TN Voice Winter 2016 Issue Volume 1

The Tennessee  Voice

The Voice Of Tennessee’s Blind

Winter 2016 Issue Volume 1,


Notes from the President

Joshua Harper 2015 Scholarship Essay

In Memory of Alan Rickman and David Bowie

Raising a child as a Parent who is Blind

Talking Prescription Labels Now Available

25 Challenge

5 Cup Salad

Shara’s Best Cornbread

Curried Chicken Pot Pie

Applications for Partners in Policy Making Leadership Institute Now Available

Convention Information

Audio Description for Motown the Musical at TPAC Nashville  – Discounted Tickets


Notes from the president

Dear Federation Family and Friends:

It has been a very busy week for me thus far.  After getting off work today, I sent out eleven emails to US congress staff to set up our Tennessee congressional meetings for Washington Seminar, put in a call to one of our new affiliate members, participated in an hour long call to help plan our Tennessee BELL Academy to help teach kids Braille in the Summer of 2016, and of course, I’m now topping it off by writing my presidential notes for this issue of the Tennessee Voice.  Oh, and did I mention that I just got back from a fabulous vacation in New Orleans?  The truth is that I’m living the life I want, and nobody can stop me!

I also did some work earlier today on our 2016 state convention coming up April 1-3 in Murfreesboro Tennessee.  It is truly one of the ways that we can help our own selves live the lives we want as well as help other blind people around our state.  Please come out and visit the Tennessee state convention this year.  You can find the most current information about the convention at  You can also find both our state and national collegian scholarship applications.  This is the second year we are offering our state scholarship and we are excited about the possibility of giving as much money to blind college students as we can.  Also be aware of our two BELL Academies going on this Summer in Memphis and Murfreesboro Tennessee.  Beware; there are rumors of kids dissecting sharks, rock climbing and writing a song about how awesome Braille is. has all the most up-to-date information about our BELL Academy and more.  If you haven’t checked it out in a while, go take a look.  Most importantly, go out and live the life you want.  If you do, you may find that the next blind person to come behind you has a much easier time because you paved the way for their success!  Good luck and see you all at convention!

Back to Contents



Joshua Harper 2015 Scholarship Essay


Editor’s notes” With another  NFB Tennessee state Convention around the corner, we were asked to showcase the winner of the Tinbroke Scholarship. Here is Joshua Harper’s scholarship essay:

Dearest Scholarship Committee:


On September 13 1991, I came into the world six months ahead of schedule.  The doctors said that I would not live, weighing only a pound and 14 ounces, and losing down to under one pound. My doctors did not catch that the oxygen that was keeping me a live was also damaging my retinas. From day one, I have not let anything stop me; I just might have to do certain things in a different way.

Knowing the NFB philosophy has made me comfortable with my blindness and has enabled me to be more compassionate with others who have different disabilities. I now believe I can succeed and make a difference in my life and in others by teaching adaptive technology.

I am proudly the President of our Tennessee Student division and just finished my third year on the affiliate board.  I am also the website Committee chair person.  It is a big responsibility to have access to all account information and the ability to modify information when needed. This year I am going to continue to do the best I can for my local chapter, state affiliate and national movement.

My first Youth Slam, I learned that you should not let your blindness stop you from doing what you want. I still keep in touch with my mentor. At the second Youth Slam I learned that I could do the same type of things that I saw on CSI.  At the Last Youth Slam I went as a mentor and enjoyed interaction with the other students. I learned that when you want to find something it is better to go exploring to find it, rather than always asking for directions.  By doing so you are building your mental map for later use. I believe I was a good role model and still enjoy hearing from the students.   As I grow in my teaching career, I hope the interaction that I have with my students will teach me just as much as I can teach them.

As a teenager, I volunteered to raise a guide dog puppy for Southeastern Guide Dog School. One of my teachers was also a puppy raiser, and she had a day when she brought the puppy in and told us about what she was doing. I decided that I wanted to do something to help the blind community. The first step was getting my mom to fill out the application since I was not an adult.  Believe me, not an easy thing!  I received a short hair collie named Amy on my thirteenth birthday, so for two years she went everywhere I went. By having her, I learned how to speak to people. People constantly stopped us and asked about my dog.  I learned about the laws regarding service animals.  I learned how to be a High-Partial, train a dog and still be blind.  We worked as a family and raised enough money to sponsor another puppy, which became a guide dog.  The final thing that I learned was that you don’t have to have a harness to have a working bond with an animal.  By having her on a leash, I was feeling her step down and sensing her movements.  She is now a retired breeder.

Graduating from the Tennessee school for the Blind in 2010 as Valedictorian was a huge honor, and now being a senior at MTSU, my major is Special Education with a concentration in comprehensive which will allow me to teach at all levels of disability. My goal is to become an Adaptive Technology Teacher at a school level and I would like to have contracts with Voc Rehab and local eye doctors.  I want to teach people how to use technology to make their life easier.  I decided to minor in Information Systems. This has enhanced my skills in Technology. Last year I started working as a student worker in the colleges Adaptive Technology Center. I have learned about different ways to help people with all types of disabilities. Having a scholarship would allow me to update my technology and assist me in my goal to become a Teacher and blind advocate.


Joshua S. Harper

Back to Contents


In Memory of Alan Rickman and David Bowie

April Meredith


In lieu of my usual review of some movie’s audio description, I felt compelled to start off the year honoring the two amazing artists that the world lost this week. We often here of the passing of celebrities, think briefly that it is too bad, and then carry on about our day without another thought of sorrow. After all, they are just people who happen to make it into the news a little more regularly than the average citizen. Right? We don’t know them anymore than they know us, so why should we be upset?

Well, in most cases I would agree. However, the shocking news of David Bowie’s death merely two days after the release of his 25th album, shortly followed with the passing of Alan Rickman to the same cause, begs us to stop and pay attention.

Bowie and Rickman were two of the most genuine and unique artists ever. They both dared to fully immerse themselves into characters on film and on stage. Obviously, Bowie was more of a singer and Rickman was more of an actor, but they each dabbled in the other’s primary career while never failing to stun audiences all over the world. Indeed, Bowie’s ever changing alter egos and fashion was equally matched by Rickman’s diverse range of characters and genres. Some have referred to Bowie as a chameleon for his iconic ability to quite literally create different public personalities and costumes. One could use the same metaphor to describe Rickman’s own eclectic movie roles. I disagree with this assessment, though. A chameleon manipulates his outward appearance to blend in with his surrounding environment. Bowie and Rickman could transform into absolutely anything they wrapped their creative talent around. However, they always stood out. Instead, I like to think of these two gentlemen as kaleidoscopes, faithfully displaying a beautifully vivid image with every twist and turn.

David Bowie’s musical career and Alan Rickman’s acting career span decades, but it still feels like we lost these two souls way too early. It would take a much lengthier article than this one for me to fully explain the extent to which these masters of art, language, and poetry have impacted my life and relationships. Just please do not judge me for needing to mourn over two of my heroes. In doing so, I have been revisiting their bodies of work as a type of tribute and emotional release. I have not watched many of their films since my eyesight significantly decreased, but trust me when I say they are just as great as ever. Bowie’s Goblin King role in Labyrinth is legendary and Rickman’s portrayal as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series is easily one of the most memorable characters in cinematic history. Of course, you cannot ignore the music, especially Bowie’s latest, and last, album Black Star. Whether you are a fan or not, you must listen to this entire album. I also suggest you look up Rickman’s musical endeavors in films for a fun night of entertainment. Not related to music,, but enjoyable nonetheless, I further recommend checking outLove ActuallyRobin Hood Prince of ThievesGalaxy Quest, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Bowie has some interesting cult classics out there as well, but I will let the truly devoted fans search for those gems themselves. David Bowie and Alan Rickman’s mark on world pop culture will live on, but I will honestly miss these kaleidoscopes of men.


Back to Contents


Raising a child as a Parent who is Blind


Editor’s Note:

This is a follow-up to April Meredith’s last movie review. Please take a look at this youtube clip of Parents who are blind who are successfully raising or have raised their children. Of course we all know that it’s very possible, but apparently, there are some legislators who do not feel this way.


Talking Prescription Labels Now Available


Disability Rights of Tennessee, (DRT) has played a major role in bringing prescription labels to Tennessee. Read more at the following link:


The 25 Challenge-April Meredith

For some book lovers, reading 25 in one year may not seem like a challenge. For those who   tend to think of reading as a necessary evil at school, then perhaps the concept of pleasure reading makes as much sense as bungee jumping               does to me. I myself have always enjoyed cuddling under my favorite blanket, sipping on a cup of a refreshing beverage, and cracking open the spine of a great novel.

Then, as my RP kicked in full force in 2008 and my eyesight diminished, I quite literally witnessed the gradual evanescence of the words on the pages of the great works of literature I was striving to read. Ironically, as my ability to read vanished, my hunger grew. Fast forward to 2013, and we find an avid reader starving for access to the numerous worlds she knew were beckoning her to explore. Finally, I was granted the opportunity to gain technological and braille skills that would once again unlock the knowledge, magic, and adventures.

It took a while, but at last in 2015, all the pieces of the reading puzzle came together; and once again, I was ready to indulge in one of my favorite past times. A combination of choosing to focus on my technological skills and eagerly wishing to consume as much as my hectic lifestyle would allow, I read only digital audio books. I decided to reserve my braille skills, for now, to magazine articles, children’s books, and practical household applications until I can build up my speed. Nonetheless, when a friend of mine challenged me to read 25 books in January last year, I jumped on the chance to not only read for fun, but also read for a purpose. Additionally, I viewed this as a perfect opportunity to push myself into areas I had never before attempted. I wanted to stretch my writing skills as well, and I read once that the best way to become a better writer is to become a better reader. This means branching out of one’s comfort zone and perusing styles, lengths, authors, and even genres that you naturally would not gravitate towards. Therefore, with my goals established, I set forth last year to read 25diverse works of literature, including one entire book series. You will notice in my complete list below that I ended up enjoying the book series so much, that I read a few extra related novels, giving my grand total to 28!

April Meredith

1.       The Reflections of Queen Snow White. David Meredith

2.       The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 16. Stephen Jones

3.       Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn

4.       Dark Places. Gillian Flynn

5.       Sharp Objects. Gillian Flynn

6.       Hope To Die. James Patterson

7.       The Giver. Lois Lowry

8.       The Book Thief. Markus Zusak

9.       Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch: A Novel. Neil Gaiman/ Terry Pratchett

10.   If I Stay: A Novel. Gayle Forman

11.   The City In Which I Love You: Poems. Li-Young Lee

12.   Let’s Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties. Patricia Marx

13.   The Copper Peacock, And Other Stories, Ruth Rendell

14.   Daredevil. Volume 1, Mark Waid

15.   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J. K. Rowling

16.   Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. J. K. Rowling

17.   Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. J. K. Rowling

18.   Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. J. K. Rowling

19.   Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. J. K. Rowling

20.   Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. J. K. Rowling

21.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J. K. Rowling

22.   Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. J. K. Rowling

23.   The Tales of Beedle the Bard. J. K. Rowling

24.   The Worlds of Harry Potter: a treasury of myths, legends, and fascinating facts. David Colbert

25.   The Casual Vacancy. J. K. Rowling

26.   The Unexpected Gift. Berna King

27.   The Boy Who Drew Monsters: A novel. Keith Donohue

28.   A Stab In The Dark: a novel. Lawrence Block





5 Cup Salad

April Meredith

My Mammaw always made this for holiday gatherings. Now my sister and I have started taking over the tradition. It is sweet, fun, and easy to make any time for any occasion. As the name suggests, the standard recipe calls for 1 cup of each of the 5 ingredients.

1.       Miniature marshmallows

2.       Shredded coconut

3.       drained mandarin oranges

4.       Drained pineapple chunks

5.       Sour cream


I also like to add some crushed pecans. My sister likes to add extra of her favorite ingredients without actual measuring. She also got creative last Thanksgiving and made the following version. This is perfect for about 20 people and cuts out the tedious need to measure.

1.       Entire bag of miniature marshmallows

2.       8 ounce container of sour cream

3.       2 large cans of drained fruit cocktail with extra cherries

4.       2 large cans of drained pineapple chunks

5.       2 large cans of drained mandarin oranges

6.       Half to three quarters bag of shredded coconut

7.       1 package of crushed pecans, if desired


You cannot go wrong with this recipe. Add some red and green maraschino cherry halves at Christmas. Make a Pineapple, cherry, and blueberry version, with the pineapple cut into star shapes, to celebrate Independence Day. Use fresh fruit instead of canned to cut down on the sweetness and preservatives. Enjoy it as a side or dessert. Serve it in martini glasses at an elegant dinner. Be creative and have fun.





Shara’s Best Cornbread


Here is my most requested and made cornbread recipe


2 cups self-rising cornmeal

1-cup self-rising flour

1 ½  cup buttermilk

4 eggs

4 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Beat eggs well. Then add oil and buttermilk. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour batter into a greased Iron Skillet. If you do not have an Iron skillet a shallow baking sheet is almost as good.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let




The best way to get your skillet or baking dish perfectly ready and add a little crisp to the edges of your Southern Cornbread, instead of greasing it in the traditional way, is to spoon a dollop of shortening into your pan. Go ahead and place it in to the oven. When the shortening has melted an the pan is hot enough to  sizzle when you flick a little water on it, you know it is perfectly ready for your cornbread batter. Carefully, remove the skillet or pan and pour your batter in at that time and then place back in the oven to cook for approximately 25- 30 minutes. Just test it like you would any other bread or cake. I like to test it with a wooden toothpick. When it comes out clean and your bread is golden brown. It is ready. (Be sure to keep your eye on the shortening in the oven, don’t start a grease fire. It is usually ready almost as soon as it has  all melted.  )


If you like your cornbread sweet, add a couple of Tablespoons of sugar or honey. You might need to play around with this to  find out what you like best as far as sweetness. Everyone is different here.


Also, when I am using my cornbread to make dressing or just want a little more flavor—I often add a little rubbed sage and/or red pepper flakes  to my batter. I have even added chopped Jalapenos.



Shara Winton

Pampered Chef Consultant


Visit My Pampered Chef Website

Like Me on Facebook !



Curried Chicken Pot Pie


• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 large organic chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
z• 1/4 cup flour, for lightly tossing chicken pieces
• 2 onions, diced
• 3 carrots, diced
• 4 cups organic chicken stock
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 cup coconut milk
• 1 tablespoon hot mango chutney
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
• 1/4 cup minced fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 1 (8-ounce) store-bought refrigerated pie dough
• 2 egg whites, beaten
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a pot, heat the olive oil and butter on medium-high. Lightly toss the chicken cubes in flour and then add them to the pot along with the onion and carrots. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is slightly golden on all sides.

Deglaze the pot with the organic chicken stock. Add the raisins, brown sugar, hot curry, turmeric, coconut milk, mango chutney, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and reduce for 20 minutes.

Stir in the toasted slivered almonds and sprinkle with minced coriander (cilantro). Ladle into 6 (6-ounce) cup ramekins. Roll out the pie crust to 1/4-inch thickness, and dust it with flour. Cut the pastry into circles, about 1-inch wider than the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with the pie crust and pinch the edges. With a fork, poke some holes in the pie crust. To add a personal touch, use cookie cutters to form shapes with the remaining pie dough and use these to decorate the pie crust. Brush the top of the pie crusts with egg whites and bake for 30 minutes.
I left out the raisins and also used one pie pan rather than using ramekins. It was so good! Enjoy!



Shara Winton

Pampered Chef Consultant


Visit My Pampered Chef Website

Like Me on Facebook !







Applications for 2016-17 Partners in Policy Making Leadership Institute now Available

Applications for the 2016-17 Partners in Policy Making Leadership Institute are now available and will be accepted through May 2, 2016. For more information, please visit the following website.

Convention Information

Below  is some info about the location of our next state convention that will be held April 1-3, 2016.

The address  is:


2227 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN, 37129, US

The phone number to make reservations is:


We recommend that you call the hotel during regular business hours, typically 8-5, to ensure you speak to someone aware of our upcoming convention and rates. When speaking with the Clarion employee, mention you will be attending the 2016 National Federation of the Blind state convention. Provide the date ofApril 1-3, 2016. Our price for the rooms are $89/night. For more information on the amenities  and more, see the link below:

I look forward to all of us making our 2016 state convention the best one yet!




James Alan Boehm


Audio Description for Motown the Musical at TPAC Nashville  – Discounted Tickets

On Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 1:00 p.m., the Tennessee Performing Arts

Center will offer Audio Description for Motown the Musical, inspired by the true

story of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Tickets for $25 are now on hold for

patrons who use audio description and their companions.  Please buy your

tickets by Friday, January 29, to take advantage of this special offer, a $25



Berry Gordy discovered, developed, and launched the careers of Diana Ross and

The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin

Gaye, Michael Jackson, and other legendary artists who dramatically influenced

American music and culture.  The company had its first hit record in 1960;

between 1961 and 1871, Motown landed 163 singles on Billboard’s top 20,

including 28 songs that reached #1. The 66 songs in the show (mostly excerpts)

include:  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I Hear a Symphony, I Heard it Through

the Grapevine, My Girl, My Guy, Please, Mr. Postman, You’re Nobody ‘Til

Somebody Loves You, and You’ve Really Got a Hold on me. Reviews include “A

big, jubilant musical loaded with great singers, tons of energy and dozens of

classic Motown roof-raisers” in Variety and “A celebration of music that

transformed America” on CBS Sunday Morning.


Running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes, with one intermission.


Tickets in Row P of the tier are $25 each, a $25 discount, and are now on hold for

patrons who use audio description and their companions. Please remember to

purchase your tickets by Friday, January 29, to take advantage of this special

offer. Call TPAC at 615-782-4000 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through

Friday, and ask for Rick Forshee.


Your tickets and headsets for Motown the Musical will be at the accessible

services table near the elevator in the Jackson lobby, convenient to the marquee

entrance at the corner of 6thAvenue and Deaderick Street. Braille and large-print

programs are available.  Pre-show notes will begin at 12:40 p.m.


Please contact me if you have questions or concerns.


Hope to see you soon at TPAC,




Lori Ward

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

PO Box 190660 – 505 Deaderick Street

Nashville, Tennessee 37219



2015-16 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC

1:00 Sunday matinees with audio description


Matilda The Musical – January 31, 2016

The deadline to purchase tickets for Matilda at the discount price will be Friday,

January 8


Motown The Musical –February 21, 2016

The deadline to purchase tickets for Motown at the discount price will be Friday,

January 29


The Phantom of the Opera – March 13, 2016

The deadline to purchase tickets for Phantom of the Opera at the discount price

will be Friday, February 26


The Bridges of Madison County –May 15, 2016

The deadline to purchase tickets for Bridges of Madison County at the discount

price will be Friday, April 22


If/Then – June 7 to June 12, 2016

The deadline to purchase tickets for If/Then at the discount price will be Friday,

May 20



The Tennessee Voice Volume 1, Winter 2016 , Edited by Steve Norman and April Meredith, Distributed by email and Braille by the National Federation of the Blined of Tennessee. James Brown, President

4 1 1 3 Tea Garden Way

Antioch, TN 3 7 0 1 3

Telephone:  6 1 5, 4 1 2, 9 6 3 2

email address:   president at nfb, dash

website address:  www.nfb dash

Letters to the president, address changes, and subscription requests should be sent to

Articles for the Tennessee Voice and letters to the editor may also be sent to

Thank you for your interest and support. By donating to the NFB of Tennessee , you can help make a significant difference in the lives of blind people across the great state of Tennessee .


Please make checks payable to NFB of TN and send them to

National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee
4 1 1 3 Tea Garden Way
Antioch, TN 3 7 0 1 3

The National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee is a non-profit organization of the blind working together to improve the quality of life for all blind people in Tennessee.