WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 51

What's Inside

  • Unemployment among blind is "staggeringly" high
  • NJ Commission for Blind denies man a job after learning he was blind
  • Upside down braille signs in Detroit transit system cause complaints
  • Blind filmmaker debuts her first film
  • How blind content creators do their make-up
  • Tampa Bay Rays sign legally blind pitcher
  • India wins blind cricket world cup for the second time in a row
  • And, about 50 more stories about blindness and blind people from the entire English speaking world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Having curated and edited this digest for 51 weeks now, I've seen thousands of stories and we've included more than 3250 in this digest. I don't think any publication about blindness has delivered so much information about blind people and blindness in a single year ever before and we hope to get even better in the future.

After a year of including so many articles and rejecting about ten times as many (mostly false positives in GoogleAlerts or duplicates of stories that are picked up by a lot of other outlets, I've learned quite a lot about how blindness and blind people are covered in different parts of the world. I plan on writing an entire article based on some of the conclusions I've reached. If you read this digest regularly and notice where the articles originated, I think you'll find how our community is covered and therefore perceived in different parts of the world. The story will be based on my impressions and will not include serious statistical analysis, I'm not a media expert, I just have a lot of reasonably well informed notions on this subject.

My favorite article this week is the one about the spoiled rich kid who first insulted a blind man in an ice cream shop only to learn that the blind man was his dad's boss. If this story is true, both the kid and his dad are real jerks and, acting like such in public can have very negative consequences, especially if you don't know the stranger to whom you are being unkind. This kid actually said, "Do you know who my father is? Do you know what job he has?" Well, the blind man did know whom the father is and I can't expect work life is too good for the dad anymore.

How It's Organized

WBH Weekly 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.


Kellogg empowers blind consumers in U.S. with NaviLens technology on packaging

Kellogg Company is changing the way the almost 12 million adults in the U.S. who are blind or have low vision* perform daily tasks, such as navigating a grocery store aisle or choosing one's cereal at breakfast. To help create a place at the table, Kellogg is incorporating innovative NaviLens technology into the packaging of four of its iconic cereal brands: Kellogg's Corn Flakes®, Special K Original®, Rice Krispies® and Crispix®. This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.

Blindness Organizations

The Carroll Center for the Blind Announces Strategic Partnership with Level Access to Advance Career Readiness for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Carroll Center for the Blind—a pioneering and innovative vision rehabilitation and educational center for the blind and visually impaired of all ages, is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with Level Access—the trusted provider of enterprise digital accessibility solutions. Through this partnership, Level Access has committed to a multi-year grant to help fund The Carroll Center for the Blind's Screen Reader User Tester training program. This seven-week training program provides adults with visual impairments the education and certification needed to pursue employment in the field of digital accessibility, helping close an employment gap that exists for the visually impaired. Just 44 percent of people who are blind or visually impaired are employed, compared to 79 percent of those without disabilities. This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.

Helen Keller Services CEO Sue Ruzenski Shares How Organization Helps Blind and Deaf

We talked with Sue Ruzenski, Ed.D., CEO of Helen Keller Services, which is comprised of two divisions: Helen Keller Services for the Blind, serving five boroughs of New York and Long Island, headquartered in Brooklyn; and Helen Keller National Center, a national program headquartered in Sands Point. She discussed serving the blind and deaf-blind and being a nonprofit that services people of all ages in New York and nationally, as well as navigating the pandemic. This story comes to us from: Long Island Press.

The Foglia Residences at The Chicago Lighthouse Twins LIHTCs to Help Blind, Visually Impaired in Chicago

Though Illinois-based Brinshore Development has built more than 10,000 apartments in 20 states, one in-construction affordable housing property holds special significance for one of the firm’s co-founders. For The Foglia Residences at The Chicago Lighthouse, a 76-apartment property in Chicago’s 27th Ward geared toward the blind and visually impaired, Brinshore co-founder and principal David Brint was inspired by his youngest son, 25-year-old Alan, who has been blind since birth. This story comes to us from: Novogradac.

Lions Club hosts Christmas Party for legally blind people in Greensboro

The Lion Club has hosted and served visually-impaired people across the Triad for more than 50 years. This story comes to us from: WFMY News 2.

Blind At 6, Niyotwizera Sews His Way Into The Future

The Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) says that people with disabilities, especially the blind, should learn vocational skills so as to contribute to their development and that of the country as a whole. This story comes to us from: KT PRESS.


I'm a Blind Scientist and Inventor. More Disabled Kids Should Have the Opportunities I Had

Editor: This article from Time Magazine was authored by our friend Josh who I must also add that, in addition to being a brilliant scientist, is one of the nicest, kindest and most generous people you'll ever meet if you're lucky enough to meet him.

Joshua Miele is principal accessibility researcher at Amazon and a 2021 MacArthur Fellow. He is a blind scientist, community leader, and inventor with a history of developing information-accessibility solutions for blind people.
As a little kid, I was fascinated by the inner workings of every device in my family’s home. I would spend hours disassembling and reassembling radios, toasters, and other household appliances, trying to figure out how they worked. Some sighted adults marveled at this, but to me, a blind kid exploring the world, it felt perfectly natural. Blindness is a hands-on process. The model kits for steam engines and rockets I received on birthdays didn’t come with braille instructions. I’d assemble them by trial and error rather than by following the printed instructions which I couldn’t read—how many big screws, how many little screws, four pieces shaped like this, and two pieces shaped like that will form a box. Unfortunately, decades later, very little has changed. This story comes to us from: TIME.


Unemployment for blind people is staggeringly high. NewView Oklahoma works to change that

Blind people and people with low vision face significant barriers to employment. NewView Oklahoma is pushing to change that. This story comes to us from: The Oklahoman.

A job offer was rescinded, he says, when Commission for the Blind learned he was visually impaired

Declan Ryan, who is legally blind, thought he had the job nailed. The 32-year-old man, who once had dreams of becoming a New York City firefighter before his vision problems worsened, had worked as a building management supervisor in Manhattan for the past 12 years before seeking a similar role earlier this year with the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This story comes to us from: NJ.com.

Surge in remote working due to COVID fuels record employment for the disabled

After generations of being overlooked and sidelined in the job market, Americans with disabilities are enjoying an unprecedented employment boom — thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread acceptance of remote working and an overall labor shortage have opened up historic opportunities for some of the nation’s most skilled and underutilized workers. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

Chatty' Winston Dreams of Becoming the First Blind Tour Guide in South Africa

Winston Fani (35), an unemployed blind gentleman, lives in Mfuleni, Cape Town, with his lovely wife, Busi (43), who is also considered legally blind, and their faithful guide dog, Gladys. This story comes to us from: SAPeople.


Scottish charities call for free rail travel for blind and partially sighted people and companions

Editor: In Massachusetts, blind people enjoy riding it's public transit at no cost but their companions do not also get to ride for free.

Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans have called for a new national policy for free rail travel for blind and partially sighted people and a sighted companion. This story comes to us from: Association of Optometrists.

Blind residents say Charlotte can do better with transit services

Editor: This story is told in a video.

This story comes to us from: WCNC.

‘It affects everything:’ Calgary mom with visual impairment talks about challenges of parenting little ones and a need for rides and frequent transit

One in 3,500 to one in 4,000 Canadians are affected by retinitis pigmentosa, a group of incurable diseases that can lead to blindness after several decades. In this video, Calgary mom Jen Abbott speaks with Calgary Journal reporter Tammie Samuel about the realities of parenting with retinitis pigmentosa. This story comes to us from: Calgary Journal.

Upside-down braille signs on the Detroit QLine cause complaints

Cathy McAdam is blind and has been reading braille since she was four. Despite her lifetime of experience, she’s never encountered upside-down braille signs like the ones along the Detroit QLine. The signs have the name of each QLine stop in English text with accompanying braille to assist the blind and visually impaired. However, they were installed so that both the braille and English are inverted at each of the 12 QLine stations. “The braille is correct, it’s just upside down,” McAdam tells us on a snowy November morning at the QLine. “I’m 76, so I know my braille." After flipping her hand upside down to read “Grand Boulevard” at the station, she asks if the accompanying English is also upside down. When we reply, yes, she adds, “Well, that’s nuts." McAdam isn’t the only person who questions the installation. Detroiters have been asking if the signs are some kind of cruel mistake since the 3.3-mile streetcar opened in 2017. QLine spokesperson Dan Lijana says M-1 Rail, the nonprofit that owns and operates the QLine, has repeatedly addressed questions about the braille signs over the years. This story comes to us from: Metro Times.

FREE NOW shines the spotlight on real-life hero cab drivers changing and saving lives

While 37-year-old Fazlu Meah’s tale of helping a vulnerable blind woman and her guide dog get home safely is the fourth hero London driver featured in FREE NOW’s festive campaign. This story comes to us from: Taxi Point.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

Blind and disabled veterans can't access VA websites, report says

Ron Biglin is a 73-year-old blind veteran living in Clarks Summit, Pa., who regularly goes kayaking and fishing, sorts his mail and uses public transportation to get around.
But he can’t log on to the Department of Veterans Affairs website portal for his health benefits because the portal’s design isn’t compatible with his screen reader, which converts text to speech. This story comes to us from: The Washington Post.

N.B. woman shocked after blind mom, 88, put in hospital supply room

Editor: Sometimes, it's difficult to select the section into which to put a story. This one could have fit into a handful of them but I put it here, I hope this doesn't cause any confusion.

A New Brunswick woman is demanding answers after her 88-year-old mother, who's in hospital awaiting a nursing home bed, was moved into a cramped room filled with supplies. The health authority, meanwhile, acknowledges that it must use what it calls "non-traditional care spaces" to care for its hospitalized patients. Karen Totten says she went to visit her mother Irene MacNeill at the Saint John Regional Hospital Thursday morning, only to discover somebody else in her place. Fearing the worst, Totten rushed to the nurses station. "I was like, 'Oh my God, what happened to my mother? Where is she? Nobody called me,'" she said. "They said, 'Oh, we had to move her because this person came up from emerge' … and they took me over to where she was — and it was the friggin' supply room." This story comes to us from: CBC News.

A blind writer recalls giving birth: 'I worried that the nurse wouldn't let me take my baby home'

Editor: This is another story for which choosing a category was a bit difficult. I put it here but it could have also fit into about three other categories.

“I didn’t know she was coming,” the nurse told my sighted friend as she helped me into the soon-to-be-blood-soaked hospital gown. “No one told me about this.” Was “this” my blindness or the baby or both? She was right; the nurse hadn’t been expecting me and I had not met her before. On my hospital tour, it was nurse Evelyn I had met. She had told me about a competent blind mother she knew and who, she assured me, would help me get a handle on mothering. Unfortunately for me, Langston had chosen to be born on Evelyn’s day off." This story comes to us from: Scroll.in.

Readers and Tweeters Chime In on Disability Rights and Drug Discounts

I almost never see anything related to blindness and accessibility go through my news feed, so even though your findings are depressing, it made my day to know this issue was being highlighted in the national news! This story comes to us from: Kaiser Health News.


Stonehaven firm fined £4,000 after blind man fell through manhole

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard the victim was left with a large hematoma, swelling and bruising as a result of the incident. He died only days later. This story comes to us from: Press and Journal.


Mother apprehended over murder of blind 4-year-old daughter

A woman in her 20s has been taken into custody, charged with murdering her blind 4-year-old daughter. This story comes to us from: The Korea Herald.

Man accused of stealing $10K from blind neighbor

The charges started when the woman gave her neighbor, Montez Tindell (41), her card and asked him to pick some things up for her at the store. This story comes to us from: WCBD.

Man verbally abused blind woman before assaulting her partner

A man is to appear in court after subjecting a blind woman to salacious comments and then assaulting her partner. This story comes to us from: Lancashire Telegraph.

Guide Dogs

Neighbors Give Blind Man a Guide Dog, It Saves His Life Just an Hour Later

Feeling frustrated and embarrassed, Bobby listened to the radio while mumbling under his breath. Bobby picked up his cane and went outside for a walk to prove that he could fulfill his doctor's wishes on his own. Up the road, a car came driving just as Bobby was crossing the street. Noticing this, James & Andrew realized that he was in danger. "MISTER BOBBY, WATCH OUT!" the boys shouted in unison.
Ruffles immediately ran across the street towards Bobby, pushing him onto the lawn across the road as the car came to a screeching halt. Ruffles had made it just in time to save Bobby's life. Oblivious to what had happened, Bobby scrambled and searched for his cane. "What in tarnation is going on?" he asked. James and Andrew came running across the street to help Bobby to his feet. This story comes to us from: AmoMama.


Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA)

The CVTA is legislation in the U.S. Congress that would expand the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require accessible communications and accessible video programming on television and online. Currently, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) defines what programming must have audio description and the minimum requirements for making communications equipment accessible. In the last 12 years, we have reached the limits of that law as the programming and communications landscapes have evolved and become more digital. AFB and other disability organizations have worked to introduce updates to the CVAA that bring the FCC regulations more in line with current access needs. This story comes to us from: American Foundation for the Blind.


Self-Checkouts Often Inaccessible to Disabled Shoppers

In July 2018, Melissa Sheeder, a visually-impaired person, attempted to use the self-checkout lane at a Maryland Walmart. After struggling to scan some of the items, Sheeder’s friend, who is also visually-impaired, asked a nearby employee for help. But instead of helping them check out, the Walmart employee canceled the transaction, helped put the merchandise back in their cart, and directed them to a cashier lane. A few months later, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sued Walmart, arguing that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by “excluding blind people from using the service in the way that it was intended – independently and privately,” as stated in court documents. Sheeder was one of three plaintiffs in the suit. Last year, a federal judge in Maryland ruled in Walmart’s favor. This story comes to us from: The Food Institute.

Personal Finance and Investing

How Keyport woman navigates banking while blind

Angie Polizzotto, who is blind, has created a system to help her handle her money. But as banks close branches, the system gets harder. This story comes to us from: Asbury Park Press.


AI-Diagnostics Startup Altris AI Raises $1 Million To Prevent Blindness

Altris AI has raised $1 million in a round led by Runa Capital to scale its AI-enabled eye care diagnostics solution. Altris AI, which is a US-based startup originally from Ukraine, is building solutions for the $58 billion global ophthalmology market. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

Apellis Submits Marketing Authorization Application to the European Medicines Agency for Pegcetacoplan for Geographic Atrophy

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS), a global biopharmaceutical company and leader in complement, today announced that the company has submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency for intravitreal pegcetacoplan, an investigational, targeted C3 therapy, for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). GA is a leading cause of blindness that impacts more than five million people globally. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.


Spoiled Rich Boy Mocks Blind Customer at Store, Learns the Man Is His Dad's Boss

Jake was finally in the same room with the girl of his dreams. As the blind man continued, Jake became more annoyed. As the date continued, Jake was nearing the end of his tolerance for the blind man's pleading. He finally snapped, approaching the blind man. "Could you please shut up!!" Jake snapped. "Shut up? Child, I'm three generations older than you!" the older man responded. Jake instantly called his father, furious. He told him everything that had happened, and his father shared his sentiment, equally irked. Chuck insisted he switch on the loudspeaker, ready to tear the blind man's head off. "Listen, old man! Apologize to my son and never raise your voice against him again, you understand? You have no idea where I work and what my position is," Chuck said. This story comes to us from: AmoMama.

Jacksonville man's blindness no obstacle to Christmas decorating

Jason Parisi was stringing Christmas lights when he suddenly pivoted, walked briskly down a hallway before he stopped, opened a door, and retrieved a decoration from his room. This would be ordinary other than the fact Parisi is deaf and blind. When people at Balsam Terrace and Spruce Manor talk about Parisi, the words "remarkable" and "amazing" pop up often. Parisi is the chief decorator for the apartment complex in Jacksonville operated by the Volunteers of America for seniors and people with disabilities. This story comes to us from: Jacksonville Journal-Courier.

Watch: Little girl's gesture towards her visually-impaired parents leaves internet speechless

Indian mythology talks about unconditional love between Shravan Kumar he had with his parents. There are many instances where children can be seen disrespecting their parents and not taking proper care of them. However, this video of the little girl, will prove not every child is the same. Her kind gesture towards her blind parents has touched the cords of internet users. This story comes to us from: OdishaTV.

Watertown Dump Truck Driver Helps Blind Man Cross the Street

Editor: This article is largely a collection of photos so may not be of interest to people using a screen reader.

A KXLG listener sent in these photos of a dump truck driver who stopped while cleaning the streets to assist a blind man crossing the street. This story comes to us from: KXLG.

What do blind people see? What to know about sight for those with visual impairment

People who are blind or visually impaired fall within a wide range of visual acuities. Here is some insight into their experience. This story comes to us from: USA Today.

Thriving through vision loss: 5 Bostonians on identity, career growth and giving back

“I didn't want to become or let it consume my head that I was a person with deafness or blindness. I was a person before anything else. This story comes to us from: Technical.ly.

Eight Prajnachakshu girls will mesmerize everyone by walking the ramp in Rajkot

8 blind girls from Rajkot are going to participate in the Lakme Fashion Show on December 18. These 8 visually impaired girls will wear dresses designed by fashion designers and will make a splash on the ramp. This story comes to us from: IG News.

Little Girl Guides Her Blind Parents On Road, Video Goes Viral

We humans are blessed to have an active body and an objective mind. However, not all humans get to enjoy all the perks of being human. Due to some impairments, specially abled people need help from others to carry out their lives. If you see a blind person struggling, you will want to go and help them out. Similarly, in a viral video, a little girl was seen helping her parents, who are visually impaired, out in the market. This story comes to us from: Indiatimes.com.

The sight of warmth

One of the joys in life that visually impaired and blind people cannot experience conveniently might be reading, but a new bookstore that officially opened on Dec 3 has now made that possible. Located at 226 Nanchang Road in Shanghai's Huangpu district, the Niguang 226 bookstore is a cozy, 37-square-meter space designed specifically for such individuals. Besides being the smallest Xinhua Bookstore in Shanghai, it is also the first of its kind in the city. Operated by the Shanghai Xinhua Media and the Shanghai Disabled Persons' Federation, the new store offers more than 300 braille books by Chinese and foreign authors, barrier-free movies and even merchandise such as traditional Chinese paintings, aromatherapy products, bamboo carving, straw weaving, and purple clay crafts made by people with disabilities. This story comes to us from: China Daily.

King Charles meets students at college for the blind in Hereford

King Charles has met staff, students and volunteers at a residential college for blind and visually impaired people during a visit to Herefordshire.
His trip to Hereford marks the 150th birthday of the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC).
The then Prince of Wales opened the Hereford site in 1979 and on Monday unveiled an anniversary plaque.
A demonstration of blind football was also put on for the monarch, at the Venns Lane site. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Blindness is no roadblock to success: visually-impaired human computer at Udayavani

Basavaraj Umrani from Belgaum is a visually-challenged human computer who did not let his visual impairment be a roadblock to success. Umrani visited the Udayavani Manipal office and shared his journey. He is known for his astounding mathematical calculation skills as well as his enormous memory. The 28-year-old is MA, B.Ed. graduate and is currently working in Adarsh ​​Group of Institutes, Bengaluru. Umrani discovered his love for mathematics at the age of eight. He can do complex additions and multiplications of up to 30 numbers each in seconds. Also, he can remember the calendar of 100 years and accurately tell the time of the day and the weekday of any date between the years 1900 to 2100. This story comes to us from: Udayavani.

Art and Artists

Exhibition of handicrafts made by blind people in Syria

Editor: This story is told in a video.

This story comes to us from: Middle East Monitor.

Blind Filmmaker debuts her thesis film at Loyola Marymount University

While it was a packed house inside a small theater at LMU, one movie drew the crowd's attention because the writer, director and producer, who was sitting in the front row, couldn't actually see it. Joy Benedict reports. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

The Blind Boys' vision paved the way for an eight-decade run

The legendary gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama will perform a concert Sunday afternoon at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center. This story comes to us from: The Spokesman-Review.

Country singer Cutter Elliott donates guitar at School for the Blind

Oklahoma School for the Blind students were treated to a free concert, and their Jazz Band received a new guitar, thanks to Cutter. This story comes to us from: Norman Transcript.

How Blind or Low-Vision Content Creators Do Their Makeup

If the beauty industry has shown us anything over the last few decades, it's that makeup is for everyone. People of all genders, skin tones, ages, sexual orientations, and abilities are able to experience the power of transformation — whether that comes from throwing on some red lipstick at the office or executing a glitter cut crease for a TikTok tutorial. And, despite makeup being primarily recognized as a visual medium, it's enjoyed by many in the visually impaired community. This story comes to us from: POPSUGAR.

Bulgarian Musicians Launch Colorful Instrument For Deaf And Blind Children

The novel device was designed to allow deaf and blind children to make music together and to appeal to those on the autism spectrum. This story comes to us from: Radio Free Europe.

Sports and Athletes

'I find ways around it': Rays acquire pitcher left legally blind from childhood accident

Editor: The Tampa Bay Rays also have a blind color commentator on their Spanish language radio feed. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida and have no idea what the team's connection may be to the blind community but, of 30 MLB teams, they are the only one I know of that has two blind people on its payroll.

On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired a minor-league pitcher with an inspiring back story. When he was just 9 years old, Jeff Belge was involved in a freak accident that left him legally blind. This story comes to us from: WFLA.

National Athletics Sport Championship for Blind 2022: Karnataka lift State Men's Trophy

The 22nd National Athletics Championship for the Blind, held here at Thyagraj Stadium successfully concluded on Saturday. Present at the occasion to inspire the young athletes and felicitate them with awards was Gursharan Singh, Secretary General, Paralympic Committee of India. This story comes to us from: ANI News.

T20 World Cup for the Blind: India beat Bangladesh to claim third successive title

Editor: This article and many others published in Times Of India are very crowded and not exactly friendly to a screen reader user. This one is the lead article on a page that contains a number of others so, to read it, you may need to do some poking around to find the story in all of the chaos.

Brilliant centuries by skipper Ajay Kumar Reddy lead India to another World Cup title. This story comes to us from: Times of India.

Sachin lauds India's win in Blind T20 World Cup; 'This win makes our hearts fill with joy

Former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is among the thousands of people who took to social media to laud the Blind Cricket Team's achievement. This story comes to us from: Republic World.

Blind T20 World Cup: Ajay, Sunil Power India To Final With 207-run Win Over South Africa

Blind T20 World Cup: Ajay, Sunil power India to final with 207-run win. This story comes to us from: GlamSham.

Iraqi blind soccer team hopes to make it to international games

Iraq has put together a team that hopes to take part in tournaments held by the International Blind Sports Federation. This story comes to us from: Richmond Times Dispatch.

Blind Paralympian Lex Gillette has a vision of realized potential for all

What would you miss most if you suddenly went blind? Imagine you had eight years to take in the world and then it irretrievably vanished. This story comes to us from: Lumen Newsroom.

WATCH: Blind Man Drains 20 Foot Putt

Putting is hard. It is the part of the game that so many people struggle with. It's not as much of a problem for this man because he's blind. This story comes to us from: Golficity.


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