The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is inviting nominations for its 2002 Access Awards. AFB Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired.
Nominations for an AFB Access Award should illustrate an exceptional and innovative effort that has improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired by enhancing access to information, the environment, technology, education, or employment, including making mainstream products and services accessible. The effort should be one that has a national impact or can be a model for replication on a national level. 2001 Access Award recipients were Cakewalk, California Council of the Blind, FutureForms, Jeopardy! Sony Studios, Margaret R. and Cody Pfanstiehl, and Sun Microsystems.
A letter of nomination, preferably in electronic format or by e-mail, addressing the above criteria should be sent to Anthony Candela, AFB 2002 Access Awards Committee, 111 Pine Street, Suite 725, San Francisco, CA 94111; e-mail: email@example.com. Nominations must be received no later than October 1, 2001. Product brochures, patent applications, and other materials of support substantiating the nomination should be postmarked by the above date. The AFB Access Awards will be presented at a public reception at AFB's Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Washington, DC, March 8-10, 2002.
The American Foundation for the Blind--the organization to which Helen Keller devoted over 40 years of her life--is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired. Headquartered in New York City, AFB maintains offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco, and a governmental relations office in Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://www.afb.org/.
The International Coalition of Access Engineers and Specialists (ICAES) announced the winners of their 2001 International Access Engineering Awards Program. The purpose of the awards program is to recognize significant innovative technical contributions to the access engineering profession. All entries were judged on innovation, creativity, scope-of-benefit to consumers and the universality of the product and/or service based on the adherence to universal design principles (if applicable). The recipient of ICAES' Lifetime Achievement Award was Dr. Leonard Kasday. Dr Kasday was a Universal Design Engineer at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Dr. Kasday's work to improve the accessibility of the worldwide web for all individuals with disabilities is well known throughout the country and the world. In Pennsylvania, Dr. Kasday was instrumental in the development of standards and policies governing the accessibility of all state web sites. His accessibility checker, the "WAVE" http://www.temple.edu/instituteondisabilities/piat/wave/, is one of a select number of tools promoted by the government to assist web designers in improving accessibility.
Social Security has issued new regulations that do four important things for people with disabilities who work:
1st, the amount you can earn before your earnings indicate you are probably performing "substantial gainful activity" or SGA goes up to $740 for 2001. (The amount in 2000 was $700.) In following years the SGA amount will either stay the same or be increased if the national average wage index increases. Social Security counts your gross earnings before any deductions, not what you take home.
2nd, the amount you can earn before the month counts as a trial work period (TWP) month has increased to $530 in 2001. (The amount in 2000 was $200.) In following years the TWP will either stay the same or be increased if the national average wage index increases. Social Security counts your gross earnings.
3rd, if you are self-employed, in the year 2001 a month will count as a trial work period month if either the earnings are more than $530 or the number of self-employed hours of work are more than 80.
4th, if you are a child (under age 21) who is a full-time student in a school, college, or university, or in a course of vocational or technical training designed to prepare the student for gainful employment, then in the year 2001 up to $1290 a month and up to $5,200 a year will be exempt income under the SSI program. (The amounts in year 2000 were $400 a month and $1620 a year.) These earnings amounts will be increased annually based on the SSI cost of living increases. You can find the new regulations on the Social Security Administration's webpage: http://www.ssa.gov/.
Students will compete in designing a digital system to replace 23 million talking books and magazines and 730,000 cassette playback machines that the Library of Congress lends to literature fans who can't read because of physical disabilities. Existing digital machines made in Canada and Japan do not meet the need, said Robert Fistick, spokesman of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Nearly a million machines will be produced and lent out in the first 10 years of the program. Prizes of $5,000 will go to the winning design, $2,000 to the design taking second place and $1,000 for third place. They will be presented next July by the Industrial Designers Society of America. The group is organizing the competition among its 54 affiliated schools. "Present equipment will not all be junked," said Fistick. "Some people will want to keep the cassette equipment, just as there are still a few who use the older system with long-playing records." The Library pf Congress talking books program goes back to 1933. About 7 million of its 120 million books and other items are already on line in digital form.
Developed by the accessibility experts at the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC), University of Toronto, A-Prompt Toolkit Version 1 will check and repair HTML for conformance with WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 or Section 508 Standards. If an accessibility problem is detected, A-Prompt displays the necessary dialogs and guides the user to fix the problem. When all potential problems have been resolved, the repaired HTML code is inserted into the document and a new version of the file may be saved to the author's hard drive. This software is made available through a joint collaboration between the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto and the TRACE Center at the University of Wisconsin. These research centers are dedicated to improving the accessibility and usability of information technologies by people with disabilities. This fully functional web accessibility validation and repair utility is now downloadable free of charge at: http://www.aprompt.ca/.
United Cerebral Palsy in Milwaukee is offering Computer Classes with assistive technology (e.g. intellikeys, trackballs, Zoomtext, touch window, etc.). There is a fee for the sessions. Classes are open to everyone, though class size is limited to 8 students. Mark Noel is the Technology and Advocacy Specialist at UCP and may be contacted at 414-329-4500 if you have questions.
What makes an adventure story great? According to a panel of experts assembled by National Geographic Adventure, everything from Into Thin Air to stories once alleged to have been created out of thin air. The bimonthly magazine featured a list of what it calls the 100 greatest adventure stories of all time in its July/August 2001 issue. Topping the list is The Worst Journey in the World, Apsley Cherry-Garrard's 1922 publication about the fatal South Pole expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. No. 2 is the Journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, followed by Wind, Sand and Stars, the aviation adventures of poet-pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Also making the top 10 is Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer's bestselling account of climbing Mount Everest, and the Travels of Marco Polo, the 13th-century explorer whose memories of China were long considered too fantastic for truth. "There were always doubters, but the scholarship backs up what he wrote," said Anthony Brandt, the magazine's book reviewer and leader of the selection committee. "His influence is enormous. His book is the goad, the spur, to most Western exploration and travel." Other titles in the top 100 include Mark Twain's Roughing It (No. 13) BRA11882/ RC 12437, Charles Lindbergh's The Spirit of St. Louis (No. 19) BRJ00380/RD 07251/RC 42159, Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle (No. 23) BRA04045/RC 16367, Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff (No. 26) RC/FD 13986 and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm (No. 30) RC 44751.
The 10 greatest adventure books of all time, as selected by a panel assembled by National Geographic Adventure:
1. The Worst Journey in the World, Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)--in process.
2. Journals, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1814)--RC 31118.
3. Wind, Sand and Stars, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1940)--BR 01903.
4. The Exploration of the Colorado River, John Wesley Powell (1895)--BR 01239, Az-BPH (AZ CB 649) RC, Tx-BPH (CBT 1234) RC.
5. Arabian Sands, Wilfred Thesiger (1959)--BR 08451/RC 33186.
6. Annapurna, Maurice Herzog (1952)--RC 10283.
7. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey (1968)--Co-B (CC 00446) RC, Az-BPH (AZ CB 493) RC.
8. West with the Night, Beryl Markham (1942)--RC 23744.
9. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)--RC 44525.
10. Travels, Marco Polo (1298)--BRA05325/BRJ01580/RC 13298.
BULLETIN BOARD is published four times a year by the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped. It is available in large print, Braille, and audio-cassette editions. The Wisconsin Regional Library makes no recommendations or endorsements concerning any products or services which may appear in this publication.
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