there are still a few tickets for the super special holiday gift basket for sale. Tickets are only $5, or you can really support the chapter and take advantage of that special discount, $20 for 4 tickets. What a deal! Both Joanne and Kevan Worley can sell you tickets. Email or call us with your ticket order. We will be happy to collect from you later. We know where most of you live. Drawing is Saturday afternoon at the big Springs holiday party.

Colorado Springs Chapter Celebrates the Holidays.

Wherever you are in the affiliate, you are cordially invited to the Colorado Springs Christmas party. It’s Saturday afternoon, December 21, noon to 3 at the Old Chicago on Austin Bluff and Academy. The White Elephant gift exchange is always a hoot.

Happy Holidays from the LaBarre Family. By Scott C. LaBarre, President, National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

From your aggregator: At the 2019 NFBCO State Convention, the affiliate re-elected Scott LaBarre to his 6th term. We benefit so much from Scott’s constancy, commitment, candor, and kindness. NFBCO is incredibly fortunate to have Scott and Anahit, a leader in her own right. As our friends and colleagues who celebrate Hanukah would say, “Scott LaBarre is a real mensch.” Scott is a man of integrity and insight. Here is what he reports about family at the holidays.

The LaBarre labradoodle, Moka, laying in front of a lit up, decorated Christmas tree

The Holidays got off to an early start around the LaBarre household when my younger brother, Craig, flew down here from Duluth on November 20th.  He wanted to spend extra time with his niece and nephew.  Craig often laments that the kids grow up too fast and that he doesn’t get enough time to spend with them.

About them growing up too fast, their father shares the same sentiment.  Alex is a Junior at Cherry Creek Highschool, has been looking at colleges, and has been driving for over two years.  His sister, Emily, has joined Alex at Creek this year as a Freshman and will be getting her driver’s permit over the holiday break.  For me, it seems like just a moment ago when I celebrated Alex’s birth with many of you at the NFBCO 2002 State Convention, his birth coming on the Friday of that Convention.  Can someone please slow down this run-away time train?

After Craig’s arrival, my parents, Donna and Chuck, literally rolled into town on the 24th after a 900-mile drive from Woodbury, Minnesota. They were joined on the 27th by my sister in-law, Deb, and two high school, foreign exchange students, Janca from Hungry and Uma from Spain.

The whole LaBarre family gathered around the Thanksgiving day feast

At that point, the LaBarre contingent was fully assembled and ready for Thanksgiving.  We sure dug in on Turkey Day and stuffed ourselves with a ginormous and scrumptious feast.  Everyone in the family was in charge of making something.  My job was making the drinks, something at which I excel.  The rest of the weekend featured Black Friday shopping (something I avoided like the Plague), the Lighting of the Lights Downtown Denver, lots of board games and cards, more and more eating, and a celebration of Emily’s 15th Birthday.  By December 3rd, all the Minnesota LaBarre’s were back in the Land of Ten-thousand Frozen Lakes.

On the 4th of December, I did something unusual for me and boarded a plane to Baltimore where I attended the NFB Board Meetings and the official Grand Opening of our new guest spaces and sleeping rooms.  At the celebration event, our very own Diane McGeorge delivered stirring and inspirational remarks about the tremendous growth of the NFB.  In our newly remodeled space, there is the McGeorge Living Room which features a beautiful, water fountain in tribute to all the tremendous contributions of the McGeorge’s over the years.  Our new NFB fountain is inspired by the one Ray built and maintained for many years and which many of us enjoyed from the McGeorge deck as the fountain burbled peacefully in the background.  Overall, our new facilities are truly stunning and are emblematic of the progress and growth of our movement.  The rest of the weekend went incredibly well as the NFB and Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Fund Boards met and reviewed   the dynamic activities and achievements of our Federation which help us to secure the right to live the lives we want.

As I scribe this reflection about the Holidays, I am filled with tremendous gratitude and pride for all of my family, the LaBarre’s and the Federation.  Without the support of all the LaBarre’s, especially Anahit and the kiddos, I would not have the strong foundation and framework from which to pursue my career and Federation work and otherwise lead a blessed an enriched life.  Without the Federation, there is no way that I, as a blind person, could have developed the confidence and gathered the resources that allow me to live the life I want and transform my dreams into reality.

As for pride, words cannot express how enormously proud I am of Alex and Emily as they develop into amazing and strong young people just starting to chase their dreams.  I am also incredibly proud of Anahit and the life changing work she does with blind seniors at our Colorado Center and the fact that while working at the Center full-time, she is pursuing her Masters in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado on her way to becoming a teacher of blind children.  Oh, I can’t forget little Moka, our ten-month-old labradoodle.  She is learning very well the things she should do and, especially, the things she shouldn’t.

Moka, a white dog with brown ears, the LaBarre's ten-month-old labradoodle.

As for the Federation, my heart overflows with pride as I observe and reflect upon all that we have achieved nationally and here in Colorado.  Although we still have significant work ahead with lots of challenges left to solve, our dream of living the lives we want without artificial limitations placed upon us is ever closer to becoming our reality.  I am incredibly proud to be part of this amazing affiliate, and it is my deep honor and privilege to serve as your President.

So, from Scott, Anahit, Alexander, Emily and Moka, we wish for you the very best of this joyous season as all of us observe our own holiday traditions and celebrations.  We know that some in our family   are facing daunting challenges to their health or otherwise, and it is our fervent wish that the light and peace of this time help to heal and bring comfort.  May 2020 bring us even better times and continued prosperity for the Federation and for all of us individually!!  Happy Holidays from the LaBarre’s!!

Try Hockey for Free Day!

Many blind and visually impaired people have been trying and competing in blind hockey in recent years. It seems that the blind hockey craze has hit Colorado. Colorado Avalanche are sponsoring an event for folks who want to get out on the ice. We are told some coaches and players may be taking center ice with those who attend the event.
At this writing, our Colorado Avalanche have 45 points and are in 2nd place in the Central Division.

The event takes place Thursday, January 9 from 3-6 p.m. at the Pepsi Center. Register here!

At the National Federation of the Blind 2019 convention in Las Vegas, a resolution was passed, becoming official organization policy, that calls upon entities such as United States Association of Blind Athletes, headquartered in Colorado Springs, and other related entities to form a study committee. This committee will investigate ways in which modifications to the sport for legally blind people will not incorporate a, “hierarchy of sight” in the matches. For further information check out the resolution and then go try hockey with the Avalanche!

Mountains and Plains Monthly Chapter Call.

ReNae Anderson, NFBCO At Large Chapter President, reminds us that the December call will be held Thursday, December 19, 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Call 605-313-5145, code 405276#.

Is There a Trip to Our Nation’s Capital in Your Future?

The much-anticipated National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar is waiting for you!

Veterans of our Washington Seminar will often say that it is their favorite NFB event of the year. Many rank it up there with our National Convention. There is great energy, spirit, and love when folks do advocacy together. There are seminars for parents and students and merchants and others on February 9 and 10. Monday evening, February 10th, is our traditional and often very powerful, “Great Gathering In.” You never know who is going to show up to address the more than 700 people in attendance when the gavel falls at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday we head to Capitol Hill to inform United States Congress about the issues and policy objectives of this nation’s organized blind movement.

First-timers who are thinking of attending may be eligible for some subsidy to afford travel, transit, etc. If you plan to attend, rookie or veteran, you must make your hotel reservations by January 8th by calling 1-877-572-6951 and reference booking code N2F. Room rate is $198 plus tax per night.

For information about NFBCO Goes to Washington feel free to contact Lisa Bonderson at

Dan Burke and Colorado Center for the Blind students Cristian, Shyanne, Kelly,  beside the Christmas Tree while delivering treat to City of Littleton offices
Colorado Center for the Blind students Cristian, Shyanne, Kelly, and Dan Burke, Colorado Center for the Blind Director of Community Relations.

We Asked. You Answered.

From the aggregator: in our last Blind CO Blog we asked, “what does live the life you want mean to you?” Feel free to post your response on this blog or send directly to me. We have collected some great responses and will be posting in weeks to come.

Jessica Beecham is our recently elected First Vice President. She also serves as President of our National Sports and Rec Division. As we look forward to 2020. I asked her to write her thoughts about living the life you want. As you will read, she is one of the most energetic and big-hearted people we have in our Federation family.

Hello Federation Family! As we close out the decade, I am so incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities I have had to live the life I want. I travel throughout the country with my guide dog. I have a career that is based on the Randolph Shepherd Act which gives blind people priority to run our own businesses.  My accessible iPhone allows me to make calls, send email, shop, and so much more. Most of these and many other day-to-day activities which allow me to live the life I want would not be possible without the efforts and advocacy of the National Federation of the Blind.

As I reflect on the vast array of opportunities I have in my life because of the collective action of blind people who came before me, I am inspired to do more to make it possible for blind people of the future to have even more opportunity. In the coming year, I am dedicated to filling out more Uber and Lyft reports so that we can improve the ride share system for service dog users. I will work harder to keep reaching out to blind people in Colorado so that they can find the same family and support network that I am so lucky to have. I will actively participate in legislative advocacy to educate our representatives about legislation that will improve the lives of blind people.

As we move into the new year, I encourage you to think of two things. What can you do to truly live the life you want? Maybe you want to try a new hobby, travel, make some new friends, or have an exciting adventure.
YOU CAN LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT! BLINDNESS IS NOT WHAT HOLDS YOU BACK. Secondly, consider ways you can pay it forward. Remember all of the amazing advocacy that has allowed us to live the lives we want. I challenge you to think of ways you can either commit or recommit to the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado to help us make it possible for blind people to continue living the lives that they want for generations to come. The work we do today really does make a huge impact. Happy New Year and let’s go live the lives we want in 2020.

From the Aggregator:

Here is an important holiday question. Crushed or Cubed?

The Question:

We end the year together united in spirit, commitment, and love. We end the year together sharing thoughts on our quest. And wishes for all to Live the Life We Want. What are your hopes and dreams for 2020? Share them with us. Together with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality. We remember those we lost in 2019. We care for those in our Federation family who endure struggles. And we anticipate and dream of the future we and all of our partners and allies will build.

Happy Hanukah,
Happy New Year,
Happy Kwanza,
Merry Christmas! 

Forward, Always Forward!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Special Issue Dedicated to Diane and Ray McGeorge

National Federation of the Blind logo including the words "live the life you want"

Writer, aggregator Kevan Worley.Contributing editor Dan Burke.
Here is what you need to know

A Fountain of Challenge and Success: Founders Honored in Baltimore McGeorge Living Room! By Dan Burke.

Diane McGeorge and National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono at the Jernigan Institute stand in front of a replica McGeorge fountain. The broad base is white, about table-height, filled with round, black stones where water falls and splashes. Rising up from the rocks more than a foot above the head, is the rough-surfaced sharp mountain peak in reds, rusts and browns

On a recent visit to the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, Center Director Julie Deden and I were able to preview the new McGeorge Living Room at the NFB’s headquarters. It is a comfortable, couch-bestrewn space with a fireplace in the center of the room. From one corner comes the soothing sound of trickling water. It’s the lovely fountain shown in the photo, a Rocky Mountain accent in the heart of Baltimore. The new living room will be dedicated today (NOTE: dedicated on December 5) to Diane and Ray McGeorge for their decades of tireless commitment to creating positive change in the training, opportunities, and fundamental rights of blind Americans, and certainly blind Coloradans. Diane, as president of the NFB of Colorado for nearly 30 years, founded the Colorado Center for the Blind in 1988, with the unwavering support of her late husband Ray beside her. Though not a precise replica, this sculptor’s rendition pays honor to one that Ray built in the McGeorge back yard on Steele Street in Denver. For several generations of visiting leaders of the National Federation of the Blind, and especially blind Coloradans and Center students, Ray’s fountain evokes warm evenings on the deck as guests of Diane and Ray, basking in the warmth of their hospitality, their love, and mentorship. Of course, Julie was one of those people, as was National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono, a graduate of the Colorado Center for the Blind.

Note, present from Colorado for the unveiling was NFBCO President Scott LaBarre, CCB Seniors Program Director Duncan Larson, and the honoree herself, Mrs. Diane McGeorge.

Did you know the National Federation of the Blind Has an Official Music Video?

We do. The video, unveiled in 2015, makes for a joyful noise perfect for any holiday gathering. “Live the life you want.” We hope you will find the joy in your family and friends throughout the holidays.

Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind Rockin’ In the Holidays.

The 2019 Winter Program at CSDB is Tuesday, December 17, at 6:30 p.m. Join students, faculty, parents, grades 6-12 for a rockin’ good start to the holidays in the Gottlieb Auditorium.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AIM High Act. Legislation Will Promote Equal Access to Higher Education for People with Disabilities.

The National Federation of the Blind commends Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) for introducing the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, also known as the AIM HIGH Act (H.R. 5312). This legislation will promote instructional technology and content that are accessible to the blind and other students with print disabilities.

“This legislation is critically important to all blind students and to me personally, as the father of three children, two of whom are blind,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “This issue has been ignored for too long. Blind Americans applaud Representatives Roe and Courtney for their support of this market-based approach to encouraging technology innovations to be born accessible, thus allowing all students an equal opportunity for educational excellence.”

On Friday evening, December 13th, Colorado Association of Blind Students will meet to discuss ways to ensure that our Congressional Colorado delegation join the effort to bring equality of opportunity to higher education. Students can join the meeting at 7 p.m. by logging into zoom. For information on how to use this app for the call feel free to get in touch with Cindy Coffin,

Grand Valley Chapter Reads the Way with Support from Barnes and Noble.

Many NFB chapters earn cash to fund local programs by wrapping gifts at Barns and Noble locations. This holiday season, due to the generous support of the Grand Junction Barnes and Noble, our local chapter held a bookfair. The chapter received a percentage of sales on the day of the bookfair, December 10. Chapter members wrapped gifts and visited with holiday book shoppers about the gift of literacy made possible through their donations to the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. The chapter raised more than $600. Good going Grand Valley!

Colorado Association of Guide Dog Users, COAGDU, Chooses Leadership Team for 2020.

Divisions of NFBCO typically elect board members at State Convention. Pledging to build our Federation by meeting the needs and aspirations of guide dog handlers, the following board members were elected to serve for 2020:
President: Kevan Worley
Vice President: ReNae Anderson
Secretary: Marty Rahn
Treasurer: Marianne Migliorelli
Board members: Paul Sandoval, Maureen Nietfeld, Libby Mullner, Melissa Green.

Melissa Green served as President of the group for many years. She agreed to stay on the board.

COAGDU will launch a project in early January to educate and assist guide dog handlers with the reporting of their rideshare experiences to the National Federation of the Blind. Uber and Lyft Survey: The National Federation of the Blind is seeking feedback from Uber and Lyft customers who have service animals or who travel with individuals with service animals. Testers can be NFB members or non-members, and we welcome completed surveys on both positive and negative rideshare experiences.
Kevan Worley's Fidelco German Shepherd Onyx sitting in front of trees at Meadowgrass with melting snow on the ground

If your division elected officers at the 2020 State Convention, please send election results to your aggregator so we can let the world know who is providing the leadership in your division.

Braille Readers are Leaders!

There is still time to register and read for cash prizes. How about a little reading over your Christmas vacay? Teachers, parents, you are encouraged to sign up your future leaders. My time to write about this item is brief. I do not want to riff much more on this. But you know what they say? “Reading is Fundamental.” Different program. But true. And no less true for folks who use Braille.
During our last contest year, we had 4 Colorado participants. The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults invites Braille readers of all levels and all ages to take part. Sign up through the AAF website and enjoy a book or two this holiday season!
For information about Colorado Center for the Blind Youth Programs email Martin Becerra.

Extra! Extra! Read Your Holiday Ads On NFB-Newsline®!

Did you know that Target and Wal-Mart store circulars for your area are available on NFB-Newsline®?

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Supports NFBCO Effort to Stabilize and Expand Blindness and Low Vision Services Unit.

On December 6, leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and other stakeholders met with the Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DVR, Kristin Corash and her policy team. The meeting was to discuss changes in State rules that govern the Blindness and Low Vision Services, BLVS, unit. We applaud the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, for listening to consumers and taking appropriate action. The first 4 years of a dedicated unit within DVR that provides training, adjustment to blindness, and job placement services to Colorado residents who are legally blind has been as successful as we in the NFBCO said it would be. When we visit with members of the General Assembly, policy makers, and service providers we have always asserted that best outcomes are most cost-effectively provided by staff with training and expertise specific to the population being served. Imagine that. Statistics and subjective observations clearly show that enshrining the BLVS unit in rule is the logical next step. The new rule will give the department and stakeholders a framework to serve even more people across the state of Colorado. Even with the successes demonstrated by the 4-year-old unit there are still blind people in large parts of Colorado who do not receive vocational services from a professional of the BLVS unit. The contemplated rule will make expansion a possibility. It also means that this specialized unit is available as a resource for all counselors who have a general caseload but are providing services to blind clients outside of the BLVS units geographical service area.

Party, Party, Party.

It’s that time of year when chapters enjoy holiday parties. You are cordially invited to join our Greeley family at noon Saturday, December 14, at 3 Margaritas, located at the Greeley Mall.

Santa Clause joins the Denver Metro party Saturday morning, the 14th, 10 a.m. at CCB.

Colorado Springs chapter will party, complete with their traditional white elephant gift exchange, Saturday, December 23, from noon to 3 p.m. at Old Chicago at Austin Bluffs and Academy. White elephant gift exchange items of $10 or less.

A Tisket. A Tasket. A Great Holiday Basket and It Could Be All Yours.

A $5 raffle ticket puts you in the December 21st Springs Chapter drawing. We will pick one winning ticket and you do not have to be at the party to win. The basket is overflowing with coupons from Chick-Fil-A, elderberry syrup, truffles, candles, and a $50 gift certificate for Springs Orleans. Chapter raffle chair Joanne Franklin says this basket is at least a $150 value. Purchase your tickets now by calling Joanne 719-464-4864, or email. Your aggregator also has tickets. Reach me at 303-929-2369. We would be happy to fill out your ticket and collect your $20 for 4 tickets when we see you next. Good luck!

What Does “Live the Life You Want” Mean to You.

Kevan Worley dressed as Rooster Cogburn and his cowboy sidekick Scott LaBarre, President National Federation of the Blind of Colorado at the 2019 NFBCO State Convention Boot Scootin' Boogie

We want to hear your perspective. A distinguished panel of highly educated judges will not be judging your comments. This is about what you think. Please share your stories and opinions. We! Want! To hear from you!

Power Packed Monitor Has Information You Need to Know!

Get all of the details about February’s Washington Seminar. Learn everything you need to know about Social Security benefits for 2020. And, believe it or not, get all the information about our 2020 National Convention all in the December Monitor. People, policy, perspective. That is our Braille Monitor.

Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Job Opening.

We have received the following announcement from Doula Jarboe, President Colorado Association of the DeafBlind.

Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind, CCDHHDB, Job Opening Applicants are sought for the Outreach Consultant — Deafblind Specialty position. This position will design strategy, systems, processes, guidelines, rules, and standards that are mission critical and directly impact the agency's ongoing operation and broad program. The role will be a staff authority related to deafblind beyond the immediate supervisor, with direct influence, and impact agency-wide, including consumers/clients.

To receive more information or to apply Contact us today 1-720-457-3679,

Forward! Always Forward!