GCB Digest Spring 2008 (Text Version)
The GCB Digest
A publication of the
Georgia Council of the Blind,
An affiliate of the
American Council of the Blind
An organization promoting a hand up, not a hand out!
President: Alice Ritchhart
125 Willow Pond Way
Brunswick, GA 31525
912-261-9833, Toll Free: 877-667-6815
Editor: Ann Sims, 3361 Whitney Avenue
Hapeville, GA 30354, 404-767-1792
Assistant Editor: Jerrie Ricks, 1307 Chester Place
McDonough, GA 30252, 770-898-9036;
GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire
Sunbright Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
President’s Message: by Alice Ritchhart --------- 3
2008 Legislative Report: by Alice Ritchhart ----- 6
Report From the Constitution and Bylaws
Committee: Submitted by Ann Sims ---------------- 8
Recreation and Education under the “STARS”:
by Adam Shapiro --------------------------------------- 11
2008 GCB Committees and Guidelines: --------- 13
Scholarship Information: by Debbie Williams --- 21
News Briefs: -------------------------------------------- 21
Chapter News Roundup: ---------------------------- 25
Announcements: ------------------------------------- 33
Step Up to the Plate
By Alice Ritchhart
With the events of this election year placing a spotlight on blind and low vision individuals, I am reminded of my favorite Robert Kennedy quote: "Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream of things that never were and say why not?" I and my fellow classmates at the Indianna School for the Blind believed in this statement so much that we adopted it for our class motto back in 1976.
With this motto in view, it is disappointing that it has taken us until 2008 to see these words become a reality with the swearing in of David Paterson as the Governor of New York, the first legally blind individual to become the leader of an executive office in government. Yes, there have been other blind individuals who have served in public office, but the number is small and not much is ever mentioned about these blind leaders. They include such people as Al Gore's grandfather who served in the U.S. Senate; a gentleman we met last summer who serves in the state legislative office in Minnesota; another gentleman we met during the legislative seminar this year from New Jersey who is running for congress; and our own GCB leader, Walter R. McDonald who served for over 40 years as Georgia's Public Service Commissioner in an elected post.
Why is it that these individuals served the public without so much scrutiny or fan fare about their blindness? Is it because they tried hiding their blindness for fear of what the general public would say? We know that many sighted people fear blindness, and so cannot fathom a blind person in a leadership role. In fact I had a call from a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution who wanted to know how a person who is blind could handle running for public office, let alone serve in such a position.
Maybe successful blind leaders have tried to hide their blindness because they have even feared what their legally blind brothers and sisters would say about them. Already on many of our ACB list, people are criticizing the newly appointed Governor of New York because he does not use braille or carry a cane. They say Governor Paterson is ashamed of his blindness. Yet he openly admits it and talks of the struggles to which many of us can relate of not belonging to the sighted world or the blind world because of our visual acuity. I find this amusing as our organization is supposed to be about acceptance of different levels of vision and the way we choose to live with it.
I would like to believe the reason successful blind leaders have not made such an issue about their vision is not because of fear, regardless of the source, but because they were confident of their own talents and abilities and therefore were persistent in the pursuit of their dream of public service in public office. Obviously, the best way for them to represent the blind community is not to put the focus on their blindness, but to do the best job they can while serving the public they represent.
I wish David Paterson and the other gentlemen well in their endeavors, because in the end the way they conduct themselves in their respective offices could impact what will happen to other blind individuals in the future. However, this is, of course, just a small part of how doors can be opened to individuals who are blind. The burden of the responsibility for failure or acceptance must lie on the shoulders of the blind person in pursuit of success.
The true hard facts are that not only are there just a few blind and low vision people in public office, but the number of people who are legally blind in the work force is just as disappointing. So again I ask is it because of the way the general public views us? Is it because we as blind people are not willing to take the steps necessary to succeed? I would tend to think it is a little of both. For so long our sighted peers have decided what is best for us from training to the types of jobs we hold. We as blind individuals have accepted this and just go along with the system or sit and complain hoping someone else will fix the problem. The truth is that the only way we will ever get ahead in the work place or in public office is if we ourselves step up to the plate to assure that we and the children of the future control those services necessary to provide us with the skills needed to make change. We need to ensure that braille and orientation & mobility training are available in our schools; we also need to make sure that there are separate services for all blind and low vision people by establishing a commission for the blind. Most importantly we must dream of things that currently do not exist and not just only ask why not, but take an active role to see that they come to pass. We will then know we have succeeded when a legally blind person is elected to a public office, and it is not the headline news or main topic on our list serves.
Georgia Council of the Blind
2008 Legislative Report
By Alice Ritchhart
As I write this report, we are half way through the legislative session. It has been a roller coaster ride for us this year in the session. As part of the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness, GCB helped introduce and support three (3) very important pieces of legislation. These included a bill to strengthen braille literacy, a budget proposal to add money to the bill passed last year calling for specialized services for the deaf-blind, and the most significant legislation, a bill to establish a commission for the blind.
The senate appropriations did put in a line item for the deaf-blind specialized services, but we do not know yet how much it provides or if the Governor will sign it as he is looking to cut 310 million dollars from the budget. We are asking for one million, but with the economy in a slump, whether or not we get it is anyone's guess. The Braille Literacy Bill was in committee, and we had not heard that it had got a pass out of committee, but on cross over day, which is the day that bills on each side of the House and Senate have to switch sides, the Braille Literacy Bill (HB 652) was brought up on the House floor and passed 146 to 14. It is now in the Senate and being sponsored by Senator Mullis.
We have not been so lucky with the Commission for the Blind Bill (SB 331). When it reached the committee and the first two speakers at the hearing who spoke were opposed, (Department of Labor DOL, and the Director of Georgia Public Library Services), the bill was sent to a sub-committee. The Senator who was chairing the committee did not understand what we were seeking and thought we wanted money. The problem was she was getting the commission bill mixed up with the request for funds for the deaf-blind issue. So she asked DOL to come back the next week with answers to her questions. She would not accept any comments from any other person than the Deputy Commissioner, Bobby Peck from DOL. This meeting took place the Wednesday before cross over day. Therefore, the bill is basically dead. What does this mean? Well, it means one of two things. We will either have to start from scratch next year, or we can try to find a bill in the Senate to which the commission bill can be attached. We are looking into the second scenario. We may even have found the perfect bill. So stay tuned, and I will update you in the next Digest to the final outcomes of all our legislative efforts.
There is one other important piece of legislation to which you need to be aware. There is a House Bill (HB 442) which calls for a one (1) cent sales tax for transportation. This tax will be used to maintain highway and road infrarstructure, but does also now contain provision to put some of those funds raised by the tax into public transit. If this bill passes, then we will have the opportunity to vote on it as a constitutional amendment in November. I would suggest that if it truly provides that some of these funds go to transit dollars, we support it as much as we hate another tax.
In closing let me thank each and everyone of you who have made trips to the Capitol when called upon or made calls to your representatives. Also take the time to call and thank Senator Regina Thomas, Representative Judy Manning & Barbara Reese as well as Senator Mullis.
Report From the Constitution and Bylaws Committee
Submitted by Ann Sims
At the last GCB board meeting held on January 26, 2008, all the proposed amendments passed. Thank you for your member participation. The GCB Constitution and Bylaws have been updated and are on the GCB Website, thanks to Steve Longmire and Jerrie Toney.
At the January 2008 board meeting, another proposed amendment was introduced and handed out to each board member to take back to his/her chapter and special interest affiliate to be read. If we have not received a report from your chapter president, the constitution and bylaws committee members will be contacting you at least two weeks prior to the next board meeting to get your vote for this proposed amendment. Then, at the next regular or called GCB board meeting, your vote will be counted along with the vote taken at that board meeting.
This proposed amendment is in the Bylaws and is introduced by Betsy Grenevitch, John M. Sims, and Ann Sims.
Article V: Officers and Directors
Section 6: Board Meetings
A. The board shall meet on the third Saturday in January, April, and October of each year, and immediately following each annual convention. Locations of meetings shall be determined by the board of directors. With the approval of a majority of the board of directors, the president may, if necessary, change the board meeting to another Saturday in the same month. Two-thirds (2/3) of the board must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any board meeting.
A. The board of directors shall meet on the third Saturday of the first month of each quarter except the quarter in which the convention takes place. For that fourth meeting, it should take place immediately following each annual convention. Locations of meetings shall be determined by the board of directors. With the approval of a majority of the board of directors, the president may, if necessary, change the board meeting to another Saturday in the same month. Two-thirds (2/3) of the board must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any board meeting.
With the convention planned for November this year, it would be better to change the October board meeting to July. For future, by not specifying the months, the organization is free to change time of convention without having to change the Bylaws. So, if the convention is moved back to July or August, the next board meeting after the convention would be in October, or if the convention is in April or May, the board meetings would then be in January, July and October.
Recreation and Education
Under the “STARS”
By Adam Shapiro
On the first Friday evening of each month, visually impaired youth gather at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta for an evening of recreation. This is only one of many activities offered by a program called STARS. STARS stands for Social, Therapeutic and Recreational Services, and is for visually impaired youth. The program is operated by CVI and is administered by Annie Maxwell who has held the position since 1993. STARS serves visually impaired youth from all over the state. The age range is from five to twenty-one years.
STARS participants can attend summer camp, play ball or go cycling or rafting. STARS offers more than recreation, however. "When I took over the program," Maxwell says, “hardly anybody was graduating with a diploma. They received a certificate of attendance. It got on my nerves." She began an after-school program that has increased the number of visually impaired high school graduates considerably.
STARS has used blind adults as mentors. This is yet another Maxwell innovation. The mentors enjoy the interaction with the STARS participants, and they have the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a difference. The youth learn what it could be like when they become adults.
Annie Maxwell is more than a mere administrator. She is the guiding force behind the program. She was born to a sharecropping family in Dawson, Georgia in 1946. "I kind of grew up on a farm just running around. My mother was one of these parents who just didn't know anything about blindness, so she just didn't let it bother her."
After graduating from the Georgia Academy for the Blind in 1964, Annie studied music at the New York Association for the Blind--otherwise known as the Lighthouse. She enjoyed her two years in the Big Apple, and the recreation program, run by the agency, had an influence on her later career.
College followed. She received a degree in English and secondary education from Morris Brown. Although she was advised that the teaching profession would not be a good job for her, she persuaded the Board of Education to let her intern at the Community Services for the Blind. This agency later became the Atlanta Area Services for the Blind and even later became the Center for the Visually Impaired. She worked as a braille instructor before deciding to take time off to raise her first child. She now has four children and she is a grandmother.
Annie became interested in recreation therapy while she was still at AASB. In 1987, she began taking classes at Georgia State University. Eventually, she received a Master's degree in recreation therapy. It is easy to see why the center chose her to run the STARS program. Annie Maxwell is self-confident, creative, and committed. She is plain spoken and she is more than willing to go against conventional wisdom.
Over the years, the visually impaired community has provided unconditional support for the program and for good reason. More and more, STARS participants are receiving high school diplomas. They are learning the interactive skills that they will need in order to live in the sighted world. Their parents are discovering that people with vision loss can live normal lives. Thanks to the work being done by Annie Maxwell and her team, the visually impaired adults of tomorrow will reach the seemingly unreachable “stars”.
2008 GCB Committees and Guidelines
Jimmie Burkes, Co-chair
Marsha Farrow, Co-chair
Marsha Farrow, Chair
Valerie Leighton, Chair
Legislative / Advocacy:
Teresa Brenner, Co-Chair
Adam Shapiro, Co-Chair
Bill Holley, Chair
Robin Oliver, Chair
Steve Longmire, Chair
History/ Current Events:
Valerie Leighton, Chair
Jerrie Ricks, Chair
Constitution and Bylaws:
Ann Sims, Chair
Marsha Farrow, Chair
John M. Sims
Phil Jones, Co-Chair
Ann Sims, Co-Chair
Marsha Farrow, Chair
Judy Presley, Co-Chair
Marsha Farrow, Co-Chair
The Awards committee members and guidelines will be published in the next edition of The GCB Digest.
Georgia Council of the Blind
Every committee should meet at least once a month. Some will need to meet more often if working on a project. A summary of what was discussed should be kept. The chair or an appointed member should give a report at each board meeting.
Specific Committee Responsibilities:
Convention: This committee should work with the hotel that has been selected for the convention by membership to secure contract. It should visit site as needed to plan meeting rooms, menus, exhib it hall, and registration area. The committee should send letter to affiliate presidents reminding them of convention responsibilities (hospitality fees, loving cups and certificate names, etc.). Committee members should consult with awards committee for securing loving cups and certificates. They should prepare registration packets and handle registration during the convention, send out exhibit letters, and set up and handle exhibit hall. They should plan programs and tours. And finally, the committee should solicit help from members not on committee to assist with the entire above tasks, as needed.
Awards: This committee should submit to the editor of the Digest the different awards and their special criteria for publication in the summer edition of the newsletter, collect nominees for each award, and select a winner. It should have the plaques made or arrange with the secretary and treasurer to secure appropriate plaques. . The committee should present the winners at the convention. This includes the scholarship winners.
Membership: This committee helps to increase our membership by assisting new affiliates with organizing. It also assists existing affiliates with growth. This might mean visiting chapters and providing necessary information about our organization and copies of constitution and bylaws. In addition, this committee should take part on quarterly national ACB membership conference calls and send a rep to the membership meeting at the national convention. After attending any national conference call or the annual meeting during the ACB convention, the committee should report back to the board. It should keep at-large members up to date on organization happenings.
Finance: This committee is responsible for developing the annual budget. The budget should be completed and brought before the board at the quarterly board meeting held before the new fiscal year. The finance committee is also responsible for doing an internal audit to be given at the annual state convention. The treasurer is an ex-officio member of this committee.
Grant Writing: This committee is charged with researching, and applying for grants that will assist us in meeting our mission and goals.
Fund Raising: The fund-raising committee is responsible for researching possible projects to help raise funds for the organization to assist with our mission and operating expenses. It will bring such ideas to the board for a vote before engaging in any fund raising event. This committee will do the planning, run the events, and take care of collecting and counting funds from events before turning over to the treasurer for deposit.
Public Relations: The public relations committee will be responsible for putting together a list of media contacts for all our cities where we have affiliates. It will also be responsible for writing up press releases for any of the organization's major events, and distributing them to the media. Members will then follow up with the media the day before the event. However some press releases may be just to make the public aware of any events so it can attend. The committee should then follow up with thank you notes to any media personnel who attend our events.
Legislative/Advocacy: This committee is charged with setting up an e-mail list and contacting Betsy to establish a call post list so that members may be easily contacted when their urgent response to a legislative issue is immediately required. . This committee should follow any legislation introduced during the session that affects the blind. The members are responsible for keeping informed on national and state issues. They are responsible for planning and carrying out a legislative breakfast during election years.
Transportation: This committee is charged with trying to assist members with finding ways to partner with other groups such as Lions clubs, etc., to get members to their local meetings. It should also educate members on ideas for getting involved at the local level on transit boards. This committee should participate in any transportation project in which the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness is involved. It should pick one member to take part in any transportation training to be done at the national (ACB) level. After attending any such training, this person should train the entire committee, and then the committee should educate the entire membership.
Technology: This committee is responsible for setting up and maintaining the web site. Also this committee will work with the convention committee and treasurer to provide online registrations for the convention. It will also assist other affiliates with tech support upon request.
YAP: This committee is charged with planning the activities for the youth during convention, for recruiting youth to take part, for recruiting chaperones for the convention, and for informing volunteers to go to the STARS program and the Academy to work with the students to assist local affiliates on developing a youth program.
By Debbie Williams
Please see the GCB Website for full information and for a scholarship application. All scholarship information must be in no later than August 15, 2008. Website: www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org
(Scholarship Awards Committee)
Chair, - Debbie Williams 770 595 1007
1477 Nebo Rd. Dallas, GA30157
Dr. Phillip Dillard 770-748-8629
Dr. Bill Holley, Multiple Choices, 706-549-1020
Granger Ricks, 770-898-9036
Tom Ridgeway, 478-474-3577
The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the Georgia Coun cil of the Blind or its elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. The GCB Digest cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.
The following article is a response to a previous news brief in a recent Digest suggesting the amazing uses of Bounce. Such information from the internet can be entertaining and sometimes instructive as long as we validate our sources.
Why Not to Do Anything with Bounce
Submitted by Marj Schneider
After reading the piece in the last Digest about handy uses for Bounce dryer sheets, I am compelled to share the following information with GCB members. Bounce is not a safe product. No other types of conventional liquid fabric softeners or dryer sheets are safe either. The general public is not aware of this because the manufacturers are not required to use nontoxic chemicals in their products, and labels do not need to warn consumers about potential hazards of these products. However, the potential health hazards of typical ingredients in fabric softeners are known. We need to be aware of them so we can choose not to use them. We need to be smart as consumers and pay attention to the possible health dangers of the chemically-based products we use in our homes. There are safe fabric softening options available. One easy solution is to add ¼ cup vinegar during the rinse cycle when a load is being washed.
The following information is excerpted from
This information is available from other sources as well.
To hide the chemical smell, companies load dryer sheets full of chemical fragrances which are potentially carcinogenic. Dryer sheets are designed to stay on clothing for a long period of time and slowly release their chemicals throughout the day which leads to prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals. The toxins in dryer sheets and their chemical fragrances enter the body through inhalation or are absorbed through the skin. Some of the symptoms experienced from prolonged exposure to the chemicals in dryer sheets include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system disorders, blood pressure reduction, fatigue, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, difficulty concentrating and remembering, cancer, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract, and liver damage.
Dryer sheets and fabric softeners actually waterproof your clothes to make them feel softer! According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the 1990s, the following is a list of 10 chemicals in fabric softener products, most in untested combinations. Liquid fabric softeners additionally may contain formaldehyde.
Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
Ethanol: On the EPA's Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
Limonene: Known carcinogen.
A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list.
Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.
The Braille Bill HB 652:
This bill is the Blind Persons' Braille Literacy Rights and Education Act requiring IEP'S for blind or visually impaired students and providing for instruction in braille and the use of Braille based on the outcome of an evaluation by a certified braille teacher.
Accessible Currency Update
From Eric Bridges, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind
NCD continues to support a transition to accessible currency in the United States. A variety of approaches have been used successfully by 180 nations around the world, who have made their currency readily distinguishable to people who are blind and visually impaired. The number of people with vision impairments is expected to increase substantially as the baby boom generation ages, thereby making it more important than ever that U.S. currency be accessible in the coming years. According to the Department of the Treasury, new printing equipment is expected to be in place by 2012. NCD has urged the Department of the Treasury to use this opportunity to phase in accessible currency.
Chapter News Roundup
We regret to announce the death of longtime Atlanta Chapter member, Bob Willis. Bob served as president of the Atlanta Chapter during the early 1980's. He was an associate member of the GCB Mid-Atlanta Chapter, and he was also a member of the Blinded Veterans Association. Although he lived in Athens during the last years of his life, along with his wife June, he remained an active member of the Atlanta Chapter. June is still an active membrer. Our sympathies and our prayers go out to June and their family.
Our sympathies and prayers also go out to Phil Jones, who recently lost his mother, Mrs. Margaret Jones, 84. Phil served as the Atlanta Chapter president for two terms and presently serves as president of the East Georgia Chapter. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to everyone who sent flowers, cards, email and telephone messages, and were there for him in his time of need of comfort.
Please remember the following GCB members in your thoughts and prayers: Patricia Fitts, Macon Chapter; Virginia Tucker, Chattooga County Chapter; and Brian Leighton, Savannah Chapter.
Almost every chapter has an increase in membership this year, and the at-large membership has increased as well. The special affiliate, the Georgia Council of Blind Lions (GCBL), increased its membership from nine to 19 active members. The officers are Anne Wheeler, president; J. C. Coefield, vice president; and Ann Sims, secretary-treasurer. In order to become a member of the Georgia Council of Blind Lions you must be a member of a local Lions club. The Athens Council of the Blind is proud to have the participation of its members in leadership roles in the Athens Heritage Lions Club. The Athens Heritage Lions Club has seven members who are members of the Georgia Council of Blind Lions. This week Athens Heritage Lions Club elected three members of the Georgia Council of Blind Lions as officers of the club. They are as follows: President, Robin Oliver; first vice president, Bill Holley; second vice president, Jamie Teal. Congratulations to the elected officers and the Athens Heritage Lions Club.
The South Metro Council of GCB has five members joining the Hapeville Lions Club and the Georgia Council of Blind Lions (GCBL). They are Barbara Graham, Steve Longmire, Peter Tolly, John M. and Ann Sims.
Tim Kelly and J. C. Coefield are members of the Centerville Lions Club, GCBL, and Tim is president of the Macon Chapter of GCB while J.C. is a GCB member-at-large. Other GCB members-at-large who belong to GCBL are Jim Horton, Lavista Lions Club; Laverne King, Lawrenceville Lions Club; and Diane Simms, Sandy Springs Lions Club. Marsha Farrow is in the Trion Lions Club. Bob Robinson, along with Mike Teal, Jeff Toney and Jerrie Toney are members of the Heritage Lions Club, and Anne Wheeler is a member of the Covington Lions Club. There are several others who are considering becoming members, and they will be cordially welcomed.
Marsha Farrow, Barbara Graham and John and Ann Sims met with some folks in Calhoun to talk about organizing a chapter there. Marsha explained about the various chapters, the fundraising program, and the scholarship program; Barbara Graham told about the South Metro Chapter and named some of the activities and speakers bringing interesting programs; and Ann Sims told about The GCB Digest. Some of the people became members-at-large until they can organize a chapter there. The contact person is Monty Smith, 550 Brown Farm Road, Calhoun, GA 30701, 706-346-5452.
Alice Ritchhart visited the Tifton group and will be presenting them at the April GCB board meeting for membership as a chapter.
Several members had the experience of sitting in on the sub-committee meeting regarding the commission bill, and although it was discouraging that no one could speak, everyone learned something from having attended. Others were at the Capitol for the Braille Bill and other legislation. It is exciting to realize that the Braille Bill has made much progress.
Some changes have been made in officers of two chapters: The South Metro Chapter accepted the resignation of Barbara Graham as president and wish to thank her for her hard work and dedication to the chapter. Diane Healy was appointed as its president and Peter Tolly as its first vice president. The new officers for the Atlanta Chapter are Adam Shapiro, president; Chris Baldridge, secretary; and Betsy Grenevitch, treasurer. The chapter wishes to thank last year's officers, Kim Carmichael, president; Diane Simms, vice president; and Tracy George, secretary for their dedication to the work of the chapter.
Independent Living Center Services for the Blind: On behalf of the Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living, Inc., staff and board of directors, we would like to thank the Athens Council of the Blind for their continuous support in our effort to serve individuals in the blind and low vision community.
The Athens Council of the Blind continues to partner with the Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living Inc. in the development of services to the blind community. Some of the services offered by Multiple Choices include: Braille, assistive technology, computer training, (JAWS) low vision evaluation, and advocacy.
The Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living Inc. future services will include orientation and mobility training and independent living skills training. The center is wheel chair accessible.
The Greater Columbus Chapter sponsored a forum on January 12, 2008, entitled: Coping with Visual Loss in celebration of Braille and Glaucoma Awareness Month. Dr. Charles Calhoun, a local ophthalmologist, discussed new trends in fighting eye diseases; Ms. Donna Cassell, of Contact of the Chattahoochee Valley, discussed emergency preparedness for people with disabilities and their daily call in program for people with disabilities; and Ms. Heather Hamlett, a student at Columbus State University, discussed braille and the importance of being able to use braille in obtaining an education for visually impaired students. It was a very informative program.
Anne Wheeler's Covington Lions Club gave $1400 to the East Georgia Chapter. In appreciation for this, a group of members from the chapter presented a program to the Covington Lions Club and demonstrated some of the equipment purchased with the money donated to them, such as a braillewriter and computer.
The Rome-Floyd chapter of GCB has added some six members over the past year. We have enjoyed two trips to the braille trail in the Marshall Forest in Rome, a wonderful tour through unaltered nature; the forest is administered by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia and watched over by concerned citizens of Rome and Floyd County.
Chapter members have been entertained for the past two Christmas seasons with piano concerts by George Barton, a faithful member and a professional musician and organist for the First Methodist Church in Cedartown. Of course, we also enjoyed singing along with favorite Christmas carols. Grace Wilson, one of our most energetic members, has initiated a special project to plan and maintain a scrap book of our activities in braille and in print. Every month we especially like our sharing times in which all of us spontaneously take part. During one of those our oldest member, Mr. Wint Barton, now 95, recited all 159 Georgia counties in alphabetical order, much to the astonishment and admiration of all present.
Chattooga GCB Chapter News: In the January meeting attendees enjoyed a soup and sandwich lunch with homemade cake and cookies for dessert. President Farrow introduced the guest speaker, Kendra Townsend, and the following report was placed in the local paper, “The Summerville News”:
On Friday January 18, 2008, at Summerville First Baptist Church, Ms. Kendra Townsend, Summerville veterinarian employee and puppy raiser, spoke to the Chattooga County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Kendra is raising her fifth puppy for Southeastern Dog Guide School of Palmetto, Florida, to be a dog guide for individuals who are blind. Chapter members and guests learned of the intensive training that Ms. Townsend provides for her newest puppy, Bingo. Ms. Townsend stated that she has the right to take Bingo into public places as the law protects puppy raisers just as the law provides access for individuals who are blind to be in public places with their canines. Ms. Townsend stated she can give her beloved puppies back to the school more easily because she is well aware that their blind handlers will love and appreciate the dogs even more than she does!
For February, Ms. Betsy Grenevitch was invited to speak. Mr. Gene Espy, Editor of “The Summerville News”, wrote a very interesting editorial comment on Betsy after he heard her speak at that meeting:
Betsy Grenevitch of Social Circle, Georgia spoke at the Chattooga County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Ms. Grenevitch has been blind most of her life and has a dog guide, Lassen, her first. She grew up in a foster home in West Virginia. She graduated from Bob Jones University and served as a missionary to West Africa for over a year and a half. She taught piano, organ, and voice among other skills. Ms. Grenevitch has a book she has written about her life and anyone interested in purchasing a copy may contact Marsha Farrow. The books are $7.00 each and can be mailed to you.
Betsy home schooled her two older children for the past ten plus years and at times all four children were home-schooled. Ms. Grenevitch is a single mother with four children: Danielle, 17; Paul, 15; Joshua, 11; and Michelle, 7. Danielle and Paul are involved with Civil Air Patrol in Newton County. Joshua and Michelle both play baseball. Some things the family enjoy doing are camping, helping at conferences, doing church activities, watching movies together at home, and playing Scrabble on holidays.
After Betsy’s heart-warming talk, Chattooga County Foster Families were honored, especially Betty and Gene Hall who have provided a home for at least 160 children including one child with severe vision loss. The Lions Anne Sullivan Award was presented to the Halls for their dedication to children and concern for children with vision loss. The ladies missionary group of Summerville First Baptist Church purchased beautiful red tulips for each foster family in attendance. Several pizzas were donated by Domino’s Pizza and Salads were donated by Lucky’s Supermarket. Sandra Peppers and Trish Barfield assisted with serving the many guests. Jan Morris, treasurer, worked diligently in coordinating the event. Barry Vaughn, vice president, open the meeting and led introductions and the invocation. The meeting was held at Summerville First Baptist Church. The members appreciated the generosity of the church to utilize the facility and other means of support.
On March 14, Jean Chesley of The Suites at Oak View Assistive Living Home presented an exercise program to the chapter members. Ms. Chesley leads several exercise programs in the local community. One new prospective member was in attendance.
The Chattooga Chapter of the Blind meets each month. For more information, please phone president Marsha Farrow, at 706-859-2624; first vice president Barry Vaughn, at 706-859-1238; or treasurer Jan Morris, at 706-346-7249.
ACB invites you
The Athens Area Council of the Blind invites you to come and enjoy the music and great company on April 11, 2008, from 6pm-9pm at Little Kings. Little Kings is located at 223 W. Hancock Avenue, Athens.
The cover charge for this event is a donation to the Council. If you can't make it to the show, donations can be sent to the Council c/o Jamaica Miller, 1000 John Collier Road, Athens, GA 30607. The acts that will be performing are as follows:
The Box Devils, "blues jazz torch music"; The Earlier Worms, "Folksy"; The Vinyl Strangers, "the Everly Brothers meet the Byrds through mutual friends, the Beatles"; The Michael Guthrie Band, "the last of a dying breed rock band formed in Europe in the 60's - and still alive to tell the story".
Call 706-316-9886 if you need more information. We hope to see you there.
Coalition Meeting Announcement:
When: Saturday, April 19th, 2008.
Where: Georgia Academy for the Blind (GAB), 2895 Vineville Avenue, Macon, GA 31204.
Administration Phone: 478-751-6083
Administration Fax: 478-751-4019
School Office Phone: 478-751-6085
School Fax: 478-752-1745
New Officers for GCB
New executive officers for GCB are as follows: Bill Holley, second vice president; and Jerrie Toney, treasurer. The board voted to accept the suggestion of our financial advisor, Mr. Fussell, and divide some of the responsibilities in the following way: Jerrie Toney will be preparing and giving the treasurer’s report at each board meeting. Kathy Morris was appointed as bookkeeper. Bill Holley was appointed to receive any checks for deposit. Checks are to be sent to him at Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living, 999 Gaines School Road, Athens, GAA 30605.
Welcome aboard, everyone, and thank you all for your work in GCB.
GCB Board Meeting:
The next GCB board meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, at the Center for the Visually Impaired, 739 W. Peachtree Street, Atlanta, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For further information, please contact Alice Ritchhart, at 912-261-9833, Toll Free: 877-667-6815, E-Mail: email@example.com.
We hope you enjoyed this issue of The GCB Digest. Please send any change of address, phone number or email to Ann Sims, phone, 404-767-1792, email, firstname.lastname@example.org.