WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 44

What's Inside

  • New system for blind web designers
  • NFB working on voting rights for blind people
  • Scientist working to make chemistry accessible to blind students
  • Taxi driver fined for helping blind person into pharmacy
  • And, about 50 more articles about blindness and blind people from all over the English speaking world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This was a relatively slow week for news about blind people and blindness. We have about fifty articles in this news digest but only a handful in the science digest we publish on Wednesdays.

My favorite section this week is the Sports one. It has a nice diversity of different sports from different parts of the world in which blind people participate. I think the Art section is good this week as well and especially enjoyed the heart warming story about the blind grandmother who knits teddy bears for blind children.

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.


System Breaks Down Barriers for Blind Web Designers

Numerous applications help blind users surf the web—but what if someone with a visual impairment wants to design the visual layout of a page? Few tools are available to support them, particularly without the help of a sighted person. Now, researchers at the University of Maryland are increasing accessibility by developing a novel device that lets blind users design a web layout using touch and sound. With TangibleGrid, blind designers snap and resize brackets representing visual elements—like a text box or video—on a magnetic baseboard. This story comes to us from: Maryland Today – University of Maryland.

How this innovator is making sure the tech that drives daily life doesn’t leave out people with disabilities

What this story does not say is that Josh is also one of the kindest, sweetest and most supportive blind people in our community. He is a terrific guy whom I hope you all get the chance to meet someday.

The world is studded with tools to navigate life, but those resources – from the schedule posted at your local bus stop to the cellphone in your pocket – aren’t always accessible for people with disabilities. They may be forced to spend extra time, energy or money to access the same information or experiences as non-disabled people. Inventor Joshua Miele says it doesn’t have to be that way. This story comes to us from: PBS.

Maryland man's invention, borne out of frustration, to help blind people everywhere

This is by far the lowest "tech" item we've ever included in this section but we don't have a category for products like this.

A serious change in a Baltimore man's life, coupled with a disturbing situation, led to the creation of a new product. Former investment manager Kevin Cross said he had to find a new path when he lost his sight seven years ago because of diabetes. While on a walk learning how to use his cane, he came across something extremely unpleasant on the ground that ended up on his cane. "(It was) some dog stuff. It was pretty nasty," Cross said. "Not being able to see has been a little frustrating at first and a challenge. So, having something like that happen was very annoying." When he folded his cane, everything ended up in his backpack. Anger, frustration and determination led Cross to create a simple solution: A bag that he calls the Essential Cane Keeper. It's something that has opened new opportunities for him. Baltimore-based Blind Industries and Services of Maryland makes a variety of products. With machines whirring daily, workers sew military jackets, and they now assemble Cross' bags, which help keep dirt and germs that get on the tip of a cane from transferring to other surfaces. This story comes to us from: WBAL-TV.

Blindness Organizations

Doctor receives APAO blindness prevention award

Doctor Nguyen Viet Giap, Director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Eye Hospital, has been honoured with the 2023 Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award. This story comes to us from: Vietnam+.

Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind works to ensure that every vote counts

If NFB is so concerned with democracy, then why are only 52 of its members allowed to vote for its president, board and to pass resolutions? This is true, read the NFB constitution carefully.

Blake said blind voters are not treated equally when they cast their ballots in person. Blind voters can cast their ballots in person during early voting and on Nov. 8 using paper ballots or ballot-marking devices, Blake said. Ballot-marking devices use a control pad and headphones to narrate the ballot. Blake said the current system violates blind voters’ privacy and anonymity. While the ballot-marking device allows blind voters to vote independently. This story comes to us from: Baltimore Sun.

Advocate wants to discuss parental rights for the blind at con­vention

Pattilo said he hopes the convention will include a major discussion about Senate Bill 202. The bill would "prohibit disability from being used to deny or limit" a person’s right to parent. “We don't want them stepping in and taking control of our parenting rights, trying to remove the children from us, because we have a visual problem,” Pattilo said. This story comes to us from: spectrumnews1.

A burst water pipe uncovered a treasure trove of Colorado’s blind history

The discovery of a treasure trove of forgotten documents illuminating the lives of Colorado’s blind population a century ago is all thanks to a burst water pipe in an office storage room. People cleaning up the water damage at the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado’s Littleton offices before the pandemic found a wealth of the organization’s meeting minutes and historical documents from the early 1900s through the ’60s. This story comes to us from: The Denver Post.

Pride of Britain UK: Southend woman wins lifetime award after 50 years 'improving the lives of blind people

The 82-year-old was presented the prize by comedian and broadcaster Paul O'Grady for her 50 years of improving the lives of blind and partially sighted people in the UK and Europe through campaigns. This story comes to us from: Essex Live.

Non-profit expands to help more blind people in Tucson

Now, Goree is learning that it's not what you can see, it's what you can do. She spends many of her days at SAAVI Services for the Blind. The center helps blind people of all ages learn the skills they need to be independent. This story comes to us from: KGUN 9.

Nostalgia: Berkshire's strong link to helping the blind

… developing a broader range of services that will help more people who are blind and partially sighted to get out and about on their own terms. This story comes to us from: Bracknell News.


Science 'on their fingertips': Texas professor making chemistry available to blind students

… chemistry professor Bryan Shaw aims to open up what's been called “the central science” to more people with blindness or visual impairment. This story comes to us from: Texas Standard.


BRIGHT FUTURES — Port Arthur ISD’s Sidney Navarro excels in Audio/Video Production despite being blind

“Most of what I do is because I want to get to other people and educate them more on blindness and what it’s like to be blind,” she said. “I want people to be able to see that just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to do things. This story comes to us from: Port Arthur News

TPT and RNIB partner to increase internships for blind

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has collaborated with The Royal National Institute of Blind People to open 21 paid internships for blind and partially sighted people as part of the Get Set Progress scheme. The latest roles have extended the programme to 19 new sight loss charities, providing nine-month placement opportunities from Scotland to Sussex, Cambridge to Kingston and Chester to Leicester. This has brought the number of internships in the 2022 programme to 32. This story comes to us from: Optician.

Woman worked so hard to become first blind and Black barrister she ended up in hospital

Jessikah Inaba completed her five-year course using Braille to read legal texts and at one point ended up in hospital. She qualified on October 13. This story comes to us from: The Mirror.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

HIGNFY criticised for using picture rounds despite blind guest panelist

Have I Got News For You has sparked criticism for not changing the structure of the show to be inclusive of blind comedian Jamie MacDonald. This story comes to us from: Metro News.

President reprimands ANF over denial to blind candidate to appear in exam

President Dr Arif Alvi has taken a strong exception to the denial of opportunity to a blind person, who had applied for the post of Assistant (BS-15) in the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF). The candidate was barred from taking the examination by the invigilator on the ground that he was blind and was unable to perform the duties of the Assistant. This story comes to us from: Daily Times.


How 11 blind girls died in school dormitory fire

The cause of the Monday midnight fire that gutted the girl’s dormitory has not been established, according to police.
Asomber mood engulfed Luga-Salama village in Kisoga-Ntenjeru Town Council in Mukono District, when 11 visually impaired pupils from Salama School for the Blind perished in a dormitory fire. This story comes to us from: Daily Monitor.

Blind Mobile man dies after house fire started by space heater

He's blind, legally blind," said neighbor Keith Moore. Neighbors told firefighters arriving on scene where the man's bedroom was. This story comes to us from: WPMI.

Blind man saved partner's life with CPR despite 'struggling to see her chest

‘We all got up as normal on Sunday but Sharon said she felt strange so she took two indigestion tablets and went back to bed for two hours,’ he said. ‘We thought it could be the Chinese we’d eaten last night. She got up again around 11am and said although the pain was still there she wasn’t feeling as bad.' He was making sandwiches for lunch at their home in Hipperholme, near Halifax, when Sharon, 47, ‘suddenly burst through the door and said something like, “Oh my God.”' ‘Her eyes rolled back and she went to fall forwards. This story comes to us from: Metro.

Blind Carrigaline woman says new footpath design is making her town 'unwalkable

The town's two newest roads have the footpath wedged between the road and the cycle lane – and she's saying it's not safe. This story comes to us from: Cork Beo.

"Blindfolded walk" explores accessibility for blind and partially sighted pedestrians

Some of our transport engineers and councillors got a fresh perspective on the challenges of navigating one of Exeter’s most popular streets on a recent visit organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Local campaigner Marilyn Lant was joined by RNIB regional campaigners officer Steve Hyde to meet with our representatives for a blindfolded walk along Exeter’s leafy Magdalen Road. This story comes to us from: Devon County Council.


I’m a taxi driver & I was slapped with £70 fine after helping my blind passenger get out – I only stopped for 3 minutes

I wouldn't ordinarily include a story about a parking ticket but this story is different.

A TAXI driver is fuming after he was slapped with a £70 parking fine for stopping to help his blind passenger from the cab. Gary Fox, 60, pulled into a disabled parking bay for "two or three minutes" earlier this week to help one of his regular customers into the pharmacy. This story comes to us from: The US Sun.

Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs for the Blind’s K9 Buddy Program Expands to Include the Entire United States and Adults of Any Age

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) announced today that it has expanded the geographic and demographic scope if its K9 Buddy Program to include adults of any age who are blind or visually impaired throughout the U.S. GDB also plans to ultimately expand the program to Canada. This story comes to us from: Business Wire

Air Canada apologizes for not letting blind woman fly with guide dog

This story is a bit special to me as Dena and I are old friends and I was the maid of honor at her wedding in Minnesota a bunch of years ago.

Air Canada is apologizing after not allowing a passenger who's blind to board a flight from Toronto to Minneapolis with her guide dog. Dena Wainwright, a 49-year-old Canadian who lives in Minnesota, says she will never fly with the airline again after being forced to leave Toronto by train, cross the border by car, and take a domestic flight home, costing her more than $2,000. "Not to mention all of the stress," Wainwright told CBC Toronto. "Being treated by Air Canada employees like I was a criminal, like I was being held hostage, having them speak to my daughter instead of me. Like I was too mentally impaired to have a coherent conversation with the agent. This story comes to us from: CBC.


Blind and low-vision voters hail Massachusetts' new statewide online voting option

To vote in this year’s election, Watertown resident Kim Charlson won’t need to go to her polling place, print out a ballot or sign any forms. Charlson, who is blind, plans to take advantage of a new voting system for people with disabilities that allows them to cast their ballot electronically through a secure web portal. This story comes to us from: WGBH.

Empowering the Blind Voter

Empowering blind voters and complying with federal voting access requirements. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Just Stop Oil: protester glues hand to central London road

Just Stop Oil continued their series of protests in London on Saturday, stopping traffic on several central London highways: Charing Cross Road, Kensington High Street, Kennington Road and Blackfriars Road. Footage shows police removing a partially blind woman who glued her hand to the ground. The Metropolitan police say a number of arrests have been made as a result of the disruptive protests. This story comes to us from: YouTube.


Sirius XM class action alleges website not accessible to blind, visually impaired

Sirius XM violates the law by not making its website accessible to legally blind people using a screen reader, a new class action lawsuit alleges. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.

Personal Finance and Investing

Blind people amongst those worst affected by cost of living crisis

Blind and visually impaired people are not just reducing their energy use to alleviate the effects of the cost of living crisis. Sadly one respondent to the RNIB survey said: ‘I have a small bowl of cereal, then miss lunch and have something cheap in the evening like beans on toast. This is the only way I’m currently surviving. This story comes to us from: City A.M.


Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired Market Detailed Analysis and Forecast up to 2031

According to the report, the global assistive technologies for visually impaired market was valued at US$ 3.5 Bn in 2020 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 13.7% from 2021 to 2031. The global assistive technologies for visually impaired market is driven by rise in prevalence and causes of visual impairment and blindness, and increase in per capita healthcare expenditure. This story comes to us from: Digital Journal.


Man Goes Blind Years After He Married Blind Woman Who Was Dumped by Lover, They Share Their Love Story

The man from Arusha, Tanzania, was busy minding his work when he met the love of his life, despite her being blind. This story comes to us from: Legit.ng.

Everyone says my hot girlfriend is wasted on me, and more advice from dear prudence

Unfair to MY Girlfriend:I'm blind. I keep very fit but gather I'm below … We've dated for three years and she's the woman I want to marry. This story comes to us from: slate.com.

Woodland neighbors team up to give a blind woman a home makeover

More than a dozen people in a Woodland neighborhood teamed up to give a blind woman's home a makeover. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.

[Rose Rudman Trail Features New Sidewalk Honoring Persons With Vision Impairment][355]

The Tyler Parks and Recreation Department recently partnered with East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind (ETLB) to paint a new Walk Your Own Path sidewalk painting on a section of the Rose Rudman trail. The sidewalk was painted by people with blindness or visual impairment. A solid black base layer shows the colorful markings made up of lines traced by the white canes of persons with visual impairment. This story comes to us from: County Line Magazine.

Art and Artists

Queer, Crip and Here: Meet blind writer Caitlin Hernandez

Some creators agonize for years before plunging into their art. This wasn’t the case with queer, blind writer and teacher Caitlin Hernandez. Hernandez wrote her first “novel,” “Computer Whiz,” she writes in her bio, when she was in the fourth grade. She kept her monitor off so no one would see her “masterpiece. This story comes to us from: Washington Blade.

Iowa artist Jill Wells uses 'the power of touch' to make art accessible

Inside the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center at Drake University, a short trail of paper cut-out butterflies traces the curve of a large white ramp that leads to the building's second floor. From afar, the butterflies are soft in color, their pastel-hued bodies pressed against the surface, the tips of their wings lifted as if in motion and fluttering away. But another look revealed a bold message. Tiny raised dots are scattered all over the butterflies, some of which appear to have landed on top of framed pages and blended right in. To sighted people, the patterned dots may look like ridges that give the paper dimension, but there's more to the story. This story comes to us from: The Des Moines Register.

Blind Durban woman knits bears for vulnerable children

A Queensburgh woman, who became blind 12 years ago, is helping to bring joy to children's lives with knitted bears. This story comes to us from: IOL.

At 68, blind ballerina isn't done inspiring others

"I am a woman who wants to have a healthy body," she said. "That's what I feel ballet does to me. It gives me a healthy body." This story comes to us from: 9News.

Sports and Athletes

Blind Football: Colombia shuffles the podium in the American Championship

The 2022 IBSA Blind Football American Championship reaches Day 3 and Colombia shuffles the podium of the competition. In the first game of the day, Colombia’s victory (4-1) against Peru took no discussion, especially in the second half. This story comes to us from: ibsasport.

10th IBCA PanAmerican Games for Blind set new records

The 10th IBCA PanAmerican Games for the Blind and Visually Impaired took place in Mexico City, Mexico, from October 23-29, 2022. Organized by the IBCA and the Mexican National Network for the Blind with chief organizer Mr Benito Enrique Hernández López, the competition brought together 54 participants representing 13 federations from North, South, and Central America. The players used specialized Braille chess boards, talking clocks, and voice recording equipment. This story comes to us from: FIDE.

England Women's blind goalkeeper Katie Christopher explains her role

The development of the women’s game is one Christopher knows well, having struggled with the lack of provision for girls while growing up as a player in mid-Wales. “I started playing when I was seven at a local grassroots club in mid-Wales and it was with a boys' team, I played with them for years and then it got to when I was ten and they said I couldn’t play with the boys anymore. “When I was younger, I used to play in a boys’ team but now girls where I live from four can play in girls only set up. It’s huge how much it has improved and progressed. This story comes to us from: England Football.

How friend of 90-year-old blind man helps him play golf

John Casolo has been totally blind since 1984, but the 90-year-old is intent on still hitting the links with the help of his "coach", Gary. This story comes to us from: FOX 61.

Family Atmosphere Experienced at the Blind Hockey Classic

“People think that if you’re blind, you can either see or you can’t see and it’s nothing like that,” said O’Connell, who went blind when he was in his 50s. “My eye condition is peripheral and night vision. It’s like looking out of a straw and my vision is very good in the straw, but it’s not in the periphery. This story comes to us from: USA Hockey.

Blind double amputee vet gears up for his 9th Marine Corps Marathon

In April 2010, Matt Bradford became the first blind double amputee in history to reenlist in the Marines. This story comes to us from: Marine Corps Times.

'I'm blind and kayaking the entire length of the Thames

A man who has lost 80% of his sight is paddling the entire length of the River Thames in a kayak to raise money for charity. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Why Visual Impairment is No Obstacle for London Marathoner Kevin Crompton

Kevin Crompton, 51, had never ran a full marathon before taking the plunge on October 2nd and participating in the 2022 TCS London Marathon. It was an experience that turned out to be one of the most challenging, and exhilarating moments of his life. Now, this visually impaired fundraiser is on a mission to encourage the community to become blind runners and get involved with running, and spread the message of how fully sighted people can get involved too. This story comes to us from: Muscle & Fitness.

Blind runner competes to raise awareness

Blind runner Tim Paul ran a 10K in Chicago to raise awareness that those who are blind or visually impaired can be just as capable as anyone else. Paul has completed 20 marathons, and ran in the Rise to Shine 10K on Sunday. The race raised money for Chicago Lighthouse, which serves the blind, visually impaired, disabled and veteran communities. This story comes to us from: NewsNation.

Dan Mancina: The blind skateboarder challenging misconceptions about sight and sport

Dan Mancina is a skateboarder whose jaw-dropping videos rack up hundreds of thousands of views. He has a loyal following on Instagram, all eager to see him landing jumps and all sorts of skillful tricks. Mancina also happens to be blind. This story comes to us from: CNN.

Skateboarding clinic for blind and visually impaired youth

About 22 participants aged 10 to 21 got a chance to build their own skateboards and learn basic skills from the skateboarding professionals. This story comes to us from: kgw.com.


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