Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest – Edition 45
- Using tech to detect blindness in babies
- More discussion on accessible prescriptions
- Man jailed for robbing blind woman in broad daylight
Partially blind man shoots intruder in buttocks
- Blind girl goes on African safari
- And, about 40 more stories about blindness and blind people from all over the globe
Editorial By Chris Hofstader
As it's November 8 and this is issue 45 of this digest, we're only 57 days away from the official launch of World Blind Herald where you can read the "Coming Soon" page and learn all of what the new blindness publication is all about. This digest will change its name to WBH Weekly Blind News Digest but I will still be curating and editing it each week for the foreseeable future.
This was another of the kind of weeks where one or two stories dominate the news of the blind. The blind woman who was robbed in broad daylight in UK ran in dozens of publications as did the story about the low vision man who shot an intruder in the buttocks. I'm starting to suspect that if a publication does a single story related to blindness in any given week, they will not publish a second as it so rarely happens. When a lot of mainstream publications all choose the same story, we only bring one version as they're all relatively identical.
We do have about 40 stories in this digest and about a dozen more in tomorrow's science digest so it wasn't an especially slow week for blind news but the curation process was a bit frustrating this week as we had so many duplicates.
How It's Organized
World Blind Herald 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.
A 13-year-old blind girl is trying to promote awareness about braille across the district. Dayzie Simpson, of Fontwell Road, Newbury, started losing her sight when she was eight, and completely lost the ability to see last year. Because of this, the St Bartholomew’s student became determined to learn braille, a tactile writing system made up of two vertical lines of patterned dots that is used by people who are visually impaired. This story comes to us from: Newbury Today.
… the small group of volunteers spends three hours in the church basement, turning out books of the Bible for the blind and visually impaired. This story comes to us from: Monroe Evening News.
[TECH & Diagnostics: Using data analytics & ML to prevent blindness in babies][
Consider this. One-fifth of the world’s 15 million pre-term babies are born in India. It is estimated that, of the 3.5 million live births annually, over 200,000 infants are likely to suffer from the advanced stage of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), where abnormal growth of blood vessels inside the baby’s eyes can cause bleeding, scarring, and retinal detachment. Failure of timely intervention and treatment can lead to irreversible blindness. “Early diagnosis is essential as most babies will recover completely if they get timely treatment for ROP,” say Chirag Gupta and Narayan VK, co-founders of CleaVision, a sustainable social venture set up under the SAP One Billion Lives programme in 2017. “ This story comes to us from: The Financial Express.
United States: FCC Submits 2022 Biennial CVAA Report To Congress, Citing Compliance Gaps In Video Conferencing Services
On October 11, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") released its sixth CVAA biennial report to Congress (the "Report"), assessing industry compliance over the past two years with sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Communications Act of 1934, as required by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act ("CVAA"). These sections require telecommunications and advanced communications services and equipment, as well as Internet browsers built into mobile phones, to be accessible to and usable by people with a wide range of disabilities. While the Report recognizes significant accessibility improvements to these products and services since 2020, it also makes clear that compliance gaps persist. Most notably, the Report highlights that some features of video conferencing services needed for work, school, and healthcare during the pandemic remain partially or fully inaccessible to blind or deaf consumers. This story comes to us from: Mondaq.
Halloween costumes like Jerry Jones' "blind referee" play into stereotypes that the visually impaired are incompetent … so says the National Federation of the Blind, which tells TMZ Sports these kinds of outfits are "harmful." Jerry dressed up in a ref uniform and sported sunglasses and a walking stick over the holiday weekend … in an attempt to playfully go after NFL officials for missing penalty calls. This story comes to us from: TMZ.
For nearly a decade, Sadhasivam has been providing free coaching for government examinations. The 65-year-old man from Singanallur has spent his whole life fighting for the betterment of his community. When Sadashivam was just seven years old, he lost his eyesight to brain fever. “My parents were unaware of the proper treatment. So, I lost my vision just one year after getting infected with the fever,” he recalls. But this did not deter him. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in English and decided to help people like him. With a heart-thumping grit, he stepped onto the social front in 1979 when he was only 18 years old and joined the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). “Initially, I ran a telephone booth and later moved to a staff position in a private health organisation. Since 2006, I have been a full-time participant in NFB,” says Sadashivam. This story comes to us from: The New Indian Express.
The Travis County Association for the Blind/Austin Lighthouse opened its Microsoft Certification Center on Oct. 18 at 4512 S. Pleasant Valley Road. This story comes to us from: Community Impact.
To provide comprehensive information and a user-friendly experience to the millions of low vision patients, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals, Prevent Blindness, the nation's leading eye health and safety nonprofit organization, is launching the newly redesigned resource, "Living Well With Low Vision." Low Vision is defined as vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.
Students at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind are learning new skills in a creative way. This story comes to us from: WYFF.
Gary and his fellow veterans are being honored ahead of Veteran’s Day with a braille flag at the Veteran’s Memorial park, by the state capital. But this one helps those who are visually impaired as Gary read about the flag and statue of George Washington. This story comes to us from: wafb.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a celebration of the many contributions employees with disabilities make in the workplace. Even with a renewed focus on diversity, equity, inclusivity and accessibility, many people who are blind are not finding opportunities to use their talents. This story comes to us from: HR Dive.
Elijah Akinyemi retired as a permanent secretary in the Ogun State Ministry of Education despite being visually impaired. The father of five from the Ifo Local Government Area of the state tells ALEXANDER OKERE how he reached the pinnacle of his career in the civil service against all odds. This story comes to us from: punchng.com.
Discrimination and Inaccessibility
A PARTIALLY sighted woman has spoken out about her 'unacceptable' experience at Winchester hospital. Anna Tylor is the chairman of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). She has been receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH), after being diagnosed in May. Ms Tylor lives in Fulflood, and has spoken out about the accessibility issues faced by her and other blind and partially sighted people. This story comes to us from: Hampshire Chronicle.
Dean Steacy has been fighting for five years to get his local Rexall drugstore to adopt "talking prescription label" technology. The Gatineau, Que., man has been blind for 17 years, takes insulin and up to 10 pills daily for diabetes and related conditions. He sometimes has to rely on others to help him manage his medications. This story comes to us from: CBC.
Ms Johnson, from Truro, is registered blind and has arthritis of the spine and a knee that dislocates, and has a catheter.
Her property is not adapted for her needs.
On Tuesday she said: "I've been in these clothes since last Wednesday. I can't change, I've burnt myself cooking my meals and scalded myself.
"It is just ridiculous, there is no help at all. They are not paying the carers enough – that's why they are not coming into the job and that's why there isn't enough staff."
Carers from an agency come in twice a week for four hours a time which she said is "just not enough. This story comes to us from: BBC.
A Coventry man has been jailed for robbing a blind woman in broad daylight. Steven Ball, 42, followed the woman who is in her 40s and walks with a walking stick, in the city centre before pouncing in White Street on 15 March earlier this year. He pushed her and grabbed her coat rifling through her pockets to steal just £25. Two passers-by recognised Ball and he was arrested. This story comes to us from: Coventry Telegraph.
Police say police were called to a home on Park Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. after a homeowner said he shot at a burglar. “I got a shot off him. He was coming right towards me,” the victim told 911 dispatchers. The victim’s nephew tells Local 12 that his uncle is partially blind and had just gotten home from the hospital Tuesday evening. “I don’t know if it hit him or not,” the victim told dispatchers. Police, with the assistance of a K-9, followed a trail of blood down an alleyway and found Jeffery Carl, 36, hiding in a shed around the corner. This story comes to us from: WKRC.
In his latest round of offending, Kim Barwell stole money from an 85-year-old blind woman who was unable to use an ATM without assistance. This story comes to us from: Stuff.co.nz.
A blind homeless woman who stole around €40,000 in welfare benefits from the State has walked free from court after being handed a fully-suspended sentence. Rosemarie Fearsaor (39) also known as Maria Rosita Apacha Marchega, was representing herself in court as she could not get any solicitor or barrister to take her case. She pleaded guilty last year to five sample counts on the indictment but later stated that she wished to change her plea to one of not guilty. Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, said the DPP had not been notified of any indication of a changed plea. Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Friday, Judge Martin Nolan said this was a long-running case which had been adjourned on 14 occasions. He said the accused had not been co-operative with the legal process, but seemed to be “quite intelligent. This story comes to us from: BreakingNews.ie.
A Eureka woman accused of meth possession and stealing money from a blind man was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County District Court. This story comes to us from: Western News.
A 36-year-old Amherst Junction man was sentenced to a 43-year prison term for repeatedly assaulting a 15-year-old girl who is legally blind and has autism, according to Portage County District Attorney Cass Cousins. This story comes to us from: Wausau Pilot & Review.
A blind citizen of the Niger Republic and Two nationals of Pakistan have been arrested for cocaine trafficking in Nigeria. This story comes to us from: Channels Television.
A severely sight impaired woman from Port Talbot has called on businesses to train their staff after being told her guide dog couldn't enter a Starbucks store. Angharad Paget-Jones said she had stopped to get a coffee from a service station in England, when a Starbucks worker told her "you can't have your dog in here". Working guide dogs have had the legal right to enter public places including restaurants, shops and taxis for 27 years. This story comes to us from: News Wales.
ornia-born disability rights advocate, lawyer, and author has dedicated her career to fight for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. She is best known for becoming the first deafblind person—a condition that is estimated to impact 45,000 to 50,000 Americans—to graduate from Harvard Law School, but she has accomplished so much more. Her work has improved access and the overall quality of life of people with disabilities. After all, to Girma, advocacy is not just about her—it's for all the people who come after her. This story comes to us from: My Modern Met.
A 53-year-old retiree failed to register himself as an independent candidate for the Titiwangsa constituency because he arrived late at the nomination centre. Habib Bourgiba Abdul Hamid, who is partially blind, said he faced “obstacles” in reaching the nomination centre at SMK Aminuddin Baki. He arrived at the centre at 10.02am, just two minutes after nominations closed. The officer in charge of the centre, Firdzaus Said, met Habib at the entrance and apologised for being unable to accept his nomination papers. Firdzaus said he was bound by the protocol set by the Election Commission (EC). This story comes to us from: FMT.
UPS does not make its website accessible to blind and visually impaired people using a screen reader, in violation of the law, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Warren Zinnamon filed the class action lawsuit against United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Oct. 24 in a New York federal court. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
Mercer University, Lafayette College and Loyola University of Chicago websites fail to offer full Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility to the blind or visually impaired, a trio of new class action lawsuits collectively allege. Plaintiff Joseph Ortiz claims Mercer, Lafayette, and Loyola University Chicago have failed to design, construct, maintain, and operate their respective websites so that they are fully accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
A blind woman, 84, successfully sued two of her children to recover nearly $1.37 million owed from the rental and sale of her late husband’s shophouse. On Oct 31, the High Court dismissed claims by her younger daughter S. Geetha Subramaniam and only son S. Mogan that their mother had gifted them $1.36 million of the proceeds, reprimanding them for their conduct. This story comes to us from: The Straits Times.
Get to know Maria Reis! She’s a longtime Milton resident who enjoys living every single day that she has on this planet. She’s also blind. Living in a rather rural area of the town, Reis says getting around can get tricky. Cabs have a hard time making their way onto her street if it’s too dark. She’d like to see that get changed, but adds that the Town of Milton has been increasingly accommodating with her as her condition developed. This story comes to us from: Milton Now.
[Partially-blind Laois woman has visions of a brighter future][
ARAN Amelia Murphy from Portlaoise was born with cataracts in both eyes and was subsequently diagnosed with Peters Anomaly/Rubella Syndrome. This story comes to us from: Laois Nationalist.
Visually impaired social media star Lucy Edwards heads to Kenya for one of nature's most extraordinary events – "The Great Migration". It is one of the largest animal migrations in the world where over 1.5m Wildebeests make the perilous journey from Tanzania to Kenya in search of fresh grazing.
Her guide, William Githieya, visually describes the sight of two elephant calves eating. This story comes to us from: BBC.
Elijah Akinyemi retired as a permanent secretary in the Ogun State Ministry of Education despite being visually impaired. The father of five from the Ifo Local Government Area of the state tells ALEXANDER OKERE how he reached the pinnacle of his career. This story comes to us from: punchng.com.
The Effingham County High School Marching Band is made up of roughly 200 members. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a student work as hard as he does,” says ECHS band director Will Alford. As you watch them move and play it can be hard to tell one from another. “Austin is a great guy. He’s really good at trumpet,” says a fellow band member. But as they work to seamlessly blend together, it’s clear one of them is a bit of a standout. “He is one of the hardest workers I know. He’s really nice to everyone. He makes an effort to be that way,” says ECHS band member Kendall. They’re talking about Senior Austin Wegmann who loves music. “In my opinion that’s the best universal language there is,” and Austin speaks it fluently. “He’s been an incredible blessing to our program,” Alford says. While he plays and moves with the best of them to get to where he is today was no easy feat. “I’m the first blind kid that’s come through the county’s school system. So, I’ve had to pave the way over the years,” says Wegmann. Austin has been blind since he was only four years old. This story comes to us from: WTOC.
Art and Artists
On October 21, 2022, three weeks into a six week tour through the UK and Europe with Hayseed Dixie, I had a most unusual experience while playing at The Queens Hall in Narberth, Wales. While most all shows we play have barriers in front of the stage, this particular one did not, so the audience could get right to the front edge of the stage. I noticed a beautiful young girl of maybe 16 yrs old with purple-ish hair standing in front of me, with an older man that I guessed was her Dad. She appeared to be blind, but she was rockin’ out and havin a blast. Hayseed is a very visual band, we’re having as much fun as anyone, and I wished she could see it all, but she felt it for sure. We were approaching the end of our two hour show when I bent down to ask the gentleman if this was his daughter. He replied, ‘Yes’, and I asked ‘Is she blind? ‘Yes.’ ‘Would you mind at some point if she would like to place her hand on top of my picking hand?’ He said, ‘No, that’d be grand. I’ve never done this, so I waited ’till we were playing something very fast, and I bent down in front of her and her Dad placed her hand on top of mine while I was soloing. She became very still, taking in every movement of my right hand. On our last song I did it again, this time she put both hands on top of both my hands. In my 50 yrs of playing I’ve never experienced anything as emotional as this. This story comes to us from: Bluegrass Today.
Sports and Athletes
As San Diego’s Wave FC ended their season, a new soccer team began its formation in Chula Vista last week. Thirteen players with visual impairments and three sighted goalkeepers tried out for the first-ever USA Blind Soccer National Team. This story comes to us from: KPBS.
The sport of blind soccer has been part of the Paralympic Games since 2004, but the U.S. has never fielded a team. That will all change in 2028. This story comes to us from: U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.
[Meet the golfer who is completely blind – but would still easily beat you][
Golfer Jake Olson has defied his disability to become a blind champion in the sport. The 33-year-old was born with a rare cancer of the retina, losing sight in his left eye before the age of one and then his right eye aged 12. Despite that, he went on to become the first-ever blind American football college player having mastered the position of long snapping. Olson was eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft but wasn't picked. He continued to pursue his dream in his native Canada but when that didn't work out, he turned to the golf course. This story comes to us from: Daily Star.
British Blind Sports will be hosting a series of VI awareness workshops across the UK throughout 2023 to anyone interested in inclusive sport. This story comes to us from: British Judo.
A blind English fan Ellie revealed that she supports India in cricket and is a massive fan of Virat Kohli. The fan's mother revealed how an audio book about Kohli inspired her. On seeing the message, Kohli was moved and promised to meet her and give a signed bat and shirt. This story comes to us from: Times Now.
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.