Editorial By Chris Hofstader
I'm proud to say that this is Edition 20 of Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest – that's nearly five months of bringing our readers over 1000 articles from mainstream publications from all over the world about blindness. As editor, I try to include as many articles as possible. I try to have as little editorial bias as I can and include articles which present a position with which I disagree. Sometimes, I include a sentence or two before the blurb describing the article offering an opinion but, as we link directly to the original story and include the name of the publication from which it came, so readers can check the sources and make up their own minds about an issue.
The reason I started Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest at first was because I already had the GoogleAlerts set up and I would look through them to try to keep up on the news of the world of blindness. I discussed this with a few friends and they suggested I turn this into a weekly digest and publish it on the blog so anyone with an interest can read about nearly every aspect of the blindness community that makes it into mainstream publications. I had noticed that different groups of blind people knew a real lot about their area of expertise but little about the community as a whole. Blind people are not a homogeneous population, we all have our own values, desires, hopes and dreams, personal experiences and more. This digest does a great job of bringing as much of this diversity to its readers as possible and we hope to make it better in the future.
Even if you only open an edition of he digest and do a SayAll with your screen reader, you'll get a decent overview of the news of the blind and you can, of course, read the articles of specific interest to you in its original form.
So, broaden your blindness horizons and subscribe to Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest.
How It's Organized
Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.
I really love this story. If accessible infrastructure is not there, we can organize and take direct action. What these people are doing is probably breaking a law against misdemeanor vandalism even though they are improving their city. I'd love to see more blindness projects done without the wasteful overhead of a big national organization as that just adds bureaucracy and I'm willing to bet anyone $1 that NFB, ACB, AFB, RNIB, CNIB and any other agency you can name would be far too chicken to even give it a try. Watch the excellent documentary, "Crip Camp" and see what people with disabilities can do if we weren't so scared of spending a night or two in jail.
Typically small and placed just below visual signs, the braille messages carry a range of announcements, from simple road instructions to the numbers on elevator buttons. The signs are typically regulated by braille organisations but a “braille-bombing event” run as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week has shown people how to make their own signs to add to the city’s collection. This story came to us from: theage.
Photography is an inherently visual medium, but that does not mean those without perfect eyesight can’t enjoy it. Sony seems to have recognized this and added a screen reading feature to its Alpha 7 IV camera to help the vision-impaired. This story came to us from: PetaPixel.
This is not a true accessibility solution, it is an overlay that I guarantee will not actually make a site WCAG compatible, hence, they are falsely advertising ADA compliance. If you want to learn more about overlays and the myriad problems with them, I recommend looking up the various items our buddy Karl Groves, now of LevelAccess, has written about them, his work is thoroughly researched and very well presented.
UserWay’s platform simplifies a website’s ability to become fully accessible and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant by embedding a single line of code. This story came to us from: Jerusalem Post.
I think Be My Eyes is a terrific app and service that helps a lot of people with vision impairment as well as offers volunteers something useful to do. Our buddy Will Butler works for BME and they've a terrific team in place. I do not, however, like the title of this article as it implies that the blind users will be able to "see" as if they were using a sensory substitution technology or an implant of some sort.
Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind and low-vision users with sighted volunteers for visual tasks, is also sparking friendships. This story came to us from: YouTube.
Their new braille technology costs less than $500. Didn't I tell you this stuff could be produced far less expensively than the AT industry would have you think? Why didn't you listen?
We believe that a blind person shouldn't have to pay more for the same information that's available in print. This story came to us from: The Huntington News.
Dr Langford, Computers for the Blind's founder, said, “When you are blind, learning the computer is a lot of work." This "story" came to us from: Computers for the Blind.
Science and Medicine
This same genetic mutation (RB1) also causes exceedingly rare forms of cancer as the people with it grow older.
A rare genetic mutation that causes blindness also appears to be associated with above-average intelligence. This story came to us from: Neuroscience News.
Life after death for the human eye: Vision scientists revive light-sensing cells in organ donor eyes
Scientists have revived light-sensing neuron cells in organ donor eyes and restored communication between them as part of a series of discoveries that stand to transform brain and vision research. This story came to us from: EurekAlert.
The medical breakthrough is also being researched to treat neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and see whether it can speed up recovery of damaged or dead brain cells in stroke patients. This story came to us from: Telegraph India.
According to a study that was published in Stem Cell Reports, sleep deprivation induces corneal epithelial progenitor cell over-expansion through disruption of redox homeostasis in the tear film. Sleep deficiency, a common public health problem, causes ocular discomfort and affects its surface health, the researchers said. This story comes to us from: News9live.
Researchers have identified discrete differences between the cells that make up retinal tissue and the findings can help in developing targeted therapies to treat various diseases that affect the eye's retina. This story came to us from: Hindustan Times.
While Covid-19 is usually associated with infection of the lungs, heart and other vital organs, a growing body of evidence suggests infection can also impact the eye.
About 1 in 10 people exposed to Covid-19 have at least one eye problem, such as dryness, redness, blurred vision and sensitivity to light. This story came to us from: oicanadian.com.
Millions of older people with poor vision are at risk of being misdiagnosed with mild brain decline due to cognitive tests that rely on vision. This story came to us from: ScienceDaily.
Pepper told the audience about legal cases the RNIB has dealt with. He spoke of one case where RNIB and Blind Veterans UK (then St Dunstan’s) were both owed money from a woman’s will. When RNIB contacted the charity, they were sent a differing set of accounts that showed that £250,000 was missing. It became apparent that a solicitor had stolen money from the woman’s will. This story came to us from: Civil Society.
A vital voluntary service that helps Swindon residents with sight difficulties 'read' the local newspaper has celebrated its 40th year. This story came to us from: Swindon Advertiser.
“Our goal,” according to DeHaas, “is to offer employment training to all blind and visually impaired individuals seeking these resources." This story came to us from: Great Falls Tribune.
James I. Perkins College of Education, and two colleagues recently received the Corinne Kirchner Research Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for creating a tool called the Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas, which identifies the level of instruction a blind student needs in order to succeed. This story came to us from: gilmermirror.com.
THE ROYAL National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is continuing to support blind and partially sighted people in Yorkshire and the Humber during Mental Health Awareness Week. This story came to us from: Bradford Telegraph & Argus.
The Lawton Council of the Blind is dedicated to improving the lives of blind and visually impaired Oklahomans. This story came to us from: KSWO.
Heartbreaking footage has emerged of the aftermath of Russian forces firing on residential areas in Ukraine, as a blind Ukrainian woman was found in her bombed-out home with no idea it had been destroyed. This story came to us from: The Daily Beast.
Remember during graduation you were given a scrolled up fake degree to pose with during those all-important pics? Well, for legally blind unregistered barrister Haleemah Farooq, who was due to take professional pictures when she was called to the Bar after smashing her exams, the pictures looked a bit different. This story came to us from: HuffPost UK.
Members of the St Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) recently benefited from a week-long ICT training programme. The computer training programme is part of the continued advocacy by the SLBWA for the full integration of blind and visually impaired persons in every aspect of the Saint Lucian society. This story came to us from: Loop St. Lucia News.
Paul was pronounced legally blind at age 54, while working in a physically-demanding job in mining. Here's how he kept his career going. This story came to us from: SBS.
This was another story hard to categorize but it is employment related.
A man frequently encounters a blind girl selling flowers on his way to work, but one day she simply vanishes. The man becomes concerned, believing he will never see her again until she reappears at the same spot in terrible condition. This story came to us from: AmoMama.
Realising the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, Ashwin Thakkar has now set up a canopy stall selling homemade snacks and seasonal fruits outside the passport office in Mithakhadi area of Ahmedabad. This story came to us from: Ommcom News.
Blindness is considered an obstacle in many societies. However, Rwandan Peninnah Niyobyose, 32, has shown the world that being visually impaired does not mean you cannot be a successful entrepreneur. This story came to us from: Daily Sabah.
The program, which taps the Aira service to help vision-impaired individuals navigate public transit, will now be available at Bradley International Airport. This story came to us from: GCN.
Discrimination and Inaccessibility
Kerriene Minjoot never felt like her blindness was a barrier to her succeeding at work, until she joined the very government agency tasked with improving the lives of Australians with disabilities. This story came to us from: ABC News.
Activists, including blind, visually impaired march to Constitutional Court to fight to #EndTheBookFamine
Activists, including blind and visually impaired people, will march to the Constitutional Court today to fight to #EndTheBookFamine for the blind, visually impaired. They are also calling on the apex court to confirm that the Copyright Act is unconstitutional. This story came to us from: IOL.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, often referred to by its acronym HUD, has charged Puerto Rico property owners and a real estate agent with discriminating against a person with disabilities. They allegedly refused to rent to a person with disabilities because she uses a service animal. This story came to us from: The Weekly Journal.
“We have not heard from my sister Laurie Watkins (53) since the 1st week of April. She is blind and has always depended on family for many of her needs. This story came to us from: WBONTV.
Fereshteh Khosroujerdy, a blind woman living in sheltered accommodation in Archway, has long been struggling to make ends meet. This story came to us from: Islington Tribune.
Arizona plans to execute Clarence Dixon, 66, on Wednesday, even though he is blind, physically frail, and has a documented history of severe mental illness. He is also a member of the Navajo Nation, which opposes the death penalty on cultural and religious grounds. This story came to us from: Equal Justice Initiative.
Clarence Dixon was sentenced to death for the murder of Deana Bowdoin in 1978 – DNA linked him to the case back in 2008. This story came to us from: The Mirror.
… Woman serving a sentence under house arrest for sexual abuse, was arrested after try to steal the belongings in his house from a blind man. This story came to us from: Zyri.
Juan Uriostigui admitted to child abuse, he said he struck a 5-year-old girl multiple times with a belt, his hands, his fists, and a coat hanger. This story came to us from: ABC13.
The woman explains in a voiceover that guide dogs are trained to ignore their blind handlers' instructions if it would put them in danger. This story came to us from: Hindustan Times.
I think this may be an isolated incident as I have had my dog along when I have eaten and drank at various Wetherspoons around UK without incident. Given that the owner of Wetherspoons has hard right wing politics, though, maybe he's instituted a policy against service animals.
River Cartledge, 19, from Newcastle, was barred from entering a Wetherspoons because their assistance dog was said to be "against the policy."
This story came to us from: The Mirror.
We invite you to learn about the Guide Dogs for the Blind Puppy Raising program and how you can be involved in this amazing volunteer opportunity. This story came to us from: YubaNet.
Mad Nigerian Lady Visited, Played with by Her Dog Daily and 2 Times Dogs Showed it Remains Man's Best Friend
According to the netizen, he observed that the dog comes around everyday to visit and play with the woman who he claimed had been abandoned by her family and relatives. This story came to us from: Legit.ng.
PNC’s website is not accessible to blind people using a screen reader, denying them the ability to use the bank’s services, a new class action lawsuit alleges. This story came to us from: Top Class Actions.
Mejia claims Uncommon Goods and its website are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This story came to us from: Top Class Actions.
A Talbots customer is suing the retail company for its failure to maintain an accessible website, which discriminates against visually impaired and blind folks and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. This story came to us from: Top Class Actions.
Opus Genetics, a patient-focused gene therapy company developing treatments for inherited retinal diseases, today announced the appointment of Jennifer Hunt as Chief Development Officer. This story came to us from: Yahoo Finance.
The Braille Tablets Market Research Report aims to provide insights that strongly demonstrate the market structure, scope, history, potential, and development perspective. By crossing through the historical and present market status, the Braille Tablets market report provides authentic and reliable estimates for the forecast period. The Best part of this report is, this analyses the current state where all are fighting with the COVID-19, The report also provides the market impact and new opportunities created due to the Covid19 catastrophe. This story came to us from: getnewsalert.com.
Screen Reader Market Size 2022 Analysis By Industry Statistics, Progression Status, Emerging Demands, Recent Trends, Business Opportunity, and Forecast To 2027
The “Screen Reader Market” research report 2021-2027 offering the complete outline of market size, share and growth opportunities, industry segmentation by product type, applications and geographical representation. This story came to us from: Cody News Company.
Representatives from several organisations working among the visually handicapped said the government was not involving them while making decisions regarding the visually impaired. They demanded that the blind community at large be consulted before making any decisions for their welfare. This story came to us from: Deccan Chronicle.
As the granddaughter of acclaimed South African wildlife photographer, Gerald Hinde, as well as an avid wildlife photographer herself (winning BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award when she was just 12 years old), Ashleigh Hinde understood the role our eyes play in how we see the world from an early age.
Ashleigh began wearing contacts at 11 years old and after nearly two decades, spent across three continents, she grew frustrated with the quality of and massive markups on contact lenses sold by large pharmaceutical companies. So in 2017, inspired to drive innovation in the industry, she dove head first into the world of entrepreneurship to found WALDO, a global e-commerce brand that delivers high quality daily contact lenses at an affordable price straight to the consumer via an innovative digital platform. This story came to us from: Forbes.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Receives Research to Prevent Blindness Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is pleased to announce that Meher Saleem has received a Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship that will allow her to take a year off from medical school to pursue a research project at Bascom Palmer. This story came to us from: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – University of Miami Health System.
Prevent Blindness Declares Third Annual Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD) Genetic Testing Week as May 16-22
Prevent Blindness enters third year of raising awareness and promoting education about inherited retinal diseases and the importance of genetic testing. This story came to us from: Yahoo.
This is another article I found difficult to categorize so I put it here under Lifestyle as this is kind of my "catch all" section.
It’s been decades in the making and a vision for a housing community, created specifically for the deaf and blind community, is finally coming to fruition in Albuquerque. After years of planning, there’s no better name for the Pah Hiland Plaza. “Pah is the ASL term for finally, or at last." This story came to us from: KRQE.
This person is an artist, an author and an athlete and, of course, is also blind. This story came to us from: KRWG.
If I put my face to my children’s, nose to nose, I can still make out their faces, their smiles. I can feel them, hold them and laugh with them. My daughter, Orly, is 15 and I can touch her wavy, shoulder-length hair and feel the stare of her chestnut-brown eyes. At 13, my son, Brody, is a constant source of fun, wearing his dad’s grin across his face. In those moments, with them, I feel total joy. The darkness lifts. This story came to us from: British Vogue.
TIPPING POINT made history on Thursday evening as ITV host Ben Shephard welcomed a visually impaired contestant to the show for the first time. This story came to us from: Daily Express.
Many people believe that being blind means not being able to see at all. In reality, there are a range of vision issues that qualify a person for assistance. The Alaska Center For The Blind And Visually Impaired discusses the myths and misconceptions about blindness, what life in Alaska is like for the visually impaired and the support and resources that are available. This story came to us from: Alaska Public Media.
"It makes me realise how fleeting things are," he says of his journey. "I want to memorise that while I've still got vision." This story came to us from: ABC.
"There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken," tweeted Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. This story came to us from: Edexlive.
A blind woman with a rare condition that means she has broken over 100 bones is now looking for love – with some help from her friends. This story came to us from: Metro.
This is a collection of stories about vision impairment not entirely unlike the digest you're reading right now. This story came to us from: Techdirt.
Art and Artists
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Bruce Horak on being a blind actor, joining the Star Trek franchise, and painting portraits
As the first legally blind actor to join a Star Trek production, Bruce Horak is breaking new ground for the franchise as Hemmer, Enterprise’s Chief Engineer on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. This story came to us from: Daily Star Trek News.
Nell Sutton, seven, from Gwynedd, stars in Netflix series All The Light We Cannot See with Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie, directed by Stranger Things' Shawn Levy. This story came to us from: The Mirror.
The world's largest Braille art was in Tallahassee Tuesday at the Railroad Square Craft House. It is created by a blind artist who's traveling across the country to teach people about the strengths and talents of the blind community. Each dot is three-feet by three-feet. That's the size of a sidewalk square. In Braille they spell out the word LOVE. And when you see them from the sky, they depict the American flag. Artist Clarke Reynolds has progressive vision loss. But he's not letting that stop him from doing what he loves. This story came to us from: wtxl.com.
A retired solicitor and former mayor, who lost his sight as a teenager, has put life in the blind community in the spotlight in his debut novel. This story came to us from: Stamford Mercury.
Mikayla Forsey is an extremely talented artist, despite being born with blindness. This story came to us from: WIVB.
He also hopes to make history with Everest next in mind. He wants to become the second blind man in recorded history to climb it. This story came to us from: KCRA.
Joe Harris hid his vision impairment through two dozen bouts, but when it discovered, the news cost him his career. This story came to us from: top of Philly news.
[Shot twice, completely blind: US teen is still skateboarding][
Friend and fellow skater Dexter Lotz says Zion Ricks-Gaines has always been positive, but has become even more so since he was blinded by gun violence. This story came to us from: – Yahoo News Singapore.
A blind person had never done this race until Levi came along. "My vision may not work, but I can still do anything and everything." This story came to us from: YouTube.
[Malvern woman to rappel from 10-story building for charity][
I suppose I could have put this one into the Blindness Organizations section as well but I felt it was more athletic than just fundraising.
When Malvern resident Natanya Sortland jumped from the top of a 10-story building in Lancaster a year ago, she was hoping more of her fellow Chester County residents would go with her. So once again, she’s asking Chester County residents to, metaphorically, step up to the edge with her as she makes a second leap. Sortland’s jump was to rappel from the Holiday Inn in downtown Lancaster to raise money for an organization called VisionCorp that helped her after she began losing her vision. This story came to us from: – Mainline Media News.
Fundraiser Gordon Luke, 53, aims to run the Edinburgh marathon in aid of Strathcarron Hospice in memory of his late wife Carolyn who was a patient. This story came to us from: Daily Record.
Seventh-grader Eva Allen is a relatively new runner. But she's already one of the most impressive. This story came to us from: WHO13.
The blind former Army soldier, who suffered two life-changing strokes, has been announced as a competitor at the 2022 Veteran Games and Conference in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. This story came to us from: Swindon Advertiser.
Nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind in the U.S., held its annual S.E.E. Field Day Saturday at Alexander Graham Middle School in south Charlotte.This story came to us from: WSOC TV.
When people say "there's nothing like seeing a NHL game in person," they really mean there's nothing like hearing it too. Just ask Laurel Wheeler. This story came to us from: WRALSportsFan.com.
On April 27, British Blind Sport (BBS) and our partners Birmingham City Council, Sport Birmingham, UK Sport, MLS GB and the University of Birmingham celebrated the launch of the official countdown to the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) World Games, a multi-sport event for blind and partially sighted athletes that will take place in venues across Birmingham from August 18 to 27 2023. This story came to us from: InsideTheGames.
In the last weekend, in the city of Troyes (France), the National Showdown Commission of the French Handisport Federation and the teams of the Aube Departmental Handisport Committee met at the Aube Sports Center for the first official showdown national championships in France. This story came to us from: International Blind Sports Federation.
LAFC is teaming up with the Foundation Fighting Blindness to host blind and low vision fans at
LAFC matches at Banc of California Stadium this season. Leveraging the team’s partnership with audio technology Mixhalo, fans will have access to crystal-clear, real-time play-by-play in English featuring the call of ESPN LA’s Dave Denholm and the Spanish audio featuring Armando Aguayo. This story came to us from: Los Angeles Football Club.
The headquarters of the Italian Paralympic Committee hosted the presentation, this Monday, for the 2022 IBSA Blind Football European Championships. This story came to us from: International Blind Sports Federation.
About The Digest
Welcome to Edition 20 of Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest. This edition has 78 stories about blind people and blindness from all over the world. We're certain you will find articles that you think are interesting, informative and, in some cases, funny.
As we do in every edition of the digest, we'd like to acknowledge our friend in the UK, Leon Gilbert. He practically invented blind news and he has a terrific Twitter feed which you can follow at @leongilbert.
If you missed it, you can read edition 19 of the news digest at Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest – Edition 19. We'll include links to the previous edition in the Introduction section of each week's version.
Never Miss An Issue
If you're enjoying Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest, you can subscribe by email to this blog and you'll never miss an issue. At this time, we do not have a way to subscribe to the news digest without also receiving my other blog articles which are about a single topic at a time. I never publish more than one blog article in any given week. If you subscribe and enjoy my articles, then you'll be receiving them more conveniently; if you subscribe and don't care for my articles, it's only a single keystroke to delete them.