ABLE Accounts Now Available

Individuals with developmental disabilities in Texas can now set up ABLE financial accounts. These accounts allow people with disabilities to save money for disability-related financial expenses without fear of losing state or federal benefits such as Medicaid and SSDI. In order to be eligible for an ABLE account you have to have a developmental disability that was diagnosed before the age of 26.

For more information about ABLE accounts:
• read the FAQ: https://www.texasable.org/faqs/
• visit the website: TexasABLE.org
• call for information at 844-489-2253; or
• send an email to: customerservice@TexasABLE.org

Campaign for Disability Employment Social Media Effort

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) has started a social media effort to show people with disabilities at work. Post a picture of yourself at work on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) with the hashtag #ICanCDE.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the CDE is a collaborative effort among several disability and business organizations that is working to change attitudes about disability and employment.

Show the world what you can do!

For more information, visit https://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/news/.

Austin’s Capital Metro Needs Blind Testers

Capital Metro is currently testing new smart beacon technology, which will help fixed route passengers who are blind or visually impaired locate bus stops.

If you are interested in being a tester, please click on this link to complete a survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/THH7CHM

Testers will need a smart phone that can download and install the BlindSquare app. The app is available on iOS devices including Apple phones and iPads.

Books About Wildlife and the True Meaning of Spring

Winter is over, and spring is finally here. People are starting to plan trips to parks, hiking spots, public pools, or just making time to sun themselves in their back yards. Spring fun also has a lot to do with experiencing wildlife, but even if we’re outdoor-types there are only so many kinds of animals we get to have contact with, especially if we live in a city. Most of us don’t get to pet a littler of wolf-pups or witness a band of wild horses, but thankfully we can read about them. Experience spring fully by checking out these wonderful books about animals, their life-cycle, and their environment.

WILD THINGS, WILD PLACES: ADVENTUROUS TALES OF WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION ON PLANET EARTH by JANE ALEXANDER  DB   86016

Actress, conservationist, and author of Command Performance (DB 51526) examines the field of animal conservation. Discusses scientists researching the animals and their environments, her own travels to locations, and efforts to preserve conditions for the flourishing of future generations, both human and animal. Commercial audiobook. 2016.

FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS: RESCUING HUMMINGBIRDS IN HOLLYWOOD by TERESA E. MASEAR        DB   85238

Hummingbird rescue-and-rehabilitation organizer recounts a five-month period in 2008 when she took in 160 birds. Describes the lessons she learned from individual birds, particularly Gabriel and Pepper, male and female Anna’s, who came in a month apart and developed a bond. 2015.

CALL OF THE OSPREY by DOROTHY HINSHAW PATENT       DB   82388

Follows a crew of scientists who are involved in the Montana Osprey Project–which studies the effects of mercury pollution on wildlife and humans. Highlights observations from spying on the raptors with several strategically placed webcams and the continuing research efforts aimed at better understanding of environmental problems. For grades 6-9. 2015

SECRET WORLD OF RED WOLVES: THE FIGHT TO SAVE NORTH AMERICA’S OTHER WOLF by T. DELENE BEELAND       DB   82537

Examination of conservation efforts for the red wolf. Discusses the status of the red wolf population in the early twenty-first century, their natural history, and a prognosis for their future. Profiles research studies and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program in North Carolina. 2013.

WILD HORSE SCIENTISTS by KAY FRYDENBORG         DB   76337

Discusses wild horses that reside on Assateague Island National Seashore, a barrier island between Virginia and Maryland. Details their diet, physical characteristics, life cycles, and behavior, including their interactions with humans. Explains the steps taken to control overpopulation. Contains a glossary and resources. For grades 5-8 and older readers. 2012.

ELEPHANT WHISPERER: MY LIFE WITH THE HERD IN THE AFRICAN WILD by LAWRENCE ANTHONY    DB 85906

Conservationist relates his experiences caring for a rogue herd of elephants on his South African game reserve. Describes his misgivings in accepting them, challenges faced with both the herd and local communities, lessons learned from individual elephants, and the joys and sorrows he encountered. 2009.

VOICES IN THE OCEAN: A JOURNEY INTO THE WILD AND HAUNTING WORLD OF DOLPHINS by SUSAN CASEY   DB 82327

Recounts author’s two-year global adventure exploring the nature of dolphins and their interactions with humans. Examines the careers of others who work with dolphins and communities in which dolphins play interesting roles. Discusses how they are mistreated by the captivity industry. Commercial audiobook. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2010.

TIGER: A TRUE STORY OF VENGEANCE AND SURVIVAL by JOHN VAILLANT      DB 74579
Nature writer follows a government tiger-control team as it pursues an endangered Siberian tiger, which had killed a poacher, through Russia’s far east in the winter of 1997. Explores the beauty of the setting, the tiger’s strength, and the political and geographical forces that shaped this remote region. 2010.

ELEPHANT TALK: THE SURPRISING SCIENCE OF ELEPHANT COMMUNICATION by ANN DOWNER   DB 73966
Discusses elephant evolution, society, and body language. Explains field researchers’ use of observation and high-tech recording equipment to shed light on the role communication plays in the herd. Includes facts about the elephant’s status as an endangered species. For grades 5-8 and older readers. 2011.

Seniors Without Walls

Seniors Without Walls is a free telephone and web-based service that offers a wealth of programs for persons aged 60 and older. More than 70 programs are available, in categories such as fun and games, conversation, languages, philosophy and religion, meditation, arts, reading, writing, special interest, supportive groups, health and wellness, etc. A few groups are available in Spanish. Sessions run from thirty minutes to an hour. Seniors Without Walls is a California-based program that now has more than 1000 participants in 35 states. The service is a great resource for seniors wanting phone and online interaction, continuing education, and entertainment.

For more information, please call 877-797-7299 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time) or visit www.seniorswithoutwalls.org

#SidebySideTX–Celebrate Developmental Disabilities Month

There’s only a few days left in the month of March, but still time to participate in the #SidebySideTX social media to celebrate Developmental Disabilities month. Here’s what you do:
1. Use your phone or camera to take a photo or short video of you and another person or a group of people participating in activities in your community, side-by-side.
2. Add the photo or video to your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
3. Include the hashtag #SideBySideTX and post your photo or video.
For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.tcdd.texas.gov/resources/side-by-side-texas/

Books to sharpen your self-reliance skills

When we need something — food, clothes, tools, fuel -pretty much anything, we go buy it or we order it on-line. As a society we buy enormous amounts of stuff to cover every necessity and satisfy every desire. Have you asked yourself: what if we were suddenly unable to purchase the things we want or need? Our great-grandparents probably did not see that as an insurmountable problem because they had skills that made them, if not completely autonomous, a lot less reliant on having to buy things; but most of us have forgotten that knowledge.

Fortunately, we can still get some of that information from books, and we have some of them at TBP. Our titles instruct on forgotten skills like surviving in the wild, growing and preserving food, keeping animals, and making some of your own stuff. Check out these titles and you’ll never ever need to purchase anything again! Just kidding; you’ll still need to buy stuff, but you’ll learn useful info and maybe you’ll save some bucks in the process.

SELF-SUFFICIENT GARDENER: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO GROWING AND PRESERVING All YOUR OWN FOOD by JOHN SEYMOUR    DB   21141

Includes vegetables, fruits, and herbs and provides information on soil, climate, cultivation, pests and diseases, harvesting, and storing. Also explains how to salt, dry, pickle, can, or freeze produce.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN OLD RED SHOE? A GREEN ACTIVITY BOOK ABOUT REUSE by ALTER, ANNA   DB   69070

Suggests projects kids and adults can do together to recycle everyday objects–a leftover flip-flop; a worn-out T-shirt, blanket, or shower curtain; tin cans–and turn them into something new. An old red shoe becomes a flower-pot container. Includes general tips on reuse and recycling to prevent waste. For grades 2-4.

MADE FROM SCRATCH: DISCOVERING THE PLEASURES OF A HANDMADE LIFE by JENNA WOGINRICH      DB 68581

Woginrich, a young web designer and homestead blogger, provides suggestions for adopting a self-sufficient lifestyle. She discusses keeping chickens, bees, and rabbits; putting house dogs to work; growing and making food; acquiring old, but useful, items; and making clothing and music. Includes recipes.

LOST ART OF READING NATURE’S SIGNS: USE OUTDOOR CLUES TO FIND YOUR WAY, PREDICT THE WEATHER, LOCATE WATER, TRACK ANIMALS–AND OTHER FORGOTTEN SKILLS by TRISTAN GOOLEY           DB 83474

Professional navigator and travel company executive shares the tips and tricks he has learned over his twenty years of experience about orienting yourself in both urban and rural environments using nature’s clues. Includes information on using your senses, identifying landmarks big and small, and ways different environments affect indicators.

HOW TO SH*T IN THE WOODS: AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND APPROACH TO A LOST ART by KATHLEEN MEYER  DB   31791

The author, a long-time outdoors-woman, offers advice on how to relieve oneself when conventional restrooms are unavailable.  Meyer explains not only how to do it with dignity and comfort, but also with environmental awareness.  She includes a chapter especially for women.

ABOMAN’S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL AND SELF-RELIANCE: PRACTICAL SKILLS FOR INTERESTING TIMES by JOSEPH A. BIGLEY     DB 56439

Advice on how to deal with challenges presented by unexpected equipment breakdowns, weather disasters, and other such events. The manual contains information on preparing for emergencies, troubleshooting household problems, and maintaining health through alternative medicine and herbal remedies. Also highlights wilderness survival skills.

CHEAPSKATE NEXT DOOR: THE SURPRISING SECRETS OF AMERICANS
LIVING HAPPILY BELOW THEIR MEANS by JEFF YEAGER DB 72384

Provides practical advice and tips on ways to live on less than you earn. Suggests a change in attitude about money, possessions, and life.

Transportation Survey Available for A Limited Time

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has an online survey available for the next few weeks. This survey is intended for persons with visual impairments to learn more about their transportation needs, and what types of transportation they currently use. The survey takes about fifteen minutes to complete.

This mobility needs survey is available at: https://goo.gl/JSBbtE

MARCH 2018 BOOK CLUB TITLE ANNOUNCED!

Please join us on Tuesday, March 20 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our Book Club discussion of HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS, by J. D. Vance (DB   85796, LB   08948).

Cover of Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call.  All you need to participate is a telephone!

To RSVP call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605.  or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.  (RSVP preferred by January 4.)

HILLBILLY ELEGY is available by mail in digital cartridge or large print formats.  It is also available to download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge, large print book, or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS

J. D. Vance

DB 85796, LB 08948

Memoir of growing up in the Ohio Rust Belt in a family culture rooted in Scots-Irish Appalachia. Explores political themes affecting these community cultures through the lens of personal and familial experiences. Discusses what it took to go from nearly failing high school to graduating from Yale Law School. Some strong language.  Bestseller.  2016.

We look forward to having you join us on Tuesday, March 20th!

TBP Poetry Contest Winners Announced

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 TBP Poetry contest. Thank you to all that participated in the first TBP poetry contest. We received a range of poems–some were happy, some were sad, and some were touching.

Choosing the winners was not an easy task. In the end, the judgment came down to the poets’ originality, style, structure and impact. The judges were blown away by the talent and creativity they received from you, our patrons.

The winners are:
Category 1 (Ages 0- 10): Xiomara Gilliam with “A Cat Who Could Jump”
Category 3 (Ages 19 and Up): Barbary Wright with “Now We Are Ninety”
Category 3 (Ages 19 and Up): Tiffany Chartier with “One Cowboy’s End”

Job well done!

A Cat Who Could Jump by Xiomara Grace Gilliam
There once was a cat who could jump.
He could jump high over a bump.
He fell on his head
And thought he was dead
But all that was there was a lump.

NOW WE ARE NINETY by Barbara M. Wright
God brought us together, by His hand from above,
From the moment we met, we were in love.
Loneliness gone, a new life together,
His hand in mine, we learned from each other.

We are seventy-two and ripe for adventure,
He made me smile as we sang, and we danced,
He was the builder, with saw and a hammer,
I was his helper, standing by with the measure.

Day by day, year by year, our love grew stronger,
Until the day came when he could remember no longer.
Each time I am with him, he asks again and again,
“Why can’t I go home, oh please tell me when.”

Now, our bodies are frail, our sight growing dim,
Yet my love is no less than when I married him.
“What’s the matter with me?” words that tear at my heart.
“You love me no more, or we would not be apart”.

Most of his past and the people he knew,
Like a fog rolling in, seem to have vanished from view.
Oh God, if it you hear me, please call my love home,
I don’t want to die first and leave him alone.

One Cowboy’s End by Tiffany K. Chartier
Tree stumps circle around the old stone fire pit;
Tall grass rides up the boots of those who sit.
Stories are shared with an air of pride,
as the fire swells and the night hides.
Critters on the outskirts stop to listen,
but the cowboys see their eyes a ‘glisten.
The shrouded unknown is haunting;
yes, to all creatures – fear is the most daunting.
That is what, after all, boosts the tales,
around all old stone fire pits around the trails.
So long as the faithful fires keep a ‘swellin;
the sins of the cowboys will remain engulfed with their hellin’.
No one will notice the fear in their eyes;
except, perhaps, for that one fearless critter…right before one cowboy dies.