Editorial By Chris Hofstader
This is edition 32 of our news digest. It contains 74 articles about all aspects of blindness and blind people that we could find in the mainstream media over the past week. Thus, there is a lot of diversity of subject matter and we're sure you will find a lot of the articles interesting. As I've been writing here for a while, this is a work in progress and we're experimenting with different ideas pretty frequently. This edition does not contain a feature story and, while we haven't decided this for certain yet, we may start publishing the short pieces as stand alone articles on a different day of the week.
In this edition, the article that jumped out at me most is in the Legal section and is about a ruling in the California superior court that said that ADA does not apply to web sites that do not have a brick and mortar presence. I started writing about problems with the lawsuit mania caused by the lack of action by the US Department Of Justice (DOJ) years ago in my ADA trolling series and I cannot remember publishing a single edition of this digest that didn't include at least one story about yet another lawsuit being filed in this space. This should and must be enforced by the civil rights division at DOJ and, since President George W. Bush signed the law in 2008, DOJ has done literally nothing of value on this matter. Some web sites have been forced to be changed at an average cost of $300,000 including legal fees, damages and hiring a remediation consultant to fix their site. In many of these cases, spending that much money will bankrupt a small business so, instead of making their site accessible, they pull it down and start a FaceBook page so FB is responsible for the accessibility. This is not a good trend.
If this case gets appealed to the US Supreme Court, we run the risk of losing ADA entirely as this court seems hostile to civil rights laws in general. On Jonathan Mosen's podcast, Mark Riccobono, president of NFB, said they were trying to work on new legislation but didn't even mention the law President Bush signed in 2008 which, because DOJ hasn't published rules that anyone can understand for enforcing accessibility on the Internet, has not been enforced. Maybe we should start by enforcing laws that are already on the books.
How It's Organized
Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.
I was uncertain as to whether to put this story under Legal or Technology, I chose the latter but it would fit either.
In the US, lawsuits have played a key role in advancing web accessibility, often in tandem with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints. This story comes to us from: IT PRO.
Ever wondered why kissing feels better than holding hands? The tongue is a pretty incredible piece of kit, though notoriously difficult to study, due to its position inside the mouth. This story comes to us from: ScienceAlert.
Science and Medicine
Scientists are developing an effective stem cell-based therapy to regenerate photoreceptors cells and restore sight in people with blindness. This story comes to us from: drug target review.
Although cornea transplantation is taking place in Bangladesh since 1984, inadequate cornea donation prevents lakhs from regaining eyesight. This story came to us from: The Business Standard.
The visual pathway is very long and goes from the eyes to the occipital lobe, which is the region in the cerebral hemisphere that processes vision. Since the visual pathway goes through the cerebral hemisphere on each side, stroke affecting certain areas of the cerebral hemisphere will impact the visual pathway. This story comes to us from: Medical Xpress.
This process can lead to vision loss and, ultimately, blindness. … The majority of patients with diabetes have no visual symptoms. This story came to us from: The Mirror.
An institutional prospective study was conducted on 62 patients presenting with maxillofacial trauma to study the correlation between facial trauma and ophthalmic complications. This story comes to us from: Cureus.
The Nigerian Optometric Association held its 45th National Conference/AGM and Vision Expo in Abuja, Nigeria. The event focused on leveraging partnerships to transform optometry and eye care in West Africa. This story came to us from: The World Economic Forum.
Belite Bio wants public investors to bankroll late-phase clinical trials of a treatment for certain causes of blindness. With one study underway and another on the horizon, the San Diego-based biotech has filed the paperwork for a Nasdaq IPO. Around two-thirds of the anticipated IPO haul is earmarked for clinical trials. This story came to us from: Fierce Biotech.
A new study in mice has revealed never-before-seen details about how the complicated visual network forms in them. This research could inform future research into the treatment of congenital blindness. But given the parallels between biological neural tissue and digital artificial intelligence, this research could also help software engineers develop better and more general-purpose artificial intelligences. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.
Josephine Morgan thinks chemicals from the St Ambrose and Buchanan High shared campus in Coatbridge are the cause of her son Tommi's eye problems. This story comes to us from: Daily Record.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) proudly announces the second annual Audio Description Awards Gala on November 29, 2022. The Gala will once again celebrate outstanding achievements in audio description in media and expand awareness of its benefits. This story comes to us from: ein news.
Tekela, Jace Nair and Philip Jordaan of Blind SA in the new start-up museum.
With the intent to highlight and promote the importance of Braille in the life of a blind person, Alrode Blind SA has announced that Alberton will now have its first-ever Braille museum. This story comes to us from: alberton record.
If you're blind or partially sighted, there are many helpful benefits and support available to make life easier.
Our advice can help guide you through the rules and regulations of the benefits, concessions and grants you could be entitled to. We also have handy tips on how to manage your finances independently when you have sight loss. This story came to us from: RNIB.
In 1972, a group of tri-state-area residents noticed a gap in services for people with low vision or blindness. “My dad wanted to get something going for people that were blind around this area,” said Debbie Gagne, current president of Tri-State Independent Blind Society. “Ten people put $10 in, and that’s how the organization started. This story comes to us from: BizTimes.biz.
Foundation Fighting Blindness: Building a toolbox of therapies for dry AMD, inherited retinal diseases
Claire Gelfman, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Foundation Fighting Blindness, supplies a brief overview of the foundation's aims and updates on retinal disease research. This story came to us from: Modern Retina.
I’m sure someone more knowledgeable about the law will soon expand on this matter, but I think it’s understood among disability-rights groups that the current Supreme Court is gunning for the ADA and even earlier disability statutes like the famous Section 504 in the 70’s that outlawed discrimination in all Federally funded matters. This story comes to us from: Christopher Reeve Foundation.
The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Camp Abilities program recently benefited from a Service Above Self Gala at the Stanley Theater, raising more than $12,000, thanks to the Rotary Club of Utica. The Camp Abilities program provides camping experiences for area youth with visual challenges. This story comes to us from: Rome Sentinel.
Dr. Michael Gosse was appointed president of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland.
Gosse has dedicated many years to BISM, first as a member of BISM’s Board of Trustees and as Chairman of the Board. In 2018, Gosse joined BISM as the Director of Accessibility. More recently, Gosse was promoted to vice-president where he oversees all of BISM’s manufacturing operations and Independence Training. This story comes to us from: Maryland Daily Record.
Northeast Ohio’s Visual Bucket List Foundation sends girl facing blindness on dream trip to see cheetahs
Out on the safari, identifying a cheetah from other dotted predators is in the details: the shape of the spots, black teardrop markings down its nose, and a flattened tail to help manage their breakneck speeds. They’re important differences that even a sharp-eyed gazelle can find hard to distinguish, let alone the human eye. Now imagine the challenge for someone who is visually impaired, but that didn’t prevent 9-year-old Laylah Gonzales from spotting it immediately. This story comes to us from: Cleveland.com.
When Texas A&M University Mathematics Lecturer Vanessa Coffelt wanted to further accommodate coursework for students who are blind or visually impaired, the staff at Texas A&M’s Department of Disability Resources accepted the challenge. They worked closely with the Department of Mathematics to create a Braille translation — more than 2,300 pages worth. This story comes to us from: today tamu.
Brendel, who is a Villanova University student and a Howell High School alumnus, will recount her struggle with the College Board over conditions under which blind and deafblind students were administered advanced placement tests during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release from the library. This story comes to us from: central jersey.
My name is Adam. I run the website BlindLuckProject.com where we discuss all things FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) and how to make your own luck despite the odds. Financial Samurai has asked me to share my story of how I went blind and still achieved financial independence at age 32. This story comes to us from: Financial Samurai.
I’ve applied for 120 jobs this year – I only seem to get interviews when I don’t mention my visual Impairment
Most people remember their first job interview, I certainly do. The interview took place in an upstairs room. The stairs were poorly lit and had no tactile markers to indicate where the steps were at all. At the time, I was a long cane user before my first guide dog, and out of nerves I lost my footing and fell face forward on the stairs. The people interviewing me just stood and stared, watching me as I shakily got to my feet and made my way into the interview room. This story came to us from: metro.
The unemployment rate for blind and visually impaired people is more than 70%, which could be due in part by societal fears in relation to blindness. This story comes to us from: The Spokesman-Review.
Our state is home to the largest blind workforce and these workers are helping our American heroes at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. This story comes to us from: The Bama Buzz.
A woman’s job was in jeopardy. She is visually impaired, which created challenges at her job, challenges that her employer seemingly could not handle. This woman met with Cory Ballard at Vision Forward, who worked with her and the employer. Ballard provided tips and training on how to make the situation better. This story comes to us from: Journal Times.
The unemployment rate for the blind and visually impaired is a staggering 97% in South Africa. The Cape Town Society for the Blind helps people with work opportunities and to get back on their feet. This story comes to us from: Daily Maverick.
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center recently concluded a voluntary medical campaign in Niger to treat blindness and its associated diseases. During the campaign in the city of Maradi, the voluntary team conducted 6,236 medical examinations and performed 407 surgeries. This story comes to us from: Arab News.
Jim Robertson has been blind for over 60 years after a scary accident. He memorizes his every step to travel around downtown Little Rock. This story came to us from: YouTube.
Being in an airport can really suck sometimes, right? You’ve got flight delays, being felt up by the TSA. But it can suck even harder to be a blind person in an airport. It’s true, there’s been a lot of progress in terms of making the world more inclusive and designed for blind people. We have artificial intelligence, we’ve got text to speech, and yes, I can’t wait until there are self-driving cars. But airports are still lagging a bit behind. This story comes to us from: District Fray Magazine.
Road sign for blind people: Bengaluru traffic police educate people, reveal meaning behind the unusual sign
A road sign board for blind people recently caught commuters' attention in Bengaluru who could not understand the meaning behind the sign with several dots in a line. The Bengaluru Traffic Police while answering the query of one commuter, shared the meaning behind the road sign. This story comes to us from: Times Now.
If you are blind or have low vision and need assistance while traveling, you can notify Southwest when booking your next reservation. This story comes to us from: Southwest Airlines.
Michelle Peterson is blind and she has been homeless for eight years. She is one of about 150 homeless people living in Mitchells Plain town centre, most in informal shelters. This story comes to us from: GroundUp.
A 55-year old blind man has been chosen as a beneficiary of a house unit from Tinglayan Municipal Police Station in Kalinga under ‘Pabahay Handog ng Kapulisan ng Tinglayan.' Personnel of Tinglayan MPS led Capt. Luis Bulao, Jr., chief of police, has gone beyond their mandate of serving and protecting the people. This story comes to us from: Manila Bulletin.
Come Monday, a blind woman expects to be evicted from her home, and she has nowhere else to go. “I have no idea what I'm going to do.” This story comes to us from: Sandusky Register.
"No officer, it crawled into my hand, honest," The Fugs.
Kelly Ann Melly told police she knew nothing about the drugs and rarely ventures out of the bedroom due to her disability. The 42-year-old's application for bail was adjourned until an industrial clean-up operation is carried out at the property currently assessed as unfit for human habitation. Melly, of Ballyferris Walk in Bangor, faces charges of possessing and being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs following seizures made on May 20 this year. This story comes to us from: The Irish News.
A blind Forsyth man was charged with assaulting a family member with a frying pan after slinging food out of it around midnight on July 25. This story comes to us from: Monroe County Reporter.
San Diego Police arrived at the scene of a man who stole a blind man's cane, then attacked three people with it Tuesday evening in Mission Valley. This story comes to us from: NBC 7 San Diego.
A Wilmington man has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for his role in a 2020 home invasion and murder. On Thursday, James Girlee Hardy, 41, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and first-degree kidnapping in New Hanover County Superior Court. This story comes to us from: WECT.
The Tehran Criminal Prosecutor's Office has been directed to prepare to mete out retribution sentences that will see the state blind three people. This story comes to us from: Radio Free Europe.
Melisa Licon, who is legally blind, said she usually gets a ride when she requests an Uber. But after one driver this spring demanded she order through Uber Pet, she began Stories recording. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.
A Sainsbury’s manager tried to kick a blind man out, wrongly claiming his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside the store. Keith Valentine, 55, says he was ‘shaking and totally miserable’ after being told to leave ‘immediately’ by the staff member – who reportedly even threatened to call the police. He stood his ground and was eventually told: ‘The rules have all changed recently, so I’ll let you off’. But the dad-of-one now feels ‘unsafe’ returning to the Wapping store. This story comes to us from: Metro.
The guest speaker was Mackenzie Spillman, the daughter of Ryan and Lesly Spillman. She is a 4-H dog club member and is a puppy raiser for Leader Dog for the Blind. The puppy that she is training is a Labrador retriever. The breeds used the Leader Dog for the Blind are golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and crossbred golden and Labrador retrievers and German shepherds. This story comes to us from: Washington Times Herald.
Accessibility bill passes first reading in House but disability advocates keen to toss it and start again
Should the bill be passed into law, an accessibility committee would be established. It would be made up of eight people, with the majority coming from the disability community. This story comes to us from: Stuff.co.nz.
A weeklong protest by hundreds of blind people in Cameroon, which included demands for an end to job discrimination, ended on July 1, 2022. This story comes to us from: insidevoa.com.
California Appellate Court Holds in Favor of a Digital-Only Retailer Under Both the ADA and Unruh Act
There have been far more than "several" cases like this and now, as I predicted years ago, the courts are turning against us. In 2008, both houses of the US congress passed the ADA Restoration Act which explicitly added Internet accessibility to ADA. President George W. Bush signed the law immediately but left office soon after. President Obama's Department of Justice held public comment periods on the law but never published laws for its enforcement; President Trump's DOJ ignored it entirely and, earlier this year, President Biden's DOJ finally published rules that attorneys on both sides of the issue claim they cannot understand and were of no help. ADA should be enforced by the civil rights division at DOJ and the massive number of lawsuits clogging our courts can come to an end but we haven't had an executive branch willing to do so in the 14 years since the law passed. And, if this case ends up before the Supreme Court, it could mean the end of ADA in its entirety as this court doesn't seem to care much about civil rights laws at all. Remember, you read it here first in the ADA Trolling series I ran quite a few years ago.
Over the past several years, plaintiffs have filed several lawsuits around the country, alleging that retail websites that were not accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals constituted a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was perhaps most prevalent in California, which has its own civil rights statute, the Unruh Act, that provides a right of action for both violations of the ADA and for other alleged denials of access to disabled individuals on the basis of intentional discrimination. Retailers often objected to the allegations under these suits, arguing that a website is not a place of public accommodation and that maintaining a website cannot possibly evince intentional discrimination. On August 1, 2022, the California Court of Appeals opinion in Martinez v. Cot’n Wash, Inc. agreed on both fronts. First, it held that operation of a website cannot be a basis for “inferring intentional discrimination” under the Unruh Act. Second, it agreed with a plurality of federal Circuit Courts that a retail website without any connection to a physical space does not constitute a place of public accommodation. This story comes to us from: Ad Law Access.
I was under the impression that such a case was already in progress and don't know why this plaintiff wouldn't have joined the class in a larger suit.
A blind Florida resident sued Uber Technologies Inc. for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations relating to its drivers’ refusal to transport the plaintiff because of his guide dog. This story comes to us from: Law Street Media.
Title III of the American Disabilities Act, 42 USC §§ 12181 – 12189 (ADA), generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual's disability in a place of "public accommodation." Initially after the ADA's enactment in 1990, lawsuits typically related to physical changes that businesses were required to make to brick-and-mortar sites to ensure that such locations provided necessary accommodations for individuals with disabilities. However, in recent years, there has been a significant litigation trend where plaintiffs (through counseli) are asserting Title III claims premised in the inability for those with visual or hearing impairment to access merchant websites. While a few courts have rejected this theory, most courts have found that a Title III claim premised on failure to provide accommodations for website usage to those who are visually or hearing impaired are actionable under the ADA. This story comes to us from: JD Supra.
The federal agencies' guidance provides examples of discrimination during telehealth visits and actions to ensure virtual care remains accessible to all. This story comes to us from: mHealthIntelligence.
The Screen Reader report offers information on the past and current developments to help stakeholders in evaluating and increase their earnings through 2022-2028. The predictions in the study are studied using verified primary and secondary research techniques. This story comes to us from: alpenhorn news.
Applying makeup is a visual task. It often requires facing a mirror to know where to apply the highlighter or when the foundation is too cakey, among other makeup concerns. Two women, however, beat the odds when they lived through blindness in their teens and now teach others, including visually-impaired individuals, how to apply makeup. This story comes to us from: Philippine Star.
This was another that was hard to categorize as it could also go under Crime. It's a really sad story.
When the disabled speak up about harassment, we are disbelieved, gaslit and manipulated to think that we are wrong, says Jasmin Thien. "It’s four or five against one. I give myself up to the inevitable and allow this man to drag me across the street. This story comes to us from: Varsity.
Norma Cibrian calls herself the "rock" of her family. She leads a busy life centered on attending school and supporting her family. When she began to lose her vision at 39, Cibrian was driven to adapt to her new life. In 2017, Cibrian was checked into Enloe Medical Center in Chico for two months to treat gastroparesis, a digestive condition brought on by diabetes that causes severe vomiting, malnutrition and weight loss. After transferring to a hospital in San Francisco, she only weighed 82 pounds. She was able to return home with a gastric pacemaker after three months of being hospitalized. However, while she was recovering, she quickly discovered that she could no longer read her texts or read the time from her stove or microwave.
This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.
What comes to mind when you think of blindness? Is it a person donning dark sunglasses, possibly with a cane, or a guide dog? There are certainly people with vision loss who fit this bill, but for many others, their experience of blindness is not quite so black and white. Karan Nagrani is legally blind, but if you passed him in the street it's likely you wouldn't know. This story comes to us from: ABC.
A “positive, courageous and inspirational” grandmother who is registered blind, has multiple sclerosis and is living with an incurable form of breast cancer, is not letting anything stop her from making every day count. Debbie Edwards, 36, is running the Great North Run to raise funds for James Cook University Hospital — despite still undergoing chemotherapy. This story comes to us from: Teesside Live.
This page has a number of videos about blindness.
The Medical Encyclopedia says, “Blindness is a lack of vision. It may also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Partial blindness means you have very limited vision. Complete blindness means you cannot see anything and do not see light. Most people who use the term “blindness” mean complete blindness. This story comes to us from: DesPardes + PKonweb.
I was done shopping the other day and my groceries were on the belt. I was the next one after the cashier was finishing up with a blind gentleman. He was having trouble with one of his cards and the cashier was helping him. This story comes to us from: The Somerville Times.
Art and Artists
In the changing exhibitions, the Diocese of Rossau shows the diversity of life as reflected in art. It is here that artists appreciate and show visitors to gather new strength for everyday life. With works that include braille, crackthefireister now invites you to take the time to get a feel for it. This story came to us from: social post.
This article is really more about life coaching than the blind photography mentioned in the headline. I found it pretty interesting but it's kind of a borderline story for this digest.
Dr. Espinal’s passion project today is Coaching Con Vision. What originally began as a game has transformed into an accessible avenue by which Blind people can become life coaches. Dr. Espinal’s coaching focuses on future design and culture change, which she describes as “[allowing] business leaders to delineate the future they want for their organizations. This story comes to us from: Forbes.
Campers, who are blind or visually impaired, participate in the annual event organized by Helen Keller Camp at LIU Post in Brookville. This story comes to us from: Newsday.
Director Francis Lawrence also tells TheWrap his Apple TV+ series "can do better" with casting more blind actors, if it gets a Season 2. This story comes to us from: The Wrap.
He's legally blind, and many of his tricks are designed to be enjoyed by those who are visually impaired. This story comes to us from: WCTV.
Blind Christian singer Blessing Offor released his debut music, “Brighter Days,” containing hopeful songs he wrote. This story comes to us from: GOD TV.
Sports and Athletes
Woodside man who has been blind for most of his life is inspiring members at a local boxing gym to up their game. This story comes to us from: LIC Post.
Brock Hathaway, 25, of Claverack, Columbia County, finished the challenging obstacle course race. Hathaway has cerebral palsy and is legally blind. This story comes to us from: WNYT.com.
Not many people would climb up a 17-story apartment building, but that didn't stop a central Iowa woman who's blind from joining more than a dozen others in Des Moines on Saturday. Bettina Dolinsek takes part in CrossFit competitions, but never before has she scaled up a building. It was part of local nonprofit Train to Inspire's Sky Race Fundraiser. This story comes to us from: KCCI.
This story is mostly told in a video on a pretty cahotic page that may be difficult for some (including me) to navigate.
A brain tumor robbed Jacob Smith of his vision, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a name for himself on the slopes. This story comes to us from: CBS News.
Later this week, the USA National Blind Hockey Team will visit Buffalo as part of a four-day training camp for players. This story comes to us from: WIVB.
Goalball is becoming more international.
This story comes to us from: ibsa sport.
Blind Woman To Cycle Through Peterborough in Province-Wide Tour; Fundraiser To Create Stem Cell Registry
Blind author Amber Needham is cycling through Peterborough next Friday as part of a province-wide tour to raise money to begin a stem cell registry. This story comes to us from: PtboCanada.
USABA was founded by Dr. Charles Buell in 1976 with the purpose of improving the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired. That year, 27 young men and women were selected to represent the United States in the first Olympiad for the Disabled in Toronto, Canada. As a result of this Olympic involvement, a group of national leaders, educators and coaches of the visually impaired met to discuss the need for an organization to structure, promote and sponsor competitions for people who are blind and visually impaired. This story comes to us from: U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.
[Bosma connects blind, visually impaired Hoosiers to adaptive sports][
An Indy organization is spreading the word about opportunities for blind and visually impaired Hoosiers to stay active in the summer and participate in outdoor sports. Jared Woodward of Bosma Enterprises and Kelsey Whirley, a client of the organization, visited the show Friday to talk about adaptive sports like biking, swimming, rowing and even baseball. This story comes to us from: Fox 59.
Asia is being targeted as a growth area for sambo for the blind. Roman Novikov, who chairs the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) Commission for Athletes with Disabilities, described Asia as an area with "high potential for development" following a meeting with FIAS President Vasily Shestakov. "Over the past few years, we have seen that Asian sambo is steadily gaining weight in the international arena. This story comes to us from: InsideTheGames.