Summer 2014 Update

Well here we are, smack dab in the middle of August. It’s hard to believe that there’s only one month left to Summer. The ice that left its mark on the 2013-14 Maine winter will surely not be forgotten soon, and these warm days and months have surely helped to ease those burdens that seemed to never end last winter.


There’s lots going on in our state, and folks in the blind community have surely been making an effort to get out there and get a taste of what this great state has to offer. A taste of flavor that the rest of the country just doesn’t have a clue about. It’s all here, and it’s one of the reasons we can smile when we talk about being home.


Stay tuned to for upcoming news, information, events and everything else that’s fit to tell.


The Summer ACB National Convention was a huge success. The sights and the sounds clearly labeled it as one of this Summer’s premier conventions, and as we head towards Fall 2014, will do its best to keep you informed of all there is to know with our upcoming ACB Maine State Convention, as well as news from around the great Pine Tree State.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and for your inspiring commitment to help the blind community forge on and take on the future with continued inspiration, strength, courage and hope.


We urge you to keep coming back to as our site will continue to change with the times, striving to keep you abreast of everything.


Take care, and have an ACB day!

Living with disabilities in Portland, Maine, where every step is a challenge.” An inspiring article from the Portland Press Herald

Gradually being robbed of his sight, Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette relies on a positive outlook to fight the threats to his independence.


Click HERE to go to the article by Matt Burns, a Portland Press Herald staff writer.

2014: Thanks for Another Great “Night of Comedy” in Bangor

ACB of Maine

Improving the lives of Maine citizens who are blind and visually impaired since 1903




Dear Friends and Neighbors,


The American Council of the Blind of Maine, in cooperation with East Coast Marketing Group, was especially pleased to sponsor another of our special “Night of Laughs” Comedy Shows this past Saturday, April 19th at 7 PM. This years event was once again held at Peaks Auditorium, Bangor High School, and featured Dave Russo, Dennis Fogg and Will Noonan, 3 New England based comedians who have appeared at Foxwoods Casino, Mohegan Sun, on Comedy Central TV and more.


ACB of Maine, representing 110 years of reaching out to the approximately 40,000 Maine residents who are blind and legally blind in our state, is the nation’s oldest consumer organization for the blind and visually impaired. Proceeds generated from this fundraiser will go to help support funding for public educational activities, Reaching out to the newly blind and visually impaired Maine residents and the issues that surround blindness, promoting recreational events, improving pedestrian safety, watch dogging legislative issues effecting Maine’s blind and visually impaired as well as post secondary scholarships given to well deserving students from Maine.


ACB of Maine would like to thank all those involved with our Comedy Show event, and is already anticipating and looking forward to next year’s Night of Comedy.


On a personal note, I had the chance to attend this hilarious night of adult comedy for the first time. The venue fit like a glove, the line up of comedic entertainers reached out and grabbed a bucket full of laughter, and the night was everything I had anticipated and more.


Thanks ACB of Maine and hats off to the folks at East Coast Marketing Group for a job well done. At the end of the evening, my sides hurt, and it was all because of you!


Oh ya. Thanks go out to my son Matt for transporting my billy goat butt all the way from the Ridge in Clinton, to Bangor. You’re the best!


Deon Lyons

mPower Loan Program Information

***  mPower Loan Program  ***



On Nov 21, 2013, Maine CITE sponsored a webinar about the mPower Loan Program with Jeremy Libby from Alpha One as the presenter.

The live webinar was recorded and it is archived on the following website:


Over the 20 + years that the mPower program has been lending money to Maine people with disabilities and their families, more than 2100 loans have been made and more that $23 million dollars has been loaned out. 

Loans can be from $250 up to $100,000.

The Board is made up of 9 people appointed to terms by the governor, 5 of whom are people with disabilities and use adaptive equipment/technology.

Since mpower loans are made with low interest and affordable terms, the great majority of loans (there is a very low default rate) are paid back into the fund, creating more money for others to borrow and growing/sustaining the fund balance.

It is a nationally known program. It was the first of its type when it was created in 1988 and now there are more than 40 Loan programs of this type across the country.

Also, of interest to Maine consumers may the “Financial Freedom” Guide that is available on the Alpha One website which gives consumers/families a great amount of information about financial literacy. Loan programs from other states are using this guide for their consumers.


Check out the following sites for more details.


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ACB of Maine 2013 Fall Newsletter



Fall / Winter Edition Newsletter

December, 2013


*** What You’ll Find In This Edition***

*** Save These Dates
*** Letter from ACB of Maine President

*** ACB 2014 National Convention Information

*** National Parks Pass Information

*** Technology News

*** Something About Marge

*** Now You’re Cooking With ACB!

*** I Can Connect: A Service for our Deaf/Blind Friends

*** Local Area Support Groups

*** News on

*** Oh Great! Another Christmas!



Save These Dates:


* Legislative  Dates:  Advocacy  of the blind community in relation to budget hearings.  These dates have very short notification.


*Thursday, December 18th

From 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Maine Department of Labor, Augusta.

DBVI & SRC will be holding another joint meeting. We are awaiting more information to follow. Check back, watch for postings here and on Blindforum.











Letter from The President


Hello again everyone.


One of the highlights of ACB Maine is always our annual fall Convention , which this year was held in Bangor. Our event this year was delightfully graced when Sue and Jim Martin agreed to come to Maine from Alabama and join the festivities.  A few of us heard Sue talk last year about completing her new book, “Out of the Whirlpool”. This year Sue was the keynote speaker at the National Guide Dog Luncheon in Columbus Ohio. she shared her story once again and brought along one hundred special addition copies in print and another hundred thumb drives with the book on audio.  When Sue agreed to be the after dinner speaker here in Maine, telling her polished life story of depression, attempted suicide, recovery, her blind rehabilitation and the miraculous, grateful life she lives now, everyone wanted to be where it was happening!


The ACB convention took on a new spark and energy this year.  People were wanting to know what ACB Maine had been up to, and what our plan for the future holds.  Attendees wanted to be a part of the positive energy that is pushing us forward. Now, one hundred ten years of advocacy will lead ACB Maine into 2014.    Conversations and ideas from new and reelected board members will bring fourth events to advocate, educate and lend support to the blind community of Maine.  We also plan to join again this year with Maine Adaptive Sports, enjoying and promoting their full range of activities. We hope to sponsor day events , inviting families with young and transition students to become involved with the benefits offered and achieved by the American Council of the Blind.


It is my honor to be associated with the American Council of the Blind of Maine, and as your president, I am excited at the possibilities that 2014 holds for the members of ACB Maine, and the blind community as a whole.


Thank you one and all for your continued efforts and support, and here’s hoping you all have a happy and healthy holiday season.


Mary Ellen Frost



2014 ACB National Convention Information


ACb National Convention

July 11-19, 2014


The 2014 American Council of the Blind National Conference and Convention will be held at the:


Riviera Casino & Hotel

2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


Convention dates are Friday, July 11th through Saturday, July 19th.


Room rates at the Riviera are $87.00 (single double) plus $10.00 per additional guest. Room taxes are currently 12%.


For reservations contact the Riviera at (800) 634-6753, make sure you mention that you are with the American Council of the Blind in order to receive our convention rate. You can also make reservations online at:







National Parks Pass Information


Information courtesy of the National Parks Service

Free national parks pass for people with disabilities

Summer’s almost here, so get out and enjoy the great outdoors! And now people with disabilities can enjoy federal recreation sites for free.

When you visit a federal recreation site, just present some documentation of disability status and ask for the free Access Pass. Documentation includes a physician’s statement, or a document issued by a State or Federal agency like the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, or a vocational rehabilitation agency. The pass gives you and three adults free admission to federal recreation sites around the country, and it’s good for life!


For more details, or to find a recreation site, visit the National Park Service’s Web site: or



Technology News


Special announcement from ACB Radio’s Larry Turnbull:

Most of us have used winamp at one time or another as our main media player on the pc.

Well the developers have announced that this player will no longer be developed afterDecember 20, 2013.

Here is a link to the article.

So if you want the latest version go get it from the winamp website

Otherwise hang on to the version you have if you still wish to use this player.

We will keep copies of winamp on the ACB Radio website for those that still wish to obtain it.




Winamp Update!


The following is a link to a petition to keep Winamp alive or go “open


Your support to keep Winamp alive is greatly appreciated.



Something About Marge


Hello ACB Maine.



Here I am in my later seventies, attempting to write a brief account of myself.


It starts with the fact that I was born at home in Farmington, Me.  By the time I was a week old, I was headed to an eye doctor in Lewiston as it was already determined that something was amis with my eyes.  Actually, I have never heard what the diagnosis for my visual impairment was, but there were two operations in those young years to give me the little vision I had until I was a young adult, and my right eye was removed before I was five.


For a few weeks after my birth my parents wondered, understandably, why I had been born at all.  That soon changed, and they gave me all the love they possibly could.  I didn’t lack for dolls, mud pies, and my Mom reading to me a great deal.


At five years old, my schooling began at the Perkins School for the Blind in the Boston area.  Although my Mom was a school teacher, she was at a loss as to how to educate me herself.  I went through high school there, obtaining an excellent well-rounded education.  My accademic work was done in Braille, I learned to type, and I took piano lessons and was always a part of a school chorus.  I was always happy there, having no reason to be otherwise.  My only regret was coming home on vacations without friends with whom to play.  My only sister was older than me and had friends and interests of her own.


During my high school years I worked one summer in a small convenience store owned by a blind man.  This was the first time I learned to take the city bus by myself from my home in South Portland to the other end of the city.  It was a good experience for me, and I purchased my first Braille watch with some of my summer money.


My junior college and college years were uneventful except that during junior college I was the first blind person there.  I made the dean’s list, but I always supposed it was because many of the students there to date and party rather than to study and make good grades.  Because I had little opportunity to date, (a blind perspon wasn’t usually asked out, I felt), I got through.


Anyway, after college I returned to Maine and lived with my parents in South Portland, working as a typist in the then Health and Welfare.  I liked my work very much for awhile, and yearned for the dating the other girls in our typing pool talked about.  After almost three years of this, I went back to graduate school to become what we then called a home teacher, (later rehabilitation teacher).  This graduate school took place in Philadelphia.  I had to learn to travel more confidently because part of my practice teaching was for a chapter of services for the blind outside of Philie.  It was scary, but I did it.


Then I worked for over two years for a blindness agency in Brooklyn, N. Y., and for the first time lived on my own.  I took advantage of my freedom from the watchful eyes of others, and suffice it to say that I learned to live in the ways of the world.  When a similar job became available in Maine, I applied and was hired in ’66, disillusioned about men, but happy to be back in Maine.  I then worked for the state in this capacity for thirty years, and after retirement was able to continue the same work for a few hours per week.


I mentioned the dating problems, as for me that as the only lack in my life.  However, by that time I decided to accept whatsoever state I was in, therewith to be content.  I was back in Maine less than two months when I met the man of my life because a mutual friend brought him to my folks’ livingroom.  That was in ’66.  We were married the following year, and continue to be married.  At least he didn’t have to face blind surprises after the fact.


In my later years I enjoy much more time at home with talking books and or knitting, and my e-mail.  We sing with the folks at a coupld of nursing facilities each month, and are part of our church choir.  I guess through all of my life I have been quite happy because, as I said before, I didn’t have much reason to be otherwise, especially once the right man came into my life.  What else can I say except that I am a very fortunate person, and I don’t have any other higher expectations.  My Lord has been good to me.


Marge Awalt



Now You’re Cooking With ACB!


Cheers for a Happy Holiday!

Gather friends and family near to share a cup of cheer!






— Crockpot Hot Chocolate —



1/3 c. cocoa

5 1/2 c. fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 (14 oz.) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk  Shop

1 (3″) cinnamon stick (optional)



Place cocoa in a 3 quart electric slow cooker. Gradually add 1 c. fat free milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add remaining fat-free milk, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add cinnamon stick, if desired.

I like to serve with a candy cane in the mug and skip the cinnamon stick.

Cover with lid; cook on low-heat setting 4 – 8 hours. Discard cinnamon stick, if used.

Stir well with a whisk before serving. Ladle hot chocolate into mugs; top with marshmallows. Makes 10 servings (3/4 cups each).

Don’t forget the marshmallows!



— Pumpkin Spice Muffins —



1 box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix

1 (15 oz) can of pure pumpkin



These are the only two ingredients you need. You do not follow the cake instructions on the box. Mix the can of pumpkin and cake mix together. You may add a few tbsp. of milk to help moisten the batter. Put batter in mini muffin pan or regular sized muffin pan. Bake at 350 for about 15 min. or when toothpick comes out clean.


Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Nancy Matulis



I Can Connect: A Service for Our Deaf / Blind Friends

We Thank Lillian Scaife for this information. Bob Acosta
We would like to pass along the following information to our deaf-blind subscribers.

We encourage everyone to share this information about the National Deaf-blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), promoted by i Can Connect, a program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to distribute assistive technology to people with combined hearing and vision loss who require special equipment to make a phone call, send an e-mail, or access the Internet.

Working in conjunction with the FCC, Perkins School for the Blind, and the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC),

i Can Connect will connect people who are deaf blind with the proper equipment and training on how to use it.

i Can Connect was mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and provides a wide range of hardware, software, and applications to suit the varying communications technology needs of people who have hearing loss plus visual impairment.

· Who can benefit from i Can Connect?

Here are just a few examples:

 A recent college graduate who is deaf-blind and wants to use to search for a job. A young girl with combined hearing and vision loss who wants to use Skype to connect using sign language with her grandmother. A man who has lost sight and hearing as a result of aging and wants to use email and Facebook to reconnect with friends and family.

· Who is eligible? Any individual who meets the definition of deaf-blindness in the H K N C Act and has an income that does not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify to receive telephone, advanced communications, and information services equipment.

· Communication is essential for staying healthy, holding a job, managing a household, and participating in the community.

If you know someone who might benefit from the i Can Connect program, please call (800) 825-4595

or visit the new website www i c a n c o n n e c t dot org

Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
Web Site:

You can assist Helping Hands for the Blind by donating your used computers to us. If you have a blind friend in need of a computer, please mail us at the above address.


Local Area Support Groups


The new Dover Low Vision Group will be holding its inaugural meeting Friday, December 6 at the local McDonald’s from 10:00 to 12:00 noon. At present our plan is to meet the first Friday of each month . There will be more information available after our first meeting.

Nancy Matulis
ACB Maine Secretary


News on

Do you wonder what is happening in your ACBMaine world? Check out our web site at!

Are you wondering how to reach Mary Ellen Frost ,President  of ACB Maine, or another board member? You will find it under “contacts”.


Maine’s White Cane Walk Events in October were posted with dates and information. Let’s plan more walks for next year! Consider organizing one in your area.


Our Mission Statement is an important part of who we are, we read this before every meeting. Have you read it lately?


Blind youth can enjoy sports and friendship during sports camp: NEBAA The SEC was created to address the barriers to sports and recreation through the following ways:


Empower blind and visually impaired youth by teaching them basic sports skills and activities Increase the knowledge of parents, teachers, and the community about the adaptations required for participation and the limitless potential of the children with visual impairments in the area of sports Increasing blind and visually impaired youth’s access to physical education, sports, and recreation by building a network of advocates.

For more information contact:

Mark Sinclair, Director

11 Veazie Street

Veazie, ME 04401

(207) 831-5229



Fund Raising

Here we have information about our work with ECMG, our fund raiser. Everyone looks forward to the Comedy Show each spring in Bangor.


Looking for information or have a question? Check out our new “Resources” section

Listed on this page are resources that we hope will point you in the right direction to obtain the specific services that will assist you on your journey.


Stop in and visit Sign up to follow the site and feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.

Your support is greatly appreciated!



Oh Great! Another Christmas!


Oh great! Another Christmas! Just what I need! Another fun filled month of ice and snow and cold temps and bitter winter chill! Deck the halls with a layer of icy crust and whaddya got? A hazardous health condition, that’s what you got! Walking through a winter wonderland, slip on the ice, and, Boom, down goes Frasier! Down goes Frasier! I can hear Howard Cosell hollering into the microphone for crying out loud! There ya go, rushing to the Emergency Room again, with your injured ego and misplaced hip in a twist. It’s ok though, cuz you can watch A Christmas Carol on your iPad, or iPhone, or i whatever you have on your way to a hospital bed, no worries! You might as well check out your facebook page while you’re at it and, what? Oh how lovely, a video of you, falling on the ice, that someone else posted already. How thoughtful of them! Frigging nummahs! I mean, holy moly, why couldn’t we have Christmas in July anyway? Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot. Sorry baby Jesus. My bad.


You know, with all the Christmas lights, and songs, and commercials, and on and on and on! What do I care anyway? I mean, it’s not like I haven’t seen it all before, right? The same thing, over and over again. Bring in the tree, sweep up the needles, decorate the tree. Don’t forget to take the afternoon off to untangle the lights now. Here, you have at ‘em! I can’t see what I’m doing anyways.


Why should we even care about the holiday season. I mean, why should I care if the Grinch makes it to the top of the mountain? Do you think that little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two, gives a crap? I mean, she probably has more important things to worry about, you know, like the fact that she can barely make it back up into her bed, she’s so short. For crying out loud! Why should I care? I mean, who gives a flying reindeer if Ralphy talks his folks into buying him a bb gun for Christmas. He’ll probably end up shooting his eye out anyways, and can someone please grab a roll of duct tape and wrap up that stoopid magician that keeps trying to get his top hat back from Frosty! I can’t stand listening to that little girl with the ear muffs cry any more! And who really cares about an abominable snowmonster with no teeth? They should have named him The Abominable
Gumster instead for pete’s sake!


Deck the halls, joy to your jingle bells, silent frozen night, it’s all maddening I tell ya! Christmas songs playing on the radio, non stop, from Labor Day on it seems like! Christmas trees and wrapping paper and colored lights and fruit cakes and ginger bread houses and toy trains and planes and baseballs and footballs and sleds and pies and cookies and chocolate pudding and eggnog and garland and popcorn strings and bows and ribbons and wishbooks and tinsel and mistletoe and candy canes and Christmas hams with Christmas dinners full of Christmas food and Christmas cards and kids smiling and hollering and screaming and people singing at the top of their lungs, out of tune I might add. The noise, the noise, the noise! Someone just take my ear drums and stomp on them, I mean, please! Mickey Mouse’s Christmas, and Charlie Brown’s Christmas and The Walton’s Christmas and Tim Allen getting fatter by the minute. Are you serious? The nutcracker suite and The Vienna Boys Choir and The London Symphony Orchestra and Windham Hill and Bing, Sammy, Dean, frank, Donny and Marie and Karen Carpenter and The Manhattan Transfer and how many Christmas songs are there anyway? It’s making me dizzy! Someone tell them to stop!


Someone make it stop! I mean, is this Polar Express train ever going to reach the North Pole?


I don’t care I tell ya! I’ve seen it all, heard it all, smelled it all and tasted it all before, and it never changes! It’s always the same thing! Do I look like I care if the Bailey building and loan goes under? Why don’t they just let old man Potter have at it anyway! And someone please tell Charlie Brown that the tree he picked out is pitiful! I mean, come on! I mean, it seems like we just get finished celebrating one Christmas, and another one comes knocking at the door! It never ends!


I know, you all think I am a Scrooge McDuck, not wanting the celebration, not wanting the wonderful holiday feel, not wanting the chorus of spirit and peace running through my veins. You all probably think I am a big old bah humbug of a billy goat, wishing it all to go away, wanting it all to end, waiting for it all to stop.




Fooled ya! Or did I!


Truth be known, I am about as much of a softie about the holiday season as any rusty dusty teddy bear you will ever know. I get all foggy inside when I hear a frigging Hallmark commercial on TV for crying out loud. When I hear the Regency Singers version of Silent Night, I cry. When I hear Ave Maria, I start welling up inside. When the little boy sees the reflection of Santa coming up behind him, in the ancient jingle bell that he is holding, I lose it. When I hear the familiar ringing of a Salvation Army kettle bell, I fight back my emotions and thank God that I have some change in my pocket to drop in the kettle.


You see, Christmas has had a magic spell on me ever since I was old enough to know who Santa Clause was. Between Santa, and the Lord Jesus, I have cause to celebrate and be thankful that I can hear the magic of the season all around. I used to be overwhelmed with emotion at the sound of our son on Christmas morning. The excitement in his voice as he tore through his wrapped presents. I was able to experience that magical feeling all over again as I listened to our grandson do the same. The innocence of the children makes for such a wonderful feeling, I just can’t explain it the way I would like to.


Call me crazy, but when it comes to Christmas, I am just a kid at heart. I still get caught up with it all, and I bubble over with anticipation. It truly is a wonderful time of year, and when you spend it with wonderful family and friends, what more could you ask for?


I used to try and stay up as late as I could, watching out the window, trying to see the lights of Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve through a frosted window pane. I used to fight away the slumber of the night, clinging tightly to staying awake, until, before I knew it, I was waking up, Christmas morning, and all of the magic had snuck in and managed to come true, once again, and it was downstairs, just a few dozen footsteps away. The magic of a wintery wonderland, full of the spirit of Christmas had come to visit us again. Oh, what a wonderful time to be a kid.


May you all feel the uplifting magic of the season, and may you all be surrounded by the same gift of love that has been handed down and cherished through the ages.


After all, ’tis the season, you know?


Merry Christmas and Ho Ho Ho!


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