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Story of a sweet success

When he attended a variety of classes through 4H and FFA at his parents’ urging, little did Joel Bernhard know that it would lead to a successful career in making chocolate confections and owning a store!  “When you’re in middle school and high school and taking classes about gardening, food, nutrition and cooking, it doesn’t sound cool, but it ended up being fun.  I have my Mom to thank for steering me toward cooking classes.  She told me, “One day, you’re going to...
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February is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of visual impairment and legal blindness among people 50 years and older. AMD progresses painlessly, leaving many patients unaware that they have the disease.  It damages the macula, the area in the eye that allows you to see details (print or people’s faces, for example) and colors. AMD does not affect peripheral vision, and it does not lead to complete blindness.  Degeneration often starts in one eye and progresses into...
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A mind is a terrible thing to waste

We are committed to supporting blind and visually impaired students as they pursue their educational goals and professional dreams.  This year, we are offering 13 scholarships for $1,500 each to post secondary students—whether undergrad, grad, professional or doctoral—who are residents of Wisconsin. Scholarship applications are due March 28, 2014, and we will notify scholarship recipients by April 18.  They will receive their scholarship on May 10, at our spring event. Read one...
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It’s here and it’s yours!!

Introducing the new Sharper Vision Store Catalog!  It’s filled with a variety of assistive products and tips that help make everyday tasks, activities and hobbies easier, safer and more accessible. You’ll be on time for appointments and events. You’ll be able to make that tasty recipe without burning your fingers, and you’ll be able to read your favorite publications with magnifiers and a number of lighting options. The new catalog is your entrée to hundreds of products in the...
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Think Summer!

Want something to warm up these cold, winter days?  How about making plans to attend a week at the Wisconsin Lions Camp this summer?  The Wisconsin Lions Foundation offers two summer camping weeks in 2014 for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  One is for youth, ages 6-17, and the other is for adults, ages 18 and older.  They’re accepting applications now. There is a small registration fee; however, the week at camp is free. Learn more about Wisconsin Lions...
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Arnold is our hero!

Arnold Tucker recently received a Backyard Hero Award for volunteerism from Community Shares of Wisconsin. Arnold began to lose his vision as a child, but he didn't allow it to deter him from earning a pharmacy degree and serving as a pharmacist for more than 50 years. Arnold chaired the Wisconsin Statutory Council on Blindness, and at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired, he served as Treasurer and as a member of several committees, including Finance, Awards, Personnel,...
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January 2014 is Glaucoma Awareness Month

This is a scary statistic—more than four million Americans have glaucoma, and only 50% are aware that they have this disease. Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” because there are no symptoms, and once vision is lost to this condition, it is permanent.  As much as 40% of one’s vision can be lost without even knowing it. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steals sight without warning.  Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve-- a...
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We're on the air!

Jean Kalscheur, Vision Rehabilitation Teacher at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired, was interviewed recently on WTAQ Radio in Green Bay.  She shared resources and recommendations for people who have vision loss.

Listen here.

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On Sight: October 2014

October 15 is the 50th anniversary of National White Cane Safety Day   Listen to “On Sight” To provide additional accessibility, we offer an audio recording of “On Sight” in .mp3 format.  Here’s the link: http://wcblind.org/audio/on_sight_october_2014.mp3  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...
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Touching the Earth connects visually impaired visitors to the earth’s wonders

“Geology tells the history of us and of the earth….The more we can experience the earth, the better we can live our lives here.”  These were among the welcoming remarks offered by Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf, Director of the Weis Earth Science Museum at UW-Fox Valley in Menasha, where we held an opening reception for a new exhibit that is accessible to individuals who have vision loss. Touching the Earth is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually...
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Council presents 2013 awards

Council Presents 2013 Awards for Advocacy, Volunteerism and Excellence in Accommodation  During its annual awards luncheon, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired recognized and thanked individuals and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people who have vision loss.  GingeRootz Asian Grille in Appleton received the Community Partnership Award.  Restaurant owners Doris and Alice Ng hosted two Dining in the Dark events in April 2013 to...
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WRCO Interview with Jean Kalscheur

Council Vision Rehabilitation Teacher Jean Kalscheur was interviewed on WRCO in Richland Center.  Ron Fruit, WRCO manager and interviewer, was kind enough to share a copy of the interview so that we can share it with you. The entire interview is approximately 40 minutes long.  We’ve segmented it into four distinct parts in case you’d like shorter listening segments or if you are more interested in the content of specific sections. Here’s what the interview covers: Part 1:What...
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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...
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10 Important Things to Know about the Affordable Care Act

By Susan Fisher, Elder Healthcare Advocate For the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc.   On October 1, 2013, state- and federal- run Marketplaces opened across the United States.  As individuals begin to explore what the Marketplace may offer them, there are several things everyone should know about the Marketplace and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Below are ten key facts. Effective January 1, 2014, all individuals are required to have health insurance...
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“Art From Within”

Fall 2013 Gallery Night at the Council  Please join us on Friday, October 4, when we participate in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Fall Gallery Night event, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Council offices, 754 Williamson Street, in Madison.  “Art From Within” features the work of two visually impaired artists—Ron Wendt and D.S. Sully.  Ron Wendt, a former UW-Madison professor, began working with glass jewelry, stained glass and mixed media as a therapy to help offset...
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Everyone has a story to tell

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired invites you to participate in a statewide storytelling project. Led by Annika Konrad, a UW-Madison writing instructor, the project aims to collect the stories of people across Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired. You will have the opportunity to record stories (either oral or written) about your life and talk with other storytellers via telephone conferencing. The ultimate goal of this project is to create an archive of stories...
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University of Iowa Receives $25 Million Gift for Vision Research

This article was published on Aug. 12, 2013 on the website of Philanthropy News Digest, a service of The Foundation Center: University of Iowa Receives $25 Million Gift for Vision Research The University of Iowa has announced a five-year, $25 million commitment from Las Vegas businessman Stephen A. Wynn in support of its Institute for Vision Research. The funds will be used to accelerate progress toward finding cures for rare, inherited retinal diseases. In recognition of the gift, the...
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Council connects with Community Car

Member Feature: Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Staff at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired often use Community Car to visit clients and bring vision assistance products into their homes, but loading the products into the cars was sometimes difficult. To ease the logistics, the Council offered a parking space to Community Car and we were glad to relocate Nolen to 754 Williamson in May. The Council serves Wisconsin citizens who are blind or...
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A resource hub for the visually impaired

A resource hub for the visually impaired promotes independence, equality By Jessica Levine Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Madison Commons, a publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Journalism Department and Community Shares of Wisconsin, of which the Council is a member. We are reprinting it with permission and with some minor copy changes. In the offices at 754 Williamson Street, six black and white photographs hang on the wall and welcome visitors.  Each...
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Age-Related Eye Disease Study2 (AREDS2): the results are in

From the National Eye Institute: Researchers with the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reported in 2001 that a nutritional supplement called the AREDS formulation can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The original AREDS formulation contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper. In 2006, the same research group, which is based at NIH's National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2 to determine if they could improve...
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New 2013 Wisconsin Post Secondary Guide for Implementing the Wisconsin Access Text Law

In the spring of 2012, the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act of Wisconsin (Act 124) was passed. This legislation ensures that students with disabilities will receive timely access to alternate forms of educational materials.  A document to provide guidance to all post-secondary institutions and disability services coordinators and staff is now available below. Our thanks to the Wisconsin Technical College System for helping to develop and disseminate this guide. Find the 2013 WI Post...
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What is Vision Rehabilitation?

When a partial vision loss cannot be corrected with eye glasses, surgery or medication, a person is said to have low vision.  A loss of central vision and reduced visual acuity can be caused by age-related macular degeneration.  Vision Rehabilitation assists you to learn the skills and strategies to help you remain safe, independent and active.  What is the goal of the Council’s Vision Rehabilitation services? Assisting you to become as independent as possible and maintain that...
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Macular Degeneration: A Patient’s Guide to Treatment

By David S. Boyer, MD, and Homayoun Tabandeh, MD (2012) Reviewed by Judith Rasmussen, Program Assistant at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Written by two retinal specialists, this is an easy-to-understand and informative book for patients and their families.  It is only 126 pages long and has six chapters.  The chapters cover the two types of macular degeneration, their signs and symptoms, what to expect in an appointment with a retinal ophthalmologist, possible...
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Meet new Board President Rhonda Staats!

At the Council’s first meeting of the year, the executive committee members and officers were elected and welcomed.  We are pleased to introduce Rhonda Staats, our new board president.  Rhonda is a longtime Council friend, supporter and Board member whose first connection with our organization dates back to preschool days, when she attended the Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped in Janesville and met a few of the Council members.  “My first formal connection,” Rhonda...
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Introducing the new Sharper Vision Store catalog!

Our first-ever store catalog is here, and it’s a beauty. Chock full of photos, product descriptions and vision health tips, the catalog can enhance your search for assistive devices that will make your life easier, safer and more independent. Here’s a quote from a satisfied store customer: “The Council is an unbelievable asset, and they can do so much to help people with vision loss. The store staff truly listen to you, and they personalize their approach to help you find just the right...
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Looking back 60 years

This year, each of our three Council Courier newsletters includes a feature article by Karen Perzentka, the first female president of the Council. Karen summarized Council highlights and happenings, two decades at a time, in each article.  To do this, she spent hours reading minutes from Council meetings and numerous other historic documents and records.  We invite you to read these stories that Karen created with such care and attention.  For those of you connected to the Council, they...
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Art forms no prejudices for this blind artist

Wisconsin artist Albert Schmiege may be legally blind due to macular degeneration, but he creates art that is expansive, inspiring and lush with color. Using a combination of technique, brush stroke and color, Albert creates the illusion of detail and depth.  His paintings prove that the art of sight and seeing is not necessarily defined by those of us with 20/20 vision.  “All too often,” he says, “living blind in a sighted world creates barriers.  Art forms no...
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Former Packer player entertains and inspires

If you’ve ever visited Lambeau Field in Green Bay, you’ve experienced the sense of history and athletic legacy that pervades the place. On Saturday, August 18, approximately 75 people attended the Council’s “Scholarships, Sports and Service” event to celebrate our 60th anniversary. The Atrium at Lambeau Field was a perfect setting. Serving as emcee, Mark Papapetru, owner of Fuzzy’s #63 Bar & Grill in Green Bay, introduced the keynote speaker and later, each of the scholarship...
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Council Radio Interview

Council Vision Rehabilitation Teacher Jean Kalscheur was recently interviewed by WDMP AM/FM in Dodgeville regarding low vision, preventive tips for healthy vision, plus Council services and resources. 

Listen here.

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Julie Mares: How good nutrition cuts health care costs

Older Americans are concerned about their vision, and rightly so. Degenerative eye conditions, especially cataract and age-related macular degeneration, become increasingly common as we age. About one-fourth of us over age 65 have early signs of macular degeneration in our retinas that place us at increased risk for progressing to advanced macular degeneration over the next 10 years. Advanced age-related macular degeneration, AMD, which eventually destroys central vision, is the most common...
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