Coping with impaired vision

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The way Jerry L. Lazarus sees it, too many vision-impaired seniors think losing their sight means living in total darkness.

"So many seniors who are losing their sight don't really know what to do," said Lazarus, special projects director for the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind. "Their families don't know what to do. There are seniors out there who need information and help."

The federation, which was founded in 1940 and moved to the city in 1978, will sponsor the 2004 Possibilities Fair Thursday at its new Jernigan Institute at 1800 Johnson St. in South Federal Hill. The event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature presentations by the organization and other sponsors on how these individuals can become more active.

"These are people who can no longer read a conventional newspaper," Lazarus said. They also may be suffering from such eye diseases as blindness, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, which affects the center of the eye. "Their vision is such that they are now looking for an alternative method of doing things."

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, executive director of NFB, will headline a list of seven speakers at the third annual event. Such organizations as the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, Blinded Veterans Association, Catholic Charities, Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and Maryland Optometric Association will be represented.

About 300 people attended last year's event.

Lazarus said the fair also seeks to make seniors more comfortable with their condition.

"Many seniors who are losing their vision are afraid to talk about it," Lazarus said. "They believe that people will end up looking down on them. We hope to show them that you can still accomplish things in your life, that you can enjoy life, that you can do things. Blind people can be successful, if given the opportunity to prove themselves."

The Possibilities Fair costs $15, which includes lunch. For more information, call 410-659-9314 or click here.

Other events include:

Monday TAPPI, a technical association for the pulp and paper industry, will hold its 2004 Coating and Graphic Arts Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center through Wednesday. For more information, call 800-332-8686 or click here.

Get tested for high blood pressure, cholesterol -- or check your glucose level at Maryland General Hospital's free health screenings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mondawmin Mall, 2301 Liberty Heights Ave. For more information, call 410-225-2000 or click here.

Tuesday The Greater Baltimore Committee will hold its annual meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency-Baltimore, 300 Light St. The organziation of regional business leaders also will present a tribute to longtime Baltimore Del. Howard P. Rawlings, who died last year. For more information, call 410-727-2820 or click here.

More than 1,200 people are expected at the Plant Engineering and Facilities Maintenance Show at the Baltimore Convention Center through Wednesday. To learn more, call 800-668-3908 or click here.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a "Small Office-Home Office Loan Workshop" at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Baltimore City Small Business Resource Center, 3 W. Baltimore St. For more information, call 410-692-6195 or click here.

Lee Meizlesh will lead a seminar on "Franchising: The Safe Business" from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Howard County Center for Business and Technology Development in Columbia. For more information, call 410-313-6550 or click here.

The Small Business Administration and SCORE are sponsoring a class on "How to Manage Your New Business" at the Big Vanilla Athletic Club in Arnold. For more information, call 410-266-9553, send an e-mail to Score390@aol.com or click here.

Wednesday Maryland Rep. Susan L.M. Aumann, R-Baltimore County, and other members of the Maryland General Assembly will discuss the impact of this past legislative session on Baltimore County businesses from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Loyola University Graduate Center, 2034 Greenspring Drive. For more information, call 410-771-5560 or click here.

The Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a brown bag networking lunch at noon at Huntington Learning Center, 9419 Common Brook Road. For more information, call 410-363-9667 or click here.

Thursday Learn how to improve medical research at the Tech Council of Maryland's "NIH Roadmap" at the Pooks Hill Marriott, 5151 Pooks Hill Road, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. For more information, call 240-453-6200 or click here.

The Maryland Small Business Development Center will sponsor "Procurement: Federal, State and Local" from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Howard County Center for Business and Technology Development in Columbia. For more information, call 410-313-6550 or click here.

Author Leonard W. Miller will discuss "The Challenges of an African-American in Motor Sports" at 6:15 p.m. at St. Paul's School for Girls in Brooklandville. For more information, call 410-986-0042 or visit the Baltimore Marketing Association online.

Friday The Tech Council of Maryland will sponsor "Contracting to NASA Goddard: Partnering with Primes and GSA's Federal Technology Service" at 7:30 a.m. at Capitol College in Laurel. Sandra N. Bates, commissioner of the Federal Technology Service and 15-year NASA employee, will lead a panel discussion. For more information, call 240-453-6200 or click here.

The West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce will present its "Power Breakfast" at 7:30 a.m. at the Chesapeake Beach Club, 500 Marina Club Road. For more information, call 410-672-3422 or visit them online.

Do you want to learn more about biotechnology, but don't know where to start? The Greater Baltimore Committee is holding a daylong seminar on the subject at the Columbus Center, 701 E. Pratt St. For more information on "BioFocus Briefing: Basic Biotech Training for Non-Science Professionals," call 410-377-4429 for click here.

Saturday The Baltimore City Cancer Plan, a program of the Johns Hopkins University, is offering free prostate screening from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Maryland, 1100 E. Fayette St. Longtime activist Dick Gregory and a showing of the movie "Barbershop" also will be featured. To learn more, call 410-955-1348 or click here.

Next week The World Trade Center Institute is holding its annual Embassy Day on May 25 at the Hyatt Regency-Baltimore, 300 Light St. Diplomats representing more than 75 nations will discuss opportunities in agribusiness, medicine, security, defense and other areas. For more information, call 410-576-0022 or click here.

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