« ACB Maine Newsletter April 2023

Welcome to the newsletter for ACB Maine for April 2023

Board Meetings

Members are always welcome to join ACB Maine Board meetings.  Meetings are held the first Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. The new dates are as follows: 

  •  April 6, 2023 
  •  June 1, 2023 
  •  August 3, 2023 
  October Convention TBD 
  •  December 7, 2023 

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Braille Writer Repair

Perkins Solutions repairs Braille writers and provides instructions on how to ship your Brailler and what to include in the box.  Should you need repairs, this is the place to contact.

Perkins Solutions


Just a resource in case anyone is looking – or perhaps something to include on the ACB website or newsletter as a resource.

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Tech Talk is Back

If you don't already know, Tech Talk with Steve Sawczyn is back.

Time - 7-9 PM

Date - The second Tuesday of the month

May 9, 2023

June 13, 2023

July 11, 2023

August 8, 2023

September 12, 2023

October 10, 2023

November 14, 2023

December 12. 2023

Steve writes on March 14 - I hope you’ll join me, tonight, slice of pie optional, from 7:00-9:00 PM for this month’s edition of Tech Talk where ...  yes, we’ll talk all things pies, whether that’s tech we use to help bake them, or even just tech we might use to find other people who are good at baking them.  How to join?
In order to make the program as interactive as possible, we use the Zoom conferencing platform.  When it’s time, you can join by activating the following link from your computer, iOS, or Android device:



Meeting ID: 811 2379 5008
Passcode: 2073456789

If you’re on a mobile device, you can also join by tapping the string of numbers below which will automatically dial the conference ID and access code for you.  Note, using the Zoom app with the link above may be the better option, but this will work if you experience any difficulties, or if you would prefer not to install the Zoom application:


If you are not using a computer or mobile device, or if you would rather join using your telephone, you can dial in using the information that follows:

Number: (646) 558 8656
Meeting ID: 811 2379 5008
Passcode: 2073456789

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Spoken Rx Tutorials

Hadley has launched a new series of tutorial workshops on prescription management. The video workshops demonstrate the benefits of Spoken Rx®, a proprietary audio prescription label solution available for free on the CVS Pharmacy app, which allows patients to have their prescription information read aloud in English or Spanish. The 7-part series, available on Hadley’s website and through the mail, is available to anyone with visual impairment. Learn more by visiting


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Help Make History

Join the Be My Eyes Virtual Volunteer Beta Test

Be My Eyes is launching Virtual Volunteer™, a state of the art visual recognition product powered by OpenAI’s GPT4 technology and they want ACB members to have access to the beta test of the product.

Virtual Volunteer is a digital assistant that can often generate the same level of context and understanding as a human being on many needs. 

Through this new tool, users in the Be My Eyes app will be able to send images to Virtual Volunteer™, which will be able to answer any question about the image and provide visual assistance with a number of tasks.

As an example, if someone sends a picture of the contents of their fridge, Virtual Volunteer™ not only recognizes what’s in there, but also extrapolates and analyzes what you can make with those ingredients, suggesting you a good recipe. 

Be My Eyes is currently looking for both blind and low vision individuals. They will provide all the relevant information and guidelines to access and use this new feature and be sure to make the most out of it. 

To join the beta test, send an email to Michele Paris, Marketing & Communication Manager for Be My Eyes at michele@bemyeyes.com

Please note that as a beta tester, you will be required to sign a beta test agreement that covers things like safety and confidentiality.

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Disability Rights Maine -

I wanted to follow-up with you specifically in regards to LD 988, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to Conduct an Accessibility Study of All Maine State Parks and Historic Sites and to Develop a Plan to Remove Access Barriers”, is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, March 20th at 9:00AM before the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.


As you know, there are three ways to submit testimony on this bill:

1. Attend the public hearing to testify regarding the bill in person at the Cross Building, room 214.   You can find more information regarding parking and accessibility information here: https://legislature.maine.gov/lio/special-accommodations/9142

2. Provide testimony remotely. You can register to testify through zoom and submit written testimony here: https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/  

3. Submit written testimony. If you are not able to attend the hearing, testimony can be submitted using this link.  

Julia Endicott  |  Communications Director

Disability Rights Maine

160 Capitol Street, Suite 4

Augusta, Maine 04330


DRM Deaf Services

1 Mackworth Island, Building C

Falmouth, Maine 04105



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Inclusive Currency

The American Council of the Blind and Supporters Rally to Demand Accessible and Inclusive Currency

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 14, 2023 — On March 10, Harriet Tubman Day, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and supporters (Inclusive Community) rallied in front of the White House and marched to the U.S. Treasury to highlight the ongoing fight for accessible and inclusive currency for all.

As a result of this rally, five members of the American Council of the Blind met with representatives of the U.S. Treasury and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and for the first time, touched the certified tactile feature that will be included as part of the $10 bill redesign in 2026.

The U.S. Treasury agreed to quarterly meetings with the American Council of the Blind to provide progress reports on the key milestones as they work toward completing the redesign of the $10 bill by 2026.
[ https://acb.org/currency-timeline ]

"Fifty years of advocating and 20 years of litigation have brought us to this momentous occasion,” said ACB President Dan Spoone. “We are on the cusp of the United States joining the more than 100 nations whose currency is already accessible to people who are blind and low vision, and the American Council of the Blind remains resolute in our advocacy to help the Biden Administration and the U.S. Treasury finish the job.”

During the rally, a coalition of disability, women’s, and civil rights organizations gathered together to demand a $20 bill redesign that features a portrait of Harriet Tubman and includes accessibility features for people who are blind and low vision. The American Council of the Blind greatly appreciates the support of its members and a diverse set of cross-organizational partners to bring greater awareness to this long-standing and important issue.

Our collective voice calls on the United States to express its commitment to the equality of all people by ensuring U.S. paper currency is accessible and inclusive.

“ACB is grateful for the enduring advocacy of our members and the broad support that we have received from the disability and civil rights communities on this issue, including from the Harriet Tubman family and Women on 20s, as we work to make our currency more accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said Clark Rachfal, ACB’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.

The American Council of the Blind is a national member-driven organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. For more than 60 years, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local, and even international advocacy efforts. With 68 affiliates, ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit  - Inclusive Currency

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Success Story? Here's mine...

from Roger Fuller

I’m a pedestrian.

Because I can’t drive, I find myself walking almost everywhere with my trusty companion, Bella, a three year old Golden Doodle. We hike around the city of Lewiston almost every day.

Independence is important to everyone; no one likes to ask for rides every day, and getting out for a walk is healthy. We walk, and walk, and walk.

But, for better or worse, we live in a city and state that really doesn’t value pedestrians very much. Sidewalks in winter are often not passable, or covered in ice. Often, I pick an area with limited traffic because, well, it’s safer.

Lately I read an interesting article about pedestrian death in the United States. You can read it here

Pedestrian Deaths Rising

“In the first half of 2022, pedestrian deaths increased by 5 percent, or 168 lives lost, compared with the same period the year before, the report shows. The increase is even larger if you compare those 2022 numbers to the first half of 2019, which show an 18 percent increase, or 519 more lives lost.”

And I’m supposing that being blind and visually impaired doesn’t help the situation a whole lot. The article claims that income status and ethnicity have a great deal to do with pedestrian fatality. The article does not examine visual status - but I have a good imagination.

So we took action - a tiny action maybe, but important.

Thanks to a suggestion from a wondeful good friend, I ordered a customized sweatshirt from Amazon.  Here is a photo of the wording on the front and back of the sweatshirt.

The first
photo is a picture of the back of a man standing wearing a grey hooded
sweatshirt with a large white dog by his side. The back of the sweatshirt
has white letters with BaVIP in the first line then Blind and Visually
Impaired Pedestrian in the next three lines.

The second photo is the
right shoulder of the same person in the grey sweatshirt. There is a white
silhouette of a person with a cane and dog on a leash.

I wonder if others would benefit from this simple yet profound solution.

As Bella and I go for a walk today, maybe someone else will see us in a different light.

Just a couple thoughts.  

First, I like the idea of "BaVIP" - for "Blind and Visually Impaired Person."  I think it  sends a good message to others.  As blind and visually impaired people, we should be "VIP's."  And we should be proud that we are out and about doing things, despite the disability... or... because we are differently abled.

Second, I like the idea of a wearable logo. It does let others know. It lets them know that we are aware they may not know, and that we each need to practice respect and patience.

Do you have a success story? Share it with us.

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