I’d like to invite and encourage all to take a moment to read this wonderfully informational newsletter from the GDUI Announcements Email List.

Whether you’re a guide dog user, blind, or sighted, there are things in the following announcements which will most assuredly benefit you.

Thanks to Penny Reader, GDUI and ACB for making all this possible. You’re doing a fabulous job.




Dear GDUI Members and Friends,


Welcome to the season of frosty mornings, pumpkin spiced everything, and holiday preparations! Winter temperatures have arrived here in the mid-Atlantic, I Had to put on another cozy layer before sitting down at my computer to write this announcement! Of course, Willow is loving these freezing temperatures, and that’s a good thing since we still have a number of months of cold weather to look forward to.


While you’re checking items off your Thanksgiving to-do list next Saturday afternoon, we hope you’ll take a break with us and attend our next GDUI Board Meeting! Here’s all the information you’ll need to connect with us via Zoom:


Guide Dog Users, Inc. is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: GDUI Board Meeting

Time: Nov 23, 2019 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting


One tap mobile

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+17207072699,,562675137# US (Denver)


Dial by your location

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 720 707 2699 US (Denver)

Meeting ID: 562 675 137


Find your local number:




In GDUI we are proud of all the services we offer to our members and the blindness community in general. Our team of Empathizers, led by Audrey Gunter,  can help you solve problems, offer advice, or just lend a listening ear when all you need is someone who can listen without judgment or negativity. Our dogs can bring so much pleasure into our lives, but there are those occasional times when things don’t go well, family members or friends aren’t as understanding or accepting as we would wish, or illness strikes, or retirement looms.

Please don’t hesitate to call us on our toll-free number, 866.799.8436 when you need someone who has experienced day-to-day life with a guide dog at their side, to talk with and respond with kindness and understanding.




Our mission also includes sharing information with all of you, and GDUI vehicles for doing this include these announcements, PawTracks, which will soon be made available via several exciting new distribution mechanisms, and, of course, the GDUI Juno Report! Welcome back, Juno! Our new PawTracks editor is working hard on her first issue, and we’re looking forward to distributing that in early December. There’s a lot to coordinate when you start a new job – which incidentally involves travel and conference participation – renewing your commitment to serving as GDUI Convention Coordinator, and taking on the responsibilities of PawTracks’ editor, all during a single month! (Just ask Andrea, we’re sure she’ll elaborate … when and if she has a chance to take an extra breath!) Meanwhile, if you have articles, poems, letters, or any other written contributions for upcoming issues of PawTracks, please send them along to:





Have you checked out the November GDUI Juno Report yet? Yes, it’s already there, waiting for your enjoyment, on ACB Radio and as an ACB Radio podcast! Thanks again to GDUI Juno Report host extraordinaire, Deb Cook Lewis, we love the November program! November’s issue features a replay of one of our most informative GDUI convention program sessions, “Stop, Look, and Listen: Pedestrian Safety!” If you couldn’t attend our convention, we know you will find the presentation so useful, and even if you were there, you may want to have another listen, to refresh your memory and to learn about all of the innovative steps our guide dog schools are taking to assure the competence of our dogs and our teams, to remind drivers of our likely presence in crosswalks and at bus stops, TO ADVOCATE WITH TRAFFIC ENGINEERS AND OTHER COMMUNITY PLANNERS, and to investigate other ways of making us visible and safe. Certainly, all of us are aware of continually changing circumstances that seem to conspire to make even familiar pedestrian environments far more challenging than they used to be, and sometimes completely unsafe for those of us who rely on guide dogs for independence and safety. Topics that were addressed by attendees and our panelists included shared spaces where traffic and pedestrians travel on surfaces that offer no delineation between streets and sidewalks, an increasing presence of bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters in our pedestrian environments, more silent vehicles and new cars which, despite being powered by combustion engines,  stop making noise when a driver is waiting for the traffic light to change.

Thanks again to Andrea and Vicki and the GDUI convention committee for planning this extremely useful convention session, to all of our presenters, to the ACB Radio guys who made the recording available for us, and to Deb for converting the recording for our November GDUI Juno Report.


The GDUI Juno Report airs on ACB Radio Mainstream on Thursdays at 4:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 4:00 PM, and 7:00 PM (eastern). It also plays on Sunday at 9:00 PM and Monday at 12:00 AM, 9:00 AM, and 12:00 PM. A direct link to the podcast feed is:

To subscribe in iTunes:




Is Accessible Transportation one of your passions?

As guide dog users and people who are blind, we are in good hands, just knowing that Sheila Styron, a past GDUI president and long-time guide dog user, was recently appointed to chair the ACB Transportation Committee. ACB’s committee structure is changing. Moving forward, with familiar committees now operating as part of 9 broader but related categories, the Transportation Committee now falls under the umbrella of advocacy services, which is overseen by former ACB Transportation Committee Chair, Ron Brooks. To help assemble a strong committee with an appropriate balance of qualifications, knowledge  and experience, whose members can devote a substantial amount of time and effort to the work of the committee, ACB created a questionnaire which all who may want to volunteer for the Transportation Committee need to complete.


Please copy the questions below into an e-mail, respond to them, and then submit the completed survey to Sheila as soon as possible. The questions follow:


Please briefly describe why you wish to serve on the ACB Transportation Committee.

What transportation-related knowledge, qualifications and/or experience will you bring to the work of this committee?

Please describe any experience you have serving on local, regional, state or national transportation-related advisory groups, committees or Boards. List the name of the group, summarize its purpose or work, and specify the length of time you spent as a member.

Please describe any other experience you have serving on working groups, committees, Boards or other organizations–either inside or outside ACB. List the name of the group, summarize its purpose or work, and specify the length of time you have spent as a member.

Finally, As a member of ACB’s transportation committee, what would you be most interested in working on, and where do you see yourself being most effective? — For example but not limited to  bus, light rail, paratransit, the new mobility paradigm, regs, providing training and advocacy support. We will be forming subcommittees which will operate between our monthly meetings, allowing the committee as a whole to benefit from your particular interests and expertise.


Submit the completed questionnaire to Sheila Styron here:


If you have questions, contact Sheila, Ron ( ), or ACB President, Dan Spoone (




Are you interested in working on other blindness-related issues? The ACB Advocacy Committee will host a call open to all ACB members and friends on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 8:00 – 9:30 pm, ET, or 5:00 –

6:30 pm, PT. The purpose of this call is to share the work of the ACB Advocacy Program with the ACB membership, and provide members with a forum to raise additional issues. The meeting will be hosted on the Zoom Meeting platform. To join, please follow the conference instructions below:

Zoom meeting.

Topic: Advocacy Committee Open Call

Time: Nov 20, 2019 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 362 461 956

Password: 081422


One tap mobile

+16465588656,,362461956# US (New York)

+17207072699,,362461956# US (Denver)


Dial by your location

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 720 707 2699 US (Denver)

Meeting ID: 362 461 956


Find your local number:




Do you and  your guide dog sometimes travel in the companionship of AIRA? If so, you need to be aware of AIRA’s Revised Street-Crossing Policy. Here’s an explanatory message from AIRA, which can also be downloaded at this link:



In the past, the Street-Crossing Policy for Aira agents was to provide descriptions of intersections and then to remain absolutely silent while the Explorer crossed the street, regardless of whether the Explorer asked for information or assistance while crossing, or if they started to veer.


The policy was created through a joint effort between Aira, Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialists, and organizational leaders from the likes of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB). To ensure that Explorers were free to use their O&M skills without any distractions, it was decided that agents would remain absolutely silent to avoid any kind of negative impact from situational awareness.


After collecting over 4 years’ feedback, learning from it, and speaking with O&M specialists and industry leaders, Aira has updated its long-standing policy.


The New Street-Crossing Policy

Aira agents will now provide minimal, relevant information to Explorers who are actively crossing an intersection when prompted by an Explorer and when circumstances change during the crossing.


So, what exactly does this mean? Agents will continue to provide full descriptions of an intersection as an Explorer approaches it. Once the Explorer reaches the corner and the agent has finished describing the intersection, instead of saying, “I will remain silent until you have finished crossing,” the agent will stay silent to give the Explorer the opportunity to ask for any additional details or to begin listening to their surroundings.


At this point, if an Explorer asks an agent to provide specific information relevant to the intersection (like, “Let me know if I start to veer,”) they will do so. If an Explorer requests information while actively crossing an intersection, or if circumstances change during the crossing, then the agent must provide this information while the Explorer crosses the street.


If circumstances change while an Explorer is crossing the street, an agent is allowed to speak and share relevant information such as, but not limited to:


If an Explorer is veering out of the crosswalk; If an Explorer is veering toward traffic or an active roadway;  If an Explorer or their Guide Dog is crossing an intersection diagonally;  If a new obstacle (something not seen during the description of the intersection provided prior to crossing) has entered the Explorer’s path.


Please remember that agents can provide information only  on what can be clearly seen through their dashboard video feed. If an agent cannot see the information requested, they will say so.


If an Explorer would prefer to have the agent remain completely silent while crossing a street, simply inform the agent and they will not provide any additional information.


The information Explorers will receive while crossing an intersection will be brief and descriptive and only about the task at hand. Once on the curb on the other side of the street, regular conversation may resume.




We encourage all who can to attend The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and Travelers with Disabilities Webinar, Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at

2:00 PM Eastern Time Zone.


Description: The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA) prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities.

Join the Great Lakes ADA Center as their speaker from the U.S.

Department of Transportation (DOT) discusses the final statement of enforcement priorities for service animals under the ACAA. The session will also address the role the Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings has in enforcing the ACAA. Following the presentation participants will have an opportunity to ask the presenter questions about the ACAA requirements.


Speaker: Robert M Gorman,

Senior Trial Attorney,

Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, C-70, U.S. Department of Transportation


Link to Register:


Volunteers Needed For An Online Research Survey regarding crossing streets!

Are you blind or having severe visual impairment? If so, your input is needed for a survey on street crossing techniques. You will need approximately an hour to complete the survey, and, if you complete the survey, you will be compensated with a $25 VISA gift card.

Participants must be 18 years of age or older.


Contact Dr. Gluer Arsal for more information:



316.440.1528 (office);

316.730.0384 (mobile)


Access the survey here:


The research is funded by Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired (




Are you interested in a career in acting? Here’s an exciting

opportunity from the Access Acting Academy, which recently   announced

that they are now accepting applications for their flagship, 1st-of-its-kind, 5-week Professional Actor Training Program specifically for blind, low vision and visually impaired actors and future artistic change-makers. They are offering this 5-week training program tuition free. Friend of ACB and actress Marilee Talkington is the founder and Executive Director of the academy.


This program is for beginners, early to mid-career professionals and those that may have acted then experienced vision loss and are eager to integrate their new perception and reclaim their artistic agency.


Actor training of this master-level caliber and level of accessibility has never been available before. Now is the time for this profoundly rich and untapped talent to be cultivated, collaborated with, and realized.


Program Dates: January 6-February  7, 2020


Tuition: FREE (housing and travel not included)


Class Size: 12


Deadline to Apply: November  30 2019


To find out more about the program and how to apply go to:





Attention, College Students and Entering Freshmen! The American Council of the Blind has a great opportunity for students who are legally blind to earn a scholarship, whether you are ATTENDING a technical college, OR IF YOU’RE AN entering freshman, undergraduate or a graduate student. More than $55,000 in scholarships is awarded to students each year. To be eligible, you need to be legally blind, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and be involved in your school AND local community.


As a scholarship winner, you will experience firsthand ACB’s national conference and convention in July, where you will meet other students who share the same life experiences, create lasting friendships, and network with individuals who understand what you are going through and can help you ALONG your journey.


Applications for the 2020-2021 school year can be submitted online from Friday, November 1, 2019, to Friday, February 14, 2020 11:59pm (CST).


All interested candidates must register for a new ACB account prior to submitting a scholarship application online.

Visit this link to register: .


After your account request has been approved you WILL receive an email containing a link to complete the scholarship application.

Please note, the approval process can take up to three business days.


For more information, please contact Nancy Feela in the ACB National Office at 612.332.3242 or toll-free, 800.866.3242.  We look forward to receiving your application materials.




Can you help a graduate student with his thesis research on smart-phone use? Remember, lots of the innovative assistive products we enjoy today had their genesis inside graduate school classrooms and labs and the imaginations of clever graduate students! Here’s his



My name is Gonçalo, and I’m developing a thesis in the field of smartphones accessibility. I’m developing an application which is meant to provide a “bridge” between a sighted user and a blind user, to assist with doing some tasks with the smartphone.


One of the phases of my research is characterization of the current state of remote assistance. If you could help me by filling out a questionnaire, it would be very useful to my data collection. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to complete the survey.


The link to the questionnaire is


Thank you very much for your help.




Phfew! If you’ve made it this far, thinking about crossing streets, boarding planes, attending webinars and meetings, changing careers, joining committees, going to college, and helping grad students, … like me, you are probably thinking about taking a break and cuddling up with your pup and reading a good book! What? You don’t know what to read or where to find it? We have just the solution for you! Here’s a message from our good friend, Will Burley:

Dear all,

SAVE THE Date!  Blind LGBT Pride international is inviting you to its scheduled Fall BPI Book Share event!


Start pulling out the  best books you’ve read this year, And prepare to tell us why you loved them  so much!  Whether it’s romance, thriller, biography, mystery or anything in-between, we want to hear from you!


We just ask that your choice be found on the National Library Service, (NLS), Audible, iBooks, Book Share or Kindle platform, so that other bookworms like you can access the books for themselves.


For any questions about this event, please reach out to BPI’s Membership Committee at  or call 713.614.3322 and speak to Will Burley.


How to participate

Topic: BPI Fall Book Share

Time: Dec 11, 2019 8:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM CT, 6:PM MT and 5:00 PM PT (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 130 405 554


One tap mobile

+16699006833,,130405554# US (San Jose)

+16465588656,,130405554# US (New York)


Dial by your location

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 130 405 554


Find your local number:

See you there!

Will Burley


Now I just have to figure out which out of all the books I read this year was my favorite! Was it “Where the Crawdads Sing,” or “The World that we Knew,” “Summer of 69,””A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World,” or “Save Me the Plums?” Maybe it will turn out to be the dystopian novel I’m reading right now,” The Lightest Object in the Universe.” Which titles will you bring to the December gathering?


No matter where you seek your pleasures in coming weeks, on frosty morning walks, or cuddled up with your guide dog and a good book, or cooking and enjoying the Thanksgiving feast, or sharing time with family and friends – or all of the above! – stay safe, keep warm, and thank you for your friendship and support.



Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog users, Inc.


Maria Hansen, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Visit our web site: Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436 Our Facebook page can be accessed at , our Facebook group can be accessed at

, and our Twitter timeline can be accessed at


Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:


Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at


SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:


To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:



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