The BC Division held a very productive AGM on April 15 that was well attended by delegates and chapters. Highlights included the successes of individual chapters and communities; as well as an election of a new board.
Congratulations to Chris Zonruiter in his new role as President of the Division. This is exciting news as Chris is the youngest member in the Division’s history to hold this position; and we know he will bring a fresh perspective to the role.
With the attendance of both Louise Gillis, CCB National President and Jim Prowse, Executive Director, the Council had a chance to learn more about how we operate as a national organization. The future will see the BC division continue to move forward in its development; increasing awareness of issues facing the blind and of the CCB.
++Welcome New CCB Chapters:
We would like to extend a warm welcome to our two newest CCB Chapters!
The CCB Prince George Blind Curling Chapter, BC has officially joined after taking part in this year’s Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championships.
We also welcome the CCB Itatu Orphan Care Chapter, ON. Itatu Orphan Care Chapter was founded by Jennifer Douma, a vision-impaired teacher from Toronto. Itatu Orphan Care has been operating in Malawi, Central Africa since July 2008 and provides food, clothing and financial support to orphaned children so that they may attend school. The goal of the chapter is to find vision impaired children to support, but all the children that are currently being helped are in desperate need. Jennifer uses her summer vacation each year to work directly with the children in Malawi
At the CCB we strive to ensure the health of our members and of all visually impaired Canadians. Health can encompass all facets of life: social, mental, economic, emotional and physical. Having a balanced and healthy lifestyle can be a challenge for anybody; however, being a healthy blind/visually impaired citizen can produce its own challenges.
As the new ACTIVE LIVING COORDINATOR for the CCB, based out of Owen Sound Ontario (Southwestern Ontario region), Ryan Van Praet is available to offer his education, experience and resources to help everyone achieve their goal of being active and healthy.
Through the CCB, Ryan can offer his services as your personal health and wellness liaison; and is available to help you overcome obstacles that prevent you from being active within your home and community.
How can Ryan help?
1) Provide personalized fitness programs for a small donation to the CCB. This includes a phone/email interview to establish goals, a fitness plan design based on your needs, follow-up and motivation to keep you on track
2) Ryan can act as a liaison to assist you in finding resources in your community in order to be active (sports groups/fitness clubs)
3) Ryan can help you feel safe and confident when exercising by giving you tips, ideas, tools for using gym equipment--ask about the TREADMILL TETHER. For a small donation to the CCB Ryan can hook you up with a tool that will help you feel comfortable on a treadmill
4) If you have aspirations to learn to run or cycle; Ryan can assist you with a fitness plan to get you started
Whatever your goals are in terms of being physically fit and healthy, Ryan can help. It is great to have a place to go to get specific questions answered, and Ryan is a knowledgeable resource for you.
Simply going to your local gym or running store and saying "Hello, I'm visually impaired and I need some assistance..." can often be met with blank stares. Many folks don't understand the unique challenges of being a visually impaired exerciser.
Blindness does not have to be a barrier to being physically fit and healthy.
Please contact Ryan with YOUR fitness goals, questions, concerns and he will help you achieve the best possible results.
Ryan Van Praet
Active Living Coordinator
++Won with One takes on the Ottawa Race Weekend:
The CCB’s newest program, Won with One, has entered a team of 25 visually impaired and sighted runners for the 2011 Ottawa Race Weekend festivities. Boasting a race of over 36,000 runners, the Ottawa Race Weekend has truly gained International notoriety within the running community. Won with One athletes and supporters will be represented in the 5k, 10k, half marathon and
full marathon. Won with One is proud and honoured to be a recognized charity within the Ottawa Race Weekend for 2011!
You can still support Won with One in their mission to breakdown barriers and advocate for the rights of blind and visually impaired athletes to be able to participate in sport as equals. Visit
http://www.wonwithone.com/one/fundraising/sponsor and pledge your support. Won with One is determined to break down the stereotypes of what blind and visually impaired athletes are perceived capable of; we are out here to prove that everyone should be included and respected on the field of play.
++World Lawn Bowling Tournament, Pretoria, South Africa:
Team Canada, lawn bowlers which consists of 9 visually impaired lawn bowlers and their directors are off to Pretoria, South Africa for the World Lawn Bowling Tournament. The tournament includes nine countries with 77 lawn bowlers participating in total.
The opening ceremonies take place May 3/2011 and closing ceremonies are May 14/2011. Each lawn bowler will compete in singles and pairs competitions, against other countries.
If you enjoy curling as a player or an observer you will definitely enjoy the game of lawn bowls. Lawn Bowls is quite similar to curling accept much warmer and on very short grass. In Curling you aim to be closest to the four foot circle removing opponent’s stones to earn points. In lawn bowling, you aim to be the closest to a jack removing opponents lawn bowls to score points.
Whether you have lawn bowled before, or you are a beginner, we would like to welcome you to Blind Bowls Association of Canada (BBAC) National’s. This year our Nationals are in Kitchener, Ontario. July 25-31, 2011. Lawn Bowlers will be staying at King’s Court Residence, Kitchener, Ontario and lawn bowling will be at Heritage Greens. All and all it will be a week of lawn bowling, fun and friendship!
For Daily results in South Africa, visit: www.ibd.ebweb.co.za.
Good Lawn Bowling in South Africa and Nationals in Kitchener, Ontario!
Won with One’s New Clothing Line
Won with One is proud to announce their new line of Cool-Tek running shirts! Now you can support Canada’s Paratriathlon team of blind and visually impaired athletes by purchasing one of these quality shirts. With five clever designs to choose from, show your pride by sporting the team’s colours of red and white. For a cost of $25 per shirt, all funds go to supporting Won with One’s goal of increasing opportunities for athletes to get involved in triathlon and sport for life! For more information or to purchase a shirt, visit http://wonwithone.com/shirts/.
++Two Won with One athletes Tackled the Boston Marathon: On April 11, 2011 two visually impaired Canadian runners lined up to hear the gun go off in the 115th Boston Marathon. Robbie Burt, from PEI and his sighted guide, Chris Barnes from North Carolina and Ron Hackett and his guide, Tim Scapillato, both from Ontario set out to take on the 42.2km race.
We would like to congratulate the two teams on their incredible results in Boston and for both setting new Personal Best times! Ron Hackett finished the race in 3:50, being the first VI male runner to cross the finish line; an incredible accomplishment for his first time competing in this race. Robbie, returning for the second time, also set a new personal best with a finish of 4:42 and the sixth VI male runner to finish. Both runners met the qualifying times to be able to return to Boston in 2012!
To hear more about Ron and Tim’s journey, please visit:
And to read about Robbie and Chris’ race, please visit:
In the News
++A blind approach to gone fishin':
Lawrence Euteneier, 47, is a blind fisherman. He doesn't see the one that got away.
But this is nothing. He used to hunt, too - bear, in particular.
"In the end, I'd have to get pretty close," he said, without a hint of comedy or alarm, referring to a time when he still had some vision, and still carried a gun. And how to ensure it was a bear? "Well, if it was big, black, and not talking," that was usually a clue.
Euteneier, a Sandy Hill resident in Ottawa, lost his sight in stages from the age of eight and can now only make out bright light. He gets along with a guide dog, a Bernese Mountain named Maestro.
Sight is wasted on the sighted, his life
suggests. Married, six children, master's
degree, job in the public service, sponsored fishing gig, skier, sailor, paddler, woodworker; advocate for the disabled, breaker of barriers.
And a big, tall smiley dude.
"Feel the bite" is his tag line, a summary of the blind man's approach to fishing.
"There aren't too many things that a blind person can do as well or better than a sighted one," he says. "But fishing is one of them."
The secret is the blind man's focus and feel, he explained.
"A fishing rod is just a white cane with a reel on it. It's all about the feel."
He started fishing as a kid, literally with a long pole, he said, in a trout-stocked pond on his father's property near Collingwood.
By the time he went quite blind, in his 20s, he knew all about fishing: the knots, the lures, the species, the right seasons, the
types of habitat. It was just a matter of adapting.
For starters, he has lures that are labeled in braille, telling him colour and type. He threads his line through leaders or lure rings
by using his fingers and the tip of his tongue.
His boat, meanwhile, is a floating sensor. It is only 12-feet long, foldable and made of sturdy plastic, for those invisible rocks and stumps. "It's very stable. It bounces off stuff."
For navigation, he is equipped with a speakable GPS and a bow sensor that detects, from about 12 metres, any object in the water.
Generally, when faced with a new waterway, he will first travel with a sighted person to mark the best fishing spots. Once put into the memory of the GPS, he can then say "dock" or "island" to set a course. The device emits commands as to whether he is headed in the right direction, such as "400 metres, 12 o'clock."
His depth sounder is also audio-equipped.
A blind fisherman, he argues, is not distracted by many things in the environment. As a consequence, he pays more attention to the "feel" of the line, the kind of strike, easily learning the difference between a genuine hit and the lake bottom.
"I'm one of the few guys in fishing who doesn't mind talking about my feelings," he jokes.
Indeed, he says he can usually tell what kind of fish is on the line before it arrives at the surface.
When landing a fish alone, he has a technique. He follows the line with his hand until he feels the leader or lure, then checks out the outline of the head, only to find the belly. Like any fisherman, he then uses pliers or a tool to unhook the fish and release it.
It isn't always so simple. He was fishing in the ocean surf one time when he pulled in a stingray. A fellow fisherman alerted him just as he was about to put his paws all over it.
An adventurous sort, he'll try just about any kind of fishing. He's jigged for cod on the east coast, caught a 300-pound shark off the shores of Miami, fly-fished in the Columbia River, wrestled a giant sturgeon on the Fraser River, scooted over to the Ottawa River at Wendover.
Last year, he entered 17 tournaments, scoring well in a half-dozen. He's done so well, he now has about a dozen sponsors.
Euteneier was asked, after all this time, whether he'd like his vision back. He'd like a little more, he answered, but not the full panorama he once had. Been blind too long, one supposes. It is what he is.
"A good day is when I don't think about being blind. And when I'm fishing, I don't think about being blind."
By Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen February 23, 2011
++Zoomreader App for the IPhone:
In combination with your iPhone’s built-in camera, the ZoomReader App lets you magnify and read text by first taking a picture of an object like a book or menu, then converting the image into text using state of the art Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. ZoomReader will then read the text back to you using a natural sounding voice.
It includes a simple user interface designed with large buttons and integration with iPhone’s VoiceOver feature to ensure accurate screen control and ease-of-use by the visually Impaired.
It is built from the ground up for low-vision users that features both OCR and an audio synthesizer for reading back captured text; and includes customizable highlight colors, synthesizer, text size and speech rate.
The ZoomReader app is available for purchase in the iTunes App Store for $19.99.
++Review of Apple TV (2nd generation): Apple Continues to Set the Accessibility Standard
By Joe Strechay
I've turned on my TV and cable box, and now what do I do? Can I access the menu, guide, or on-demand features? Is the cable box accessible? Not really!
My colleague at the American Federation for the Blind (AFB), Darren Burton, kept telling me about Apple TV. I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew it provided access to iTunes and Netflix through your television. Most of the new DVD players or gaming systems provide access to Netflix, but not in an accessible format. Though I was skeptical, Darren kept mentioning things that he watched via Apple TV. When the opportunity to evaluate the product for AccessWorld came along, I was interested to see what I would find.
If you read AccessWorld regularly, you know that Apple is a leader in mainstream product accessibility for persons who are blind or visually impaired. They wowed us with built-in accessibility for the iPhone, iPod, and the iPad, and the standard Apple OS also includes great accessibility tools. Apple's accessibility page has information on the accessibility of Apple products and the company's goal to provide universal design.
For some context on my vision: I operate as a person who is blind and also as a person who has low vision. I use my iPhone with the VoiceOver feature and I have a screen reader and magnification on my computer, each of which I use for different tasks.
Cost: The Apple TV unit itself costs $99 US. Your television needs to have a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port and you will need a HDMI cable (about $20) to connect the unit to your television. There is no subscription cost to use Apple TV. Costs for other services (e.g., Netflix subscriptions, iTunes purchases) remain the same, whether you access them through Apple TV or a computer.
Using Apple TV
The remote is thin and sleek. It boasts just a few buttons with a different tactile feel to each. At the top of the remote, you will find a 5-way control (a circle of arrow buttons) in a natural sequence for Up, Right, Down, and Left surrounding a Select/Enter button. Below the circle, you will find the Menu button on the left and the Play/Pause button on the right. The Menu button acts as a Back button when you want to exit out of screens, sections, music, movies, etc. In my opinion, the remote is easy to use and get adjusted to.
The VoiceOver feature is great overall with a few minor issues. You can change the speech rate to fit your comfort level.
If you are a user with low vision who is comfortable with VoiceOver, then accessibility will not be an issue with Apple TV. If you do not like using speech, however, low-vision accessibility on Apple TV may be problematic. You can't change the contrast, font size, or other display attributes. The size of your monitor or television screen will determine the size of the menu type display—the smaller the monitor, the smaller the type size. The contrast is not bad, but type sizes differ depending on which content area you're in. If you enter the Netflix area, for instance, the movie titles are tiny, even on a 42-inch screen. With such great accessibility through VoiceOver, I am a bit surprised low-vision accessibility features were not more carefully addressed.
The Bottom Line
I fully endorse Apple TV. As long as you're comfortable using VoiceOver, this device has great accessibility. Apple TV provides a feeling of freedom when accessing TV content that I've never felt before.
For more information on the product, visit: www.apple.com