Archive for August, 2013

Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Finding Lost Products May Be Easier Than You Think

Have you ever searched in a store for a favorite product and been disappointed to discover they no longer carried it? In late 2010, my friend Marian and I were shocked when we learned that our local grocery store no longer carried Red Cross Germicide. I discovered this nice smelling disinfectant at Vermont Country Store and had given it to her as one of her birthday gifts. For years, we had bought it at this supermarket. I have also had familiar web sites discontinue carrying products. Last winter I hoped to buy more jars of luster crème shampoo and discovered that Vermont Country Store longer carried it. I have requested it and they promised to keep looking for it.

This summer I have become more adept at using search engines such as Google and I discovered that Blue Grass Cream deodorant is still available and I have found it convenient for travel.

I found Mennen skin bracer in a local CVS right before Christmas. Its gentle unobtrusive scent was appreciated as a thoughtful Christmas gift for my friend.

Last Wednesday, while shopping at our local CVS, I inquired whether they had Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers and White Shoulders cologne. I was happy the salesperson immediately found both items. At my local supermarket, I have found Eclipse coffee syrup and, recently, Hershey’s syrup in a can. They both sit in my refrigerator for flavoring milk or coffee.

I will give readers phone numbers, web addresses and information about six websites where you will be able to find useful and vintage products.

I discovered Vermont Country Store in 2001 thanks to a summer issue of the Matilda Ziegler and Home readers. I search their website often during the holidays to find out what new products they have. They carry everything from clothing to food and household items. I have often purchased delicious bittersweet chocolate-covered cherries for gifts at Christmas. I have also gotten Lustre-Creme shampoo, Cashmere Bouquet powder and Yardley’s English Lavender powder and soap.,, and have hard to find brands and are recent finds on the internet for me. Browsing I have found a variety of merchandise, including lilac laundry powder and dish soap, as well as class toys, books, and movies. I was impressed by the accessibility of their website, and it is easy to get on their email list. There is also a Good Old Days which is available on digital cartridge from the Perkins Library. is where you can find such products as Prell shampoo, Adorn hairspray and Mennen skin-bracer. is a real gold mind for medical, household, personal care and diabetes products. The store now has the Prodigy Autocode Glucose meter for $10.50. They also carry test strips and solutions for this item. I briefly looked on and found they have cooking wares, household mobility products and numerous other items. I find the CVS website accessible, and some stores have point of sale devices.

Here are the phone numbers and web addresses for these stores.
Vermont country store phone – 802-362-8484
Their customer service is great and they are helpful to blind customers.

Hard to Find Brands phone – 888-796-4832

Harmon’s Discount phone 866-427-6661

Good Old Days phone 877-226-5388

CVS toll free number is 1-888-607- 4287

Blind Mice Mart phone 1-713-893-7277

I hope readers enjoy browsing, shopping and finding Labor Day discounts. Our last summer holiday will be here in a week.

Feature Writer John Christie – A Family Gets Into a Squabble With a Neighbor About a Ramp

Vincent and Heidi Giesegh have just recently installed a ramp for their 16 year old daughter Kirsten who has Cerebral Palsy. She needs the ramp so that she can safely come in and out of the house. However, their neighbors don’t want them to have the ramp because they feel it will decrease the value of their house.

Vincent Giesegh told a local television station that they are just trying to assist their daughter in and out of the house with her daily needs.

Heidi Giesegh said that they could both tumble down the stairs and get badly hurt, especially if she goes in to her spastic modes.

According to Civil Rights lawyer Amy Robertson, the Gieseghs are protected under the Fair Housing Act. The act says that the family has the right to have something like this ramp. This is especially true if someone has a disability in the family. The family has the right to enjoy their house and the law prohibits anyone from interfering with that right.
A lawyer from the Denver-based Civil Rights and Enforcement Center is getting in touch with the neighbors by sending a letter. The letter explains the situation in full. If the neighbor understands the problem, this situation can be resolved. Robertson also said that she would be happy to have a meeting with the neighbor.

The city of Fountain, Colorado gave them permission to build a ramp and widen their driveway for a handicapped van. Channel 11 went next door to get the neighbor’s side of the story but they had no comment.

The builder of the home has also received complaints from the neighbor.

The Gieseghs say that they have contacted the Rocky Mountain American Disability Center for help.
The Gieseghs have a right to have a ramp. After all, it’s the law. The neighbor can’t do a thing about it.


Letter from the Editor – Week of August 26, 2013

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a great weekend.

The July Audio Edition email went out last Friday, please let me know if you did not receive it and would like to.

Next week’s magazine will be coming out on Tuesday instead of Monday because of the holiday.

This week we have an article from contributor Kimberly Morrow about a veteran whose mission is now helping others.

Please let me know if you are not getting the magazine and I will do my best to get it to you as quickly as possible.

Thanks for reading and to those who wrote in to the Reader’s Forum.

Have a great week.


Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Late Summer: A Time to Make Blueberry Muffins

In the northeast and mid-western parts of the U.S. local blueberries are available from June through mid September. Local blueberries are often available at supermarkets, gardens and farm stands. If you have sighted help, blueberries can be picked from bushes. When you return home, before using blueberries, examine them. When examining blueberries those that feel misshapen or too soft or hard should be discarded. Freeze extra blueberries to use in desserts or blueberry muffins. There are numerous blueberry muffin recipes, superior ones are from Fannie Farmer cookbooks, and Cooking Illustrated.

I made my first blueberry muffin recipe one cool July night while living at home. I was in my mid-twenties and still inexperienced with baking. I confidently added fresh blueberries expecting to enjoy muffins brimming with the summer flavor of blueberries. When I tasted one, I said, “Mom what happened to the blueberries?” Gently my mom said, “you should flour the blueberries before adding them to the batter.” I never forgot this good advice.

In the 1990s, I often made blueberry muffins at our home. My friends and neighbors loved them. I used recipes from Fannie Farmer cookbooks or the Braille copy of Our New England Cookery.

In 2008, I got a braille copy of Chapter 1 of Cooking Illustrated on quick breads. It was from the National Braille Press. In Volume 2, there is a delicious recipe for blueberry muffins. I thought it a superior recipe and have since always received compliments on my muffins. I would like to share this recipe with Ziegler readers. My recipe differs from the one in Cooking Illustrated in several ways. I use milk instead of sour cream and use half the sugar and less salt than the original recipe.


2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
A dash of salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1 half stick melted butter
1 and a half cups fresh floured blueberries


Measure flour, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir dry ingredients with whisk for one minute. Rinse blueberries and put them in a bowl and flour them completely using two tablespoons of flour. Melt butter in microwave in a custard cup or small desert dish, letting it cool. In another bowl beat egg with milk and stir in the cooled butter. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix batter with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. This should take two minutes. Stir in the blueberries until they are incorporated.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease twelve muffin cups with either vegetable oil or cooking spray. With a one third measuring cup put batter in to each cup. Put two tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little sugar. This step is optional especially if you must watch sugar levels. Bake the muffins for 30 minutes. Open the oven and put muffin tin on the counter. They should come right out of the cups. If they do not, gently go around the muffins with a knife, this should easily loosen them.

These muffins are delicious not only for breakfast, but as a mid-afternoon or after school snack

This is a wonderful way to use fresh blueberries; these muffins are a delicious treat for the entire family.

Contributor Brian Fischler – My Opinion and Latest Experience with Yahoo

Having nowhere to write this as it is much more than 140 characters, I wanted to share my experience and opinion with the group. Relating to the big picture, I do get that this is fantasy football, but it really has opened my eyes to where accessibility falls through with big companies.

Going completely blind over the past several years, one of the things I miss most is being able to play team sports such as baseball and football. One of the ways I have adjusted to not being able to play or see the games anymore is by playing fantasy baseball and fantasy football. As my vision has deteriorated and I have come to completely rely on voiceover technology, playing fantasy games has gotten harder and harder.

The most important part and most fun is the live draft. It’s where you build your team for the year. Due to sites like Yahoo and ESPN using Java and Flash to run these drafts, I have had to auto pick, which doesn’t allow you to participate with everyone else, and leaves you with an inferior team starting out. Two years ago, I was so excited when, after scouring the web and app store, I came across an app released by an individual entrepreneur called Big Noggins that was the first app that made it possible for you to draft your ESPN and Yahoo teams on your iPhone. I was so thankful and surprised when the app actually worked with Voiceover. Of course I figured once the live draft started there would probably be some complications with Voiceover. Nope, the app worked perfectly with Voiceover. Amazing, as technology had made my day a little brighter by allowing me to once again participate in a live draft. I know in the big picture this is just fantasy games, but anything that brings you a little enjoyment is a good thing, and I was so thrilled for the past two years to be able to draft my own teams.

With the 2013 fantasy football season coming up I have been preparing to draft my teams and kept checking the app store for Big Noggins release of the 2013 draft app. With the season getting closer and closer, and no release of the app, I began to investigate what was going on. I went to Big Noggins website and discovered that his technology that allows people to draft their team on an iPhone had been acquired by Yahoo. Ok, well, Yahoo is supposedly a forward thinking company when it comes to accessibility. I downloaded Yahoo’s 2013 fantasy football app which has been completely retooled for 2013, and now, thanks to Big Noggin’s technology, allows Yahoo users for the first time to draft their team on an iPhone.

Last night I decided to check out one of the mock drafts to prepare for my live draft and see how the accessibility works. No surprise, as even though Yahoo acquired a company whose app was fully accessible, Yahoo, in implementing the technology into their own app, completely broke its accessibility with Voiceover once again leaving blind fantasy sport players in the dark. How could a company as big as Yahoo that claims to care about accessibility break something that once worked? It just goes to show where accessibility can fail with a big company. They don’t care. For years, I have been speaking with Yahoo about the accessibility of their fantasy games, and have been getting the typical we’re aware of the accessibility issues and are working on it. After this latest experience, I now believe and know that companies like Yahoo could care less when it comes to improving accessibility. If this small entrepreneur was able to make his app accessible how in the world can a billion dollar company like Yahoo take that same technology, implement it in their app, and completely leave out accessibility. My only conclusion is they just don’t care. ESPN is even worse than Yahoo, as I have tried contacting them about accessibility for five years, and have not once received a response. I find it pathetic that a company like ESPN, which is owned by Disney, could care less about implementing any form of accessibility to help allow blind people to use any of their apps. Their website is an absolute nightmare to try and read with a screen reader. If Major League Baseball and other small entrepreneurs can make their apps fully accessible with Voiceover than there is no excuse for a company like ESPN to not be able to make their apps and website accessible.

I know that I am talking about fantasy games, and in the big picture, they are not important, but this experience with major companies does shed some light on where accessibility is lacking.

Note: Shortly after writing this I heard back from Yahoo. It is important for blind people to not just complain about inaccessibility but rather do something about it, as here is Yahoo’s response, and I have traded a couple of emails with this guy. Is this fixed, no, will it be fixed this year, probably not, but at least they are aware of it, and should be doing something about it.

Yahoo’s response:

Hi Brian,

My name is Chris, and I’m one of the developers working on Yahoo’s Fantasy Football iPhone and iPad apps. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to bring the accessibility issue to our attention! Getting the Big Noggins draft app integrated into Yahoo’s was a tremendous undertaking, and there were clearly crucial pieces that got left out. As the engineer who built a good amount of these new interfaces, I can’t help but feel personally responsible that we neglected something so important. Please accept my sincere apology for this.

Unfortunately, I can’t promise that we’ll have Voiceover capabilities enabled in time for you to draft before the season starts. What I can promise though, is that you now have someone on the inside pushing to make this a priority. I’ll keep you posted on any progress we make with this.

July 2013 audio version

Welcome to the Matilda Ziegler Magazine audio player. To begin listening to the magazine, simply click the “Read more” link below. Once you select the month, an embedded media player will start playing the magazine immediately. While using this player, you can press the control key plus the space bar to pause the current article. To proceed to the next article hold down the control key and the shift key and then press the N key. To go back to the previous article hold down the control key and the shift key and press the P key.

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Op Ed with Bob Branco – Would You Bring Your Baby to Church?

I try to go to Church and other religious services as much as possible, though at times I have transportation issues. With that said, I have attended many services since 1965. I go for obvious reasons; I want to hear the message and participate in a spiritual atmosphere with everyone else. I don’t want to speak for other people, but when I go to Church, I need to completely focus on what’s being said, and how it will help me.

On numerous occasions, parents bring their young infants and toddlers to Church services. These children are obviously too young to understand and appreciate the meaning of Church. For one thing, they can hardly talk. As a result, many of these children either make baby sounds, whine, run around, or cry loudly, especially while the Priest is conducting his sermon. As a result, I cannot concentrate on what the Priest is saying, which makes it hard for me to satisfy myself in a spiritual way.

Please do not misunderstand. I love children of all ages, and I also know that the younger ones tend to get restless if they feel confined to a situation that they would rather not be in. If I was a father of a young toddler or infant, I would recognize the situation and ask someone to look after the child while I go to Mass. This morning, a parent had to escort her baby out of Church, which means she couldn’t participate either while tending to her restless child. If I want to bring a baby to Church, I run the risk of missing much of the Mass because the child is a priority.

What would you do in this situation? Would you keep your child home while he’s too young to understand God, or would you subject yourself and your child to many interruptions throughout the Mass that you really had a desire to participate in?

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Raising Cane

I’ve used a white mobility cane for over twenty years and I can’t thank my friends enough for advising me to begin doing so as a device for identification and safety. It’s been a lifesaver on many occasions and I never leave home without it.

Much like guide dog users, we cane raisers have our preferences. Back in the day, my cane was at recommended height, somewhere near my sternum, with a small tip. For years, though, I’ve used a cane that reaches just under my nose and I feel more secure as it indisputably parts the pedestrians on our crowded streets. I once met a woman shorter than I who used a cane that was taller than she. I thought that a bit odd but who am I to judge?

You might find it amusing that I sometimes talk to my cane as if it’s human, thanking it for doing a good job of getting me safely around an obstacle or scolding it after I’ve whacked my noggin into an object that it smoothly slid right under. These scenarios are more likely to happen as New York City has more construction going on than ever. Currently, I use a cane with a rather large ball on the end, finding it extremely useful here in the city for identifying the multitude of dangerous cracks and uneven parts of our sidewalks. The ball also adds extra weight to the cane, which I like, but others might find too heavy to swing. An amusing aspect of this cane is the fact that it attracts small children and dogs. They all want to play, and parents and owners must call them back from trying to chase it.

Last Summer I thought I’d use my cane as a climbing tool. Thinking I’d reached our favorite fried chicken establishment, I began walking my cane up a fence. A kind gentleman came along to rescue me, propelling me towards the store entrance. That is what I get for allowing my talking to distract me.

To date, I’ve had only one dangerous experience while using my cane. As I crossed a small familiar street, a young man came upon me, pushed me to the ground, grabbed my cane and went who knew where with it. Thoroughly shaken, I struggled up; dusted myself off and wondered what I’d do next. I didn’t have to wait long as a woman arrived, handed my cane to me and assured me that I could go on my way. She had witnessed the incident and gathered people to help collect it. She even hailed a cab for me. An Urban Angel, I’ll never forget her.

Cane-raising comments? Your Reader’s Forum awaits.

Feature Writer John Christie – Syracuse Disabled Man Gets Into a Pickle With a Bus Driver and Two Policemen After Not Sitting On a Bus When Asked

A 35 year old disabled Syracuse, New York man named Brad Hulett was tasered on May 3rd, 2013 for not sitting down on a Centro bus. The police got involved and told him to either sit down or get off the bus. Hulett wouldn’t do either. The two policemen dragged him from the bus to a police car and took him to jail.

During the dragging incident, Hulett’s hip was broken. While in jail, the injury was ignored and he wasn’t taken to the hospital until the next day.

During his time in jail, a video was taken. During the video, a deputy asks him to stand up. Hulett had to put all his weight on his right leg in order to stand up. About four minutes later in the video, one deputy holds Hulett under his arm while the other deputy frisks him.

Hulett’s lawyer Rick Guy obtained the videos from the bus and the jail through request under the state’s freedom of information laws.

It must be mentioned that Hulett suffered brain damage in 1991 when two trains struck him one after the other in Salina. Later, in a car accident, he suffered two herniated discs in his back that make sitting down on buses painful.

Because of Hulett’s unfortunate incident with the bus driver and the two policemen, some of the disability groups in the Syracuse area will be getting together for a rally.
One of the people who was incensed with the incident was Sally Johnston, the President of Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse, who said about the video, “the more I saw that, the more angry I got. I got more angry when I found out that he broke his hip and he was taken to jail instead of the hospital.”

Many of the disabled groups will be at the rally.

Brad Hulett had an intellectual disability. Because he wasn’t able to communicate with both the bus driver and the two policemen he was sent to jail. He should have been able to answer both the bus driver’s questions and the police’s as well. If he couldn’t do this, he should have gotten help from a friend or a family member. The police also should have taken Hulett to the hospital when they found out Hulett couldn’t stand up on his own. In addition, the police shouldn’t have dragged him to the cruiser.

The disability groups in the Syracuse area have a right to protest. After all, nobody is a winner in this case.


Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – College Part 2

As the first year of college went along, a few things became apparent to me. First, I was a meteorology major and I didn’t have good math skills. In order for me to complete the requirements of the major, I needed to pass Calculus 1, 2 and 3. In order to take Calculus, I had to first pass Algebra. Also, I needed to take Chemistry and Physics. I had never taken either of these courses in the past, as some students do in high school. At first, I thought I could get through the math, but as time went on, it became increasingly frustrating to me. I worked so hard and yet, I couldn’t pass the Algebra classes that I needed to pass in order to get to Calculus. I would attend the lectures, and use a monocular to see the blackboard. It was hard to look through the monocular and try to write the notes that were given by the professor. At the end of my first semester, after working with numerous tutors and my Algebra professor, I didn’t have enough of a passing grade to pass the course. The professor told me that if I could pass her final exam, I could pass the course. We agreed that I would go home over the winter break and study for her final. After the break ended, I would go back and take her final exam. I did study all winter break and upon my return to campus, I took the final exam and didn’t pass it!

This meant that I had to repeat the course in the spring. I talked to several of my friends, and they recommended a different instructor for the Algebra class. They told me that this particular instructor was extremely descriptive and that she spoke everything she wrote on the blackboard. I signed up for this class and indeed, they were correct. She wrote out all of the equations and spoke every step as she worked through them with the class. After sitting through the first class, I asked her if she would allow me to record her lectures. She thought this was a good idea and it worked out very well. I spent my free time listening to her lectures and practiced the equations. At the end of the spring semester, I had passed Algebra and was able to take Calculus next fall.