Minnesota Memo Summer 2023

PO box 23543
Richfield, MN 55423
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
E-mail: catalina229@gmail.com
Marian Haslerud,
E-mail: marianhaslerud642@gmail.com
Nicky Schlender
E-mail: kb0ouf@pcdesk.net

Michael Lauf: Web Administrator
E-mail: info@myeffectivesolutions.com

Phone numbers of note:
SSB main number (651)539-2300
ACBM (612) 223-5543 Leave Message
Apple support for people with disabilities
(877) 204-3930
Microsoft support for people with disabilities
(800) 936-5900
Comcast Support for Persons with Disabilities
(855) 270-0379

You can press the letter H to move from article to article.

Table of content
President’s Message By Janet Dickelman
Editor’s Message By Catalina Martinez
My Convention Experience By Nicky Schlender
My Convention Summary by Patty Slaby
Convention 2023 By Steve Robertson
Flying With The Greatest of ease By Nicky Schlender
My Experience At The ACB Convention By Nicky Coby
My first Convention After Covid By Colleen Kitagawa
Reflection at The Convention By Gary Boettcher
Why Your fingers Have No Muscles By InterestingFacts.com
ACBM Annual Picnic and Auction
ACB Three Sessions Attended By Jeff Mihelich
Sessions I attended by Bonnie Robertson
Vocation, 2023 By Abby Winters
National Credit Reporting Companies and the American Council of the Blind
Calendar By Marian Haslerud
Officers and Board of Directors
ACBM Standing Committee Chairs

President’s Message
By Janet Dickelman

This has certainly been a busy summer for ACBM! First off a big shout-out to ACBM board member Marian Haslerud who did so well with her hip replacement!
It will be so much fun reading the articles in the memo from those of you who attended the 2023 ACB convention in Schaumburg and hearing your reports at the quarterly meeting. For those of you who were not able to join us in-person hope you listened to sessions on zoom or ACB media.

Officer elections were held in
Deb Cook Lewis was elected president, David Trott first vice-president, Ray Campbell second vice-president, Denise Colley secretary and Michael Garret treasurer. ACB board member Jeff Bishop was elected to the Board of Publications, leaving an opening on the ACB board that was filled by Cecily Nipper. Congratulations to all our national officers.

Watch the ACB Braille Forum for convention highlights from the board of publications.

Locally our annual picnic is coming up next month be sure to read Jennifer’s article about the picnic and auction. We’ll be indoors again so no concerns with weather, bugs or melting baked items!
On September 27 ACBM membership committee will host a community call with Wilderness Inquiry to learn about their activities.

Hope to see all of you at our various activities, enjoy the rest of your summer.

Janet Dickelman, President, American Council of the Blind of Minnesota

Message from The Editor
By Catalina Martinez

Welcome back to the convention goers. Glad they all made it back home safe and sound. This issue of the Minnesota Memo is dedicated to the 9 persons that attended the ACB conference and Convention in Schaumberg Illinois.

I would like to thank each one for submitting such great articles for the memo. They each covered different parts of the convention. I feel as though I attended myself. Thanks again and enjoy the well written articles.

Catalina Martinez, Editor

My Convention Experience
By Nicky Schlender

This year’s convention was held from June 30th to July 7th 2023. On Friday, I went to the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum was founded in 1933. A couple of things that stood out to me were the Pompeii Exhibit where I learned that in a 24-hour period, Mount Vesuvius was buried under 79 feet of ash. The Coal Mine Exhibit was very informative as well. Each car of the coal train was marked with a coal miner’s number to keep track of their pay each day. They were paid a very minimal amount for 2 tons of coal per day which always put them in debt. Originally, the platform on which the miners entered the coal mines had no roof or sides. It was a totally open space.
On Saturday morning, I participated in the AABT breakfast where we heard from a broadcaster who worked for one of the Chicago radio stations. She spoke on the broadcasting of the past, present, and future. Most radio stations are not independently owned anymore. People started bringing up stations from their hometowns. I was trying to bring up WCCO, but we ran out of time. . On Saturday Evening, I participated in the Brenda Dillon Walk where we walked inside the hotel, walking into General session as one large group. It was a great honor. It was a good thing we were inside because at that time, Mother Nature decided to have one of her temper tantrums and give us some bad weather.
On Sunday afternoon, I made my visit to the exhibit hall. I was very excited to see some multi-line braille displays. I would never be able to afford them in my lifetime. I did look at the Monarch which had a tactile graphics mode. That would have been nice to have when I was a student.
On Monday afternoon, I listened to the Hadley program presented by AABT. Hadley was named after William Hadley 103 years ago. They have discontinued offering academic courses due to low enrollment. They now offer workshops on technology and other daily living skills such as laundry for instance. They also have monthly Zoom calls on various topics. The web site is www.hadley.edu.
On Wednesday afternoon, I attended the GDUI luncheon. Disney Plus received the Marlaina Lieberg, and Ken Metz media award for the documentary series “Pick of the Litter”.
On Thursday evening, I attended the Banquet. The vegetarian Ravioli was very good. Our speaker was Louis Sharp a 20-year Marine. He spoke about having a dream and making it reality. Everyone in the room was spellbound by him.

My convention summary
By Patti Slaby

I enjoyed many, many parts of the ACB convention. I began by representing BRL on the nominating committee followed by the 4 nights of resolution and constitution amendment discussions. The virtual presentation about eye health in guide dogs gave me much to consider in observing the health of my dog. Brian Charlson presented 2 sessions on AI. I’m excited about learning to use it in spite of some concerns about the whole new venture into the future. I believe it will make using the internet much more accessible. He told us about many ways to use it and demonstrated its uses.

I did attend the opening general session as your delegate to answer the role call. A recap from Deb and Dan are always great. I like learning who will be added to the Angels’ Wall. They were presented throughout the week. That is a very cool exhibit in the hall. Oh yes, I went to Exhibits several times finding various booths to obtain information and of course had to purchase some items.
I was able to sit next to Martine Abel-Williamson and was inspired by her life story. She shared about the use of braille in New Zealand and elsewhere. She was a fortunate child as her mother learned braille and wrote to her when she was away from home. A very delightful person.

I attended the banquet and the speaker was outstanding. Louie Sharp gave us information to think about and you will be hearing the following phrase many times within ACB: Event plus Response equals outcome. He had many thought provoking comments and definitely kept my attention.
I attended other general sessions.
I did take in some tours and fun events as well. I really enjoyed the audio described movie “Coda.”

Carter, my new dog and I experienced some problems to start the conference but he improved and became a wonderful guide and partner. He is new and I was a bit concerned taking him. Luckily my trainer was in Chicago and came to help us. He is much stronger than Reagan plus he is a tall and very long dog. I roomed with ACB’S secretary Denise and what a terrific time!

Convention 2023
By Stephen Robertson

I really enjoyed attending the National Convention this year. I’d like to tell you about a few of the sessions I attended.

Peter Korn, from Amazon, spoke about all of the accessibility features available in the various Amazon devices. For specific information, see http://www.amazon.com/accessibility, where you will find that “Amazon’s vision is to become Earth’s most customer-centric company. That means making our devices and services accessible to everyone—especially people with disabilities.”.

For example, all Amazon Fire Televisions, fire sticks, fire cubes, etc. have Alexa built in and the Amazon screen reader Voice View as well as lots of low vision accessibility options. If you need any assistance with any Amazon product or service at any time, feel free to call the Amazon Disabilities line at 1-888-280-4331. The webpage also contains how-to videos explaining many of the special features of products for disabled individuals.

Next, I attended a session with Aira. Aira is a visual interpreting service. AIRA means Access to Information through remote assistance.
At this time, Aira pricing may not change until the end of 2024. Aira’s access partners help to pay for Aira and keep prices stable.
Aira is working to get free access in more areas such as more airports and grocery stores.

For more information, see https://aira.io/.

Finally, I attended the session The New Normal.

This session was in person, but the majority of the attendees were on Zoom. Essentially, the question was asked, What do you do now that you did not do before the Pandemic? Some of the answers included Looking to work in a remote position, attending more meetings on Zoom instead of in person, and ordering food from Uber Eats, Door Dash, etc instead of going out to eat.

Basically, my takeaway from this session was that more people are choosing to stay home most of the time instead of shopping and getting together in person.

In conclusion, it was very interesting to hear each individual’s comments.

I am looking forward to next year’s convention in Jacksonville Florida.

Flying With The Greatest of Ease
By Nicky Schlender

On October, 6, 2022, I was able to achieve one of my Bucket List items in a sense. I went indoor Skydiving. I went to Ifly in Wayzata near Ridgedale Mall. When I got there my sister helped me fill out the waiver on a digital computer screen. Before I went, I was able to go up to the website www.iflyworld.com on my own and read the waiver and initial it, but I couldn’t type my signature.
After I got checked in, I met my instructors Megan and Will, who were very accommodating. Each flyer must put on a flight suit so that the instructors can hold on to you while you’re in the wind tunnel. After I got into the suit, I was brought into this little room where I had to watch a mandatory instructional video, explaining the proper body position that is best for flying. After the video was over, Megan came in and had me lay on my stomach on a bench so that I would know what the proper body position felt like. In order to fly properly, I was on my stomach with my arms straight in front of me with my hands palms down. My legs behind me somewhat apart. Your body looks like a print X. After I was comfortable with the position, I was fitted with a helmet with a full-face shield. I also had earplugs because the sound is rather loud.
Most flyers go through a narrow open door while standing up straight when entering and exiting the tunnel while the wind is still blowing. They didn’t think it was safe for me as a blind flyer to do this especially as a first timer, since most injuries happen in that doorway. When I stepped into the tunnel, I stepped on to a metal spring net which I laid down on horizontally. The net has square holes that the air comes through. Flyers are generally able to see hand signals, but, in order for me to fly on a level playing field, Megan used tactile signals on my suit and hands to let me know whether to straighten my arms or legs for example. I flew three times for 1 minute and 20 seconds each flight. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but, when you’re in the tunnel, and concentrating on your positioning, it’s longer than you think. When I was finished, I received a certificate of completion. Before I went in for my first flight Megan told me about a blind gentleman who was a very experienced flyer, whose wife would tell him through earphones in his helmet that he was getting close to walls so he could adjust himself in the tunnel. I didn’t realize this until after I was done flying that there were times when neither Megan nor Will had ahold of my suit because I was doing so well on my own. There are many different skill levels of training some of the instructors were flipping in mid-air. Every little move you make even with your hands can change your body position. I would recommend doing this if you’re of the mind to do so.

My Experience At the ACB Convention
By Nickie Coby

As always, my experience at the ACB convention this year was extremely positive. While I always try to go to as many educational sessions as possible, I feel that the social interaction and chances to explore my own abilities are what make the convention such a valuable experience.
. I attended a class on compassion fatigue. ACB has begun to focus on the mental health needs of those of us who are blind or visually impaired. In the session on compassion fatigue, we talked about how we can become overloaded by other people’s problems. We discussed what we can do about it, especially focusing on self-care.
On Sunday, I attended a class on paratransit advocacy. The biggest revelation to me was that some cities are providing transportation on demand at significantly reduced costs to those they were paying for standard paratransit like metro mobility. The best advice I heard at this session was to figure out what goal the city or transit authority has and figure out how to achieve our goals of improved paratransit, (on demand transportation for example) in ways that achieve their goals at the same time. IN other words, sometimes it’s more effective to use the carrot than the stick.

I attended several other sessions, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I feel that the most important parts of the convention usually occur outside of the meeting rooms. While I could continue to summarize the sessions I attended, I don’t believe that would inspire you to come to convention in Jacksonville.
One session I didn’t enjoy so much was one on origami. The concept, based on the description, was that it used templates and descriptions to help people who are blind complete origami. I always understood origami to be an art where squares of paper are folded to make animals or other figures. This was more like a kindergarten project where the butterflies are already cut out. While some things were well thought out, such as using different textures of paper for different colors, and the instructor’s heart was definitely in the right place, the class was mostly an exercise in frustration.

What brings me to convention year after year is the informal networking, the joy of an environment where accessibility is a priority and the chance to get my hands on new technology. One piece of new technology I saw this year was the Sense Player with OCR. It’s like crossing a Victor Reader Stream with a camera but allowing it to use added apps. It’s a solution I would never have found if I hadn’t browsed the exhibit hall. I also spoke with many guide dog handlers and schools to find out which schools would be most likely to work well with my situation. And let’s not forget the way in which connecting with others and finding out you’re not alone in dealing with a challenge you thought was obscure can be empowering.

While this was my 15th convention and the 20th anniversary of my first convention, the thrill of being in an environment where I’m understood by many others and where I’m able to do what I can for myself but have help from volunteers if I need it hasn’t faded away. Convention never gets old. I love picking up Braille or blindness specific t-shirts or jewelry, automatically being asked if I need a Braille or large print menu, getting a braille copy of my newspaper delivered to my room and seeing friends I can’t see anywhere else. Convention has many challenges, such as navigating a crazily laid out and huge hotel, but I come back with a special form of empowered high. If you’ve never attended a national ACB convention, I can’t urge you to do so strongly enough!

my first convention after covid.
By Colleen Kitagawa

We left for Schaumburg Illinois on Thursday morning. When we arrived we all checked in. We met up with 2 people I knew from the community calls and we had dinner with them.
It was so nice to finally meet them and give them a big hug in person.

On Sunday morning I attended the session on pedestrian crossing.
The speaker was Chris Holloway
he talked about different crossings for people who are visually impaired.
. There are 2 kinds of light crossings.
The first one is the accessible pedestrian signal.
The second one is called AIP.
The first one will talk when you press the light.
The other one just usually makes the chirping noise.
These apps provide audible indication tones and or speak messages from a speaker in the push button.

. Sunday afternoon I attended a session on Alzheimers. There are 10 signs of Alzheimers.
memory loss, poor judgement, loss of initiative, losing track of dates and locations, taking longer to complete tasks, repeating questions.
Alzheimers is a form of dementia. There are 70 forms of dementia.
People also have trouble with thinking and changes as they get older.
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia. Parkinsons is another form of dementia.
I really learned a lot.
Louis Sharp was the banquet speaker.
The first thing was taking full responsibility in your life.
When you take responsibility things will change in your own life.
You are the only one who can make changes in your life and when you make changes your friends and family will be there for you.
He also taught me about making choices in life. I have the choice to love and have peace.
He also talked about dreams.
I dream about a lot of things in life.
I have seen some of them come true.
He was an amazing speaker.
I really enjoyed meeting all the friends I have made on zoom calls. I also met new friends. That is one of the highlights of going to conference.
It was Drake’s first big conference since I have had him. He did pretty good. There were lots of dogs.
Thank you to Guiding Eyes for an amazing dog.

Reflections at the Convention
By: Gary Boettcher

First of all, I’d like to talk about a couple of my favorite tours. The first one was the Science and Industry Museum. One of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was the ride on the actual coal train. Another thing I enjoyed was sitting in the 727 airplane by United Airlines. The Tour I enjoyed the most was the pizza/gangster tour. Not only was the pizza good, but more importantly was Jonathan’s information about the gangsters and also being able to check out the safe and the tunnel with the bars. The bars showed where the gangsters did their underground activities. This took place at Harry Caray’s.
One of the sessions I attended was the Inherited Eye Disease session where they talked about research and clinical trials you can participate in. What I also enjoyed about the session was the personal stories that people shared about their eye diseases.
Next, I’d like to talk about the banquet speaker, Louie Sharp. His first point was 100% our responsibility to make things happen in our lives. The example he shared was about a young boy who had no arms below the elbow and no legs below the knees. He wanted to be a baseball pitcher and his parents encouraged him to do so. With their encouragement, he led his Little League team to second place at the New York State Championship which I thought was pretty amazing.
I want to thank God for Al and Colleen for driving me back and forth to the convention which I greatly appreciated. I also want to thank the volunteers. They were such a great help to help me get around in the hotel. I also want to especially thank Al, Rhonda, Mikey, and Phyllis for the great service to me and many vothers on the tours that we took at the convention.

Why Your Fingers Don’t Have Muscles
By InterestingFacts.com

There are no muscles in human fingers.
One of the most complex parts of human anatomy is also one (or rather two) that we use hundreds of times per day yet often take for granted. Human hands are the body’s multipurpose tools, equipped with 27 individual bones; about half of those are found in our fingers, the tactile appendages that will bend and flex roughly 25 million times over the course of our life span. Our fingers are able to perform the everyday tasks we need thanks to thousands of nerve endings and touch receptors that can sense pressure, texture, temperature, movement, and more. But there’s one thing our hardworking digits don’t have: muscles.

Muscles make it possible for our bodies to move, and the human frame relies on more than 600, which are tasked with helping us in nearly every motion. So how do fingers perform the intricate tasks we require without them? Turns out human fingers are controlled by the muscles in our forearms and the tops and palms of our hands. Small intrinsic muscles in the hand allow the fingers to perform fine motor movements, while extrinsic muscles in the forearm and elbow control how the wrist and hand move. Finger bones (aka phalanges) are connected to these muscles by tendons — fibrous, cord-like connective tissues — and when the attached muscles contract, fingers are able to perform their range of motion. Flexor tendons in the palm help fingers to bend, while extensor tendons on the top of the hand are responsible for straightening the fingers back out — essential movements that allow our hands to touch, grasp, and hold objects.

(editors note: When I read this article it just blew my mind. What? Fingers have no muscles? I still can’t get my head around it.)

ACBM Annual Picnic and Auction

Come one come all, to our annual ACBM picnic and auOur picnic will be held on Saturday August 19, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Realife Cooperative, 8641 Wentworth Ave. South in Bloomington.
The building and outdoor areas are nonsmoking.
The cost for the picnic is $15.00.
Our menu is as follows:
Hot dogs
Potato salad
Baked beans
Potato chips
There will be cookies for dessert.
Please bring items for the auction, baked goods, homemade jams, alcohol, knitted & crocheted items, technology items or anything else you might think that people will bid on.
Please RSVP to Steve Robertson by August 11th.
or call him at (612) 223-5543.
Payment methods:
you may pay for your meal via PayPal at

send your payment to
Box 23543
Richfield, MN 55423
or pay by check or cash at the picnic.
Please note if paying via Paypal please add in $1.00 to defray the cost of using PayPal.
We look forward to seeing you all at the picnic!

My 3 sessions attended
By Jeff Mihelich

The three I’s of vision loss This was both an in-person and virtual event. I think there was a good amount of questions from both the audience as well as from Zoom.

individuality talked about how one’s self concept builds from a young age and how the results can change if the person looses vision later in life. Many people talked about not having their vision disability not being their identity but rather as part of their personality.

, The independence talk was interesting because of the wide range of what that means to each person. We all function to the best of our abilities and strive for the best we can do. If a person’s vision is decreasing, that may manifest in different ways over time.

Inclusion is the goal for most of us and this change can happen by working toward
accessibility, at all levels so we can be more independent. It seems at long last media and retailers are moving forward to make their content more accessible with audio description when talking about video content and making websites work better with screen readers for shopping and gathering information.

It is to bad it took legal action for that to happen but that is what the legal system is for, to step in when private industry is not responsive to consumers needs.

Session 2
Advocating for yourself and others
This ties into the previous session in that we all are advocating whenever we are interacting with people face-to-face or by any type of electronic method. If someone offers assistance and we don’t want it I think we need to be respectful and say thanks but no thanks. I thought about this during the conference when a participant very loudly told a volunteer he did not want assistance…

. Learning to win Ollie Cantos
One thing that he talked about for quite a while is how being blind and a person of color resulted in being bullied all through K-12 and how coming out of his shell later in life made him better able to let all the negative comments go when entering the political arena. He went on to talk about adopting 3 siblings who are blind and how they are bullied in school.
I just personally have a problem with this, sure sometimes the person will not let that affect them. I guess it comes down to our environment and how we react to it. Attendance in the room was very sparse, 5 people but he was a true politician and talked for the entire time!

Sessions I attended at the 2023 Convention
By Bonnie Robertson
First of all, I attended a session about Alzheimers and about dementia in general.
Everyone probably knows someone who has experienced memory loss. It is normal for an aging person to experience some loss of memory. For example, grandma loses her keys and remembers where she put them five minutes later. It is important for a family member or friend to watch out for larger memory problems. I will list some of them here. You enter grandma’s house and find that laundry is piled up and her bills haven’t been paid in six months. Grandma gets lost driving to the grocery store or to church. She forgets what she is saying in the middle of a sentence. She doesn’t know who you are when you come to visit. She may have trouble seeing but her eyes are fine according to an eye doctor. These types of things show extreme memory loss. Family members or close friends are the best people who can spot these issues. Early detection is the best thing that can be done for memory loss problems. If spotted early, some medications may help with some of the memory loss.

Next, I attended a session called Educate, Empower, and Excel in your journey with Diabetes.
An 11 year study was done from 1980 to 1991. One group of individuals tested their blood four times a day and had their a1c checked every three months. The control group was not monitored at all. Complications from Diabetes were slightly less in the monitored group then in the control group. Apparently, testing did not appear to make a great deal of difference. The average a1c in 1993 was 9.0. At that range, many people had complications from Diabetes. It was observed if Diabetics’ a1c fell between 7 and 8 and their blood sugar fell between 70 and 180 that they had fewer complications. The greatest improvements occurred after CGMS were developed. The Dexcom G6 has an alarm that sounds when blood sugars get too high or too low. The Libre 3 works in conjunction with an iPhone. The Sugar Mate works with an Amazon Alexa device. These devices contain a small needle which sticks in to the skin and can test the blood without finger sticks or test strips. Through this method, blood sugar could be tested several times a day. Also, people only needed to get a1cs taken every six months. Also, there are medications which can help patients lower their blood sugar. Medications can also help patients with weight control. As a result of these improvements in both technology and medication, diabetics can live much longer lives.

I also attended a session called The New Normal.
Pamela Shaw led a discussion about how life has changed since Covid.

For this session, more people attended on Zoom than in-person. Many people who talked on Zoom were still reluctant to go out and do activities in person. People who had experienced Covid and became very sick were the most reluctant to start doing things in person. People mentioned that they did many events on Zoom such as ACB community calls and voting online. Many people did their work from home. Some people went to funerals online. Many individuals ordered food from services such as Door Dash. They also ordered groceries and other household items online as well. People mentioned that they still wore masks and used hand sanitizers. Some people exercised at home. It seemed as if this discussion was all about adapting to change. People need to stay in contact with others, but we just need to do it in a different manner.

Vocation 2023
By Abby Winters

On June 21 I set out on an adventure to attend the National convention of the American Counsel of the Blind. I got to experience new adventures while also attending sessions. The three most memorable sessions I attended were on broadcasting, transportation, and Amazon.

At the broadcasting session we learned about the difference between radio and TV broadcasting. One main topic that sticks out in my mind is that radio broadcasters are better at describing what is happening in the story than TV broadcasters.

The second session I attended was on transportation. I didn’t realize different states have different transportation issues. I personally wish everyone had the same opportunities. We should not forget to advocate at the state level. This is also important if we want change to be made.

The last session I will inform about is what Amazon has to offer. Amazon has many Alexa devices. Did you know they have a robot? The robot costs $1,600 The robot will do what you want it to, I think it is pretty awesome. Amazon has many movies that are audio described. They don’t have as many audio described as they have movies with closed captioning and they are trying to close the gap. This was an awesome experience.

National Credit Reporting Companies and the American Council of the Blind

National Credit Reporting Companies and the American Council of the Blind Announce Reaffirmed Commitment to Provide Accessible Credit Reports
Braille and Other Accessible Formats Now Available

Website Link: https://acb.org/accessible-credit-reports

Alexandria, Virginia (July 5, 2023) – The nation’s three major consumer credit reporting companies today reaffirmed their commitment to provide access to important credit information for people who are blind or have low vision. The initiative, crafted with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and several blind consumers, will help protect the credit information of individuals who cannot read a standard print credit report. 

Under the plan announced today, Equifax (NYSE: EFX), Experian (EXPN.L), and TransUnion will make online credit reports and related information accessible through their jointly operated website, AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site to help consumers obtain free credit reports. 
“Access to accessible credit information through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will allow people with visual impairments to independently monitor and review their credit reports. These are critical tools for avoiding identity theft and protecting the privacy of our financial information,” said Dan Spoone, ACB Interim Executive Director.

“By creating AnnualCreditReport.com, Equifax and the other two nationwide credit reporting companies gave consumers easy access to their credit information and this latest initiative is yet another example of how, as an industry, we are extending this access to consumers with visual impairments,” said Dann Adams, President, Equifax U.S. Consumer Information Solutions.

“Experian has a long history of providing quality credit products and services to consumers and we were excited by the opportunity to improve access for consumers with visual impairments to these important tools,” said Kerry Williams, group president, Credit Services & Decision Analytics, Experian Americas.

“TransUnion is very pleased to be a part of this important effort that will help empower visually impaired consumers to manage their own credit health,” said Mark Marinko, president of Consumer Services at TransUnion.

This initiative includes a renewed commitment to provide credit reports in braille, large print, and audio formats, and to design online credit reports and related web pages in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA, issued by the Web AccessibilityInitiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The guidelines help ensure that websites are accessible to people with visual disabilities. 

The credit reporting agencies first worked with ACB over 15 years ago, when free credit reports were first rolled out in the United States on annualcreditreport.com and 1-877-322-8228. 

“We appreciate the three credit reporting agencies and their collaboration over many years and the Structured Negotiation process that brought us to today’s announcement,” said Deb Cook Lewis, ACB President.

American Council of the Blind
Dan Spoone, ACB Interim Executive Director

Credit Reporting Companies

Jennifer Costello
Susan Henson
Steven R. Katz

By Marian Haslerud

The following is a list of events of interest. If you wish to add an event, please feel free to contact me. My information is as follows:

Phone number: 612-206-5883
Email: Marianhaslerud642@gmail.com

ACBM board meetings: An email is sent to the announce list. It will give the date, time, and provide a zoom link to attend the meeting.
If you wish to attend contact Steve Robertson. His phone number is: 612-819-5222. His email is: Stevetrobertson4@gmail.com

ACBM coffee will be held on the second Saturday of each month, at Day-by-Day Café, located at 477 7th St. W., St. Paul. A second coffee event has been added. It will take place on the first Thursday of every month. The location is Ihopp located at 2231 Kilabrew Drive, Bloomington, MN. emails with the exact times of the two events will be sent. The social committee will send emails regarding upcoming social events

Bowling is held every Saturday, at Memory Lanes. The address for the bowling alley is 2520 S26th Ave., Minneapolis, MN. Contact Linda for more information. Her number is 952-857-9958

Audio darts is held on Tuesday evenings. For more information, contact Phil Sporer. His phone number is 651-269-5421.
Bowling and darts will begin in the fall.

The Minnesota Christian Fellowship meets once every three months. For more information call Suzanne Pauluk. Her phone number is: 763-535-7123.

Vision Loss Resources (VLR) has a calendar of events. For more information call the hot line at 612-843-3439.Have a wonderful summer.

Officers and Board of Directors
President: Janet Dickelman, Saint Paul, MN
Second term ending 2025 | (651) 428-5059
E-mail: janet.dickelman@gmail.com
Vice president: Steve Robertson, Minneapolis, MN
2nd term ending 2024 | (612) 819-5222
Email: stevetrobertson4@gmail.com
Secretary: Nicky Schlender, Minnetonka, MN
1st term ending 2025 | (612) 618-4335
E-mail: kb0ouf@pcdesk.net
Treasurer: Patty Slaby, Arcadia, WI
1st term, ending 2024 | (715) 497-9849
Email: Pattyslaby135@gmail.com
Board Of Directors
Coleen Kitagawa, Richfield, MN
Second term ending in 2025 | (612) 964-2005
E-mail: kitagawa@mysero.net
Jennifer Dubbin, Saint Paul, MN
1st term ending 2025 | (651) 334-8895
E-mail: lyndidog@comcast.net
Gary Boettcher, St Paul, MN
1st term ending 2024 (651) 200-7020
Marian Haslerud, Bloomington, MN
First Term Ending 2024, (612) 206-5883
marianhaslerud642 @gmail.com
Mike Vining, Minneapolis, MN
First Term Ending 2024, (612) 408-7652

ACBM Standing Committee Chairs
To reach any of our standing committees, see chair info below.
Membership: Nancy Schadegg (612) 798-5178
Email Nancy.schadegg@comcast.net
Budget and Fundraising: Patty Slaby (608) 323-3614
Email Pattyslaby135@gmail.com
• Advocacy: Jeff West (763) 479-9709 
• Email WestJeffrey123@gmail.com
Editorial Committee: Catalina Martinez (612) 227-3011
E-mail: catalina229@gmail.com
Social Committee: Michael Malver (612) 673-0664
Email mmalver@gmail.com