August 2022 Meeting Minutes

Heartland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana

Meeting minutes submitted by Sandy Adams, Secretary

Virtual meeting via Zoom on August 15, 2022

Present: Ted Boardman, Bill Fierman, Mary Stores, Sandy Adams, Mike Adams, Elli Kollbaum, Marilyn Kittredge, Barbara Salisbury, Rhett Salisbury, Kathy Tappero, Paul Tappero, and Sherry Wells.

Meeting began at 7:04 PM on Zoom and also streaming on Facebook page for Heartland chapter. This evening Ocular Visual Aids and Technology Advances will be discussed by Dr. Elli Kolbaum. Elli mentioned that the Conference Room at the IU Optometry School may be used for future meetings. The Conference Room is large with a large table and can provide seating for 15 people socially distanced. This is on the second floor in the Clinic Building. Capacity is 30 if not social distancing. Could do Zoom as well for hybrid experience.

Ted reached out to the IU Art Museum to see if they have live described tours of the museum. This program is not fully up yet but we may tour with docents to give them feedback on their descriptions. Hours available are 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm on Sept 7 (Wednesday), 14 (Wednesday), 22 (Thursday) and 29 (Thursday). 

Another social opportunity is the First Thursday Arts Festival which is outdoors and sometimes indoors depending on the weather. The road between the IU Auditorium and IU Memorial Student Union on the campus is closed for this event. Booths, bands, singers, instrumentalists and food trucks are part of this event. It runs from mid afternoon to early evening. 

Dates of our future meetings in October and December were in the email sent to all chapter members.  There is also the state convention in November. Ted is working on getting a speaker for the next chapter meeting regarding employment opportunities locally and remotely for the blind.

Dr. Elli Kollbaum of the IU School of Optometry is over the Low Vision Center. She has been with the IU School of Optometry for 22 years. The Low Vision Center helps people find resources to aid their low vision and blindness.

Visual devices available include lamps with LEDs to provide better lighting. CCTV or video Magnifiers. Range from cell phone size to mid size such as tablet size on a stand, some are foldable. 

Tablet video Magnifier can switch over to visual apps.

CCTV Large flat screen with high definition and text to speech, or head mounted types of video magnifiers may cost up to $4000. Midsize range is $3000, about 10 inch diagonal screen and OCR (optical character recognition) capability or 12 inch screen without OCR.

Two head mounted video amplifiers are IRIS Vision and Patriot Viewpoint. These are giant goggles similar to those used for virtual reality and are heavy, about one pound on the front of the face, straps go around head and on top of head. Cost is around $3000.

Onyx 2 by Ox Site is about $1800. Similar to virtual reality goggles. Cannot walk around with it. Has a neck strap like binoculars so it can be put in front of your eyes when you need it. It is set up for stationary situations. Camera has lower resolution so may not work for text.

Virtual Reality out of cardboard boxes which are 3 x 5 and 2 inches deep. Can be purchased through Amazon for $20. Holes cut in the box with lenses focused to back of box. You lay your phone in the box and close the flaps with velcro to hold phone in place. Can watch You tube on your phone using this device. Requires an app called Super Vision to convert this box to a head mounted CCTV. Good for distant viewing.

For nonvisual individuals there is OR Cam My Eye Pro which can convert text to speech and is about $4500. Size of cigarette lighter. Magnets in it attach to magnets that can be tied with cable ties to the side of glasses, then the camera will capture text and do conversion to speech. Recognizes bar codes, can identify currency, tracks time for you.

OR Cam Read is a product that is pen sized and not worn by the user. It is about $1990. It can scan a page, bar codes and identify currency.

There are apps for visual impairment such as Seeing Eye AI (Microsoft), IRA, Super Vision and Be My Eyes. These apps are very useful and underutilized.

Question – How can you try out products? 

Answer – Individuals can go to Elli’s office for an office visit to get direction on appropriate devices for your specific vision loss. Some products are available for you to try. Also there are vendors in the Indianapolis area which are the Low Vision Store in Greenwood and Eye Can See in Carmel who will come to your home with products. Eye Can See will be at the Indiana-Ohio ACB Convention in November. 

INDATA through Crossroads has assistive technology to loan but devices are getting out of date.

Blind Shell Phone has tactile buttons which are raised and separated, and screen. There is a flashlight on the end. Also SOS button on the back so can be connected to the individual whom you have identified for that purpose.

Pen Friend has a new competitor called Way Around. This has 26 tags for $25 which are reusable. Can get magnets for front and back of clothing for identification. Also sew on tags available. Can get a sampler pack for $13.

Accessible Pharmacy.Com includes script talk and braille labels. Way Around clients do their own labeling.

Programs in the community called Stepping On provides education on fall prevention including foot wear, balance, exercise, vision and lighting. This is done through IU Health Bloomington Hospital community outreach programs.

Barbara gave an update for the State ACB convention in November which will be in Bloomington on November 11-13, 2022. It will be at the Hilton Garden on the square. Dr. Elli Kolbaum will be one of the speakers, as well as Dr. Sharon Hansen from IU School of Optometry to talk about autonomous vehicles. Dr. Georgia Fry from IU will talk about exercise and wellness for people with disabilities. Her students will do activities with attendees including a walk around the square to get moving and also provide orientation to the square and businesses/restaurants there. A session will be provided on Able Accounts to explain working and ability to keep disability benefits. Two certified instructors from the Institute on Disability and Community  will also present a session. Another session will be an ADA Update by Amanda Bagwell a blind attorney of FSSA with Indiana.

Vendors will be there and those providing sponsorships will have 30-minute mini sessions for one-on-one in a quiet atmosphere.

The anchor/keynote speaker is Kathy Neimer, the 2015 teacher of the year for Indiana. She will talk about her activities since that time. The banquet speaker will be Lonnie Bedwell who does adventures such as mountain climbing, fishing expeditions and white water rafting.

Registration is on the ACB Indiana website next week at The $80 registration covers 4 meals as well as all sessions.

Live entertainment for Friday evening after the opening session will be Sharlee Davis and Will Devitt. Sharlee is a member of the Heartland chapter.

There may be some sessions on Zoom which will require registration.

A silent auction online the week before the convention. Live auction on Saturday evening.

Meeting was adjourned.


Join us Aug. 15 on Zoom to Learn About Vision Aids and Technology Advances

Dr. Elli Kollbaum, Chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services, Director of External Rotation Program, Clinical Professor at Indiana University, School of Optometry,  has agreed to present an update on occular vision aids, devices and technology advances. Even as a technologist who likes to follow progress, I find it it challenging to know about all the best options available to me, so I hope you will join us to learn the latest. Even if you are set, you may learn something that could help a friend or loved one.

Below is the information to join our reoccurring meeting on Monday. Dates for the following two meetings are also listed.

If you know of anyone else who might be interested, please make sure they know about the meeting and invite them to join us.


Pre-meeting social – 6:30 – 7 pm

Chapter Status Update, meetings through the end of the year – Ted Boardman

occular vision aids, devices and technology advances.- Dr. Elli Kollbaum

ACB State Convention Planning Update – Barbara Salisbury

Adjourn by 8 pm

Ted Boardman


Heartland Association of the American Council of the Blind

Topic: Heartland Chapter Meeting

Time: Aug 15, 2022 06:30 PM Indiana (East)

        Every 2 months on the Third Mon, 3 occurrence(s)

        Aug 15, 2022 06:30 PM

        Oct 17, 2022 06:30 PM

        Dec 19, 2022 06:30 PM

Join from computer or mobile:

Meeting ID: 878 2704 6468

Password: 474

If viewing this invitation on a smart phone, tap one of the following to automatically dial and enter the meeting:

+13126266799,,87827046468# US (Chicago)

Call from any phone:

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Fundraiser at Bucceto’s on April 25

Event by Heartland ACB

Bucceto’s Pizza Pasta – West

Public  · Anyone can participate

Take a night off from cooking and get food with personality at Bucceto’s west or east from 4 p;m. to close. Our local chapter will receive TWENTY PERCENT of PROCEEDS from dine-in or carry-out orders placed directly with Bucceto’s (and not 3rd party services). Be sure to say you want to participate in the fundraiser for the American Council of the Blind when you place your order!
You can order any time after 4 p.m. at either the west or east side location, but we would be pleased to have you join us at 6:30 p.m. at the west side location. 
The menu includes sandwiches, salads, calzones, pizzas, Italian chicken dinners, with gluten-free menu options.
Our chapter exists to provide information regarding independent living, self and system’s advocacy, services and any and all issues pertaining to vision impairment for blind or visually impaired individuals and their families.

Moving Forward

Throughout 2021 and now in to 2022 we are meeting every other month, but doing so virtually via Zoom and telephone.

We hope that the COVID-19 situation will improve so that we can meet in person again without fear of spreading it. There are many great outdoor venues that could provide fresh air, a change in scenery, and socialization.

In the meantime, our next meeting is in February on the 3rd Monday of the month. Then, every other month. Please contact us if you are interested in participating, and we will send you the information to join the meeting.

If there is a topic you are interested in exploring, or you have a question, please feel free to contact our chapter at

An introduction to smart home devices and setup

The following are notes taken by chapter secretary Sandra Adams from our February 2021 meeting, where chapter president Ted Boardman introduced the topic of smart home devices. The goal was to provide a starting point to anyone unfamiliar with the technologies, and to help them decide if it might be useful in their home.

He explained how he explored smart home devices to tackle some home improvement projects which he wanted to do. These included using a smart plug which was a home kit device.

The smart home devices have to have a network to connect to and so if you have internet you probably have a WiFi network. Another requirement is some way to interface with the network. Ted was able to use the Home app on his iPhone to set up the smart plug. He told the app to add a device and pointed his camera at the device to scan the home kit QR code printed on any device that is available. He went entirely through the process of adding it, setting it up and getting it to work without any sight.

Ted had a problem with window coverings that were not easily closed and opened. He wanted more privacy, so he looked into window coverings that would automatically open and shut at sunset and sunrise. He was able to come up with a solution after researching options.

Question: Do you use Apple because it is more simple and more accessible? 

There are several ecosystems; Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung and others. They are sort of resolving around different standards. Google, Amazon and Apple are working together now on a single standard for smart home devices. Ted chose Home Kit because it is easy and it is secure. All these devices that you plug into your network, they are little computers and as such they have software on them and that software can be good software or bad software. It can be secure software or insecure software and the reason to choose products that are approved by different companies like Apple, Amazon or Google is because they usually require some level of testing and meeting certain standards.

We then listened to the presentation by Libby Rosenthal, a member of the customer research team in Alexa Smart Home at Amazon.  Libby explained that when they talk about Smart Home at Amazon they usually talk about that as meaning any device or appliance in your home that can be controlled through your smart phone app or through a smart assistant like Alexa. Most of the time when folks are adopting smart home the biggest benefit they are looking for is controlling those devices with their voices, controlling them when they are away from home or to set up automations so the device can act according to a schedule or according to some sort of routine or trigger in your house. 

There is a wide variety of Smart Home products, particularly those available on Smart home categories range from lighting or smart plugs which are one of the ways that folks tend to get started in smart home because it is relatively portable and can be a low cost way to get into smart home to see if it is for you and see if it meets your needs. With a smart plug you can turn on and off things within your house. With smart lighting you can make it easier to get those exact lighting conditions that might be best for you. There are other products like smart thermostats, smart door locks, smart cameras and door bells so you can see who might be at the front door and speak with them intercom style to verify who it is before you let them in. There are also things like smart detectors or smart sensors that might notify you about things like open windows or a water leak that might go unnoticed otherwise. There are lots of options out there.

When you are smart home shopping on be aware of different programs that they have to help you choose which products are going to be best for your needs, their certifications like Works with Alexa and Certified for Humans. These certification programs are places where product manufacturers have submitted their products for testing to help ensure that they meet a high quality bar for things like responsiveness with Alexa, reliability with Alexa, functionality with Alexa so you can have a better idea that what you are buying is going to work for your needs. They routinely review those products that are in those certification programs to make sure that they are still holding up to these standards. 

The Certified for Humans program is something that was launched in late 2019 and is there to help non-smart home experts find smart home products that will work for them and any product that is in that certified for humans program meets even higher standards. Amazon talks about them as being struggle free, tinker free and stress free from a set up experience. You can always explore the current selection of the certified for humans devices at for humans. This concluded Libby’s presentation.

You can solve opening and closing blinds at appropriate times through a smart home set up. Also can improve access to ceiling fans by using a smart bulb. There are wireless switches that you can put anywhere, that you can screw into the wall or even stick with double sided tape and they can control a smart light bulb.

There are companies that make many smart devices that are for sale on Amazon but to ensure a good experience you will want to stick with well known companies that have a reputation to protect and also to feel comfortable plugging them into your network. Each manufacturer of smart home devices takes care of updates and secures their own products. These smart devices run on batteries and they consume as little electricity as possible to make their power requirements small and therefore batteries last longer. As we have progressed, the life span for devices seems to be getting shorter and shorter. Hopefully devices will last 10 years.

Major appliances are also available such as GE washer and dryer with smart capabilities, tells you when your clothes are dry, or help you set the wash cycle. You do not want to have to replace that because they are not keeping it up to date anymore. That is why picking a major brand is really important for major purchases like that. Appliance manufacturers have different standards of how they develop and maintain products. They may not last as long as they used to but they are still built to last a good number of years (10 to 15 years).

There is smart equipment that is not connected to a network also available.

Meeting Minutes: August 17, 2020

Heartland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana

Meeting minutes recorded by Sandy Adams, Secretary

Virtual meeting via Zoom on August 17, 2020

Present: Ted Boardman (chapter president), Barbara Salisbury (president of state affiliate), Rhett Salisbury, Bill Fierman (chapter treasurer), Kathy Tappero (chapter vice president), Paul Tappero, Mary Stores (chapter affiliate), Sherry Wells, Mike Adams, Sandy Adams (chapter secretary), Marilyn Kettridge, Raymond Montgomery (guest speaker).

Ted asked if there were any corrections to the proposed minutes for the June 15, 2020 virtual meeting submitted by the secretary. Mary Stores noted that the ACB hyperlink was missing the hyphen after ACB. This will be corrected. A motion was made by Bill to accept the corrected minutes. Mary seconded the motion.

Barbara reported that the Indiana-Ohio state convention will not occur this year in person. A virtual convention for 1 day will be held instead. In order to stay connected to state members monthly community chats will begin in September.  The Indiana L-list at the state web site will be about monthly community  chats. One can unsubscribe if they do not want the L-list.

Hopefully next year 2021 will be a joint convention with Ohio. Community chats on a national level already exist so they can be used as a model. Mary volunteered to do a social chat/coffee each month on a Saturday. An email from the state president will provide information of what is planned each month for the chats.

Ted introduced the guest speaker, Raymond Montgomery, the outreach coordinator for Bosma Enterprises. 

Raymond began with a history of Bosma which was started 100 years ago. In 1915 it was a broom assembly plant run by the state and turned over to a nonprofit organization in 2006.

The Rehab Center serves 92 counties in Indiana. Itinerant representatives go into homes to serve the clients. They focus on senior clients 55 and older to teach them how to feel safe in their home and to get them equipment that they need while informing them what is available.

Also Senior Connections for 55-plus clients provides trivia games over the phone.

Employment Service Team helps with resumes and job placement. 

There is a Student Training Employment Program (STEP) for high school students.

Youth Employment Service for age 14 clients to help them know what is available in employment opportunities. They also learn habits that will help them be better employees such as getting up on time and being punctual for appointments.

Rehab Center technology provides education in using ZoomText, Fusion and JAWS.

Orientation and Mobility training available. Adjustment counselor available to help clients cope with new/recent vision loss.

Tech Tuesday from 1 to 3:30 pm helps clients learn how to utilize smart phones and other computer devices. 

Bosma regularly hosts a 16-week training program to prepare people with disabilities to become Salesforce administrators who can analyze complex problems, understand data, provide advice about taking action on data and formulate complex solutions for companies.

Randolph Sheppard affiliate: Small shop vending machines is a 30-week course. This is partnered with Voc Rehab. After completion of course may bid on government sites where vending machines are located.

Rehab Center teaches braille. Provides digital recorders and talking books.

New Blindness – Individuals go to Voc Rehab first, then can be referred to Bosma for this 4-5 month program.

Aira download on phone enables user to get from point A to point B.

Ted pointed out that Voc Rehab qualifications for disability are now more difficult because there have to be three disabilities present in order to qualify as disabled.

Vision Rehab 101 is for those who do not qualify for Voc Rehab and clients do not have to go through Voc Rehab to sign up for this program. Teaches major things to know. A grant provides for this training

Corporate Side – Package exam and surgical gloves for Veterans Administration.

Ability One is a not-for-profit. Largest employer of blind in Indiana at Bosma. 75% of people on the assembly line doing the work are blind.

Foundation does fundraising to help Bosma. Fundraisers are Dine in the Dark/Dance, Hasbrook Luncheon and a golf fundraiser.

Independent skills are interconnected with employment.

Discussion about state agency taking children away from blind parents.

CRM – SalesForce based in Indianapolis. Do you have to be referred by Voc Rehab to be in class?

This concluded Raymond’s presentation about Bosma. Ted has Raymond’s contact information for anyone needing it.

Barbara reported that the Indiana ACB presented a resolution to the Secretary of State to take action regarding absentee voting in an independent and private way for visually impaired individuals.

Barbara encouraged the attendees to contact the county election clerk and ask for an accessible absentee ballot. The group talked about the possibility of a PDF ballot. Mary pointed out that it takes training to take an existing PDF and make it accessible for the visually impaired. The main issue is that it needs to be accessible as the law states a voter has the right to have an independent and private vote. 

Barbara said she will send an email with miniscript on what to say to the election clerk. Many other states do not have accessible voting systems yet.

September Community Chat from the Indiana ACB will have info on the topic of accessible voting.

Ted received a box containing 7 accessible  Uno Decks (braille and large print) donated by Ellie Kolbaum. What should we do with these items? Auction them? Give a set to Jeff and Machell? Think on this.

Possible speaker for October meeting suggested by Sherry Wells is Deborah Kendrick author of Navigating Healthcare: When All They See is that You Can’t. Barbara suggested that Deborah’s presentation be a Community chat for the State hosted by the Heartland Chapter. The third Monday of October is the 19th.

As far as activities proposed last meeting, the August 22 event at Oliver Winery is on-hold because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Other possible activities include August 23, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra is presenting a concert at Switchyard Park which is free to the public, bring your own blankets, but attendance limited to 150. To get tickets need to go to

 We could go to a park for a socially distanced gathering/picnic.

It was decided to meet at Bryan Park for a socially distanced gathering.  Ted will send an email with three possible dates and times from which the group can choose to determine when the gathering will be.

State Community Chats on September 20th on Transportation. More information to be forthcoming.

It was moved by Bill that the meeting be adjourned. This was seconded by Ted.

Meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

Meeting Minutes: June 15, 2020

Heartland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana

Meeting minutes recorded by Sandy Adams, Secretary

Virtual meeting via Zoom on June 15, 2020

Present:  Mike Adams, Sandy Adams, (secretary), Ted Boardman (president), Michelle Bright, Bill Fierman (treasurer), Barbara Salisbury, Rhett Salisbury, Mary Stores, Kathy Tappero (vice president), Paul Tappero, Sherry Wells

Sherry Wells introduced Ann Parsons (owner of Portal Tutoring) who presented an informative and detailed description of how to start your own business. She followed her copyrighted outline to share specific information and her personal experiences in starting her business. Ann answered questions and responded to comments of the attendees.

Ted encouraged participation in the national ACB convention July 3-10, 2020. This will be a virtual convention. Ted emailed the preregistration details to the group previously.

Barbara is involved with the Transportation Committee for the ACB convention. They have put together a number of presentations about transportation issues that will be of interest to visually impaired individuals.

The status of the 2020 ACB Indiana & Ohio state convention is undecided awaiting more COVID-19 developments. Barbara encouraged individuals to visit ACB and sign up for the email list for timely emails. Voting accessibility issues are being addressed on the state level, specifically vote by mail accessible to the visually impaired.

The ADA 30-year anniversary at the end of July will be a virtual celebration.

Topic for a future meeting might be BT Access changes.

A possibility for a social gathering on August 22, 2020 at Oliver Winery was also mentioned, as well as a picnic in the park. Social distancing in the outdoors are preferable activities.

Meeting adjourned.

Meeting Minutes: April 20, 2020

Heartland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana

Meeting Minutes

Recorded by Sandy Adams, Secretary

Virtual meeting via Zoom on April 20, 2020

Present:  Mike Adams, Sandy Adams, (secretary), Ted Boardman (president), Tim Davis, Bill Fierman (treasurer), Barbara Salisbury, Rhett Salisbury, Mary Stores, Sherry Wells

Welcome and Introductions

Ted Boardman called the meeting to order at 6:37 p.m. and welcomed everyone.  Roll call was taken verbally and recorded as above.

Ted explained that the minutes of the previous meeting had been sent to each member of the chapter via email and asked if there were any corrections or additions.  None were voiced.

Bill Fierman motioned that the minutes from February 17, 2020 be accepted.  Mary Stores seconded the motion.  A voice vote was taken and the motion passed.  There were no objections.

The Planning Committee had met in March and looked ahead to a possible stay-at-home order and resources that could be used on-line. 

State and National Announcements

There will be more announcements about the July National ACB virtual convention. Barbara said there will be a lot of transportation workshops and roundtables. 

We are still planning on having the Joint State convention with Ohio in November here in Bloomington. 

Barbara strongly urged people to join the ACBI mailing list  This will be important because of the way voting may take place this year. It is everyone’s right to vote privately. We might need ACB Indiana members to know and act on something in a relatively short turn-around.

Ted shared the following information. This information was also posted to the Heartland ACB website and promoted on the front page.

Pandemic Outbreak Isolation: Coping and Thriving

Creating Your Own Personal Handbook: How to effectively keep and manage your digital life

  • Note taking: Using an application purpose-built for storing and finding information in the form of notes, scanned documents, web pages. Suggestions: Evernote, Apple’s Notes application and others
  • Your digital file. Categorizing things can be helpful.  Typically you are more likely to file something when it occurs. You may be unlikely to go back to file things retroactively.
  • Your most sensitive information (e.g. your passwords, credit cards, identification cards, and notes with sensitive information) should be kept in apps designed to keep sensitive information safe.  We’re now more reliant on online services than ever. Reusing the same old easy-to-remember passwords is analogous to locking your front door with rubber bands. 
    • On iOS, you can use the Keychain to store and autofill passwords and forms, and Wallet to keep payment cards. The Notes app stores your notes with encryption. Your Apple ID is your master password, and you must keep it safe.
    • LastPass is a digital vault that has a free plan which includes syncing to all your devices. This is particularly useful if you have passwords on devices from multiple manufacturers (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon)
  • Email: File important (emphasis on important) email as you get it into folders.  
    • Think about how you will want to search for information when creating folders to organize. Will you want to find email by organization name, or by subject? It may be a mix of both.
    • Have you marked recipients as VIPs (iOS) or similar category with Android? This can not only allow you to filter your inbox to just show email from people you’ve categorized, but change how you get notified about email from important people. 
  • Websites: Do you bookmark sites to a single list, or do you create categories of bookmarks and file the bookmark at the time you make it? Having bookmark folders set up so you can file as you bookmark is recommended, as many people do not go back after the fact to organize their bookmarks menu.  
  • Are you using a synchronization feature to keep all your bookmarks synced across multiple devices? Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge all support syncing bookmarks, but you may need to log in in the browser to activate this feature.
  • Some examples for bookmark folders: Accessibility Tools, Bill Paying, Books, Grocery, Restaurant Menus, Transportation, TV.

Physical Safety and Wellness

  • Do you have an emergency medical kit handy? It does not have to be a big metal box marked “Emergency Kit.” It can be a box of items you think you may need. Suggested items:
    • Your preferred pain killer
    • Band Aids
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Gauze wrap
    • Tape
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Digital talking thermometer
    • CDC has mask making guidelines that are updated to describe the instructions to make a no-sewing mask.
  • Your digital life security
    • Running security software on computer
    • Healthy skepticism when reading email: Is the sender really who they claim to be from? Were you expecting this attachment? Is a threat of discontinuation of service and request for verification real? If you have any doubts, do not reply or click on any link in that email. Call or reach out to the sender using any other method.
  • Your Accessibility Toolkit
    • Video assistants
    • Keeping devices and your knowledge of how to use them up-to-date
      • OS updates
    • Take advantage of training or knowledge sharing opportunities
    • Mobility apps
      • Lyft, UBER, Token, Compass, Microsoft Soundscape
        • Bone conducting headphones are recommended for Soundscape, because you want to be able to hear well as you walk, while also hearing the 3D audio cues.

Managing stress and feelings of social isolation

If you are managing your stress well, consider some preventative steps, summed up with the three M’s:  Movement, mindfulness, mastery

Also, small acts of kindness are boosting for both giver and receiver

  • Planning and preparing can help you feel less worried about the unknown
  • Avoiding alcohol and substances that can cause a depressed mood
  • Take breaks
  • Stretch and exercise
  • Make time to unwind
  • Get plenty of sleep. Maintain good sleep hygiene:
  • Talk to people about your concerns: Often just verbalizing a problem can help you process
  • Write about what is troubling you. This can be particularly helpful to process traumatic events. After you finish, erase the document as recording thoughts is not the point, but rather the act of turning tramatic thoughts into words on a page to help your brain process them.
  • Proactively check in with family to ask how they are doing
  • Watch others for signs of distress:
    • Unexplained bedwetting in children
    • Unusual drug or alcohol use
    • Unusual headaches or stomach distress
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking
  • Find out ahead of time what options are available for mental health treatment
    • Options provided by your health insurance
    • Local providers friends or family can recommend.
  • Take a break from pandemic news coverage. But plan to “dip back in” to stay informed at regular intervals. 

Barbara Salisbury suggested getting outside, listen to the birds.  

Find things to laugh about.  She will send out email with some humorous comments about dealing with the pandemic.

Look for hopeful things.

Get things done that you have felt you have not had time for before.

Do something for someone else – can call people who live alone or may not have family.

A couple of comments made from several attendees about having pets in the room, including the bedroom, can be comforting.  Mary mentioned that essential oils may be helpful.  Cedarwood has melatonin which may aid with sleep. 

Fear, anxiety and grief are totally normal in this situation.

If you are experiencing persistently low mood, anxiety, lack of concentration, persistent sleep problems or inability to experience joy, please consider seeking professional assistance.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. First, check with your insurance company benefits to see if mental health benefits are provided. Often, they will spell out what providers are included. For those employed, there is possibly an Employee Assistance Program that include tele-concealing.

There are also local psychiatrists that are less expensive. Catholic Charities is one such group that provides behavioral health counseling on a sliding scale starting from zero, depending on your income.

Also keep in mind if you have previously experienced drama and anxiety, you could be more vulnerable in this challenging time.


  • Mary reports Instacart grocery delivery is “getting better” in regard to product descriptions provided by the shopper picking your items. It is important to tip well.
  • You may want to consider ordering directly from local restaurants if you want to maximize their profit. See this article in BusinessWeek about food delivery service fees impacting already razor-thin profit margins.
  • Mary also mentioned on-line Farmer’s Market.  Place an order and get a driver to take you there.  They put items in the trunk of the car so minimal contact

Online Resources for Entertainment, Education, Saying Informed

  • Watch movies and television with friends using a group watching app. TwoSeven is a free browser-based extension for Firefox and Chrome that lets you watch content together with friends, while being able to talk to them. 
  • More options are outlined in this article from The Verge
  • Monroe County Public Digital Library
  • You need a library password, which is also called a PIN. There is a way to request one online and a staff member will be in touch with you within 24 hours to complete the process.
  • Access to licensed content typically requires you go to the linked provider, create an account, and specify your Monroe County account information.
  • There are some specific eLibrary Index web pages that effectively describe and link to the content so you do not have to hunt through the libraries’ website. There is also contact information so you can actually talk to a staff member for assistance.
  • Herald-Times full text archive
  • New York Times online
  • Books: Overdrive thousands of audiobooks. According to the librarian, the widest selection and easiest access would be to access books through BARD. That is not to say that some of these other providers the library has licensed are not accessible. Some offer specialized content and learning materials, for example, that you would not find on BARD.
  • Magazines
  • Education
  • Videos: Kanopy does have some films with audio description. Most are on subjects related to disability, and there is not an easy way to find which films have audio description. Hoopla does not have descriptive audio content. You can find some by searching for “audio description,” but that will also include titles without. We have brought this up to library staff, and they are raising the issue with these providers.
  • BARD: Sign up through Indiana State Library, download the BARD smart phone app or request a compatible digital reader
  • ACB’s Descriptive Audio Index – What, and how, to watch with audio description. If you have not yet watched a movie with audio description turned on, you won’t believe what you are missing.
  • Amazon
    • Alexa: Can read Kindle books you have purchased using natural sounding, high quality text-to-speech output, and of course play Audible books. Each month, there is a new free selection. Just ask: “Alexa what’s free on Audible?”
  • KNFB’s Newsline: Access via telephone or the mobile app breaking news, thousands of newspapers, magazine ads, job listings, retail ads, tv listings. Sign up through the Indiana State library.
  • The mobile app now includes the basic functionality of the KNFB Reader, for free. The KNFB Reader was a $99 app that reads printed material out loud.

Business and other discussion

Posting of meeting minutes was discussed.  Options were posting approved minutes on the Heartland Facebook page; posting on the ACBI website with a link to the Heartland Chapter or posting to the Heartland Chapter website with links to other places like Facebook.   Ted noted that he has not seen organizational minutes posted to Facebook. 

Mary volunteered to do on-line publicizing and sharing of information about the Heartland Chapter of ACBI.  Rhett seconded her self-nomination.  Voice approval was noted.  No objections were voiced.

A formalized distribution method of contact via email was discussed.  A list serve could be set up that would include the emails of paid chapter members.  It could be maintained annually as the dues are paid.  Presently the email list consists of individual email addresses that are copied by one individual to another.  This item was tabled for now because not enough members were present at this time to take a vote.

Barbara suggested a future meeting topic could be about using Facebook.

The Planning Committee did develop a list of possible social events including some outdoor events.  Their intention was to survey the interests of members but in this current social distancing environment there may be limited opportunities for face-to-face socials.

The May meeting will be a virtual event.  Some suggestions are a Zoom time to socialize, an audio described movie or a virtual cocktail hour.  These choices could be emailed to the group to see which activity appeals to the most individuals.

Barbara suggested that a phone call to some of the members who did not attend this Zoom meeting might be helpful to keep members involved in the chapter.  Mary and Ted volunteered to make these calls. 

Meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm. 

Action items:

Ted will get a member list and share it with Mary.  They will look at the list to see if they can manage to make the calls that need to be made to some members who did not attend this Zoom meeting.

An email will need to be sent to members surveying interests in the proposed May social event.  The third Monday in May is the 18th.  Proposed activities are:  a Zoom time to socialize, an audio described movie or a virtual cocktail hour.  

You are invited to join us August 17

Come be with us virtually on August 17 to learn about Indiana resources for the blind and visually impaired.

We are meeting virtually this month on Monday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. Here is the information needed to attend.

Time: Aug 17, 2020 6:30 PM  Social half hour7:00 PM  Chapter meeting starts
Join from computer or mobile by clicking this link
Or, dial in from a phone.
One tap mobile+13126266799,,98805114674# US (Chicago)+16465588656,,98805114674# US (New York)
Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 988 0511 4674Password: 47401

If you have never attended a meeting, that’s ok! Join by phone or computer and introduce yourself during the 6:30 – 7 p.m. social and stick around for the 7 pm meeting to learn some useful information.

Our guest this time will be Raymond Montgomery, who is the outreach coordinator for Bosma Enterprises. He will share the latest about the training and employment opportunities, including services for seniors. Bosma does a lot to help make life better for the blind community, so it is good to keep informed about what they are doing.

We will also hear reports from people who attended the national ACB convention in July, as well as the ways our state affiliate is going to engage us through the end of the year.

Please share this invitation with anyone else you think would be interested. If you know a neighbor or friend who is blind or has low vision, they might well benefit from the information and connection to ACB through our Bloomington, Indiana chapter. 

June 15 Meeting and Guest Speaker

On June 15 at 6:30 pm, please join us by connecting on your computer or mobile device. If you are not yet a member, please contact us through this website and we will be glad to send you information to join the meeting by phone or computer.
We will have an open group chat at 6:30 to catch up with each other. At 7 pm, we will begin the regular meeting.
Ann Parsons will be speaking about her experience starting and running her own business. She plans to speak for 30 – 45 minutes then take questions. The business she runs is called Portal Tutoring. Even if it never crossed your mind to start a business, learning what is involved may also help you appreciate what goes on behind the scenes of a business.