2020 Annual Convention

The American Council of the Blind of New York

50th Annual Convention Program

October 16 and 17, 2020

The American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc., (ACBNY) wants to welcome all of our members and friends to our 50th annual convention. We’re sorry we can’t meet in person, but we’re thrilled that all of you have chosen to celebrate with us virtually. Stay well and here’s looking forward to meeting in person in the future.

Below this announcement is the webinar link for attendees. Each session will provide the shortcuts and keyboard commands for each webinar. Below the webinar log in information is information on how to listen to the convention via a smart speaker and/or telephone, toll charges may apply for connecting and listening by telephone.

For folks listening in, Our convention is being streamed on the live event channel.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:


Or iPhone one-tap:

    US: +16465588656,,83311618906# or +13017158592,,83311618906#

Or Telephone:

    Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or+1 346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 833 1161 8906

    International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kc0CQJdJn0

Ways to connect to ACB Radio streams

Our convention is being streamed on the “Live event” channel.

Dial 1 (518)906-1820 using traditional phone service dial pads. Listen to the menu prompts and enter the number of the stream you wish to listen to.

Download and install the ACB Link app from your app store. After opening it, find the radio tab along the bottom of the screen, then find the menu button in the top left side. A drop down with an option for streams appears followed by the page to choose the stream you want to listen to. After selecting, find and double tap the play button.

Using a Humanware Victor reader stream or trek, use the internet radio library in the online bookshelf. Locate either the Humanware playlist, or the search on ootumes and press the confirm button. in the Humanware playlist, the ACB radio streams will be located in the first 8 channels listed. In the ootunes search, use the search by name function, type in ACB with a space at the end and press confirm. the list of streams will appear, pick one and press play.

Visit acbradio.org, find and click on the stream link, then find the stream you want to open and click on it.

Use your Amazon Echo enabled device to listen to the ACB Radio streams by using the following streams:

mainstream- “Alexa open ACB radio Mainstream”

Mainstream West- “Alexa open ACB mainstream West”

Cafe- “Alexa open ACB Radio Cafe”

Treasure Trove- “Alexa open ACB Radio Treasure”

Community- “Alexa open ACB Radio community”

Live Event- “Alexa open ACB Radio live”

Special Event- “Alexa open ACB Radio Special”

Should any of the above skills not begin playing, change the open command to “enable” and end with the word “Skill”

Example: “Alexa enable the ACB Radio treasure skill.

Special thanks from ACBNY and the Convention Committee to the following ACB Radio folks:

 the webinar team, Debbie Hazelton and Rick Morin; Tyson Ernst for coordinating the program, and Jason Castonguay for editing the recordings. You all are a pleasure to work with.

Friday, 10/16/2020

10:00 a.m.-11:55 a.m. NYSCB Town Hall Meeting

Introduction by ACBNY President Karen Blachowicz; facilitated by Brian Daniels, Executive Director, New York State Commission for the Blind.

Find out what’s new with NYSCB. Ask your questions, express your concerns. Brian and members of his staff are looking forward to hearing from you.

12:00-12:55 PM Break

Anniversary greetings and New York tunes. Listen in to   music picked just for the New York groove.

1:00 PM Opening Ceremony

1:05PM Opening remarks from Karen Blachowicz-ACBNY president and Annie Chiappetta, ACBNY convention chair

1:10 PM Pledge of Allegiance – Dr. Joe Granderson WCBNY board member followed by the National anthem and interfaith invocation by Fr. John Sheehan

1:15 end of opening ceremony.

1:16-1:25 PM Updates and Announcements.

1:30 PM Spectrum presenter Petr Kucheryavyy, Senior Manager accessibility.

Spectrum’s Accessibility team has been working diligently to ensure that the products and services that are offered are accessible and provide a great experience for customers who are blind or low vision. Hear about the exciting new products that Spectrum has developed for news and entertainment.

2:05-2:40 PM ACBNY Chapter President Greetings


2:15-4:30 PM ACBNY Business Meeting moderated by

Karen Blachowicz.

4:30-5:00 PM Vendor messages from our valued sponsors. Newsreel, Behind Our Eyes, Tangible Surface Research    and ORCAM.

5:00-6:50 PM Presentation: Diversity, Disability and Intersectionality. Guest Speaker Stan Holbrook and hosted by Dr. Joe Granderson.

In honor of our 50th anniversary, we expanded the idea of a board member-only training and opened it to all of our convention webinar participants and listeners.

7:30 PM ACBNY Convention drop in–Virtual after-hours community drop in (not streamed) hosted by David Dunphy.

We’re all off the record and may even get a little bit funky. Get your favorite beverage and a nosh, plug in and do some well-deserved socializing

Topic: New York ACB Convention After Hours Social

Time: 7:30PM Friday October 16 and Saturday October 17 at 7:30PM eastern Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 833 4677 0782

Passcode: 201825

One tap mobile

+16468769923,,83346770782# US (New York) 13017158592,,83346770782# US


Dial by your location

        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 833 4677 0782

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kl0pSt3Hp


Saturday October 17

Special Interest Chapter Programs

Be ready to be informed and entertained by our special interest groups. After listening, why not find out how to join one of our special interest chapters? Send an email to secretary@acbny.info for membership information.

9:15-11:00 AM Guide Dog Users of the Empire State (GDUES): Presenters: Marlene Crimmen and Dan growth from the Federation of Search and Rescue Teams

Join us for a presentation from the Federation of Search and Rescue Teams and learn about the matching and training of these task-driven canines and their handlers.

11:15 AM-12:10 PM New York State Council of Citizens with Low Vision (NYSCCLV)

Facilitated by NYSCCLV President Bob Cronin. Panel discussion conducted by officers Kathy Casey, Kathy Farina and Mike Godino, Tips and Tricks to Live Independently with a Visual Impairment.

12:15 PM What would our convention be without our vendors and supporting organizations? Check them out while we take a break between sessions.

12:35-1:55 PM Randolph Sheppard Vendors of New York, hosted by Alex Meister, RSVNY President.

Guest presenters Louise Warner, Director of New York State Business Enterprise Program and RSVA national President Dan Sippl.

2:30-3:30 PM Affiliates in Action: Facilitated by Ian Foley, Scholarship Chair and ACB of Western New York president.

Get to know three of the most popular national affiliates; Jeff Thom, president of Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL), Maria Kristic, treasurer of ACB Next Generation, and Antoinette Elizabeth Cervantes, second vice president of ACB Students.

3:30 Break

Move and stretch while listening to messages.

4:00-4:55 PM Scholarship Awards

                Presenter: Ian Foley

5:00-6:15 PM ACBNY Through the Decades, Presenter, Audrey Schading with panel discussion.

Several long-time members of ACB of New York tell stories about their involvement in ACBNY; how they got involved, who inspired them, and what they remember from the early days to the present.

6:15-6:30 PM Closing of convention:  Presenters, Karen Blachowicz and Annie Chiappetta.

7:30 PM After Hours with David Dunphy. (not streamed)

Topic: New York ACB Convention After Hours Social

Time: 7:30PM Friday October 16 and Saturday October 17 at 7:30PM eastern Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 833 4677 0782

Passcode: 201825

One tap mobile

+16468769923,,83346770782# US (New York) 13017158592,,83346770782# US


Dial by your location

        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 833 4677 0782

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kl0pSt3Hp

Sponsorship Messages

Special thanks to our Virtual Exhibitor sponsorships:




Lighthouse Guild

Ann DeWitt & Tangible Surface Research, LLC

Behind Our Eyes

NEWSREEL Magazine.

New York State Preferred Source Program for New Yorkers who are Blind (NYSPSP). 

Thanks to all of our individual sponsors:

Anthony Stephens

Don Horn

Rita and Jim Pulsoni

Roger Dennis

Nancy and Bill Murray

Mary Beth Metzger

Bob White

Ian Foley

Jean Mann

Maureen and Sal Moscato

Kathy Casey

Mary Ellen Cronin

Bob (Charles) Cronin

Kathy Farina

Ann Parsons

Myrna Votta

Dr. Joe Granderson

Becky Davidson

Donna Brown

Lacey Coward

Maria Samuels

Michael O’Brien

Karen Blachowicz

Annie Chiappetta

Kerri Regan

Celebration Messages

From Anthony Stephens:

Sending love to my former home, hoping everyone has a wonderful convention.

From Joe Granderson:

Congratulations ACBNY on the occasion of your 50th anniversary.

From Kerri Regan:

Happy 50th Anniversary ACBNY. Thanks for years of advocacy, support and friendship.

From Becky Davidson:

Congrats to ACBNY on 50 years of service and advocacy on behalf of blind & VI New Yorkers!

From Ann Parsons

Congratulations on our 50th.

From Carrie Laney and NYSPSP:

NYSPSP is pleased to join ACBNY again this year! Best wishes for a great conference.

From Diane Jordan:

Good times and well wishes to everyone during these trying times. God bless.

From Andrew Pieczynski:

Thank you to the ACB Of New York for the generous scholarship donation.

From Don Moore

Here’s hoping that the next 50 years will be as successful as the previous 50 years.

From Jean Mann:

ACBNY, so glad to be a member of this great organization. Congratulations to all on our 50th anniversary. Here’s hoping for 50 more years!

From Mary Ellen Cronin:

Congratulations on 50 years of service and advocacy.

From Bob Cronin:

Best wishes for a successful Convention.

From Kathy Farina:

Congratulations to ACBNY on its 50th anniversary!

From Maria Samuels:

Westchester Council of the Blind of New York is proud to be part of ACBNY. We are looking forward to the next 50 years!


Happy tails and many licks to ACBNY!

From Karen Blachowicz:

Congratulations ACBNY on 50 years of excellence. I am proud to be your president.

From Barbara Lemen, Superintendent, New York State School for the Blind:

The New York State School for the Blind wants to congratulate the American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc. on its 50 years of advocacy. The School for the Blind truly recognizes the commitment your organization has made to the lives and families of people with visual impairments. We appreciate and value your hard work and success in advocating and providing resources to ensure people are educated in knowing that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.

We also want to recognize our alumni who are dedicated members of your organization. Our alumni are proof you can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back. Best wishes!

A Message from the Remembrances and Tributes Committee

The past 6 months have impacted all of us.

We’ve persevered through the pain of loss, illness,

isolation and a poor economy.

This poem is a tribute to those who have passed on and live on in our hearts.

We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
We remember them;

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We remember them;

In the opening of buds and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them;

In the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn,
We remember them;

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We remember them;

When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember them;

When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them;

When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them;

So long as we live, they too shall live
For they are now a part of us as
We remember them.

from Gates of Prayer,
Judaism Prayerbook

Thank you to our convention committee volunteers, webinar hosts, MCs and panelists. You all helped make this two-day event energetic and unique.

We appreciate our attendees and all the listeners and hope this virtual endeavor was fun and informative.

If you would like to learn more about the American Council of the Blind of New York, become a member, or make a monetary donation, please visit our website, www.acbny.info .  Thank you.