December 2016 Tech Center Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Your Financial Support is Appreciated

Community support has been vital in achieving our mission. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it has only been with our donor’s generosity that we are able to provide our necessary services. Your support is desperately needed more than ever so that we might continue to fulfill our critical mission for those with visual impairments.

A donation of:

  • $25 can provide large-print calendars to 12 individuals with significant vision loss.
  • $50 can provide special frequency radios to 2 listeners of the Radio Reading Service.
  • $100 can provide 5 hours of audio information via the Dial-In News Service.
  • $500 can provide more than 15 hours of individualized instruction at the New Vision Adaptive Technology Center.

No donation is too small! We welcome your contribution in any amount, and it is tax deductible! For your benefit and to help us finish the year well, please consider donating by December 31.

By Mail: New Vision, 4504 Starkey Rd Ste 120, Roanoke VA 24018

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: The Tech Center will be closed on Monday December 26th and Monday January 2nd. These days follow the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall be closed.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar.


Here’s a recent Press Release from the NFB on the new regulations governing nearly silent hybrid cars. See the link below for the full article.


Have you heard of the Google Home Appliance? Its brand new and a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo. So the Google Home operates as a Virtual Voice Assistant and sports many features comparable to the Amazon Echo. On this Blind Bargains Episode, number 82, you’ll hear J.J. and Joe talk about its features. See the link below.

Joe Steinkamp was also interviewed on ACB Radio’s Main Menu Program about the Google Home. Check out the team from Main Menu as they put the Google Home through its paces. See the link below.

Check out Main Menu’s program where they inteview Dr. Robert Carter from “The Tech Doctor” podcast. Dr. Carter takes the crew through his experiences over the years with Macs, iPhone, Windows, DOS, and JAWS. Have a listen at the link below.

This Blind Bargains episode, number 80, has Jeff Bishop on to discuss his recent trip to the Microsoft Campus. On this episode you’ll also hear J.J. and Joe talk about JAWS 18, the new MacBook Pro, and the Microsoft Surface Event. See the link below for this and much more.

In this Mac Accessibility Roundtable Podcast hear the team talk about the new MacBook Pro, Paypal, Siri, and the future of the Apple laptop. See the link below for episode 121.

In episode 120 of the Mac Accessibility Roundtable hear the team talk all about the Apple Press Event. The event started off by discussing accessibility and hear the team breakdown the topic. See the link below.

Shelly Brisbin is a blind author and journalist. Her most recent work is the iOS Access for All Book. She recently was a pundit on the Daily Tech News Show. Listen to her talk about accessibility in a mainstream setting with Tom Merrit. The youtube link below jumps you part way into the episode where Tom turns to Shelly to ask some questions but after the conclusion of the episode Shelly and Tom continue to have an awesome discussion. Have a listen at the link below.

New Vision Interview

Picture of John Netzel. Wearing Suit.
We recently had the opportunity to record a 30 minute interview with WRVL – “The Journey” which broadcasts throughout the Roanoke and Lynchburg region. The interview aired this past Saturday at 6 AM, December 3rd. See the links below, where the interview was broken out into three segments.

Interview Segment 1

Interview Segment 2

Interview Segment 3

Student Spotlight

The following article is soon to be published in a Veteran’s Affairs publication, about one of our students, Leonard Hubbard. See the article below.

A Veteran’s Personal Journey: Horsemanship And Therapeutic Riding

Picture of Leonard Hubbard on horseback. Next to fence outside with two other people.
Leonard Hubbard, 57, a consumer of the HUD VASH Program since 2012, has been challenged by the “ups and downs” of addiction throughout his life, including homelessness and impaired sight. Now enjoying the rewards of sustained sobriety which include stable housing, improved health and consistent family support, he sought what he describes as “something to fulfill my idle mind.”

Machele Huff, a Salem VAMC Social Worker and a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Certified Riding Instructor, responded to the Veteran’s interest in riding a horse. According to Hubbard, “I was raised on a farm and I had never ridden a horse before. Just a mule.” Sparked by the Veteran’s request, Ms. Huff connected the veteran with a Paint Thoroughbred mare nick named ‘Tay Tay’ who had recently retired from competing as a show hunter With this mare, he learned how to safely groom and lead a horse. “I fell in love with ‘Tay Tay.’ I learned how to lead and take care of her. She was the first horse I had ever been around,” Hubbard describes.

Subsequently, Ms. Huff and the Veteran’s HUD VASH case manager, Katie Poulos, brought to the Veteran’s attention the Ride with Pride Therapeutic Riding Center in Staunton, Virginia which had a Veterans Riding Program. Hubbard then independently completed his referral packet and secured his medical clearance to ride. “ I received a scholarship to attend the program during the summer and the fall sessions.” Hubbard’s sessions began in June 2016. “Since being in the program I have learned how to care about things other than myself. I have learned how to care about people more through caring about the horse. It helps me with my sobriety and when I have nothing to do, I can think about the horse. Now I have something to look forward to it in the week and now next spring,” according to Hubbard.

For Hubbard, the most difficult aspect of participating in therapeutic riding was “making up my mind to do this because of my mental health issue. Some people think you can’t do certain things when you get older and that’s not true. When I put my mind to something I can do it. The most rewarding thing is the reaction I get from the horse, case workers and my riding instructors when I can control myself and accomplish something I want to do.”

Since his sixteen week participation in the Ride With Pride Program, Hubbard has now learned how to ride various gaits on the different horses that are assigned to him. “I have learned how to maneuver the horses through cones, change directions in the arena and ride a figure eight.” He also participates in trail riding on the center’s grounds as part of his riding lesson.

Each week, Hubbard prepares for his next riding lesson by reviewing videos taken on his phone. With the assistance of adaptive equipment provided by the Salem VA’s Visually Impaired Services Team, he is able to review his weekly riding progress at home.

Recently, he was invited to compete in Ride With Pride’s Therapeutic Fall In-House Show. According to Hubbard, “it is gratifying to actually engage with something you have never been around before. I think it’s amazing when you can care for something and the horse lets you know that they realize you are caring for them.”

The Ride With Pride Veteran’s Riding Program is made possible by various Veteran Service Organization donations in the Staunton, Virginia area.

Respectfully Submitted,
Machele Huff, LCSW

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for November 2016. Are you an adventurer? Then you might enjoy playing a game as Edward Blake, a Blind Knight, in medieval times; Or perhaps a Gladiator in Roman times. These games and much more are discussed in this months AppleVis Newsletter. Object Recognition Apps and the new MacBook Pro are also discussed. See the link below.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events:
“The Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will hold its annual Christmas banquet on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the clubhouse of the Cave Spring Lions Club, located at 4801 Merriman Rd., SW, Roanoke. The evening will be catered by Adell’s of Rocky Mount, with music by the 3-D Trio. Reservations required by December 14, 2016. For information, directions or reservations please contact Dianne Decker at” from Dianne Decker.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.

Contact Info

New Vision
4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center