of the

San Mateo County Council of the Blind


October 2001 Vol. 2 No. 7


President's Message: By Frank Welte

As the annual autumn season begins, we must all set aside the amusements of summer and return with renewed energy to the busy routines of life. Like many other students I am immersed in the rigors of a varied schedule of classes. Fortunately, I was able to take the time to attend an important public meeting on the subject of Caltrain fare collection policies that took place September 19.

As you already may know, Caltrain has begun enforcing their policy of charging a dollar surcharge on all tickets purchased on the trains. However, Caltrain is considering raising the surcharge to three dollars in the future to encourage more people to buy their train tickets from the vending machines that have been installed in all the Caltrain stations.

Speaking on behalf of our local blind community I expressed the belief that the new machines may present problems to the visually impaired travelers because the ticket machines could be difficult to find for those individuals who are not familiar with the layout of the train stations. Also, the machines, while they do provide spoken instructions to ticket buyers and bearing some Braille and tactile markings on their controls, can be slow to operate for those who don't use the machines regularly. We must have the decision-makers consider this problem.

Several other people spoke up during the meeting. They discussed problems the machines presented for visually impaired Caltrain riders including; difficulty in seeing instructions on the machines due to glare from the sun, lack of access to instructions for those who don't speak English or Spanish, and problems with machines being out of order. The comments indicated an awareness of the access needs of people with disabilities by other members of our communities. Time will tell if Caltrain officials consider the public concerns. This theme of community input on transit was the order of the day at the September meeting of the San Mateo County Council of the Blind, held on September 8, when we engaged in a lively focus group discussion of the transportation concerns of blind people. The discussion was moderated ably by one of our members Gerda Cohn along with Katy Rhoades.

Please make a point to join us for our next monthly SMCCB meeting that will take place on Saturday, October 6, at 11:30 AM. Our speaker this month will be Linda Johnson, a counselor who works at the Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Linda also does outreach work with Guide Dogs for the Blind, and she will tell us about the latest developments at this famous guide dog school that is located in San Rafael.

Mark your calendar for our November meeting which will be on Saturday, November 17. We're making this change to our normal meeting schedule to accommodate those of us who will be attending the convention of the California Council of the Blind in Los Angeles during the first week-end in November and the Veterans Day holiday on the following week-end. We hope you're enjoying the later starting time for our meetings, and thus make attendance easier.

Several worthy organizations in our blind community are engaged in fund-raisers that you may wish to support. Those of us who attended our September meeting already know that the CCB is holding a raffle. The drawing will take place during the state convention in November. There will be several prizes awarded included a grand prize of $500. Thirty percent of the value of tickets sold by SMCCB will be returned to our chapter and the remainder of the proceeds will go to CCB.

Sierra Regional Ski For Light is a Sacramento-based charity that organizes cross-country ski outings for blind folks. It sells Entertainment coupon books as a fund-raiser. Our sister chapter, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, has several fund raisers including a drawing for a portable stereo system and artwork, selling print/ Braille calendars, and more. Please contact me for further information about these fund-raisers.

Remember that the San Mateo County Council of the Blind meets at the Bank of America branch at El Camino Real and 3rd Avenue in downtown San Mateo on the first Saturday of the month at 11:30 AM. Contact Frank Welte, president by calling: (650) 508-8329 or e-mail to:

[email protected].


American Red Cross Bay Area


Disasters can disrupt your water supply. You need to know where to find an emergency source of water and how to make it safe to drink.


An active adult needs at least 1/2 gallon of water a day. More water is needed for brushing teeth, bathing, and cleaning. Store as much as you can. A 3 days supply is a minimum.


Store tap water in clean beverage bottles so long as you have an airtight seal. Do not use containers that held fluids or materials that were not drinkable or edible.

Water can be bought in soft plastic containers or from water retailers in large 5 gallon hard plastic bottles. Other emergency sources are toilet reservoir tanks (not the bowl), so long as chemical disinfectants and cleaners have not been added; ice cubes, and hot water heaters. NOTE: To ensure your hot water heater survives an earthquake, secure it to the wall with metal strapping and heavy bolts.


Well-sealed containers can be kept at least a year. Mark containers with the current date and place in a cool, dark place. Replace soft plastic bottles within one year of the storage date.

CAUTION: Do not use bleach bottles and other containers that were not used for beverages; these are not food grade bottles and the plastic may slowly decompose into the water. Large 5 gallon hard plastic drinking bottles can be reused for several years. Plastic milk jugs with screw on tops are also inexpensive.


Water, cloudy or clear, that has been exposed to the air should be boiled vigorously for 10 minutes to kill bacteria. Water purification tablets are available at drug stores; follow directions on the label. Some Liquid Chlorine Bleaches can be used. Check the label; it should contain 5.25% hypochlorite to be effective in killing bacteria. Add to water using an eye-dropper. Stir. Wait 30 minutes before drinking.

For 1 gallon of clear water use 8 drops of bleach. For 5 gallons of clear water use a half teaspoon of bleach. If the water is cloudy, double the amount of bleach.

For more information call the EPA - Safe Water Hotline (800) 426-4791.

Source: EPA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Stock No. 202-717, LA form 974

Transport Resources for Blind/Visually Impaired in San Mateo Co.

By Pui Chan

Those with physical disabilities, including blindness, may use the services of Redi-Wheels, a division of Sam Trans. All of San Mateo County except Half Moon Bay is covered by Redi-Wheels. For an application, call 1-800-660-4287.

Half Moon Bay is served by the Coastside Opportunity Center at (650) 726 9071. Certain spots in San Francisco and Palo Alto are accessible by Redi-Wheels. On reaching San Francisco, one may travel by taxi at greatly reduced fares if one has signed up for the San Francisco Paratransit Taxi Scrip Program. For details of the Program, call (415) 351 7000.

Redi-Wheels clients wishing travel within Santa Clara County should inform Redi-Wheels when reserving their rides so connecting rides can be made with in advance with OUTREACH. It is the counterpart of Redi-Wheels in Santa Clara County. call (408) 436 2865 for paratransit services.

A disabled person who uses public transport may get a Regional Transit Connection Discount Card. It's a photo ID, to get reduced fares from public transport agencies, like BART, Sam Trans, Cal Train, AmTrack, AC Transit, Muni, etc.. To get the card, call 1-800-660-4287.

The Bulletin

San Mateo County Council of the Blind

Phil Kutner: Editor

1128 Tanglewood Way,

San Mateo, CA 94403