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Blind People

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NEWS
October 7, 1992 | by Jim Nicholson, Daily News Staff Writer
Violet M. "Vi" Koester, who reached out in her blindness to help others, died yesterday. She was 87 and lived in South Philadelphia. Vi Koester jumped into life with all the energy her petite 4-foot-11 frame could contain. She was a wonder to those around her because Vi never seemed to be left out, or left herself out, of anything a sighted person might have done. If she seemed to move boldly and lightly through life, it was probably because she didn't carry the weight of bitter baggage, even though many might think she had reason.
NEWS
May 9, 1992 | By Michael B. Coakley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Rev. Thea F. Jones, 71, the evangelical preacher who for many years ministered over the airwaves from his old opera house headquarters in North Philadelphia, died Tuesday at Germantown Hospital and Medical Center. He resided in North Philadelphia. Dr. Jones liked to tell the story of how Jesus Christ appeared to him one day in the front seat of his Plymouth sedan. It was early in his pastoral career while he was driving through his native South, during a period in which Dr. Jones described himself as "vaguely restless and dissatisfied.
NEWS
June 13, 1987 | By Mark Butler, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Sellitti would have you believe that he went blind after a trip to a local mall: "I was walking around shopping with my family, and I saw this blind guy, and I liked his white cane. I said, 'Boy, that's for me.' " He also would have you believe that, like Rodney Dangerfield, he gets no respect: "My family, they'd describe the food on my dish, and say the meat is at 12 o'clock, the corn is at 3 o'clock and the potatoes are at 6 o'clock. But my brother, he'd spin the dish. I was 14 before I found out that cranberry sauce doesn't have gristle.
NEWS
April 29, 2007 | By Lea Sitton Stanley FOR THE INQUIRER
The night they named David Simpson poet laureate of Montgomery County, his mother showed up. So did his twin brother, Dan. When it was all over, Miriam Dell bought each a book from a vendor at Arcadia University, where Simpson was feted April 13. Then she turned to Joanne Leva, founder and director of the laureate program, and poet Carolyn Forche, celebrity judge for this year's competition. "I don't know why they want books," Dell said. "They both have so many of them, and they can't read them.
NEWS
May 17, 2002 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Hester Laning Pepper, 95, of Gladwyne, an artist and founder of the National Exhibits by Blind Artists, died of heart failure Sunday at her home. Mrs. Pepper founded the organization in Philadelphia in 1976 to highlight the work of visually impaired artists. Every two years, the organization mounts an exhibit of the works of 50 artists who have been selected in a juried show. Vickie Collins, a board member of the organization, said the exhibit had been shown at art galleries and museums in Japan and around the country, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
NEWS
May 29, 1986 | By Tom Infield, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nine local chapters of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind have sued the city, seeking to force the installation of Braille floor indicators on elevator panels in City Hall. The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, also seeks the installation of the floor indicators on the elevators in the City Hall Annex and Municipal Services Building. The suit contends that blind people find it difficult to use the elevators because they can't read the numbers on floor buttons.
NEWS
September 15, 1995 | By Susan Weidener, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Patricia Kelly says she'll be back at her desk at the Chester County Association for the Blind in Coatesville Monday, though transportation will cost her $300 a month. Kelly, who is blind, has been stranded for two weeks at her home here without a ride to work. She said yesterday that she decided the cost was necessary to keep her $23,000-a-year job. "You can't beat the system," she said. The paratransit service now available in Chester County for blind people who are not elderly costs $1.50 a mile for door-to-door service - about $950 a month for Kelly.
NEWS
October 20, 1993 | By Dan Hardy, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The Delaware County Blind/Sight Center will close its on-site manufacturing plant by mid-December, idling 41 employees, most of them blind. Robert Nelson, the center's executive director, announced the action yesterday. He said the plant was closing because of hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating losses and because of a general shift away from separate employment facilities for blind people. Nelson said the center would continue the other services it provides to blind and visually impaired people, such as job training and counseling.
NEWS
April 18, 1993 | By Laura Spinale, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Some thought that the elevator had stalled, and that the chimes were sounding an automatic cry for help. Others thought they heard a telephone ringing somewhere. One guy said a bird was loose in the courthouse. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The chimes jingling for the first time Wednesday in one of the three elevators in the Bucks County Courthouse are to aid the blind. Sighted people can tell which floor they've stopped on by glancing up at a lighted panel above the inner elevator doors.
NEWS
January 25, 2012 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four years ago, teams of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere made headlines by restoring some sight to blind people, though it was a form of blindness few had heard of. Now some of the same researchers are making progress with a far more common kind of blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, which strikes many thousands. This week, the scientists reported success in treating four dogs with forms of the disease. And they are optimistic that their findings will, like the earlier study, translate to humans.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 21, 2012 | By Julie Zauzmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
The pages rolling off the conveyor belt to the sound of the clattering of presses bear familiar magazine titles: Kiplinger's, Popular Mechanics, PC World, Spider, Seventeen. But inside, the magazines do not look like typical editions of these popular periodicals. These issues have no pictures and no glossy pages. Page after page, the publications consist of thick white paper bearing hundreds of tiny raised dots. They are entirely in braille. At Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired's nonprofit braille book factory in Center City, even Playboy, the men's magazine known for its risque images, is printed in photo-free form.
NEWS
May 8, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Already singed by the state plan to downsize Philadelphia's branch library for the blind, the Free Library of Philadelphia has now been sued by four blind patrons who cannot use the library's new electronic book readers. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, said that the e-reader lending program, begun in November at the main library off Logan Square, uses devices that are not accessible to the blind. And that violates the rights of blind people under the federal Rehabilitation Act and Americans With Disabilities Act, the lawsuit contends.
NEWS
May 3, 2012 | By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist
Keri Wilkins is incensed. She is a librarian passionately committed to serving the blind and physically handicapped in 29 counties, the entire eastern half of Pennsylvania, sending out almost a million digital books and recorded cassettes a year. "I am appalled. I am angry," she tells me at the branch at Ninth and Walnut, founded in 1882, the nation's oldest library serving the blind, where almost a half-million mint-condition recorded cassettes are, by state mandate, headed for "recycling," that is, the trash.
NEWS
January 25, 2012 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four years ago, teams of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere made headlines by restoring some sight to blind people, though it was a form of blindness few had heard of. Now some of the same researchers are making progress with a far more common kind of blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, which strikes many thousands. This week, the scientists reported success in treating four dogs with forms of the disease. And they are optimistic that their findings will, like the earlier study, translate to humans.
NEWS
April 5, 2011 | By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist
Thanks to Viola, Jordan Ortiz won't need to take anyone's arm when she walks across the Rowan University green to accept her diploma next month. Ortiz, who as a child lost her vision to cancer, will let her golden retriever guide the way in style - as Viola has done since freshman year. "She earned her degree, too," Ortiz says. That's why her thoroughly adorable guide dog will walk up to the dais in her own cap and gown May 13. It's also why Ortiz and classmate Danielle Larsen have been helping train a golden retriever named Zara for the last five months.
NEWS
December 25, 2010 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
After more than a century in Philadelphia, the nation's oldest library for the blind is facing the potential loss of most of its materials and services to its Pittsburgh counterpart. A state-commissioned study has recommended that the Philadelphia Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped be significantly downsized - at a savings of about $600,000 a year for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which funds it. Although the principal heir would be the Carnegie Library for the Blind, the study also suggests moving Philadelphia's Braille collection - at 95,000 titles one of the country's largest - to Iowa.
NEWS
December 17, 2009 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
By the last day of 2009, the Pennsylvania Ballet will have danced its annual holiday confection, The Nutcracker, 24 times - but one performance will be like no other. In fact, as far as anyone knows, the show at 4 p.m. Sunday will be unlike any dance performance in Philadelphia. In a dressing room off a hallway to one side of the stage, a woman named Ermyn King will watch a TV monitor beaming the show live from the stage. She'll wear a headset-microphone and will straightforwardly describe the dancing - how many performers are onstage, what they're wearing, what they're doing, how they're interacting - as well as the scenery, the storyline, even the lighting.
NEWS
March 13, 2008 | By David Hiltbrand INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sabriye Tenberken has experienced firsthand the prejudice that blind people are subjected to in her adopted homeland of Tibet. She has heard the curses directed at students from her training center, Braille Without Borders, when they venture out on the streets of Lhasa. This shocking treatment stems in part from ignorance and in part from religious beliefs in this Buddhist country. There is a remarkable scene in the new documentary Blindsight, capturing the attempt of six of Tenberken's blind students to scale a 23,000-foot peak in the Himalayas, that shows a Tibetan boy musing about the crimes he must have committed in a previous life to have earned the terrible karma of blindness.
NEWS
April 29, 2007 | By Lea Sitton Stanley FOR THE INQUIRER
The night they named David Simpson poet laureate of Montgomery County, his mother showed up. So did his twin brother, Dan. When it was all over, Miriam Dell bought each a book from a vendor at Arcadia University, where Simpson was feted April 13. Then she turned to Joanne Leva, founder and director of the laureate program, and poet Carolyn Forche, celebrity judge for this year's competition. "I don't know why they want books," Dell said. "They both have so many of them, and they can't read them.
NEWS
February 28, 2007 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
In the early 1800s, a blind child hadn't much of a chance in Philadelphia - or anywhere else in the expanding nation. Social stigmas and stereotypes abounded, touching the lives of every one of the roughly 8,000 blind people living in the United States in 1830. Blind children were said to be ineducable. Their parents were thought to be sinful. Best to keep the sightless out of sight. But in Europe, particularly in France, schools for the blind were forging ahead with great success - so much so that a group of progressive Philadelphians took particular notice.
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