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Council Signs Letter Opposing Special Needs Scholarship Expansion Proposals

DATE:  July 31, 2017 TO: The Members of the Joint Committee on Finance   CC: Gov. Walker, Sen. Fitzgerald, Rep. Vos FROM: Wisconsin Disability and Education Stakeholders RE: Opposing Special Needs Scholarship Expansion Proposals We are writing on behalf of our organizations that represent and support students, families, and public schools, to request that the Joint Finance Committee decline to take up the expansions to the Special Needs Scholarship Program that appear in the...
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Board Application Packet 2017

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired seeks candidates for our board of directors who are committed to promoting the dignity and independence of people who are blind and visually impaired.  The application packet can be downloaded by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article. Completed applications are due by September 15, 2017.  Please share the application and this cover email with individuals you believe would make excellent contributions to WCBVI...
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Concerns with Assembly Special Needs Voucher and OE Changes

    To:      Representatives Robin Vos, John Nygren, and Mary Felzkowski Members of the Joint Committee on Finance      Gov. Scott Walker From:  Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin Autism Society of Wisconsin Community Advocates for Public Education--Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Disability Rights Wisconsin Family Voices of Wisconsin Parents for Public Schools of Milwaukee School...
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Council Seeks Artists to Participate in October Gallery Night

Are you an artist that is visually impaired? Do you know an artist with a visual impairment looking to display their work? We have a wonderful opportunity for you! The Council is currently seeking 4-6 artists to display their work at our Madison-based office this fall as we once again partner with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for Fall Gallery Night. The evening reception will take place on Friday, October 6th with the work remaining installed through Friday, November 17th. Student...
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The White Cane Appeal

In 2016, 471 people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired received a free white cane from the Council. For those people who received their first white cane, or replaced a well-worn one, having that cane means they can safely cross the street, walk confidently throughout their neighborhood, and be recognized as someone with low vision. The Council has been providing white canes free of charge for over 30 years. Please consider making a gift to the Council to help us cover the cost of...
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2017 Legislative Priorities

To download the word version of our 2017 Legislative Priorities, click here. Transportation Alternatives & Accessibility: Strengthen transit and transportation services to ensure that people with disabilities across the state can get to where they need to go. Transportation is among the greatest of challenges facing people who are blind/visually impaired. Being transit dependent limits access to employment, health care, services of daily living and social connections. Budget Items •...
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Council letter to Speaker Paul Ryan regarding proposed American Health Care Act

  754 Williamson Street, Madison, WI 53703 608-255-1166 www.wcblind.org Friday, March 10, 2017 The Honorable Paul Ryan 1223 Longworth HOB Washington, D.C. 20515   Dear Speaker Ryan:   On behalf of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCBVI), we wish to convey our concerns regarding the House’s proposed American Health Care Act.  The mission of the WCBVI is to promote the dignity and independence of the people of Wisconsin who are blind or...
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Thanks for Giving through The Big Share

THANK YOU for making The Big Share a success for the Council and the other 65 non-profit organizations who participated under the umbrella of Community Shares of Wisconsin! The Council received gifts totaling $3,249 from 56 individuals. Special thanks to Council staff for 100% participation! For many of the donors, this was their first gift to the Council. We appreciate their interest in our services and their financial support for the education, vision services, and legislative...
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Scholarship Application Now Available – Post-Secondary Students Encouraged to Apply by March 31

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is excited to announce that their scholarship program for 2017 is now accepting applications. Wisconsin residents who have a visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye with the best conventional correction, or have a visual field of 20 degrees or less, are eligible. Also, they must be students in post-secondary institutions with a 3.0 GPA or higher. The Council will award ten scholarships at $2,000 each. Obtain a copy of the...
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The Big Share Tuesday, March 7th

The Big Share is Tuesday, March 7th! The Big Share is a 24-hour online fundraising event to support local nonprofit groups, including the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired. You can select from among 65 nonprofits and direct your gifts to the causes that are important to you. If the Council has the most donors between noon and 1:00 pm on March 7th, we will receive a cash prize of $500! Just think what the Council could do with an extra $500 - home visits, free white...
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Transportation Sign On Letter

  DATE: July 24, 2017   TO: Co-Chairs Darling and Nygren and Joint Finance Committee Members FROM: Wisconsin Aging and Disability Stakeholder Organizations  RE: Transportation Needs of Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Communities We are writing to ask that the transportation funding plan being debated by the Joint Finance Committee address the specific transportation needs of Wisconsin’s aging and disability communities. Lack of adequate transportation options...
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Core Values Guide Our Journey

By Denise Jess, CEO/Executive Director Inclusivity, uncompromising respect and integrity represent the core values of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired. Core values are what help guide our actions and support us in achieving our mission and vision.  If we imagine that we’re on board a bus together, the destination for the journey is striving for our mission and achieving our vision.  How we interact with each other, with those getting on and off the bus...
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Project Assistant Position Available

The Council is currently seeking a Project Assistant to join our staff. This 30 hour a week position is based at our Williamson Street office in Madison. The primary responsibilities include supporting Council events and special projects, data entry, spreadsheet management and customer service. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be expected. Visually impaired candidates highly encouraged to apply. Please submit your cover letter and resume by 4:00 p.m. on February 3. For more detailed...
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National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week Sheds Light on Options for Conversations with Aging Drivers

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired   For a person who has enjoyed the freedom of driving most of their lives, relinquishing the opportunity to drive can be a difficult decision. During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 5-9, it’s important to acknowledge the significance of these conversations and decisions in the lives of older adults. Attention to detail and the ability to react is an important skill to possess...
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Online Auction exceed goals, raising over $3,900

“Bidding Against Blindness,” our annual online auction, officially opened on Thursday, November 10 and closed on Wednesday, November 16. This year, we raised a total of $3,916! That is more than half the value of the items that were donated. Our goal was $3,100 and there were no items left without a bid! All proceeds from the auction go to support the work of the Council to promote the dignity and independence of people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired. These funds will help...
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Council Office and Sharper Vision Store Closed for Thanksgiving

The Council office and the Sharper Vision Store will be closed on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 so our staff can enjoy the holiday with family and friends.

Both the store and office will reopen on Monday, November 28 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. We wish you and your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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Join us for “Arrive Together: Building a 21st Century Transportation System for Wisconsin

On Saturday, December 3, WCVBI will join transit riders and allies at Milwaukee Area Technical College for a one-day transportation summit, Arrive Together: Building a 21st Century Transportation System for Wisconsin, to engage in the vital conversation about transportation priorities. Transportation is vital.  It connects people to jobs, healthcare, the grocery store, places of worship, school and more. For people who aren't able to drive, can't afford to drive or do not want to drive,...
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National Family Caregivers Month: Insights and Suggestions for Those Who Care for Persons with Disabilities Every Day

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired National Family Caregivers Month honors the compassionate family members, friends and neighbors, along with dedicated paid caregivers, who help a growing population of aging and disabled adults. According to the National Care Planning Council, about 20 percent of people in the U.S. provide part-time or full-time care for someone in need. Formal caregivers serve as either volunteers or paid care...
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National White Cane Safety Day: October 15, 2016

Saturday, October 15, is nationally recognized as White Cane Safety Day.  While most motorists know that a person on foot has the right-of-way, many are unfamiliar with Wisconsin’s White Cane Law: “An operator of a vehicle shall stop the vehicle before approaching closer than 10 feet to a pedestrian who is carrying a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white trimmed with red and which is held in an extended or raised position or who is using a dog guide and shall take...
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Adaptive Products for People with Vision Loss: Staff Favorites

Join the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired for our free webinar “Adaptive Products for People with Vision Loss: Staff Favorites” on Wednesday, November 2, from 11 a.m. to noon. In this webinar, Council staff members who use items from our Sharper Vision Store will describe the product’s features, why they use it, and the importance of the product in their everyday lives. Several products will be featured during the one-hour presentation. A variety of products,...
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The Council Welcomes Denise Jess as New CEO/Executive Director

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is proud to welcome Denise Jess as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director, effective October 1, 2016. Jess, who has served as Assistant Executive Director since July 1, assumes the leadership role after the retirement of Executive Director Loretta Himmelsbach on September 29. Jess, a Madison resident, previously served as Second Vice President for the Council Board of Directors. She also chaired the...
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Disability Employment Awareness Month: Spreading the Importance of Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired As we take this month to recognize employment diversity, it’s important to highlight the significance of inclusivity in the workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor has created the theme #InclusionWorks to honor disability employment awareness in October. National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the contributions of employees with disabilities and provides education about the value...
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White Cane Safety Day Symbolizes Independence and Security for Persons Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired For more than 50 years, October 15 has served as a day to honor the importance of the white cane for millions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired. White Cane Safety Day recognizes the freedom, security and independence that this tool provides people who have vision loss. On this day, governors in states across the country sign proclamations that recognize the White Cane Law. Constance...
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Fall Gallery Night is almost here!

Fall Gallery Night, sponsored by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, is a great annual event in the Madison-area community.  We love being part of it, and we’re excited about the wonderful and creative pieces that will be on display at the Council. The exhibit includes photography by Mike Morris and Elena Santin, ceramics by Judith Rasmussen, wood carvings by Don McCall, and woodwork by George Wurtzel. All art was created by individuals with vision loss, and it will be accessible...
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August Webinar: “When to Stop Driving and How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About It”

  Join us for our free webinar: “When to Stop Driving and How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About It” on Wednesday, August 17, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.   After many years behind the wheel, it can be difficult for an individual with diminishing vision to determine the appropriate time to stop driving, but it could be one of the most important decisions they make.   Featured speakers include Jim Kubek, Supervisor for AAA Driver Training, who will discuss how to talk to an...
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The White Cane Appeal

In 2015, 489 people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired received a free white cane from the Council. For those people who received their first white cane, or replaced a well-worn one, having that cane means they can safely cross the street, walk confidently throughout their neighborhood, and be recognized as someone with low vision. The Council has been providing white canes free of charge for over 30 years. Records from the early years are not available, but our best guess is that...
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“The Outlook from Here” is Looking for Additional Writers

Are you a Wisconsinite who is blind or has a visual impairment? Do you like to write? Would you like to share your stories of living with a visual impairment or a family member's visual impairment? “The Outlook from Here” writers’ group is looking for new members to help write our blog. To date, our group has written over 50 stories on subjects ranging from dating to self-advocacy to seeking employment and everything in between. You can review all of our stories...
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Have fun in the sun with proper eyewear to stay protected – July is UV Safety Month

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired While we enjoy the long, warm days of July, it’s important to stay protected from the sun’s powerful rays. Too much exposure to the sun can cause damage to both eyes and skin. The sun releases energy (radiation) in many forms, including ultraviolet rays. UV rays can cause sunburn and damage vision. There are two types of UV rays: A and B. Long-term exposure to UVA rays can affect central vision....
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National Service Dog Month: Sharing the Value of Guide Dogs and Organizations That Bring Them to People Who Are Visually Impaired

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired For millions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired, having a guide dog gives them greater independence to perform everyday tasks. As we honor National Service Dog Month this September, it’s important to emphasize the value of service dogs and the organizations that work to bring them to individuals in need.  National Service Dog Month, previously known as National Guide Dog Month,...
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Summer Eye Safety Tips to Keep in Mind During National Safety Month

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired As the calendar flips to June, summertime pastimes such as grilling on the patio and outdoor chores will keep people busy in the sunshine.  In honor of National Safety Month, Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Education and Vision Services Director Jean Kalscheur and Low Vision Therapist Amy Wurf provide some key tips to stay safe outside. “With porches and patios, be sure...
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Over 22 Million Affected by Cataracts – Learn More about this Disease during Cataract Awareness Month

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Vision loss from cataracts continues to be a growing problem, and while there is no cure, there are ways to prevent the onset of this disease.  During Cataract Awareness Month, it’s important to realize that more than 22 million Americans are affected by cataracts, costing an estimated $6.8 billion in treatment costs. The disease is especially prevalent in people age 40 and older. A cataract...
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World Health Day 2016 Brings Awareness to Diabetes and Opportunity to Discuss Diabetic Eye Disease

By Kevin Damask, staff writer with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired On April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on diabetes as part of World Health Day. According to WHO, about 347 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2008, and the disease is growing, especially in low and middle-income countries. In 2012, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths and WHO predicts that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. For people with...
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March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

The human eye can be taken for granted, especially in the workplace. During Workplace Eye Wellness Month, it’s important to realize the significance of protecting your eyes and steps to take to make sure your eyes are safe at work. Safety precautions to prevent eye injury are easy to practice and are essential to maintain long-term vision health. According to the organization Friends for Sight, almost 2,000 people suffer workplace eye injuries every day. About one-third of these injuries...
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Council Staffer Shares Importance of World Braille Day

In 1824, Louis Braille, a young blind student in France, created a system of tactile communication that would forever change how the visually impaired learn to read, write, learn and communicate. Almost 200 years ago, Braille invented the raised alphabet that bears his name and every year, on his birthday of January 4, Braille’s innovation and contribution to the visually impaired is honored during “World Braille Day.” Braille is a tactile alphabet system of six dots in a small grid...
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Rise of Growing Disease Recognized During Glaucoma Awareness Month

As we recognize January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, it’s important to note that glaucoma, which affects more than 2.7 million people in the U.S. over 40, is growing. According to the National Eye Institute, by 2030, more than 4.2 million people are projected to have glaucoma, a 58 percent increase. The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Since the onset of glaucoma poses no symptoms it is often referred to as the...
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Sun Prairie resident publishes first novel, The Sapphire Scarf

Allison Peterson has dealt with her share of obstacles in recent years, but it didn’t prevent her from achieving a lifelong dream. Peterson, who lives in Sun Prairie, recently published The Sapphire Scarf, a 322-page romantic novel. Peterson enjoyed writing short stories and romantic poetry for years, but The Sapphire Scarf is her first full-length project and the first in a four-part series. She goes by the pen name Ali Mar Peterbakk. Peterson began the project while going through a...
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Council Honors Ford and Evers at Annual Luncheon

The Council honored two long-time educators for their contributions to the blind and visually impaired community during the Annual Awards Luncheon on Saturday, November 14 in Madison. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction State Superintendent Tony Evers was presented the Outstanding Public Service Award, while UW-Madison Professor Emeritus from the School of Business and former Marketing Department Chair Neil Ford received the Louis Seidita Distinguished Service Award. Evers and Ford...
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December is “Safe Toys and Celebrations Month”

The holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family, but it’s also important to stay safe while celebrating. Each year, toys that can often seem safe are responsible for causing thousands of eye injuries to kids. Studies show that toy guns often contribute to the most prevalent injuries, followed by playground equipment, bicycles and balloons. According to Friends For Sight, each year, an average of 250,000 children are sent to hospitals for toy-related injuries. Most of these...
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Bidding Against Blindness

The Council’s online auction is in full swing. Log on to www.biddingforgood.com/wcbvi to support the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired by bidding on items. If you’ve never participated in an online auction, here’s how it works. When you log on to www.biddingforgood.com/wcbvi you’ll see all items that are up for bid. Choose the category (i.e. dining, tickets, memorabilia) you’re interested in, or browse all the items. To place a bid, you will need to enter your...
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November is “Diabetic Eye Disease Month”

As we recognize Diabetic Eye Disease Month, it’s important to know what diabetic eye disease is and how to take steps to prevent it. According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems people with diabetes may get, which include the following: Diabetic retinopathy – Causes harm to the blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue in the back of the eye that is sensitive to light. Cataract – Causes the eye lens to get...
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Fall Gallery Night 2015

Gallery Night showcased artwork of the blind and visually impaired   With help from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA), the Council celebrated the work of blind and visually impaired artists at Gallery Night on October 2. The WCBVI office was transformed into a mini art gallery for the night as attendees admired work from five artists and was entertained by the folk music of acoustic guitarist Ken Lonnquist. Gallery Night featured the work of watercolorist Eunice Reep, the...
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October is "Home Eye Safety Awareness Month"

Fall cleaning, home improvements and yard work: for many Americans, these projects define this time of year. But, did you know home projects like these can be a major threat to eye safety? As we acknowledge “Home Eye Safety Awareness Month”, we examine the major causes for eye damage and proper ways to protect your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear...
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On Sight: September 2015

Get Active during “Healthy Aging Month!”   As we honor “Healthy Aging Month,” we’re reminded that aging is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves, from life-changing moments like becoming a grandparent, heading back to school or even routine lifestyle changes such as beginning a new exercise program. Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you should miss out on these exciting opportunities. Vision impairment or loss doesn’t have to mean an end to...
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Dining in the Dark Provides Another Amazing Experience

For one evening, Ros Zeltins’ friends experienced what she deals with everyday when she sits down to enjoy a meal. Zeltins and her husband, John, along with six of her friends, attended this year’s Dining in the Dark event on August 27 at GingeRoots Asian Grille in Appleton. Those who sat down for dinner feasted on a five-course meal, with one major caveat – they were blindfolded throughout the entire meal. “My husband and I went to Dining in the Dark two years ago and we had such a...
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Get Active During “Healthy Aging Month!”

As we honor “Healthy Aging Month,” we’re reminded that aging is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves, from life-changing moments like becoming a grandparent, heading back to school or even routine lifestyle changes such as beginning a new exercise program. Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you should miss out on these exciting opportunities. Vision impairment or loss doesn’t have to mean an end to physical activity. Before you start a new exercise routine,...
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Make sure a vision check is on your back-to-school “to do” list

August finds parents and grandparents checking off important activities before their children and grandchildren start a new school year.  Enrollment form? Check! Orientation schedule?  Check!  Immunizations? Check!  How about their eyes??  We hope you said, “Check!” because good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school, and overall well-being. Prevent Blindness America (www.preventblindness.org) has designated August as Children’s Eye...
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Protect Your Eyes during Eye Injury Prevention Month

It’s that time of year when we all want to spend more time outdoors.  Activities might include gardening, mowing and trimming, getting around to those clean-up projects, and participating in a favorite sport.  Whatever you’re doing, it’s important to protect your eyes from potential risks.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org) notes that accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States and that 90% of these injuries...
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Coming to Dodgeville this June: "Connecting Seniors to Technology," a FREE Program for Older Adults with Changing or Low Vision

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is offering “Connecting Seniors to Technology,” a FREE program which includes classroom or in-home instruction for older adults with changing vision or low vision who are experiencing difficulties using computers, tablets, e-readers, or smart phones. During the first class, participants will identify what they want to learn and the class will be divided into small groups based on these learning interests. Subsequent...
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Get off the Computer in Celebration of Healthy Vision Month!

By Michelle Roach, Writer at Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired During a normal work day in front of the computer, I regularly notice that my eyes feel tired and dry, and the screen may even be blurring. Do these feelings sound familiar? The National Eye Institute declares May “Healthy Vision Month.” Keeping your eyes healthy and productive at work and at home is extremely important. According to the American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome is defined...
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Volunteer(s) Wanted! Gardener

Volunteer Opportunity: Gardener The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is looking for an individual or group with green thumbs to care for the garden spaces that decorate the outside of our building. This person(s) will have a great deal of freedom and we’re encouraging this volunteer or group to make the garden spaces their own. Some core responsibilities of the gardener(s) are: Plant installation, maintenance, and care of garden beds and green spaces Weeding every...
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Rock County Low Vision Support Group for Veterans

February 18, 2015 – Thanks to a generous grant from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is forming a monthly support group for Rock County veterans who are blind or have low vision. Spouses, significant others, or adult children/caregivers of veterans are also welcome. The purpose of this support group is to provide a welcoming atmosphere where veterans can exchange and share information, experiences, and resources in their...
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The Council Welcomes New Low Vision Therapist

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Welcomes New Low Vision Therapist The Council is proud to announce and welcome Amy Wurf as the new Low Vision Therapist. She comes with 19 years of experience providing low vision services to adults in the Midwest, primarily to veterans at VA Hospitals in Chicago and Madison. During the last six years at the Low Vision Clinic at the William S. Middleton VA Hospital, she worked on a national low vision research project and led her...
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Ten $2,000 Scholarships available in 2015!

Each year, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired allocates funds to provide scholarships for full and part-time, blind or visually impaired post-secondary students enrolled or accepted in college and vocational/community school programs. This year, the Council is thrilled to offer 10 scholarships for $2,000 each. Applicants must be Wisconsin residents who are high school graduates or returning students, carrying a full load of classes as defined by the institution they...
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$5,000 Grant Awarded to Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired (WCBVI) from WI Department of Veterans Affair

January 15, 2015 – Today WCBVI’s Executive Director Loretta Himmelsbach accepted a $5,000 grant from Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Board Member Larry Kutschma at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The Council is eager to utilize this award to further develop low vision services and resources for Wisconsin veterans. The grant will fund four one-on-one technology visits and the development of a Low Vision Support Group in Rock County. The...
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The Big Share - March 3rd, 2014

Tuesday, March 3rd will be the first ever online giving day in Wisconsin hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW), The Big Share™, to benefit 70 local nonprofits, including the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. The goal is to raise funds to benefit our nonprofit member groups and continuing the work building a fair, just community and protecting our environment. Please share this announcement with your friends, family and business networks to help spread the word!...
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Bowling Social For People 14 and Over Who are Blind & Visually Impaired in Wisconsin

Saturday, February 28, 201512:00 Noon to 4:00 P.M.Wagner's Bowling Lanes2159 Brackett Avenue, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701 Registration Fee: $20.00* Per Person (Includes Up To 3 Games of Bowling, Shoe Rental, and Registration Costs) Safe and easy to use approach rails provided, all levels welcome and no experience needed FUN · PRIZES ·  PIZZA & POP There will be a 50/50 drawing (Must be present to win prizes) SPACE IS LIMITED Register by Friday, February 13,...
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Personal vision loss leads to personal vision for accessibility: Meet Dave Schuh of Wausau

Dave Schuh, owner of Accessibility Pros LLC, has been dubbed “Wisconsin’s adaptive technology guru to the disability community” by the person who nominated him for the 2014 Friend of the Council Award.  It’s easy to see why. Dave has vision loss from Retinitis Pigmentosa, so he understands firsthand the challenges of the people with whom he works. For 10 years, he served as an assistive technologist at a local technical college in Wausau where he taught technology to students with...
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Keeping kids safe at holiday time

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that hospital emergency rooms across the country treat more than 200,000 toy-related injuries each year. Because the most commonly injured part of the body is the head and face area, Prevent Blindness America developed a list of gift-buying tips to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone. Before purchasing a toy: Read all warnings and instructions on the box. Ask yourself or the parent...
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A love of the land and work of the hands keep Victor active, in spite of longtime vision loss

By Kathi Koegle Victor Klein has been a farmer for 50 years in Stoddard, Wisconsin, a small town about 15 minutes from La Crosse.  This choice of profession dismayed his parents who raised a “city boy,” but he has found great satisfaction in growing corn and hay and raising beef steers.  “I also used to raise 500 chickens a year for the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.” It sometimes comes as a surprise to people that Victor can accomplish as much as he does with vision loss.  His...
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Former Council Board President Receives Rotary Service Award

Note: Karen Perzentka was the first female board president of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.  Rotary Club of Madison recently presented her with its Senior Service Award for her many volunteer contributions to the community.  We are reprinting with permission an article that appeared in The Madison, WI Rotary News for November 21, 2014: Karen Perzentka has been volunteering all her adult life—for the last 11 years at the Attic Angel Association where...
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Awards luncheon celebrates community partnership, legislative advocacy, friendship and volunteerism

The Council’s annual awards event is a time we all enjoy because it’s our chance to recognize and thank individuals and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people who have vision loss. On Saturday, November 15, we gathered in De Forest to present these awards. Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) of Milwaukee and Braille Library and Transcribing Services (BLTS) of Madison, received the Council’s Community Partnership Award.  Cheryl Orgas, ABLE’s...
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Joe Keeps Braille Writers Working Well

How old is this Braille Writer?  Does it need new springs, keys or parts? Has it been used much, or has it been in storage somewhere like an attic? These are some of the questions Joe Hodgson asks each time a Braille Writer is entrusted to his care for repair.  Joe has been servicing Braille Writers in his home workshop as a Council volunteer since 1990.  People bring their machines to us.  Joe returns them, whenever possible, in tip-top condition, and he personally mails...
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Reducing the Risk for Diabetic Eye Disease

By Jean Kalscheur, Vision Rehabilitation Teacher,Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Persons who have diabetes are at risk for diabetic eye disease.  Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.  According to Prevent Blindness America, people with diabetes are 25 to 30 times more likely to lose vision from retinopathy, cataracts, or glaucoma compared to persons without diabetes. In diabetic...
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Talking Devices May Improve Your Safety When Taking Pills

By Jean Kalscheur, Vision Rehabilitation TeacherWisconsin Council of the Blind &Visually Impaired About 37% of Americans aged 60 and over use five or more prescription drugs, not including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements.  Managing medications can be a challenge when you have low vision. Safety and accuracy when taking pills can be improved once you learn some helpful strategies.  These range from identifying pills by color, size and shape, to using contrast color...
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Join the fun and support the Council’s online auction!

This is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself or someone else to unique gifts for the holidays, or just because. Our online auction begins on Monday, November 10, and ends on Wednesday, November 19.  You can view items beginning on October 25 at www.biddingforgood.com/wcbvi. Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the auction items: - Foodfight Restaurant gift cards- Madison Children’s Museum passes- Winery tours & tastings- Murano glass jewelry- Madison Capitols hockey tickets- George...
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Public Outreach Information For the November 4, 2014 General Election

Registering to Vote If you need assistance completing a voter registration application, anyone can help you with that form.  You can find the voter registration application on the Government Accountability Board website.  After completing the registration application, the assistor must then sign the form in the appropriate box and provide the additional required information.  Explaining how to complete the form is not considered “assistance". Proof of Residence A recent...
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Voting for individuals with disabilities

Council note: We would like to share with you a very good article on voting for individuals who have disabilities.  We are reprinting it from the September 2014 issue of The Open Door, a publication of Access to Independence, Inc. in Madison.   Change Starts at the Ballot Box – So Why Aren’t You Voting?! People with disabilities vote at an alarmingly low rate compared to people without disabilities. On average, people with disabilities vote at a rate of 15% LESS than the...
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“The car stopped within inches of running over Jean”

A white cane story everyone needs to read Paul Ekblad and his wife Jean spend a few months in Arizona every year.  He uses his white cane in Arizona, but not when he returns to Wisconsin.  He remarked, “I don’t want to be known as ‘the blind guy’ in our neighborhood.” In late February of this year, Paul and Jean were crossing a street near their home in Arizona.  Jean was watching for the white “Walk” light.  When it illuminated, she said to Paul, “We can walk.”  Jean...
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Fall Gallery Night is almost here!

 Fall Gallery Night, sponsored by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, is a great annual event in the Madison-area community.  We love being part of it, and we’re excited about the wonderful and creative pieces that will be on display at the Council for the collection titled “Art Beyond Sight.”  The exhibit includes photography by Mike Morris, oil paintings by Al Schmiege, wood carvings by Don McCall, and recorded stories coordinated by Annika Konrad.  All art was...
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Protect your eyes at work!

The statistics of workplace vision injuries is pretty staggering!  It is estimated that half of the 2,000 eye injuries that occur in a single day take place at work. The best way to prevent injury to the eye is to always wear appropriate eye protection.  To be effective, eyewear must fit properly and be designed to protect you while you work.  It is estimated that more than 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper safety eyewear.  The Occupational Safety Health...
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Protect your vision this summer with 10 safety tips from Lighthouse International

Always protect your eyes from the sun’s invisible harmful rays. Prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause cataracts, macular degeneration and a number of other eye problems, including sunburn on the surface of the eye and skin cancer around the eyes. Select sunglasses that absorb 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays and provide 400 UV protection. 400 UV protection means the lenses block damaging UV-A and UV-B light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. Check the label to be...
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City of Madison seeks public input for accessible taxi service

In 2013, Union Cab provided a total of roughly 10,000 accessible taxi trips. This is an increase of 125% from 2012. This increase demonstrates a rising trend in the desire for on-demand accessible taxi services. Nearly 10 years ago, the City of Madison created an accessible taxi ordinance. Since that time, accessible taxi service has become extremely popular. Due to possible changes to the way cab service is provided, the Commission on People with Disabilities would like to hear about your...
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How to manage, organize and label your meds

It can be challenging to develop a safe, effective system for organizing and identifying your prescription and over-the-counter medications when you can’t read the labels because of vision loss.  The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is offering one-hour presentations that will provide techniques and ideas to help you better manage your medications.  You will learn ways to identify medications, remember the prescribed dosage, and keep track of how often you need to...
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Speak out about employment for individuals with disabilities!

The Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council (WRC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) are holding a series of special hearings around the state on Wednesday, May 21, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.  These hearings are designed to obtain comments from the public about how to improve employment for people in Wisconsin with disabilities.  These comments will help WRC and DWD set the needs and priorities for services that lead to employment for individuals with disabilities. The 11 hearing...
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Summer camp for the blind and visually impaired

National Camps for the Blind and National Camps for Blind Children invite individuals who are blind or legally blind to attend one of their annual summer camps.  This year, these organizations are presenting a camp week, June 29 to July 6, at Camp Wakonda in Oxford, Wisconsin.  This is one of the sites around the country chosen especially for its high standard of excellence and geographical location.  Committed staff and counselors are trained to meet the needs of blind and legally blind...
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Register now for healthy cooking classes!

Preparing meals can provide a lot of personal satisfaction and contribute to our overall wellness.  When one’s vision begins to diminish, there’s no reason to stop enjoying this activity.  It just calls for doing things in a different way. We’re teaming up with the Willy Street Co-op to offer two cooking classes for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The classes will be held at the Willy Street West location, 6825 University Avenue in Middleton on Tuesday, June 3 and 10,...
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Register now for tandem bike experience!

On Sunday June 1, Madison celebrates the Sixth Annual Ride the Drive event.  This is a carefree, car-free event that turns some of Madison’s streets into a public promenade that is open to cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers and people out to share in the experience and fun atmosphere.  The schedule also includes live music, food, various activities, and fun stopping points along the way. The Wisconsin Bike Federation seeks blind and visually impaired riders who would like to ride with their...
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New 2014 requirements for Wisconsin voters

Governor Walker recently signed 2013 Wisconsin Act 182 (SB267) relating to providing proof of residence in order to register to vote. The new voting requirements went into effect on Friday, April 4, 2014. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) is providing guidance to voters and local election officials about these new registration requirements. All electors, except those in the military and those residing overseas permanently, must now provide a valid proof of residence document...
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Volunteer spotlight:

Margaret makes volunteering an important part of her life Longtime Madison resident Margaret Sommers loves to help others.  “It makes me feel good to know that I might be making a difference in someone’s life,” she reflects. A retired employee from UW Housing, Margaret has been an active community volunteer for more than 30 years.  She balances volunteering with reading, exercising, spending cherished time with her “surrogate” grandson Duncan, traveling, and photographing...
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Women are at greater risk for permanent vision loss

In January of this year, Harris Poll conducted an online survey among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.  86 percent incorrectly believe that men and women are at equal risk of permanent vision loss, and 5 percent believe that men are at greater risk. Prevent Blindness, a national nonprofit organization, sponsored the survey to gain insight into the public’s perceptions about women’s eye and vision health.  The group is releasing the data as part of Women’s Eye Health and...
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Raise your voice about transportation needs

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is holding a series of nine Town Hall meetings around the state that begin this week and continue through May 21.  DOT staff will gather feedback from attendees regarding what transportation issues are most important to them and ideas for financing those needs in the next state budget and beyond. The Town Hall meetings will take place in La Crosse, Madison, Superior, Eau Claire, Wausau, Green Bay, Oshkosh, West Allis, and Kenosha.  Each...
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Omnibus Bill gains momentum!

Good news!  The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired has secured 8 State Senators and 6 State Representatives as sponsors of an Omnibus Bill.  Our legislative proposal is Senate Bill 661. It addresses a number of issues of importance to people in Wisconsin who have vision loss, including protection for guide dogs and service animals, housing, employment opportunities, pedestrian safety and improved signage, enforcement of the White Cane Safety Law, and improved accessibility...
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Newsletters

WCBVI Newsletters Friends Newsletter FRIENDS newsletter is sent to our friends and supporters twice a year. It includes information about vision health issues, Council-sponsored programs and special events, and occasional testimonials. If you would like to receive the Friends newsletter, you can subscribe here. Friends Spring 2017 Friends Fall 2016 On Sight Newsletter On Sight is delivered electronically once a month.  If you know someone who might be interested in receiving the...
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White Cane Appeal

The white cane has long been a symbol of blindness. The White Cane Fund was established in 1948 and still exists today. It is the most important annual fundraiser for the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.

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