PO box 19091


The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the position of the American Council of the Blind of Minnesota. They are the views of the article’s author.

Catalina Martinez, Editor

Phone numbers of note:

SSB main number (651)539-2300
ACBM (612) 223-5543 for quick calendar updates and to leave message
Apple support for people with disabilities: (877) 204-3930
Microsoft support for people with disabilities: (800) 936-5900

You can use a search for three asterisks to move from article to article.

Table of Contents

  • President’s Message By Marian Haslerud
  • ACB Conference and Convention 2018 By Janet Dickelman
  • New Transportation Option For Seniors By Kenneth Semien
  • April Quarterly Meeting By Janet Dickelman
  • What’s On Your Keyring By Lisa Selinger
  • 2018 Beep Ball Season By Gary Boettcher and Jennifer Dubbin
  • ACBM Calendar of Events By Jane Lund

President’s Message By Marian Haslerud

I hope everyone had a good winter. Spring is now here and we will begin with new challenges and opportunities. First of all, I would like to thank everyone for a successful beat the winter blues party. I heard from members that they would like to have the pasta bar at Joseph’s Grill become an annual event. A special thank you to Renee, Colleen and Catalina who served on the party committee and for our excellent volunteer assistance from 4 LDS gentlemen. At our quarterly meeting we will be electing officers and directors. Vice-President, Treasurer, and three board positions will be filled. We will also be selecting delegates to attend the national ACB convention in St. Louis. I am looking forward to a great spring.

ACB Conference and Convention
By Janet Dickelman
ACB — Gateway to Success

The 57th annual Conference and Convention of the American Council of the Blind will be held in St. Louis MO from Friday June 29th through Friday, July 6th.
Opening general session will be held Saturday evening, June 30th.
This is your opportunity to hear local entertainment, updates from ACB President Kim Charlson, the latest news from some of our major corporate sponsors and be introduced to the 2018 Durward K. McDaniel First Timers and the Leadership Fellows recipients.
Daily general sessions will continue mornings Sunday through Wednesday and all day Thursday, (7/1 through 7/5); during these sessions meet our talking book narrator, hear from a young man who has worked to make appliances accessible, learn the latest updates on advocacy and hear the always inspiring stories from our scholarship recipients.
You won’t want to miss our banquet Thursday evening.
Michael Cleveland, nominated for a Grammy for his blue grass record, “Fiddler’s Dream” and his fellow musician Brian Allen will perform for banquet attendees and talk about life on the road as blind musicians.

Our exhibit hall will open on Saturday, June 30th and will remain open through Wednesday, July 4th.
There will b approximately 60 vendors featuring cutting edge technology for blind and visually impaired users, items for daily living, recreation and personal items such as jewelry, items for guide dogs and so much more.

Special-interest affiliates and committees will hold programs, seminars and workshops beginning Saturday June 30 through Wednesday, July 4th.
Teachers, students, families, attorney, entrepreneurs, the LGBT community and individuals who are losing their sight will hold approximately 200 sessions during convention week.
In addition many of our sponsors and business partners will present programs, workshops and focus groups.

Our tours include a Cardinals baseball game, a visit to Hannibal Missouri the birthplace of Mark Twain,
The St. Louis Arch and an audio described performance of “Singing in the Rain”
Room rates at Union Station Hotel are $89.00 per night plus tax.
To receive convention announcements send a blank e-mail to
for additional convention information contact Janet Dickelman, convention coordinator (651) 428-5059 or via email at
St. Louis is a quick plane ride away or if we have a large Minnesota contingent we might consider chartering a bus. Let’s show our purple pride in Missouri!

New Transportation Option for Seniors
From: Kenneth Semien, Sr. via Leadership ACB List

Here is a new service taking advantage of the new on demand transportation technology that can help older adults maintain their independence while putting family member’s minds at ease!

GoGoGrandparent connects seniors to Uber to get to doctor’s appointments, bridge club or anywhere they want to go within 100 miles. It’s sounds super easy and no smart phone is required. You can try out their demo with a sample phone call right from their website. Operators are available 24/7, too!

I registered today when I dialed (855) 464-6872. You can add an emergency contact for safety purposes. Your emergency contact can receive an email or text message alerting them of your requested trip. The best thing about this service is that you aren’t required to download an App, and that is good for seniors who don’t have a cell phone. Review the frequently asked questions listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s GoGoGrandparent?

That’s us! We’re a fast, affordable and convenient transportation solution for folks that want to safely maintain their independence.

What do I need?

You need a touch tone telephone that can call 1 (855) 464-6872. We highly recommend riders have a cell phone so they can always be reached.

Are walkers and wheelchairs okay?

Walkers and foldable wheelchairs are no problem, as long as you can transfer yourself into a car without assistance. We can check with drivers to insure they’re comfortable meeting that request. Let any operator know and they’ll add the appropriate notation to your account. Whenever driver’s are asked to lift something it’s customary and appropriate to offer a tip.

Who are the drivers?

We work with on demand transportation services like Lyft to ensure that you can get affordable rides within 15 minutes. GoGo operators communicate, screen and monitor rides to make sure every ride completes safely and successfully.

What does “communicate, screen and monitor rides” mean?

Within 30 seconds of a trip being accepted by a driver, GoGoGrandparent checks to see if their car is too big for someone with ambulatory ailments or if the driver has previously been unwilling to work with older adults. Once a suitable match has been found we will issue a series of communications to the driver through their app, through text messages and by calling them to set their expectations and insure they are comfortable working with our caller. We have special scenarios for folks with visual impairments and ambulatory equipment. Once a driver has been found, we watch the trip and intercept lost drivers, malfunctioning GPS’s or driver’s that for various reasons had to cancel. Once a trip is in progress we handle setting and whenever necessary changing trip destinations for passengers that are planning a multi stop trip. We proactively reach out whenever we find a driver going off the expected route. Once the trip completes we send confirmation messages to all authorized family and friends and follow up with the caller to insure the trip completed safely & successfully. We have developed this process slowly after doing tens of thousands of rides and are still tweaking it as we discover new ways to improve the experience for our callers.

When should I speak with an operator?

Operators are available 24/7 to give quotes, schedule rides in advance and answer any questions that you have. Call and Press 0 to speak with an operator.

Can I cancel my ride?

To cancel a ride, call us and Press 9.

Is there a cancellation fee?

Cancel within 2 minutes of the ride being accepted to avoid a fee.
If the driver arrives & waits 5 minutes & tries to contact you but can’t, there will be a no-show fee.
These fees from our ride share partners range from $5-$10.

How much does it cost?

We charge a small concierge fee plus the vendor’s fare. The concierge fee goes towards covering the cost of our 24/7 call center. Our partners’ rates can change based on the zip code of the pick up address and when demand is high (this happens rarely and returns to normal in a few minutes). We quote you the fare every time you call. The driver will not know the total cost of the trip.

How do I pay?

You do not pay the driver. After the trip, we’ll charge the card you have on file and call or email you with how much was charged. PLEASE DO NOT PAY IN CASH.

Who do I give my destination to?

Usually the driver, but if their equipment is giving them trouble Press 0 to give it to an operator.

Who is GoGoGrandparent for?

Our rides are for independent adults who want to maintain their lifestyle. Some members use us to reduce the amount & type of driving they do (such as driving at night or going unfamiliar places), while others use us as their complete car replacement. Everyone enjoys the convenience of having affordable transportation on-call.

How do I register?

Get ready for your first ride by registering for free or by calling us toll-free at 1 (855) 464-6872 and Press 2.

How long will I have to wait for my ride?

Driver availability depends on your location, the time of day, and number of other rides being requested. In the majority of cases, your ride will arrive within 15 minutes — so be ready to leave when you call!

Can I schedule a ride in advance?

Yes, but most folks call us 15 minutes before they need to leave. We highly recommend you do the same. That being said to schedule a trip in advance Press 0 to speak with an operator.

Why are rides more expensive during peak demand?

Our vendors fares may change to encourage more drivers to come onto the road. This change is calculated automatically based on how many requests were made in a specific location in the prior two minutes. Peak demand is recalculated rapidly, so usually by waiting just 5 – 10 minutes, it’ll go away.

Can someone else ride with me?

Yes! Up to four people can share one car at no extra charge.

Will the driver wait while I complete my appointment?

You may ask your driver to wait but you will be charged for the time. To keep your ride affordable it’s best to give us a call when you’re ready to return and Press 2 for a car to the last place you were dropped off. We’ll get a ride there in 15 minutes or less.

What type of vehicle will I ride in?

A 4-door sedan. Prior to your ride, we will tell you the vehicle type/color, license plate, and driver name that you should expect (Note: we use Edmunds API to make sure the car you are getting is the right size).

Are rides available in my area?

To check availability in your zip code, visit our website or give us a call.

What are your hours of operation?

You can speak to an operator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And how far can I go?

You can take a trip 100 miles in any direction.

What should I do if I have a question during my ride?

You can call an operator at any time. Just call our number and Press 0.

Do you pick up at airports?

Yes, but depending on the airport there may be a special “pick up location” where you will have to meet our drivers. For most airports the operator will be able to help you find your location, but in all airports the driver will be able to tell you where to go. You can call your driver at any time by Pressing 3.

Are you an emergency medical transportation service?

Lots of folks use us to get to doctor’s appointments but we are no replacement for an ambulance in the event of an emergency.

Are you a non-emergency medical transportation service?

No. A lot of people use us to get around, but on demand transportation contractors are not trained to help people that require physical assistance and their cars can not be guaranteed to accommodate ambulatory equipment like motorized wheelchairs or scooters. Lyft and Uber are curb to curb services and are not good solutions if you require a driver to help you enter or exit the vehicle.
“After a lifetime of working, raising families, and contributing to the success of this nation in countless other ways, senior citizens deserve to retire with dignity.” -Charlie Gonzalez

ACBM April Quarterly Meeting
By Janet Dickelman


Hello ACBM members and guests,

Our quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, April 28th at Joseph’s Grill 140 S Wabasha in Saint Paul. Social hour is from 11:30 until 12:30 followed by lunch and the ACBM quarterly business meeting. The meeting will conclude by 3:30 PM.

lunch choices:
Mushroom Swiss Burger 8 oz. Black Angus Steak Burger. Traditional Favorite, with Fresh Sautéed Mushrooms and Swiss Cheese.
2. French Dip Thinly Sliced Slow Roasted Prime Rib Served with Au Jus.
3. Fish Tacos Three Warm Soft Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Beer Battered Haddock and Crisp Red Cabbage. Served with Avocado Pico and Cilantro Cream Sauce on the side.
Agenda items will include:

elections update on ACBM 2019 state convention
selection of delegates for the 2018 national convention
additional items will be added to the agenda at the meeting.

Please e-mail Steve Robertson with your meal choices at
or call him at (612) 223-5543.
We would appreciate hearing from you by Sunday, April 15th.

payment methods:
you can pay for your meal via PayPal at
send your payment to: ACBM Box 19091, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or pay by check or cash at the meeting.

cancellation policy: If you make a reservation and then find you are unable to attend please call Steve by noon on Friday, april 26th. If you cancel after that time you will be responsible for paying for your meal.

We look forward to seeing you.
ACBM calling committee

What’s On Your Keyring
Nov 19, 2017 By Lisa Salinger

It’s likely we’ve all heard the famous Capitol One question: “What’s in your wallet?” The assumption is that if you have their card on hand, you have what you need for emergencies and eventualities. Today, I’d like to pose a different question: “What’s on your keyring?” With the investment of a little time and even less money, you can be sure that, from a health standpoint, you are ready for anything.
What I’m going to discuss is important, regardless of whether or not you are technically minded. I propose keeping important health documentation on a thumb drive, and attaching it to your keys for easy access whenever and wherever you need it. Of course, you don’t have to go high tech, but it can make your life considerably easier. I find that with print files, things often go unidentified, get mislabeled, or never get filed in the first place. Maybe you are more organized and less “print stuff averse” than I. If that’s the case, just keep the info in whatever format works for you.
If you are responsible for the care of another person, you will want to have the important info for him or her as well. You don’t need a second drive; you can simply create folders for each person.
At present, my folder contains five items. If you have additional suggestions, we would welcome the opportunity to hear them and to share them with others. My own toolkit contains:

  1. A Living Will. These documents can vary widely, but having a living will can help determine the scope of care you receive if you are unable to speak for yourself.
  2. Power of Attorney Document: If you have designated a power of attorney in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself, you should include this document. These first two documents generally require some kind of signature or notorization. As a result, you will want to scan and save these documents as images. You can always use OCR to view the document yourself, but the ones you have for others should be in some sort of image format.
  3. Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals with Patients who are Visually Impaired: We blogged about this comprehensive document, and I find it valuable to share with hospital professionals.
  4. An Updated Medication List: There are a few important keywords in that item. First, a medication list isn’t going to do much good if it’s not up to date. Whenever you begin taking a new medication, add it to the list, and change the date to reflect the change. For example, the title of my current medication list says: October 27,2017 Medication List for Lisa Salinger.” Also, if you’ve noticed, I call it a medication list, not a prescription list. This is because over-the-counter meds and supplements can react in unexpected ways with prescription medications, and it is important to list all of them. I first list prescription meds, then over-the-counter meds, and finally supplements. I put each category under a heading so it can be easily located. Each item should contain the name of the medication, the dosage, and the frequency and times of day it is taken.
  5. I don’t necessarily need to keep this last document on my thumb drive, but it fits with the others, and so I do. As I have questions I want to ask my doctor, I write them down here. I may not update this document for months, but I generally look over it and make any changes before going to see my doctor.
    We never plan for unexpected things to happen. This is why being prepared regardless can be so vital to maintaining good health and making it possible for needed treatment to be given as soon as possible.

Copyright © 2017 Blind Alive, All rights reserved.

2018 Beep Ball Season By Gary Boettcher and
Jennifer Dubbin

The 2018 Beep Baseball for the Blind season is here. We have two teams, the Rec Team which is the Minnesota Fighting Lions as well as the Tournament team which is the Minnesota Millers. Beep ball consists of a first base and third base which are made of foam and are about 4 feet high. When the batter hits the beeping ball which thrown by a sighted pitcher, one base will buzz and the runner must make it to the base before the outfielders pick up the beeping ball. There are two sighted spotters in the outfield making sure everyone stays safe and no one runs into anyone.

The rec team will be starting in the West St. Paul dome in February sometime and will move outdoors in late April, early May depending on the weather. The Tournament team will start outdoors sometime in April. Both teams are in need of players and sighted volunteers. If you are interested in playing on the rec team contact Dennis Stern at 651-452-5324. If you are interested in the Tournament team which is more advanced and plays in actual tournaments, contact Doug Van Dyne at 651-788-6652. Both teams usually practice on Saturdays for 2-3 hours.


2018 calendar of events
By Jane Lund

ACBM events (open to all)
The ACBM board will meet on April 19, May 17th, and June 21st. All meetings are held at Currans Restaurant, 4201 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, from 6:30 to 8:30.
ACB coffee will be held on May 12th and June 16th. These social gatherings are at Currans Restaurant, 4201 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, from 10:00 to Noon.
The next quarterly meeting of ACBM will be held on Saturday, April 28, at Joseph’s Grill, 140 South Wabasha Street, in St. Paul, from 12:00 Noon to 3:30 P. M.

Events of interest
The Minneapolis Blind Bowlers season has ended. Season will start in September at Memory Lanes, 2520 26th Avenue South, in Minneapolis. Call Linda at (952)-888-6783 for more information.
The Twin Cities Blind Audio Dart League season has ended. Email Phil Sporer at for more information.

Minnesota Christian Fellowship of the Blind (MCFB), meets quarterly. The next meeting will be on Saturday, May 12th, from 1:00 to 4:00 P. M. Call Marian Haslerud, Membership Secretary at 612-206-5883 for more information.

The Blind Computer Users meet on the third Saturday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00 P. M. at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Call Bill Herzog at:
(612) 408-9415 for more information.

Fellowship of the Blind meets for a meal and religious discussion on the third Saturday of the month from 12:00 to 2:00 P. M. at Faith Lutheran Church, 3430 51st Street East, in Minneapolis. Call Joyce at
(612-729-5463 for more information.