NFB of Maine News Matters for April, 2013

Vol.3 Issue 3


editor: Patricia E. C. Estes





"The Voice of the Blind in Maine-Changing What it Means to be Blind"



President, Leon Proctor, Jr


In This Issue:
*Message from the President
*Governor LePage vs. The Blind
*NFB's New Vehicle Exchange Program
*NFB Newsline Officially Returns to Maine
*Deadline for NFB's Summer Science Technology Engineering and Math Program
*A change on our board of directors

GREETINGS! Thank you's go out to everyone who worked on our 2nd Annual Lighthouse At Large Chapter Meeting and to all those who came out this past Saturday to help make it a success! Roger Cusson did a great job chairing the meeting and setting up the talk from Leon who is at Louisiana Center for the Blind. We also heard from Mark Tardiff up in Grande Isle by way of speaker phone and Mark got the new fund raiser raffle started and Skip distributed the tickets. (for tickets, contact: Skip Estes 344 7892) Our Lighthouse Chapter Meetings are every third Thursday at 7:00 pm by Conference Call Once a year, in April, we get together in person for lunch and "face time."

Dear Maine Federationist,
Hello everyone in Maine! Things are going pretty good down here in Louisiana. I am learning a boat load of stuff. Every day my confidence level is boosted. I am doing things I never dreamed I could or would do ever again. I want to take an opportunity to say to all of you that if you have things you only dream of doing. We'll see what it takes to fulfill those dreams. Anything you think you can't do I am willing to bet it is possible! Take those dreams and start making them a reality! I never thought I would ever dare to run a table saw again. I have been running it for the past week and man, what a powerful feeling knowing I can still run that piece of machine safely. When I learned how to do it I had more confidence in my ability to travel better and take on harder challenges. Computers suddenly seemed a little bit easier. I am feeling that almost anything I put my mind to is reachable. So enclosing my words to you are if you thing something is not obtainable or just out of your reach. I challenge you to re-think that possibility! Anything you want in life worth anything is not going to be given to you or easy to obtain, but I guaranty that whatever you stretch for will be worth it in the end! It will be rewarding in many ways in your life! Thank you for all that you do and going to do. God bless you all.
Leon Proctor Jr

*monthly meetings:
first Thursday, Board of Directors
third Thursday, Lighthouse Chapter Meeting
*May 18: Career Day from 4-7 at the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce on Lisbon Street, Lewiston. This will be of great interest to students looking ahead as well as to current VR clients and those thinking about a career goal. All who have been or will be invited to speak are blind. We hope to hear from Sound Engineers, DJ's, the chief accountant for a large company in Maine, organic farmers, traveling chair massage therapist, home based holistic counseling and energy therapies, , a carpenter, a person with his own car parts company and a retired minister. Blind people are doing these jobs and many more not mentioned; like, IT Specialists, Assistive Technology Specialists, attorneys store owners and operators...Are you getting the idea? Did you find yourself asking: "Can a blind person really do that?" There will be time for Q&A as well as a snack break to visit and to learn more. Contact: Lee Ann Nelson at 713 8683 for more details.
*May 25 Goal Ball! from 9-12 at the Hasty Memorial Armory, Pettingill Park, Auburn.
*NFB National Convention: July 1-6 at Orlando. Go to or contact Roger Cusson at 353 5007
*NFB of Maine State Convention: October 25-26 at the Fireside Inn in Auburn. save THE DATES!

In the "wars on cancer and on poverty", at least everyone is on the same side. When I heard Education Commissioner Bowan's announcement that the State of Maine will no longer contract with Apple for school computers, but with HP, I was stunned. It seems that all programs to the blind of all ages in Maine are taking fire from this Administration. There is a shortage of instructors for the blind which is being further complicated by the Governor's office undoing already passed legislation. Maine ranks at the bottom of the list in the country of the percentage of blind, transition age young adults being served. Braille is not offered to the blind "unless they ask for it and want it", which protects against the Administration having another illegal list of blind students waiting for equal access to education. The blind venders are in a fight for their livelihoods as the Business Enterprise Program (as mandated by the Federal Randolph-Shepherd Act) is being taken right out from under them. Amazing...and I have barely scratched the surface! And now with the HP computers being inaccessible to the blind student(Apple products are accessible right out of the box), one has to wonder if this Commissioner of Education will acquire the necessary software that will now be needed for the State to be in compliance?
If this isn't war, I don't know what is. It sure smells like a duck.

Vehicle Donation Program IS HERE!
Did you know that the National Federation of the Blind has a new, unique fundraising opportunity? It is a vehicle donation program. If you have a used truck or car, and you are no longer driving it, consider donating it to the National Federation of the Blind. This will make you a partner in the good work the NFB does on behalf of blind people all over the country. For more information, please call the vehicle donation program toll-free at 855-659-9314, and they will assist you with helpful information about how to donate your vehicle. It doesn’t matter what state you are in, they will work with you. You may also contact Joanne Wilson via email, ( or call her at 410-659-9314. Thank you.
Mark Tardif

NFB 2013 STEM-X Summer Program
Attention All High School Students:
Are you looking for something to spice up your summer plans? If so, NFB STEM-X, the latest National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) program, is just what you've been waiting for! This inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program will provide participants with learning opportunities in STEM disciplines ranging from engineering and robotics to the science of cooking.

If you have attended or heard about previous NCBYS programs, like NFB Youth Slam or NFB Project Innovation, you are familiar with the exciting opportunities such programs provide. So, follow the link below and apply today! And don’t forget to tell your friends to do the same! Applications close at 11:50 p.m. on May 15, 2013.

Who: Blind students currently in grades 8-12
What: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn new and exciting information in STEM, and experience a small taste of life on a college campus while meeting new friends
Where: Towson University, Towson, Maryland (just north of Baltimore)
When: July 29 to August 3, 2013
Hashtag: #NFB STEM-X
To learn more, or to apply, please visit . Questions about the program can be directed to Natalie Shaheen at To learn more, or to apply, please visit - Questions about the program can be directed to Natalie Shaheen at

Walter and Dorothy Woitesek have worked hard to bring this digital reading program back to all of the print disabled citizens of Maine! They have called, mailed, traveled and have written grant proposals until the King Foundation just recently offered us a grant to fund Newsline for one year. The program is free and requires only a touch tone phone to have access to over three hundred periodicals from across the country and "across the pond." For information about the NFB Newsline program and how to apply (or to have a demonstration for your group), contact: Walter Woitesek at 899 4033. Much gratitude to the Woitesek's!

Due to illness, I have had to, regretfully, step down as the 1st VP of the NFB of Maine. I remain an active member, knowing full well the need for the blind of Maine to feel and to be empowered as equal citizens. As we continue to move forward together, let's remember Leon's talk from Louisiana and let's all remember to speak words of kindness and to encourage and empower one another The opportunities for personal growth and achievement are worth the effort. Examples of successful, poised blind people is vital to our students and transition age population. If the public and politicians don't believe in the capacities of the blind, let us each resolve to be an example for them, also! How? Do you have an hour? When you do, go to and browse; read about the programs, past speeches and Federation philosophy. Or maybe you could use the hour to explore further education and/or instruction in an area of interest to you. Do you need to practice Braille or mobility? could you possibly coach a blind friend in Braille, mobility or accessible technology? Or, perhaps, you can help with letters to State and Federal representatives and advocate actively to protect and promote legislation that impacts the blind. If you have more money than time (good for you!), please use our "donate now" button on our home page: Purchase some of our raffle tickets, contribute a tax deductible item or service for a door prize or an auction.

I have resigned an official, elected position and leave that to someone who can be more reliable. Thank you for understanding my need to put my health first. The Federation has given so much to me and to our family. I have a deep desire to continue to "give back" and I shall figure out what that will look like with my Federation Family. Perhaps I'll see you at Goal Ball-coaching from the sidelines, as I am doing right now.