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Today is White Cane Safety Day!

Save the Date graphic for White Cane Safety Day

Did you know? October 15 is White Cane Safety Day. Share upcoming posts to educate people you know. #WhiteCaneLaw (logo for the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired)

Spread the word about White Cane Safety Day today. This day was declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to honor and recognize the achievements and capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired nationally, as well as to increase awareness of the White Cane Law. Visit the Council Facebook page and share one of the Council’s White Cane Day posts with your family, friends and network. Let us work together to spread the message about the importance of the White Cane Law.

 

The Vision for Tomorrow Online Auction Opens in Three Weeks

Auction Items on a Table

Items ranging from beautiful framed prints to books to gift baskets and gift cards are available during the Council’s online auction.

From 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 8 through 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired will auction fun, practical, and unique items to raise money in support of vision services for people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired. Place a bid to support a good cause! Items include: dining gift certificates to Imperial Garden, Smoky’s Club, The Melting Pot, Cheesecake Factory; grocery gift cards to Pick ‘n Save and Festival Foods; a handmade quilt; tickets to Circus World Museum and Discovery World; and much more!

“Private donations are vitally important to our mission,” says Lori Werbeckes, Fund Development Director. “The auction involves area businesses, and because of their generosity in donating items, we are able to raise funds in a creative and engaging way.”

Funds raised by the Vision for Tomorrow online auction will be used by the Council to purchase equipment and training to enhance our ability to take high quality, high resolution images.

Photos are everywhere in the visual world. High quality images improve the accessibility of publications and enhance communications for people with vision impairment. Clear images can be magnified to show facial expressions, vivid colors and words.

Sharp, high-contrast images are needed for the Council’s printed and online catalog of adaptive products. The ability to enlarge a photo and still see detail would greatly benefit customers who cannot make it to our store to see the product.

As we continue to expand the Council’s message to new audiences, incorporating engaging photos is ever more important. Staff will use the new camera for special events and to take photos of everyday activities: a group in an assistive technology class; handshakes between elected officials and audible signal advocates; visits from students who are blind or visually impaired; and product demonstrations with orientation and mobility specialists.

Sharing what we do in an engaging way will empower more people who are blind and visually impaired throughout the state and encourage family members and friends to reach out for vision resources.

Place your bids starting at noon on Thursday, November 8. Many items would make excellent holiday gifts for family members or friends. Visit biddingforgood.com/wcbvi to view the list of auction items available and bid on your favorites. Bidding is open from November 8 through 14.

Good luck, and thank you for your support.

 

Attend the Next Webinar: Lighting the Way

Tuesday, November 13, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Adam Reading

Finding the right light for reading and other activities is important.

Everyone experiences changes in vision as they age, whether or not one is diagnosed with a specific eye condition. For instance, older people generally need more light than their younger counterparts, can be more sensitive to glare, have trouble distinguishing contrast in items that are similar in color, or have trouble reading smaller print, such as the newspaper. With many lighting options available, from standing lamps to task lighting to an array of overhead lightbulbs, selecting the right lighting can transform your living environment. If you do not know where to begin or have not considered what a big difference the type of lighting around you could make for ease of reading or accomplishing other tasks, consider attending this webinar.

Council staff will demonstrate the differences between types of lighting while reading, writing and doing other hobbies. Indoor light is a critical component for people who have low vision or aging eyes. The webinar will cover how to select light bulbs, the type and placement of light to match activities, and an introduction to task lamps.

“People often do not think about how the lighting they use impacts their ability to read and complete tasks,” says Jean Kalscheur, Director of Education and Vision Services. “I hope this webinar gives people suggestions for small changes they can make to the lighting in their environments to make a great impact of their daily lives. If their eyes are getting tired, lighting might have something to do with that.”

This webinar is also a great way to meet Amy Dean, the new Sharper Vision Store Manager, in case you want help purchasing new lighting.

This webinar is free. Registration is required to receive access to the live webinar on November 13. Handouts and the link to the archived version will be available after November 20. Register at WCBlind.org under the Events tab.

A webinar is a presentation that takes place online. Listeners can be in any location with internet connection to hear the presentation and view video clips or slides. Listeners can ask questions and provide comments. Any internet-enabled device can access the webinar, including a smart phone, tablet, or computer. If preferred, listeners can access the audio portion of the webinar using a standard telephone line. All registrants will receive information to access the webinar.

For more information, contact Jean Kalscheur at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 608-237-8106.

 

Student Spotlight: Ian Kloehn

Headshot of Ian Kloehn

Council Scholarship winner Ian Kloehn is pictured wearing his doctor’s white coat.

Ian Kloehn, scholarship recipient, believes his visual impairment has helped him develop adaptability and flexibility. These skills will come in handy throughout his life, especially because he is starting his second year of medical school in Kansas City, Missouri. He recently chatted with Katherine Corbett, Council Communications Coordinator.

Katherine Corbett: Why did you decide to attend Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences?

Ian Kloehn: I liked Kansas City University the most because it felt right to me. Kansas City reminded me of Milwaukee. It is also a great school academically—it has the highest passing rate for step one board exams, and we have sites all over the country for clinicals, so I will be able to travel anywhere.

Katherine: What lessons has your visual impairment taught you?

Ian: My visual impairment has taught me that I should never give up on my dreams. I can overcome a lot of barriers. Especially with today’s technology, there are many ways to get through those obstacles. Going into the medical field with a visual impairment has given me a different view. I am more adaptable to using technology. Surgeries can be conducted using robotic equipment and computers! Technology has made so many things possible.

Katherine: How do you plan to apply those lessons to the rest of your life?

Ian: Because of my visual impairment, I have gotten more adaptable to any situation I am in. With clinicals, I am going to need to learn how to get around a new city. I plan to apply that adaptability to a lot of different situations throughout life.

Katherine: Tell me about a person who inspires you.

Ian: I would have to say my mom. She has always been very supportive and has never told me that I cannot do something. Mom had breast cancer about nine years ago. She always kept her head up and she never gave up. She stayed positive through it. That brought me into medicine more deeply, and while I always knew I wanted to pursue the medical field, watching my mom go through treatment gave me access to a different perspective from the doctor’s side of things.

Katherine: How does the mission of the Council resonate with your own life goals?

Ian: Advocacy is something I find very important. I have pushed for advocacy in the area of sports, because it is one of the biggest things that has pushed me to set and achieve goals. During my undergraduate studies, I resurrected a camp for students who are blind or visually impaired. I attended a camp like that through the Wisconsin Sports for the Blind and Visual Impairment group until it was discontinued. I wanted to bring it back. I wanted to get the word out that kids who are blind and visually impaired can participate alongside kids with normal vision. We played goalball, beep baseball, soccer with adaptations. The playing field can be evened out. The mission of the Council resonates with me in that we are both advocating for equality.

Katherine: What is your favorite hobby and why?

Ian: Right now, running is my favorite sport. It is a method to relieve stress, and it is a fun way to learn a city. I use it as a way to get around and find new restaurants, shops or places that might be cool to check out later.

 

Art Exhibition Featuring Artists Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Open for Six Weeks

Painting by Aurora Mendez.

“Fall Escape” is a painting featuring bright orange pumpkins and green-yellow and red mums by Aurora Mendez. The painting will be on display for Gallery Night.

If you missed Gallery Night at the Council on October 5, there is no need to panic. The artwork will be displayed at the Council office at 754 Williamson Street in Madison through Friday, November 16. For a free tour, call the Council at 800-783-5213. The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Council staff can guide people through the exhibition and describe the pieces of art as needed.

This year’s participating artists are:

  • Deb Claire, Madison, Wisconsin (painting, paper)
  • Joan McAuliffe, Stevens Point, Wisconsin (photography)
  • Aurora Mendez, Janesville, Wisconsin (painting)
  • Albert Schmiege, Mauston, Wisconsin (oil painting)
  • Alison Fortney, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (photography)
  • Rosemarie Fortney, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (painting)
  • Ron Wendt, Madison, Wisconsin (stained glass)

 

It is Almost Time to Vote

I Voted Today circular logo.

I Voted Today is written in the center of a circular graphic with stars along the outside of it. The entire sticker has ribbons of red, white and blue.

The 2018 General Election is on Tuesday, November 6. To get an idea on where various candidates stand on issues important to you, visit the League of Women Voters 411 webpage at vote411.org. An additional resource is the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition webpage at disabilityvote.org and Facebook page. 

Do you have questions about polling place accessibility? Watch the video “Know Your Rights,” available at disabilityvote.org/videos.

People are encouraged to report issues they experience when voting. Voter experiences, both positive and concerning, provide feedback to the State Elections Commission and municipal clerks, and impart better education for all.

For help filing a complaint, or to ask disability-related voting questions, contact the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline: 844-DIS-VOTE / (844-347-8683)

If you have questions or concerns about the voting process, you can call the Wisconsin Elections Commission Helpdesk at 608-261-2028 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Take a look at your voter registration status at elections.wi.gov. An Elections Manual is available at elections.wi.gov so feel free to refer to that as a resource.

 

Save the Date for Dining in The Dark

Dining in the Dark Place Setting

Guests receive a blindfold to wear throughout the evening’s dinner.

Join the Council for Dining in the Dark in a beautiful rural setting this November. Welcoming hosts at the Vignette Dining Club will serve a delicious vegetarian meal that starts with a hint of dessert. The chefs use fresh, local ingredients to prepare the multi-course meal. The textures and aromas of the different foods come alive as you dine without your sense of sight.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. After dinner, Council staff will lead a discussion about the experience. For more information and to register, contact Lori Werbeckes at 608-237-8114. The event is capped at 16 spots, so save your seat today!