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On Sight: March 2016

Deadline for Scholarship Applications and Award Nominations Quickly Approaching   


The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired will recognize outstanding students, along with those who have shown exemplary community service, during our special event this spring.

On May 21, the achievements of many will be honored at the Council’s annual scholarship and awards luncheon. Similar to previous years, the Council is offering ten $2,000 scholarships each to full and part-time students who are pursuing undergrad, graduate, professional, or doctoral degrees, who are Wisconsin residents and are blind or visually impaired.

For the scholarship kit and guidelines, please go to: deadline for applications is March 25.

Several honors, depending on the nominations received, may be presented. These awards include the Louis Seidita Distinguished Service Award, Exceptional Accommodation Award, Legislator of the Year, Community Partnership Award and Public Service Award. If you or someone you know might be interested in nominating someone for any of these awards, please go to: The deadline for nominations is April 1.


“The Big Share” results  


The Council received online gifts of $2,750 during The Big Share on March 1st! Whether you donated, shared an email, or forwarded a Facebook post, we appreciate your involvement and enthusiasm! In total, The Big Share was a huge success, raising $263,100 for 70 non-profit organizations in the Madison area.   

Legislative Day is coming on March 30


Legislative Day is always an important day for the Council to promote legislative advocacy for the rights of the blind and visually impaired community.

This year, Legislative Day at the State Capitol in Madison will be on Wednesday, March 30, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in Room 330 S.W.

Among the scheduled guests at this year’s Legislative Day will be State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, along with State Senator Steve Nass and his staff, providing an update on Council legislative proposals. Also, later in the afternoon, State Rep. David Steffen will discuss accessibility issues relating to the State Capital for persons with vision loss. State Rep. Warren Petryk and Sen. Jerry Petrowski will also be available to talk about public transportation needs.

Information on selected office visits and informational packets will be distributed. The day will conclude with a wrap-up session and closing comments.

For more information on Legislative Day, contact Tim Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Low Vision Forum Coming To Green Bay on April 19


The Council is excited to announce that it will be hosting it’s first-ever “Low Vision Forum” on Tuesday, April 19. The focus of the presentations will revolve around community involvement and employment opportunities for individuals with low vision.  

This event will be taking place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. at the Aging and Disability Center of Brown County (ADRC), located at 300 S. Adams Street, in Green Bay.

The creation of this event was based on feedback from attendees from the Council’s 2015 Low Vision Fair listening session in Appleton. The morning will feature a speaker on personal advocacy, as well as a panel discussion on how a person can have her or his voice heard with service providers or local government agencies.  The afternoon will focus on the Wisconsin Business Enterprise Program.

Registration information is forthcoming. Stay connected through our website,, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages.   

Join Us for Our Next Webinar about Low Vision Support Groups

on April 27


The Council’s first webinar of the year, “Establishing and Managing a Low Vision Support Group,” is taking place next month.

This event will be held on Wednesday, April 27 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

The presentation will address several important questions. What does it take to form support groups for people with low vision? What attracts members to attend regular meetings? What does it take to be a successful group leader or manager?

Registration will be available in the coming weeks. Keep track of all webinars and events on our website,, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

GingeRootz Presents “Dining in the Dark” to Benefit the Council on May 3


Once again, the Council is excited to join GingeRootz Asian Grille in Appleton for another Dining in the Dark experience this spring.

This year’s event will be on Tuesday, May 3. Dining in the Dark is a unique event where sighted guests experience what it is like to dine on a multi-course meal without the use of their sight. Watch future editions of On Sight, our website,, and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for more details on how to register.

For more information, contact Fund Development Director Lori Werbeckes at 608-237-8114 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 send employees to the emergency room. Most injuries in the workplace occur due to chemical splashing or small particle abrasion in the eye. Examples include: metal, wood, UV radiation burns or cleaning products.

But workplace eye injuries are not limited to an accident or spill. Studies show that computer work results in about 14 percent of reported eye injuries. Through a typical eight-hour work day, over exposure to computer screens can cause eyes to lose the ability to properly function. With occupations in front of the computer screen expected to grow, this number could continue to rise.

Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Education and Vision Services Director Jean Kalscheur said workplace eye wellness for employees using a computer often means taking steps throughout the day to reduce eye strain. Kalscheur offers the following tips to reduce eye strain:

- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Give your eyes a rest every 20 minutes; look away from the computer at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds at a time.

- Adjust the brightness and contrast on your computer monitor to make it easier for your eyes to spend the day on a screen. Look for the brightness and contrast options in the monitor’s menu.

A report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that nearly three of five workplace eye injuries occur from not wearing proper eye protection. Wearing goggles, helmets, face shields, and safety glasses will protect from dangerous eye injuries. Proper eye protection is especially essential for healthcare workers as infectious diseases can be transmitted through the eye’s mucous membrane.

“If your workplace requires you to wear protective eyewear, do it,” said Kalscheur.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide eye and face protection to guard against “chemical, environmental, and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.”

Workers who are self-employed, such as farmers, carpenters, and metal and stone sculptors also need to keep their eyes protected.

“All of us should consider a typical work day and note where we might encounter potential eye irritants,” Kalscheur said. “If hazards exist, get protective eyewear and use those safety glasses even if the occurrences are low.”

Kalscheur said wearing prescription glasses isn’t enough to protect your eyes.

“Protective eyewear should fit close to the head so nothing can get in underneath by the cheeks, from the top by the forehead, or from the sides by the temples. Vents along the bow are a nice addition as they keep the glasses from fogging up,” Kalscheur said.

For additional information on Workplace Eye Wellness Month, go to the Friends for Sight website at

Important Election and Voter ID Information


Several important elections are scheduled this year, including the race for the White House. As you prepare to hit the polls, here are some important dates and guidelines to remember:


Primary & Election Dates:

  • Tuesday, April 5: Local & State (Supreme Court) Election /Presidential Primary
  • Tuesday, August 9: Primary (US Senate / Congress)  
  • Tuesday, November 8: General Election (US Senate/Congress & President)

In Wisconsin, 2016 is also the first election year that voters must have a photo ID. This is required to vote in person on Election Day, to vote early at your local clerk’s office and (for most voters) to send their ballot absentee by mail. Some important things to remember are that there is not a separate “voter ID card,” but there are several acceptable forms of ID that can be used. Make sure to keep track of the expiration and issuance date requirements for acceptable IDs. Also, the name on your photo ID does not have to exactly match the name you use to vote. Nicknames are fine, but if you’ve legally changed your name, that must be on the card used to vote.

How to obtain a Voter ID: If you do not have ID for voting purposes, you can get a free WI ID from the Department of Transportation (DOT).  

If you do not have the required documents to obtain an ID card, you may petition the DMV to verify your identity with a state or federal agency. 

File the petition as soon as possible. The DMV will try to complete verification within seven business days, but the process may take longer. You will need to check a box on the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application to indicate that you need the ID for voting purposes. If this is your first time applying for an ID, make sure to check the “ID for Free” box.

Documents needed for Voter Photo ID: You need to present all of the following types of documentation:

- Proof of U.S. Citizenship/Proof of name and date of birth including a certified birth certificate, certified marriage certificate, judgment of divorce (if name changed), passport or certificate of naturalization

- Social Security number/Proof of identity, usually a Social Security card

- Proof of Wisconsin residency, usually utility bill, lease, or pay stub

Sharper Vision Store Product Feature:

iBill Talking Banknote Identifier 2nd Generation


This discreet bill identifier can identify all U.S. bills in circulation from $1 to $100. The results can be announced verbally, by tone, or by vibration, making the product perfect for deaf or blind people. This product features enhanced volume, recessed buttons to prevent accidental activation, and an earphone jack for privacy. 

Item# HP400 $150.00

Editor’s note: You have the option of obtaining this product free of charge after a certifying authority has verified your eligibility. (Certifying authority includes doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, registered nurses, therapists, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies [e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents]. In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Library of Congress.)


For more information, please visit this website: