THE MINNESOTA MEMO Spring 2020
A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF:
THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND OF MINNESOTA
PO box 7171
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55407
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.
Product and service information is provided as a resource only and not as an endorsement of a particular product or service.
Catalina Martinez, Editor
Phone numbers of note:
SSB main number (651)539-2300
ACBM (612) 223-5543 Leave Message
Apple support for people with disabilities
Microsoft support for people with disabilities
Comcast Support For Persons With Disabilities
You can use a search for three asterisks to move from article to article.
Table of Content
Message From the President By Marian Haslerud
Editor’s Note By Catalina Martinez
ACB – A path to the Future By Janet Dickelman
What Does Your Dog Really Think About Your Hugs? By Bark Spots
ACBM Quarterly Meeting By Janet Dickelman\
Holy Buckets, This Is Real By Catalina Martinez
How to Get Free Internet (at Home and In Public) By Lester Balajadia/Shutterstock.com
2020 Recovery Rebate By Claire Stanley
Yarn, hook and needle Crafts by Phyllis Campbell
Board of Directors
Message From The President
By Marian Haslerud
We have experienced many changes in the last month. We were free to go anywhere we desired. Now, we are at home and practicing social distancing.
Because we have had limitations placed on us, we do not have to do nothing. BARD will provide us with hours of reading. We can go out for short walks. I have been spending lots of time making shawls for charity. ACB national has provided zoom meetings to help us. You can also play card and board games to occupy your time.
We can also be thankful to the individuals willing to do things such as grocery shopping.
I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous spring.
By Catalina Martinez
I would like to have two columns in the memo each issue. The first one is recipes. Share your favorite family recipes with us. Be it hot dishes, cookies, cakes, dips; the sky is the limit.
The second column would be announcements. Share any special events with us.
ACB – A path to the Future
By Janet Dickelman
Due to the ever-changing restrictions involving the Coronavirus and The American Council of the Blind’s concern for everyone’s health and safety, the board made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person 2020 Conference and Convention in Schaumburg, IL. This does not mean there won’t be a convention, in 2020 we are going virtual!
Here is what we have planned thus far. With a virtual environment we are able to extend convention dates from Friday July 3rd through Friday, July 10th. The convention will open with the ACB board meeting on the third.
Special-interest affiliates, committees and our business partners will hold sessions during all 8 days of the convention.
Opening general session will be Sunday evening, July 5th. Daily sessions will run Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to noon central time.
Each evening there will be special programming.
Friday July 3rd: Friends-in-Art showcase of the performing arts
Saturday: 2019 fireworks broadcast from the Capitol in Washington DC audio described by Joel Snyder
Sunday: opening general session
Monday: an update from the audio description committee — A review of the opportunities for AD at the movies, on broadcast television, via streaming or by smart phone apps.
Tuesday: ACB Easy Chair auction
Bid and win from your easy chair. Over 60 items with exciting vacations, scrumptious treats, latest technology and unique crafts.
Wednesday: Smart Access in the Home Rapid developments in high-tech home appliances and accessible smart home interfaces have transformed the way many consumers who are blind and visually impaired navigate the world from the comfort of their own couch. Join us as we break down where these trends are headed and learn how you can make informed and affordable choices toward making your own home accessible.
Thursday: Advocacy updates with Clark and Claire
Friday, July 10: ACB banquet with presentation of awards and keynote speaker long-time audio describer Roy Samuelson
Yes, we will have a virtual exhibit hall with all your favorite companies and some new ones too. You can access the hall on ACB radio from your computer, smart device or your telephone. There will be a calendar each day to let you know the presentation schedule.
We will even have a virtual tour channel with audio described tours including the White House, The Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem,
The National Portrait Gallery – audio description of selected presidential portraits, and The United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum’s Hall of Witness and Hall of Remembrance to name a few.
Convention registration will open on May 21st. Your registration includes several benefits and helps ACB provide quality programming on the Zoom platform as well as through ACB Radio. Some of the benefits are: a braille, large print, or email full program schedule mailed directly to your home prior to the convention, having your name put into the exclusive pool for door prize drawings, a receipt and personalized schedule of your specific chosen events, The ability to pay registrations fees for your favorite special-interest affiliates, many of whom are offering door prizes as part of their affiliate registration.
The ability to become an individual sponsor to support ACB’s activities, your name announced at daily general sessions and in the convention newspaper.
If you are not already subscribed to the convention announce email list send a blank email to
What Does Your Dog Really Think About Your Hugs?
By Bark Spot
Unconditional love and affection is one of the best things about dogs. They’re always happy to see us, and they act like we’re the best people in the world. We can’t wag our tails to show them that the feeling is mutual, so instead, we wrap our dogs up in big hugs. Hugging your dog might feel like the most natural thing in the world, but animal behaviorists have revealed interesting information about how dogs react to hugs.
The Hidden Stress Behind Hugs
In the human world, hugs are all about spreading love and support. We hug the people we feel closest to, and the best hugs can even solve our most difficult problems. But you have to remember that even though we treat them like part of the family, dogs are not human.
Dogs operate based on their own instincts and body language rules. They don’t speak our language, and they don’t always interpret actions in the same way we do. While you see hugging your dog as an act of love, your dog might see it as something much different.
Numerous studies have looked at how dogs react to hugs. A study by psychology professor Stanley Coren analyzed 250 photos of dogs being hugged. For each photo, Coren studied the dog’s body language based on what we already know about how dogs communicate and express emotions.
Coren looked for signs that the dog was either enjoying the hug or feeling discomfort, stress, or anxiety. In the end, the study found that 81.6% of the dogs observed appeared to be unhappy about being hugged. Coren concluded that based on body language, dogs do not appreciate hugs in the same way humans do.
Why Do Dogs Hate Hugs?
According to Coren in Psychology Today, dogs are cursorial animals. This means they’re designed to be runners more than fighters. So when a dog’s “fight or flight” instinct kicks in, they’re more likely to run away than fight their way out of a dangerous situation.
Hugs interfere with that instinct. When you wrap your arms around your dog in a loving hug, you’re essentially trapping them in your embrace. Your arms prevent them from running away if they need to. In the animal world, the only time an animal wraps their limbs around another animal is when they’re attacking them.
Most dogs learn pretty quickly that humans aren’t trying to eat them when they pull them in close, but it’s an instinct that’s been ingrained in the canine mind for generations. It’s hard for dogs to overcome that instinctual feeling of being trapped, even when they’re around humans they love and trust.
Most dogs value their personal space. And even if they frequently jump into your lap for cuddles, they prefer to be in control of the situation. Getting pulled into a bear hug can make them feel vulnerable, and therefore, stressed out.
Signs Your Dog Hates Your Hugs
I know it can be hard to believe that your lovable pup hates your hugs. The truth is, dogs have adapted so well to living with humans, that some of them don’t mind hugs at all. Some dogs even seek out hugs by leaning into their favorite humans.
If you’re not sure how your dog feels when you wrap your arms around them, all you have to do is pay attention to their body language. Dogs are great at communicating if you know what to look for.
Here are a few signs that mean your dog is feeling either stressed out or uncomfortable when you go in for a hug.
- You can see the whites of their eyes, also called “whale eyes”
- Licking their nose
- Pinned ears
- Squirming or trying to get away
How to Show Your Dog Love in Other Ways
If you’re not 100% sure that your dog enjoys your hugs, it’s best to save that kind of affection for your human family members. Instead of hugging your dog, there are several other ways you can show your love.
- Give them pets and scratches in their favorite spot
- Look lovingly into their eyes
- Cuddle and nap together
- Play a fun game
- Go for a walk
- Gently massage their muscles
As much as we love our dogs and consider them part of the family, we also have to remember that dogs are not people. They follow their own set of social rules, and those don’t always line up with what we humans expect. If you watch your dog closely and realize he doesn’t like being hugged, don’t take it personally. It likely has nothing to do with your bond or how much your dog loves you.
ACBM Quarterly Meeting
By Janet Dickelman
Hello ACBM members and guests,
Due to the coronavirus stay at home order our quarterly meeting will be held via Zoom meeting. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 25th at 1:00 PM.
Zoom can be accessed from your computer, an app on your iPhone, or by telephone.
If you are able to join us please e-mail Steve Robertson at
or call him at (612) 223-5543.
Steve will send you the information for the call.
Please call Steve by Wednesday, April 22nd. We will delay our elections until July, in spite of this we have a full agenda. Our speaker will be Don Van Gorp, Mobotrex, Polara Distributor, for Accessible Pedestrian signals
discussion of the 2020 ACB Virtual Conference and Convention
committee reports special reports from groups of special interest to ACBM members. Additional items will be added to the agenda at the meeting.
There will also be time for us to visit and touch base with each other during this time of social distancing. Hope you can join us.
Holy Buckets, This Is Real
By Catalina Martinez
When this pandemic began back in February, I really thought that the media was making way too much of it. Businesses were shutting down, people had to work from home, we had to practice social distancing and students were not able to go to school. After all this, it still wasn’t real to me.
On April 16 I went to Fairview imagery for an MRI and I felt like I stepped into another world. For one thing, Transit Team was right on time and I was the only passenger. Only one person is to get picked up at a time and after dropping them off, the driver is to go back to the garage to be sanitized. When I got to Fairview, only two doors were opened, emergency and door two. As I stepped into the outer door, there were two ladies that met me and asked five questions about my health. By this time I was thinking that this was just over kill.
Now I’m just waiting for my MRI and another lady came up to me to escort me. As I was getting ready to walk to the back, she handed me a mask and said “You need to wear this in order to go to the back” and put the mask in my hand. That is when it hit me, holy buckets, this is real.
How to Get Free Internet (at Home and In Public)
By Lester Balajadia/Shutterstock.com
Free internet access is all around us. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to find a free connection at home or when you’re out. Even if you don’t have a computer, your local public library likely has you covered.
Out and About: Public (and Business) Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are commonplace in urban areas. But, even if you’re on a road trip, you’ll probably drive past many businesses that offer free Wi-Fi.
Some cities offer public Wi-FI networks, which may be available in parks and other public attractions. This is more common in bigger cities than smaller ones, however.
Many businesses offer free Wi-Fi hotspots. Coffee shops like Starbucks and other smaller independent cafes are famous for it, but it doesn’t stop there. Fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and stores like Walmart and Target offer free Wi-Fi, too. Wi-Fi isn’t available at every single store, but is available at many of them.
These are just examples of big chains that offer free Wi-Fi. Many other chains offer free Wi-Fi, too. Free Wi-Fi is also common in many smaller businesses, including coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.
We call these Wi-Fi hotspots “free,” but you’re generally expected to buy something when you visit a business with free Wi-Fi. Still, if you need to grab a quick coffee or buy something at the store, you can get some free Wi-Fi while you do it.
There are some risks to using public Wi-Fi, but it’s much safer than it used to be.
If You Have Internet at Home: Your ISP’s Wi-Fi
If you pay for an internet connection at home, there’s a good chance your internet service provider operates a network of Wi-Fi hotspots you can connect to for free. These can give you pretty good coverage when you’re away from home. You just have to connect to the hotspot and log in with your ISP account.
For example, AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Optimum, and Spectrum are just a few of the ISPs that offer Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast calls these “Xfinity WiFi” hotspots. Many internet service providers outside the USA offer similar networks, too. Check with your ISP to see what it offers.
Internet service providers generally turn people’s home routers into public WI-Fi hotspots, so you’ll find these are often widespread in the ISP’s coverage area. For example, if you have Comcast and it’s common in your town, you’ll probably see Xfinity WiFi hotspots all over the place. However, if you travel somewhere where Comcast doesn’t offer service, you may not see them at all.
Assuming you have a home internet connection and want internet access on the go, this is a great way to get free internet access when you’re away from home.
At Home: Get Free (or Very Cheap) Internet
Getting free internet access in your home is a little trickier. If you live in a dense urban area, you may be able to connect to an open public Wi-Fi network and use that as your main internet access. It probably won’t be as fast as a dedicated home internet connection, of course.
You could also try to share someone else’s Wi-Fi. For example, if you have a good relationship with your neighbor, maybe they’d let you onto their Wi-Fi. It’s possible.
You probably can’t get your own free internet connection. If you have a landline phone, it’s still possible to use a free dial-up ISP like NetZero, which will give you 10 hours a month of browsing for free. But it’s packed with advertisements, will be very slow (remember the internet in the 90s?), and requires that landline phone bill. This is far from a good option.
Many ISPs offer subsidized low-income plans. You’ll usually need to already qualify for a public assistance program to get this discounted pricing. For example, Comcast offers its Internet Essentials plan for $10 per month to those who qualify. It’s not free, but these plans offer the cheapest home internet you can pay for. Similar subsidized plans may be available in other countries.
While these plans are intended for low-income families and individuals, you may be able to reduce your monthly internet bill by downgrading your plan to a lower speed tier or negotiating with your ISP. You may be able to save money by buying your cable modem and avoiding those monthly rental fees, too.
What About Free Cellular Access?
Did you know that you can get free cellular internet anywhere in the USA? Some cellular providers offer basic plans with some free data every month. You can use it on a smartphone or even get a Wi-Fi hotspot. They’re betting that they can get money from you somehow after you’re a customer.
For example, FreedomPop offers 200 MB of data free every month. That’s not much at all—but it is free. You will have to buy a FreedomPop SIM card for your phone, tablet, or Wi-Fi hotspot to get started.
Look, let’s be honest: 200 MB isn’t much data at all, and a company like FreedomPop probably won’t have the best customer service. TIME Magazine wrote about its “shady” business practices back in 2013, and we’re not sure how much has changed. We haven’t tried it ourselves and can’t endorse it. But free is free, and it exists.
The FCC also offers a Lifeline assistance program that provides subsidized cellular service to low-income households. If you qualify, you may be able to get discounted or even free cellular data through the Lifeline program. For example, Verizon’s Assurance Wireless advertises a phone plan with free monthly data through Lifeline.
2020 Recovery Rebate
By Claire Stanley
ACB has received numerous questions about how people will receive the 2020 Recovery Rebate. To help answer those questions, this summary will briefly describe what the rebate is and how persons will receive the money.
One element of the third stimulus bill passed by Congress about two weeks ago includes a monetary recovery rebate, also known as the 2020 recovery rebate. Through this rebate, Americans will receive a one-time monetary amount from the government. The purpose of the rebate is to revitalize the economy. Americans who receive the money can spend it in any way they choose; there are no limitations or strings attached to the money.
The 2020 recovery rebate will begin at $1,200 for all people who have an income of $75,000 or less on a yearly basis. For a married couple who files jointly, the amount will start at $2,400. For anyone who has children under the age of 16, they will receive an additional $500 for each child. As a person’s income rises, the amount they receive will decrease gradually. In other words, the more money a person makes, the less money they will receive from the government. The most a person can make before they can no longer receive the recovery rebate is $99,000.
One of the biggest questions we have been asked is how people will receive the money. If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, you will automatically receive the rebate. If you received your income tax refund via direct deposit to your bank account, the money will be automatically deposited into that bank account. The money will be deposited starting today, on April 15, 2020. If you generally receive your income tax refunds via the mail, the check will be sent to the address on file. When waiting for the rebate to come by mail, know that it will take more time. Those who make less money will receive their checks sooner and progress from there.
One of the questions we have been asked numerous times is from people who have not filed taxes in the past year or two. For individuals who receive Social Security benefits, filing taxes is not necessary. As a result, that person’s information is not in the system. To fix this problem, some people have asked if they need to file taxes. The answer is no. Again, you do not need to file taxes if you receive Social Security benefits in order to receive the 2020 recovery rebate. For those who are regular Social Security beneficiaries, including SSI recipients, the IRS will use the information on a person’s Form SSA-1099.
Another common question we have received is whether the money will impact a person’s monthly income, which can in turn impact a person’s SSI eligibility. Under SSI, a person can only bring in so much money per month to remain eligible. The answer is no. The rebate is not considered income and thus will not impact your monthly income number.
We urge all ACB members not to give out your information easily to people claiming to be the IRS or SSA in order to get the rebate. Unfortunately, there are many scams going on in order to obtain people’s information unlawfully. If you struggle with the portal, please let ACB know. We are curious as to how accessible the portal is, so please let us know as soon as possible. You can reach us via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, (202) 467-5081.
Advocacy and Outreach Specialist
Yarn, hook and needle Crafts
by Phyllis Campbell
Where does the time go? This is a question we frequently ask. Recently, as I pondered this universal question, I thought about things that have lasted over the years. Quite naturally, knitting and crocheting came to mind. It followed that I thought about an interesting site, with an interesting name.
No, I don’t know the story behind the name, but you’ll have to admit that it’s memorable.
There you can find all kinds of patterns, for knit, crochet, tatting, embroidery, and many other crafty things, and they’re free for download as single patterns, or at a small cost for an entire book or leaflet.
Is there a catch? Not for me, but if you want the most up-to-date styles, this site isn’t for you. All of these patterns are in the public domain, apparently, and definitely categorized as vintage. This alone makes the site interesting to me. Here you’ll find such things as socks, made according to the requirements of the military some of the patterns going back as far as the civil war in the 1800s.
The patterns are categorized, children, adults, men women etc. The contents of the leaflets are listed, and, of course do often cross category lines.
Often you will find notes about vintage terms, needles and so on, but really they’re easy to figure out.
The patterns download as PDF files, but my screen reader didn’t have a problem with this. I did find it convenient to save as a text file, making loading the file quicker next time, and easier to emboss, or use with a braille aware device. Prefer Word? You can save as a Word document, but you have to go to the site, and it costs. Save as a text file, open in word, and save as a Word document. I just found that if you find a single pattern, the instructions are for you to select, copy to your clipboard, and paste into a blank file. This seems to be a recent change. Here are a couple patterns
Simple Shrug Pattern
Quick-to-knit in one straight piece, with no increases or decreases—just four short seams to sew! A perfect little
Board of Directorscover-up for cool evenings.
Directions will fit Sizes 10 to 18.
COATS & CLARK’S “RED HEART” KNITTING WORSTED, 4 Ply (“Tangle-Proof” Pull- Out Skeins): 10 ounces of No. 818 Blue Jewel.
Knitting needles, 1 pair No. 10.
GAUGE: 4 sts = 1 inch; 5 rows = 1 inch.
Starting at center back, cast on 48 sts. 1st row (right side): P 3, * k 1, O, p 3. Repeat from * across to within last 5 sts, k 5 loosely. 2nd row: K 5 loosely, * k 3, drop the O, with yarn in front of work slip the next st as if to purl. Repeat from * across to within last 3 sts, k 3. Repeat last 2 rows for pattern. Work in pattern until total length is 7½ inches ending with 2nd row. At end of last row cast on 17 sts for Sleeve.
SLEEVE … 1st row: K 5 loosely, p 3, * k 1, O, p 3. Repeat from * across to within last 5 sts, k 5 loosely. 2nd row: K 5 loosely, * k 3, drop the O, with yarn in front slip next st. Repeat from * across to within last 8 sts, k 8. Repeat last 2 rows until length is 13½ inches from cast-on sts of sleeve ending at sleeve edge. Bind off 17 sts of sleeve, complete row. Work even as before over remain¬ing 48 sts until length is 15 inches from bound-off sts of sleeve ending at sleeve edge. Cast on 17 sts for other sleeve and work same as for first sleeve. Work even as before, over remaining 48 sts until length is 7½ inches from bound-off sts of 2nd sleeve. Bind off loosely.
Finishing: Sew 48 cast-on sts to 48 bound-off sts matching patterns—this is lower center back seam. Lay out doubled piece having seam in center of 15-inch area between sleeves—sleeves are now folded in half. Matching patterns, sew cast-on sts to bound-off sts of each sleeve. Al¬lowing for stretch between shoulders, sew both 15-inch edges between sleeves together—this last seam and lower back seam form a T at center back when Shrug is worn. Press seams through a damp cloth. Slip arms in sleeves. The garter st edge will roll back to form a collar.
Basket Weave Scarf Pattern #2270
This free pattern originally published in: Spool Cotton #108, Wool Accessories to Crochet and Knit
Basket Weave Scarf Pattern #2270
Materials: Chadwick’s Red Heart Lustre Knitting Worsted, 6 skeins (1¼ oz. skeins).
Milward’s Phantom Knitting Pins, 1 pair No. 4 (3½ mm. size).
Starting at one end, cast on 56 sts. 1st row: P 2, k 2, * p 6, k 2. Repeat from * across, ending row with p 4. 2nd and 3rd rows: K 4, * p 2, k 6. Repeat from * across, ending row with p 2, k 2. 4th row: Repeat 1st row. 5th row: * P 6, k 2. Repeat from * across. 6th and 7th rows: * P 2, k 6. Repeat from * across. 8th row: Repeat 5th row. Hereafter repeat these 8 rows until scarf measures 38 inches. Bind off.
Just as a note this site also has recipes, and a lot of things such as needle size conversion charts. Even if you aren’t interested in these timeless patterns you may find something else that might be interesting. I haven’t examined everything there, so you might be able to tell me many things.
Until Next time,
Our member Jeff Mihelich and his partner Errick Bombach were married this past February 20th. Our best wishes go out to both of them.
Board of Directors
President: Marian Haslerud, Minneapolis, MN
(Final term ending in 2021), Phone: (612) 206-5883
Vice president: Steve Robertson, Minneapolis, MN (Final term ending in 2020), Phone: (612) 819-5222
Secretary: Janet Dickelman, Saint Paul, MN (First term ending in 2021), Phone: (651) 428-5059
Treasurer: Catalina Martinez, Minneapolis, MN (Final term ending in 2020), Phone: (612) 227-3011
Gary Boettcher, St. Paul, MN (Final term ending in 2020), Phone: (651) 200-7020
Abby Winters, Minneapolis, MN (First term ending in 2021), Phone: (320)266-0233
Barb Appleby, Maplewood, MN (First Term Ending In 2020), Phone: (651) 238-0015, E-mail: email@example.com
Nancy Schadegg, Richfield, MN, (First Term Ending In 2020), Phone: (612) 798-5178, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Tanner, Burnsville, MN, Term Ending In 2020 to Complete Jane Lund’s Term
(952) 890-5841, E-mail: email@example.com