Letters to the Editor


California Vet Affirms Worth of CATS Programs

I recently read the article by Kenneth Breakey about “trumping stubbornness” (November-December 2015 Bulletin) and just want to say that it rings a familiar bell with me. It was a stint I did at the BRC in Palo Alto (2003, I think) when I first became acquainted with using a personal computer. I was totally reluctant to try anything new and it was indeed all totally foreign to me.

I did try, about a decade earlier, to use a chess program that a friend of mine had made available on his Apple 2E. However, I was so frustrated by it that I then decided that computing and I were not compatible. Well, my CATS instructor (who I think was Daniel Nakamura) was very patient with me and, as a result of his guidance and caring instruction, I'm now a confident and daily user of my Windows PC that VA has provided.

My Navy website, which for all intents and purposes was and is a solo project, can be viewed at http://www.nbaersplayground.com. For me it all comes down to the thought that Daniel left with me: “All you gotta do is do it.” I am certainly happy with the results of following that advice.

My compliments to Mr. Breakey on his personalization of the subject of venturing into unknown waters!

James A Tucker
Carmichael, California
Northern California Regional Group

Past National President Reflects on Past PSAs

I look forward to getting my BVA Bulletin.

I am at the point in my life where I am starting to downsize. While throwing away old materials, I came across a Public Service Announcement in the form of a phonograph record from about 1979, I think. I’ve enclosed it for BVA’s historical archives.

Back in the 1970s we didn’t have much competition for PSAs. At that time, both blinded veterans and employers commented to us frequently that they had heard our announcements on their local radio station. Who knows what I’ll run across next week while I’m throwing out stuff? Keep up the good work.

Dennis Wyant
Past National President
Gainesville, Florida
Florida Regional Group

Editor’s Note on Bi-monthly Issues

After 12 years of quarterly BVA Bulletins, we are back to publishing six times a year! Hopefully our readers have already recognized the increased frequency with which they are receiving what I prefer to call the BVA magazine rather than a newsletter.

Instead of being identified by the seasons of the year, issues of the Bulletin now carry the names of the two months during which they are published. Our issues are now shorter than before but publishing more frequently has allowed us to add a few additional pages cumulatively.

Due to our several regular Bulletin contributions, space is always at a premium. That does not mean, however, that we are not always looking for reports and photographs of activities from our regional groups, VIST support groups, local legislation affecting blinded veterans, and local collaborative efforts with other organizations to be included in the Around BVA section. Please send them to me, Stuart Nelson, at snelson@bva.org, or by snail mail using the BVA National Headquarters postal address.

Please remember also to inform Membership Coordinator Cecilia Montenegro (cmontenegro@bva.org) or me if you would prefer reading or listening to the Bulletin in an alternative format. There are currently six means by which the publication can be received: a printed paper version via postal mail, an audio compact disk via postal mail, a link to the HTML text and photos on the BVA website, an emailed narrative Word document that includes photo and graphic descriptions, a PDF document that looks exactly like the print version, and a link to an audio mp3 file on the website that is most similar to the emailed Word document.

Stuart Nelson
Bulletin Editor

Feedback Welcome for Newly Launched Site

In October of 2015, BVA was very pleased to launch a newly re-designed accessible website. As with any complicated project, the website needed further work almost immediately upon launch. With helpful feedback from users of a wide range of adaptive technology and software, BVA headquarters staff has continued to refine and improve the technical aspects of the website.

The process, however, is ongoing. The next major milestone planned for the website is the launch of a login area for BVA members only later this year. Members will be able to update their contact information and communication preferences. Eventually they will be able to pay membership dues and register for the national convention.

The most important aspect of adding functions to the website is getting feedback from users of screen readers and other adaptive technology to ensure that the changes are as accessible as possible. Please send all comments to kstarr@bva.org and, with your help, we will make the BVA website one of the best resources for blind and low vision people on the web.

Kay Starr
BVA Development and Online Communications