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News Is Not Good for Michigan’s Blind

In an effort to cut spending, the state of Michigan has decided to defund NFB-Newsline, a service that provides around the clock audio access to magazines and newspapers all over the world. Although more than 3,000 people subscribe to NFB-Newsline and it will save Michigan a mere $52,000, the state legislature has decided to eliminate it. The Daily Kos reports:

The costs of losing it are significant, though:

Georgia Kitchen of Flint, who is blind and volunteers as a state coordinator of Newsline, said the service provides blind people not just with news, but with leads on jobs through classified ads and information about things going on in the community.
Losing the service will make blind people “more isolated,” Kitchen said.

A spokesman for a state agency issued a statement suggesting there might be some hope, saying “An initial request to fund the new grant cycle was denied by the bureau,” but not that it was game over. For now, though, the service connecting 3,100 people to news, job leads, and what’s going on in their communities is slated to go silent at midnight Saturday.

The state’s inability to see the negative impact its decision would have on residents brings to mind the old adage of the blind leading the blind. Let’s hope, to use the spokesman’s word, NFB-Newsline isn’t cut and Michigan’s government opens its eyes.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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