WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 52

What's Inside

  • STEM education for blind kids
  • Blind teacher works with refugees in Peru
  • Strand Bookstore sued over web inaccessibility
  • Woman becomes first blind foster parent in Washington
  • The difficulties of dating while blind
  • Australian Rules Football for the blind
  • And, about 40 more articles about blindness and blind people from the entire English speaking world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This is week 52 of this digest, we've made it a full year and we're just getting started. At an average of about 65 articles per week between the news digest and the science digest, we have run roughly 3400 in total that we've curated and brought to our readers and we've rejected about ten times as many. No other blindness publication has ever brought this much news about blindness to its readers in a single year and we hope to bring even more in 2023.

This was Christmas week and I must say that the stories I enjoyed most were those about various holiday activities going on around the blindness community. As usual, this edition has its share of sad stories about blind people but it was the uplifting holiday stories that made me smile. I also enjoyed the story about the gal who will be playing blind Australian Rules Football, a sport that seems excessively violent to me so it caused me curiosity and I hope to follow their story in the future.

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.


CTRL+Z: Stanford’s IT Department Walks Back Plan to Purge ‘Harmful Phrases’ Like ‘Blind Study'

Editor: This was one of those articles for which I had some trouble selecting a section. Because it's the IT department, I put it into Technology but it could also go under Education or maybe even Legal.

That was quick! Just 48 hours after the Washington Free Beacon and the Wall Street Journal shed light on a Stanford University list of "offensive" words and phrases like "American" and "blind study," the university would like to make a few clarifications. The university hid its "Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative" behind a login page Monday following widespread public criticism of its effort to purge "potentially harmful" language like "survivor," "victim," "blackbox" and "white paper" from university websites. In a letter posted Tuesday evening, the university's chief information officer Steve Gallagher said the guide "does not represent university policy," nor "mandates or requirements.' "We have particularly heard concerns about the guide’s treatment of the term ‘American,'" Gallagher wrote, referring to the blueprint's assessment that "American" ascribed superiority to people from the United States. "To be very clear, not only is the use of the term ‘American' not banned at Stanford, it is absolutely welcomed," he continued. This story comes to us from: Free Beacon.

Currency readers now available to eligible Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has announced that Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired can now apply to receive an audible currency reader at no cost through the Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library. The currency reader, called the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, is a small, handheld device that quickly identifies the bill’s denomination in one of three ways: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. This story comes to us from: State of Michigan.

Blindness Organizations

PA organization's program helps the blind, visually impaired send letters to Santa

Erika Rothermel is busy this holiday season. After all, she is known at VisionCorps in Lancaster as the “head elf. This story comes to us from: WJAC.

Divvy Tivvies win quiz night as hundreds raised to help blind get local news

More than £500 has been raised to help blind and visually impaired receive their local news. This story comes to us from: Devon Live.

Akron Blind Center to use Millennium Fund grant to provide supplies for backpack program

The Akron Blind Center was recently named one of 33 organizations awarded a total of $55000 in grants through the Millennium Fund for Children. This story comes to us from: Akron Beacon Journal.

Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired advocates and provides resources for people with vision loss

Every seven minutes, someone in the United States will become blind or visually impaired, says the Wisconsin Council of the Blind. This story comes to us from: Wisconsin Public Radio.

Disabled, elderly laud Salvation Army

The Salvation Army last Wednesday brought smiles to the faces of scores of Jamaicans afflicted by disabilities senior citizens as they collected food packages from the charitable organisation four days before Christmas. The blind were among the people who crowded the entrance to the Salvation Army office on Lyndhurst Road in St Andrew from early morning, awaiting care packages. This story comes to us from: Jamaica Observer.


NABK bats for STEM education for blind kids

Curious Minds aims to demonstrate how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) can be taught and learnt by the visually challenged. This story comes to us from: Deccan Herald.


Blind Detroiters recall paratransit service horror stories with Dept. of Justice

The meeting was called after City Council canceled its contract with Trandev, citing shoddy service. The DOJ is investigating possible civil rights violations. This story comes to us from: Detroit Metro Times.

Blind woman 'dropped off on wrong street' by Telford taxi driver and 'refused help three times

Vicki Edwards booked a taxi with Go Carz for 7pm on the evening of Saturday, December 17, to take her from her home to a friend's house, about three-and-a-half miles away. However, she said the driver did not take her to her friend's house, but to a property a few streets away. When she asked for him to help her to the door of the house, she says her request was ignored three times. Vicki said: "The driver didn’t seem to know where he was going. He pulled up in what he said was the right street and just said, ‘There’s number 29.' "I asked him at least three times if he could walk with me to the right door, and I don’t know if he was ignoring what I was saying or he couldn’t understand me, but he just didn’t respond to me at all. "I asked him three times. He just said, 'We're here, you can get out now.' I had got my white stick with me – it was folded up but I'd quite clearly got it. "It wouldn't have taken a lot to walk me a few yards to the door. He could see me just standing there. He made an active choice not to assist me and dropped me off in the dark on my own." This story comes to us from: Shropshire Star.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

I’m blind – when I complained about my expensive energy bill cruel staff told me to switch off the lights… how dare they?

: Shocked Yvonne said: “I couldn’t believe it when they said if you’re blind why do you need to put the lights on? “After I listed my health issues they said it was time I went into a nursing home. “I said, ‘How dare you?’. I will not give up my dignity and independence over an electricity bill.” This story comes to us from: The Sun.

Blind man steps in to look after war veteran dad for 'overworked' carers amid staff crisis

Russell Macmillan has described the care system as 'broken' after he was forced to carry out personal care for his 96-year-old father due to 'overworked' carers being unable to get to him. This story comes to us from: Glasgow Live.


Webster police officers who saved woman from burning home awarded by Worcester DA

Four members of the Webster Police Department who rescued a blind woman from a burning house in May 2021 were recognized by Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. Monday. Webster Police Sgt. Robert Larochelle and Officers Jacek Ochocki, Johnathan Brooks and Robert Rockwood were awarded the Team Excellence and Merit — TEAM Award — for their actions to save a woman who was trapped on the roof of the front porch of her burning home at 146 High St. in Webster. This story comes to us from: MassLive.com.


Blind Teacher Helps Refugee Children In Peru

Through a program delivered by UNICEF with funding from Education Cannot Wait, a blind teacher is helping refugee kids realize their dreams. This story comes to us from: Forbes.

Blind family to benefit from social housing in Westmoreland

VIRIS LYNCH and her two visually impaired daughters are among several families in Westmoreland slated to receive housing solutions under the Government’s indigent social housing programme, valued at approximately $25.7 million. This story comes to us from: Jamaica Gleaner.


Blind Man Assaulted – Left in Woods for Two Days

Just after 7 pm, first responders answered a call reporting someone was yelling for help from the woods in Otway. When a Rarden Firefighter arrived on the scene, he discovered a blind man who said he had been sitting lost in the woods for two days. When deputies arrived, they learned the blind man claimed two people had assaulted him and left him there. He was able to identify his alleged attackers. This story comes to us from: Scioto County Daily News.

Blind foreigners among 300 stranded after Joburg flats raided, allegedly by Operation Dudula

More than 300 foreign nationals who were living in Msibi House, a hijacked building in New Doornfontein in Johannesburg, are homeless after they were allegedly forcefully removed by a group claiming to be Operation Dudula members. The evictions allegedly took place on Saturday at about 11am. Those evicted include children, blind and other disabled residents. This story comes to us from: TimesLIVE.

Rogue trader conned elderly and blind victims out of thousands and spent money on Turkish holiday

McDonagh was also suspected of conning a woman out of her entire lifesavings. This story comes to us from: ITV.

Partially blind thief arrested

The Crime Branch today arrested a notorious thief wanted in several theft cases. The police also recovered gold ornaments, including a pair of gold earrings, six gold rings, a gold chain, two pairs of anklets from the thief. This story comes to us from: Tribune India.


Modi's shameful attempt to portray normalcy in IIOJK and this picture of blind man

In a shameful attempt to portray ‘peace and normalcy’ in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Modi regime brought some Indian men and women wearing Kashmiris’ traditional dress, pheran, to Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, today, to mark the self-styled “International Pheran Day”. However, this picture, taken by a photographer, Majid Maqbool in the Srinagar’s same Lal Chowk tells the real story of how the Kashmiri people have been treated by the Indian occupation regimes in the past and present. The picture taken in 1996 is of a blind man slowly negotiating his way on the road with a walking stick. Like other people, he was also stopped by the Indian troops and asked to lift his Pheran. The man, well into his eighties and also blind, if is not spared in the past, how an ordinary Kashmiri be treated in the Hindutva regime led by Modi is not something unimaginable. This story comes to us from: Kashmir Media Service.


Strand bookstore class action claims website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired visitors

The Strand bookstore fails to make its website fully accessible to blind or visually impaired people in violation of the law, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Marta Hanyzkiewicz filed the class action lawsuit against Strand Book Store Inc. Dec. 19 in a New York federal court, alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the lawsuit, Hanyzkiewicz is a visually impaired and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to read website content using her computer. She says, on multiple occasions, she visited www.strandbooks.com to make a purchase. “Despite her efforts, however, Plaintiff was denied a shopping experience similar to that of a sighted individual due to the website’s lack of a variety of features and accommodations, which effectively barred Plaintiff from being able to determine what specific products were offered for sale,” the Strand website class action states. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.


AI-diagnostics startup Altris AI raises $1 million to prevent blindness

Moreover, the company noted that Altris AI provides an AI-powered medical image management platform, which is installed in more than 30 clinics. This story comes to us from: Ophthalmology Times.

Europe Micro Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) Devices Market is Grow at a CAGR of 33.3

Rapid transition from glaucoma medication to minimally invasive … lead to damage of optic nerves, which can lead to vision loss or blindness. This story comes to us from: Digital Journal.


Parenting while blind

Mila's parents are blind, but she can see. The 7-year-old can and must be independent, and sometimes, her parents just have to let go. This story comes to us from: DW.

Miracle baby becomes miraculous mom as first blind foster parent in Washington

I always knew that at some point I wanted to be a foster mom.”Providing local foster children with a safe home where they can grow up constantly showered with love is a lifelong dream for 30-year-old Katrina ‘Katie’ Strickland.However, there were hurdles she had to overcome to fulfill that dream.”I was born at 22 weeks, I weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces, then I was placed into the foster care system,” Katie said.Once a miracle baby, Katie is now a miraculous mom. It’s difficult enough to raise two children under the age of four, but Katie has had to overcome additional obstacles on her mission to foster children, because she’s been legally blind since birth. This story comes to us from: FOX 28 Spokane.

Blind dating — the complications of searching for love without sight

It was a wet January; I was on a first date and my guide dog hadn't pooped in two days. As a 32-year-old blind man, this made for a complicated start. In this instance, the date ended with a disorientated dog in search of a park, a run in with a kerbside pole, and a hurried goodbye in a taxi. Dating without sight comes with a myriad of questions, many I continue to struggle with. How do you approach someone you cannot see? How do you know if someone is flirting with you? How do you know what their body language is giving off? How do you know she's leaning in for a kiss, only to lift a pint to your lips and miss your chance because one of your senses doesn't want to be your wingman? Even though the dating world has changed, some people still wait for a man to "make the first move" This story comes to us from: ABC.

[Lancaster County woman answers Braille letters to Santa][

A Lancaster County woman is answering Braille letters to Santa from blind and visually impaired children. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Winter wonderland for Manx child who will be blind next Christmas

Savannah May's genetic condition means she is completely blind in her left eye and has about 60% vision in her right eye. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Llandudno: Blind veterans celebrate Christmas together

Mr Thomas, who still lives at the home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, he shared with his late wife, said he was unsure of what the charity could do for him. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Meet the brave little girl who suddenly went blind and now wants to thank everyone who helped her

A 2-year-old girl from Immingham is raising money to say thank you for the amazing care she received at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital after suddenly going blind. This story comes to us from: Grimsby Live.

'I'm happy with my people' | Blind Monroe woman finds joy in church choir

Tonya Smith of Monroe, who was born blind, has found her place in the Grace Lutheran Church Choir. This story comes to us from: Monroe Evening News.

Day Out for the Blind provides social stimulation

The band played “Blue Christmas” as couples swayed across the dance floor on Friday morning, but no one at Day Out for the Blind seemed a bit blue. Members and volunteers got their picture taken with Santa and enjoyed coffee and conversation between dances. “I love the people and I love dancing,” club president Jan Hussey said. This story comes to us from: The Spokesman-Review.

Molly Burke Reveals Her "First" Everything

"I went from nobody being interested in the blind girl to everybody being interested in the blind girl!" Molly Burke talks candidly about a ton of her firsts! Her very firsts! Her first date(s), her first makeup hack, her first fashion faux pas, and so much more. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Sports and Athletes

Deaf and blind Gateshead man hopes to become three-time international bowls champion ..

Keith Brenton could be the first person ever to win three world titles across different categories after going blind on his 60th birthday. This story comes to us from: Chronicle Live.

Visually impaired curling team helps athletes fight Isolation in Campbell River, B.C.

Campbell River, B.C., is now home to one of four blind curling teams in the province made up of players with varying degrees of visual impairments.
“The team has from 20 per cent loss down to only having 20 per cent [sight] or even less,” says Bruce Laurie, who coaches the team and helped it get up and running. This story comes to us from: CTV News Vancouver Island.

The all-inclusive AFL Blind is giving the vision impaired an opportunity to play the game they love

Bridget Jolley has always loved watching AFL and has always wanted to play, but — up until four years ago — she had never had the opportunity. The 36-year-old from Melbourne has a condition called aniridia, which affects her vision. In August 2017, Bridget came across a post on social media calling for expressions of interest to develop an Aussie rules competition for people who are blind or vision impaired. This story comes to us from: ABC.

Valley man out to prove there's life after disabilities

Three and a half years ago, Tom went completely blind. He tried six surgeries on his eyes, but none of them worked. He also suffers from Type 2 diabetes and lost the big toe on his left foot. While he was down and out for a bit, Tom soon found inspiration on YouTube, watching videos of the blind surfer Pete Gustin. This story comes to us from: WFMJ.com.

Argentines sing below balcony of visually impaired man so he can soak in atmosphere of World Cup win

Argentina fans all over the world are rejoicing after their captain and talisman Lionel Messi inspired the country to victory in the FIFA World Cup, 36 years since their last triumph in 1986. The South American nation has declared a national holiday on Tuesday so that the whole country can celebrate the victory over France.
As there are many videos of fans all over the world lining up in the streets singing and dancing, a wholesome clip has surfaced online. Many Argentine fans are seen singing songs for a visually impaired man who is standing on his balcony with his wife so that he can feel the atmosphere of victory. This story comes to us from: The Indian Express.

Blind, deaf athlete from Pottstown, Pa. is on a journey to the Paralympics

One Pottstown man is proving that disabilities don't put athletes at a disadvantage. He's set a goal of competing in the Paralympics, and the community has rallied behind him. That goal, though, requires a lot of work. "My team is locked in and ready to go," said 24-year-old Marvin Pearson, who hopes to compete in the 100 merger dash in the 2024 Paralympics in Paris. This story comes to us from: 6ABC.

'It was such a wonderful feeling for everyone to reach Everest Base Camp'

And expedition leader Tom Tuckwood said he hopes the experience will inspire more blind people to attempt challenges they might think are beyond them. This story comes to us from: Melton Times.

In Memoriam

Role model never to give up': Tributes to Lurgan blind tennis and GAA star Brian Lenehan

Tributes have been paid to an inspirational Lurgan man who made an impact in the sporting discipline of blind tennis. Brian Lenehan passed away on Thursday at his home at Caroline Avenue in the town. Mr Lenehan was widely known and popular in County Armagh and further afield. He made an impact in tennis circles both at home and at international levels. This story comes to us from: Armagh I.

Jillian Grant murder five years on: Charity's tribute to blind Wallsend woman found battered to death on Christmas Day

And today the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has told how she remains a huge miss to their charity. This story comes to us from: Chronicle Live.


London Underground prank where man pretends to be blind on escalator uncovers everyday heroes but stunt slammed as 'not funny

A prankster has been slammed after he pulled a stunt on the London Underground that was met with some backlash as viewers didn't find it funny. In a video posted online, a man 'pranked' commuters and travellers by using the wrong escalator on the underground while pretending to be blind. The clip reveals a man carrying a guide cane and wearing sunglasses trying to climb an escalator which is travelling in the wrong direction. Passers-by, believing the man is blind, quickly stop him from attempting to use the escalator, preventing him from potentially hurting himself. This story comes to us from: My London.


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