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GingeRootz - Dining in the Dark

GingeRootz Asian Grille offers a delicious 5-course meal that challenges participants to rethink the importance of vision in the food experience. Guests are blindfolded for the meal.

Join us on Tuesday, August 14 from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM at GingeRootz Asian Grille, 2920 N. Ballard Road, Appleton.

Call 920-738-9688 for reservations. The cost is $45 per person with wine pairings available for an additional $20. GingeRootz donates the proceeds from the event to the Council.

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Accessible Voting Webinar

Have you given up voting due to a lack of access in the system? June 20 from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Join Sara Linski, WisVote Elections Specialist, and Jennifer Haar, City of Madison Clerk's Office, to learn about the voting options available to individuals with disabilities who want to vote, whether it is voting prior to Election Day or voting on Election Day at the polls. Hear about the voting experiences of Randy and Virginia Black. Find out what you can do to have an effective voting...
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Vignette Dining Club - Dining in the Dark

Thank you to all who made reservations for our first vegetarian Dining in the Dark event! Both dinners are sold out on July 12 and 13. A reminder to guests that you will receive email notification of the location and menu on the morning of the event, which begins at 6:30 pm. We are grateful to Vignette Dining Club for their generosity and support over the years. Vignette has hosted this unique dinner several times as a fundraiser for the Council. If you are interested in joining us for future...
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Annual Low Vision Fair at UW - Manitowoc

The Council’s next Low Vision Fair takes place Thursday, August 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be located in Founder’s Hall at UW – Manitowoc at 705 Viebahn Street in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The event is free. No registration is required. Come to compare and try adaptive products, learn new techniques at informational breakout sessions and meet Council staff and vendors. Talk with other people who are going through what you are experiencing as your vision loss progresses. Find resources...
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White Cane Safety Day Toolkit

Do you like bringing attention to the needs and concerns of people who are blind and visually impaired? Do you enjoy planning events in your community? Does educating the public excite you? If you answered “Yes!” to these questions, then consider planning a special event or spreading the word about White Cane Safety Day. Our White Cane Safety Day Toolkit is here to provide inspiration, examples and helpful hints as you plan for and promote this important day. The Toolkit includes...
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Upcoming Assistive Technology Classes

iPhone ABC's, Apps, Badges, and Controls Learn how to take control of your iPhone. From installing and updating apps to configuring notifications and working in the Control Center, this workshop will have you using your device like a pro. Commonly used and popular apps will also be explored. Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist, will be leading this class on May 22.   Tuesday, May 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. This event will be held online via Zoom meeting (instructions...
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Birding by Ear: Learning to identify birds without sight

Birding by Ear: Learning to identify birds without sight Co-organized by the Madison Audubon Society and the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Just as unique as their coloration and shape, bird songs come in all tunes and pitches. Identifying birds by their song is an exciting activity and skill, and any experienced bird watcher will tell you that most birding is done without actually seeing the bird, but by hearing it. Birding by Ear is a class that meets on two...
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Thank You, Volunteers!

The Council is so fortunate to have community volunteers sharing their talents with us! THANK YOU to Margaret and Monica for audio recording our publications; to Karen Lee for providing personal assistance; to Adam, Ethan, Delta Gammas, Margaret and Karen Lee for helping out at special events; to Peter for sorting archive material; to Joe Hodgson for repairing braillewriters; to Mary Kay for making product instructions accessible; and to our dedicated board and committee members. We sincerely...
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A Welcoming Main Street

WCBVI seeks to empower people with vision loss to engage in their communities. To help businesses and organizations interact with customers and clients who have vision loss, we compiled simple tips and techniques everyone can use. You can download the booklet by clicking here. Feel free to print and share the information.

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The Big Share - Thank You

THANK YOU for making The Big Share a success for the Council and the other non-profit organizations who participated under the umbrella of Community Shares of Wisconsin! The Council received gifts totaling $3,758 from 57 individuals. Special thanks to Council staff for 100% participation! We appreciate your interest in our services and your financial support for the education, vision services, and legislative advocacy for people in Wisconsin who are living with vision loss. Thank...
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The Big Share

The Big Share is Tuesday, March 6th! 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 over 60 nonprofits and direct your gifts to the causes that are important to you. If the Council has the most donors between 10:00 – 11:00 am on March 6th, we will receive a cash prize of $750! Just think what the Council could do with an extra $750 - home visits, free white...
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Dining in the Dark

Charlie’s on Main is partnering with us for an experiential dinner that will challenge you to rethink the importance of vision in the food experience. Dining in the Dark at Charlie’s on Main begins at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 22. The evening includes a four course dinner. Guests will wear a blindfold during the meal so you can savor the food using senses other than sight. Chef Dave will describe the meal to you as the courses are served. Since the menu is not announced prior to the...
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A Welcoming Main Street

WCBVI seeks to empower people with vision loss to engage in their communities. More than 500 people with vision difficulty live in Iowa County. To help Dodgeville businesses and organizations interact with customers and clients who have vision loss, WCBVI compiled simple tips and techniques for them to use. We will share these ideas with Dodgeville businesses over lunch on Tuesday, February 6 at the Health and Human Services Center on Chapel Street in Dodgeville. Please arrive by noon and...
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Planning Ahead

Plan ahead. We hear that advice over and over as we grow in age and experience. The lesson is just as valuable after retirement, as you make decisions about how you will manage your insurance and assets. One of those decisions may be finding a way to benefit a charity that has helped you or a family member over the years. By naming the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired in your will, the services you received will be available for the next generation of people with vision...
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Holiday Schedule

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired will be closed on Monday, December 25, Tuesday, December 26 and Monday, January 1 in observance of the holidays.

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A Thank You to our Donors

THANK YOU to our many donors! With your generous support, more than 10,000 people who are living with low vision or blindness have received vision services, attended educational sessions, or been represented in the state legislature through the Council’s advocacy efforts.

to make a difference for someone adapting to vision loss, click here.

Thank you!

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Make a Charitable Gift from Your IRA

As you ponder how to use the required minimum distribution from your IRA, consider giving a portion of it as a charitable contribution. If you are at least 70½ years old, you have the opportunity to roll over up to $100,000 from your IRA to a qualifying charity. The gift must be made directly to the charity to receive the tax benefits.      At the Council, your gift could be used to extend our educational offerings throughout the state to individuals learning to live with...
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Online Auction a Success!

The Council’s online auction raised over $4,300! Heartfelt thanks to the businesses and individuals who donated more than 100 items and the supporters who generously bid on those items. The friendly competition among bidders helped us exceed our goal. We will use the proceeds to buy a braille embosser which allows us to produce quality brailled newsletters, reports, agendas, and correspondence for our customers and clients.

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Please Join Us This Thursday, November 2, at the State Capitol!

This year the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly have introduced a White Cane Proclamation to be read and voted on in each house and is set to take place this Thursday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m.  This is exciting for a few reasons: Johnson’s office reached out for an Assembly representative, so that there would be a joint proclamation.  Rep. David Steffen from Green Bay is the Assembly sponsor, creating a bipartisan effort. Several legislators from both houses and both...
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Get Ready to Bid!

Our online auction is coming soon – November 9 -15! Auction items include gift certificates for dining, wine and beer tastings, tickets to sporting events and concerts, cookbooks, jewelry, and lots more! Over the years, we have gained a following across the state for the fun and practical items that people can bid on. Please share this link www.biddingforgood.com/wcbviwith friends, family and co-workers! Items are available to view now; bidding starts at noon on November 9 and ends at 8:00...
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Join Us for Our Upcoming Webinar on 11/15

Learning Environments and High Tech Readers in the Sharper Vision Store Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 10 – 11 a.m. Join Brent Perzentka, Sharper Vision Store manager, as he shows the new learning environment arrangement of the store.  Products are available to try in each of the five learning environments – living room, office, kitchen, sewing, and health care.  There will be an overview of magnification options highlighting pocket, head-worn, and stand...
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Vision for Tomorrow Online Auction Open!

Our online auction is open now through November 15! Support the work of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired by bidding on items at www.biddingforgood.com/wcbvi. Bidding ends at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, November 15. Items up for bid include piano lessons, cookbook gift baskets, jewelry, stained glass art, children’s books, restaurant gift cards, and an autographed Green Bay Packers football! We will purchase a braille embosser with the funds we raise. The Council strongly...
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You are invited to play cards!

The Council presents the 12th Annual Euchre Tournament in Edgerton on Saturday, October 28th! Join us at the Culver’s Restaurant located on Richardson Springs Road from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Space is limited to 76 players. Registration is $10 and includes lunch. To reserve your spot, contact Sally Zenchenko by October 20th at 608-334-1818.

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Legislative Day 2018

The focus on the day is primarily on state-wide advocacy, with particular attention to employment and transportation access. Here are some highlights. Our morning session will feature a legislative update and overview of some of the Council’s work over the past year. We’ll have visits from a representative from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to speak to the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act for both the transitional population and older working-age...
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October 4th Webinar will focus on Providing Health and Social Services to Persons with Blindness or Low Vision

Respect and inclusivity, two of WCBVI’s core values, will frame a discussion about providing health and social services to persons with vision impairment.  Strategies to use in everyday interactions will be presented with emphasis on giving information, getting around, and orienting to surroundings.  Join Jean Kalscheur, Director of Education and Vision Services at WCBVI, and three consumers of health services in this free 1-hour webinar, which will begin at 3:00 p.m. To register,...
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Mark Your Calendar for Fall Gallery Night – Friday, October 6

Join the Council as we proudly showcase work from artists who have vision loss. This event is in partnership with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Participating artists will display and discuss their work during the opening reception at the Council office.  Attendees are welcome to browse the artwork, enjoy refreshments and talk to the artists. The event will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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White Cane Safety Day is Sunday, October 15

Do you like bringing attention to the needs and concerns of people who are blind and visually impaired? Do you enjoy planning events in your community? Does educating the public excite you? If you answered “Yes!” to these questions, then consider planning a special event or spreading the word about White Cane Safety Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, October 15, 2017! Our White Cane Safety Day Toolkit is here to provide inspiration, examples and helpful hints as you plan for and promote...
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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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Upcoming Assistive Technology Classes

Wednesday, July 25              3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Free is for Me, Using Free Screen Readers for Windows and the Mac WCBVI Office - 754 Williamson Street, Madison Come learn about the powerful features available in three screen readers which are all available free of charge. This class will be presented by Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist, and Khanh Hoang, Assistive Technology Intern. For registration and more...
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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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Vision Services Open House: Low Vision, Assistive Technology, and the Sharper Vision Store

Join us for a spring open house and see what’s “blooming” at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.  Talk with Jim Denham, assistive technology specialist, who will demonstrate magnification and screen reading software, as well as Amazon Echo and Google Home.  Find out about the assistive technology classes Jim is offering this spring.  Chat with Amy Wurf, low vision therapist, who will use the LuxIQ to determine your preferred lighting strength and...
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Birding By Ear - Webinar

Do you hear the birds singing and wonder what bird you are hearing and what is the meaning of that song? If you would like to get started "birding by ear," join Kerry Wilcox, avid birder and volunteer with the Madison Audubon Society, and get tips on how to listen and interpret what is heard. Kerry will have support from the Madison Audubon Society and persons with vision impairment who enjoy this outdoor activity. The focus of the webinar will be the calls of common Wisconsin spring...
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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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We Can Use Your Help

Do you enjoy offering your time to help support a great cause? From time to time the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired looks to volunteers to help assist with special projects. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Heather Buggs at 608-237-8101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // . Current Opportunities Archive Volunteer The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired...
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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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Amazon Echo Class Offered in January

Join Jim Denham Assistive Technology Specialist, at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired for this upcoming technology class: January 24 - All About the Amazon Echo Attendees will learn all the features of the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker, including set-up, configuration and uses of the many features available with this new tool. It will be from 3:00 - 5:00 pm at the Council, 754 Williamson Street, in Madison. The cost is $20 per person. Register by calling...
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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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Closed for Thanksgiving

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired will be closed on November 23rd and 24th in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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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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Upcoming Assistive Technology Classes

Wednesday, April 18     3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Using ChromeVox on a ChromeBook Presented by Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist WCBVI Office - 754 Williamson Street, Madison, WI 53703 Registration required. No cost. Please contact the Council to RSVP. Tuesday, April 24         1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Using ChromeVox on a ChromeBook Presented by Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist This presentation will be held...
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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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Upcoming technology workshops offered by the Council

Tuesday, March 20: Did You Know JAWS Can Do That?

Presented by Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist

3:00 - 5:00 pm; This presentation will be held online.

For more information and to register, call 800-783-5213.

The cost of the event is $20.

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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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Upcoming Assistive Technology Workshops

An Overview of Amazon Echo and Google Home When: Wednesday, December 6 Where: WCBVI Office – 754 Williamson Street, Madison Time: 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Join Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired, as he presents an overview of the Amazon Echo and Google Home.  You will learn what each of these products can do, the models available and the differences between them. Jim will demonstrate products from both companies,...
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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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What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving – a reminder to look beyond the physical holiday preparations to those causes that are important to you. Black Friday and Cyber Monday focus on buying material goods for yourself and those on your holiday gift list. Giving Tuesday (November 28) reminds us to share our blessings with others by making a donation to a non-profit organization. The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired encourages that philanthropic spirit in all of us...
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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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Five Steps to Accessible Voting

Vote as if your life depends on it, because it does." --Justin Dart, disability civil rights leader As a voter with a disability, you may consider a wider set of needs and issues when you vote. Voting for local, state and federal leaders during this election year lets you share your perspective and make your goals known. For the coming elections this can be done privately, and with more accessibility than ever before. We will have a voter registration table at the Disability Pride...
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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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